Category Archives: Nostalgia

“No Need to Ask Who My Father Was”

“No Need to Ask Who My Father Was”

No need to ask who my father was, sir.
You see my eyes, and know my actions plain
Enough. You see him here; as often pains
Come to me I ask his blessings, learned,
And to these wisdoms add what I’ve seen
And failed to see within my own desires–
Cadres of loving sons and daughters–in the fires
That make more than common motes or beams:
Accomplishments are roads away from here for us
And surely paths to what’s out there test both our strengths,
And whet the appetite, the greaters than eternities for what at length
Reigns even now in dreams beyond my father’s father’s trust,
Yet manifest enough—sovereign certitude—
A breath and more beyond this cloudy scope and range.

this, a memory of my father on his birthday, 18 February 1918…

“Order Comes”

“Order Comes”

Order comes to counter what’s been settled

In the extra room. Chaos speaks: eyes today
Stray south to storms in brew, but thoughts at play
Are not contiguous. Reminder! kettle’s
On, and minutes from the inspiration,
Coffee, and that special toast
I’d meant to have with friends.
No, there’ll be no invitations sent
Today, but in these simple transportations
Warm reminders to the nose.
Seize the season, sit back, smile, and savour
Silence in the afternoon and windblown flavours
Wafting in like ghosts of days long petrified—the rose,
For instance, the night I found that message taped to my front door.
I tossed the flower on the table and read the note right there on the floor.

“Briefer Images”

“Briefer Images”

Briefer images at dusk along the street and wonders
In me--who is that woman? Street lamps, yes! the moon
Or worse that slaps us both; tarnished, and in a tangent off some June
From long ago, memories in a travel log of time when I still blundered
Through the odyssey of all my fears and slumber seemed forever light,
The blush and dimming of the spots somehow pleasing to so many peoples,
Then, and still I stood to hit the queue  to see her eyes.
Distilled prayer beneath the steeples,
Midnight trains and feeble seats in Greyhounds,
uses of the every highway dedicated to gemutlichkeit
And the momentary! More, a never-ending wanderlust and steam
To drain the festering boils of youth in rhymes of two dimensions:
Points from “A” to “B” to “C”, perhaps to “D”, and mention  The here and there of this I saw or that within what dreams
Concealed in endless intercourse in the night and I so moth- like in the rites
Of great mahatmas in repose amid the golden spinning wheels and kites.

“He Listens to the Radio”

“He Listens to the Radio”

He listens to the radio and contemplates the bridge
That crossed the river he remembers formed the border
Of the town in which he grew and learned the odours
Of the day, the fragrances of weeks and months, the ridge
And rim of years that lined his paths and fixed the seals
On his own parchment. Tonight, another abscissa of whatever dream, an obelus,
The mark he’s worn since first he first noticed that he’s not alone. The bliss,
The buzz and hum of silences and plot lines between the reels
And jigs, adagios and solemn counterpoints
That hold him here until the notes begin anew.
He lights a cigarette, spots a flaw on the counter’s surface. In lieu
Of joy, the music recalled, happiness drifts—the deft denial of the joint
Endeavour of the speaker and his ear as he finds the greater light
In what must come between the lines that holds him dearly in the night.

“In the Fifties”

“In the Fifties”

In the Fifties all the wonder of pastel was “in,”
The funds so well arranged in bank accounts
Left dormant through the War. Largesse, secured amounts
Were stored, but goods were spare and produce thin,
Production not yet shelved to compliment the newfound peace.
The Sixties featured families rounded off from nine to an even five;
The troops were home, chariots had fins, and promises alive
Throughout the world to put such potential in the fleece
As might be had for children in the doxology to provide
A balance, a nom de plume for a strange apology
For the deprivation of Depression and the horrors of the War Years. Anthologies
Replaced by catalogues from Sears, recruits were down but churches thrived
And so did freedom, and to the sirens of liberty went the clear-eyed youths
Who loved at will and, sur le pouce, found themselves
in the Seventies illumined in haloes of hair and something to close to truths.

“A Weekend Well Affords a Sleep-in”

“A Weekend Well Affords a Sleep-in”

A weekend well affords a sleep-in, and a look
At what’s not been put to rest, and in the soft
And casual stroll through halls and closets, lofts
And corners of the home, the memories ordered, books
Rearranged, and music for the soul–the sound
Of dishes, cleaning, sweeping rugs, and then,
Of course, the nagging thought that if and when
The hours allow, perhaps a treasure found,
That deliberate search for lost and oft forgotten articles
That must be somewhere in this place.
He conjures histories in dusty, mundane thoughts—erase
The past, perhaps—and in the end to shift the particles
And portions of the present if only to reinvigorate and nurture
What’s behind the doors, beneath the floors, and repossess the furniture.

“He Savours Moments”


“He Savours Moments”

He savours moments in memoria:
The heart is sound, the legs still able,
Potentials swell, situations inescapable.
In short, the runway’s clear, opprobrium
And approbation balanced, and once again,
It seems horizons’re reasonably cloudless.
Were he any younger he would see a seamless
Future with every reason to remain
Calm and confident that enigma’s kiss
Had blessed the road and rung the bells
Of something less than heaven and little more than hell.
Aquarius, it seems, is rising, yes, but no guarantee of bliss.
Ignore the flaw in yesterday’s patterns in the weave
And stitch of isolation’s tapestries with passports up his sleeve,
The blossom’re missing, ’twere not the flowers
But the setting; nothing in the fragrance
But the thought puts a rush of ambivalence,
Perhaps a flood, doubtless a surge of  hours
That leave no room for contemplation
But simple interaction feeding on a dream of action
That can not nor ever could bring satisfaction.
But, O such sweet misfires! Oblations
In the last act of living. ‘S true! We only think we love;
So easily we dismiss the warnings of so many lifetimes
Sailing out to seas beyond the reach of actual experience, lifelines
Cast to each of us, an incessant revelation; discovery, the tug and shove
Of pedestrian traffic that tells the heart it’s time to leave.
Ecstasy can wait when all that’s really needed is to breathe.

…painting by Paterio…

“The Key Is Coded Red”

…just a little nostalgia… In my mind’s eye, occasionally, I travel back to the last school in which I taught for so many years…my old room, Room 461…and…used my key―coded red―to take a look…. The room belongs to someone else now, but the class…they are still who they were when I left them…and I’m exactly who I was when the time came to leave the lion’s den for the last time;  something about alergies and cats….


“The Key Is Coded Red”

The key is coded red, the lock submits,
The door is opened with the slightest turn;
And while the keys are dangling, a lightning burn
On fingers where the knuckle hits
The doorjamb, there because the knob’s
Still too close to the frame and nicks’re
Inevitable once a week. Nothing’s changed. The flicker
Of morning lights―in winter, more like blobs
Of dawn―to make the classroom bright, and there they are!
The chairs atop the desks to aid the man
Who sweeps at night and empties all the cans:
Now I set me down to teach with last night’s marks,
And there and then, and once again I think it’s time I looked
For something more in this than merely facing lions armed with books.

“It’s Something”

“It’s Something”

It’s something I would dearly love,

A lingering hour over some laboured coffee,
Endless silent memos, axioms and nuances, copies
Of all thought never filed, perhaps an argument, a sweet denial; gloves
That fit and one long last diatribe about the meaning of it all
In the suffocating smoke of numbing consummation
from billows of noxious odours from the bar and grill.
I would cherish nonsense from the waitresses about the change of shifts
and what she should but does not leave the busboys; a shrill
Declaration that it’s closing time with no one left but me to heed the call.
The betterment of the world requires a slightly jaundiced nod
To the righteous riots of the right, and lascivious liaisons to the left of things;
Feeble salutes to régimes of former times and how things used to be, such rings
Around the bathtub and imperatives as flush the overshadowed
wonders of the cellphone and the iPod.
Well, after all,…it’s late and I’ve some few important things to do
Before I hit the sack with little left of lean and loads of fat to chew.


…a revision of the poem…”Swept Aside”

…a revision of the poem…

“Swept Aside”

Swept aside, all moments and celestial mementos collide
And waste no never-mind on credence and retention
In the wake of greater cosmic rinds and supine celestial reflection.
Mortality by definition lies; not so through what histories imply
But in the daily interaction of missives from the Goal
And penultimate ilunga * of the Source or
Sanctions of interaction in the triumphant triad of the coarsest
Ores of time, of space, and all that matters. Time, the cosmic linen folds
Of space and active order; space, the theatre of experience at the heart
Of the observer; matter, but an audience, a phenomena in passive
Active shadows of Creation and its nemesis. Simplicity is massive,
Complexity but a word; a question’s languages are art
And science while the answers form the pathos and the abstract.
What is more pathetic than to be and yet be nothing in the act?
Simplicity in the classic form requires
The prefects of a perfect vacuum
Combined in such a way as compliments the acumen
Of a strident meme, the jealous zeitgeist, tests that to the whole inspire
An urgent need to pause, to linger over bodies no longer really there,
A little more than a half a generation’s substance in a given time.
So granted this, so beautifully and tragically resigned,
Aloud comes the elegies of episodes to “Move along!”or “Retire!”
With such a cry inscribed, there was and always is
A here and there in rapid profit worshipped, fierce
As gallstones of desperation: “This, our chosen age, rehearsed
Upon a cross of memories little more than lyrics of an ancient tryst!”
And, equally, the many crowned and catalogued, remain aloof
Through symmetries of perfection in a sacred dynasty of embroidered truth.

*The word is ilunga, from the Bantu language of Tshiluba, and means a person ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time.

When there is this, that is.
With the arising of this, that arises.
When this is not, neither is that.
With the cessation of this, that ceases.

His Holiness The Buddha