Monday, March 31, 2014

Cortés

I want to be Cortés and burn my ships
Behind me, force myself to conquer, win
Without another choice, declare from lips
Dried in the ocean air, above the din
Of fellow travelers that I will take
The risks I need to make the world quake.

Half-measures aren't the pathway to success --
The jungles must be lit by fires we set.
For then we'll find our fortunes will be blessed
When on ourselves we've made the greatest bet.
No doubt his men thought he had gone insane,
But Cortés had a continent to gain.

Cortés chose either death or victory --
And yet we fear the smallest money lost
To risk. Yet risk is how we become free --
The path to freedom always has its cost --
You must give in to all of life's demands
And fear not making tracks upon her sands.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

The Law of One Price

Another good employee gone -- he went
To a competitor who somehow can
Pay more for wages yet sell for much less.

I'll have to check my books, see what I've spent --
I don't think I can lose another man --
My finances have got to be a mess.

Thank God for double entry bookkeeping --
I've found the waste to keep my business sound,
To raise my wages, lower prices too.

Now let me see if these new prices bring
Employees back and customer around.
I think I can survive and make it through.

My best employee's back, and with a raise --
Now let my competition worry how
To bring their customers back home to them

The way I had to worry on for days
How I could with my prices compete now
To offer up the cheapest clean and hem.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Theory

Each piece and particle's particular --
The universe is necessarily
In fragments, though we always much prefer
To act as though it's all a unity.

To analyze the world we break it up --
The data says it must be so -- reduce
To smallest small and understand the cup
From broken fragments -- thus we do deduce.

Yet how do we begin to understand
The unity we see? Inductively,
We bring the world together, see the hand,
Invisible, build all complexity.

Our theories bring together the diffuse
From all the data scientists produce.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Other

I finally found my place here in the world --
A human not so human, so it seems --
An analyst among strategic minds,
Fragmented world sewn up in rhyming dreams.

I now know why nothing can touch my wrists,
Why lukewarm food is plenty hot enough,
Why I like eggs, but can't stand scrambled eggs,
And why bare feet find most ground too rough.

I'm arrogant in my humility
And crowds of people overwhelm my soul --
Because I feel so overwhelmed by all
I meet, the feelings often take their toll.

I never knew quite where I fit. My son
Helped me discover who I am. I'd find
By learning who he was just how I thought
With this high-functioning autistic mind.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

The Geography of Nostalgia

I long for the familiarly unfamiliar --
A small city I lived in that has changed
While remaining familiar here and there --
An old green house, a stone-faced church,
A city square that lies about remaining
Unchanged -- the coffee house, the restaurant
Are new and still familiar. I tire
Of this changing changeless city --
The construction at the conjunction of
635 and 75 gone on
For far too long while the Starbucks
Remains the same, with the same people
There, and all the different identical
People working at the store (excepting those
Who are the same -- for four years now).
And the one place I want to stay
The same has changed -- the changed
Interior of my childhood home
Makes even the unchanged exterior
Feel indescribably different --
Though the bricks, the trees, the grass remain
The same. And yet I do not miss
My Mississippi home of two years --
I do not long for it, whether it
Changes or remains unchanged. So I
Do not know what it is I miss,
The familiarly unfamiliar I somehow long for.
I do not know, but I long to be there.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Grub

My son comes running. "Mommy, Daddy! Come
And see!" We see a hole dug in the yard
Before we see what's in the hole. What could
A four year old dig up? We are on guard.

There, in the shallow hole, a writhing grub --
Long, thick, and white, short hooks up near its head,
Its head with angry eyes of orange and jaws
To make an ant or mother look with dread.

My wife recoils, steps back, covers her mouth.
My son says, "Look!" and gestures down. A lull,
My wife says, "That's disgusting!" But my son
Looks up, concerned, says, "No, it's beautiful."

Friday, February 14, 2014

Together

If I were single I would live alone,
Just reading books. If I could live alone

I'd spend each evening at the Starbucks, drink
A coffee, write, and think, "Will I live alone

Without a love?" And I would then go home
To my apartment where I'd live alone.

But since I found you, dear, I read my books
And write -- but I don't have to live alone

To think and work. I'm more myself since I
Embraced you, love, so I don't live alone.

I melt into your arms, your eyes when you
Say, "Troy, with me you'll never live alone."

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Lichen

Embracing me you ground me and the stone
Dissolves to feed us both as with the sun I feed
Us both, and thus we never are alone,
But symbiotic, transformed into waves
Of color rippling in the light. Who craves
Another as we do, yet fills each need?

And when the winter comes and all the leaves
Lie littered, layered, rotting in the sleet
And frost, the safety that your network weaves
Will comfort me, and you will dine upon
All I produce -- our love will warm us, spawn
Delight in us create internal heat.

The two of us will feast upon the bark,
The stones, the leaves, transform the sun to live
Together, two become one flesh, our mark
In colored bans throughout the woods. We'll drink
The morning fog and tap the frost. Each chink
We will is so you I, I you can give.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Rainbow Bunting

By all accounts the feathers on
Its wings belong on angels' backs,
Regardless of the dewy dawn
Delivering the sun's gold tracks.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

To Those Whom I Make Bleed


I'm of the Gadfly Party, Socrates
And Nietzsche are my models, worthy friends
To help bring you, complacent, off your knees,
Your spear in hand. Oh, when your life depends
On laziness, when you believe without
A thought, then I will sting you with some doubt.

I'll contradict if I should change my mind --
Consistency is density -- I'll change
With every brand-new fact that I should find.
Give me your views and I will rearrange
Them into something new, with properties
Emerging from the ground like locust trees.

And I will lie beneath the trees and speak
To each who passes by, and I will not
Feel shame upon my death, for I did seek
The good, the true, the beautiful -- you rot
In valleys, too afraid to climb, to fly
And dance -- you live in fear and don't know why.

But when you're challenged, when you're asked to dance,
You find the fire to burn the locusts down,
To swat at those who challenge your romance
Of work and life and those who wear the crown --
You'll drive one mad, you'll make the poison drink
To make sure that you sleep and do not think.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Asperger's

It started with a need to learn about
My son, his mind, cast ignorance and doubt
Away so we could help him speak and cope
And find in autism some little hope.

I shared my findings with my wife and brother,
The two who know me best, except my mother
Who is more sadly dead with children who
She wanted yelling, "Grandma!" at her through

The windows of our van as we drove up
The drive. The red brick house that filled the cup
Of me as I sat in my room, alone
And reading books and making lists to hone

Me into who I have become, the one
Whose neural structures, passed on to his son,
Intensified in passing on. I read
About my son, but then that learning spread

To insights into me. My brother, wife
Both saw a brother's and a husband's strife
In life explained,. They told me, "You have that."
Impossible! No speech delay. A brat

Who threw himself down on the floor to scream
With every little thing? You could not dream
Of having children who behaved so well
As I. But I lived in a shell, a cell

I made myself. I did not socialize,
But loved to learn and oftentimes seemed wise
When I was very young. Obsessed with sharks,
Then plants -- the endless lists of orchids marks

Me with the patterns that my son will see
As he grows older. Cars lined up since three
The first to show us who he is. The stress
I felt through life make sense at last. I press

Into myself the more I learn. I found
Myself at last. I feel myself on ground,
Not sand, at last. I'm present to my past
And know the neural mold from which I'm cast.

What could I learn from mom, now dead so long?
What would she think of this? This woman, strong
In dying, would perhaps have shown her strength
In love and dedication. The length

I've gone to learn about my son to lead
To me to lead to her has truly freed
Me so that I can see how others think
Of me and of my son, to at last link

With all those people that I found so strange
So that I can expand myself, my range.
And what I learn for me I can pass on
So that my son won't feel a helpless pawn.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Power Laws

I'll sing the song of anarchy,
Of polycentric polities
Where people live in freedom, vote
With feet when needed to be free.

We humans walked the earth in freedom,
Millennia of movement mired
By gangs too many have agreed
Deserve the tributes we must give.

Can I demand you pay me to protect
Your things and freedom from myself
As well as others? Or demand you live
Where I command you live?

How many men will make immoral moral?
Enough to transform murder to statistics?
Do we require the threat of death to love?
To merely get along? Cooperate?

Allow us all to move, to live, to love --
Allow us all to find our place, cooperate,
Discover what our values ought to be
From day to day. Allow us to be free!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Winter in the Southern Plains

This time of year we sometimes get a thick
Mist settling on the skyscrapers and trees --
The whiteness will not burn away at noon,
And evening thickens without any breeze.

Is this the desert edge, the shortgrass plains?
The summer scissortails and grackles gone,
It feels like Limbo, land of Cicero
And Homer, land of light without a dawn.

Is this the place of shimmering steel summers?
The air is webbed with wet -- a dozen brews
Of coffee cannot crack the lull of sleep
That wants to creep inside these subtle hues.

A day of weight where impatience can wait
Beside the station where the trains won't run,
This day has slept, it's blanket warm against
The cold, hard air and ineffective sun.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Health Insurance

The cost of insurance was such
Its price I could sadly not touch --
So I gave all of that
To a young bureaucrat
And now it costs three times as much!

Free Will

Am I my neurons, neurons I? Or are
We free to will what we would be? Are we
When we communicate just like a car
In traffic, part of something new? To be
Responsible and free, do we need all
The people who we know or walk the mall?

I'm free to choose when there's a choice, but I
Could not be me without the rest of you
And you could not be you without the die
Of culture casting you, so you are true
To who you are, the social making one
Unique, for when we're one, then we are none.

My consciousness emerges when my nerves
All interact and I become the tale
I tell myself about myself, which serves
To justify my acts. Succeed or fail --
It's up to me and what I tell myself,
If I'm a hero or a moral elf.

But what I tell myself is also what
You tell me I have done, which always casts
You as the hero of your tale. Your gut
Will tell you you are free -- that feeling lasts,
No matter if you say your life is fate.
But both are surely up for deep debate.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Traffic

The city is a slow-beat heart
Of autos flowing from the suburbs, glow
Of headlights fading as the sun
Golds high-rise windows. Plate glass in a row
Watch as the cars depart --
Whose drivers want to dart
In every gap that opens up,
But find the going slow --
Trucks creeping, making gaps, each moving slower by the ton
As they accelerate, one
Is riding on the bumper of a car
To try to pressure her to go
To fill the gap, though he should know
That doing so won't get them very far.
Each driver has a cup --
A plush white Snoopy pup
Is in a rearview window looking out --
Each driver has a cell phone on,
Up to an ear or glancing down to read
Or type, then slam on brakes. A couple feed
On donuts as the sun-bright dawn
Is blinding half the traffic. Others shout
At those who can't make up their minds. The flow
Is interrupted at each ramp --
It's worse when all the roads are damp --
As autos enter, exit, the flow's slowed,
Affecting all the network, every node.
And then the cars and trucks reach their day's destination
And then eight hours' work and auto's resignation
Before the autos all again depart
The city, flowing from the slow-beat heart.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Restraint

I have released the kraken once, released
Its tentacles to twist and tear, its beak
To reach and rip. I can't control the beast.
The tears and sweat ran down my bloody cheek.

I was not good enough to reign it in,
And I have learned to fear it, keep restrained
The fearsome suckers with their claws of sin --
And since that time, Apollo's always reigned.

The Python's dead, the kraken tamed, my muse
Controlled (cicada's speak to her). I feel
As deep as ocean trenches, but it's hues
Produced by spray of rhythmic waves which peal

Across the public beaches which you see
And hear -- and that is all you'll know of me.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

On the Winter Solstice

The spirits on the longest night
Are sparkling with cold delight.
The sun tomorrow will appear
A little longer, do not fear.
The spirits dance on this long moon
Since spring will not be coming soon.
The winter spirits remain bold --
A longer sun? Ha! Much more cold
Will be a certainty. This day
Is but a promise -- cold til May!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Making Special

The bower birds bring bright blue berries, brush
Their bowers with the juice and decorate
The ground with cobalt glass and flowers lush
With indigo. Blue feathers act to sate
The bower bird’s base blue desires, sure
To lure in females who love deep azure.

The bluebird sings his property, each song
A challenge and a lure, a ritual
Denying entry to the threatening throng
Of rivals as his mate will feel the full
Attraction of each tweet and twittered line
Of earthly love that somehow feels divine.

The crane is dancing, jumping on his plot –
He will not let another cross his line –
He’ll throw his head back, dance a high-kneed trot
To demonstrate he’s strong and bold and fine.
And he will flash the red upon his pate
To show he’s worthy of a healthy mate.

This bower of words was made to lure
My love onto my land, to keep her heart –
I dance my words to make our love endure
And say to every rival, “Go! Depart!”
I decorate my words into a strong
And vibrant verse to sing where I belong.

Friday, November 22, 2013

For Anna: A Birthday Poem

My love for you fills all of space --
My love for you is infinite
(One of the big ones) -- and your face
Makes all my love so intimate.

I love you more than you can know --
I love you when I see your smile --
And every day will my love grow
As life goes by with every mile.

And on this birthday, first with me,
I want to say I love you so.
And in this love I want to be
In every birthday that you know.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Rat Race

We have to pay the mortgage soon
One third of that is tax
We have to pay the day care, too
We never can relax

My wife and I each work a job
And contemplate a third
To pay the bills and student loans
Six-figure poor's absurd

We have to pay for insurance
For house and cars and health
We're in a higher tax bracket
Because of all our "wealth"

We have no money to maintain
Our cars, though they are old
But there's nowhere for us to go
With my empty billfold

This cronyist economy
Will keep you in your place
The regulations break your knees
As you are told to race

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Outside Politics

I stand outside the city, thrown
Outside by those who fear the laws I make,
Disrupting with my rhytmic moan
The rigid rules imposed for power's sake.

I stand outside the city, thrust
Into the wilderness where words belong --
Their place of birth, birthed from the lust
That grips our souls with every mating song.

I stand outside the city, banned
Because chaotic order can't be seen
Within the walls -- unless it's planned,
Unnaturalized, my work is deemed obscene.

I stand outside the city, out
Away from people, ostracized, removed --
I sing, and in great fear they shout
My message will not ever be approved.

I stand outside the city, bring
A language which is slowly understood --
And then, I hear some voices sing
My song -- it's beautiful and true and good.

I stand outside the city, make
A new community, a city where
The poets rule, each has a stake,
And no one stops them if they risk or dare.

I stand within my city, live
Poetic life by my poetic rules --
In rhythms, metaphors I give,
And love all man, from geniuses to fools.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Wearing the Pants

When I was growing up, I went to church --
A church that preached that women should wear skirts
Or dresses only -- look the woman's part --
Wear blouses only, never pants and shirts.

We also learned that sex was bad outside
Of holy matrimony -- genuflex
Before your God if sex should cross your mind --
But tell us don't and all we think is "sex!"

You first take off her shoes, and then you must
Unbotton, then unzip, then pull the pants
Down over her wide hips, then pull her panietes
Down off before the two of you can dance.

Lift up her skirt -- that's almost all you need
To do. You want me to refuse to fuck
When you make easy access to the goal?
When she can straddle me, begin to buck?

Well, I'm no hypocrite. My sexual scenes
Were only with young women in blue jeans.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fighting the World

I stepped out of the piney wood and stood
Upon a river bank. The river roared
In turbulent and white-capped green. A good
Eye could not see across, though deep it bored.

Yet, halfway out, a boat. A person rowing
And pulling hard against the current, aimed
Upstream, a Red Queen in the rapid flowing
At best, but often losing what he'd claimed.

"My friend!" I yelled above the roar and mist,
"Why must you fight so hard against the flow?"
A leafy log flowed at him, barely missed.
The low sun made his shadow slowly grow.

The voice that came upon the air was weak,
"I'm out of water, food. A town's upstream
Where I can get the nourishment I seek.
But getting there's a nightmare, not a dream."

"Why fight the current? Turn around and guide
Yourself downstream. You'll find another town."
A silence as my waves reached him. He plied
Against the waves, but answered, flowing down.

"I don't know where those towns would be, but I
Know there's a town ahead, so I'll go there."
He then lurched back, which prompted my reply,
"The more you row, the more you go nowhere!"

"I don't know if there's towns downstream. I fear
I'll starve unless I go with what is known."
"How long have you been fighting?" "But a mere
Three days in this same spot," I heard him groan.

"You could have found a place by now and gone
Three hundred miles if you'd gone with the flow
The river offers you. Another dawn
And you'll become a lunch for some sharp crow."

"But I'm afraid. Besides, you tell me not
To fight, to just give up. I must fight through!"
"To row within the flow's a fight well-fought --
That life will become beautiful and true.

Don't be afraid of the unknown. Don't fight
The natural currents -- they will ease your life.
You'll fight the rules of life in pain. Delight
Will come when you flow through, around your strife.

You cannot beat the river -- all your hard
Work cannot overcome the water; soft,
The river wears down stones. You've only marred
Yourself. When with the air, the crow's aloft."

At once, the boat lurched with the current, turned,
And disappeared so fast, I could not hear
If he replied. I walked the bank. I yearned
To see where he made port, if it was near.

I walked three days along the river bank,
In mud and briars which held up my way.
And yet, through rain, my spirit never sank --
I knew that I would see my friend one day.

At last, I came upon a town. A boat
Was pulled up on the bank. I asked around
About the man. I heard a rumor float
Through town of him, but he could not be found.

So I went back the way I came, my home
A three-day walk. I heard a croaking crow --
I saw him on the bow upon the tome
That only he and I can ever know.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Typhoon

A spot of warmth, tight twisting, rising air
Atop an ocean, sun-warmed. Rising air

Pulls water, molecule by molecule,
Reforming droplets in the rising air

Until the ocean Fibonacci spirals
Up -- reined, it rains down from the rising air.

The gray clouds rope in rapid rounds to reign
Within the walls that wound the rising air.

When air and water merge, new order forms --
I, Troy, saw ocean land from rising air.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Tired Defender

In nothingness the universe began --
Asymmetried some 14 billion years
Ago into cascades of galaxies.

Must I defend this truth, reality?

Upon this earth, from molecules emerged
Evolving life from single cells to apes
With microscopes, who can write poetry.

Must I defend this truth, reality?

A human mind evolved, a social mind,
More instincts making actions more complex,
A plastic human nature in each mind.

Must I defend this truth, reality?

Subjective values, tradeoffs, human action,
The economic laws invariant
Creating wealth when information flows.

Must I defend this truth, reality?

When given power, guns to realize
Their wants, no one becomes a saint. They all
Protect themselves with force and rhetoric.

Must I defend this truth, reality?

The artist makes, presents what no one dreamed --
Their works cannot be planned but by themselves.
Demand is made once they supply the work.

Must I defend this truth, reality?

Creationists, intelligent designers
Must fall away in time -- they must embrace
More metaphors more true to all of life.

I pray this is the truth, reality!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Our Vampire Lord

The vampire living on top of the hill
Has ruled our town with terror centuries.
He tells us that he keeps us safe and will
As long as he exists -- and we must please
Him, feed his thirst or, we've learned, he will spill
More blood than we have given him. The breeze
From off his hill, his home brings down the lure
Of blood and death -- his poison is our cure.

No one dares speak or think that he must go --
Most cannot dare imagine such a life
Without our lord, who seems to always know
What each most needs -- with him, there is no strife
Between the citizens -- no vicious blow
Has come between a single pair. A wife
Each month is what we give our vampire lord
So all can plow and none will need a sword.

Before he came, the stories say, the town
Was poor, at war with others and within.
The smell of death and blood came not just down
The vampire's hill, but out of every inn
And from the alleyways and bars. A gown
Of incivility is what we'll win,
The townsmen say, if we give up the one
Who saved us from the awful things we'd done.

The stories from the time he came are hard
To hear and to believe. Our lord's demands
Of monthly virgins were first met, the bard
Here in the town confirms, with reprimands
Of those who dared comply -- they put  a guard
Upon the virgin women, girls -- no hands
Could find a single one to sacrifice --
The town was bleeding, infested by lice.

And yet, the town held firm and killed each man
Who'd send a daughter to the lord up on
The hill. Yet plague befell the town, began
To take its toll in lives and will. The dawn
Refused to break. They soon lifted the ban
On sacrifice, but rebels were not gone,
And soon a horrible solution came --
The outcome is our everlasting shame.

If virgins were the tax upon the lad,
Then virgins were what our town would deny
The lord -- each farther would ensure demand
Would die with no supply. The horrid cry
Of daughters, nieces, granddaughters -- the banned
Became one night the way the town would dry
The vampire lord of what he most desired --
But that is when our awful lord grew tired.

That night our lord swept down upon the town
With shrieks, the shrieks alone were bringing death --
Two women died of fear and terror drown
The town -- all but the famous warrior Seth,
Who met our lord, prepared to take his crown,
Prepared to fight until one lost his breath.
But little did he know no breath was borne
By his opponent -- his, though, would be torn.

Had Seth faced but a man, his victory
Would have been sure and glorious, his song
Would have been on the lips of every
Bard who composed and who could draw a throng
To hear him sing our language. The fury
Of Seth was not enough -- his arm not strong
Enough for one undead -- and so he bled,
Impaled for all to see, and all to dread.

For years our lord would make the townsmen raid
The nearby towns to feed his quenchless thirst --
And dozens would be taken for a maid
To be ensured. At last, the youngest burst
Into young womanhood -- our lord then laid
Down all the townsmen's swords. No longer cursed
To shed the blood of neighbors, virgin lives
Within the town were shadowed, until wives.

The law is all out daughters must remain
Pristine until she's married, and eighteen
Is when our lord no longer will restrain
Himself, and twenty when she can be seen
By men and made a mother, wife. Restrain,
And you won't be impaled -- keep your love clean,
And if our lord, himself, won't take her, you
Can have her hand -- but give our lord his due.

And thus our lord rules us by fear and fear
Alone, as we are told a prince must rule --
The rebel who dares speak will disappear
Unless the people think him a mere fool.
From fear, respect -- and then, to love. Our dear,
Beloved lord ancestors thought a ghoul
Is who has kept us safe, at peace, well-fed --
He cares for us from birth, until we're dead.

We look upon our ancestors with shame,
Cannot believe the weight of all their sins --
The cruelty of our lord, on them we blame --
They're why we meet our lord with careful grins.
We recognize our lord's eternal claim
On all our lives -- he knows all outs and ins
For each of us. We recognize he saves
Us from ourselves -- we're his delighted slaves.

I'm grateful that my wife was spared the spot,
The lottery that chooses, and may choose
My darling daughter, eight years from the lot
That may be hers, that may be drawn. I'd lose
My mind, my heart should I lose her, her cot
Made empty by our lord. But there's no ruse
That I could dare conceive to save her life
If she became our lord's, and not a wife.

But we are used to loss -- the stories tell
A contradictory mythology
About our past -- our town is poor, and fell
Upon hard times when we ceased to be free,
When our good lord provided us the well
We drink from all our lives. Down on each knee
We kneel before our lord, in constant terror
That we won't live our lives without an error.

Our ancestors, they say, once lived in trust
And not with the suspicion  we endure.
At least we live our lives absent of lust
For what another has -- it does ensure
Resentment won't arise, provide the rust
That clogs the village wheels. We pity her
Who draws the lot, and that's all that we feel.
We're equal, all the same -- that's why we kneel.

Perhaps our ancestors had wealth, much more
Than we have -- but what anarchy they had!
They warn us that we could have endless war
Of all on all. Our ancestors were bad --
That we know. The chaos at their door
Was what at first drove almost every dad
To one way or another violate
His family's honor -- there is no debate.

We live in virtue -- with each sacrifice
We guarantee our way of life will last,
That we will live in safety, that the rice
Will fill our bowls each day. Good riddance past
Of cold uncertainty and constant vice.
As many daughters as I have, I'd cast
Them all before our lord to keep our way
Of life -- I'd let each one be our lord's prey.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Cowards and Tragic Heroes

The coward destroys, despises, and hates --
Denies all virtue, knowledge, charity --
Empowers only hooded hangmen, debates
Nobody, certain he is right -- he'll flee
From love and risk and pain at any cost,
And will not suffer any suffering
To bring success, for that condemns -- he's tossed
The future into Hell so none can sing.

The coward hates, resents such excess love --
Resents success, ignores the failures, pain
The bold must bear. He'll smash them with his glove,
He'll poison, lie, condemn all honest gain.
The scientist, philosopher, investor
Is busy with the future, trips and falls
And springs and leads again -- he will not nest or
Relax for long -- he has to scale more walls!

The coward trembles at the fear of loss --
He cannot love, he dare not take the risk.
Inventor, artist, businessman -- his cross
Is borne if he knows that his love may whisk
Away at any moment. An excessive
Love, risk of pain, is necessary. Great
The genius lifting us, his love expressive
And delicate -- successful, seems our fate.

The coward, misanthrope wins but a day --
The one who loves to excess will arise
And reproduce the beauty and the way
Inherent in the kosmos. If he dies
For love, he dies a man who tried, who filled
His life, who shined and danced, who blazed a trail
That others, far less brave, may go. He tilled
The land for others who'd, without him, fail.

The tragic hero -- artist, businessman,
Philosopher, investor, scientist,
Inventor -- all who risk and love and plan,
Entrepreneur who, in pain, has kissed
The ground and from that ground arose again
And all too often lost and fell, were lain
Down by the world, yet some would sometimes win,
And when they won, it was the world's true gain.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Orchis Enthusiast

At last, she had it all -- a maid to clean
And cook, a nanny who could watch the kids,
And cash enough for her to at last ween
Herself from any kind of work. Her bids

To empty herself of the misery
Of doing anything at all soon found
Their price in endless sameness on T.V.
And with her Facebook friends. The couch now drowned

Her worse than any job she'd hated. She
At last found someone local who would chat
In Facebook, private, promise heavenly
Excitement if she'd see him in his flat.

Her boredom dissipated with the risk --
Of getting caught, of pregnancy, his hair
Attaching to her clothes -- her breath was brisk
Each time she left her house for her affair.

She would not stay to get to know the man --
She did not want him to replace her life --
A roller coaster ride's what she began
And nothing else -- she was her husband's wife

When he returned from work. Her passion for
Her husband kept the nanny busy keeping
The children ignorant. She wanted more
Of him -- at morning, evening, even sleeping.

But when her lover wanted more (we seem
Unsatisfied when we have what we want),
She told him she was but a silly dream
And asked him not to make her be more blunt.

When he insisted, she found someone new
To be her danger, roller coaster ride --
A Facebook block from her, and they were through.
She never heard about his suicide.

Her second lover she discarded when
She found his techniques boring, and the third
When he grew jealous. She went through ten men
Before she found her hobby too absurd.

So now instead of taking daily showers
To wash the smell of sex away, she cares
For windowsills of complex orchid flowers
Whose seedlings she most generously shares.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Finding Oneself at Home

A lyric on the radio and I
Am reconciled to my fate to live
In Dallas and to find it home. Yes, why
Not find my happiness, my want to give
In these, my neighbors. Why should I deny
These buildings, people, streets, and theaters
Who are and can be home? What in me stirs

To drive me on? Or did, before today?
If I am settled here, my balance lies
In bringing change to where I live. I'll play
The fool who speaks the tragic truth, denies
Solemnity in settled spaces day-
Light needs to shine onto so fertile loam
Can bear firm fruit. Yes, that's what I call home.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Myth Is History

A querulous old man with followers
Who ruled as tyrants found the poison cup
Pressed to his lips to silence all the burrs
That tripped off of his tongue. He was served up

To please Apollo, whom he had denied.
His ugly face and ugly words could die
From eyes and ears at last. The asshole died
A hated man -- that, no one could deny.

In wondrous words and images, a sage
Arose, reborn a winged soul of light
That shines through plane tree leaves as poetry.

Thus, time and word play have reverse the rage
Onto the people who would never write
Their myth and sing their song of history.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The Flirt

Can he impress with Beowulf
And C.S. Lewis, fairy tales?
Her glasses, large, close-matches his --
But does that mean there's balanced scales?

He bravely tells the tale of troops
That Beowulf must bravely bring --
In lines alliterated long
Ago by bards who'd bravely sing.

Perhaps she has the interest
In myth; perhaps it's really him,
And she will happily pretend
Until it, too, becomes her hymn.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Door

You stand before the door of rotting wood,
All lichen-mottled gray and green, the stone
Wall matching. You knock. Do you know the words?
The door stand silent, then it gives a moan
That sounds like clippers rotting in their docks,
Then silence from the door, the tumbling blocks.

You do not know what you are here, why you
Must find the key, to find the words which mean.
The words which woo though too tough times, are true
Enough to let you in. You're sure this green
Dilapidated door will soon be breeched
And all your efforts to find meaning reached.

But will you mind the masters that you find?
The dragon summing all your fears may lie
In emerald scales that glisten, shine, and blind,
And fires of valencia will try
Your mettle, burn you, melt away confusion --
You'll learn to live by meeting your conclusion.

Perhaps there's nothing on the other side --
Perhaps an absent sea is all you'll find --
And, disappointed, tempted to deride
All efforts, you'll slam shut the door, your mind,
Refuse the secrets, say you cannot know,
That every light's an artificial glow.

Unless you love the word, you'll never see
Into the darkness, find the door remains
Forever closed (although it's yours), to be
And never not to be, despite complaints
That you are lost, that you're confused and hate
That you can't know if you went through the gate.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Creating Value

1.

If value's made by laboring, the tree
Is valueless until I chop it down --
And with each chop I put myself, not free
But bound by labor to this leafy crown.

And when you buy my boards, you buy a part
Of me and nail me into crossbeams, house
My spirit in your home. You raise my heart
In walls, and when my beams are roofed you rouse

In me a certainty your house is mine,
At least in part, because my labor makes
The tree have value when I raze it, shape
The wood. I put myself in every line --
You cannot think my sale to you forsakes
My claim -- your every purchase is a rape.

2.

I look upon my trees with love, the leaves
That quiver in the breeze. My neighbor drops
His trees he values for their wood -- his sleeves
Rolled up, he sweats to harvest all his crops.

An ancient tulip tree, two hundred feet,
Just barely on his land, with tempting wood
Is next. How can I let it drop? I'm fleet
To him and beg to buy the tree for good.

We walk away, both satisfied. The tree
Will grow its tulip leaves and tulip flowers
For me to see. His wallet holds the cost.
When all has value, nothing can be free,
From wood for homes to water brought by showers --
But each has what he wants, and nothing's lost.

Monday, July 15, 2013

A Poem for Our First Anniversary

I love you an infinity
In time, in space, in depth --
Your heart is a divinity
Of soul, of flesh, of breath.

You know that I will always love
The being that is you --
Your up and down, below, above
Becoming always new.

That's why I'll love you all my life --
If you are sick or hale --
That's why I'm happy you're my wife --
My love for you's to scale.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Elizabeth and Campos

Oh, Muses! come to me and sing
Of Campos, a Trojan man, an Earl,
The last young Trojan left on earth
Except for his Elizabeth, the love
He had to leave a while
In his travels into Greece.
Sing, dear Muses, of his return
Back home to his Elizabeth, the flower
Of his heart and mind, her sweet scent
Drawing him home again. The strange
Beasts he met and battled with,
The angry oceans he crosses to see
His beloved Elizabeth once again --
A love much deeper than the sea.

Campos set out on the shore, his army at his back,
Sands swirled around his feet within the waves
Washing to shore the blood of the serpent that he killed
To get tho this black, sandy shore. He emerged
From the sea, goldened by the sun, great Helios
Drawing his carriage across the sky as he smiled
Down on Campos' men. Patroklos the Rough
Stood beside him at his right, a nameless giant
Shadowed his left side. Behind him stood
Other sons of Herakles, all sworn to always fight
Beside the mighty Campos, just and beautiful
In all things, a model for the world in all his deeds
And in his love for his beautiful Elizabeth.
"Are you sure that ths is where we must land
On this hot day?" the Great Patroklos asked Campos.
The nameless giant nodded too. So Campos turned to see
His men each in the eye as men should always do.
"I asked for you to join me in my quest to find my love.
This is a quest I only ask myself, not of my friends,
To fulfill into the end. There is no shame in going home.
But as for me, I'll carry on. Dear Elizabeth should never feel
As along again as she now must. She longs for me as I for her --
I will continue on." And with that said, a cheer arose
Among the mighty men, defiance shown against all odds --
Their loyalty earned in every battle won. And so they leapt ashore,
Weapons strapped on every arm, and every man
Strode behind their Earl, sure he'd lead them, to a man,
To shameless honors and victories. As Campos led them
Onto shore, the black earth rumbled at their feet.
A fire erupted into the sky and darkened Selene's lovely face
Just now beginning to rise. The men stepped back --
They were unafraid, just surprised at such a sudden burst --
They readied their weapons and their shields as Campos
Stepped out on the plain. "Whoever comes to challenge me,
Do know I don't for a moment stop. My dear Elizabeth
Beckons me, and nothing shall keep me away from her."
Then Campos heard a voice from all around --
So loud it must have been a god -- and all the men
Now trembled when they heard, "You set your foot
On sacred ground. You shall not pass nor turn around
Until the punishment has been met -- your blood for sacred ground."
But Campos raised his weapon arm and shook it
At the voice that came. "You do not understand my plight.
You stand within my way, and nothing on this earth of sky
Shall keep me from my love. Nothing on earth is as strong
As my love for fair Elizabeth -- if you don't move, then you shall die.
This promise I shall keep." Out from the trees stepped Luceron --
I light shined from his eyes. A serpent's tongue wrapped
Around his teeth that jut form his massive lower jaws
And under each bright eye. Muscles bulged under hairy scales,
And a scorpion's tail struck overhead. Eagle claws
On both his feet gripped the earth and dug out holes
Deep enough to bury each grown man who stood with swrods at sides.
He looked as red as the dark red clay from which he sprung. Death
Played across his snapping jaws. And then he shook his mane.
"You do not frighten me, great Luceron, as terrible
As you may look. If I must kill you so I can reach
Elizabeth, then that I'll do upon this very day. I say this
As a warning made to you -- for you must know I will prevail."
Luceron puffed up his chest and sucked the air
From out of each of the great warriors' lungs
And blew out a most terrible wind, an acrid stench
That knocked the men onto the sand and killed
The two weakest of the men. But Campos stood,
He held his ground, and waited for the monster
To blow out its blast of air -- and then great Campos
Launched a spear into its mouth, and leapt
When it held firm. The monster roared,
And red blood flowed, but Luceron stood his ground.
He pulled the spear out of his mouth and charged
Across the plain. Campos' men launched all their spears --
The monster's massive scales deflected all that came --
But Campos crouched and, when he came to see
The texture of the tongue hanging from the monster's mouth,
Campos leapt upon its neck and grabbed it by its
Shaggy mane. He climbed up to the monster's head
And with his sword he stabbed it to the hilt
Into the monster's shining eye, and then he grabbed him
By the jaws and pulled with all his might. Luceron
Had never known a man to be as great and strong
As Campos seemed to be. His massive jaws stayed open
As great Campos pulled back with both his arms.
And then the monster and great Campos felt
The monster's jaw tear, ripping loose, and Campos
Ripped the monster's jaw from off its angry face.
As great Campos ripped he jaw, he fell
Down to the ground. And with a massive tooth
From that very jaw, he stabbed Luceron in through the heart,
Between the plates that made his bellowing chest.
And with a heave and such a roar that one more man
Just died of fright, Luceron fell and breathed his last,
And Campos stood upon his corpse, victorious,
Yet ready now to move on to see Elizabeth.
For Elizabeth was the one and only truest love
Of Campos the slayer of the monsters and men
Who brought terrible things to the earth and men --
Campos, who sought good for all men and love
Most dear for his beautiful beloved Elizabeth,
Most fair and just of women on the earth.
Elizabeth, who Campos loved more than his own life,
Who he would make his wife upon his return to her,
Waited for her beloved Campos to return, certain
Of his return to her, his promise that he would always
Return to her, and never leave her again for so long.
So Campos led his men across the broad and grassy plains
And into the towering mountains, to uncertain dangers.
At a town they rested and were told of a w ay home
More quickly through the rugged mountains -- a path
Through, into a cave that tunneled all the way through
To the other side. A danger, though, they were warned --
A mythic monster no one had ever seen, for none returned.
"How, then, do you know the tunnel goes through?"
Campos asked the man. "The monster was not
Always there," the man replied to him. "There was a time
When we were wealthy from the trade passing through,
But now we have fallen to poverty, a city taxed
By this monster's presence." Campos made a promise
To the man and city: :This borough shall not be rued
By this monster's fickle ways. I shall free the cavern
And this city from his great oppression."
So Campos went and led his men from the town
And deep into the tunnel cave. They walked
And were surprised to find they traveled unmolested.
The light came in the other side and all
Walked with relief to the cavern mouth.
They came into an open field. Great Helios there blinded
All their eyes as his light reflected from the scales
Of the mountainous monster standing there
Between them and the other cave that led
Through the other mountain towering into the clouds.
The men stood firm, hands on arms, ready for a fight.
The monster opened its cavernous mouth, and light
Flashed from its massive temples as a soothing voice
Slipped off its tongue and the monster spoke down to the men.
"My dear, dear men, what brings you here
Into my humble home? Have you come to smell my flowers,
Seek my wisdom or my treasures?" But Campos said
In his mighty voice, "We came to open up the way
That you have closed so very long. Men have vanished
In this place and poverty brings darkness and despair
To the town that once traded through this tunnel I have passed."
"Have you come here, all this way, just to accuse me,
Having the voice of the accuser and ignorant
Of what I, the accused, have to say? This is just?"
The monster asked with a charming voice,
Convincing in its subtlety. "So speak, and let us hear
Your side, and tell us who you are."
The monster smiled its thousand teeth and spoke to all the men:
"I have come to make sure my men that live on either side
Won't waste their lives on frivolous things. I just let pass
What they need, when I've spent sufficient time perusing it.
All will pass that's needed. You may call me Kratic."
"Well, great Kratic, I've seen the men with whom
You've interfered. Their once-great city lies in ruins,
Their only food what they can grow, their goods
All lie in waste, all rots right where it sits. You seize
These goods from your own greed, all justified with lies."
"Do you not know with whom you speak?"
"Do you, great Kratic, know yourself? I'm Campos --
I'm protector of men. And I will stop the harm you bring,
By force or by persuasion. Which? The choice belongs to you."
Great Kratos brought out his golden wings
And flapped tornadoes with each great wing.
"I'll fly to see if what you have come here to claim
Bears any resemblance to the truth," Kratic said
And, with a leap, flew up into the sky. "I will return,
And if I find you lie, then I will kill you all."
He flew away and left silent Campos and his men
To wait for his return. When he left, one of Campos' men
Came up to Campos and said to him, "Master,
The great monster left. Let us go and continue on."
But Campos looked the man in his eyes and said to him,
"We do not run, nor do we leave poor men to rot
With such a wasting life. We will wait to hear Kratic's word,
To see what he has to say." Ans so the men stood firm
And waited for the monster to soon return. Campos
Stood, patient and impatient, for Kratic's return
So Campos could continue on to see his love. Their wait
Was not long -- the mighty Kratic flew at such a speed
That man had never seen, and he returned to Campos
And his men to report on what he'd seen. "I've seen
That what you say is true. My wisdom, it has failed.
I shall banish myself from this land and let men
Do as their follies will -- those are wiser, more than me --
My plans, they all have failed." And with a flap, Kratik flew
Up into the sky. "I'll rejoin my brothers in the air,
And remain, a star to guide men by. But I shall never
Err again and interrupt their lives." "Great Kratic,"
Campos yelled to him, "No greater soul now lives
In either man or beast as the one that lies in you.
Good travels -- I'm joyful at the thought
That reason won out over war." With that, great Kratic
Shot up in the air and vanished toward the sun.
And Campos led forth all his men, and finished
Traveling through the mountain's tunnels.
The city on the other side, on hearing of his deed,
Celebrated for three days, and lifted statues to his name --
But Campos stayed for but a night -- his love
For dear Elizabeth more precious than all awards.
That morning's parade escorted him back on the road,
And Campos set out for Elizabeth, the love he missed
More than all the world, if it were lost to him.
That night, the stars traced out her face, his dreams
Brought her to him. She walked on starlight,
Her black and wavy hair a halo on her face, a wind
Bellowed out her blouse, her breasts broke forth
In all their beauty, an image of Aphrodite herself,
Elizabeth, blessed by that beautiful goddess
With such beauty and sensual love. Campos reached
Out with his arms and took his love up to his chest
And kissed her lips and pressed her close, bare breasts
Upon his chest. But when he want to drop her clothes,
The sun began to shine, and Campos woke into the light
And cursed its early glow. But then he said,
"I should not curse -- no dreamy ghost
Can quite compare with Elizabeth in flesh and bone.
Dear Helios, do please forgive my curse -- you're right
To wake me so I can go and see my true Elizabeth."
And so great Campos woke his men to get them on the way,
And Campos swore love to the sun for waking him that day.
And so they traveled on for days, until they came up to a hill,
Steep and slick, of marble rock, whose path
Lay in their way. But when great Campos reached the top,
A giant eagle swooped from on high, and grabbed
Great Campos in his claws and lifted him to the sky.
His men flung spears and rocks and arrows,
All to no avail. And Campos few of from his men --
They thought a certain meal. Indeed, the eagle
Flew him to a giant nest upon a peak above the clouds,
Where eaglets lay in wait. But when she landed,
Campos leapt upon her back and, with his sword,
Stabbed through the neck of that great bird. She dropped,
Dead on the nest, and Campos stood up on her corpse
And, with a sword-swing, he killed all the young.
He pulled some feathers from the mother's wings and tied
Them to his legs. He cut the longest feathers from her wings
And shoved his arms into their hollow sheaths
And stepped out on the rocky ledge to catch
The gusting wind. He flew up on the fashioned wings
And looked down at the passing earth.
He found the way to get back home, and flew
On updrafts and on currents meant to bring him home
To fair Elizabeth. So on these currents Campos flew
Until he recognized his home and dear Elizabeth
Standing in the doorway of their home. She looked
And saw an eagle fly down to the place she stood,
And jumped into the house to close the door, not knowing
Who it was. But Campos cried out to his love,
"Fear not, for it is me. I've returned as I had promised you."
With this, most fair Elizabeth flung back the door and ran
To him as Campos lighted to the ground and shed
His feather wings. He ran to her and took her in his arms
And kissed her full and lovely lips, and swept her in his arms
And walked with her into the house. He shed his clothes
And took off hers and lay her naked in the bed.
And there he stayed with her until his men came by the house
To tell the news of Campos' sure demise five days
After great Campos came back to his love's fair arms.
And when they saw their leader step safe and alie
Out from his marble house, they cheered and yelled
Out so all could hear, "Great Campos has returned!
Long live his fame and his great love, Elizabeth --
Long live her lovely name!" And so the word
Spread through the land so everyone could hear
The love of Campos and his beloved Elizabeth,
A love with Campos fought men and monsters for,
A love with telling everyone who'd hear.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Premiere, For My Fiancee (Now My Wife)

A world has opened up for me, a love
No other ever brought me, a life
No one could bring me, only you -- a glove,
A ring, a set of spoons, a future wife.

Espouse with me our mutual love, a fire
Lit bright between us, flame that will not dim --
In darkness I will light your way, a dire
Zero will turn into growth, cherubim
Arrows will mingle both our bloods, our two's
Become a one. My Aphrodite, I'm
Eros, born before and from you -- we grow
Truly from each other, a growth in time,
Healthful, happy, we glow in overflow.

From freedom you have made me free, a tree
Leafing out in crunshy leaves when I bind
Oak limbs to make more beautiful as we,
Rendered in platinum, are intertwined.
Every thought that I have of you renews,
Since you are all my every thought pursues.

Monday, July 8, 2013

It Will

You ought to live your life as though it will
Be judged by history and art. It will.

Will music imitate your character
To help us sing of who you are? It will.

When best or worst, when poets write of you,
Will plot depict your actions? Yes, it will.

You tink yourself too small to notice? Art
Won't make example of your life? It will.

You crush an ant that breaks a trail the rest
Would follow to some food -- that act, it will

Reverberate across the yard. The ants
Will fail to kill the termite, and it will

Destroy the house you make your home. And I,
The poet Zatavu, will see it will.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Shaman, Jester, Ironist

I won't apologize for how I speak,
The way we Camplins always do --
With irony, we joke and kid, and seek
To say to all what's only true.

In kings' courts I'd have been a jester, tribes
Would see me as shaman who
With rhymes and stories, full of jokes and jibes
Would say to all what's only true.

Today I'm seen as arrogant or rude,
As disrespectful to those due
Respect no matter act or attitude --
But I'll say only what is true.

Oh, do I dare to disagree? Do my
Uncertainties dare bother you?
Yo go through life with sight that blinds, deny
Those who like me sing what is true.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Universe

What is this unity I feel? With man
And woman, plant and animal, and down
to molecules and to the waves that fan
From big bang up to every verb and noun?

There's spirit, life, and mind in all -- I see
The information informing the form
Of everything and making us more free.
We don't just weather, we create the storm

That burns the grass with lightning flash and rains
Upon the earth to grow the grass anew.
We spiral up with our complexing brains
And bathe in sunlight under ozone blue.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Through the Gate

The fullness of my circle is complete --
I'm human, all too human, now, in full
Diversity -- I love, do not defeat,
All that I am. I've learned I should not cull

A single part. The ecosystem grows
From differences while watered with the love
Of all the others that's oneself. Wind blows
Across the grass in fractal waves. A dove

In speckled splendor spreads its wings across
My heart to bring agonal peace. I fall
Into the sun to live life without loss.
I sing beyond -- a merely human call.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Liberté, égalité, fraternité

The End of Man, the End of History
Is here. We deconstructed daffodils
And made them sunflowers to share for free.
We'll make the world according to our wills,

For power is the source and soul of all,
So we will rule, the only measure left.
To equalize, we'll tear down every wall --
We promise you don't feel the awful heft

Of life -- we promise to take care of you.
And you won't have to suffer, work, or kneel --
Accept our values -- realize there's no true
Or good or beautiful, but what you feel.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Discoverers

I strike out and I bring the world with me,
Discovering new worlds and ways to live --
I fight against those who won't let me be
To prosper and to have enough to give.

My tulip fields spread out in red and gold
And prosper as I cultivate my land.
And you who have this feeling, strike out bold
And fearless -- grasp onto the unseen hand

That guides those who can feel its touch enrich
And make aware. We all survive each season
From knowledge-makers who help mankind hitch
Themselves to beauty, truth, trade, freedom, reason.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Summa

My brothers, sisters, don't you know that love
Is ground for all that's true and beautiful --
Religion and philosophy, the dove
That represents us all? You feel the pull

Of one belief, that lifts you on its wings
As you reign in the horses of your soul.
You listen to the city as it sings
With common voice and with a common goal.

You look upon a flight of birds, a swarm
of ants, and see a kind of harmony --
The kind that rises from a common charm
When everyone's the same and all agree.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

When I Was Thirty-Three

Far back when I was thirty-three
And certain I would be alone
I never thought I'd be in love,
I thought I'd live just like a stone.

But that was oh so long ago,
Way back when I was thrity-three,
And now I know I'll stay in love
Since now I know that you love me.

And now I know I'll be in love
Now that I have turned thirty-four.
I know you'll always love me, too,
And without you I'd still be poor.

I thought I'd live just like a stone,
But now I know that you love me --
For without you, I'd still be poor,
As back when I was thirty-three.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Rebel

Achilles comes alive in most of us --
We'd fight a river just to get our way
And arrogantly yell and scream and cuss
And threaten to tear down the very day.

We want to hunt more antelope, to raise
The tallest tower, demonstrate the joy
Of living in our greatness, love the praise
That comes in torrents. Yet, we will annoy

The weak -- but will we care? A part will not.
In the most holy, humble, there's a stream
That strives to join the pantheon, not rot
From memory, but rise in every dream.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Animism

The river is a spirit, flowers grow
Along her banks and house their fairies in
The folds of leaves and petals -- yet we know
These things are primitive supersition.

The car won't start -- you yell at it and hit
The steering wheel. When your computer freezes
And you lose all your work, you tell at it.
Don't the have spirits much like summer breezes?

It's no more primitive -- the spirit of
The rock, the spirit of the car -- we bring
To life important things, that which we love --
In those we always find a soul to sing.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Search

We had no bed to lie in, so we drove --
The night was downpour-dark, the back roads mud
Below a bed of gravel -- tempted by
A drive with old machines covered in crud,

We slipped in, stopped, "It's too much Texas Chain
Saw Massacre," you said, so out we backed
And off again we searched the woods the road
Too often spread into. And so we tracked

And  found the driveway we had left. There, both
Embarrassed and hard pushed by hormones, we
Bedded in the back, too old, relationship
Too young to care -- through rain, no one would see.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Market's Tragic Heroes

The ceiling, floor, and walls are white in coal
Minds, dusted to keep down the carbon dust
That could explode. The men dig out this hole

To light the world, the nodes and networks crust
The earth, are photographed from space, a lace
Of light that glows the boundaries of our trust.

Asbestos powder fills the air, a brace
Of heat held off by these stone fibers, steel
That glows and pours. The men make steal to trace

Out cars and planes, skyscrapers, rails which reel
Into the future, make for us the wealth
Which we enjoy, yet somehow fail to feel.

The cost is cancer and black lung, bad health
For those who let us live in luxury,
Our tragic heroes who live lives in stealth,

And do not ask for much more than we see
That they gave up their health to meet the goal
Of making all the flows that make us free.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

eHarmony

It is the modern day, and so we met
Before we met -- we each of us came in
The network, joined a common node, and set
A trap for someone we would like to win.

But that's not love.

So we agreed to meet -- a restaurant --
Outside, I waited -- up the ramp you walked --
A voice proclaimed you were the one I'd want
 To wed -- from this insight I've never balked.

And that turned into love.

You are my beautiful -- I coped you
Into a daughter and two sons. We wove
A net together that entangled through
The years to pull from from the depths a trove

Of deepest love.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Measure

Line breaks do not a poem make,
But line breaks there must be --
Three second lines make up their time,
And meaning makes each tree.

The pattern is the father, lines
That speak the poem's scales --
The rhythm is the mother, rhyme
A rule that rarely fails.

And syntax, grammar should be law --
Except when they should not.
Your poem ought to be a thought --
Unless it has a plot.

But if free verse is more your style,
You'd better demonstrate
That you know how to write in verse,
For that's the poet's gate.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Node

The place I find myself in is a net
Of works, of words, of poets which converge
On me, on every poet singing yet
More sounds to make reality emerge

Out of the Cantor dust of words and dew
Of nothingness that promises to be.
I mold the mud and make it act. A new
Man made, a poet made, much more than me.

And he will feel the flow, and he will grow
The poetry, a branch to grow, divide
And show, discovering new knowledge, so
The net can live. He wrote; the night, it died.

Day broke across the poet's face, the lace
Of curtain scattered it. He wrote: "The place . . . "

Friday, May 17, 2013

The Bill We Owe

Oh, William Shakespeare, don't you know that you
Are not as wise or relevant because
You are a dead white male -- so what you're due
Is less no matter what your writing does

To raise the soul, no matter who you are.
Perhaps the critics' brain cells have been charred
With cold political correctness: "Bar
The door, do not let in the greatest Bard!"

Are those they wish to raise so bad to read
That they must first destroy the reputation
Of you, the greatest writer, live or dead?
So great some think you must be some creation?

The critics do not pick who will survive --
The artists, readers pick those who will thrive.

Monday, May 6, 2013

A View From the Steps

She sits sideways on the bench, reading,
back bent at the same angle as the fountains
shooting water at each other, bending to a teepee
of foam. Her blonde hair, white shirt, light khaki pants
blend into the white water's triangular frame, the pale gray
concrete bench she sits on cross-legged. I wonder
what she's reading, what she's thinking --
I could go, ask. She stands, looks around, her hair flailing
out around her head, then walks away. The brick base
of the fountain creates sharp relief
between the bench and rising water.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Hover

The sky lies transparent to the sun,
ozone refracting light to blue, scattered
so it's all that's seen. Hovering, a bird,
black, screeches in the sky, looking down,
the ground a haven harboring food, birth,
death. She flies, finding updrafts, currents of air,
used to keep her place, a bent cross pinned in the sky.
Then up, aloft, away from sight, deciding now
against the ground, leaving the sky
empty of sight, break, or sound.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Dead of Winter

I seem to have lost winter here in Hattiesburg,
camellias blooming, late November, December,
white waxy roses, thick, full, ideal, nestled
among broad evergreen leaves. January,
a tree bursts alone against the gray dead trees
surrounding into hot-pink floral flames. Four-petaled
bluets, almost too tiny to be seen, flowers millimeters
wide, navy-eyed, twin leaves on a hair-width stem --
a February full of lilliputian flowers. a thin vine
winding up a pole, hanging from a handrail, arrow leaves,
tiny orange trumpets -- I never saw it out of bloom
from August until now. I wonder what March
in Mississippi means to bring me -- azaleas,
mountain laurels, wisteria vines, unknown flowers,
white with red stamens on broadleaf evergreen bushes,
scent ascending, alluring, enticing.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Crepe Myrtle

This is the first I've seen crepe myrtle blooming
their crinkled torus blossoms all through summer,
or growing into trees. A tiny bush
grew near my childhood bedroom window wall --
I chose it for the hot pink flowers blooming
for an entire month in summer. May
to hot September here, I've yet to see
them out of bloom. Pink flowers everywhere --
along, between the roads and houses, only
the freshly planted the same size as mine
up in Kentucky, just now five years old.
The five-year-olds have grown to pink-torch trees
in Mississippi's summer heat. While mine
was one, unique and beautiful -- now, they
seem much too much. While through their commonness
I have already grown exhausted of
all the crepe myrtles that I've seen, I know,
when I go up, see mine again, the only
one growing, blooming in White Plains, I will
think it is the most beautiful of flowers.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Gulfport, MS

The gulf is dark, calm, forming pools
in shallow sand as water pulls away --
it's slipping silent from my feet. Sand scampers
across them. I thought the tide would be high
on a full moon. Jellyfish, long and blue, red, oval,
with tiny tentacles caressing water by, move
slow by my feet. I can easily step away.
Black skimmers -- long red bottom bill
that breaks the water's surface, scooping fish
with its black tip -- glide silently across the sea,
unseen until only a few feet away. Everything here
is unexpected, not at all how I thought it would be --
the moon, the birds, the sea -- and me, me most of all.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Day

If Marx is right, the more I work on this
One poem, as I contemplate it's rhyme
And rhythm, I will see its value kiss
The clouds as labor builds up over time.

But if I simply jot it down, without
Much thought, just following the habits wrought
From practice, then there surely is no doubt
It's worth as little as the effort bought.

And surely longer poems must be worth
More than a couplet, quatrain, or haiku
Since so much time was spent in giving birth --
It's length, not content, that makes value true?

But no one cares if I took days or weeks
Or even minutes for the lines I write --
The only want what every reader seeks:
For wisdom, knowledge, something that delights.

And so I'm not exploited if I can
Not find a reader for my epic verse,
Nor I unfairly profit if a man
Delights in sonnets more -- we can't disperse

The value fairly to the written lines.
No, you must judge alone what lines you like --
The value's only what your taste defines --
It makes no sense for me to go on strike.

On the Hills

Dark pines on low, rolling hills,
hiding those hills so slightly.
What life hides beneath their boughs,
springing up between pine needles?
Little life in such acid soils
produced by pines and oaks and magnolias.
These seem sufficient for the beauty
of these hills, a different beauty from the hills
I'm used to -- towering hills spotted with caves,
covered in oaks and maples, redbuds, dogwoods,
tulip trees in full flower, filling the forests
with whites and purples, a touch of pink. These hills
may seem more plain --
unless . . .
unless you look more closely . . .
then you can see the beauty's just as clear, only
a little different in the dark green needles.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Open

My heart opens --
a book, a rose, the beak of a baby bird
in an old, bent apple tree --
until I know, now, its warmth is not wasted
on your door, cracked open.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Sandhill

In a swamp along Highway 49,
between Hattiesburg and Gulfport, Mississippi,
I saw standing, still and straight,
a long gray bird, beak jutting out
from under a small red patch
on a small gray head. He didn't seem
to be hunting swimming fish or frogs,
only watching,
watching the road,
the cars going by --
as if he owned everything he saw.
I wasn't one to argue.
I believed him as I drove by.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A New Wal-Mart

"We do not want it here," they chant and cry --
The time, the money spent, the vigor of
Their protest -- fools alone would dare deny
This all is for a neighborhood they love.

The Wal-Mart Corporation wants to build
A store in a dead shopping center -- dead
For years, and killing all who came. Those killed
Will not come back, yet life is viewed with dread.

And when the Wal-Mart does at last renew
The center, making it itself, where will
Those old protestors be? What will they do,
Defeated by a corporate-city shill?

They can be found now, down each good-filled lane --
Convenience and good prices? Why complain?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Brown

I sleep and dream of beautiful brown eyes,
Your long brown curls cascading to your breasts,
Big brown nipples beckoning to me, sighs
Rise to my lips -- a face I bring forward,
Your lovely body I want to embrace
Again -- you are my lovely and adored
I must leave behind for a short time -- you
Are all I think of now. I want to come
Back to see you, never leave you, and view
You in your beautiful browns -- my heart's numb
Without you -- I can't wait to see your brown
Eyes again, dear -- in them I live to drown.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Screech Owl

The screech owl sits, adorable, up in
The open oak, alone and looking out
Upon its prairie that it had to win --
It rules its roost; it sits there with no doubt.

Around the oak are little balls of fur
With girter bones and stomach acid spackle --
The undigested all that's left of her,
The mother mouse. The owl emits its cackle

That terrifies the chimpunks, mice, and shrews,
Then lifts on silent wings. There's no endorphin
Rush -- there's no time to spread the awful news
That crushing claws have made another orphan.

The mouse's skull is crushed by this cold brute,
Who, tufted, colored rust, looks very cute.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Antitrust

The politicians say they only care
About consumer safety -- no debate
When people must be safe -- we would not dare
Deny that government must regulate.

But why do CEOs feast Congressmen
And ask for regulations to be made?
They capture regulations in their den
Of bureaucrats, so everyone is paid.

And when monopoly is made, it's fine
Until the wrong official is made mad --
And then the antitrust laws make it dine
Upon the fact it was a power fad.

The regulations make monopoly,
While competition is what makes us free.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Symmetry and Equlibrium

The coin is standing on its end
In perfect symmetry --
The little time that it will spend
(Potentiality

In quantum fluctuations, air
That's blowing from a vent,
The tiniest vibration) where
There is a small percent

Chance that no equilibrium
Will find this coin a place
Upon the table as a sum
Of our creation's trace.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Nostalgia

Medieval girth
Once showed the worth
of women, wide wastes, hips for birth.
A healthy Venus reigned
From stone age times of ice --
In recent times we've hardly gained --
A rail-thin culture has a price,
For with our wealth
We lost our health
And sensuality has waned.
A look at poverty is what we've earned,
Starvation-sallow cheeks and skin that's burned
From working in the fields
Is what our culture yields,
And so it shields
Us from our natural tastes
For fleshy hips and waists
Like that we see
In ancient pottery,
In totems and in paintings, luxury
In overflow.
But now the women are so lean
We do no grow
In health -- instead, we grow obscene --
Aesthetic judgments turn to rust
When faced with lust
We cannot trust --
We deserve only mirth.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

OR-7


Alone, yet tracked, pacifically this wolf
Has wandered through the Cascade’s mountain passes
From Oregon to California –
He hides behind the pines and in tall grasses

In mountain meadows filled with flowers, filled
With game the wolf can eat. Alone, he finds
It’s mostly rabbits, pika, squirrels that he
Can catch and eat. When full, he mostly winds

Down old elk paths. He’s looking for a pack
And cannot know he is alone, the one
Lone wolf in California – he lives
Up to the name. He basks in the warm sun

And drinks from mountain lakes whose sapphire blue
Reflects the thin-aired sky, but when the moon
Is out, his haunting howl crowds out the rounds
Of hooting owls – he hears a calling loon

Instead of what he hopes to hear – another
Gray wolf to join him on his namesake quest,
To journey on with Journey as a mate
And hope across the new Pacific West.