So everything dies…

Just last week the leaves clung

to their boughs

though heavy and sweetening,


glowing in October’s

blinding noonday sun

with its

hint of warmth still;

dancing in the stir of a breeze

soon to be bitter wind,

but mild still causing all to

inhale deeply, slowly


in a final, seasonal mindfulness

of fleeting comfort;

but November brought a change

of heavy rain

and the verdures no longer clung,

they yielded

and fell underfoot, waterlogged,

soon to rot,


staining the sidewalks if not

raked and swept

to be discarded in bags for burial,


no longer afforded

the final aromatic triumph of

autumnal cremation

stinging the eyes of dancing children

and rake-braced adults

gathered round in funereal muse.

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.

Confidence in disguise…

I feel famous on days like today,
plucky and serene, unhurried by
a schedule everyone else rushes
to keep, naturally pausing to look
into a mirror, chin raised and
finger tips guiding aside a wisp
of hair that falls back lazily,
attractively; exiting into a calm
day to match just me, stepping
onto the bus without a pause or
breaking stride, smiling in response
as strangers try to get my attention,
nodding and turning toward the
window as the sun itself brightens
while other squint uncomfortably;
my uniform hiding behind my
overcoat and scarf which is so soft
and flimsy it’s simply an accessory.

What is original about sin…

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.

More, more, more…

There Isn’t Always

There isn’t always, always more
to season’s joys or love’s embrace
to mothers’ love or men’s wars
there isn’t always, always grace.

When what’s lost is lost indeed
not misplaced but put away
not forgot but must concede
when what’s not stolen is stolen today.

To do what’s asked, asked of one,
with true design, the studied course
with stoic aspect, end undone
to do without will, without remorse.

Life entombed, entombed unbound,
this coward bent and now crushed,
this hero followed and not crowned,
life unearthed, death hushed.

There isn’t always, always more
when the promised one, the only one
when none are left, left but for
there isn’t always, always none.

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.

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.

Living forever and all that…

fingers crossedIt could happen! (That’s my only hope… if I live long enough that is….)

Dumb Luck
If you live long enough you won’t die
because they’ll come up with something,
but it probably won’t happen because
they’re trying – it’s more likely through
dumb luck; like the two greatest
discoveries of this lifetime, or any
for that matter: Super Glue
made for battlefield wounds
and now it sticks anything together
especially fingers, and Viagra for
blood pressure and now we all know
what it does, plus it introduced the word
priapism into our vocabulary
and its effect is truly unbending;
all it takes is time and luck and someone
in a lab somewhere will be trying
to discover a way to make cat litter
smell like chocolate or looking for a way
to stop ingrown toenails and, poof,
just like that, we’ll be living
for hundreds of years, healthy and erect;
and it won’t be much longer,
if we can just live long enough.

The guy who brings in the grocery carts…

grocery cartsYou know him… sort of… probably not by name… but sort of… the guy who is sent out into the parking lot to bring in all the grocery carts because there aren’t enough carts for the new shoppers (except, maybe, the carts with bad wheels or the two carts stuck together). Yeah, that guy… you know him… sort of…

Edward and Charlie
The bright orange vest is florescent
and carries a nametag, ‘Edward’ in bold
block letters drawn with permanent
marker but he answers to Charlie with
a blank, silent gaze and simply, slowly
begins the task requested by a manager’s
learned gentleness of kindly caution
not shared with others; there’s a story
to Charlie’s life, maybe even a family
of Mom or a sister and probably some
disappointment or settling for what
came their way and fighting with this
strange, foreign thing called gratitude;
his anti-social shyness earns him an
odd reaction from most because he’s
almost seven feet tall with an uneven
haircut and only parts of his face carry
a beard of Pollock-like design that’s
mesmerizing, they stare up at Charlie
who gathers their emptied carts strewn
about the lot on a frigid, wintery day,
over and over again as shoppers justifiably
leave them wherever inconvenience
demands in haste and frustration, and
Charlie is, again, in the far corner
as he’s paged from inside the warm store
to no avail because he’s already set to the
task and because they’re calling for
someone named ‘Edward.’

Percival, Alexander, and other great names…

whats-in-a-nameThe Bard of Avon may have been wrong… or simply got it backwards… “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” – who believes such specious-species logic is enough to trump the violence (or blessing) of names given with sovereign solemnity?

Percival, Of Course
I have never known a Percival,
but I believe I should like to one day,
if only to ask of the difficulties of traveling
through life with such an odd forename,
and whether as a child he was called Percy,
or if, does this Percival believe the name
was something to grow in-to,
a prophecy of ostentatiousness
like a stately gentleman sitting stiffly
in a tearoom reading a leather-bound
history of the Bantu people of Madagascar,
unawares that the cruelty of his given name
exerted a significant pedagogical influence
yielding profit or an air of respect
carrying him along and transforming
his odd and awkward appearance
into something praised, such as,
I never thought of him as handsome
until I got to know him, and another
asks, Who? and the answer is, Percival,
of course.

The Great
Names are fine and good
until they become larger than life,
like Alexander born to be Great,
and made to bear the weight,
of everything – every strife,
heartbeat, footfall and all
there is to be known about a
someone – just one someone
who once folded in Lanike’s arms,
exhausted with laughter,
let alone stumbling across Asia,
tucking a Homer under his pillow
to dream of another city bearing
his name; legends are made
of such dreams – Olympias’ visions
of lightning bolts en utero
for the boy born to serve as
defender of man to the ends
of this earth, and another.