I don’t want a Taurus station wagon anymore…

Taurus on Fullerton

I used to want a Taurus station wagon;
don’t ask me why because I just did;
the bulbous blob of 80’s style in all those
muted tones of earthy discoloration
wrapped in my romantic recollection of
childhood transportation complete
with rows and rows of seats for rows
and rows of kids, now all mine, an
idyllic lifestyle of contentedness and
satisfaction – it’s what I’d wanted;
so imagine my surprise when idling late
last night at a red light next to me
was a parked a Taurus station wagon
all rounded and earthy, hiding in plain
sight on Fullerton Avenue, and the
windows disclosed what must have
been the worldly possessions of the man
asleep with his forehead pressed
against the glass and every inch inside
crammed with clothing, books, bags
of stuff and more stuff untidily packed
around him like a cocoon of some
discontent and what I imagine must be
dissatisfaction; this is not the dream
I had of a Taurus station wagon
and I doubted it was the dream of the
man dozing in the driver’s seat.

 

 

Again, again, and again…

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.

 

 

Learning to be silly…

Not From a Book

When all’s good and all is fair,
she is close and love’s a dare,
season’s all but winter least
fondness lingers, cares ceased,
songless tune, birdless song,
edging shade and time is long,
I’ll find a way, way to be
as close to you as you to me,
and when we’re called we’ll answer not
hearts be filed with headless thought,
learning ways and teasing look
and such is not learnt from a book.

Books of love and love of books…

Lovers

There’s a wonderful novel on my shelf
which once slept bedside when not read daily,
over and over again as if new, old pages
still surprising, reluctant in my progress
through the confused lives of Owen and Stevie,
how Kate loved Owen but Stevie loved Kate
and nobody loved the janitor, Mr. O.
which they called him because no one
could pronounce his European name;
how I cried every time I read about
the disappointments of their sad lives
and wondered at my own insignificant ways
until another lover came to bed with me
and the pages of Owen, Stevie, Kate and Mr O.
gathered dust, then the middle of a stack
of novels until finally becoming lost
on my shelf next to others I’ve forgotten.

Too young, too soon, too sad…

Billy You’re Gone Too Soon

It never occurred to us
that you’d be so quickly gone,
so quickly stolen away, too soon,
too young, too sick to stay.

From that young Billy boy
all toothless grins, always bouncy,
never still, never quiet, until
asleep finally, ’til morning.

Mama’s baby boy, her
favorite, her only, her child
of tireless days, tireless plays,
tireless dreams of joy.

And now you’re gone,
gone too soon, gone to where
bouncy Billy’s go to be young,
to be true, to sleep until morning.

 

When Leukemia is Life

Can it be what is deserved
by a four-year-old child?
The cells distorted and
deteriorating inside, from
inside her bones still soft in

youth, but fragile from birth,
some signal isn’t working,
white cells that won’t mature,
too full and crowding life from
within; the word everyone
uses is ‘acute’ – a bad and
unwelcome thing with too
many synonyms to count,
all bad and unwelcome things
with a mysterious origin than
no one knows so there’s no
one to blame, except God;

she only has strength to
smile through dry, cracked lips,
her skin is taunt over thinning
features and only her cheeks
show her adolescence, while
adults are masked to protect
her from what’s always worse,
more tiring, more frightening;

it hardly seems right she is
unafraid and just needs to
rest, while everyone around
her is just terrified and can’t.

Playing and being played with…

Toys1Words are toys.

When is When
When – that’s the best way to start
a poem about memories and tears,
and ‘tears’ is such a good rhyme
for fears, hears, nears and years
which brings us back to when and
timing which is everything except
for emotion caught in time’s gears
(there’s that rhyme again), ripped
from childhood and baptized in
disappointment called adulthood
(you see, that’s how it’s done);
keep these things in mind and
compose away, don’t be afraid
to play with emotions and linger
while meaning disappears
and when becomes lost in years.

Stronger
Hate is stronger than love
like up is higher than down,
it’s as simple as that, like
water off a duck’s back, but
it seems ducks enjoy
water on their backs; or
when left turns to right,
eventually, but it takes so long
to get there;
while everyone’s busy
keeping track of what
makes them so uncomfortable
they just have to hate so much,
love doesn’t stand a chance.

Words are good enough for me…

words2Words are good enough for me…

Living this way is more than a creed – it’s like air to the lungs… like air to my lungs. But bad words – the bad use of words – seems pure evil to me, and I can’t get beyond it (that’s my burden to live with, or die with).

Words are good enough for me, so I play with them.

Words are good enough for me, so I let them play with me.

Words are good enough for me…

Workman by Day
A nobody to professors, a workman by day
this subtlety ordinary man said we write
(if we do) for others and not ourselves;
a simple diversion for the wordy perversion
making things fit snug like a girdle once did,
hiding things curvy, restraining and deceiving
the favors like adverbs for our great, untidied
neighbors, their reading a passion for our
weakened fashion of night’s haunts which
scare us awake and forced to contemplate
the nightmares of failures and adult scares
which only verse hides what sunlight chides.

Thoughts and Thoughts
A thought that can be thought
without something thoughtful to be done
is no thought at all, but a mere pretender;
thoughts which generate no ideas
and make the weak weep, the simple
comfortable, and the frail cringe at whims
like wishes so all beggars ride. Puzzled and
rancorous ideas are harmless excuses of
unexamined life, a sermon looking for life
in the service of paranoid, naval-gazing
called spirituality, pharmacology without
diagnosis, life without death,
desire without lust, and obedience without
ignorance. Ruined lives litter the path of
thoughts, bitter disciples
are casualties of this pedagogy,
angry tears are learners’ lovers, hemlock
cocktails mixed by the bartender of the many.

And I Quote
What is a quote to be quoted
and to whom does it belong?
those marks somehow borrow
what I wish was my song;
what I want as my own
but someone found before,
almost perfect way of words
I must have, and I adore;
sometimes because of who
but I prefer what is said,
the world is but objects,
not facts’ means instead;
picture what is or is not,
but what is written is read
stop asking what it means
or you’ll always be misled;
while I will quote as I wish
call me a plagiarist as well
all’s words and other words
not things we jsut misspell.

 

On changing the world and other small ambitions…

change-the-worldIn my inbox I was surprised to discover the answer to all problems. It’s as simple as taking a college course titled, How to Change the World, offered by Wesleyan University. Here’s the link you’ll need to change the world: https://www.coursera.org/course/changetheworld.

Good luck with that.

In the meantime, enjoy several shorter stanzas on the same topic.

Oh, to be a Jack

Jack of all trades, master of none,
was the watchword back in the day
and I always found it so annoying;
an excuse, I was sure, to just ignore
so much going-on, available to me,
ready to become part of my little life
and make it big and exciting and alive;
but because of a distrust in abilities,
my grasp of every little thing, lacking
discernment, the inability to discern
between lust and love, hyper-attentive
distractedness, and the damnable
curiosity that kills cats, I was told
I just didn’t need to know because
people in power like to keep secrets
in order to keep it for themselves;
but I didn’t want their power,
I was no master, I just couldn’t stand
being happy with not being a Jack.

 

Knowing and Spiders and Snakes

Of all the things to be frightened by – spiders and snakes,
the dark, those higher than high heights, and what’s
under the bed at night to a child or the dark of a closet,
and spiders and snakes, I’ve learned of two which I fear
and will never be anything but: the fear of missing out
is the first – they call it FOMO, but the acronym doesn’t
make it less fearful; it’s still the paranoia of an ideal life
which must be out there and we’re missing it, always
missing it, the greener grass, the rose colored glasses
ruining life; the second is the double unknown – not
knowing what I don’t know – is worse than can be imagined;
some will think it’s what the oracle of Delphi said
about Socrates being the wisest of Greeks, just because
he knew he didn’t know everything, but he knew
and he was confident enough to die, not me;
Socrates said he knew nothing, I wish to know what
cannot be known and therefore I’ll never be ready to die,
never happy to sleep, never unafraid enough to
enjoy being frightened by spiders and snakes.

Please tweet, retweet, forward, backward, like, love, admire, share, gossip, and/or Oxford Comma your way into my heart. Thank you.

Unlikely poets and their poetry…

poetWhat frightens you the most?

A blank page?

Deadlines?

Words that don’t rhyme?

Noise?

Quiet?

Aspacebarthatdoesn’twork?

What Isn’t There
How many a writer or poet has been ruined
by reading Thoreau’s Walden only to retreat
to her own obscure pond and wait for those
pronounced feelings of nature, god and life,
perched before a blank page, ready to write
infamous words that will change everything
about seeing the sunrise, or a low moon,
the seasonal wrenching of life from death,
or death from life in the anonymous vacuum,
only to end a long, lonely day exhausted
and uninspired by the page called life
with no words to express what isn’t there.

Jack the Poet
Under a bag of old Marshall Field’s boxes,
and on top of a Kodak Carousel projector
tucked in the dark corner of her garage,
all dusty and crawling with dry creatures
is a stack of black binders – four total, dated
and numbered in hindsight 1/4, 2/4, 3/4
and the final, penultimate volume 4/4
of Jack’s poetry – Short Poems on Life
he titled them, by her Dad – Jack, obviously,
typed out with errors and corrections
on that onion-skin paper they used,
complete with a table of contents and
page numbers, so I counted 628 poems
of Jack’s life’s work of thoughts on life
from a man who drove a truck everyday
drank a beer as soon as he arrived home
liked to tinker with model trains some
and somehow over his entire adult life
wrote poems (the rhyming kind) about
everything from his boots to beer to
bosses to friends to family and the boy
he never had to what he wanted to be
when he was a kid to snow and rain to
how stop signs worked to women drivers
and back home at the end of each day,
and I turned each page carefully and
thought that I was the only one to look
at Jack’s Short Poems on Life since he
lost his memory, his wife, his pants
on several occasions, and even his
model trains that would chug and chug
around a modest oval in the basement
for hours and hours, sometimes deep into
the night – two or three – in the dark
except for the tiny lamp of the engine and
the red lantern of the caboose as he
sat on a stool wearing a engineer’s
cap and his pajamas.

Book(s) of life…

M_16ed620f72The address is 150 Deasngate, Manchester, fashioned in late Victorian neo-Gothic style by Basil Champneys. It sits north of Quay and Peter Streets, east of River Irwell, and refuses to be ignored. The stone facade has acquired a bronze depth and its donned with the excessive ornamentation of memory and money (Enriqueta Augustina Rylands devoted the building to her late husband, John, but I know nothing more of their relationship or the quality thereof).

As impressive as it stands, I was not prepared for its heavy, dark and rich interior, and the intimidating closeness of this large space. As a graduate student living on bread and Boddingtons, exploring local archives and repositories of centuries lost and justifiably so, I stopped breathing when I stood in Rylands.

3692_largeSo special and so rare its contents, you were only permitted empty-handed admittance. Pencils and cards dotted tables; chairs were perfectly arranged by the patrons out of respect; reading areas were shared as scholars joined in a high religious service.

This is life, I realized; it’s all here. I don’t need anything more; and time no longer matters.

Book of Life

This is a room in which all of life fits,
soaring arches of stone unearthed and shaped,
draped in heavy, old wood, dark with age
from the Garden of Eden but untouched,
with all of everything bound and shelved,
rows and rows in some divine order
not worth arguing over, only to enjoy,
spaces for reading, seats at tables,
paper but only pencils for taking notes,
shafts of light crisscross and dust dances
in the show of rhythmed, unhurried air,
in perfect quiet only small sounds heard,
a turning page with tender respect,
signs of satisfaction or stifled laughs,
but in the shadowy recess of the isle,
before a skewed chair left untidy
rests an open tome, heavy and solemn,
readerless with tear-stained pages,
unturned.