August 16, 2017

LOVE IS MORE THAN ALL THAT

LOVE IS MORE THAN ALL THAT

Papa always said that love was action, not words.
We could carry banners, scream love at another’s heart,
But without a promise to keep that love alive
it was a waste of time, a game to play, a lie
doomed to hit rock bottom, a brick wall, shrivel up
and die. Of course, I found his little speech a laugh.
I loved Helen Steubel. She had a pretty face,
red hair, and said so sweetly how she loved me.
We were both ten. Ten years old and certain our love
would never end. It did. On Valentine’s Day, no less.
Helen gave all the boys in 5B an I-love-you card.


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August 15, 2017

ZENDEL WAITS OUT THE NIGHT

ZENDEL WAITS OUT THE NIGHT
[Based on Art by – Ooberxandxdavie6]

Somewhere in the far-off mountains,
hiding in crevice or dark cave,
Zendel waits out the Martian night.
Beneath the two moons of Phobos
and Deimos, he fights against sleep
where ogres crouch waiting to kill.
No one and nothing can save him.
He imagines his mother
high on the branch of a burned-out
wood, searching, begging the Martian gods
to command the rigid mountains:
“Release Zendel! Release the boy!”
When dawn breaks across the Martian sky,
mother and son trek towards home.


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MOUNTAINS CRUMBLE NEVER ASKING WHY

MOUNTAINS CRUMBLE
NEVER ASKING WHY

We live each day and hope it’s not too late
to complete what’s expected of our fate.

We fear ill-mannered Death will come too soon
and steal us from our noble half-done task:
our best work unfinished, left in ruins.

How foolish to question our last day,
when mountains crumble, never asking why.
Are we humans not less mighty than they?
All creation in proper time will die.

Let’s live our lives as if today’s our last.
Consider life the time from sun to moon.
Start living in the moment.  Don’t delay.
Open our hearts to kindness.  At least try
to fill the hours with good.  Time won’t wait.


                           #

FIVE 17-SYLLABLE SEE-IT POEMS

 FIVE 17-SYLLABLE SEE-IT POEMS

1
Left or right?
Bright star or empty palm?
Behind your back a change of hands.

2
Thomas wasn’t there to see it.
He needed proof.
Then faith gave new eyes.

3
What the blind man sees
with wisdom, those with sight
cannot identify.

4
In placid waters
your reflection stares back at you.
Which face is true?

5
The child sees a herd of stallions
stampede across the sky.
We see only jumbled clouds.


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August 14, 2017

DESPITE UPS AND DOWNS

DESPITE UPS AND DOWNS
 If we could just embed into life’s stumbling stones 
some polished rock to soften the gait we walk, 
we could press on without footstep fears of toppling.
Some insist it’s only natural to look down,

forewarned is forearmed, but left out of this maxim

is the false notion life is perfect, without grit,

smooth as gems, in no way malformed, not at all

the labyrinthine journey that despite ups and downs,

we feign is a joyride of amusement.

The hour is late. Make the best of it.


 #

MY COMIC BOOK HERO


MY COMIC BOOK HERO

Plastic Man never opened doors
nor took the stairs to save his life.
He slithered like a red yellow snake.
In his dark shades, he could see crime
playing out everywhere, his arms
and legs, long and deceptively
thin, stretching far to make things right.
He was my hero in those days,
an elastic man of justice
who showed us kids crime did not pay.
Batman had his sidekick Robin,
Superman, a body of steel,
Flash, here and gone, too quick to pin down,
but I was skin-and-bones boy;
he was the man of plastic,
the mystery man who could stretch,
shrink and bend: the hero of my early days.


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MATERIAL ILLUSION


MATERIAL ILLUSION

Cook-monks in Tibet
meditate in stillness
so they might hear
the whispering of their souls.

Real life on the Earthly plane
is all illusion, a dream
short-lived, marked
by fleeing time.

Dark world of shadows,
thick sorrows, wounded hearts––
all but twinklings of the eye,
so say, sotto voce, the souls.

Eternal life does not begin
when the physical body dies.
It is forever eternal.

Light the candles,
the cook-monks say,
so troubled souls will be guided
towards the Light

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August 12, 2017

FLASHBACK

FLASHBACK

Before you came into my life
I lived in a dark box without windows
or doors, the four walls absent of color,
graffitied with gray monsters and demons,
battling for my mind and soul.

Neither vied for my heart, a pincushion
for life’s sharp arrows of unrequited love.
Drenched in blood and hardly beating,
it ebbed away like a river from shore,
content to die beneath a pall of sorrow.

Then you came along, an answer
to prayer, and the dark box opened it door,
windows appeared to show me the sunlight,
and the walls once ugly were now clean.
The demons and monsters all flew away.

When you came along, this heart leaped for joy.
Somehow, I knew your love would save me.
We would see flowers spring from our years
and love, this time true, would never die.
When you came along, life was worth living.


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August 11, 2017

REAP OR WEEP

REAP OR WEEP

Seeds of faith sown in fertile fields
of heart bear much fruit if the farmer
tends to his labors judiciously,
regards each seed a newborn world
where graces thrive in Light brighter
than the sun. Will the farmer reap
or weep? Will he refuse to plant
for a bountiful harvest or
take to shovel and hoe and sow
the heart fields thirsty and hungry
for new beginnings?


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August 9, 2017

FIVE 17-SYLLABLE STRAIGHT-LINE POEMS

FIVE 17-SYLLABLE
STRAIGHT-LINE POEMS

1
He swore to go straight.
Armed robbery had him back
on prison-food lines.

2
The distance between
two diverse points?
The zigzag of the dragonfly.

3
On the corner of
Straight and Narrow,
think first before you cross the street.

4
Drunk or sober,
still he managed
to walk the straight line
without stumbling.

5
Though he could not draw
a straight line,
he painted curvaceous
young ladies.


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August 7, 2017

THE HIDDEN WE COLLECT


THE HIDDEN WE COLLECT

Reactive life's situations,
we wield our pen or brush to create art
imitating reality. We probe
the depths. We excavate jeweled gains
from layers of thoughts. We search Artistic
finery, the hidden feelings we collect
from the puissant jaws of suppressed fictions.
We dive into hormonal streams, scooping
what we can of figments naughty and decent.
On canvas or screen we feverishly
create art before it dissipates
into wisps of haze like sprites disappearing.


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August 6, 2017

WHO AM I OUT THERE?

          WHO AM I OUT THERE?

          To the child of nine, the future loomed
          large as life unlived, scenes through a dark glass,
          a treasure chest of the yet not done.
         Who am I out there in the misty fog?
         How will I mesh into the unseen years?
         For inspiration, I look to the skies,
         deciphered cloud formations in search of
         me: flying ace in the fluffy cabin
         of a fighter plane, an attorney in court,
         a Catholic priest in the army of Christ.
        All these aspirations from which to choose,
        all these spokes in the wheel of my future,
        each road to trod on the map of my life.
       Who am I there in the murk of tomorrow?
       Years shape to clarity a man with a pen
       with stories to tell, a scribbler of poems,
       a writer turning over sinister plots
       and humorous tales Grandpa said would make them laugh.


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CRYSTAL CITY

CRYSTAL CITY

sometimes down the streets of dream
I see you heading towards Crystal City
where the sun doesn't need to shine
nor moon to illuminate dark nights

I watch the way you hesitate
pause in your resolve to reach the gates
turning around to see if I am following you
if I have remembered my promises

I know this goes on while we both sleep
that the city of bright lights is far away
years and years into the opaque future
but the promises I made remain true

this life is like a shedding skin
a tattered coat no longer fitting
it's what we both will leave behind
when the dream goes on in Crystal City


                           #

August 2, 2017

SECRETS, LIES, AND GOSSIP


SECRETS, LIES, AND GOSSIP
[based on the painting “Man in the Wall” by Matteo Pugliese]

Stare all day until the orange ball drops behind the horizon. Then stare through the darkness, the light of the moon over your shoulder, but you will not detect eyewitness proof that the walls have ears. Painted white or ornately dotted with fleurs-de-lis or papered with Parisian scenes of rain spearing the parasols of stately madams scurrying to reach the comfort of home.

You will not see those ears hiding in the wall space, in the fiberglass insulation, beyond the human eye.

Some insist to believe in listening walls is harebrained and certifiably inane. Others ask, “What are the walls recording in their plasterboard heads? The hushed words we say in bed at night? The lies? The vicious gossip to murder a reputation in effigy? Secrets we may voice aloud to ourselves on the brink of sleep or in the chasms of dreams?”

Are these walled-in prisoners with their sacks filled with all they have heard, bursting to escape from claustrophobia’s mighty grip?”

Siamese kitten
sniffs for sounds at bedroom walls--
all those stolen words!


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August 1, 2017

HOW MANY DIGITS AM I HOLDING UP?

HOW MANY DIGITS
AM I HOLDING UP?

I got left behind somewhere in ages
past when the word “digital” flexed its hand,
and retrained fingers from typing to texting,
banging keys to softly tapping tiny pads
with clumsy fingertips spelling out words
truncated, misspelled, loaded with acronyms,
all slaps in the verbal face of language.

For a fellow who in grammar school
counted on his fingers, they don’t come more
unenlightened than I do. I shun
the smartphone, the cell phone, the vapid pass-times
that keep many folks downcast, hypnotized,
lacking social skills of one-on-one,
person to person, in-your-face chats.

I prefer authentic exchanges of laughter,
not today’s tap of “ha ha ha” or LOL(aughs),
a prelude to wordless mind-reading holograms.
Ages come and go. Progress reaches
its dead-end time like the ice age when
once more we begin counting on our hands.


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FIVE 17-SYLLABLE LILY-CLOUD POEMS

    FIVE 17-SYLLABLE
        LILY-CLOUD POEMS

       1
       I never touched a cloud
       though in aspirations
       I stretched up my hand.

      2
      From my window seat on the plane,
      clouds ride by and softly
      swallow us.

      3
      Lilies grow in your garden;
      clouds fill the sky.
      Do they share soft secrets?

     4
     God clothes the lilies
     of the field
     in the soft raiment of giant clouds.

      5
      mesmerized by their sway,
      I envy their camaraderie
      with the wind.

      #