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Saturday, August 28, 2004

"Starry Night" and Other Poems

Starry Night

I live in the place between the twin hills
where the grass is green ocean waves on a gentle sea
and cosmos and chaos have a battle of wills.

Some people, foolish, weary and ill
stand and ask me how can it be
I live in the place between the twin hills?

"Simple," I say, "We all can have our fill;
a place on the human tree
as cosmos and chaos have their battle of wills."

Clear as the orange star light, still
it is no less difficult for me;
I do live in the place between the twin hills.

Most come and go over these hills.
But, why climb every day to see
cosmos and chaos have a battle of wills.

Stay here one night, and I'll bet you bills
that by tomorrow you, and she and he
and I will live in the place between the twin hills
where cosmos and chaos have their battle of wills.

Talking in Circles

Out the door and
down the hall a phone rings:
To answer, another
rings at the other end of the hall.

Maybe they aren't really
ringing at the same time.
The time distortion could be spreading.

I sit with rippling sound
in cinder block room and
light bending;
time jumps
and skips like a
record player on loose
floor boards, a
CD player with no
digital memory,
a child on
chalk marked
sidewalk.

Or the dual ringing could
be caused by two people
trying to call each other
from somewhere else.

What We Know Today

Those Greeks didn't know
anything about the world.
He wouldn't have fallen
because the wax melted
that held the feathers. No,
it gets colder in the upper
atmosphere the air gets
thinner, the
molecules
spread
out.

But they were so
tied to the earth
with sheep bleating
around them and
horses in
front of
them, helping them
turn
the
earth
it was
only natural for them
to be afraid of what
they couldn't do.
Much easier to
say they shouldn't.

It is natural they would
think he was burned.
They looked at the sun
and felt it burn the backs of their eyes
and the backs of their bodies
that stared stupidly at it.

You Are Still Wrong

We sat there and
got fat together
and I find it amazing
that we didn't notice
it all then:

the sins
of the family
and of sugar
in our blood.

The red and white chicken box
sat between us on the red bench
seat, sliding back and forth.
We tossed the clean
bones into the box in turns.
Sometimes you even broke
them open and sucked out
the brown juice. I wouldn't

You would rage and
yell at the radio, beating
your hard hands against
the defenseless wheel, over
the pains of others:
the unborn, the "persecuted"
believers, the "misunderstood"
protester.

Stretched out and sleeping
on that warm, red bench
my quiet contentment
was a dangerous consent.

But I don't eat chicken skin
anymore. I have grown up now.
I must be much older than
you ever were. The world isn't
as simple as it seemed in the
word of the white
Bible, with the burnt cover,
that you claimed had all
the answers.

Flying Away in Pieces
Cardinal red feet hold
White gray claws that
Click on the pavement.
Black-hole black feathers hide
Dark blue eyes and
Gray white beak.

A man
On that bird filled fountain
Watches the antics of
Black feathers and
Red Feet around his legs.
Smaller
Twittering, flittering birds
Of all the dusty, dirty
Shades in a smog tinted rainbow,
Mostly gray white or
White gray. But spots of red, orange,
Yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet
Peek through
In momentarily soot free zones.

The man, amused with the
Twittering flittering and
Click clicking rips bread
Off the still full roll he
Would have thrown away.

Little beak and little
Wing are barely able to
Snap the bread
Off the table.
Slightly airborne the bird
Wobbles under the weight of
The bread. Other twitters
Dive at the lucky one;
They all hope to win the prize.
A full stomach is a full life.

The man watches intently as the
Bread is knocked to the ground.
Here the black feathers and
Red Feet are able to peck
Quickly at the bread.
The man laughs at such
Selfishness; the bread is theirs now.

As that thought
Clears the man’s mind
And the chuckle leaves
His throat a
Snow white sea bird
With pink toes and
Pink beak swoops
Down while cawing
"It was mine all the time."
On the upward turn
The gull tips his wing to
Scrape the back of the black feathers as
One last snub.

Arcing into the air
The bread bobs down
The inside of the bird’s neck.
The black feathers and
The twittering flittering
Peck here and perch there:
They learned long ago not
To look up and
Wish for what is gone.

Flailing his arms
Against the injustice.
The man tries to shoo away
A twit peddling peace
Of mind through charity,
Hope through a handout.
Unable to dispatch the twit
And unwilling to endure
Beady stares, the man rises to leave it all behind.

At this the birds take offense
And one lands on his nose.
The man snuffs and puffs
To try to blow the little thing away;
He looks like he is trying to
Blow out a candle on his nose.
The bird pecks purposefully at his eyes.
Blind and in pain the man drops to the ground and is
Instantly dived upon by flocks of birds.
He is covered with dirty wings.

The birds quickly do their work and fly
Away. The smooth white bones clatter
To the ground. The only witness the
Snow white sea bird, has a full stomach.
So, he leaves the scene content.

Too Much Info

It is important
to sleep beyond
the morning news shows
or I will be unconsciously

troubled.

They jump cut from people hit by a bus in Israel to a recipe for a rich chocolate drink.

At night, however,
I seek out all the
gory details
in bloody, rotten

sites.

There is a man there with no face just blood running where mouth and nose and cheeks should be.

He didn't wear a
helmet when he sped
down the road on his
cycle. So he is now a red

puddle.

Even in our safety worshipping, life preserving, pain preventing culture the consequences seem excessive.

Boys will be boys.
Some even find it
cool to leave behind
some of themselves,

blood.

Self Loathing Is Useless
(a 3-D poem)

Looking down upon the earth from silver winged flight
at the sweet young women I decide to stay in
air. For I cannot begin to love myself. They
won't appreciate me feel my pain, won't hurt me.

On a Pedestal

We sat together in
back of the class
and we both had
our pens, our eyes
and our arts
on the
same
one.

short sandy blonde hair,
a pretty smiling face,
shiny blue bell bottoms
made from some sort of plastic,
her pink coat over the red plastic chair,
and heavy dark blue sweater hanging
loosely from her shoulders

You sketched her in your notepad.
Ink on paper,
lines that defined her form and her
draping pink coat. A big pocket
like a pink kangaroo skin
and some big, blue buttons visible.

And you focused on her back. That is
what you could see.

I wrote a few notes down about her, and
you, and us and now I sit and transcribe
them into lines of poetry.
Ink on paper,
it creates words and ideas and emotions
and images that capture that moment and
all of us in it.

The only difference is that I can show that the coat was
pink.
Even with black
ink.

A Romantic Stalking

The sidewalks are oddly
marbleized today.
And our foot prints (well,
not really our footprints; no
one goes bare foot any more,
especially in the winter)
from yesterday are recorded
on the concrete in the same
thin, white color as the lines.

And I see yours and mine
and hers and his and all of
theirs (I know they always
travel in a pack). Which is odd, too,
because I sat there, on that
bench all day waiting for
you to pass and maybe I
would say, "Hello."

I knew you wouldn't.

So, you avoided me again, yesterday.
Or maybe fate did it. And
here I sit today, a different bench,
but close, and I stare at one of your
salty footprints interlaced with one of mine,
a white weaving on the walk,
as you pass by.

The Rape of Venice

Like a snow capped peak, it approached.
Reluctantly, the black sharp keel, a knife,
Gliding toward the brick and mortar
Connection between two worlds.

The bulk of the ship being thrust between
The narrow, unpeopled canal topples building,
Bricks and narrow balconies slip into the watery way
Filling in the gap from both sides like zipper teeth closing.

Grunting and straining; spewing forth
Sweet black smoke. Willing reverse,
Ebbing forward. Drawn deeper and deeper downtown;
Causing pain and scars every inch of the way.

The keel grinds against the man-made bridge.
Chunks of rock and cement drop into the water;
The bridge collapses into the canal.
A sigh of passions destroying creations.

Forward progress now is checked; destruction
Done, the force pulling it onward is gone.
Broken paving stones lie in the middle of the canal.
The ship is lodged in the bread basket of the city.

Meat Market

"I want your penis.
No, I really want your penis."

This might be your colloquial
reference to intercourse
but I can't get the picture
of a penis, in a jar, on your
shelf out of my mind.
Peter Piper picked
a peck of pickled peckers?

He doesn't say anything
that I can hear but maybe
he whispers, "I want
your cunt."

On the TV there was
a porn star, who had her
labia trimmed; the little
pieces of flesh were encased
in clear acrylic like worms
in amber. She was
selling it for $100,000/obo.
"Check QVC for a
better bargain."

I think he'll give you what
you want for free,
happily;
consider yourself lucky.

Waiting for the End

Time stutters if you
walk with your fingers in its
nose, pulling it with.
Time sputters if you
sit in front of it tapping
on its head and nose.
Time snickers if you
tickle it with feathers and
beg it to move on.
Time stiffens if you
pull its ears till they are red
and no longer hears.
Time swaggers if you
hold it close as you live and
never let it go.
Time struggles if you
turn away from it to
live in the now.
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