I’m not one to believe in Plato’s plenitude,
that there is a fullness that aches to be so
and all possibilities must and will become real
with time a self-contained, single story
moving from point A to point B with no Z
and everything is as it should be and this
is the hero’s story we call history where
every mother’s cry for child lost is akin to
the happenstance of a good parking spot,
longing and impatience are virtueless,
love is shortsighted selfishness which is
but a cheap imitation that mocks us
and every accident is only so to those
who aren’t God and therefore don’t know
these are the mistakes we call life
for which we must ask forgiveness.
Finding little worth fighting and little worth life
leaves heroes undiscovered and thus unsung.
Cautionary grace notable amidst strife,
languishes anon with venom stung.
Ignorant to fault, unknown whom;
blithely ashamed, subsist entomb.
Finding little worth life and worth fighting for
leaves idols disguised and easy to ignore.
Whence will they rise and might they appear;
what the occasion and for whom will they ride?
Preferring paladins whom we may revere
charging opportune our reprieve to provide.
Grand their entrance, hastily depart;
hurried the glory, thankless heart.
Whence might they show, when will they arise
whom will they rescue and what the surprise?
Pretenders needn’t apply nor propose a name,
no compensation and not a single holiday.
Reference unnecessary, experience the same,
recompense a single and collective hooray.
Fleeting is glory, blazing abright;
modest the way, countenance contrite.
Pretenders resign and willingly profane;
little appreciated and splendor’s shame.
Grandeur appropriate and fit for these times
must go begging and decline its excellence.
Serving the character of accomplished climes
demands mean customs befitting indulgence.
None the better, all assonant;
shun the single, solely temperate.
Grandeur suitable and easily held
meager in merit and plainly felled.
History of Sin
History a tale of fallen’s friends
giving account of what had to be,
fixed by a sovereign who sees the end
saddled with a desire to be free;
lost to be found, but only through Rome
intrude on our lust, our passion, home,
named ex opere – the lusty lie
sprinkle the babies lest they all die;
create the fright, threaten what’s scary
touch our babes, but still necessary,
triumph assured, all wars justified
feelings condemned not capitalized.
Who erred that all are born this way
simply answered, we all come astray,
it’s sin, not hunger, that babies cry,
and not biology why we all must die.
Ode Not to Dying
In this verse no one will die
no one is sick or will grieve
it’s not that everyone’s blissful
for that would be a silly lie
but we could use a reprieve
from the funereal hymnal.
This could be about life or joy
pleasant parks, a May flower
yet some don’t love Spring
allergies and rain may annoy
for some it’s love turned sour
or that they’re denied a ring.
Can-do bravery is pleasing
psalms of life, into the valley
when others perish bravely
we’re moved to day seizing
coup de grâce to de foudre
lifely lived, lively not gravely.
But I’m Irish – death’s our theme
the grave the cradle’s twin
gentle Lady silenced by Joyce
Heanley’s Naturalist midstream
Yeats killed off Paddy Flynn
Wilde at the grave’s lost voice.
But I’ve promised no decay
disease, mortality or demise
instead we’ll think of the morn
and life as a grand parfait
beauty we will not despise
nor emote so as to mourn.
So here is the happy end
ever after, fondly, cheerful
hoping you feel better with this
and sleep better, life commend
laughing instead of tearful
and not dying (today) is bliss.
Then there is the miracle
when death is itself done in
but how often does that occur;
hope is fine, gullibility satirical
and none escapes original sin
for death one may not defer.
There is a pear tree
shrouding the yard of
an abandoned house in
old Aurora, hiding the porch
now warped and columns
peeling layers of paint to
expose once bright but now
faded pastels of pleasant days
when a swing swung with
happy children and this was
home; in the autumn now this
tree has heavy boughs
threatening, warped and
neglected, as unpicked fruit falls
with dead thuds, breaks under-
foot and rots in the noon sun
yielding a sickeningly sweet odor,
and bees dance over the
inedible decay of this autumn.
A How-To of Life
Since everyone is in the business
of giving advice—even advice about advice,
I thought I’d take my turn because
if no one listens to the advice of others
then why shouldn’t mine be ignored too.
Go to school, if you can, but don’t
try to enjoy tests or group projects with
people who never do their part
of the work, and don’t expect professors
to understand how ‘she’ didn’t do the work
because that’s the point of group projects.
Stop telling yourself that Bill Gates and
Steve Jobs dropped out of school and still
became billionaires, because you’re not
Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, unless you are
someone that special, then ignore this
advice because if they didn’t there would
have been no Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.
If there are leaves on the sidewalk
then shuffle your feet and even
kick some into the air and remember
the sound of their crunch and the
colors because soon they’ll rot and stain
and be hidden under snow and frustration.
When driving be sure to wave in
kindness when a stranger lets you merge
or even if you’re trying to merge and
no one seems to want to let you
because a sincere wave is more effective
than a turn signal just like being nice is
more effective than giving them the finger
Everyone likes to be told they’re special
even if it’s a logical tautology to say
that everyone is special so no one is
special, like the ‘no two snowflakes
are identical’ is also a lie but that doesn’t
stop us from liking to be told we’re special.
Stop running or walking long enough
to feel the breeze and try to enjoy it
especially if it smells like chocolate because
there are no calories in air and it could
smell so much worse than chocolate
and often does.
While we’re on the topic of smells,
always stop to smell a clean baby,
right after its bath but before it
reverts to its natural state, but
don’t be creepy about it and the only
a nice person, so be a nice person.
A Wilderness Called Home
Most just stay put, where they began,
through no choice of their own,
except to stay of course, an accident
of birth and even that seems consolation
enough to sleep each night and rise
each morning without wandering,
calling it home; sometimes it’s war that
makes you move, but not here – our war
is for money, for a living, for a life; those
are the only movers today, no more
nomads, vagabonds or hobo’s riding the
rails, driven by the voice of God
even, to live in tents or tenements,
looking for something. anything better,
which is to say, just a little more than
now; there are those brave souls who
leave just to leave, some out of adventure
but most from desperation, escaping what
hurts too much to stay near because
the world’s a wilderness, unless home is.
God Bless the Dust
God bless the dust hiding
under my couch, my chair,
my bed, behind my dresser
and end table both solid
to view and hiding decay
from you, but I know dust
has returned and always
will, swept and washed
simply to clear a way
for carbon’s inevitable
epiphany’s undoing of
all that wishes to live
and therefore must be
ready to die; God bless
mother’s wishing to be,
grandma’s praying their
own to safety and peace,
those who protect, heal,
bind up and care along
the way of return to hide
under my couch, my chair,
my bed which I kneel
beside trying to learn
life’s bold humility in
the way of dust’s return.
Today is Just a Page
The marks have no moral,
they know no stories,
nor me or mine,
no memories surfacing
in the quiet of the day’s ebb
haunting and mocking what can’t
be changed by dreams,
they are carried along
as the wave of the page turns slowly
to the next leaving anyone
reading to wonder
who writes this way,
not how but why;
and the way the words go
becomes a prophecy
because it is a path
leading to another nowhere
ready to mean something,
to be noticed
and maybe even remembered
enough to justify
a child’s plea to read it again,
again, again, and again.