A Baby Is Not Broken

A baby is not broken

nor is her warm head less than velvet.

 

Four upturned feet receive the clouds,

choosing the softest cumulus

to envisage as vanilla candy-floss for the taking,

deserved desserts.

 

A baby does not time her wails

to suit her caregiver,

gauging a grin as a green light

to feel.

 

She knows herself

like a temple knows its gods,

invisibly and well,

before a classic facade.

 

Her chipped toy-box takes up room,

where room is a matchbox,

 

but on she plays,

all lampshades ablaze,

striving to squish her big sausage toe

into a teeny Barbie shoe.

 

A baby’s hand

cannot understand

the things it loves to feel.

 

At what point does she let

the clouds pass by her brow?

 

When does the shoe get too small?

 

 

 

Dissenter

Dissenter

 for Zhang Zhan

 

Discord is as necessary as concord –

music history a pendulum’s swing

between harmony and dissonance;

in Hegel’s philosophy, no thesis to

synthesis without antithesis. Marcuse

said all transcendent art has to destroy

complacency, superficial consensus.

 

“At the risk of striking an off-note,” she

says before each grand assembly of those

who espouse certainty; to whom she is

agitator and whistleblower, a girl who

won’t stay mum – sitting alone on some

stone steps, making her small voice heard:

with her many names: Cassandra, Antigone,

Joan, Rosa, Malala, Greta…

From We are the Walrus (Salmon Poetry/Nov 2022)

“The Art of Being Invisible”

T.M.

My initials.

Planted on a whiteboard next to my poem,

It’s a simple reminder to myself that I exist.

To others, it’s a trademark.

a bunch of scrunched-up letters of terrible melancholy

and twisted messages of holy symphonies.

I do not exist.

The art of being invisible starts when the chimes stop ringing,

and the bell no longer tolls.

It’s the silence that bids the awaited farewells a restless goodnight,

and the stammering steps an awkward kiss.

The T stands for tenacious and the M stands for more,

because I want to be more tenacious.

I want to be more.

And as if dipping my hypothetical pen in a symbolic river of ink,

I write my T’s in endless curves and whispers.

I write.

I write.

I write.

I stop and turn my keys to more.

Because there is more to me than just a trademark.

I take ownership of my flaws.

With every indent my body makes,

I bow my head to the future.

She is an almighty deity whose hands reverse and intertwine.

She is beauty.

I pave a path and walk in a straight line,

I stretch out my arms and pray for the light to make me shine.

I want to sparkle,

to be a sun that slowly fizzles out,

to leave my initials.

To leave

Tragic and morbid.

To leave

T.M.

“You Gave Me Purpose”

I once read a story about a man with a flower.

He had picked it from a field of poppies for its petals were wilting.

He carried that flower for days,

sacrificing his own water to help it grow beautifully.

Eventually, he reached his destination

and watched the flower wilt.

He harvested the seeds and planted them at his mother’s grave,

for in the years that followed,

he would watch the blooming flowers give life to the deceased.

I think about that story often.

How the man gave beauty to the ill-fated.

And I think about us.

I too was once a wilted flower in a field of poppies,

until you gave me a chance to bloom beautifully.

“My God, She Was…”

She was the object of my infatuation.

She was everything and nothing.

and she was perfect. 

in every-which way 

my god, she was perfect.

She walked on clouds and winked at the moon. 

She danced amongst the shadows through June. 

and she was broken. 

in every-which way

my god, she was broken. 

 

She touched the ground like golden silhouettes. 

She sang away my last trace of cigarettes. 

and she was beautiful. 

in every-which way

my god, she was beautiful. 

 

She had long and slender hair that hit the light at intervals. 

She had wells of tears that flood through my walls. 

and she was kind. 

in every-which way

my god, she was kind. 

 

She had a voice that sold sweet sorrows through paper trails. 

She had a breath that weathered my storm through every exhale. 

and she spoke. 

in every-which way

my god, she spoke. 

 

But when winter’s longing cast a spell . 

And her dreams no longer fit my well. 

She was gone. 

in every-which way

My god, she was gone… 

 

And now the object of my infatuation she remains. 

for paper dragons and perfume 

Her ghostly figure here she stays 

with freckles 

that kissed our moon.

“Interlude”

My world is caving in. 

The roads I take to self-clarity are fading into the abyss, 

And the only thing I can do besides watch this ending unfold is attack my brain with vindictive thoughts and confide in those causing the issue. 

The people living in the prison of my skull have resorted to cannibalism while those on the outskirts don’t know the gravity of the situation.

And in all honesty, I’ve given up on caring. 

Slowly but surely the smoke of my blown-out candle carries with it the last remaining speck of hope while I become a machine, unable to perform without being programmed, and I become another number on society’s list of fucked-up teens. 

Another number of those who left the pages of their novel untouched and unfinished. 

Clarity is an interesting thought.

It’s not something I was able to see or touch yet there was an ounce, somewhere in my body, that helped me live rather than survive. 

That being said, the dripping droplets draining from the waterfall of awakening are drying up as they descend onto my lap and onto the page I write on. 

I can see the end, it’s as near as the hand I wipe my cheeks with, yet I can never seem to truly reach it. 

It’s a dome of ecstasy my body is rejected to, and like the repulsion of magnets, my negative will never be any closer than a few inches to the negative of my final curtain call.

With the thought of this being an interlude, that the real Ragnarök is only a tale told by those who never truly opened their books and saw that this catastrophic mess leading to the inevitable path of oblivion had two roads with another reaching their second act, I come to terms that not all clarity can be lost. 

Those who gave up on the battle long before it started had the clarity of sanity, and those who somehow continue to live their lives on the battlefield had the clarity of courage. 

So I stand before these roads, one broken, the pavement cracked, a doomed pit of darkness at the bottom with just a few logs of wood to climb across and a long winding road ahead, the other, a paved path, beautifully made with red bricks, saturated trees and rose petals guiding the way, I choose to face my fears and climb over the abyss pulling me down. 

The road is dark, winding, and absolutely terrifying, but what lies ahead is nothing compared to the fact that my world is caving in…but my story hasn’t reached its ending.

Light is a Cosmic Time Machine

Sudden there swoops an August around
On vulture wing, fed and fat.
Anew in navy, Ursa sighs
‘Alive, alive, you were once alive.’
And even now, through wet teeth, wonder
Will such lust ruin all again?

Myself, I return as the lowly satellite
Some missionary failure from the dark side of Luna.
I tried the ferrous lock on the cosmos seal
And now, I shall never speak of aliens.
Oh, I was nothing but obsessed
And lonely in that sunless sky.

Alas, it will make a brilliant memoir
To have touched a height so pretty and grand.
Far from kitchen-counter arguments
And mending walls.
The stars, they teach you false sanity,
And how to never love again.

Freedom

Iawakeninmycage.Unlikethelastthiscagehasanopendoor.ThefreedomtoleavebutacagenonethelessFreedomtoleave!Andgooutintothetreacheryandpainwheremenofpeacewageallkindsofwar.Womensmilewithdaggeredteethandthechildrenremindmeofalifelonglost.Freedomtoleave!Tobeamongstthecrowedlikeyesterday’snewspapertositwiththepigeonsandgrowjealousoftheirignorance.Forallmypaincomesfromhumanity.Freedomtoleave!Foramanwhocannottrulycommittothefightwhatisfreedom.ForamanwhocannottrulyloveawomenwhatisfreedomForamanwhohaslostallhehascreatedwhatisfreedomFreedomtoleave!IwillbefreewhenIleave.

Cosmic Happy Juice

For I stand atop a hill

Glassy eyes scanning the horizon 

An ocean of cornflowers

The current pushing toward the end

I willingly frolic away from reality 

My sanity wafting away in a light summers breeze

Carrying with it my laughter

I once feared the danger, of wandering into this field

Now it is my domain

the place I shall wither away in bliss

 

 

 

 

Alone When You Grieve and a Sad Poem to Read

Alone when you grieve and a sad poem to read, for there are things beyond your control; how could you win those never foreseen.

Bolts of Thunder, Where to Go Wonder: A Shock of Sad Poem.

Bolts-of-Thunder-Where-to-Go-Wonder-A-Shock-of-Sad-Poem
A-Shock-of-Sad-Poem

Where thou start the trail,

The abundant rain filled the trail,

Where thou shalt go to live,

A far hill, and alligators in water to give

Jolts!

Bolts

Of thunder,

Where to go wonder,

There is death around,

No easy life to be found!

….

more at: lifexcites blog

this time will be different: a found poem from a news article

protestors continue to deny that guns
were the problem. how many more shootings need to happen? the time
for us to have stopped was right after Sandy Hook high school. Parkland. Santa Fe.
twenty children, seventeen people, ten. a moment of silence, and then the “wonderful NRA.” dismissing calls. “extreme political agenda”
Dallas. Sutherland Spring. El Paso.
five people. twenty-six people. twenty-three people.
a church. a supermarket, a
rampage. protect our kids, not
guns. how many more of these need to happen? all I want is
reasonable gun control. reasonable background checks. eliminating
military-style weapons. we are an embarrassment. we cannot protect our children in our schools.
“this time will be different.”
every decent American is mourning twenty-one beautiful lives.
ruthlessly and indiscriminately extinguished.

phrases from my spam folder

the world: updated. we,
we chose tomorrow. you’re invited! 18K gold
handforged samurai swords
autographed memorabilia
floating kinetic
bonfires.
a new way to discover
how to get started.
(coming soon) we would like you to apply
an expert
weighs in on
zero gravity. get
the best, the most
prestigious bean
bag chairs, break
into the new
final hours, last call for
(up to)
80% off!
your invitation to apply is
waiting. what
do you need to get accepted? wait, don’t delete. get
the latest buzz.
make a
difference.

I don’t know how to live, ok?

Thinking won’t make me safe
And yet it persists
Being alive but not living
Avoiding mirrors
Sharing my day
Interacting deeply
I’m all in the clouds
Time moves bizarrely.
People look at me weird.
It’s not safe to be me.
When did I become this?
How did I become this?
Is it because of my environment?
Am I simply afraid?
Shame, confusion, pain, fear, disconnection
Am I dead?
How long have I been dead?
I skipped something? Missing something?
Time slows down and fast-fowards.
The stomach grinds to a halt.
The masks way heavy on my face
As the Gods turn their backs.
I open my mouth to scream
nothing comes out.

Happy Birthday

A dainty table for four
A rah zah zah restaurant
Four chairs
Filled with empty people in an empty room
Here to ‘celebrate’
No music
No smiles
No genuine ones at least
A man with a fresh patchily shaven head
A man with $600 copper spectacles
A woman with a neck brace
with a distaste for garlic
And a woman with a strawberry drink
Isolated
Quiet
Eerie
Held captive by the dinner table

You are that light that never goes out

I thought you’d always be there

in the back

when I go to look for you

Just like, shit, there ain’t words

to describe the half-lit room

in my mind full of things about you

The lines of your eyes

Pearls in your ears

Hair the color of a wine stain

Skinny jeans an inch too short

I look at you, feel like I’m dying

Love you, love you too,

Say it back, she says

You like that?

You say I have the best reactions

to everything you say

You tell me to be safe in the car

but I don’t make any promises

Your fingers are sure of it

around their cigarette

Because I love to suffer, I don’t say goodbye

before I leave I play a song full of religious imagery

and I save my own life if it goes on

like this, I won’t last

You’re like the water that never runs dry,

You’re like the runner who never slows down,

You’re that light that never goes out,

and I’ll never forgive you for that.

Mike Gordon – The Walking Bird

Mike was born in 1947 in Glasgow. His work has been a kaleidoscope of adventure across the globe. He was a roughneck on a rig drilling for water and chainman to a surveyor in the Australian outback. Later, he was part of a seismic exploration team looking for oil in the jungles of Sumatra and Borneo. In between all this, Mike was also a professional actor along with dishwashing, bartending, fruit picking and much more thrown in for good measure. Mike and his wife have lived in London for the last 43 years. He has three stepsons, one daughter-in-law, and one grandson. Michael won a book of poetry at the age of four, from which his father read to him the poems. This, the beginning of a life-long passion.

We are delighted to introduce Mike Gordon’s Poetry Collection “The Walking Bird”. We spoke to Mike, and he shared some of his thoughts on the collection as well as snippets of his fascinating life story.

Anita, Poetry Cooperative: Talk to us about your poetry, please, Mike:

My poetry, when young, consisted mainly of poems, which on reflection, had their meaning obscured by obscurity! The voice that I subsequently discovered, in my mid-forties, was, by contrast, the complete antithesis of this. Short, very brief, and simple. Enough to capture the essence of the world? I believe so.

Our language is limited and at times, seems quite inadequate for our attempts at capturing any given feeling or situation, which in itself, gives reason for poetry. Yet too often I feel that, in this pursuit, we make complex that which is simple. My short poems are my attempt to remedy that.

Anita: What can readers expect from The Walking Bird?

The poems in The Walking Bird are mainly from the last 25/30 years. They can and do reflect only one person’s life. My hope is that the readers will find for themselves, what we share in common.

Two exceptions to the above are the title poem, The Walking Bird which was written when I was sixteen. This poem posed the question, why the need to paint a dot. A question that resonates for me as much today as it did then, irrespective of the fact that, by publishing The Walking Bird, I have done precisely that and painted my dot. The second poem is, All in the hopes of being wise, which is the last poem in the book. I wrote it when I was eleven, and I have included it for sentiment and because it can still make me smile.

Both poems, wordwise, remain as written. Only the line structure has been changed, in keeping with my present-day style.

Truth, perhaps, may very well be a moveable feast. Writing poetry for me, however, demands an honesty that is so often lacking in my day to day life. Poetry demands and allows for such honesty, even if there may be future doubts. This offers an excitement and a balance, to the world around me, that I would be bereft without.

The Walking Bird will take you to where I’ve been; love, loss, youth, old age, happiness, unhappiness, contentment and discontentment. In my poetry, you find attempts to hammer out a philosophy that I can live with and that will live with me. And all the while with a liberal dose of humour. The sugar to coat the pill.”

More about Mike

Today, Mike runs two companies; Alchemy Press, ( publisher of “The Walking Bird” along with Amazon KDP) and Alchemy Music Ltd.

Check out “No money, no honey, cheap Charlie” on YouTube. You may also like to check out Mike on Damien Donnelly’s “Eat the Storms Poetry Podcast”. Look for episode 5 in season 4, and 23 minutes into the podcast, you’ll get to the bit with Mike.

You can order a copy of The Walking Bird by clicking on the image above.

Clearer to See Through – a Poem

I write
on sand.
It turns
to glass.
Clearer to
see through.

The Walking Bird – a Review

Mike’s view of the world around him is both engaging and thought provoking. Written from when he was eleven years old to the present day, mundane made vibrant, complex made simple – I would recommend this collection of short poems to all and look forward to the second edition!

Courtney Crouch on Amazon

You can follow Mike on Twitter at @IamMike_Gordon

Mike Gordon on Eat the Storms

Listen to Mike speaking to Damien Donnelly on the Eat the Storms poetry podcast.

The Mower – Philip Larkin

The mower stalled, twice; kneeling, I found   
A hedgehog jammed up against the blades,   
Killed. It had been in the long grass.

I had seen it before, and even fed it, once.   
Now I had mauled its unobtrusive world   
Unmendably. Burial was no help:

Next morning I got up and it did not.
The first day after a death, the new absence   
Is always the same; we should be careful

Of each other, we should be kind   
While there is still time.

A Story for Rose on the Midnight Flight to Boston

Anne Sexton

Until tonight they were separate specialties,
different stories, the best of their own worst.
Riding my warm cabin home, I remember Betsy’s
laughter; she laughed as you did, Rose, at the first
story. Someday, I promised her, I’ll be someone
going somewhere and we plotted it in the humdrum
school for proper girls. The next April the plane
bucked me like a horse, my elevators turned
and fear blew down my throat, that last profane
gauge of a stomach coming up. And then returned
to land, as unlovely as any seasick sailor,
sincerely eighteen; my first story, my funny failure.
Maybe Rose, there is always another story,
better unsaid, grim or flat or predatory.
Half a mile down the lights of the in—between cities
turn up their eyes at me. And I remember Betsy’s
story, the April night of the civilian air crash
and her sudden name misspelled in the evening paper,
the interior of shock and the paper gone in the trash
ten years now. She used the return ticket I gave her.
This was the rude kill of her; two planes cracking
in mid—air over Washington, like blind birds.
And the picking up afterwards, the morticians tracking
bodies in the Potomac and piecing them like boards
to make a leg or a face. There is only her miniature
photograph left, too long now for fear to remember.
Special tonight because I made her into a story
that I grew to know and savor.
A reason to worry,
Rose, when you fix an old death like that,
and outliving the impact, to find you’ve pretended.
We bank over Boston. I am safe. I put on my hat.
I am almost someone going home. The story has ended.

D.H Lawrence – The Enkindled Spring

This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green, 
Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes, 
Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between 
Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes. 

I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration 
Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze 
Of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration, 
Faces of people streaming across my gaze. 

And I, what fountain of fire am I among 
This leaping combustion of spring? My spirit is tossed 
About like a shadow buffeted in the throng 
Of flames, a shadow that's gone astray, and is lost.

Wallflowers

Wallflowers,
widely cultivated for their attractive array.
Native to cliffside and meadows.
Naturalized in Great Britain.
From Jacob’s Jacket to Wenlock Beauty.
Each petal crafted for ocular appeal.
Fragrances that dilute the demise and reinstate governance over the nasal senses.
Floral beauty combating astringency within bleak planes.

* * *

Wallflowers,
Intricate observers,
Intoxicated by the Wiles of the sidelines.
Graceful listeners,
Driven by depth
Enticed by the sudden stillness enwrapped in the archaic solstice of quietude that has prevailed since the dawn of time.
Liberation through standing in the dusty parts of the world.
Coveting the corners of rooms and shadows beyond.
Perceptible people emphasized by perplexing perceptions.
Seeking paradigm shifts, defined by the curated efforts found through developing neuroplasticity, a method of logic and effort.

* * *

The cluster.
Outcast, Misfit, Wayward and Weird.
Brain synapses that are uniquely sparking mildly awkward intellect.
Facets of poised thinking clamoring for muttered opportunity.
Thoughts that dive deeper than the rest.
Jarring offenses towards monotonous cadence and mundane philosophy.
Experiencing vibrant views that splash our horizon with a syndicate of wild and genuine intricacies.
Boisterous pastel fitted upon rugged blank canvas plateaus.
Common dialogue rarely entertains.
Weathered whispers, vulnerable vocabulary, deep discussion dynamically outspoken.
Such things pique the abrasive longing of our dialectical thirst.
Misunderstood is an epidemic and trying to understand requires lengthy walks along the longest of channels.
Knowledgeable vagrants wandering in the wilderness of enticement.
Searching for gaudy and lyrical ways to live life in tune to the auspicious and jubilant path between the mind and the heart.
Ancient souls that explode with emotion, bursting forth into a ricochet of manic allure and gloomy melancholia.
Teeming with the ravishing curious attitude, reluctantly breathing the same air yet transposing each breath into a gale of clandestine imagination, constantly quivering due to excitement kept within a frame.
Molds that are deemed to be broken, being shaped by irregular contours found in the dim lit corners of the fallacies perceived as connotations of truthful regard.
Dust that never settles, requiring extra attentiveness to surroundings beyond, deserting all order for originality, committing to abolish the whirlwind that succumbs and entices the frail and the empty.
Introspective idealists, living in between here and there, solace-driven beings constantly challenging their growth with audacity, experiencing the ramifications of striving for a curated charisma that siphons the residual corruption found deep within.
This is a populace that is rich with ingenuity, Huddled together into interwoven cradles of fire, booming to the sound of the storm.
Sounding the gong, waves of euphonic perplexity being soothed by the direct portrayal of calming stillness.
An oration of rest bellowed as a remedy to the aching persona.
We are the silent fighters who battle within.
Sharpening the wretched parts of us into wholly entombed forgetfulness, remembering dreary sunrises that captivated our gilded spirits.
Rejuvenation achieved through trial, singed by the mental apocalyptic fervor, diverging from the norm.
Make no mistake, we are not lost.
We are just found in alternate perceptions than the common integrate

The child I lost

Tragedy instigating the misery that eviscerated a connection.
Like falling in a wrong direction, without a sense of navigation, devoid of discretion.
Evolving into a perplexing situation.

The same room became a fugue of a spiraling doom,
Silence filled the space where time could not erase, the fact that there now a literal space, loss makes tumors out of tulips, with a bottle to catch misplaced tears, just in case.

Control lost it’s cadence as it spun so wild, hollow child,
Free to dwell in light abundant, day one, reconciled.

As the weight dropped down, fell without a sound.
Tumbling upwards, held by no bound.
Arriving on Holy Ground, no death be found.

As shadows fight, grasping for cradle.
None can touch, what Hades cannot handle.

Janky Odd.

Boldly awkward, I can be.
As much of my prominence lays in the head, less so my mouth.

I’ve always been more of a writer than a talker.
I don’t talk really great, but writing I do.
The separation between the two, like a vast chasm with no bridged point.

Most of my recent moments, fraught with feeling outcast but also intuitively seeing similarities between individuals, as if being common brought sanity to all.

Commonality in high composure and astute speech.
From the outside, it’s all there, but inside, hardly think it’s anywhere at all.
You can see it in the eyes, the solemn bravado lay waste in pupils and irises.
Gazes aren’t straight, words are quick, witted and wispy.

All waiting for a turn to speak, rather than listen to the speaking.
For in that specific silence, most will meet the subjugation of innermost traumas.
Has a whole world gone mad, on insolence or veiled reasonings..
Aside from the chatter.

When a mind breaks open, to all the fragrant possibilities,
It is those who remain shut, who wield the torch and pitchfork.
Consistently spinning the same gear against the same mechanism that brought forth a hollow sound that rang in all ears.
But never stopped ringing..

Every thought I speak,
Met with dismissal or wandering murmurs..
A fish born on land, a wasp making nest in the sea.
Such a tragedy, like a ghost wafting in the air,
So I am

More

I shouldn’t have to beg for affection.

I love you but I wish you were different.

You don’t show emotion like I need from a partner.

Do you know how exhausting it is to have enough love for the both of us?

I give you my everything, but have nothing left over for myself.

You never fill my cup but yours is overflowing- wincing as I watch you lick your greedy lips; drenched in the sweetness I poured into you.

The same sweetness I will NEVER taste in return.

I’m always left with the bitter taste of the rind as you squeeze out the last of me down your insatiable throat.

When is it my turn?

When will my fucking cup runneth over?

Why can no one give me the love I fucking deserve.

” You just have to learn to love yourself”

I’m tired of being the only fucking person who does.

Two years with you; I saw fatherhood glisten in your eyes. But those are the same eyes that give me a blank stare when I say “MORE”.

Give me just a fucking morsal of love and attention.

I am so famished and starved for affection that doesn’t follow up with your hand on the back of my head.

Why can’t you just love me like you mean it?

What if I gave it back to you?

What if I treated you the way you treat me?

You would instantly know something was wrong.

“She didn’t call me handsome today. She didn’t cover my face in kisses. Why didn’t she say anything about my haircut?”

You would lose your goddamn mind.

But I can’t.

And you know I can’t.

My heart is so full with this stupid fucking love that you don’t deserve. I wish I could turn it off.

Just so you could hurt like I hurt.

And it makes me fucking sick that I can’t stop loving you.

Even when we fight, I wipe my tears just enough to see if you read my text.

My breathing is labored and I’m screaming into my pillow just thinking about you thinking about ending things.

But when I push you away ; and you hold me closer.

I can breathe.

That small moment when you think I’m really leaving this time, you hold onto me and love me and kiss me and feed me until I’m full with promises and soft whispers from your lying lips.

Only then do I feel needed.

Only then do I feel like I don’t need to beg you to love me.

Then

We are born into a world naked
Becoming someone after the warm wet voyage from nowhere
Into the light and the noise of
a new world of wonder and mystery
A world without form or sense
With a mind searching for order and comfort
And then, and then: if all is as it should be
We find order in the eyes of our creator
And comfort at her breast

Winter’s End Blossoming

Meadows are like frameless paintings sprawling nude and thousands of tulips blossoming. Yellow and red cups crowning chlorophyll and figments. A trillion cells sistering, and I won’t shred a field of grain, but I will mill it, cast salt for blooming crusts. Gutting a bolted door is like hiring a plumber and millions of glimmers brothering. Silver and golden drops dredging tar and rule books. A billion fires clotting, and I won’t tread on the ocean, but I will steal it, dry seaweed for kindling. Sometimes, fence posts grow limbs into the ground and arms, sky-bound. The wind moors a swing, and we sway.
Violets frosting over in January
Violets in January

Retribution

If there is a god,

when I die

he will have to beg for my forgiveness.

I will rip him from his throne,

and show him what it means to be afraid.

He will fall to his knees

and pray for my mercy.

He will confess his sins,

and I will not absolve him.

He will learn it is too late to repent.

 

If he dares act altruistic 

when we meet,

he will learn I do not forget so easily.

I will drag him through the pains of Earth,

and show him what it means to grieve.

He will plead with me to end it,

and wonder what he did so wrong.

He will cry to me for answers

and I will not give him one.

Just so he knows how it feels

to be Human.

congaree haiku

      congaree haiku

 

moonlight, spanish moss

jarfly buzz their dying song

congaree river

 

saw mill, working late 

foreman there decapitates

his wife’s rich lover

 

reckoning tonight

on the congaree river

yes a reckoning

 

body parts been found

foreman’s wife tells all downtown

reckoning tonight

 

lawman in those parts

nick named “number one bird dog”

Tom Byrd gets his man

 

tonight we will see

if the birddog is for real

foreman waits, shotgun

 

reckoning tonight

on the congaree river

yes a reckoning

 

body parts been found

foreman’s wife tells all downtown

reckoning tonight

 

sneaking up, Byrd smiles

got the drop on this foreman

then from behind, “click”

 

reckoning tonight

on the congaree river

yes a reckoning 

 

then three shots ring out

bodies crash into the floor

bodies in a pile

 

guns strewn cross the floor

blood and brain on ceiling tiles

yes, a reckoning

 

the foreman lays dead

his wife has blown off his head

wife dead too, Byrd true

 

what of sherff bird dog

did old bird dog get a pass

no no no no no

 

“number one bird dog”

took a load of number one 

buckshot up his…

snout

 

Light It Up Santa

Light It Up Santa

 

Verse 1

It tickles me to see

The kids marching down the street

Mouth and eyes open wide

Heading to the lighting of the Christmas tree

 

Verse 2

And when the brass band plays

Santa glides in on his sleigh

And when that fine fellow flips the switch

The kids all cheer and say

 

Chorus

 

Light it up, Santa

Won’t you light it up, Santa Claus

We won’t stop making jolly

Till all the girl’s hair is filled with sprigs of holly

 

Light it up, Dear Santa

Won’t you light it up, Santa Claus

Ain’t no rockin’ round this tree

Till you flip that E-LEC-TRIC-ITY

 

Verse 3 

Yes, it’s true, the youngest hearts

May find an easy spark

Of Christmas cheer and spirit

When the pine tree lighting starts

 

Verse 4

But oldsters, don’t you fret

You’ ll find your own joy, yet

When you hear the kids fa-la-la’n

You’ll cheer right along and say

 

Chorus

Light it up, Santa

Won’t you light it up Santa Claus

We won’t stop making jolly

Till all the girl’s hair is filled with sprigs of holly

 

Light it up, Dear Santa

Won’t you light it up, Santa Claus

Ain’t no rockin round this tree

Till you flip that E-LEC-TRIC-I-TY

 

The Wild Swans at Coole by W.B. Yeats

The trees are in their autumn beauty,	 
The woodland paths are dry,	 
Under the October twilight the water	 
Mirrors a still sky;	 
Upon the brimming water among the stones	         
Are nine and fifty swans.	 
  
The nineteenth Autumn has come upon me	 
Since I first made my count;	 
I saw, before I had well finished,	 
All suddenly mount	  
And scatter wheeling in great broken rings	 
Upon their clamorous wings.	 
  
I have looked upon those brilliant creatures,	 
And now my heart is sore.	 
All's changed since I, hearing at twilight,	  
The first time on this shore,	 
The bell-beat of their wings above my head,	 
Trod with a lighter tread.	 
  
Unwearied still, lover by lover,	 
They paddle in the cold,	  
Companionable streams or climb the air;	 
Their hearts have not grown old;	 
Passion or conquest, wander where they will,	 
Attend upon them still.	 
  
But now they drift on the still water	  
Mysterious, beautiful;	 
Among what rushes will they build,	 
By what lake's edge or pool	 
Delight men's eyes, when I awake some day	 
To find they have flown away?

This poem is in the public domain

The darkness

he darkness that has caused so much aggravation

Has never felt so clear

I look in the mirror and see nothing but abomination

The time is near

All I seek is acclamation

But what I see in those eyes is nothing but fear

The darkness is closing in as my mind shifts

These emotions I feel come and go

It’s like a roller coaster that seem to drift

I fly up above as you see below

It has now caused a rift

All I want in life are things that are aglow

The darkness has swallowed me whole

When will my time come to an end

Take my feelings and console

The angels have heard me and have ascend

Come high above as it’s out of my control

It’s time to contend

Now that the darkness is in full cycle

And the angels are near

My emotions have become an aberration

I can’t see past this fear

My mind is acidification

It’s nothing more than austere

The time has come that the darkness has lifted

Angels come to take me out of this misery

Those clouds have shifted

As my mind is not so blurry

Thank god for the angels that have gifted

Time has settled its now been a century

 

Poetry Submission Call

We are looking for submission for the summer issues of the Poetry Cooperative Magazine. The topic is UNITY. Please send us up to three poems, preferably no longer than two pages, in any form or style. Let’s celebrate what binds us all together.

Email to submissions@poetrycooperative.org, Our submission window is open until the end of July.

Thoughts

Subtle as a feather

Yet, profound as the sea

Oh, how I long to submerge in it

As quietly as it seems.

Visions in all colors

Such resplendent lights

Although, a sudden shadow

That casts out its light.

Like a dream, it appears

But sometimes a nightmare it seems

Lost in deep thought as I blend in

Yet outside, still a mystery to me.

one of the thoughts

One of seven billion plus, no?       Perhaps this is not so any longer

can it be?     After this last year?       2020,  20/20?

Eyes wide open

what did we see?

So much death.       So much     so many in place of decision

even now thru decision           and not making decision adding to the incredible numbers of deaths.                               Numbers hard to encompass their reality. Still in the context of our supposed numbers overall,

the question necessarily surfaces

within at least this mind always attempting seeing clearly,

what impact pandemics’ happenstance(?) on world population?

It, for those concerned for us of the future resources available and to so many, central to their calculation.             Necessarily true, then to a mind of this kind comes question of pandemic                                         and even possibly vaccine in some other fashions’                      part in providing solution to this question. The capitalist, governmental mind                                                    from my study clearly historically able

to see the positive side

to all the common man

finds horrific.

 

There is to the finally coming to clearsighted awareness

thru, for some, individual significant persons and intimate situation

and for others clear understanding of the history

of mankinds’ relation to itself,

that the retreat into the depths of themselves

sure of their inability to be a self

reflective

or one protective enough

has its reason.

Not biochemical misfirings of different component parts of the brain

and/or

inabilty to control emotion.

 

Can’t find it conspiratorial fantasy

to recognize in supposed coincidence

and lifes’ just being life,        the continuing

over especially the last 20 years

occurrences that have as part of their every happening

the profiting of those occupying

the upper tiers

of the pyramid                                      that is humanity.               Or find it mental illness,

the truth

of sight

of those occupyings’

willingness to do those things of profit to them

and horrific

to the minds of those unable to accept it as human.

 

 

Seems to be no thought given                  to the sensitivities of those empathetic to the suffering of others

as reason

for the manifestations of differences in behavior

defined as mental illness.                                          In too many personal lives thru to what’s there to be seen on the world stage,

mans’ understanding of himself as predator.

So many of the educated

sure of mans’ animalistic beginnings

seemingly ignorant

of the possible, probable inner worlds

of those

recognizing themselves

as prey.

Words

Like a new leaf in spring turning over the tide

I learnt my first words barely a cry

But as I grew up, so did my words,

They bloomed like the flowers, giving me life.

Then came the summer, where my words grew afresh,

I was eager to face a challenge and even lost some bets,

Never gave up did I, to fight for my way,

My words gave me strength and the courage to be brave.

Autumn came by in a dazzle of gold and red

And thus my heart began to beat in blushes of red

Your sweet words gave me hope and lightened my life

Eager to be with you, I gave you my word for you to be mine.

Years later, on a bleak wintery night,

My words came out cold and uttered a cry

Your words were a whip that lashed me out

Words never to be forgotten and kept me out of your sight.

Funny as it seems, how these words shaped my life

I learned to be strong and carried on my light.

 

home, in time

stepped out of time as the day to day

and stand in the moment continuing, that one, mine, behind time

where I am just…, and contemplate life surrounding, coalesced, and am amazed, despite the darkness

part of the journey

made up of my ignorance of knowing how and fear of being, that I live, loved, and home means peace

I stand there, that self I am always, since…, behind, knowing I am not times’, time, somehow having made it’s way to reflecting my always’ need

 

she rises to go inside and Spike he follows, I tell her, “I’m coming”, and am thankful continuing to Him for the one allowing my always

a home, in time

and I close the door, behind me

The Poetry Cooperative Interview Series

To educate and inspire, we speak to poets who stand out in today’s competitive poetry market.

Any budding poet who wants to go from writing poetry as a past-time to seeing his/her poems in literary publications wants to know what it takes to get published. Most poets receive countless rejections before finally seeing their work recognized and printed by renowned magazines or websites. In the Poetry Cooperative Interview Series, we speak to award-winning, well-known poets to find out just exactly what makes a publishable poem.

With this series, we hope to inspire and encourage our members and anyone who’s trying to get published. All our guest are honourary Poetry Cooperative members. With each interview, they each get a dedicated page on our website.

We’re proud to announce that prize-winning UK poet Jenny Mitchell was the first to make time to answer our questions. Watch out for the first edition of the Poetry Cooperative Interview Series here next week.

I found you Again

 

The long awaited morning has come .
It has come to pass.
I have seen you again.
My dead dread has resurrected
And moved to the seventh heaven,
My tears have ended.
I know I will no longer go tired
Wiping the over flowing tears
From my tiny spherical eyes.
My visage is happy to cry happily.

The long awaited afternoon has come
It has come to pass.
I have seen you again.
I have come out of
The coffin of loneliness
And death will never again
Storm my demanding heart
My friends are good
And indeed very good
But you are best and excellent
Please, my lost one
Clap hands for yourself.

The long awaited e evening has come
It has come to pass
I have seen you again
The dimpled piggy cheeks,
The shiny well created eyes,
The gorgeous happy face-
A face never gloomy and sad.
The warm gifted bosom,
The soft palms of your arms,
And the succulent lips.
I will kiss again
Because you’re the chosen Mary
Among the virgins.
You are homely welcome
And the rest I don’t know.

…………EMMA CHIPUKIZI…….
0787050916-0750122685
THE NABENDE WRITING FAMILY
“Education made our eyes sprout”
Email:thenabendewritingfamily@gmail.com
UGANDA CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY

 

Continue reading “I found you Again”

will you then

when comes the mistaken taking of life/Christian one/believing man/that one who’s right as far as you’re concerned/when comes the mistaken taking of life/led, step by step/for reason/all to do now/the asking of forgiveness…/       of the Father…/will you then/…will you then/ decide on His understanding/of love the other/     as yourself

After The Trapping

In the dead of night the little Goths come out-
their startlingly masked, chiaroscuro visage
with fluorescent yellow disc eyes when light finds them,
shining like luciferin and luciferase reacting in the firefly-
and their cautious, staccato, and slinking movements
obvious against the freshly painted white picket fence,
like splashed gentian violet on a wedding dress.

In wistful November
these few straggler raccoons, huge,
come out,
in preparation for their seasonal sleep.

One enters the garden through
the square framed hole we cut for
all God’s creatures through the fence-
tabby, tuxedo, and calico kittens, ‘coon kits,
an opossum jill and her joeys, garden snakes,
squirrels, railroad-line field mice,
Mourning and Rock Doves.
He barely pulls himself though,
then arches high and stretches into his fullness,
looking like a small bear,
before he cases the yard,
before he plans his zigzag, concrete and dirt-sniffing
approach to the freshly filled plates and bowls.

This humongous, ticked raccoon
finds Sassie, a one-eyed tortoise shell cat,
left behind by a moving family
and forever having kittens,
already at the plates;
they eat in peace,
while a shy, grey-faced opossum jack
darts under an elevated outdoor fire pit-
too many critters to feel safe-
until all is quiet again.

Who blessed me with the care and
companionship of these creatures?
My little burghal, backyard zoo.

Bellied Sassie saunters slowly to the right,
to her between-houses escape route,
the masked ‘coon face keeps
checking me for friendliness,
then pins the plate with his wide, star-fish paw,
to get the outer halo of pate on the plate,
while his mate peeks her curious head
out of the fence hole, to watch
these nocturnal goings-on,
or, more accurately,
to fill those autumnal pangs in her belly.

He stares me down, grabs the Oreo I left,
then treads along the cement line to the fence,
makes a short stop to sniff
the calico cat’s grave stone,
takes a step up upon it,
then tries to heave his
exploding November girth
through the fence hole,
this foray for food coming to a close.

Small yellow leaves pepper the place-
I tediously pick them out of the food
every day this time of year-
the rows of wind-gathered, golden confetti
following the lines of concrete squares,
with gentle curves framing
the feeding and lounging areas,
and the goodness of God in the still night air.

Fenna Thomas

On The Transformation Of The Forgetable Ms. Applesauce

I mean, this stuff happens in the deep,
deep homesteading Midwest,
where 10 year old sons routinely
work butcher knives, prepping
pumpkin squash, ham hocks,
for eating or freezing.
I’ve seen pictures of them unshod
in barns smiling,
no safeties on anything.

Once there were Chestnut trees
foresting the American East Coast.
But that Japanese Parasite killed them.
The people of Appalachia
got an economic kick in the nuts,
and the foraging fauna felt it, too.

Johhny Appleseed,
horticulturalist minister
and sleeper in corn cribs,
would put Quakers and hip-hop fashionista
both in their place
with his saucepan cap-turned-backwards.
He traipsed around like that,
then cooked meals in his hat.
No one thought much about it,
or that he might be a nut case.

On the Savannah, Ohio lawn of Amy Sheaffer,
the last, extant, gnarled and knotted
original Appleseed tree still grows
just outside her kitchen door.
It still rains apples. When fall comes,
it just rains apples.

So the kids get tricked-
she makes her applesauce
with star anise, cloves, cinnamon sticks,
and vanilla from Madagascar,
a rich, thick chutney.
They imbibe in grateful near-gluttony.

Once served
in the 1920’s boardinghouse-
cheap filler-

and still is, tepid,

from US Government surplus,
over-sized jars
in public school lunchrooms.

 

 

Romanesco

Fractal vegetable-                                                                                                                                               self-similar, edible flower-
pyramidal chartreuse curds
or lime in color,
this brassica.

Wonder-inducing Fibonacci sequence,
its piquance a hit for North Brooklyn hipsters,
or still-growing, not-knowing bridesmaids
ringing thrice, even quadrice marked-up bottles
of bottom-of-the barrel Crane Lake chardonnay,
snug in ice buckets on outdoor tables.

All in masks,
They don’t mind paying for the experience.

 

I made up the word “quadrice” for this poem. I hope I don’t go to poetry or linguistics purgatory for this! The inspiration for this poem came from my getting my first box of “Misfits Market” produce delivered, and the fractal beauty of the Romanesco cauliflower inside the box blew me away.

 

 

 

 

The Cursing Stones

Ariana, adopted the old Greek ways,

when Nikos died diving for sponges.

She encased her curses into two lead stones:

smuggling one into his coffin,

dropping the other into Naxos deepest well.

She made sure Nikos soul would

carry her curse to the underworld

before it ascended to heaven,

or activated fully on the river of forgetfulness

for Death to see, read, feel her grief.

She had hired the local poet who still

remembered all the magical phrases

and could reverse the flow of words.

She wanted Death

to throw himself to the crows,

split like she was divided inside,

perish the same way Nikos drowned,

damned Death’s eyes to drunkenness

till he became a burden to the earth,

a useless sack of spoiled wine.

As she turned back and

started to look away

she heard Nikos voice echo to her.

She turned around  and  In

the mist that crawled away to the Aegean

was revealed three Cretan hounds snarling

behind the gate of the rich shipbuilder’s house.

The sea, the earth the sky collapsed in her.

The sound of tides, the swirling dust, the rain were

mocking this girl who knew only ordinary curses,

this widow doomed to live a long, grieving life

listening for Nikos sounds until her very end.

Pieta

Perfection can only be seen in the descent,

the glow of spotlights colliding to true whiteness,

the realization that grief touches the ground.

 

Mary, they say, you never experienced birth pains,

but the linen folded eternally beneath your son

shows that his final blessing transferred all  to you.

 

Your tears wash his feet, and I imagine,

you wiping them dry with your hair,

a doting act of love he passed to his disciples.

 

Your grief remains in your soul.

Only the pain is collected in

the last descent of angels.

 

I feel the slow bump when

the descent must hit the earth,

the slight stumble to awkward reality.

 

I wash my feet everyday to honor

the perfect glory I’ve been blessed to see.

 

Note:

This is a memory of the 1964 World’s Fair where I saw the Pieta in the descent of an escalator.  it lasted all of fifteen seconds, roughly the time it takes to read the poem.

The Red Bicycle

(In homage to William Carlos William)

 

Outside was my red bicycle

leaning against the wall

next to a red wheelbarrow

on which nothing depended on.

 

I was the kind of child who

was always daydreaming

himself to victory and today

I would win the Tour de France.

 

So the plan was to practice

beyond my own wobbling peddling,

like the unbalanced red wheelbarrow

my father pushed among the chickens.

 

I felt the heat, the flame of potential speed

where so much could happen

and depended on my straight control

in a world zooming by in flame

 

until the wind was red wings,

only my own red thoughts ablaze

in the warp and the things I hated

of the world were longer in myself.

 

until I flew over the handlebars

hitting my forehead on a

sky blue Cadillac door handle,

the scar following me to the future.

 

Now I nick the tiny flames of memory,

as I push the red wheelbarrow

up the hill as if my life depended on it,

even as it always wobbles down.

Van Gogh Paints His Final Vision

 

It was the light that told Vincent,

the one which always told him the truth

reflected his soul’s desire,

the glistenings of his mind,

that this mass of  gnarled roots

would be his last vision.

 

He could feel the gun smoke

creeping into his soul,

corrupting his thoughts,

the very rays of his world,

even his beloved

hog hair brushes and pigments

 

as he walked the Rue Daubigny

pass the Church at Auvers

he needed to canvas in June

when the flint of its history,

death, faith, passion and beauty

impelled him to create,

 

pass the wheat field absent of crows

which made the world seem more

beautiful with its darkness

hovering over the light of July,

diminished now to ordinary light,

smoke, haze and fog.

 

He felt his world constricted to

a blue room with a blue bed,

a blue chair wedged in a corner

draped in blue shadows

which could not be mixed

to the perfect colors.

 

When he saw the gnarled roots

exposed in late afternoon July beams

he knew that he would not live

to see the first dawn of August,

that this would be his last

perfect beautiful, silent spot.

 

He painted smelling the gun smoke coming,

the smoke turning into a bullet

as he passionately tried to  capture

life itself frantically and fervently rooting itself,

as it were, in the earth and yet being

half torn up by the storm.

 

 

Washing the Corpses

–After Rainier Maria Rilke

 

 

The washers have lived with death

as they have with the lamp,

the flame and the  dark,

the nameless rinsing of limbs,

the even more unnameable nameless.

without histories relative to them.

Their sponges dipped the water

then the silent throat,

trickled rivulets on their faces,

waiting for it to absorb,

to convince themselves more than anything

that the body no longer thirsted.

They only stopped their toil

to turn their head to cough.

The older ones unclenched

the hands of the dead

that refused their final repose.

Only their shadows

jerked the quiet walls,

the net of silent life

extinguishing to last existence

that ignored their shrugs

as the last now antiseptic corpse

was finished and the window shut.

After the Sun Has Gone

Oh, when the sun yields child

to the soft caress of the night

 

After the sun has gone.

After the sun has gone.

 

That lifts the wind

after the sun has gone.

 

The last  of wonder and awe

That turns life

from a beach shell echo

 

to  a cornucopia

after the sun has gone.

 

Life without a shell must

shake out the shadows

 

live full to overflowing

less it dry after the sun has gone

 

leaving the child still, beautiful silent

in the beach tide after the sun has gone.

 

After the sun has gone.

 

My Love

My love is like a mysterious wind

Ever changing and always there

Can’t be tamed or controlled

Always waiting to catch me

Leaving as I reach out

And then I catch it

And I fall down

Leaving the earth in a state of euphoria

Where no one can find us

And no one ever will

Till we meet again

Sleepless nights and endless days,

Counting for hope that’s once lost,

Thinking about the rheumatic past,

Makes me realize what I have lost.

 

People come and people go,

For I would not see you,

You who showed me light,

You who I’ve let go.

 

If only I could turn back time,

Bring back what’s once was mine,

Mend the past for a healing future,

Mend all the regrets and crimes.

 

If, if only I could see you again,

Once more in this shimmering light,

Standing next to me like in the past days,

Watching over like an angel at night,

Till we meet again.

Footprints In The Dark

In the house made of waterproof canvas

We’ll listen  out for the sounds

Expecting big hairy footsteps

Making prints upon the ground

You better make sure the zip of the tent

Is done up nice and tight

And keep one ear, one eye open

Whilst sleeping in the night

You could fall asleep and start dreaming

A nightmare, call it as you will

About the big hairy Sasquatch

Committing the most gruesome a kill

You may just hear him coming at you

A twig snapping in between trees

You’ll be in your sleeping bag

Feeling the shakes in your knees

You’ll reach your hands down

Feeling around with no sight

Looking for torches and axes

To get you through this night

You try stopping your mates from snoring

Only to wake up yourself and see

It was all just a dream that made you sweat

You start you fall back asleep

Then you hear the zip start to move

The seam becoming undone

And before you can let out a scream

Your vocal chords will be gone

Stone in Sand

Pick up the stone as you walk in the sand
pick up as you try to reach the end
the stones are from days of yore
it may be of dinosaurs or life long before
each tells a story of journeys taken
some smooth and some shaken.
I can not tell you which one to choose
hundreds lie along the path of view
some hidden and some calling for you
Feel the wave in your feet
feel the warmth of the sunset
let your shadow grow longer
as you walk to your path a bit longer
wondering why the stones matter.

I gave you two stones long before
when we walked together on the beach
you did not know the journey it had taken
you were too young to think for a second.
you threw one into the ocean
gave me the other to do the same
I told you it will come back w

hen you grow up
all the love contained from yesteryears
I am not walking with you this time
but do pick up a stone from the sand
feel it; let it go back to the ocean again
to come back again with memories.
The stone you gave me long before
reminds me of the path we have taken
I have left it on your desk now
For you to throw back into the ocean.

Oct 2018

The BoyWho Dances in the Light

Shout into the eyes

of sunlight

of the boy who dances in the light.

 

Every dragon’s death

foretells this child

onto even the smallest realm.

 

The Phoenix is an ally

to the boy

who forges worlds.

 

The stars proclaim his shine

this boy who dances in the light.

 

He is the boy

who flies

into the sun

and does not dissolve.

 

His chariot with flashing wheels

races with the rainbow.

 

He is the boy who

sells the golden trinkets

with 1001 truths in the bazaar.

 

Even the baubles know not all his stories

of pirates, pashas, tigers and kings.

 

After all has been vended

this boy with the wondrous tongue

will wipe the sweat of his brow

into the most damask bottle

and proclaim it genie’s breath.

Rainy Weather Laughter

The rain chuckles on the rooftop

and the sound carry’s down the house.

 

The oaks in their amber raincoats

hiss in the water’s tickle.

 

Their sinuses suckle the drops to veins

then shiver off the excess.

 

The wild summer streams are

beginning their running joke.

 

The drought retreats with a frown

to the applause of the scorch grass.

 

The old man and his grandson watch

the slapstick of nature from the doorway.

 

They wave to their bemused neighbors

in their rockers watching the show.

 

The old man hands the child an umbrella

and watches him join the laughter all around.

 

The child delights in the rain drumming

smiles on the harlequin cloth.

MEDIEVAL

Mace-
it packs
a little punch
to the face,

Hitting parts
like eyes, mouths,
that are open,
moist, round.

Less leveling
brother to
pepper-spray
capsicum,
I concede
this requiem.

But there is
sister Mace.
She is non-violent,
a pacifist,

and wraps herself
around the nutmeg seed,
and when dried,
ground,
can feed and feed.

Subtle.
Floral.
Royal.

Nice on
white fish,
root vegetables.

Intricate webbing-
red as
a baboon’s hinie,
but not as stinkey.

Who burried
this medieval
spice?

I would
think twice
before looking
askance,

and hope our repasts
nurture tolerance.

     

     I read that state police no longer use mace on protesters, because it is not effective on alcoholics, drug addicts, and schizophrenics. Pepper spray is what they use today. As a non-violent Quaker, I just use the culinary spice blade mace in the kitchen, and it’s an upgrade from nutmeg, which can be too heavy in dishes. It’s wonderful in cream soups, too! Let’s do things positively on this planet, homeboys and homegirls!

The Whale

We turned around and she was there

stranded between shore and sea,

beach filled with the oily smell of  whale,

her dark tonnage serenading the waves

for the comforting echoes of others,

her great fins offering sand flowers

to the Great Ocean God for her salvation.

 

We mistook her motion for the final dance,

the soprano voice for a lamentation,

the agitation of her great tail for death gasps

for in our experience we are slippery skin

creatures destined to loneliness,

defined to be Ahabs to her kind.

 

The incoming tide heard her prayer and

navigated the sand to slowly release her to

re-float with the high tide, the deeper water

where she be well with herself.

 

And we sat on the beach and watched

her swim out knowing that

the sea can easily swallow a whale.

A Very Hot Afternoon

The heat is a pendejo querida

a street full of melda de vaca, mi amor

steaming, stinking, like a hungry puta

who takes mi dinero and gives me crabs.

Sleep with me chica. Cool me down

in el rio d su chocha.  Por favor.  Por favor.

Mariposa de su womb. Pajaro en mi boca.

Do not steal my crumbs and fly away.

Tu coolo is una ballena.  Lo adoro.

It’s as hot as the clouds that stampede

like los cascos de los caballos salvaje.

Your centavo feminino blends with

the eibas y el calor making me want to

 comer naranjas amargas contigo en la cama

or a picnic with you a orillas del rio del Paraiso

watching the lotus bloom.

 

Translation of Spanish:

 

pendejo querida- male pubic hair, my love

melda de vaca,  mi amor- cow shit, my love

puta- whore

mi dinero- my money

chica- girl/woman

el rio de su chocha.  Por favor- the river of

your pussy. Please.

Mariposa de- butterfly of

pajaro en mi boca- bird in my mouth

Tu coolo- your ass

una ballena- a whale

Lo adoro- I love it

los cascos de los caballos salvaje- the hooves of

wild horses

centavo feminino- womanly scent

ceibas- kapok tree found in Puerto Rico

el calor- the heat

comer naranjas amargas contigo en la cama- eat bitter oranges with you in bed

a  orillas del rio del Paraiso- by the shores of the river of Paradise.

 

The Art of Dying

The Pandemic has closed

the theaters and cinemas.

 

On stage a lone actor commits

suicide in the loneliness.

 

On screen the two lovers run to each

other against the march of soldiers.

 

The actor’s death is an extravagant fake,

a nod to the art of dying a good stage death.

 

The lovers perform erotic asphyxiation

until the man seems to fall deeply asleep.

 

The actor pulls the dagger from his neck,

red silk flowing freely from his throat.

 

In the light motes coming from the projector

Sada realizes that Kichizo has died.

 

The red silk now entombs Sensei Omiya

like a gown as he reaches out to Sada’s cry.

 

Sada kisses Kichizo for the final time

as she removes Kichizo‘s blade.

 

Sensei Omiya drowns in a swell of red silk.

“Sada, my child, what shame have you brung?”

 

Sada cuts Kichizo’s penis off cleanly carrying

it inside her as she madly wanders Tokyo.

 

The projector clicks off, the house lights fade.

The transformation is done.

The performance is over

TO DREAM OF THREE SNAKES

The Nino de Atocha statue
in the front persona of the house
floats on a cloud of marijuana smoke,
the heavenly white base chipped,
pocked grey from neglect.

They murdered the pine trees.

Not even on their property.

Drunk Uncle pruned them,
so the birds wouldn’t crap
on their five non-garaged cars
until they looked like
eight asparagus spears in a row,
branches tragically amputated,
trees leaning like the guest who staggered out
the side of their house once during a party.

That’s how you kill a tree.

Two late winter pines began to keel,
so they hired Mexicans from Jackson Heights,
the cheapest labor they could find,
and cut all eight down.

And left them there,

behind the fence,
a dam, embedded now with barbed wire,
for crepuscular vespertine, and nocturnal
wildlife kin to dodge,
like homo sapien sapien would
with land mines.

They shot the trees.

The landscape has teeth missing.

It’s the back of what looks like
a grey metal airport hangar now.

Property value down by 10 K for everybody,
for yard-turned-car parking garage convenience.

Pocahontas’ Grandmother Willow would tell them
to follow their paths straight to hell.

The smell of skunk herb
wafts into and around my homestead-
aging-out MC Stoner Boy is still in his mother’s attic
mixing, bass boost rattling adjacent houses.
There is no escape. Incessant, deep thuds
marinate brain stems

for years. The quiet neighbor
on the other side
is very old and sick. Says nothing.
Maybe he knows that
when the shadow is ignored
and inflates the group- little neighbor mob-
it’s like trying to talk the finer points of
metaphysical philosophy
to a lobotomized Frances Farmer.

Drunk Uncle once pointed to his
left upper-arm tattoo in passing-
a cartoon-like, third world Christ Child with a halo,
in a deluded and desperate attempt
to proclaim what a good Christian he was.

Yet he and his 50 K-a-year car parking garage
and night-shift security worker acquaintances
grind shit-faced dancing
with Latinas they barely know.

Upon first acquaintance, Stoner Boy
once offered, “Hi! I’m Hispanic.”
I did not offer, “Nice to meet you! I’m Caucasian”,
as I don’t greet in that way. Ever.
I was so thrown.

The pine tree is considered sacred
in most world cultures.
It shelters birds, squirrels, chipmunks,
raccoons, opossums, porcupines-
it gives us pine nuts,
the most coveted and nutritious
evergreen seed in the world.
We decorate our homes, cabins,
baskets, generous with the cones,
hang them glitter-sprayed on Christmas trees,
or just hold them in our hands,
marveling at their sacred geometry,
at the beautiful gift Gaia has given.

I dreamt of three snakes last night.
Each got progressively bigger.
The last was swimming through
a central waterway on my property,
its circumference as big as a sewage pipe
that takes it all outside of your house.
It had little feet-fins in front, like primitive fish,
to help it walk- that’s how huge it was.

I am not called to roll a faux joint and tape it
to the mouth of Nino de Atocha,
or stuff their mailbox with so many packs
of rolling paper rendering it unusable;

I can hire artists from Brooklyn’s Bushwick,
bloody starving for cash in this pandemic,
just to embarrass them-
have them surreptitiously climb up at night
to paint a mural on the exposed hangar surface
of Drunk Uncle knocking back Corona after Corona-
once he left some dead cat on my front stoop
in a Corona beer box with no note in January –
one of his aging, baby-mamma sisters dutifully carries out
his beer bottles in huge blue bags,
slung over her back for recycling,
like a hunchback, labored Santa- that’s her job.
They can paint Stoner Boy, too,
savoring another blunt toke just huffed-

But despite unconsciousness, selfishness,
inconsideration, and lawbreaking in a flailing city-
the dream snakes announce that I am the one
heading for some transformation-
some big-ass transformation.

I need to breathe.
I need to move,
and live where trees lives matter.

EGGTOOTH

                               Inspired By The Poetry Of Robert Lax                         

                                                            cranial

                                                            calcified

                                                            pipping

                                                            point

 

                                                             chipping

                                                             chipping

                                                             chipping

                                                             chipping

 

                                                              tapping

                                                              tapping

                                                              tapping

                                                              tapping

                                                                   

                                                              if

                                                              I

                                                              stay

                                                              here

 

                                                              I

                                                              will

                                                              die

 

                                                               fissure

                                                               split

                                                               light

 

                                                                how

                                                                lush

                                                                the

                                                                violet

                                                                dusk

 

Dr. Faustus Thanks the Devil and the Word

The poem rumbles in my brain

and wakes me at three in the morning
as if my devil branded me with his pitchfork

reminding me of our inspired bargain

 

My nemesis love calls me to the fiery sheet

his impish pride burning praise in me

that swears fealty with bloody words

 

Oh poetry

how your satanic verses

chum and shudder in me

sharking nightmares to dreams

and my words to the exquisite limbo

doomed to fall short of true divinity

 

The poem squatters in my mind firmly

fixed in the ninth circle of treachery

offending my soul

crushing my heart

 

It takes and takes and takes

and never gives not even

granting the guilt of dirty lucre

 

Words are my blood

Poems damn my veins

My quick-fire brimstone lines

are my epitaph

 

I am both cursed and blessed

to this addiction

yet I hope this passion never cools

only  flames and reflames

 

Oh Poetry immolate me

burn me to the purest ash

leaving a diamond legacy

 

The poem is not a song

but the fire inside the song

the sulphur mistaken for honey

 

Oh dulcet sounds why and thank you for

making me an exile from life and tomorrow

a lonely sad witness to the world

 

Why and thank you for

fating me to this fiery covenant

Beyond the Dying Cloud

When a cloud dies

doves and eagles

dip their wings

in mournful ‘memberance.

 

When the sky dies

it rots black

in despairing soot

of ash and pain.

 

When the moon dies

it’s mourned

by the elliptical kisses

of the planets beyond.

 

When a planet dies

the universe gently cradles it

and lullaby’s it to the sun

until it falls to sleep.

 

When the universe dies

the lonely sad earth knows

that all the trees will go dark

when the world dies.

 

 

Down Here (For Papa)

They said only the good die young
But I don’t know how true that is.
Guess they had never met you.

Around the table that day
All too numb to feel anything.
Thinking of the times
We can never replace.

Like that deep voice
Of yours singing along to
Amazing Grace
Or the way the room got quiet
As your words filled the space

It’s true that the grief
May never get better
But these are the memories
I’ll hold to forever.

Lookin back on the times
You’re recording out,
Under that old tree.
Taping home videos
of your little babies.
Or the peppermints on Sundays
Jesus loves me all the way to
O Beautiful Star
Hey Papa you remember
All those times you
Caught me with your guitar?

It’s true that the grief
May never get better
But these are the memories
I’ll cling to forever.

Teaching me to climb,
Reminding me to pray,
Soft spoken as you were,
You knew just what to say.
The strongest man I’ve ever known
I’ll always think of you that way.
Yeah and even though it’s hard
With how lost we feel
It’s the pain that reminds me
You gotta hurt to heal.
But we’ll surely miss
you down here.

December 1, 2019

Painfully Clear

I tried to bargain away all

the sickness and death

in my life  with the

skies and mountains.

They refused to disperse my

pain in the sunlight and clouds.

The void rejected my life,

eternity denied my love.

The moon stayed its silent course

watching my fate fade away in the night.

Time denied my burden.

The wind swirled to heaven

seeing me coming near.

The waters cascaded away

fearing my touch.

God was on vacation

and not due back until

two days after my passing.

My heart opened wide

and I emptied my pain

on its breakers and shore

until all that was left was words,

these words in the color of clarity.

On this Acre of Unspoiled Comfort

On this acre of unspoiled comfort

the hard winds blow once again now.

Through this acre of unspoiled comfort

the house falls once again now.

This acre of unspoiled comfort

so unlike a broken cry.

This acre of unspoiled comfort

once so sun caressed with smiles.

This acre of unspoiled comfort

once standing on unburied dreams.

This acre of unspoiled comfort

lingering near death.

This acre of unspoiled comfort

praying for its life now.

This acre of unspoiled comfort,

now I pledge my love again.

On this acre of unspoiled comfort.

The Loss of Words

A woman’s beauty is light on the eyes,

best pinned in thoughts, not weighed down

by beautiful lines that cannot halt wrinkles.

 

The dying frost of dawn does not

feel sorry for the gravity of the nest

knowing the wrens inside can fly.

The ode is limited to its chilling beauty.

 

The sublime pleasure of discovering

on a stroll the transitory pleasures

of another’s pedestrian secret life

is only weighed  down by

future speculations of their destiny.

 

The gentle grace of a grazing fawn

killed by the hunter’s bullet

is elevated by the photo

caught before the moment.

 

The moon rises only on a setting sun

yet  the calf of a homeless man

is wondrous reflected in the night’s light.

Even the suicide jumping off the bridge

is beautiful in the dark fall.

 

The butterfly takes flight

in the shout of the

lepidopterist’s child

hoping to catch it in his net.

He goes home sad not

knowing what he has

lost with his heavy words.

How to Read a Difficult Poem

Keep the things

you don’t understand

always near you-

in your pocket

or wallet-

so in idle moments

at the bus stop

or in line at the post office

at the bookstore

or coffeehouse

you’re thinking

until the inkling

of realization comes,

even if it’s

just a mark or two-

even if you have to

look it up in the dictionary

or on Wikipedia

or ask a smarter friend

or maybe even God

until you are certain

that you have

properly applied yourself.

 

The Other Blessing Before the Curse

Before audaciously

flying

in the strangled gleaming

of the last glory

of extinct clouds

rising

I asked my soul

what is the purpose

of having

the last thought

of mankind

or any

dreams

Oh Jinn

give back

the last of me

stolen and not yours

 

The Jinn replied

they blessed you

don’t you remember

or dreamed that you remember

it was that memory

of some things

and everything

that started your world

and ended this

and theirs

It started

and finished

just the way

you wished

 

 

Shutting DOWN

If I shut the border,

no one will shut their window,

hide in their closet,

lock their door.

 

They would shake the blinds of moths,

bring the dog in from the doghouse,

let the cat feast after the mouse hole

has been plugged with a door wedge.

 

In the distance

the train whistle blows

dispersing mist and rain.

No one steps off nor boards.

 

The bird nest is not abandoned.

The hollow of the tree stays hollow.

Nothing has shut down at all.

 

My pen scribbles a poem

only to watch the black words

return to the reservoir.

 

I open the dictionary to the word “hope”,

but the page refuses to settle

until I put all the words in them

face down on the writing table.

 

My stoma grumbles louder than my stomach.

I shut my cancer in the mother-of-pearl.

My wife’s cancer is placed in the

small valise of all our memories.

 

I can’t shut down the museum.

It already is.

I can’t shut down the cinemas.

They already are.

Only the pharmacies are open.

 

I shut down my mouth

on my broken jaw

with five missing teeth

only to feel the maw of death.

 

I shut down the ash of my childhood

into a golden urn of my own design.

 

I shut down America, I shut down God,

putting them both between the now

empty covers of the dictionary missing hope.

 

I shut down my passions, my emotions

in the moldy basement of my despair.

My shut down love is chained in the dungeon.

 

Shut up, shut down,  I repeat  to myself,

until those words lose all definition,

until my lips are sealed in pain and

the only thing left is my total shutdown.

 

 

A Very Shaggy Wake

Outside of town a man died

naked beneath a nice tree.

 

Some said  he was old

and that the tree was an elm.

Some said he was young

and that it was an oak.

Others, that he was a child

and that it was a magnolia.

 

The only thing they agreed on:

that he was naked, dead, under a tree

and they felt sorry for him.

 

So, the Widow Smith secretly

dressed him in her husband’s best shirt

because she was still mourning

the loss of Tom’s chest.

 

Mr. Aglet, who owned the shoe store,

privately donated the old Nike’s

Timmy abandoned when he went to Harvard

because Aglet missed Timmy putting them on.

 

Haberdasher Scye donated his swankiest cufflinks-

the one’s left behind when a newlywed customer

learned that his wife was in labor—

because Scye hated the look of an unadorned shirt.

 

He then gave his favorite top hat

for no man should be buried with bad hair,

his finest knee-high dress socks

because that’s what funeral’s demand.

 

He than gifted his finest silk tie,

a nice leather belt of the man’s waist size,

and just to finish the look

 

a properly somber black jacket and pants.

 

Optometrist Eyear noticing the man

was squinting rather oddly

crafted a fine pair of designer spectacles

that fitted perfectly on the dead man’s nose.

 

Everyone in town felt good about their gifts

and the funeral was well-attended.

It wasn’t until he was deep under

did they notice that they forgot the underwear.

 

They found them, the next day,

the one thing that knew him best,

hanging high in the branches of the tree.