#NaPoWriMo2020 Day #25

To all the folks I’ve wronged

I’ve made some crucial errors in this life.
But often times when I go back in time
And try to make it right, I learn
The sin, the crime was mainly in my head
And had no strong or weak effect at all
On those I may have wronged without relief.
Who wants or plans to harm their fellowman?
But what greater harm in life is there
Than doing wrong against your own self’s soul?
I say to my soul: I deeply apologize,
Please point to the path of your forgiveness.
My soul responds: O silly man, I am
Your soul, I know your every deed.
But please stop by and visit when you please.

#NaPoWriMo2020 #21 #GloPoWriMo2020

Reflections on listening to a podcast about Afropessimism
(because the author’s book tour was cancelled)

Can I tell you something? A deep secret?
I am exhausted by your shallowness
And as of this morning at 7AM
I will no longer give a good goddamn
What you think about my talent and skill
As a bureaucrat. What about yours?
Where is your tact? Your sense of fairness?
Your appreciation for the art form?
I have a fairly good, if wicked notion
What you are thinking when you see my face –
My black face that does not apologize
When undermining your hypocrisy.
Fuck all this. I’m going to work TODAY.
Keep six feet away from me. Wash your hands.

#NaPoWriMo2020 #14 – Poets who inspire

A poet who used be a swimmer
And a chess player showed me her sonnets.
It didn’t take long for me to try one.
Fourteen lines and it was love at first sight.

She swam on a precision team. She played
Chess with homeless men in Dupont Circle.
In her day job she analyzed and crunched
Complex numbers at a government bank.

We sent letters with sonnets we’d compose
Back and forth for several years before
The spell broke. We went our separate ways,
Our poetry paradise forsaken.

Could it have ended any other way?
What is an end? Sonnets still fill the space.


Where is Cyndi Lauper? We need her today.

#NaPoWriMo2020 #13 – stuff stolen without apology

We have entered the mid-month long slog,
The third week when all bets are off
And anything may present itself
As poetry of crisis. Let the giants
Fall and die a fitting death. Let big banks
Fail. What do we care? A few billionaires
Become millionaires. How about the poor,
who lose jobs, and houses, and life savings?
How about a plan to bail out Main Street?
You shared your time with me for free.
I took it, stole it like a thief in the night.
We were two ships sailing, two starts crossing
In the distant night sky, passing port to port,
trading resilience for efficiency.


Connected by only the thinnest of threads to this poem . . .But man, what a video!

#NaPoWriMo2020 #9 – Not a concrete poem

NaPoWriMo #9 – Not a concrete poem

This poem defies the concept of concreteness.
It bubbles over the top of the walls
Of its container, like a boiling liquid –
Then flashes to steam, releasing its perfume.

Would that that were its final material state.
The perfume gets distilled into haiku,
Then changes state to sound, to melody,
Seeking eager and open noses and ears

Simultaneously in asynchronous effect.
It is still not at its end. Invisible
Atoms infiltrate the blood-brain barrier
And find a resting place. There it awaits

Retrieval as an oral combination, a word,
A passing thought, a feeling unexpressed.

Ernest Rankin: In Memoriam – an elegy in two sonnets for Father’s Day

my favorite uncle had no children
of his own – he lavished his attention
on his nieces and nephews – my father
was one of those. Ernest Rankin. Iceman,
they called him – he sold ice in the summer,
coal in the winter. He drove a green cab
by the time I came along, his ice days
long gone. He kept a red fez in his house,
and a sparkling sword, polished, in the trunk
of his cab. 33rd degree. My Mom
would call him when Pop’s drinking got too much
for her to handle. He’d come over, talk
to Pop like a father would to a son –
it never did my father any good –

but for some reason it had an appeal
to me – I saw how two grown men who cared
should communicate with one another.
Uncle Ernest lived in town and moved in
his niece and nephew so they could attend
high school and college away from the needs
of the farm. He made a difference in their lives,
shifting their trajectories, opening pathways.
Old men in the Grove would ask me,
“Son, whose boy are you?” “Iceman’s my uncle,”
I’d tell them, and they would change their tune to
one of reverence and respect. That meant
a lot to me, that shared identity.
White-aproned men performed his final rites.

last day of summer – a documentary

I remember watching
news reports on TV
about the war – after
supper each night –
and the day’s body count –

and soldiers’ funerals
on Sundays after church,
and mothers and girlfriends
on the front row crying,
and smelling salts.

Occasionally the president
would tell us we were winning.
And Walter Cronkite would say,
“And that’s the way it is.”

April 18, 2014 NaPoWriMo

Everybody’s talking about the one percent:
they have all the money, all the connections,
the networks to get more money, MOAR money.
I say let them have their exclusivity,
build those walls higher & higher, thicker
& thicker to keep out the unalike,
the alien, the dissimilar, the impure.
Let their gene pool weaken from incest
and lack of variation, let their diseases
replicate and multiply inside those walls,
walls that enclose but also block out
light & love & joy & celebration.
Give me life’s richness any day, and color,
and let them perish in their cherished purity.

April 4, 2014 – A charm for all that ails

Measure equal portions each:
ground ginger and cinnamon sticks;
whole peppercorn and clove buds;
cardamom pods; nutmeg; and black cumin seeds.
Mix in a grinder until powdery and fine,
store in an airtight metal tin.

Heat one teaspoon in four cups of water
until it forms a shimmering slime on top.
Add tea and steep for taste,
or brew in coffee, per your choice,
in similar proportion. Or sprinkle
on ice cream or your favorite dessert.

The spice mix will de-stress your mind,
soothe digestion and aid regularity.