I am the tree that fell in the wood
with no one caring to hear,
the one at whom dogs bark
out of hatred instead of fear.
I am the one who spoke loud and clear
with no one knowing I uttered,
the door that is still a door
and not a jar unshuttered.
I am the book written but unread,
with a spine uncracked or bent,
the lure considered but dry,
un-tied, untackled, and unsent.
I am the road often taken and trod
derided in gospel and verse,
the angel that didn’t fit on pin head
in the sophistry that is so perverse.
I am the billions ten times over
who have lived and loved and died,
the everyman ignored or enslaved
and for whom no one has cried.
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.
Loved at All
Isn’t that more than most of us get?
is not a question
but the answer to why I was loved
so much, so well
or at all.
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.
It has taken me all month to finish your novel,
the one about two friends who were once close
but for some unexplained reason are no longer,
living lives vaguely dependent on each other
in some mysterious, invisible cosmic fellowship
which you take six hundred pages to explain,
how once they finished the other’s thoughts,
liked the same ordinary, everyday things
which fill lives without reason or purpose
but define idiosyncrasies like dental records,
they both had a bad experience with wisdom teeth,
girlfriends, tomatoes, an inability to finish things
like friendships until they meet again on a train,
airport bound and discover nothing’s changed,
just older and fatter and both flying to Houston
for the same trade show, one selling, one buying,
same hotel, both divorced, kids indifferent
and unimpressed by life, they should grab a bite,
catch-up, where has the time gone, etc.,
but they never see each other it turns out,
and that’s okay – that’s how you end the novel,
and the dust jacket is dotted with quotes
from famous peers, all filled with praise
about how this is the Great American Novel,
because this is America according to everyone.
Ode Not to Dying
In this poem 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.
On This Day
On this day in history
absolutely nothing of consequence
happened, to anyone, anywhere;
no ships sailed, no princes born,
discoveries in science, medicine
just didn’t happen on this day,
yesterday and tomorrow are
filled with life-changing people,
events, battles that turned great
wars into peace, even the subtle
alterations to the fabric of everyday
life made by once anonymous people
which reverberated into time and
made history; remarkable things,
great consequences, overwhelming
tragedies and brave exploits
all happened on other days, just
not today; of course some were born
on this day, babies loved, wanted,
even prepared for, but they remain
nameless to all but their mothers,
unknown to school books and
will never fill-in-the-blank’s of
literacy exams for they just were
and are no more; and the closest thing
to notoriety they’ll enjoy is that on
this day in history they’ve been
written about, sort of.
Meanwhile everything’s the same,
fish swim downstream as well as up
so don’t be fooled by cliché’s fame,
because virtue’s virtue will corrupt
itself and all who still pretend
there’s a something beyond it all,
thus refusing to bow they ascend,
proud as Icarus they rise to stall;
meanwhile the rest of us plod along
doing what must be done less airs
allowing a dream of being so strong
but saddled with every day cares.
How people think in the bathtub
is beyond me, I just don’t know how they do it;
the water is warm enough just so long,
until about the time I think of something
worth thinking about,
then I wonder if it’s okay to run more hot water
and how full is too full
and if I have to start the thinking
all over again from the beginning
or if I can pick up where I left off,
but I give up,
nothing important comes to mind,
except that I have nothing important
to think of and how a bath won’t
make it happen, and I notice
my fingers are pruney, the water feels slimy;
I can’t wait to get out, dry off
and see how long it takes until I decide
to try to think of something
worth thinking about again.
An apple, carefully chosen,
two small bananas
picked from others’ bunches,
one ripe and ready to eat,
maybe half of it will be cut-up over
bran cereal in the morning,
the other is green – at least
two days from ripeness; no bread
because the loaves are too big,
too wasteful, but one Kaiser roll
will do, and then
to the meat counter for two
chicken breasts, individually wrapped,
a lot of time in the freezer section
for just a small bag of green peas
good for two meals at least,
a pint of skim milk, and a single vanilla
yogurt that will be dessert,
all in a cart pushed by a woman
who is alone; her fingers
have rings on them,
gifts from someone, her nails are done,
she wears make-up and
her hair has been set
because she still cares, out of pride
or it was how she was raised, or
it was the way he liked it,
and now she’s in front of me in line
and it’s sad because she seems so,
or at least her groceries do.