2014

July 24, 2014 (#1)

Gotta get me some postcard stamps tomorrow –
I got poems to write:
tonight children are going to bed hungry
in the land of the plenty,
while politicians get fat and greedy,
promising to solve the problems come November –
tonight childrens’ childhoods are being wasted,
in holding cells on the southern border,
while elected officials twiddle their thumbs,
wondering who will pay for the next campaign –
tonight children, by the hundreds, are being buried,
in the land where our Lord was born in a manger,
because their skin is the wrong color –
I gotta buy me some postcard stamps tomorrow –
I got poems to write;
I got wrongs to right.

July 26, 2014 (#2)

I cannot find words to set aside
the pain I see, to overcome the deep disgust
I feel from so such senseless barbarism,
butchery in the land of Jesus’ birth.
I’m past rankled that my own government
cowers and hides behind a mother’s skirt,
defending false self-defense excuses,
then funds, facilitates murder, carnage,
disproportionate, perchance, to the threat.
In a just world, Bibi would share a cell
with Charles in the Hague, their crimes, it would seem
so similar, so alike, so .
But we won’t see that justice. The eagle
backs Goliath – the tin man has no heart.

July 27, 2014 (#3)

Fair winds and following seas …
a prayer and an exhortation:
it doesn’t mean to stay at home,
or sit, securely, in a hidden harbor.
It does mean do not go gently, or harshly
into a good night – but do go forth:
and go with the currents,
and go with the tides,
and go with the winds,
and go with every force of nature –
fair or following –
but if you find yourself set back,
off course from your destination,
call forth the forces, capture, make them yours…

July 28, 2014 (#4)

No, I did NOT watch
Netanyahu on ALL
the Sunday morning talk shows –

displaying his arrogance,
spewing his lies –

in fact, I was bingeing
at Netflix at the time…
watching Orange is the New Black –

As far as I can see,
fiction based on truth
is far more enlightening
than “truth” based on lies.

July 28, 2014 (#5)

Disoriented today on the Metro –
didn’t know North from South –
must be that new Silver Line,
changing all the brainwaves
in the underground.

Taking the Red Line to lunch –
to Tenleytown or Friendship Heights –
whichever comes sooner…

July 28, 2014 (#6)

I just read that
Christians worship a child
who fled violence in his home country…

Could it be that Israel
is creating the conditions
to produce in Bethlehem
(or Gaza) the awaited Messiah?

July 29, 2014 (#6)

through ordered words
that arise from within
we push back the outer margins
of chaos, of disorder,
and preserve a world –
a separate world we choose –
that reflects our inner peace

August 2, 2013

I lived in Kitsap County
back it the 80’s and spent
weekends with my cousins in Seattle

loved it, but never made
it back since returning
east in ‘85

hope to see it again,
shop at Elliot Bay Books,
eat fried fish at Ivar’s

August 6, 2013

Hope you are enjoying
the August Poetry Fest!

Is there anything
better than poetry?

This one still needs work
but we have time
on our side…

07/31/2014 (#7)

I really dig the group,
but I need to check out,
every now and then,
to recharge, alone.

The patterns, the connections
are all metaphors –
but the details
also tell a story.

No I don’t want to chat
during the break –
It is August and I’d rather
read poetry in e-mails.

“Facts” are overrated
and logic can be bogus –
it is all about relationships,
empathy, harmony.

The world we know is a mess:
let’s sniff every flower,
taste every entrée –
time ain’t nothing but a number.

August 2, 2014 #8

the test results describe
the contrived mask we wear
to survive, to thrive
in a broken world

the real you, the real me,
hides within, underneath
the mask, behind the stage

we choose the ruse we use –
to protect, to preserve
our true identity.

August 3, 2014 #9

I read in an architecture book
about a white wall and a black hole –
or was it a white screen
and a black camera eye?
or was it a white whale
and a black Ahab?
I don’t know.
And why would an architecture book
have so much poetry in it?

August 6, 2014 #10

I entered the darkness alone,
just me and my dictionaries,
the dark forest of poetry translation –
time passed quickly
and I lost my way as we
approached the witching hour –
without navigation aids –
so many twists and turns –
but I found what I sought.

August 6, 2014 #11

a postcard arrived
but was damaged in the middle
So I missed the whole poem

I will call the police
if you want me to –
but maybe that misses
the whole point.

August 8, 2014 #12

today was the last day of work
last night was the last night of class
tomorrow will be the last Saturday
at the university library
where I work
on Saturdays
helping people with research.
The Master’s degree is over –
Set. Game. Match.
Game. Set. Match.
Whatever.
I am a librarian.
Gotta love happy endings.

August 9, 2014 (#13)

I ate too many buffalo wings
at the last supper Friday
and now my stomach is killing me

something else happened there –
I’m still not sure what –

we have Saturday for recuperation –
thank God –
before Sunday’s resurrection.

August 9, 2014 (#14)

there were no fantasy super heroes
on Pichard Street, growing up –
just normal kids with hopes
and plans and dreams our parents
sometimes tried to limit –
to protect us from disappointment.
Some did well. Some did just so-so.
I miss my friends from Pichard Street.

August 9, 2014 (#15)

A friend sent me a note from overseas,
and asked me what was it like, living
in a country always at war.

I wrote a poem back, but
perhaps the question deserves another:

We don’t hear the bombs drop,
or the missiles whizzing by,
or the sirens of ambulances
carrying the war wounded.

We only see homelessness,
and long lines of unemployed.
And we don’t realize
it’s all because of war.

August 9, 2014 (#16)

A old friend told me
that a mutual friend
professed his undying love
for her – after 23 years
of marriage to another.

I thought to myself:
”So he loves you.
We all love you.
What about you
is un-lovely?”

August 9, 2014 (#17) sent to dakota

I had to look up “Charon” –
ferryman from Hell…
And I had to look up “kiss” –
my lips too parched, too dry
to recall that taste…
But I know all about “lost souls,”
and love, and lost souls in love,
and lost loves…

August 11, 2014 (#18)

It is very natural to try to compare
two like things:
driving or taking the bus –
being introspective or being narcissistic –
writing words that rhyme
or writing words that have rhythm –

early in the morning
before dawn breaks
there is a moment
when differences disappear…
can you meet me there?

August 12, 2014 (#19)

Every man of color
must be/should be thinking –

Every person of conscience
should be/must be thinking –

August 13, 2014 (#20)

At dawn I watch reflections
as the darkness seeks to flee

it casts a shrinking shadow
across my bedroom ceiling

the shadow’s movement stirs,
awakens me from dreams

without a hiding place
the shadows slowly fade away

August 19, 2014 (#21)

Blue Line to Largo –
next stop, Metro Center
transfer point to the Red Line,
Glenmont and Shady Grove –
doors opening on the left
please take your personal belonging with you.
Next stop: Federal Triangle.

August 19, 2014 (#22)

Up early –
writing a poem in navy green –
a poem for you

I mix the inks myself,
like I mix the words,
and hope it comes out right.

May this moment be special –
a space in time for you.

August 19, 2014 (#23)

Ebola at the borders
police brutality in the cities
war crimes in the Holy Land
trouble all around –

we need a new way of thinking
a new way of looking at things –
the old way has run out of time.

August 19, 2014 (#24)

Today it’s “write or else.”
no excuses, no “I fell behind
because things were so hectic
at work.” Just be like a DJ,
mix some words, make some rhymes,
let it spin…

August 19, 2014 (#25)

a building is a song,
a poem, a stream of thoughts –
dressed in concrete
and bricks and steel –

the love we feel
is naked, disrobed,
but still a poem, a song …

August 19, 2014 (#26)

there are new books
in the laundry room library
and you know what that means –
one of the neighbors
has transferred
has transitioned –
and we are happy
and sad.

August 19, 2014 (#27)

we – machines –
alive in, defined by
an engineered space

our unique outputs
add value to the common good –

the inputs we require
subtract from the whole.

August 19, 2014 (#28)

Whoops! I ate too many
strawberries. Perhaps.
Tomorrow I’ll have a rash
in my armpits, and
won’t be able to use
deodorant for two days.
In August. Am I allergic to
strawberries or to deodorant?

August 19, 2014 (#29)

The environment is a womb
that we must out-grow
and from which we must be
delivered – or die, and
rot on the vine

August 19, 2014 (#30)

the stuff we buy
is genetically modified
to make us need to buy
more stuff – like drugs,
and cosmetics, and toiletries

the stuff we need –
like air and love –
are free.

August, 19, 2014 (#31)

there is a place, a plane
where things are created
and destroyed simultaneously

nothing is permanent there,
nothing is static, still –
everything is moving – forward.

Lisbon Notes

August 23rd

caracois and caroleta
the cobblestone sidewalks
are quaint, but the cracks
between the stones are filled
with cigarette butts and dog-shit

August 27th

Filomena bought me
a dozen handkerchiefs in Lisbon
only in Portugal
can one find “quality” stuff, you know.
Two weeks worth –
for life’s little messes

August 28th

News.
Major bank failures in Portugal –
Marina on the move in Brazil –
Al-Nusrah holding peace-keepers
hostage in Golan Heights –
The tin man needs a brain.

more random thoughts from Lisbon – August 30, 2014

Life takes turns – right & left –
and twists sometimes along its radii
and may even spin in its axis

in a completely different orbit
than the one before the last
or the one after the next –

life
creates and recreates itself
reconstituting itself in several forms –
to fulfill its own destiny –

and hopes it struck a fair deal –
and kept all the promises it made –
and always delivered the goods –
it advertised.