Category Archives: Aging

“I Am”

“I Am”

I am my feet, my history tells me so;
My shins; dexterity amid the rocks reveal it may be true;
My thighs; their balance in distraction sees me through
Illusions at the level of the  groin’s most pernicious foes,
Receptacles as voids in need of better news; and though
I am my mother’s navel, my father’s love left so many similar clues—
The evangel to what was otherwise ignored—that the view
In any given moment’s blocked.  Here, then, my heart maintains its flow
In reasonable annuity, and I’ll be damned if I am weak,
But if you ask my legs, you’ll find a sometime potent posse,
Nothing else. My once proud pectorals could
Never act alone―as if they thought they should―
But laboured twice the time for heartfelt evidence
That given time I would succeed―
And so I have as I can plainly see.
I am my eyes whose rivals in the ears
At times have overcome the world and all its fears,
But though twice born view both here and our eternity
I see but vanity served that while I eat, I hesitate and feed
On noise and what is after all experience in arrears.
I am my mind; “Cogito!”— the mantra’s cadence shows as through the years
I’ve dined on fine receipts and tallies that what I meant most certainly should be
The outcome of all my powers to deduce a spark from what I’ve seen,
A truth in what I’ve done and glean from what I’m told I’ve been—
This, despite  what I know I am,…but let that pass. I am
In fact conceit, itself, and in its place I stand
And where I sit and both but simple remedies to all I’ve gleaned:
“I am,” the Ancient Sage made replied, and “that I am,” shall be
a fleeting moment’s apostrophe to truth and not at all what I believe.

*********

3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and He said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
Exodus

“Stars Repeat”

stars

“Stars Repeat”

Stars repeat their warnings; petrels sing
Like mockingbirds, aloof, alone, no voice
Heard; their own made moot by common choice;
Answers, yes! Of course! The bells still ring
As starlings make their homes in open barns
Before the bovine’s great equestrian friends.
Evening’s luminous azure loom descends,
And sad Arachne’s weaving skill alarms
Neither moth nor moon nor sun’s arrival signs
Perceive nor are they litmus to the lines
Expressed; the melodies, these foolish mimes
Who only seem to satisfy the thighs
(And never mind the costs), the breasts, the supple,
Kinder lights that flood the mind of he who bites the apple.

“The Test”

 

“The Test”

The test is in its gauge, a poem’s weight, nothing equitable but fair,
In and of itself an offering, a discrete particle in an innocuous conceit
Upon some higher power in the substance that in its sleep
Has left the path and all the usual signs and banners with little thought or care
To what it means to shoot the sun, its moon and know that they came
To pass as  a mirror’s movements  in the moment; receivers quickly feign
Reaction to the pen and page and all such shibboleths as questions beg the reign
Of order in a desperate bid for substance and recognition, inertia that sustains
Momentum in the swamp and swell of ownership by simple dint of will:
Mindless arbitration comes to mind as sparks defining truth spill
Words and destinies and budding paradigms, the seed and fruit of every hill.
Both will measure every valley undetected, unrestrained.
The eye, the plume, the generations of the word itself must all reveal
An effortless encounter of win and lose no matter what the deal.

“Simple Blocks and Wheels”

“Simple Blocks and Wheels”

Simple blocks and wheels, sombre reminders
Of what it was I had to do and where to lay the hands;
My world, an expanse of conquered floors, the lands
Of my imagination, the intricacies of finders
Keepers, some helpful word, perhaps the key
To meeting nuances and overcoming obstacles,
Rites of singular and plural with canons to the right and canticles
To the left of learning; now the primer, now the spelling bee,
And all the while the painful elongation
Of extremities and bedtime stories
When it seemed that all I wanted were the glories
Found in just another glass of water as a right and prolongation
Of those steady arms, not the voids implied in counting sheep
Or the monotony of that final mantra: Now I lay me down to sleep….

“It Matters Nothing”

2

“It Matters Nothing”

It matters nothing in the lightly screaming
Thoughts of what I might have done
Had this not gone so far; the early’s clusters, the latter’s stars, the sun’s
Eternal meridian, no matter what the clouds, the veils, the feelings,
With midnight’s nightly thinking on the path through Saturn’s rings
Remains the same, and in the end, illusion never dies.
So constant, time in winnowed wanderlust—the skies
The seas, the cosmic meadow’s breeze where only quasars sing
Simple measure pleasures of a thought made longer than a dream
That I may walk beside the old canal that leads to even older docks.
Yes, of course.  I might have visited more often.  But clocks
Are stormy petrels, eternal days that leave a stain on what’s deemed
Meet and seemly for the nonce; so while I frequent these familiar lanes I think
On what I might have said and how I might have stayed awhile,
and wines I’ll never drink.

…photograph above by ECU…

“The Phrase”

Hazel Reeves3

 

“The Phrase”

The phrase transcends the pen withdrawn
And so, too, the movement in and of itself.
The notebook’s filled, volumes line the shelf
And there upon a winter’s night, the low straw
Wins and he reviews the lot and finds the flaw
In each. Perhaps a word crossed out, a gulf
In time allows a light to objectivity less the self.
And when the wheel stops, the law
Of averages condemns the thing to sit there
Once again, forgotten, anonymous as a star
That far away, explodes with fireworks
That would consume a galaxy—matter gone berserk—
Ignite and what had no energies now amassed, a pregnant flare
Until at last, one starry night, a whisper reaches earthly ears.
Just so, the incomplete, the Word to words and back again
Traverse the gap as the task of phonemes
Aspires to ascend to higher stations, morphemes
Honoured in this natal happy path. Observe:
Throughout the zodiac of conscious meaning
Stars that matter to velocities in galaxies
Reborn inspire genitive ignition in the gravity
Of natural wisdom’s past and present leaning
To fruition in what was always meant to be.
The moon, in its phase; the sun, its angry season,
The poet writes within a pendulum of forces, reason
Bound, but nonetheless eternal mysteries
Revealed as the Ancient of Days calls behind the present hour
Words from phrases only time, distance and the pen can devour.
As the audience is eternal, so, too, what will compel
The heart and mind to ideal calligraphy; the wordsmith’s nod
Secure. And as “the source of all learning is the knowledge of God,”*
So, too, the gravitas of the nib cannot be silenced, nor the muse expelled.

Hazel Reeves2

*Bahá’u’lláh, “Words of Wisdom”, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh

…pieces of scupture by Hazel Reeves...

“But at the Centre”

2-face-golden-mask

“But at the Centre”

But at the centre, in the middle, somewhere near
The eye, a briefer moment’s respite as well—yes, in sleep
You see a reticence, a full judicious leap,
Perhaps an extra lap between the truth in me and fear
In the new year, that wanderer along the narrow streets
Of cities where I am; albeit truth is here, there is no storm
Since nothing earthbound moves where angels swarm.
Where I am neither earth nor heaven retreat.
The man is circumcised; search the eyes,
What flies, what armies do you see?
Search the skies for what it means to be
Or not to be and there’s the torch raised high above the lies
Of heart and mind. From one or from the other, in solitude no one clearly sees
But eight seconds’ distance from the sun, and slightly less from me.

particles

“Just Leave It Here”

bath

“Just Leave It Here”

Just leave it here, or put it over there,
I’ll rip into it sometime when you’re not
Around; perhaps a little later when I’ve caught
Some rest, or just a nap, or seek the tender care
Of the refrigerator―or, maybe just a bath,
Of course! A bath―tonight, no standing shower: bubbles!
Yes! And contemplations of the past while I forget my troubles,
And the neighbours’ radio loud enough to raise the wrath
Of God from migrant angered angels, curses that I’ve never heard
Before, or maybe have, but never memorized. It’s time for Mahler’s Third,
And while I’m predisposed to being altogether unperturbed
It wouldn’t do to push the envelope too far…. Yes, feed the bird,
Walk the dog, and later on, when evening’s gone
I’ll gladly open what you brought me, while I wonder what went wrong.

…painting by Dick Detzner…

“The Finite Question”

the-finite-universe-richard-ortolano

“The Finite Question”

The finite question—Thank you very much!
Will do me fine, my friend, nothing more’s
To grasp; not “Why?” but jewels of “Who?” or “What?” The core’s
Chorus at my reach within a lifetime. Touch
A heart within my passion’s fields and ask me “When?”
Or “Where?” or even “How?” and I am whole
No more than any man must be, for when I troll
The deeps for useful answers to finite human ends,
I come equipped as any in the crowd
Because I walk the earth, and from the mind
And human blindness come all answers to the blind,
…And be assured we are all blind. The infinite, the “Why?”a loud
And brash defiance in defense within the foam, “I am no fool,
No prophet! I speak nothing from divinity,
but from a simple earthly rule.”

“From Memory”

Propagation of Inner Thoughts

“From Memory”

From memory alone he entertains a pen with ease,
Awash with sundry inks and hues, now
Arresting generous portions of his brow,
Now attracted and content, a troubling frieze—
Peas with carrots, onions chopped too close
Within a future fry, not one but two with herbs allied,
Exposed for what they may now achieve, placed as rhymes
In elements combined to test his Pilate; cloves’
Oppressions no doubt forced at length albeit spare with salt declined,
And as carbon to the diamond, brine
Is changed to water, water thence to wine,
He’ll conjugate his troubled vision, his emotions intertwined,
And as she cooks, yes! even as he looks on,
to her polite laconic thoughts are tossed
As into boiling pots and frying pans, and all his thoughts are lost.