Monday, April 04, 2005

Who is John Galt

There will always be men of quality
Men who take nothing unearned and expect even less
Men of integrity and character whose word means a damn
Men who love their lives and their deeds and their wives
There will always be men of insight and thought
Who do not take the responsibility of opinion lightly
Men who honor their gifts and admit to the knowing
Men who know that when there is light there is darkness as well
There will always be men of courage and vision
Men who ignore the whims of the press and the times
Men who strive for the heights that most would not dare
There will always be men to prop up the rest
Men who’ll push straight ahead though disaster is looming
But now
The looters run loose and their numbers are booming
Who is John Galt?

Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Night I Almost Died

I was not ready to die
To cede my light to the night
Surrounded by darkness
and loss of control
My heart
slowing and racing
slowing then racing
Sleep called me home
with an wicked voice that was my own
But I would not die this way
By mine own hand
conceding the gift to the fires of the void
So I fought that gray boned hand of death
with intent.

Sleep beckoned
I awoke
Paralyzed
I forced my hand
Tired
I begged for sleep
for hours, for hours...
And then
at last the morning light
That shimmering dawn of the rest of my life.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Poet

The poet is gone
He has left my life
I catch sight of him sometimes
down the road in shadows
or staring through the Alders

I have moved on
and I wonder if he misses me sometimes
There are times
when the sky is just right
and my heart remembers
I’ll wait for him to come

To bring those gifts that prose forgets
to waken in me that room forgotten
and open the doors to treasures there

But it seems that now
I’m too old and slow
and lazy to receive the flow
or too angry to just let him grow
and return to this embittered soul

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Why North

My thoughts wonder elsewhere
to a brackish back lit cove.
Light
dances through breaks
in this vertical world
and burns relentless on the rust stained
rock
left here naked and open
to the whims of the skies
left
long forgotten by the fickle recession
of the ice laden hand that held the up here.
On my face
there is heat
it is wonderful bright
and the light trickles down
and touches my heart.

The calm, lazy lavender sky
hangs unperturbed wide and silent
in my land of the midnight sun.
But my mind is drawn back
half a world away
where that same tired sun
blinks through these clouds
and lights a Friday afternoon,
it’s face echoed clear in the color of grass
that just now
is favored with a late April rain.
And it comes to me then,
like this shower to Spring-
that it is not that shining, life-nurturing orb that draws my mind to the North
for it shines as well
here
in this land I call home.

White Crow

I.
My name is White Crow
I christen myself
for who can know better
the dreams
these eyes have seen
and the moments
that make up my life

If it were a choice of my own
I would never have chosen the Crow
My pride would vote sure for one more grandiose
The sight of the eagle
or the charm of the wolf

But the signs still appear
on the sides of these roads
in numbers sadly mostly odd
they answer the prayers asked only through thought
with arrows pointing toward the right

The signs they are there
as thoughts that strike true
in the words that are read
in the lines from the song
that still ring in my head

And again
the signs are there
in memories
that meld with ideas
and build
the foundation of truth
based on the character
and the traits of that bird.

II.
As a young boy I recall
as if in the fog of a dream
at my grandmother’s house
far South of my home
through her tiny backyard
a boy could easily see
a chicken wire pen
surrounding large trees

with a frame built of wood
just past the property line
in a yard that they said
was owned by a witch

In the pen
as my Grandmother told me
which of course I found hard to believe
as I’d always been taught
and seen with eyes they were black
“lives a crow with shining feathers of white”

And as a boy is to do
I was excited and quick
to steal a glimpse
of this oddest of birds
And if my memory
is not fooling me now
it seemed
the first time I ran out it was gone
But late that day
from out the backyard
came the voice of my young brother calling to me

And there
in a chicken wire pen was a bird
with feathers of snow
and the head of a ghost

As a boy I saw and heard
many strange things
but as I recall
-maybe a memory’s trick-
the great pearl bird called
directly to me.

III.
It was our first trip
to the far up North
on a break one morn from scaring the fish
on a smooth rising bank of torn glacial rock
we sat sunning enjoying our lunch
I noticed a flash on the bank of the lake
just across and left from the bank where we were
Through binoculars I found a Bald Eagle had lit
and like us was at rest enjoying his lunch
I watched for awhile as he tore at a fish
and was surprised then to see another bird land

on a log on the shore
within feet of that great bird of prey
a Crow had come down from the pines up above
to challenge
for the dinner himself
as I watched the scene before me unfold
the Crow became bold and hopped just a bit
nearer the Eagle who hopped just away
Then again
the Crow a little bit nearer and the Eagle a little further away
Then the Crow spread
his brazen black wings
like the night spreads over a moonless lake shore
and flew headlong
at the powerful taloned bald bird
who then dove into the air and straight up to the sky
leaving lunch and the shore to the Ebony bird

Those Eyes

I.

Your eyes-
that’s what I’ll remember-
different from those
of a living man.
I’ve asked myself how,
in my quiet empty evenings,
that could have been the case.
And my brain tells me
“Of course it must be
that they lack the movement of life.
Or, better yet,
the salty tears that lubricate the machines of sight.”
But I know better
somehow I just know
that it’s something,
something else.
Even now as I poke at this cold and plastic easel
the slippery twisting truth
staggers home.
Of course
it’s because
Your soul was gone.

II.

Before I’d seen those eyes
I’d known you only in violence.
Your drunken anger and my childish ego
all we’d ever had in common.
And I’d forgotten
you were a person
until that moment I saw the knot
until that moment I saw those eyes.

III.

And you changed me
I know that now.
The only thing you’d owned in life,
your anger,
was given as a gift
to the last man you’d known in life.
But, I say,
it was no gift,
although I think you knew that.
It was a curse.
A curse.
And I can feel it on my skin,
my skin, in the times
when the heat rises to my face
and that awful knot
twists in my gut.
You’ve cursed me
and I have no
living way
to seek revenge.

IV.

Those eyes
I can still see them
in the darkness of my mind.
What did they see
in the last split seconds of life?
Gray stained walls
and cold metal bars!?
Oh, what did they see?
Those eyes-cold and dry
and empty and blank.
Half open lids
and a stare
into
nowhere.

The Spirit Water

In the shallow end
of a blue cement pool
I stood water up to my knees
when a thought
like the first drop of sweet Spring rain
from the sky
fell into my mind
Of suicide
of releasing it all and falling into the deep
Which I did
in a moment of little regret
submerged in my watery womb
around on all sides
the water of life
held aloft by walls of sky blue
Then
something changed
it was
a movement at first
then a shape built of water and light
like a liquid comet
it was
swimming to me like a snake
with outlines and just a hint of a form
it surrounded me in a flash
I felt no anger or intent to do harm
yet I froze

I froze
on a bed unable to move
in a room I did not recognize
it had the feel of the French
or better
the French Quarter
and the woman next to me
her face old and black and asleep
awoke and he told her not to be afraid
he would stop her pain from now on
And she did not know him now
as she had before
He spoke with my voice
or better my words
and that voice found it powerfully important
to give comfort to a lonely old woman.

The Shortcomings of Imagination

I will never lie
for years
in New England,
see the colors of its leaves
dancing in brisk autumn air,
Nor
will I
ever hole up
in and Arctic ice bunker
through the coldest
of winters
waiting for the summer sun
I fear
I can only dream
of a walk
through the tall twisting mountains
on the ancient forged stone
of the great Chinese wall.
And what of a life
in the rainforest
with the heavy wet air
and a life lived in vertical lines?
Its days it seems will never be mine.
Is it right
that I shall never know
the Aztec word for ‘mother’?
How sad
that she
could not tell me herself.

But I am here
and I am now
And at least I’m given the Dream.

The Question

I.
Sometimes in moments of silence
cutting questions pop into my head.
Like fireflies
they appear
bright against the blackness,
and unless I reach out and grab them
they disappear
and dissolve in the dark.

But big ones,
the ones that can hold the most pain,
they seem to last just a little longer,
seem to wait a moment more,
just to flirt with my concentration.
Until…

I grab one!

II.
“What is a Man?”
I heard him scream…
“Where does he come from? Where should he go?”
Like a madman it seems he has to know…
“Why is he here? What must he do?”
If only I were a man who knew…
“Why does he love? Why does he hate?”
No answers come while I await…
“Why does he live, why does he die?”
Who am I to answer why…
“Why are we different? Why are we longing?”
My brain, it aches from the questioning…
“What is the Truth? Why do we lie?”
I hope to know before I die…
“Why are we cursed to all be alone?”
The answer was there but now it is gone…

My head aches
yet he will not relent
in the end it is a dark portent
even when with an answer
his question is met-
He begs…
“Why are we always destined to forget?”

The Pen

I bought a pen
to write with
I believe it’s magic
It sets my mind to sleep
It is silver
with ornaments of gold
It was Erato’s pen
Have I told you it can talk
It speaks
only to the empty page
And sometimes later
when I awake
I listen to its words
and wonder.

The Night I Met My Muse

She was blind, you see
and blonde and beautiful.
And she
promised
to take me for a ride.
An antique, she told me,
built by her own hands
with craft and skill and care.
And it never once crossed my mind
how she could drive-
a woman in her condition.
We have to wait
before we go, she said
and lifted her right palm to her head.
Was it lemon? that she squeezed
whose drops fell into her eyes.
Then-
“We are ready,” she called
and as I turned to look in her eyes-
Mine opened.

The Nagual

On the road
on an afternoon
of a gray speckled day
something touched me
My body could feel it rise
from the fields
and from the roads
and the trees
Like the heat
off of blacktop
in the sun
in July
it rose to touch my hands
Like the spines
of a parade if inchworms
It flickered
just above the earth
And the sound
was there a hum or a buzz?
I cannot say
for my words
seem now
like prehistoric tools
beating the point
when they should
just caress it
And my senses
for all that I’ve said
seem like whispers
in a valley
from lips
in distant mountains
And I question
was what I felt even real
or the trick
of a caffeinated mind
But to answer-
I have to say
I do not care
if these senses
I felt were really not real
For me it is enough
Just
that I want them to be

The Moment

You know the moment
-when conversation touches your heart.
when the words of another
light a fire in your mind
and time slides to somewhere it rarely ever goes.
your thoughts pour down like water down your throat
and your words have the sweet taste of truth.
ideas bounce like echoes,
and for a few moments minds intertwine
and dance
to a song
written by God.
You know that moment
-oh, I really hope you do.

The Master-Time

The green wave rushes forth
pushing ahead of it
the contaminated snow
to a place so far north
I know I’ll never go.
Time has circled round again
to summer
Robbing me of yet another year
and Life has pounded me again
such that I am beginning to feel
like an old Everlast
held together with silver coated tape
left swinging
with each bright new day.

The Loon and I

Whom shall I tell
of the loon I saw on Thursday
in February
in mid Illinois
It might as well have been a jack-a-lope
or at least a kangaroo
For a glimpse was all I’d caught of him
too far to catch his scarlet eye
His throat was ballooned
his black head pulled back
his ebony beak was held high
as if the muddy waters
of this flat land river water
were beneath his regal tastes
I’ve heard
this storied
stoic bird
needs half a football field
to break on his wing
Not more than that
of open river
rippled here
‘crost his freckled chest
Still it brings me smile and wonder
that some bizarre connection
drew him here to this place where I pass
and daily glance through cold empty trees
to ease the driving moments pass
and stir my domesticated mind
with wild thoughts like these.

The Lock Smythe

The pages, yellowed
not through time
but through meaning,
fell in sarcastic concentration.
The Smythe that turns the locks of time
his name
was not held there.
How could I
in my plebonic piece of mind
know that name
and yet
not those gods of life conspiracy.
Another trick to keep the idle satisfied.
And does he love the idle,
doesn’t he?
Those whom he makes wait
like the watchers of a boiling pot.
I know he exists
I’ve seen
his work firsthand.
As my life roars by like a train
each car a year
and always a flash in between.
Oh, tease me you holder of the cosmic combination.
You give me moments that stretch to eternities
and years that fly by on a rail.
If only I
could find the lair you keep
that hidden den of trickery
I would proudly
hold the key
and turn it
at my own discretion.

The Heart of a Child

What are you
when you are no longer alive
yet the air
still crowds into your lungs
blood still runs warm in your veins
I stand far away
from the cold November rain
that now stabs at my face and my hands
I am
cold and numb and dead
until
I imagine myself in a dream
Where every night
I am alive
in the darkness behind my eyes
I am
something other
and something yet still the same
I can fly and sing and love
and breathe like a fish
underwater
These scenes that I play
these scenes that I live
seem always somehow familiar
And Always
I am Alive
unless of course I’m dead
and even then I feel
feel with the heart of a child
not calcified or mummy wrapped
or protected and free from itself
On some dark night when I am there
I will steal my own beating heart
hold it
beating
in my hands
slip it in
a black satin sack
and bring it back
to the other life then
But then I hope that when I awake
I will remember where I have put it.

The Fly and the Pig

What I know of life
you could fit on the head of a pin.
Ain’t if funny, then
you listen what I’d said.
Life finds a niche
in any habitat.
Yet,
I’m special that I make do
in the moderate temperate?
Don’t tell me that
I’m unique, that I’m human,
while two million Jenny Jones zombies
click the remote and tune in.
We are blind to the strange
and what we can’t understand
but profess our control
with the sweep of a hand.
We are selfish, self-righteous,
petty and proud,
vain and self-centered,
boastful and loud.
We make
excuses for abuses
for ours and our kind
If nature has her way
I’m sure we will find-
We are like mites on a cow
And the Truth is colossal
it’s a two headed pig
and a fly
perched on a tennis ball.

The Farmer's Wife

I stood before the paradise
I’d dreamt of for most of my life
A land where leapfrogging hills
stretched for miles around
and
Emerald spiked pines
reached up to the sky
while crystal twisting waters
whispered hidden secrets of lust to the land
but
I was not alone
So I turned to her
in silence
and looked into her eyes
and waited
what seemed like a lifetime.

She could have told me then
in a sweet silken voice
that she
could not stand the cold
or
She could have shown me
with stark silver silence
that her family
would be too far away
or
I could have felt
through the loneliest nights
that those sirens that sung their songs in my head
to her
fell upon deafened ears

And I would have scoffed
and frowned
and quietly bitten my bitter tongue
and let my thoughts burn like a fire

But she did not
she did none of those things
She just turned to me and looked in my eyes
and said,
“But, love, I could not see the sun set.”

The Dream of the Dead

I was dead
in a dream
I had last night.
And I can remember as a child
someone had told me,
“If you die in your dream,
then you die in your bed.”
Well, I was dead.
But I can recall
that I stood above me
as fluid as a spirit
and I remember thinking,
“How odd it is to be dead.”
And I remember seeing
across the room
two others
both female
One blonde and beautiful
and warm floating in the air in a flowing white dress
and the other
dark and plain
with the body of a man.
And each seemed as enamored as I
at the shell of a body I’d once called my own.
Then,
for just a moment
I recall,
we stared
from across that space and time,
stared
into each others eyes
just before
one after another
we dove
right into Me.

The Dark Sunday

Today, I feel like rain,
like gray skies and wet tennis shoes.
My soul it is cold like each single drop
and as empty as the space in between.
The clouds are my thoughts
looming and dark.
They are slow and sober and
the color of slate.
And I do not hope for a break
in the clouds
The sun can stay
hidden
from me all day

The Coyote-Life

Procreate
it screams
at me
through the centuries in my mind
the genes within my body.
My thoughts
they fire
as they have been programmed to do.
Life toys with the ons and the offs-
“Let the chips fall where they may,”
It whispers at me with a smile.
My blood
it swims the channels of my body
as it has the bodies of my forefathers
and the experiments before them.
What a process-this demon Life has created.

Procreate
it screams to me-
In the emptiness
I feel
on a cloudy December day.
In the smile of a child
looking to his father.
In the quiet
of a snowy Christmas morn.
Oh, what a toy I am.
What a machine to the whims of Life.
An alchemy
of time and luck.
Do I not have the freedom of choice?
Was I not born here in America?

Yet,
all it takes is a blink
a nap
a moment in my mind
not minding the mystery.
Then-
Procreate it screams to me.
Or did I say
whispers with a smile?
Procreate,
it seems to be
the best idea
I’ve had in awhile.

The Cabin

The cabin
it stands
in camouflage shadows
in my mind in my mind
I can see
the hurricane lantern
the shimmer of the light paints my life on its walls
The stove is left cold
and the hearth it lies empty
but the mantle is full of the things I hold dear…
clear nights and dark days
and the color of trees
on a gray afternoon
of an October watch
Spring fishing trips and late Winter lies
and sober conversation over beers with a friend
a walk in the wood and a night under stars
and a thousand more things that don’t cost a cent
they sit waiting for me just to step through its door.

The Captain's Trip Home

You never know
in Wisconsin in September
In the evening
with the sky hanging low over Flambeau
when the winds will come in.
This boat dances
to the beat of the waves
that move to the rhythm
of those very same winds.
Born ripples to rills to roils to waves
gain momentum
as they march in line cross the bay
crashing now against this aluminum hull.
In the distance the storm darkened sky
makes an ally of the approaching night
A last glace of this ominous sight
and I turn the boat to sail home.
Time
and the craft seem to stop…
the channel nears and the snow begins.
Darker now
And Pokegama waits
through the strait on the other side.
And through
the black horizon only broken by white falling stars.
I have run this water before in lowlight,
I’m no stranger to the reefs and the points,
but the black of the night put me standing astride
with a torch and a hand on the wheel.
These icy stars that riddle my face
have the hairs on my back and my skin stand as well.
I am Captain
and I sail by the light in my hand
and by those in the hands of my crew.
And this cold could well be unbearable
if I had not loved my life at this time.
Now water and time pass the hull of my craft
as I pass the great pines as well.
And I’m sad when I reach
that old wooden dock
alight,
and tie my boat for the night.

The Bird

I.
The flight of our soul
waits
just to the left
and behind
the sound of our breath.
Breathe in
and you can hear
the flick of its wing.
Breathe out
and you may feel
its ancient wind on your skin.
It can pass
like your very life through your lungs
on the speeding wings
of a bird on your breath.

II.
Sometimes
I can see,
in the crack of an oak,
eternity.
Where words come to dance
with the thoughts they destroy.
Where the twins of ‘conception’
can spin their meanings equally.
But most times,
I struggle.
Each word
drawn and set
like a stick and a string
molded and held
like a feather in the earth.

III.
“Build a home.”
she said
to me
in a dream.
“A paradise
so high
that
only the loftiest
of thoughts
and the dearest of dreams
will find that draft,
that life in a breath,
and rise and sail
home
like a bird on a wing.”

September 11, 2001

The whole world changed today
on eight wings of steel
Seems fear exchanged hands in those towers of flame
and hate grew up tall in the ashes they made.
Thoughts changed today
in the minds of the crowd
from the mine and the yours to the theirs and the ours
to the pain of the dying and those left behind.
A nation
changed today
in the span of an hour
Naïve stupor was chased from the faces of men
now those doors are ajar that held racism within.
All our lives changed today
in the blink of an eye
and the futures we’d dreamed for our children and theirs
lie there in the ruins with metal and glass.
Still
the Canadas fly in that familiar ‘V’
all those wings beat toward South
as if
nothing has changed

Lido Deck-Aft

I.
All the words I have said to myself
in my life
in my mind
are all gone
There must be a place in the infinite time
or these thoughts
and these lines
are all gone
All the moments I’ve spent at the ocean
aware
of the crests
and the lines
are all gone
And the moments I wait for the next ones to come
lost like gold
tossed like scraps
are all gone

II.
You
who know these flowers
and those trees
by name and by sight
and
I
who stumble through the forest
a babbling madman
It seems
there are too few names
even for me.

III.
Does a doe ever question
between a twitch of her neck
and the scent of the predator
What am I
Or a toad ever look
eyes wide to the sun
and wonder
will there be tomorrow
Would a lobster sit perched
sipping saline waters
and question the taste of his meal
Does the eagle in flight
feel the wind on its face
and just once stop to smile
Or a leech
stuck sucking the life from its host
ever care what sickness may lie within
Does the rabbit turn around
after racing ahead
to admire the length of its leap
Or a fly
upon mass regurgitate
delight in the taste of its puke
Well
upon further examination
and some stumbling over the truth
It seems
I do.

IV.
I hold her back
with these walls
but like a cat
she slips through
momentarily
with some clarity
Silence
even with the
screaming engines
of this steaming ship
Eternity
even as my life
is left behind
on the aft ward sea
These gifts she brings
So now I must build more walls.

V.
Poetry
I see
is sight
with new eyes

Dreams These Days

Dreams come
these days like enemies
dark and windy
to grab hold of my throat
Blowing myself through forests
of stark silhouetted trees
into the arms of past loves
…then out again
spinning my body
like a simple leaf on the wind
over mountains as small and steep as most hills
They tease my thoughts
with lies
of dreams within dreams
and of memories in dreams
and of caverns ‘neath these very depths
I wake still held by those sinuous strings
held tight against my befuddled mind
left here, I’m sure, to prod and remind
of those lives down there that I’ve left behind

Doom-Page 1

It is a shaky candle
now
on a far off window’s ledge
and the breeze that moves the curtains
and seems to gust here from all directions
wants it dead.
I was a child
in a past life
and that light
was
as large as the world
and seemed as bright as the sun.
But you can cut me open and count the rings
to see
some are dark and thick
weathered by winters of stark reality
loss of sweet naiveté.

I write to you
from the edge of the world
where Doom paces and waits in its frozen and brightening room.
The avalanche has begun
and I believe
as it has pushed so many behind
it will plow through me
and smash my bleeding, beaten
carcass into you.

Death, a Welcome Companion

rubberman sits and ponders his life.
death-a welcome companion sits to his left
watching and tapping his shoulder lest he forget.
on the right stands emptiness.
no, not emptiness exactly for there is something there
but what?
his life?
he is still young and there is still time.
but he wants the moment, the second, the all-at-once.
it seems he is on a voyage on the open sea,
two dimensions
endless paths
he aims to make each path special
to taste the very fruit.
watching for lemons, and limes, and apples
to fall.
hoping like their blossoms
to grow.
and yet sometimes through life’s subtle alchemy
a simple lesson is learned-
And he looks to his left
and smiles at death.

April Kiss

You forget the sound of thunder
in the winter
in the Midwest
But April always comes
and with it
a sound of rebirth from the sky
Its labor rocks the very air that we breathe
and its power of sound screams through these streets
-past the schools and the church
and out
into the fields
where that parched needy soil waits for a kiss.

April 20, 1999

Where can you hide
when stainless steel doors
swing wide both ways
Our children walk those very same halls
armed to the teeth
Young faces are split, their bone lie splintered,
and their blood flows like a river
past the lunchroom
on through the library
and out
into the streets
where vultures wait
to carry it
onto the air
and into our homes
where we try to hide
from no one but ourselves.

Another Year

Another year gone
another Spring of sky stretching corn
reaching
minute by minute,
hour by hour,
day by day
growing my life away
Another Summer to come
July and August
like a meal
waiting to be consumed
by the hunger of my days
and then left spent
to make room
for more days to come

And this time next year
I’m sure
when I see the first signs of the farmer’s labor
breaking the soil
wishing like a bird to know the sky
I’ll muse to myself
“I need to be more perceptive to the passings of my days”
And I’ll say once again
and for every year hence
“Ah,
another year gone.”

An April Moment

Early April
and the wind
still stings with the memory
of winter’s harsh tongue
I feel
at crossroads
a time to choose
a month of choices
Am I a man?
maybe more
maybe less
Words seem to bind me-
tie me down
as they tie any named thing.
Oh, to rip through
to tear the fetid mesh of reality-
and become
what?
Who is more real
the enlightened
or the dull?
What is more true
eternity
or perception?
Will I-
do I
even want to know.
Well,
it seems
for the moment
I do know this-
that the wind is stinging my face-
that is real
and in this moment
that I am breathing in-
that
is true.

After the Snow

After the snow
the wind dies
and the stillness hides the violence
and the trees cut the wind
and here I sit
like a camouflage man in a box
The white out
lost to the East
like the leaves and the dawn
now just another
piece of my past
But that crystal snow remains
an ever silent victor
And it waits
perched
for me
‘til the morning comes
and I reclaim
my little piece of this Earth.

A Poet's Space

Between me
and the sea
lie everything
mindless matter
and endless time

‘tweenst I
and the sky
hangs eternity
all manner of life
and the death of a rhyme

Saturday, October 09, 2004

A Page in Between

In the space between
a tear and a smile,
I bid
good riddance.
From rings of stinging flame
only flickering embers remain
of a life’s yellowed pages turned.
My thoughts, thank God
no longer spin
so out of control.
And yet,
sometimes I long for the beat
and the fire of youth.
Again, I remember,
with nostalgic fondness,
the stinging fire in my gut,
the burning desire
lying just behind these eyes.
Yet again,
I can say truthfully,
I thank my creator
-whenever I can remember-
for the numb sobering calmness
that now flows through my mind.
These are but chapters,
it would seem,
in any mans life.
And I lie,
like the edge of the sheet,
On a page in between.

A Monday Smile

Tears flow
like raging rivers
into the gutters
of old Rush Street.
While bourbon and smiles
rain down
on the bustling backstreets
of New Orleans.
Desperate soldiers
limp
from the fields of Chicago,
battered and beaten
despondent and sad.
As,
saints pray
and hurricanes crash
on the souls
of the souls
that wander those cobbled lanes
and mean streets
of the Big Easy.
Happy drunken Cajuns
dance in jest
at the muddling Midwestern masses.
And the autumn sun,
its heat spent on endless summer days,
sets
over the empty boxes
and empty hearts
that line the Great Lake.
Long faced losers walk its shores
while in the distance
stone-columned museums
long for the freedom,
the ‘ease’,
of that city that lies
where the everglades kiss
the mouth
of the mighty Mississippi.

A Moment in the Son

I.
In the haze of a long day’s quickening-
sobriety lost to self-indulgence,
a dripping body emerges
from the mire.
Water, like mercury
rises up and falls back into itself.
The bank is not steep like a mountain’s side
but the weight seems particularly focused.
Grasses, near death
from too long this summer of drought
surround
and weave a carpet of chestnut thorns.
A thought,
somehow sensed all along,
finds simple words and it’s truth becomes known.

II.
As a child I was a good Catholic,
or better,
was well trained as one.
I was read the words of the twelve
and schooled in the works of the Son.
But life, as life is known to do,
turned my mind in another direction,
towards the self and it’s designs on the ego-
and left behind those tales of resurrection.

III.
Like a man returning
to where,
as a boy,
he’d run and climbed and danced-
I came.
A certainty
from a place so deep
it’s darkness could supply no proof.
Of the reawakening of past beliefs,
the resurrection of rusted ideas.

IV.
“If not you, who? If not now, when?”
the soul asked with a snicker.
“you know some day you’re destined to come,
why not just make it quicker.”

V.
Time plods on
and still I chase the ways that give life purpose-
Transcendence and epiphanies
I skate upon their surface.
Still,
I go on like a blind man
not knowing what will come
but I know I will not soon forget
my moment in the Son.

A Gift From Above

It stood
feet perched on the frozen earth
its body too light
to pierce
the bleach white blanket
that had fallen
and frozen
on a night who’s temperature had plummeted
downward
like the acorn before its eyes.
A gift,
this January nut
for a creature which had let Fall’s lazy haze envelope it.
From above it had come
like summer lightening
a flash unexpectedly expected.
This ambrosia that had settled
on the carpet of snow before it,
found and echo.
And a deep hunger cried
from an empty place inside.
But,
it would not reach for the bliss
for it was easier to turn and leave
And that is just what it did.

A Conversation With a Wolf

In a glass sided case
trimmed in gray painted oak
they stood
still
Frozen
in a less than natural moment.
Trophies of a long dead hunter’s life.
The wolf,
it’s face in eternal snarl,
and the Canada-
don’t you dare say Canadian
-Goose
with head up
eyes painted death black ebony.
Then,
all at once,
the goose
after all these years of mute entombment
turned to the wolf and said
“Brother, I pray that you will allow me one question, one little favor I would ask,”
The wolf turned to the goose and that eternal snarl
not so eternal after all
left his face.
He was silent.
But the goose thought
at least he seemed to be listening.
“Brother,” he said. “I am a goose, As you well know, and that is all I can ever be.
But, I must say, I’m one curious goose. And too as a goose I am loyal. It is well documented, sir, how we geese mate for life. And protect our injured as well. Also, as a goose I am known to be fierce. I will take flight most times when threatened, but when cornered I will fight to the death.”
“But, my wolf friend, you have a characteristic, one I can only hope to attain. It is the ‘attitude of the predator.’ This aspect in you I do not understand and as we have spent so much time in so close of quarters with no quarrels to speak of, I pray you will do me this favor. Please, my brother, tell me…what is it like to be the Wolf?”
At this,
the wolf,
its eyes fixed on the quivering neck of the goose
smiled
and sprung
and tore the bird apart.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Those Eyes

Your eyes-
that’s what I’ll remember-
different from those
of a living man.
I’ve asked myself how,
in my quiet empty evenings,
that could have been the case.
And my brain tells me
“Of course it must be
that they lack the movement of life.
Or, better yet,
the salty tears that lubricate the machines of sight.”
But I know better
somehow I just know
that it’s something,
something else.
Even now as I poke at this cold and plastic easel
the slippery twisting truth
staggers home.
Of course
it’s because
Your soul was gone.

II.

Before I’d seen those eyes
I’d known you only in violence.
Your drunken anger and my childish ego
all we’d ever had in common.
And I’d forgotten
you were a person
until that moment I saw the knot
until that moment I saw those eyes.

III.

And you changed me
I know that now.
The only thing you’d owned in life,
your anger,
was given as a gift
to the last man you’d known in life.
But, I say,
it was no gift,
although I think you knew that.
It was accurse.
A curse.
And I can feel it on my skin,
my skin, in the times
when the heat rises to my face
and that awful knot
twists in my gut.
You’ve cursed me
and I have no
living way
to seek revenge.

IV.

Those eyes
I can still see them
in the darkness of my mind.
What did they see
in the last split seconds of life?
Gray stained walls
and cold metal bars!?
Oh, what did they see?
Those eyes-cold and dry
and empty and blank.
Half open lids
and a stare
into
nowhere.

The Winter's Lie

Have you seen the moon tonight?
It’s face a blur in the evening haze.
Looking down on the western sky
crying in maroon malaise.

Have you seen the stars tonight?
Or are the lights of town too bright?
From here they seem an eerie sight
a thousand tiny halos of light.

Have you seen my soul tonight?
floating in the southern sky
waiting for the gods of Spring
to tease to life the Winter’s lie.

The Whisper

The gods that live
in the clouds and wind
of a mid-April storm
took me aside
and whispered to me


I’d forgotten the sound of the rain
tap dancing on fresh cut Spring grass
forgotten the feel of thunder
in the tendons and joints of myself
I had know these things I’m sure
as a boy
But
as a man I’ve somehow forgotten
the feel of the rain in my hair
and the chill of the wind on my back

The Wall

There is a gray wall of force
-don’t turn around-
as big as the universe
it is angry
it is
the past
and it wants
to be
the present.

The Two-Legged

These thoughts in my head are not mine alone.
Like the vein on a leaf
on a branch on a tree
they trace back to the heart and are part of the whole.

And my body is born
a child of the stars
In Their hearts every part makes the blocks that build me.
Every movement of limbs
makes the universe dance
it enfolds and engulfs
and moves then itself.

This Gift that is life I return as a prayer
and try to remember to pay what is owed.
To feel, to breathe, to watch,
and to know.
And return to the all
the experience that I
-the two-legged-
was put here to be.

The Strike

Cool and overcast
April Midwest
Blue gray skies belie the stillness
His breath the only breeze
Gypsy birds
the only sounds that disturb the air
Then
with
studied intent the flip a the wrist
and the lure caresses the mirror
and settles with ease on the face of the glass

Limp line lies
loose, looping
on the surface of the windless still water
just

for a moment
then

a tic
and a twitch
then a move to the side
and all that was peace is now gone.

The Seed of Temptation

From what seed
this root of a thought,
already winding it’s way through the burrows of my brain,
spreading fingers and taking hold.
A germ
fertilized and alive
reaching for the surface of my life
to flower
and become action.
What future can stem from such a mystery?
It’s misshapen, meandering branches
growing and twisting
and hoping
foe a little water and sun
to change my way of life.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Vicodin Haze

I have no voice
in this Vicodin haze
No dear words
arise
to save me
A dark well
drags me
with it’s liquid gravity
toward sleep
with the promise of sweet resurrection
Too slow,
my muddied mind,
to catch the wing
of my inspiration
I give in
like a leaf in a tempest
close my eyes
and lie down
to sleep.

A Walk with a Child

Damn your young exuberance
slow down…
breathe…
listen…

Take quiet steps
heal to toe
touch life
like a feather on your neck.

Quiet now
you hear it?
No, you’re somewhere else…
no with me here.
You’re just there in front of my eyes.

I can teach you,
if you’ll let me.
If you want to Know.

But you’re too young.
I was once.
I can wait.

But oh, if only you would
slow down…
and breathe…
and listen.

Welcome

Welcome
to my street
this is my home
it is full of the things
with which I choose to spend my time.
Look around and tell me if you think you know me.

Welcome
to my mind
it is my recess
it is full of the things
which I choose to call my Self.
Dig around and tell me if you could find me.

Welcome again
this is my heart
it is my weakness
it is full of the people
with which I choose to live my life.
Come around and tell me if you could love me.

You're Face

I know you from your face, you know
you think it isn’t true?
That I can’t read your life
from the lines that surround those darkened gray eyes
That I couldn’t know every bit of your mind
from the curves at the very edge of your smile.
I can tell it all
if you give, if you need
if you love, if you hate, if you lie
if you cry
And beyond this
in your wrinkling brow
lay the tales
of the pains you have endured in your life
But more
and even further than this
I am sure I will still know it too
when your face lay white
and plain as the slate
Again, do you think it’s not true?

You

I stand on the crest of a mountain
-sometimes-
to my left all that is real
the city lights
and midnight fights
and life and death
and you
But
to my right lies heaven
bliss
eternity
my soul
the moment of creation
the second of our birth
and love
and light
and fusion
dissolving into You.

Without Me

The silent flames of dawn
will come
without me
The morning’s dew
will still
kiss its jeweled hand
long, long
after I’m gone
The evening sun
will still
brave the distant West
and spend
its bitter nights alone

Those haunting winter winds
will come
without me
and the snows they bring
will envelop the land
whether or not
I can sense
those fingers of ice
on my skin
or the talons of death
in my bones.

Winter Comes

Gone is
the Summer’s sun
Blown
like the hot wet winds
South
to Miami
or better yet
the gulf of Mexico
And here
in this place I call home
these heavy prophetic trees have begun to weep
their colored tears
It is an annual salt
foretelling
of the cold and the dark and the dead

I could not live
in a land where rivers flow
unabated
by the passing of seasons
I would not survive
I know
in a place where the sun
could only in one way shine
or where skies would only know rain
He is a poor man
I think
whom in his life
has not breathed the scent
of sweet Lilac in the crisp April Spring
or felt the sun
on his face in the hot Summer air
What a destitute soul
who has never
sipped of bitter coffee on a Northwood November morn
or took comfort ‘longside of a fire
on a bitter and dry Christmas Eve

Winter comes
on the shoulders of the wind
and I
like the chilling waters of Fall
Oh yes,
I
will be here to greet him.

Song of the Maker

Like the wind
that blows
those brown waters to white
and drives the clouds
‘cross that fickle North sky
Like the flash of a light
chased by sounding of fear
and the rising of smoke
but was left up there
Like the rain as cold as a late Autumn night
or effort born of a needing so dear
I wait
no child of silvery spoon
and dance yet alone
to the Maker’s tune