Friday, July 31, 2015

Modernity

I slice my scythe in circles through the wheat
As sweat slides down my chest and down by back,
Refracting rainbows from the sun. I clear
Away this golden grass with which we feed

The world, will one day feed the world once wheat
Is owned by each who owns the land. One day
The farmers will not need my back, and few
Will feed the many. Then we will be freed

To work in what we want instead of what
We need to do. Until that time, I slice
The wheat within my fields so I can feed
My family with flour through the snows.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

REST ANT

Walls of ugly light blue,
Floors of false-wood tan.
The waitresses are all alike --
They look the same, they're all the same age,
Whether thirty or fifty -- all thin and fifty,
Uncaring whether they get a tip,
But hoping.
Older customers treated with love
From years of sitting,
Sharing their past
Together, drinking their coffee.
Nothing would taste right here
Except coffee or Dr. Pepper,
Apple of pecan pie for desert.
Nothing, no one else, belongs.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Working at Days Inn

I wait behind the desk for customers,
A line of people checking in their rooms.
I never learn a thing of them, from them.
They need more towels, more soap, more batteries
For their remotes, and still there's nothing learned.
I want to learn their stories, histories,
And lives. I know I never will. They don't
Have time or care to tell a man like me.
I'm never worth their time or words. They think.
Who knows what they (or I) could learn from words
They heard or shared. But they will never share.
And I will only wait behind the desk.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

On Hardy Street

A coffee shop in an old theater,
a cacophony of voices discussing
the nature of thoughts, the concept of time,
why they like the word "fuck" so much,
muses by muses with spiked or orange hair
while we listen to music so alternative
it's almost noise with voice-overs.
How can we be here without smoke, dim lights
making writing difficult? I'll smell of smoke
and coffee when I leave. But now's the time
To read my poems, share my verse, no worse
Than any I have heard so far. These words
I've written here do not belong this time --
I'll bring them back when I'm away
From this cafe, the lack of light, dull din.
I'll bring them back when I have learned to live
With all the words which I have written here.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Writhing

By the road I once saw a dead deer --
It was swollen and writhing -- my fear
That the maggots would burst
After slaking their thirst
Came to life -- are those flies that I hear?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Woman Dressing Her Hair

A grotesque, heavy thigh
lies supporting her fat body,
right breast hanging
under her arm,
left breast thrust upward,
exposing dark-lined ribs.
Her hands reach behind her head,
twisting her hair. Her nose is skewed,
thrown almost off her face, away
from her mouth.
Eyes as orange slices
pulled down at the sides,
melancholy.
One wonders why
she sits in her green-walled box,
blue floor under her legs
heavy feet
pushed out at us.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Girl Before a Mirror -- 1932

A woman stands,
arm outstretched --
caressing her reflection.
Her face is yellow, orange,
warm from front,
her profile pink and cool
as her breasts, made
as circles, her belly full in front.
She gazes at a face,
dark in orange and purple,
breasts and belly jaundiced,
striped in green,
blue and purple hair
hanging loose,
in contrast with her true
blonde hair
flowing gently from her head.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Project for a Monument to Guillaume Apollinaire -- 1962

A drawing
made of steel rods,
filling space.
A small circle, eyes,
nose as dots.
Oval sketched body,
bisected triangle arms
extend to hands as arcs
grasping space.
Apollinaire stands,
in six-legged tricycle stance,
two infront,
two on either side,
a rust-painted sketch
seen from all sides.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Head of a Sleeping Woman -- 1907

A head, light
almond-shaped and colored,
long nose over small mouth.
Wide almond eye
lids, brow prominent
above the left.
Hatchmarcked forehead,
lined cheeks, as walrus
whiskers. Arm held high
above her read. A blue
drapery to her
left. Lines in blue
And tan. A painting
of lines and arcs
like an African mask.

Monday, July 20, 2015

To America's Immigrants

Please do not come into our country just
To act like us. We have enough rude people
And idiots who hate to learn and work.
We have jackasses stacked up to the steeple --
We do not need another kind of jerk --
Please do not come here if you plan to rust.

Please bring our country habits that are good,
Good attitudes -- please teach us to respect
Each other, be polite. I'm certain you
Do not throw epithets that I suspect
Would've never come to mind. Instead, be true
Because our leaky ship could use your wood.

Please come if you are tired and you're poor --
We're home for homeless, those who would breathe free --
Contribute, and you'll find with us a place --
Good habits aren't the things you ought to flee --
Don't come here and become us, a disgrace
In attitude, beating down every door.

Please leave the things you flee in your homeland --
Corruption, anti-market attitudes,
Your racism and your religious laws --
But bring your culture, honor, and your foods,
Contribute with your virtues to our cause --
I welcome you with my extended hand.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Free Lunch

A valley-girl hippie nerd -- black, thick-
Rimmed glasses, pointed at the outside corner
Top -- orange skirt, too thin to walk in, covered
In five-inch rainbow pansies, white-crepe blouse,
Embroidered all along the edge, with scalloped
White flowers along her thin chest and shoulders.
She's far too thin for such a face, so plump
Above her anorexic arms and neck, red hair
Tied up, her nasal voice is squeaking "Like"
With leftist language, saying Christians shouldn't
Require sermons in return for food
They give the hungry, acting like she wouldn't
Expect a thing from them herself if she
Should feed them meals. The payment she demands?
Their gratitude for all her food and pity.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

American Women

The women at the cafe seemed to young
To him - all still in high school? -- all the men
Were older, early to mid-twenties, fourties
For one, at least, and all were flirting. Girls --
All hairless, shapeless, flat, too-thin -- perhaps,
He thought, they could be women -- too-young dress
On women bringing pedophiles joy.
There's nothing for him here, no full, mature,
Well-rounded women, no grown-ups to converse
With here to fill his mind. Just children, lust,
And animal desires -- children's toys
To keep the mind distracted, without hope.
There was no place for him to go to find
A mature woman with a mature mind.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Friends and Lovers

Alone, their lives walked through the fire --
Each knew, but knew not of the other,
Entertwined each with others' lives,
Though their hearts knew nothing of desire,
Each settled to keep loneliness
At bay. But as they wandered through the fire,
Each blindly ran into the other,
Then both their eyes, they filled with wonder,
And wondered how they'd missed the other.
They saw with opened hearts and eyes
New friends, new lovers, their new lights,
And letting go grabbed to each other,
Then flew out of the flames together
To soar on love's wings ever higher.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Horse's Milk

Mongolian bride weaves wraps on plain's edge,
Attentive to each warp and woof,
Horse milk in her clay pot,
Brought in to feed her children, her husband
Lies bruised black from a fierce hoof kick.
He has broken ribs, she's sure.
She brings him the mare's milk, its sweet strengh
Will surely bring him back to working health.
The north wind whispers that he brings his brides,
They gallop from the north, deliver milk
That's death unless the mare's milk does its work
Upon the man who groans beneath
The rainbow blanket she wove on their wedding day.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Your Fate

The morning wants to sigh
She sees the roses die
The frost that came too late
Has sadly sealed their fate

The sun has turned eclipse
We barely see his lips
The shadow of his mate
Has sadly sealed his fate

The worm ate at the root
He's crushed beneath my boot
The worm's choice what it ate
Has sadly sealed its fate

The visage of the moon
Will not be present soon
The lock upon the gate
Has sadly sealed her fate

The rot has settled in
Much like your darkest sin
The Devil dealt your date
Has sadly sealed your fate

Friday, July 10, 2015

Hurricane Season

Spring is the time for love
To disintegrate, the passions
To prevail, the passions pushing
Feelings farther than they should
Until something breaks. Marriages
Called off (not postponed), women
Leaving, tempers tapping into hidden undertows
Discovered only when you're pulled below.
A hurricane is forming between couples,
Friends, colleagues, acquaintances, the clouds
Arcing across the sky in heavy bands of gray.
The wind disorients us, making us wonder
What is happening, when hurricanes
Are Summer, Fall phenomena.
Perhaps we'll try to keep, embrace
What little we have left, perhaps we'll try
To forge anew with what was left behind.
Perhaps we'll settle for the peace
That only lies within the eye
And only lasts a season.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

At the Corner Table

He should go home and be alone
And not be lonely at a bar --
He knows his presence just appears
To create loneliness unfelt
When he's at home, alone. A thin,
Attractive waitress, long, dark hair,
Approaches, says, "Are you alright?"
He answers, "Lonely." Her smile
Is lacking in all sympathy.
He raises up his glass and says,
"But besides that, I think I'm good."
Her thin legs, thrusting from her black
Required miniskirt, just stork
Her off to other customers
Who promise they will be far less
Honest to her pre-scripted subtext.
He looked about the bar. The people,
They all moved in Brownian motion,
Their movements each affected by
The motions of the others, never
In straight lines, impossible here
In a bar so full. Everyone
Tonight in semi-dress, the men
Were looking nice for women wearing
Their tight-and-easy-to-removes,
The frozen margaritas, gins,
And something red with cranberry
Juice -- all were trying very hard
To help the man forget and give
Him hope and courage. Yet his hope
For meeting someone new had walked
Out earlier. He really knew
He'd random walk back home alone
Instead of doing what he ought,
Like standing at the table next
To his where three attractive women
Were talking to each other. Fear
That they would turn him down. Or not.
He never did expect the "not,"
So he refused to speak to them
Or anyone. Instead, he sat
Alone, again, and lyrically
Lamented to himself on scraps
Of paper, words preventing him
From action and from action words
To dissipate his loneliness.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

The Nighthawk

I wonder where the wary whip-poor-will
Is sitting, singing -- I can clearly hear
It calling through the humid night -- I fear
Its song that creeps in past the window sill.
Across my skin I'm feeling a slight chill --
I pull the blanket up -- must I appear
As I am not on such a night, so clear
That I can hear a bird sing on that hill?

I've grown to love the whip-poor will's dark moan --
It's lonely in the woods -- it wants to find
Companionship, a love and warm delight.
I chose to take its song, make it my own --
And, using it, I found that I could bind
Myself to you, and finally take flight.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Swim

I swim out to the open sea, but find
That I am carried back with each new wave.
I wonder why the waves won't let me die
Alone here in the endless sea, why each
Insists on bringing me back to the shore
To die a slower death. Why must they bring
Me to the light that's spread upon the sea
In reddish light the darkened, eclipsed moon,
Red face reflected on the foam that may
Yet drown me here, just inches from the shore,
Sands swirling at my knees and washing west
The pale blue jellyfish surrounding me
And stinging, bringing me awareness, life
In painful flesh. How can I die in waves
Of living pain? I float now with the kelp
And jellyfish and uneclipsing hope.

Monday, July 6, 2015

That Day I Didn't Do Anything

I woke and fed the boys their cereal,
Bananas, milk, and juice. I made my coffee
And, hungry after having been awake
Two hours, finally could drink some coffee.

I have to answer questions, stop the fighting
And dry the tears. Perhaps a bite to eat?
Last night's clean dishes in the cupboard,
The dirty dishes now I must defeat.

I have to write a paper, write my book,
And meet my obligations I have made --
I've research, reading, a review to write --
The kids are eating all the food I made.

A load of laundry, fold the towels and put
Them all away. I have to wash the boys
And get them dressed -- the bus will come at noon --
I get one on the bus, one plays with toys.

Banana and more milk and P.B.S.
Is always on. I can't write poetry
With noise and boys and toys and constant mess
And stress -- no plays, just tiny poetry.

The bus arrives and time to see his work
And give him snack, perhaps prepare for dinner.
Then you come home. Another kid. A kiss
and hug hello -- and now to make the dinner.

I fix the food -- demands for drinks -- I stop
To meet demands -- and dinner takes two hours
To make -- and then at last we sit to eat.
With luck on luck the evening will be ours.

And now I put the boys to bed. I dress
And change them, tuck them in, give hug and kiss.
Then go sit down, then right back up to quiet
The boys so they will sleep. It's you I miss.

At last the kids are all asleep and I
have plenty more to do, but won't. My stay
Is short. You come complain, "You really ought
To work like me. What did you do all day?"

Friday, July 3, 2015

The Limits of Our Language

There is a chasm which cannot be crossed,
No bridge, no path below then leading up,
No links, connections, any place to touch.
It seems that things are different over there --
Not necessarily better, just different --
Yet there's a longing just to catch a glimpse,
To see the other side, explore this place
That's new to us, kept separate by space,
Deep drop preventing passage. Yet we see
Old bridges and false starts along the lip --
But somehow something seemed to always keep
Attempts at bay so no one ever finished.
Some even stretch out quite a ways, then stop
There in the air like arms that had their hands
Cut off, just teasing us with promises
Of true connections they left unfulfilled.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Facades

I cannot see you with my open eyes,
Although my vision's clear. Your eyes are blind
As mine, and yet you tell me what you see.
We know it's nonsense -- you have shown you know
My mere appearance, nothing of the truths
I've offered you. Perhaps I've done the same.
Where can we go? We started nowhere, based
On mere illusions we created, lies
We tell ourselves before we told each other.
Perhaps we cannot ever show our truth
And shine it through the fictions we prefer.
Perhaps we're always nothing but facades.
And while we think we're clever with our sell,
We do not differ in the lies we tell.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Happiness

Like everyone he wants to emulate,
He's dressed in black, his shoes are black with gray,
"Blacktops" in white across the sides to break
The solid blackness. Shoestrings tied in knots
Where they had broken. He slides in his feet.
Clad all in black, from shirt to shoes, he grabs
His black jacket and matching black umbrella
And leaves to walk the city in the rain.