Life’s a Stage…

StageIf life’s a stage, then I am sitting in the audience
toward the back on the left side, wondering
when the intermission will begin and if
there will be enough time to go to the bathroom,
and maybe get something to eat but the play
just keeps going and going without stop
and here I am, fidgeting and squirming
and praying for the end until I remember
this is life and I want to see what happens next.

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Come to an End

All things come to an end
this is the way of the living,
the happy and the dying;
the fight itself is noble, yet
will be lost, defiance is
to rage and flail and fail,
ignorance is to toddle,
immaturely, in darkness
in blind, avoiding hope,
sadness is surrender,
futility begets sorrow,
censure yields mockery
but eulogy is salvation for
it gives the end to all things
and all things come to an end.

As a Door…

DoorLaziness is unloved,
it’s beauty found in restraint,
rhythm of hinges living in axis

a door mocked by wisdom
tainted by a sluggard,
praise ignored by pique
consumed with geography
dissatisfied with simplicity,

joyfully humble, unassuming
as life’s passage, its guard
which all must pass, often

while content and framed,
on hinges it only turns
in the boredom of life.

Praise or Pity

StarsAre we to be praised or pitied?

Creatures starring at stars

dreaming of loves dear lost

hoping as death takes us

every day, each and every day;

living long enough, across enough

to share the love we knew

with those whom we wish to know

that we loved as we were loved.

Selective Service

selectiveI’m old enough to know what it’s like
to register for the Selective Service
when there was still a draft and a daft
man who might spill my blood in sand
to fuel his V-8 aspirations of a second term;
my hands were trembling, legs heavy,
I couldn’t swallow or write my name
legibly and the man told me “We
still know who you are, you know,
even if you don’t write your name
so we can read it” and laughing
nervously I prayed it wasn’t true.

Hemingway

Every writer wishes,
wishes he would have
known Hemingway, at
least for a day, sometime
after Old Man and the
Sea and before the Clinic,
between young, pure
desire and the paranoid
cynic; but not in Africa
for when that story’s
told the pain of failed
flights gets old and
undoes the personality
of liquor, staccato and
brevity; oh Ernest, what
had become that was
undone in Ketchum.

 

 

Palimpsest…

SeatsImagine your life, and mine as well,

was written to be erased

and that’s what is called history,

a great lie that billions of us are

explained in the violence of heroes,

here or there at someone else’s

great home run just sitting

in section D, seat 32 or 33

or wherever – it doesn’t matter,

a seat sat in by so many, many others

who were plumbers or truck drivers,

mothers or eager kids with mitt ready

hoping for a foul ball that never

comes our way, but we never forget

we were there even if someone

sweeps away our rubbish and sells another

ticket for another game on another

day for someone else to sit in.

Again, again, again…

lines bookThe 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.

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep…

now I lay me down to sleep...Looking off she quietly said,

“I’ve been practicing death since

I was born… closing my eyes every night,

happy enough to dream I’d awake another day…

it’s like we were born for this – trusting rest, but it

takes a lifetime to learn to be ready for it.

And I’m ready.”

In a Good Story…

In every good story someone dies
(sometimes, but more frequently,
in bad ones as well); not always
tragically or poignantly, not always
sadly or in a timely fashion, usually
importantly a death is required.

It may be that it’s a way to make
tales more authentic, but it ironically
renders death’s severity a mere ploy
in the hands of desperate dramatists
longing for gravitas yet in failure;
simply turn dust back to dust.

Occasionally it’s accidently but
unexpectedly; and if the desire is
manipulative – the death of a child,
boy or girl, either will do – to tweak
the emotions of even the hardened
with an appeal to the weak.

Now multiple deaths are a waste
to an author and thus school bus
fatalities (a kindergarten field trip
tragedy) are typically avoided
and mass murders’ victims aren’t
the story in the first place.

Too many tales are funereal,
too many yarns come undone
and too many wakes begin stories
of too many things gone wrong;
dramas of dads and mamas
until death do everyone part.

Narrators, of course, play God
knowing, seeing all, all at once
what’s in heads, hiding from light
but telling us only part of a story;
this or that reason for lost life,
providing knowledge we lack.

The human story’s author
has wasted over a hundred billion
anonymous deaths littering lands,
mocking prophet amidst dry bones;
the deity’s wonderful plan for life
trumps all novelist’s narratives.