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, who 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 revised their 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 to 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 this 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 swords 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." And 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 crunchy 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 think 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?
You 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.