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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Expected Death

As I age, the death of close loved ones
begins to bear more weight.
When I witness the final days of someone
I have known for most of my life,
I feel eternity's presence
in a profound and very real way.

Time slows down just before,
and right after, someone passes.
Life takes on a surreal quality
as we move from death bed
to funeral home to grave side,
with barely a pause for breath

Expected deaths are horrible to experience,
staying the last few days with the dying,
seeing their body struggle instinctively to survive
long after the will to live has passed away

And afterward life
most cruelly
goes on.

After each death
I start playing the
death lottery.
Who will be next?
Will it be me?
Another brother or sister?
A friend, or someone else
I hold most dear?

As I watch my family and friends
being whittled down by time and death,
I can no longer escape the reality
that my own death is getting closer.

That is just the way things are.
Life is incomplete without death.
Time is meaningless unless it passes.
Love is forever only after it
ventures bravely into death's eternity.




Thursday, July 21, 2016

Unheard

How can I call myself a poet
if what I write is never seen?

Unshared.
Unpublished.
Unread.

My poems are mostly still born
living only on my computer
existing only in my balding head.

I have been content
allowing myself to be unheard,
having flattered myself endlessly
as a misunderstood word nerd.

The truth is I am frightened,
afraid my poems will be rejected,
or worse that they are boring
and my poesy disrespected.

Angelou says to trust the universe.
When you put it out there
it finds its way to the persons
most in need.

So that is why I keep trying,
even though no one ever
seems to understand.






Monday, November 02, 2015

Criss-Cross Heart

Fold a paper heart,
it leaves behind a crease.

When you flatten
that paper heart
the crease remains,
a lasting reminder
of the painful fold,
of losing love and
passion gone cold.

Now fold that paper heart
a dozen times or more,
then unfold it yet again
and see creases by the score.

That is the way of life,
of love, and painful losses,
each a crease upon the heart,
each a burden of crosses.

We cannot escape these
creases upon our hearts.
If we live, we are destined
to feel our lives torn apart.

Furrows upon a heart
are like wrinkles on a brain,
they are lessons we have learned
and knowledge we have retained.

So even though my heart is now
battered and scarred from many cuts,
I will hand it over again to new love
and tell myself that it is tough,
and can withstand being folded again.



Sunday, November 01, 2015

Shine But No Substance

It was all shine
and no substance
the love I
felt for you

Glittering on the outside
flat gray underneath
it was wind
without trees
to slow it down

In retrospect
I wonder why
we ever loved at all

Perhaps it was
a young man's love
fueled more by
desire than by
depth of feeling

Even so I have no regrets

What we had was an
experience worth having







Friday, October 30, 2015

Driven by delusion

Perhaps I am wrong,
but I no longer care to be
driven by the delusion
that I make a difference
in the world.

The same ten commandments
that informed the morality
of the ancients are still
equally valid today.
People have not changed
their natures in over
5,000 years of recorded
human history.

Wars.
Hatred.
Murder.
Lying.
Cheating.
Stealing.
Adultery.

These are permanent
human character flaws.

Poverty.
Famine.
Starvation.
Illness.
Refugees.
Innocent children
riven by the
horns of political wars.

These are the facts
of human history
going beyond memory.

I used to think
that the bottle of water I bought,
or the shoes that I wore,
or the money I gave to faceless
charitable organizations would
actually make the world a
better place.

I know better now.
Many charities are profitable only
for the administrators of the organization.
And all socially conscious businesses
are simply marketing their wares
by other means.

So I no longer allow myself
the luxury of delusion
that my small, inconsequential
thoughts, actions or purchases
make a goddamn bit of difference
in this world.

People are as they will always be.
The world is the best that human
beings can make it, given their
perennially flawed behaviors.

Now, I exist moment by moment,
mourning the senseless bloodshed,
witnessing the self-serving political lies,
noticing the religiously self-righteous
who serve up hatred on a golden platter.

If there is an afterlife,
complete with a judgmental god,
I hope to hell that I get a chance
to tattle on all shit I have observed
during my travail in this world.

My revelation is that
long after I am dead,
the world will still be plagued
by wars, murder, hatreds and grief.

But maybe I am wrong.





Thursday, June 25, 2015

The State of Your Heart

What is the state
of your heart?

Has love overtaken,
or has it forsaken
and left you afraid
of a fresh start?

Is your heart in it,
or do you prevent it
from piercing by
Cupid's red dart?

What is the state
of your heart?

Remembering love
is not enough,
but are you ready
for emotion this sharp?

Or is your fear
now so dear
that you refuse to play
upon this angel's harp?

Look long in the mirror
at your own graying face
before you answer or
move from this place.

Kairos passes by quickly
leaving behind remorse
and regret at missed
opportunities.

When lady love bends her
light in your direction,
should you even pause
long enough to wonder?

What is the state
of your heart?

Monday, June 22, 2015

Even If....

Even if love hurts
it is worth it

Love comes with
no guarantees
there are ups and downs
beginnings and endings
falling in love and
pulling ourselves out again

We live
we learn
we love
we burn
bridges back to
places we
no longer
care to go

We laugh
we cry
we give up
we try
and when we
are lucky
very lucky
we even manage
sometimes to
love until we die

But even if
love turns to ashes
even if our hearts
lose their gold
love is always worth it
for the ways in which
it changes our souls


Friday, June 19, 2015

Non-Binary

Until there was you
I never knew
there was another
way of being

You taught me that
my binary world
was a world of
false choices

There are more options
than zeros and ones
blacks and whites
boys and girls

You inhabit a universe
of richly appointed paradox
where male and female abide
in perfect unity within the one
and grammar rules are rendered
meaningless for explaining
the non-binary gendered

You help me remember a time
when God was non-binary
dwelling in the houses of both
the holy mother and father
and the twain were as one

In their own image created God
male and female created them
and humans lived in perfect Eden
the dyad existing as monad
in a non-binary verse
antecedent of any curse




Sunday, June 14, 2015

Velcro ®

Assisted living center,
interior early afternoon,
an old man pauses
while strapping up
his velcro ® strap shoe.

He looks at his wife
of many years
across the room,
and thinks about
their time together,
a long trail of joy, loss
success, failure, fears,
and smiles as she
buttons up her dress.

"You and I are like velcro ®"
he shouts so she can hear.

She gives him the look,
a slight shake of the head,
a shrug, and he understands
without words she is asking
what on earth he means.

"One side is roughed up fabric,"
he says while walking to her side,
the other shoe held in his hand.

"The other side is full of little
hooks, barbs and spears."

He pulls the velcro ® strap
across the top of his shoe,
making a ripping rasping sound.

"Neither side is perfect,"
he says now standing next to her.

"But it is the imperfections that
hold both sides together. It is
the imperfections that cause the
strap to hold and stick."

She looks at him and smiles.

"Our imperfections are what
made us a perfect match for all
these many years, and brought
us to this happy anniversary day."

She leans in and kisses him.

Just then a knock on the door,
their daughter come to drive
them to a celebration of their
decades long love.

The man quickly pulls on
his other shoe and tightens
the velcro ® strap,
then hand in hand they walk
through the door,
the man having
completely forgotten
both of his socks
laying on the floor.




Kissing You

Kissing you
makes me smile
and forget my worries
for a while

The sparkle in
your deep dark eyes
skips my heart
I am hypnotized

Joie de vivre
and fireworks too
all because
I am kissing you


Saturday, June 13, 2015

First Firefly

I saw the first firefly
of the season tonight
and it reminded me of
when you kids would
spend warm summer evenings
laughing loudly and running
through backyards
and lamplight streets
catching fireflies
and making lifelong friends

Holding the glow in your tiny hands
you marveled at how nature created
wondrous and mysterious little
stars that flew on invisible wings
through youthful summer nights

And I marveled at how lucky
I was to have my own little stars
sitting in my lap and laughing at
silly things said and done
and placing tiny hands inside
the hand of their father
who held on to his children
and wished on flying stars
that it would never end


Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Color In My Life

Suddenly
life is filled
with beautiful
new colors

Diversity
of people
new shades
of love

Realization
that my life
has been all
too colorless

Hopeful
that my new
box of crayons
will not break

Exotic
exciting
Aphrodite wearing
caramel skin



Monday, June 08, 2015

Imperfection

Every poem I write is an imperfection
a missed chance to capture
humanity in verse

I try to force myself upon them
but the poems end up going
where it is they will

Often I am more a spectator
than an intentional author
as the poem blooms
and fades according to its kind

By the third or fourth stanza
the poem has taken a life
of its own and I am suddenly
left to follow down garden
paths that have gone to seed

I start out chasing Eden
the perfection of a garden
where all is well and good

Instead I find a pasture
where I must step around
the copious dung piles of
various grazing creatures

In this manner my poetry
portrays an imperfect life
an imperfect mind and
an imperfect perfection

Every poem I write
is an imperfection


Sunday, June 07, 2015

First Kiss, New Lips

First kiss, new lips.
Next chance for new bliss?
Who knows?
God moves in mysterious ways.

Sublime beauty,
a beautiful mind,
so very gracious,
graceful and kind.
Power beyond me
held my hand,
and made me shiver
with just a glance.

How lucky can
one man be,
to hold and angel
and feel her heart beat?

How lucky can
one man be?


Friday, June 05, 2015

Inherited Faith and Amazing Grace

I have spent a life time learning,
a whole life time yearning
to discover the secrets of God.

Immersed in the world's religions,
studying the mystery traditions,
trying to see divinity in a rock.

The further I get from the
Christian faith I inherited,
the more clearly I hear the
words of truth spoken by
the man we call Jesus.

In Buddhist teachings,
one must learn not
to grasp too tightly,
or believe too stridently.

Belief is like a boat,
said the Buddha.
It carries you across
the river of life but
you no longer need the vessel
when you reach the other side.

I have been blessed,
of that I am certain.
How else to explain
the successes I have made?

Those successes only came
after I consciously decided
the move beyond the boundaries
of my inherited faith
and instead chose to rely
on beautiful and most
utterly amazing grace.



Intrusion

You intrude on my life
when I think I am over you
disrupting my balance
wounding me anew

I carefully constrain
the events of my days
making sure there is
no hope of our meeting

But chance intrudes
as do you
when I least expect
and I am shaken asunder
as the love I keep suppressed
like a rumbling volcano
threatens to erupt

Five decades of living
and losing love has never
gotten any easier
nor less hurtful

Still I keep pushing forward
what choice do I have
moving aside the memories
and hoping that today will be
the last day I am bothered
by a coincidental intrusion



Thursday, June 04, 2015

What Does It All Mean?

What I intend
when I compose
my poetry
is far less interesting
than what you
make it mean
when you read it

So don't ask me
what it all means
don't count on me
to have the foggiest clue

Instead ask yourself
what you think it means
and then ask what
the meaning you make
says about you


Condensation

Time condenses on the
glass house that is my life
like water droplets on
a glass of iced tea
sweating on a table
on a hot summer day

The condensation carves
tiny rivulets on my face
leaving behind furrows
and wrinkles that remind
me of past loves
past lies and
all the mistakes I
have made

Still the draft of my life is sweet
honeyed by the essence of
beautiful women I have known
and the beautiful children and
grandchildren I have grown

As time condenses
ever more quickly
and my life drips away
I find pleasure in the
emptying of my glass
and the gradual vacation
of my living vessel

I savor the remaining
drops of life as the sweetest
I have ever swallowed


Thursday, May 28, 2015

God's Bubble Wand

"He who feels punctured must
once have been a bubble."
                           -- Tao Te Ching


God inhales
and blows its breathe
through the fragile
film covered
bubble wand.

From the other side
emerges a perfectly
spherical bubble,
iridescent colors
shimmering on the
surface as it
reflects God's light.

Each bubble is a soul,
floating upon an ether
of love and light,
descending slowly until
it finally bursts,
releasing its inspiration,
the breathe of God.




Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Unchaste Madonna

I sat at the feet of the ancient,
and he proposed to instruct me in all things.

"After an infinite number of eternities," he began,
"the God decided that it no longer wanted to be God."

I nodded.

"But that which is God can never be not God," he continued.

"And so the God decided that it
would simply forget that it was God.
Thus God created the material universe,
wherein the God hides
unrecognized
in myriad and ever-changing manifestations,
forgetting that it is,
itself, composed of the God."

I squinted up at the ancient.
His bald head partially blocked the
bright light of the sun shining behind him.

"Ah, I see," said I.
"Then there is exquisite irony in
the unchaste Madonna singing that
she is a material girl?"

The sun glinted off of his bald head,
as he cocked it, trying to understand my reference.
He didn't get it. Sometimes the ancient does not
keep up with pop culture.
Or perhaps it was just a bad joke.

Said the ancient,
"In all of us there is still an element,
a derivative of the divine,
that makes us to intuit
our own divinity.
Our task is simply to remember
that we are, indeed, children created
from that which is most sublime."

It was my turn to cock my head and squint.
"So, like recovered memories? Only,
I am supposed to remember that I am God?
I can only imagine how that will make
the religiously faithful feel,
those who have devoted their entire lives to worshiping
a being they believe to be outside themselves.
Not to mention, it will be a boon to that whole
recovered memory therapy scam currently
en vogue."

The ancient chuckled and held
his hands up to frame his face.
"Again with the Madonna jokes?" he asked.
"Yes, past lives and former wives
are hard to deal with for a
person who believes the God is radically transcendent,
or someone who believes the entire truth of the God can be
held in a few sacred scriptures and books."

I guess he did get my earlier reference.

"What you are saying is not news to me," I stated.
"I did not need to climb this mountain to hear you
say all of this; for this wisdom you share is well
known in world religious traditions; it is, indeed,
the origin of the word namaste."

The ancient shrugged, which pulled his bald
head down into his shoulders, giving him
the look of a saffron colored tortoise.
"Ah yes," he said. "This is all well-known
territory. This is why papa don't preach."

I smiled.
"We have a real Madonna theme going here," I said.
"How is it you know so much about pop culture,
sitting here high atop your mountain home?"

His weathered face grew solemn.
"The truth is heard in many voices,"
he said. "The god speaks to itself
in wondrous and sundry ways.
I listen whenever I hear the god
reminding itself of its true nature,
whether that voice be in a sacred text,
or through a pop culture icon who challenges
religious pomposity using
the very same religious imagery
that has veered into religious idolatry.
Too often humans begin worshiping
the thing, and not the meaning behind the thing."

I nodded, thinking back to all the times
I had tried to use prayer and religious covenants
as a way to force the god into giving me
my unlimited supply of wishes granted.
How I had worshiped scriptures, and religious rites,
idolized empty crosses and religious bosses
to show that I was worthy of having
my prayers answered. All for naught.

The ancient must have read my mind.
"We all do that to some extent," he said.
"In the face of vast silence and
self-imposed ignorance, we all
grasp at those things that remind us
that there is something more than this."
He motioned at everything around us.
"It is because all of this is a mirror,
reflecting back to us our own divinity."

I knew what he said was true.
I had known this for years,
but refused to believe it
because early religious training
drilled into me that it was dangerous,
even soul killing,
to imagine oneself to be as god.

"Remember what Bill Murray said,"
the ancient insisted.
"If I recall correctly, he said
I am a god, not the god."

My mouth dropped open.
"You are quoting from Groundhog Day?"

The ancient chuckled, and a gleeful
light shone in his eyes.
"Sometimes the mountain top gets
lonely, which is why I had satellite
TV installed a few years ago."

He pointed over his shoulder,
where I noticed a satellite dish
perched at an angle on the mountain.

"Why should that surprise you?"
the ancient queried.
"I referenced a movie that was all about
a man living the same reality over and over
until he finally gets it right,
until he finally remembers all he is
supposed to remember.
Like I said, the god simply chose
to forget that it is the god.
But that which is god can
never be not god.
The god cannot help but,
eventually,
to remember its true nature."

I pondered his words in silence.
Somehow, I always believed that
truth and wisdom could only come
from the ancient scriptures,
the ancient beliefs,
the religions that had existed for
thousands of years.

"If you seek the truth," said the ancient,
"look no further than yourself.
In your heart of hearts, you know,
you recognize, you understand
that within you live the Buddha,
the Prophet, the Messiah,
and all the holy men and women
who spoke the wisdom of the ages."

I nodded, as I felt his words
ringing a truth bell deep within.
"But what about Madonna?" I asked.
"Surely she cannot bring holy truth,
she who some accuse of defiling
the holy symbols of the son?"

He laughed, and his skinny frame
shivered with delight at
the bright sound of his own laughter.
"She is precisely that which brings the truth.
The unchaste Madonna challenges
dry-boned religion that resides only
in the shadow of the valley of death.
She understands that life, in all of
its glorious sensuality and carnal pleasure
is all part and parcel of god discovering god."

I stood, and my knees popped from
sitting cross-legged for too long.
"I never would have guessed that
a wise old monk like you would
turn out to be a Madonna fan,
and a fan of American movies," I said.

The ancient grinned slyly
as he looked up at me.
"Come back to me if
you ever want to talk
about the real meaning
of that song The Crossroads."

I walked down the steep slope
thinking of all that had transpired
over the past few moments.
When I turned back for one last glance,
the hermit monk was no longer there,
but I thought I saw a reflection of myself
shining in the snow as the
sun sank behind the mountain.


On Poets and Endings

"Poets are unhappy people, for, no matter
how high their spirits reach, they will
still be enclosed in an envelope of tears." 

                                  -- Khalil Gibran


When it is done,
it is done.

The mistake is to hang on
to deluded hope,
to dreams of love's return.

Love is like a
wildflower;
once bloomed
the stem survives
but the flower dies,
the barren stalk
a sad reminder
of love's beauty past.

Love wraps its tendrils
around your heart,
the roots digging
deep into your soul.
There they find a
rich reserve of moisture,
released as rain from
your sorrowing eyes.

When it is done,
it is done.

Let it go.

Let it end.

Make friends with
your loneliness.

Make peace with
your pain.



Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Demons of Doubt

I would like to speak
candidly if I may
about those destructive
demons of doubt
that have dogged me
throughout my life.

Critical inner voices
they are sometimes called.
The saboteurs.
Nattering nabobs of negativity
screaming inside a cacophonous
and chattering monkey brain.

By the look on your face
I understand I am not alone
in harboring such voices.
Many of us suffer the same plight,
unheard but listened to lectures
about what we do wrong or right.

Is it a mistake to call them demons?
Perhaps too religious for those
who do not believe in spiritual beings.
They seem more than simple memories,
though, more than collectivized recordings
of past chastisements and pain.

They seem somehow evil, consciously
intent upon tearing me down.
Intervening. Interfering. Frantically
obsessed with preventing me from
attaining the peace of mind that comes
from loving myself as a blessed child of god.

Psychologists and psychiatrists
call it depression,
a term that stigmatizes the patient
and empowers the doctor.
Their answer is simple,
all you need is to take a pill
and chill.

Psyche is the Greek word for soul.
Psychology then is the study of the soul.
Why is it they forget that?
When did they become focused almost
exclusively on pharmacology,
and faltering chemistry of the brain?

For me to perceive them as personal
plaguing and baleful demons of doubt
rings more truly to the experience.

And in so naming them,
I gain power over them.
I call them for what they are,
inner assholes that I no longer
chose to allow inside my brain space.

Thus they are banished from me
for a moment, or for days at a time.
Vanquished, they shriek in their leaving,
and go in search
of an accommodating herd of swine.




Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Forgiveness

"Forgive and forget," I have been told.

"Get over it!" say the gurus of psychobabble
and easy-peasy religionairres.

But it wasn't until I understood their motives
that I truly understood their advice.

Most of us forgive not out of altruism.
Most of us forgive out of a desire to reclaim our lives.

A desire to be no longer trapped by our self-pitying anger,
our self-decaying bitter resentments and boiling hatreds.

In short, we do not forgive
for what it gives the other person,
but for what it gives back to us.
A very selfish reason, indeed.

Those who give the forgive and forget advice,
and the get-over-it boot strap attitude
are motivated by selfish concern more than
their love of others.





Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Holidays Alone

The holidays alone
are not so disheartening
now as they were in the days
immediately following
our divorce

Now they are a familiar meal
and I enjoy their buffet of
discomfiting soulless food

No the holidays alone
are not the thing that
bothers me anymore

Rather it is that
holidays are alone
the only time I
really remember the
loneliness I felt
the entire time we
were married

Armor

I was defeated
on the field of battle
in the war of life
and my enemy bade me
to lay down my shields
my armor and my weapons

In doing so I noticed
I was suddenly much
lighter and more
fleet of foot

It was a freedom
I had forgotten
the freedom of
childhood
the ability to run
unencumbered
through the
fields of life

In this way defeat
turned into victory
and I realized that
my enemy was in
reality the war
I was waging
with myself


Monday, November 11, 2013

Teach My Soul to Sing

Teach my soul to sing
O Lord
The praises of
Your blessed names


Cause my spirit to shine
O Lord
and bring light to
this world's darkened mien

Your presence in this life
O Lord
is as ineffable
as your existential mystery

Yet my faith and my hope
O Lord
are stronger than my
desire for prideful certainty

So teach my soul to sing
O Lord
that I may always
and anon remember

Your divine spark in this world
O Lord
is as a roaring flame
to its white hot ember


My Constant Beauty

Come to me
my constant beauty
my lover
and my friend

I cherish you
as one of god's
divine creations
and hold you
as my most
treasured wealth.

I will love you
as long as breathe
sustains me
and will leave you
with memories of
delights we shared

We are no longer innocents
no longer ignorant of life
and all of its troubled ways


We feel our days dripping
we hear our time ticking
we have tasted the bittersweet
nature of life and passing love

So come to me
my proof of god's favor
hold me now
and feel my love




Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Between a Tear and a Smile

Life happens
in the gap
between a tear
and a smile

Love lives
in the space
between heart ache
and bliss

Ever changing
ever turning
always moving
from beginning
to the end

A mind can change
as quickly as the weather
or as slowly as the seasons

A heart can love
until the very moment
that it stops

In the ringing deafness
after the explosion
the wounded soldier
becomes aware of his
own mortality

In the silent nights
after voluble fights
the lover becomes
aware of his own
contributory faults

Life happens
in the space
between a tear
and a smile

Time stops
in the days
between lost love
and living again

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Tumescence

Morning wood
is not good wood
because it can't do
what good wood should

Lucky me
that at my age
I still can choose
which wood to play

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

When I Try

When I try to be profound
my words most often
have a tinny
hollow sound

When I try to be me
interestingly that is
not what others
seem to perceive

But when I try to just be
ah to just be
that is when I feel
closest to the me
that I believe myself
destined to be

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Blessings for the Road

You are young
and you are married
now and your life is
ahead of you

Together you will
choose the roads
you want to travel
as a couple and
sometimes
on your own

Life will swell
and dip
beneath your feet
as you move forward
in love and laughter

Sometimes the dips will
be so deep you will
feel a tickle in your belly
and you will be on the
edge of being afraid

Other times you will
rise so high it seems
the world is a pearl
far beneath you
as you both sail higher
on wings of love

This is my benediction
my fatherly hopeful prayer
to send you along your way

May all the roads
you follow lead you
to light happy places
and may life always
deliver you both
safely home
wearing bright
happy faces

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Perspective

In my aging years
I found myself alone,
lost in an unfamiliar place
and having wandered
much too far from home.

There, upon a curving and dangerous road,
somewhere in the state of my fifth decade,
my engine stalled and my will went cold.

The path behind me was littered
with burned bridges and broken promises.
The way forward seemed impossible
to determine in the gloaming of my life.

It was then I happened upon an old friend.
Or rather, I should say, he happened upon me.

We sat for a while and made small talk,
caught up on former wives and future weather,
learned about each other's lives,
laughed about my coat made of "pleather."

And then, just as darkness fell
and night was close around,
my old friend took my hand
and asked that we both kneel down.

Such a prayer of thanksgiving,
he prayed with earnestness and fear,
asking for guidance and direction,
protection for all we held dear.

When he finished, he looked me in the eyes,
told me not to worry, said God would hold
and cherish us both for the rest of our lives.

By then dawn was breaking, and the road ahead
suddenly appeared to light, and I awoke to realize
I had been dreaming, my friend long dead
was gone, and I, again alone, with tear filled eyes.

I understood, then, that what I had needed was perspective,
a way of moving forward while also looking back,
and the prayer he prayed was more than suasive,
it was my prayer of complete submission
coming from a place of complete and total lack.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Horse Latitudes

Gone are days of passion
anger and thrill

Now instead are
the Horse Latitudes of
mid-life and beyond

Medical crises
habitualized vices
and a somnolent
ennui that stretches
lonely days out
forever making
me to sleepwalk
through my life

In this quasi dream
state I have visions
of future grand children
and nightmares of
my eventual demise

This is the life
of the living dead
the dry boned
valley of the
shadow of death

Yet there is
also peace

There is also
the reaping
of oats sown
long ago

And time enough
yet to tarry with
my memories
and my satisfaction
over children
well raised

So I lift my
life sail hopefully
and trust that
a final wind will
catch me
as I languish
these days in
Horse Latitudes

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Tw1tterVerse

The poet's verse
is the poet's curse
in this brave new
Tw1tterVerse

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Feeling Zen

When I am
feeling Zen
I wash my dishes
so that I am
reminded of
the sacredness
in every
ordinary moment.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pecan Tree

I am like a pecan tree
and my poems are nuts

Some pecans are full of holes
bored by worms and other things
that hollow out the nut from inside

Other pecans are fully formed
beautifully shaped and
filled with goodness that
is a delight to the tongue
the soul and the body

Likewise some of my poems
are full of holes
drilled by worms of hate
anger self doubt and
fear of rejection

And others are actually
fit for human consumption
hopefully filled with
love emotion and
universal experience

Does the tree ever know
which nuts will grow
or which nuts are
deformed and unfit
for anything but compost

Does the tree even
know that it is nuts
that define what it is

I am a pecan tree
and my poems are nuts
and a tree is alas
known by its fruits

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Role Playing

I have been playing roles my whole life

The forgotten middle child
The obedient and needy son
The stable and reliable Pater Provider
The lover
The unfaithful lover
The rejected and cuckolded husband

Brother
Student
Teacher
Boss

Friend and sometimes
though not by choice
enemy

Late in life I come to the wisdom
that all these roles are not me
but only choices I have made

The choices have seared me
scarred me and given character
to my aging and graying face

Now the end of this journey
is real and growing closer every day

Now is the time for me to determine
and to learn who I really am

To cease being a minor player on this stage
and to live in the truth of this moment
with the authenticity of a poet's heart.

And this frightens me more than any
role I have ever learned to play


Monday, October 01, 2012

Childhood Cheerios and Memories

I just dropped some Cheerios on the floor,
and I flashed back to a time when they were yours,
falling from your high chair, spilling from your bowl,
and you, happy faced, cherishing them like gold.

Sitting in just a diaper, carefully using your little fingers,
you put them one-by-one into your two-toothed mouth.
You slobbered and grinned, the memory still lingers,
you seemed to savor the flavor, but then spat them out.

And there they were, on the tray, some in your hair,
some inside your diaper (not sure how they got there),
you laughed as I cleaned you, pausing to tickle your feet,
said "no" so seriously when I asked if you needed more to eat.

Then, off to the races the moment you hit the ground,
and I chasing after, yelling for you to slow down;
you laughing hysterically, never turning around.

I now understand, it was a metaphor for the rest of our lives,
and soon you both will be wanting husbands and wives,
and I will move ever more slowly as you two are fruitful and multiply.

Who would believe? All of that from a bowl of breakfast cereal?
Memories so fleeting, generating emotions sublime and ethereal.

I wonder and marvel at this thing we call "time,"
how it causes children to age at near the speed of light.

How, today, I am the one digesting memories and dropping food on the floor.


Sunday, September 30, 2012

Tree of Life

No matter how high a tree may grow,
it can never touch the sun.
Yearn though it will, strive how it might,
it can never reach that golden height.

God planted the tree of life in His garden,
firmly rooted upon this good earth.
We are the fruit borne of that tree of life,
grown in the beautiful garden of God's delight.

We, too, yearn for the heavens,
offering our sincere prayers to the sky.
We, too, struggle to reach that light,
to move from shadow into God's sight.

Like apples, sometimes we fall quickly,
smashing down with a rock hard thud.
Or like leaves, we take momentary flight,
twirling gently down into God's good night.

Either way we can never fully attain
the elevation needed to rise above the stain,
we are the bruised fruit of this worldly life,
and our children, our seeds, inherit our blight.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

A Shade of Love

I see a dark shape pass quickly by,
just a glimpse from the corner of my eye,
but when I turn to face the open door,
I see nothing but my shadow upon the floor.

Still, a cold shiver bumps up my skin
as I wonder why it happened again,
this feeling that it is you,
or, rather, your love's shade,
that frequently visits me
in this discomfiting way.

My father, my mother,
my sister, my brother
-- all of whom now soar
on ethereal wings --
any of them, I ponder?
Could they be visiting me
from their new home up yonder?

But I know that isn't true.
In heaven, I am sure
there are better things to do
than to visit again this baleful earth,
or to pine for love left behind,
here inside this painful curse.

No, it is certain that if I am haunted
by the wight of a love that once I vaunted,
then that shade of love is certainly yours,
so why, damned ghost, be so demure?

Out from the shadows, out from the heart,
you shade of love hidden there in the dark.
Out of my life, and out of my mind,
quit stealing my joy, quit robbing me blind.

Leave me alone now, you dreadful ghost,
and rest in peace, you whom I loved the most.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Carry The Present

Multiply your future happiness,
add in a few more years,
remember to carry the present,
subtract time for past tears,
and then you have a tally,
the mathematics of being here.

Shoulder your current burdens,
lift them up and soldier on,
remember, too, carry the present,
the gift of God's love here and yon.
To bear the yoke and heaven's rein,
carry the present ever and anon.

We are repeaters of heavenly powers,
receivers of signals, like radio towers
we carry the present will of God,
we transmit His invisible thought abroad,
in our thoughts, our actions, and our prayers,
we make this present reality from His rarified air.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Saturday, September 29, 2012

How Question Mark

How often do I think of you?
As often as one plus one is two;
Whenever the sunny sky is blue;
That's how often I think of you.

How much do I wish for you?
Every time a star shines through;
Every time the grass makes dew;
That's how much I wish for you.

How long will I wait for you?
Until the end of days is through;
Until my name upon cold granite is hewn;
That's how long I will wait for you.

How often? How much? How long?
Until my heart is dead and gone.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Interstice

Truth often shines brightest from the interstice,
that unconscious space between
purposive thoughts when, unguarded,
a flash of intuition gives us an unobstructed
view of our truest selves.

Unvarnished, unflattering, undeniable,
like drunken words uttered late at night
to a lover for whom the heart has grown cold,
the truth of ourselves is hard to touch,
hurtful to hear, impossible to escape.

Judge not lest ye be judged,
an unrelentingly hard way to compose a life,
but the truth of those words
never shines brighter than when
we see ourselves through the interstice,
perceiving ourselves through God's fingers
spread across His disappointed face.

Let not the narrow spaces be a discomfort,
take joy in the fact that truth
intercedes so sparingly into ordinary life.
More frequently, and our spirits would be crushed.
More brightly, and our souls would be scorched
by the heat of unprotected truth.

God's gift may be His decision to give us His
truth in poisonous little drops that we can endure,
and which we can only receive through the interstice.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

Craving What You Cannot Have

Type two diabetes is a death sentence
for the way you used to live your life.
Suddenly the sweet things you loved to eat
are no longer a part of your diet.

So you change. You adapt.
You learn to accept that bland
food, and aspertame after taste,
are all that you have left
to look forward to for
the rest of your ever loving life.

But you never stop craving
the things you can't have.

In a lot of ways, it is
like my love for you.

No longer available,
no longer good for me,
no longer a pleasure to
anticipate and enjoy.

Saccharine sweet, you were,
but your love left me with a
very bitter after taste.
Had I indulged you further,
it would have been the death of me.

And still, I find myself
craving what I cannot have.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Buddha Cookie

The Buddha says I can search the universe
and still never find someone who deserves my
love as much as me.

The cookie fortune I have in my office
tells me "Love yourself first and
everything else falls into line."

Buddha
and the fortune cookie company
are conspiring to send me
a message.

If only loving myself
was as easy as eating
a Buddha cookie.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Homesick

I have always been homesick.

When I was seven, I went to stay with cousins
in a town one hundred miles from home.
I missed my family so much that I believed
I could walk that distance completely on my own.

By the time they found me, I was miles away,
walking fast, purposeful and strong;
and though I was tired, scared and hungry,
I was determined to journey on.

That stubborn lonely child within still exists;
after a life of more than half a century,
the urge to journey home continues to persist.

Now most of my loved ones have a different home,
a place of eternal light and blessed peace,
where time and distance have no meaning,
and pain is no longer a tree within reach.

I am grown homesick to see them all again.
Homesick, too, for the father I have yet to meet.
I am weary of a world gone seemingly insane,
so ready for this long strange journey to be complete.

There are days when I can hear heavensong
playing somewhere inside my heart,
and I feel a deep thrill of anticipation as
I wonder when it will be my turn to depart.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Sometimes Love

Sometimes love is a lie we tell ourselves
so that we can do whatever it is we want to do.

The heart, the mind, the soul in time
all conspiring with the will to believe it is true.

But love fades, it rips and trades,
bartering old love for a taste of new.

It cheats and cries with crocodile eyes
and takes a toothsome bite out of you.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Old Geezer

Wheelchair maniac.
One arm,
one leg,
mangled in a war --
aren't all forgotten heroes? --
left to rot in a place
that no longer
felt like a home.

Geezer taught me
the secrets of a trade
he called living.
When I listened,
I knew --
he was telling me
the truth.

It wasn't friendship.
I was always afraid of him.
More like morbid curiosity,
and the old man's need
to share.

He told me
one day
that he was dying.
I didn't care.
I was young,
and his rotten floor
was creaking.
That was more
concern to me.

He said:
"Boy,"
Creeee
"you'll understand some day,"
eeeeeaaaaaaaa
"I been trying
to help you see."
aaaaaaaaakkkkkkkk.

The next day
he was gone.

I don't miss Geezer.
Didn't really like him
that well.

Now his words
make sense
though.
I wish
I had listened
more.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Let Me Kiss You

Let me kiss you
in all of your secret places.
Let me see the hidden beauty
that you have kept locked away.

Let me caress you
and see all of your faces,
the ones that sadness and passion
contort at the end of the day.

Let me hold you
in darkness and in the day,
let me love and kiss you
those times your mood turns fey.

Let me delight you
with the loving touch you desire,
let me stand and fight for you
those dragons that threaten
to lock you away
like golden treasure in a lair.

Let me kiss you
in all of your secret places,
and let me miss you
every minute you cannot stay.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

The Blame

If I take it all,
the blame, the responsibility,
the shame, the inability
to change,
will you be satisfied?

If I agree that it wasn't you,
but always and only me
who could not clearly see
what a treasure you are,
may I be forgiven?

No, I thought not.
Because we both know
it is not true. We both
know that it was you
who abandoned our love.

Nothing I can say or do
will ever change or ring true
all the lies I gladly ate for you.

I was never mentally fit to play
the games you strung out day by day,
nor, now, to believe a single word you say.

In the end, though, I take it all,
I accept the blame for our love that fall,
that autumn breeze that blew my heart
skittering like a leaf down a road in the dark.

It was my decision, it is my fault
that our love now lies in a granite vault,
waiting and hoping for resurrection day.

It was my wrong, it is my sin and shame
that goad me now into accepting blame
for finally having the courage to walk away.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Friday, August 10, 2012

Moorings

The human heart
yearns for security,
to be moored
to other human hearts
in love and predictability.

But ropes that secure
also can become the
ties that restrict and bind.

Hoping for forever,
lashing ourselves
one to another,
we succumb to
the inevitability of
resentment caused
by our very moorings.

When the ocean swell
of life crests beneath us,
when the ebb and flow,
the tide of love,
stretches the rope of our patience
so tightly that it finally snaps,
we feel remorse instead
of feeling loved and secure.

The human heart
is a fickle thing.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Sunday, May 06, 2012

An Unmanly Man Swept Away

An unmanly man.
Surely that must be
what I am.

For I weep with impotent sorrow
at my wasted tomorrows,
and for the love that
I so cavalierly threw away.

I cry about my losses,
my over-demanding bosses,
and for loved ones who
have all passed away.

I sit amongst the ashes
of once thrilling passions,
and ponder how gold
can so easily burn away.

For days upon end
I worry heaven with lament
over mistakes and decisions
that frittered my life away.

For years upon years
I have prayed through tears
as my children matured
and then finally moved away.

Yes, an unmanly man,
that's what I am,
for savoring the sadness,
and bemoaning the madness,
of a life spent upon this stage and
now being hurriedly swept away.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Friday, May 04, 2012

Love Is Not Enough

Love is not enough
to stop the tide of change.
Love can do nothing
to bring love home again.

Time is a cruel mistress,
her ravages mark and maim,
she squeezes love drop by drop,
leaves you bereft and drained.

Love is not enough
to defy the angel death,
to conquer sheol's cold grip,
or buy you one more breath.

The grave holds all power
over love's feeble strength,
and death is even welcome
when love was just a minx.

Love is not enough,
and this we know through pain.
Love can do absolutely nothing
to coax love home again.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Friday, April 20, 2012

Just Like You

You claimed I did not understand you,
but you left because you know I do.

I know every nuance of your sickness,
how you crave and need your next thrill,
the power of being so much wanted,
the excuse that it is because you are ill.

There was danger in your great passion,
there were tears when you were ashamed,
when you knew that you were repeating
the same pattern again, again and again.

Too many times, now, to remember,
and that only adds to your remorse;
layer upon layer of regret and sadness,
leading inexorably to a bitter divorce.

You claimed I did not understand you,
but you left because you sensed that I do.

When at last I sought to interdict,
and coax you, in honesty, to confess,
that is when your resolve faltered,
the very next day is when you left.

You claimed it was because you love me,
said I deserved to have the very best,
and with you love would not matter,
said your leaving was at God's behest.

Of course I understood that you were lying,
I know the need to be both victim and savior,
the truth is your next thrill was waiting,
your next conquest, your latest flavor.

You told me I did not understand you;
the more frightening truth is, you know that I do.
And had your courage allowed the asking,
you would have learned that I, once, was just like you.

So you claimed I did not understand you,
but you left because you know damn well, I do.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Transistors

We all can do it.
There's really nothing to it.
We all were created for one reason alone,
to be the aperature through which God flows.

It does not require that you try, or even believe;
you don't need faith, although that is a key.
You are the faucet of God's great love,
releasing it slowly to prevent a great flood.

God's love is power, radiant energy unbound,
too much at once, and the world might drown;
so God created regulators to control the release,
individual transistors to tamp down the heat.

We are the transfer medium that manifests love,
we control miracles flowing down from above.
Just like a transistor, we are an energy gate,
transmitting God's power as either love, or hate.

The secret is that there is no secret;
plant an acorn and see what tree you get;
it is our nature, the reason for our creation,
we cannot deny or prevent our participation.

Nor should we let ourselves become deluded,
we are not ourselves God, but the path that He uses.
Just like the oak cannot claim to be the whole earth,
we do not own divinity; we cannot hold it in our purse.

Miraculous power, however, we can and do wield,
like planting a seed in a vast, fertile field,
that to which we give our heart and our desire
is that which will manifest 'ere we expire.

The prophet named Jesus said it the best,
the kingdom is inside you, at your behest,
and neither dogma nor doctrine can explain or delay
the mystery of God's children, His power relay.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

If I Could

I would heal you if I could,
take away the pain you feel
and give you blessed peace.

If I could.

I would defend your honor,
so that you would no longer
feel shame for past indiscretions.

If I could, I would.

God knows, I have prayed for you,
laying in my bed in the dark,
speaking your name to His heart,
asking him to grant you all you need.

I would give it all to you, if I could.

If only I could.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Legacy of Ayn

To rise so high,
and yet feel so low,
that is the curse of
life in this modern world.

To have so much,
yet possess so little,
that is the plight
facing us all today.

We live surrounded
by surplus and wealth,
yet so little of it can
nourish us in our souls.

We are content to allow
injustice in the world,
as long as our square acre
goes unmolested.

We turn a blind eye as
the privileged claim to be the pious,
and the poor are expected
only to nod their self-hating assent.

If I were a courageous man
I would clamor for revolution,
I would breach the walls of Sodom,
and break Gomorrah's foundation.

If I were a holy man,
I would pray for God's justice
to roll down from heaven
like waters across a plain.

But I am neither.
I am a modern man,
living a life of quiet desperation,
satisfied to see others suffer
while stuffing my overfed maw.

The prophetess who denied God,
Ayn Rand, the darling of those
who call themselves conservative,
and Christian,
would see the poor mown down like grass.

She would overturn a religion of compassion
founded upon the sacrifice of a son.

Her legacy is this modern world,
this unjust economy,
this empty soul,
this collapsing nation,
and this modern man.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Monday, February 06, 2012

Apt Metaphor

You are like heroin.
No wait, that isn't good.
You are like fine bourbon,
aged in oaken barrel wood.

Well, that isn't good either;
and the fact is, you are neither.
You are the woman that I love,
and not some facsimile thereof.

I wanted to write you a Valentine,
a smoochy, kissy I love you,
but I can't find an apt metaphor
that says it like I want it to.

How does one convey eternity?
Or love that flows beyond measure?
Can it be reduced to trite cliche?
Would chocolate love be your pleasure?

Wait, that last thing could be taken wrong.
What I meant was, I am as sweet as candy.
Oh hell, this love poem is getting sketchy,
and I'm coming off as namby pamby.

Look, it's simple, so I'll just come right out and say it,
your body is like a song, and I really want to play it.
You are the one for whom my heart most yearns,
your love is the axis about which my whole world turns.

Okay, so I admit it, this poem is a complete disaster.
Still, I think you get the gist of what I'm going after.
So how about it? Is it possible that you will be mine?
Will you hold me, and love me, and be my kissy kissy Valentine?

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Demon's Voice

You called me the other night
and you were dead, stinking drunk.

Every other word was a curse word
as you heaped abuse upon the world,
while I only listened and prayed.

Your voice was dark and growling.

You said you had a cold.
"A fucking bad cold,"
you called it.

But I think it was the demon's voice,
the distilled spirit that now vies
for your soul.

Until that night I held hope for you;
believed that you could give up
drinking and start living life again.

Before that night I doubted
the existence of demons,
the kind that torment
lost and empty souls.

But that night, I heard a demon's voice
coming from someone that I love,
and I realized that you are now
in God's hands, and He alone can save you.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012

Comma

Four siblings and then, one.

And I was the comma.

Two older boys,
two older sisters,
me and baby brother.

Hand me down toys,
hand me down clothes,
and a neurotic mother.

Small wonder, then,
that I was lost in the bustle,
a little half-Mexican boy
overlooked in all the shuffle.

Always coats and shoes,
never going without food
they did the very best they could
with an overweening brood.

Still, to feel an after thought,
as though you do not matter,
it can warp a young child's mind
into damn near a mad hatter.

Six kids and a former POW for a father,
a controlling mother who was a complex martyr,
slugs in the kitchen and roaches in the larder;
these explain why, for me, joy is so much harder.

Now mostly dead and gone,
they are ghosts who care no longer,
and yet the I, the comma, still remain,
pausing breath and blowing stronger.

© Francisco G. Rodriquez, 2012