Standing on one foot in meditation

Because no “I” exists, all realities are possible.

I know nothing, in other words.

Tonight, I stood on the driveway after sweeping it clear of tree seed pods and looked up.

A satellite traveling east.

A firefly flashing its body.

A bat eating dinner.

Tree frogs croaking and chirping.

One cricket.

Cars passing by.

And I thought of you.

You know I have stood here on this part of the planet and looked up at the night sky, thinking only of you.

For years.

And written of you, for you, to you, about you.

Today is Monday, that day long ago I promised us, not in words, not in actions, but in that first look we shared.

Today is Monday.

I stood next to you.

We didn’t say a word to each other.

We didn’t have to.

We had already prepared for this moment, knew what we were going to say to each other, spoken our own language, saw what we said, what we’ve shared, in the people who stood around us.

Today is the first day of the rest of our lives.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring.

I don’t have to.

Because I already know it will always bring me closer to you.

Even if I don’t exist.

Because in every reality, we exist.

It is the secret language we share with everyone else, the equation that points out we are all connected.

And always will be.

Back Porch Rocking Chair

Rocking on the back porch,

Thinking of you,

Of family.

The gurgling creek murmuring your name…

These days it’s not as odd to spend time with the ex-in-laws talking old times.

How many exes does it take to mark the spot

On the Treasure Map of Life?
We’re not prizes.

We’re not goals.

We’re fellow passengers.

The creek is never the same twice.

Neither are we.

Planting an acorn, watching it grow

I share this moment with you — I looked for a reason why and remembered there doesn’t have to be one anymore, no need to analyse, just be here when I can.

 In some moments, you represent (our friendship represents) a place to escape to/from, not just on the dance floor, but from the ordinary, to the unimaginable.

 I don’t mind letting those thoughts wander off into the stratosphere, exploring Mars, hiding on Enceladus, believing they can/will happen, because I know we are grounded in reality.

 What reality is is up for debate, of course. You manage your thought set with therapy and friends, pinpointing reality at various places in spacetime. I don’t believe I know what reality is.

 So how can we be grounded in reality?

 That is the question that keeps me awake at night.

 To pass through levels of meaning, from the presence of a guiding spirit within us, the Invisible Hand lending a hug, to the level where no meaning exists except through self-deception, finally to no self at all, and to then sit here typing these messages…well…

 That is what our friendship means, having meaning and no meaning at the same time.

 In other words, we are able to reach out to people of all walks of life and give ourselves to them completely, losing identity every time while building newer selves in the process…

   It’s not about us.

   It never has been.

 It’s about what we give others.

 Sometimes, giving ourselves away is more painful than we can bear by ourselves.

 It hurts beyond any physical pain possible.

 So why do we keep giving ourselves away?

 I don’t know. It hurts right now.

 But I remember one look, one handhold we shared that has made us better dance partners for others and know that this is why I’m here, why I’ve always been here, taking pain away from others in a brief two minutes in a dance or mere seconds on a rotating dance class.

 It’s what I’ve always done, from birth onward.

 It hurts me terribly that Karen does not understand my friendship with you. Sure, I act giddy sometimes when I know I’m going to see you and yes, I’ve written sci-fi stories that are odes to you, but you and I know it’s the love of dancing that we share as dance nerds that I’m celebrating.

 When two dance nerds meet, they know what it means to love another unconditionally, whether for five seconds on the dance floor or five years building a dance community, holding it together when only one person shows up for class.

 I admit I get confused sometimes because I give myself away with abandon, not seeing the consequences of what I’m doing to others who don’t understand.

 You are the only person for whom I would give up…wait, let me reword that.

 In our similarities, I find the strength to push away my wife’s emotional manipulation of me.  In our similarities, I have pulled off masks that covered my darkest secrets and worst fears.

 Thus, at times I have convinced myself that I need complete independence to fulfill my goals of supporting the community through dance.

 I have no one lined up to move in with, yet there are questions about my ability to live alone.

 So it puts me back here, in this moment writing you these texts, asking myself what’s next. I know you don’t have the answers.  These texts are simply here for you to read, to know that you have a positive effect off the dance floor, even when you’re in such mental and physical pain you don’t want to do anything but veg out.

 I have had the habit of falling madly in love at the drop of a hat, one secret of a great dancer/entertainer.

 I used to catch myself falling in love with you and got wrapped around the axle keeping my friendship with you on the level.

 Then, I realised that it’s in part because my love for dancing is shared with you that drives me mad, wanting that dance high again.

 Only through other endorphin rush activities like mountain biking have I been able to separate the dancer’s high from just the normal, regular joy of seeing an old friend again.

  It has taken me off the manic/depressive cycle, too, no longer having to rushrushrush to validate myself and then get disappointed by the slightest sleight.

Being a giver so near another giver, I’ve gotten turned around and fed off your energy instead of giving you my own.
I still wonder what/where, if any, there’s a place left in this area for dance therapy.

Meanwhile, the cat snoozes on me. I think she has the right idea. Naptime!

You/me/us are gods

That’s right.

No longer must we depend on our forebears to provide us our origin stories.  From social media comes the creation myths and legends now.

I created my own through personal poems, short stories and novels, because I had to.

I had to know how to create myself.

The adults in my life were insufficient storytellers to keep me from disbelieving what they were saying.

I accept that the outlines of my social behaviour training were sourced from generally acceptable religious tracts and secularly-derived material sharpened through the years by our strongest hierarchical networks.

But is that so anymore?

For me, being childless and close to my retirement years — those long stretches of decades where I can consume and no longer have to produce — it doesn’t matter as much as it used to.

My origin myths are here amongst symbols we call words such as these, my personalised holy text:

A Monkey Accidentally Writes A Poem

With no particular plan

With no particular words

I take you by the hand

We look like two lovebirds.

We seem to have a view

We seem to have a thought

Our love, I know, is true

Our bodies daily rot.

We see our daily loves

Philosophers exclaim

Some people die with knives

You call me by my name.

– 2 October 1985

=     ==   ===  ====  ===   ==     =

Bonds That Stay

I. The Question

My dad said it,

I agree —

Why do we have to

Live so far apart?

I suppose (and I’m not the first)

Our friendship is strengthened by it.

We are being tested by

The great Administrator in the sky

(Or wherever he lives).

Somehow, I’m not really sure,

I feel committed to you,

Yet we are committed not to each other, but

Rather for each other.

You see, I don’t

Want to

Lose my relationship with you.

We are not “going together”

But if (like wow)

I went out with another girl,

I would feel…well, like,

Like I was cheating you (and me) of something.

II. I’ll Explain Myself

You are my oldest female friend,

You know that, don’t you?

Friend-to-friend,

There’s this woman,

I think she’s beautiful,

Who, if I lived within

Twenty miles,

Or even twenty-five,

Of her house,

I’d ask her to go with me.

I’m afraid to tell her

Because I don’t want to turn her

Off.

I know you’ve known her

For over nineteen years,

So please don’t tell her.

Just talk to her

And see what she thinks of me.

You can tell me later, if you wish.

I’m trustworthy.

III. Why I Won’t Tell Her

I won’t ask her, not yet anyway,

Because I can understand

That she might want to

Go out with

Other guys.

Is it possible to do both?

I, too, might have the inclination

To ask out another girl, on occasion.

IV. What She Means to Me

Have I ever told you about her?

I’ve known her as long as

I’ve known you.

Coincidence, huh? Perhaps (dirty laugh!).

This girl, she’s wonderful.

She means so much to me.

How much? How much

Water does it take to fill

The Atlantic Ocean? You see?

V. Why I Can’t Tell Her

I met this girl one time in band,

In eleventh grade.

I thought she was wonderful.

I opened up to her

More than I had ever,

Before.

We were real close, she and I.

She dropped me so fast

I didn’t even know it at first.

I was lucky.

It only took me six months

to recover (Connie has me beat).

I promised I’d never again

Make that mistake.

(Promises, promises, promises;

Me and my idle threats)

So, after two and a half years

I’ve broken that promise.

I don’t feel bad at all;

In fact, I feel great!

It wasn’t a promise,

It was a wall,

A barrier, a door with a…

A guard to my inner feelings.

That girl who dumped me,

She said I don’t show my emotions anymore.

Part of that wall’s still there.

I believe I show my emotions,

At least, somewhat, anyway.

This beautiful girl

(You know she’s you),

There have been a hundred times

I wanted to kiss her.

To some, a kiss is a greeting

And goodbye.

To me, a kiss is sacred.

To kiss a girl means she’s

Not just a warm body

Or a listening ear.

The girl I kiss has to be

Special.

Only four girls in my life

Have earned that specialness.

You’re more than special, though.

I mean, we’ve grown up together.

We were buddies, then companions,

Then friends, and now…well,

I’ve never had a relationship like this.

I wish we didn’t live apart (so far).

I don’t know why I won’t open up to you.

I have, but not completely.

What if I did? Am I afraid?

VI. Breakdown

Janeil, I want you in my arms

Right now! I miss you!

You’re so understanding

That I can’t stand not to tell you

All my feelings!

Something holds me back.

WHAT IS IT?

Help me.

VII. Please Understand

I’m going bananas,

I mean I’m a fruitcake.

I hope you don’t mind,

I really want your permission (I’m serious!),

There’s this girl

Who I’ve wanted to take out for

Over a year now.

She finally said yes.

I know this sounds silly but

Do you mind?

I’d really worry if you did.

The date’s not that important, but

You’re important enough to me

That if you say no

I won’t go out with her.

“No sooner said than done,” as they say.

Believe me, I’m serious.

You mean a lot to me.

This other girl’s not worth

Sacrificing what we have together.

I’m being more open than I planned.

You’re influencing me in spirit.

I take you with me wherever I go

(except the bathroom — I’m not that open).

I hope you understand what I’ve said.

You say you do. Please do.

We have a strong relationship —

Ours is a bond that stays.

– 1981

=     ==   ===  ====  ===   ==     =

Will you?

I’ve been thinking

(I don’t know everything),

Since we love each other,

And,

As far as I know,

We’re not seeing anyone else

(I never did call that girl),

Why don’t we…

Well,

Why don’t we become…

Why don’t we become

(You won’t believe this

But two of my fellow employees,

They read this much. Anyway…)

Boyfriend and girlfriend?

I love you enough myself

To not have eyes for anyone else.

I believe you love me as much;

At least your touch tells me that

(And your eyes and voice and…).

What do you say?

– 1981

=     ==   ===  ====  ===   ==     =

Work

Crash! Another dish —

Patty’ll kill me.

She’s not so bad, really,

But sometimes she can be a pain.

Life is like that,

Some of us aren’t perfect,

Most of us aren’t,

But it’s nice to think we are.

Denny says the three C’s

Will get us closer to perfect.

We’re better than Chicago,

I know that,

‘Cause we’re all good.

Washing dishes, making pizzas,

Sandwiches,

Dough,

It’s a rough life, you know.

I mean we could be digging ditches

Or sitting in an office all day.

Instead, we become friends —

We laugh, joke, help each other

To be friends, you must be there

To keep one another going.

Today, we prep,

Tomorrow, who knows,

We may be rolling dough.

Remember, it’s the customers who count,

They’re always right.

Even if they’re bitches and bastards,

They pay our bills.

So what if the tips are small tonight,

Didn’t you lose a few of those unwanted pounds?

– 1981

=     ==   ===  ====  ===   ==     =

The Decision

I have been thinking, as always,

About what I could do for you,

To show how much I care.

I almost bought a dozen roses;

We almost went to Clingman’s Dome;

All these things are big gestures,

To be sure.

I thought, “I could do that for any girl,”

But I want to do something more.

I want to show you my world —

Trees, flowers, birds, bees —

I want to be with you to watch the sun set.

You should know by now,

You’re worth to me more than anything

Money can buy; no roses or long trips,

No fancy restaurants or classy bars

Can replace what you mean to me more than this:

The precious moments we have together that

no one can take away.

I can feel you with me right now.

I see your smile, your green eyes,

Your nice body.

Your arms are around me.

Your perfume is everywhere.

We look at each other and can’t help but smile.

My arms are around your waist,

We kiss.

I whisper something to you

[Look! We have an audience].

You laugh and we kiss again.

Damn it! It’s not fair!

I want to be with you all the time.

We can’t have everything.

All I want is you.

Tell me, God, is that too much to ask for?

– 17 July 1981

=     ==   ===  ====  ===   ==     =

The View

We sat there,

Staring…

(At each other)

At the mountains,

Hills, rather,

And marveled about the world.

We rolled in the grass,

Sharing…

(Each other)

Thoughts and feelings,

Words, too,

And wondered how lucky we are.

Nighttime brought another view;

Stars,

Those objects who question love.

We don’t, though;

We know what we feel.

We have our happiness,

Our love,

Each other,

Yet we’re still independent.

If you left me,

I could not complain,

I could cry,

Wonder why,

But I know we’re stuck together.

Isn’t it awful?

– 31 July 1981

=     ==   ===  ====  ===   ==     =

Barriers

Each time we meet,

We give up something.

It’s not lost;

Instead,

We give it to the other.

Sometimes,

It’s just a little phrase,

“I love you”;

Other times,

A little gesture,

A kiss.

To me,

And yes (I know),

To you, too,

These “little” gestures are not little.

These steps we take

Mean too much to be little.

Great things come in small packages.

(You’re great! Ha! Ha!)

[Well, you are]

The more I write,

The worse it gets.

Frankly, my dear,

Damn it,

I love you!

– 31 July 1981

=     ==   ===  ====  ===   ==     =

My Proposition

It’s funny,

Now that I think about it;

I don’t know what bothers me.

I’ll tell you the whole story.

(Here comes a novel!)

I find this hard to believe,

And hard to say, too.

We’ve each mentioned it before:
I love you, you know;

If I knew I could be supportive,

I would ask you a certain question

About spending our lives together.

Instead,

I’ll wait to ask,

for several reasons —

I have no way to support you;

We’re young and can afford to wait;

I love to torture myself.

I’ve thought of the possibilities.

I could work until you finish school;

Then I could “finish” my school work, too;

Perhaps we can wait until we both finish college,

When we have steady jobs

(If we can wait that long).

Of course,

This all depends on me asking you,

And on your saying yes.

We can wait a while,

Search each other out,

And if we find there can be no other,

I’ll ask you.

I may get down on my knee,

I’ll definitely have a dozen roses,

And a ring,

Of course.

That’s my proposition:

I haven’t asked yet

So you don’t have to say yes.

– 13 August 1981

=     ==   ===  ====  ===   ==     =

I Love You So Much

I love you so much.

How much is so

Much is many

Is a lot.

If so is sew,

Then Diana’s dress

My love doth it express.

So it may be

Sewn a forest with one tree.

You I love,

Not another,

Neither yew,

Baa! Not even ewe.

I love you,

With my eye I prove,

Aye, from you I want not move.

Love has no equal,

Just like the one I love;

Our love will never have,

Like movies, an other sequel.

We keep on going,

Better with than without

The other; always slowing,

Never thought a single doubt.

So (Ho! Ho! Ho! So! Sew! Sow!)

What does all this say?

Did I stop to just say “hey”?

No, I’ve just been thinking,

Thinking about things (names, places, and…)

About cute sounds (Janeil Ann Hill)…

Just thinking to myself:

Where I’m heading,

What I’m doing,

Who I’m seeing;

When I’ll be old,

Will all this matter?

Well, I don’t know.

Right now,

I love this girl,

Can’t live without her,

Have to go to school,

Work,

And when I get a chance,

I’ll let her know just

How much is “so much.”

– 4 September 1981

Nothing New Here

For as long as the feeling lasts (forever),

People have told each other, “I love you” —

Three words,

Three word which united kingdoms,

And broke dynasties.

Why do these words do so much?

“|” and “you” are just personal pronouns;

Love is just a four-letter word.

Remember, though, words

Are symbols for people, places things

And ideas.

Love is an idea,

Not concrete but abstract,

And my idea is this:

When I say, “I love you,”

I feel warm inside

When you smile.

I want to share my warmth with you,

I want to share my life with you,

Let you know my feelings

(Want to hear about yours),

And listen to your problems.

Love bonds people together;

Their minds and bodies are paired,

Perhaps by God,

And because no two people are exactly alike

They constantly find something new,

Exciting, or wonderful,

About the other.

Because nobody’s perfect,

They may quarrel,

But love is forgiving.

Love does not always

Last forever.

People change.

Perfect love, though, adapts

To these people (and for them),

By them,

For perfect love, or true love,

Brings these people together

Like pieces of a puzzle —

The picture may change

But the basic shape remains.

Our love “evolved.”

We grew,

And as we grew,

So did our love.

Like a rose,

First came the stem;

(There were some thorns)

Then, during spring break,

The bud appeared.

We knew we were more than friends,

For our letters warmed each other,

Made us smile,

And think.

With summer came our usual invitations

But the meetings were not.

We enjoyed each other’s company,

Didn’t want to be apart,

And like that rose,

Our love grew (and still does);

Unlike that rose,

It won’t die.

I love you.

– 9 September 1981

Long-range Forecast

What shall we do,

You and I?

The weather’s getting colder,

We are farther apart,

And we can do nothing

To make each other feel warm.

(We could exchange heaters?)

Seeing each other twice a month

Makes us lie in wait,

In limbo,

Floating,

Drifting along,

Never knowing

Which way is

up.

Today was clear and sunshiny

But like being without you,

I had to work inside,

Under artificial lights,

Listening to a repeating tape;

Monotony, monotony, was all it said.

The days get shorter

But the time is longer.

There’s a long winter ahead.

– 28 September 1981

We’re Always Together

I couldn’t sleep last night because of you,

And when I woke up, my side felt warm,

As if you had been lying beside me,

Against me,

With me — wishful thinking…

(Then I saw the cat walking away from the bed).

You made the morning beautiful —

What green leaves were left on the trees

Reminded me of your eyes,

The earth was the color of your hair,

The snow, yes, the color of your skin;

Like a fairy princess I chanced

To see in the woods one day,

You shine with some inner source

Of energy —

Be it the love of your life

Or your love of life —

You have the magic to be what you want,

To be with whom you like.

I’m your King of the Forest,

Let’s rule the world.

– 22 October 1981

Our Destiny

We say that we’ll wait —

Marriage would ruin our future(s).

We love each other,

So much so that we could

Almost

Run away together

(I’ll keep trying).

Your relatives have already tied the knot;

They seem to approve of me

And, therefore (I guess), of us.

We are left with few alternatives;

I don’t believe we could be good friends again

(Though your mother would be happy, it seems),

We really shouldn’t get married yet,

So what shall we do?

(I don’t know.)

Neither do I.

I keep asking myself,

Is there anything that would stop me from

Marrying you?

No.

We’re young and have time, let’s wait.

– 27 November 1981

Who Knows Best?

Perhaps we are too serious —

I mean, we do talk about marriage.

(Is it your father?)

Sometimes, I come close to

Forcing us into making love.

(Is it us?)

I’ll tell you right now,

I’m going to “pop the question” soon,

It may be a month, or six months,

Or two days,

But it won’t be more than a year,

‘Cause I know you’re the one!

(Does anyone know what’s best for us?)

We may not get married for a while,

We may be forced to,

But we are going to,

That much I know.

– 30 December 1981

Mental Distress Due to Concern

When you hear ‘em talk of another,

Do you worry?

Do you think,

“What has she got I ain’t got?

Ain’t I enough for him?”

Does he love you?

Then why do you worry?

Honey, ain’t you never seen a man

Test your love fo’ him?

Them men, they needs to be sho’.

They’s got to know if that gut feelin’

Ain’t just their sex pistol shootin’ off…

Know what I’s gettin’ at?

When he loves you,

He tells you so.

He says you’re “beyootiful”;

He opens yo’ door;

He treats you like a lady.

Ain’t that enough?

– 27 January 1982

Smile, Sad Eyes!

I respect your silence;

Yet, as little as we see and hear each other,

Can’t you find it in yourself

To tell me why and how you feel?

We don’t know everything

About each other —

I can only find out about you

By what you do and say.

If you don’t say anything,

You’ll always be a mystery to me.

Is that what you want?

If you’re depressed and want to be cheered

And don’t tell me,

How can I make you smile?

– 27 January 1982

American Revolution

Some ask for it by name,

Others wait for it to come.

What will I do when,

Or if,

No one gives me attention?

I ask not but for some attention,

A smile,

Common experiences to relate

And trade ideas.

The teacher is a pupil,

The law requires it.

If I need attention,

I must give it.

Who wants my attention?

A bird? A cat?

The next-door neighbor?

My friends, my countrymen,

Lend me your attention

For I will return it tenfold.

What more could you ask?

Questions, I know,

But who wants answers?

Not me…

Just attention…

Good old, sweet attention.

— 13 April 1982

Down the shore with no horizon

Don Quixote searched in vain;

Desperado never learned his name;

Many a noble soul had a noble cause

And lost — who can take the blame?

Because they searched, because they sought,

They deserve a moment, a fleeting thought.

Little were they detracted in their quest —

They looked for the dream that never ends,

They left the home so full of love

To find the love that can’t be bought.

The love I found cannot be measured

In pounds or ounces, in pints or cups,

In dollars or pennies, sixpence or marks —

The love I found I found in you,

In you I found the dream, the hope, the desire,

The will that makes a king aspire

To seek his King in ever hour.

For you, my love, I will embark

To kill the rogue, to love my enemy;

Just say the word for I am yours,

We trust in Him whose thoughts are pure.

— 1982

Dream

The quiet, cool morning when no one yet awakens,

The stars still in their glory,

A jet passes through the sky leaving a faint white trail.

A girl behind the cash register,

The white light streaming through the store-front window of

A twenty-four hour store;

Truckers stop for coffee,

Shift workers buy a meal.

Starshine in my right eye,

Storeshine in my left,

Shall I turn to look at women

Or let the skies turn me bereft?

With wings I hunt to find you,

Somewhere there on Earth —

The clouds are my companions,

The wind, my guiding path,

Yet on the ground I’ll find you,

Waiting, searching for the best.

You know you’re with me always

(I cannot shake you off)

So let me fly asunder,

Find the wind that blows the strongest,

Open my wings and

Float,

Soar,

Feel the beauty before my eyes.

The morning turns to noontime,

The birds and people reappear,

I wake and ache at your absence,

My life is empty with you,

That’s why I call you “Dear.”

— December 1984

The Ignorance In Knowledge

The wonders of the universe are mine,

And yet, I wonder what I want with these —

Without my thoughts, your love is true divine,

His Love, your warmth, does not ease life nor please

The seascapes, patterns, that eradicate

Or even place our love up with the gods.

I open eyes at daily double’s fate

To see the watchdogs eat the blinded clods;

The rituals, life-supportive (so they claim),

Brings hunters and the hunted to the fight —

The educated aid the hopeless lame

And both shall watch the forceful lose their might.

We lost the sight with schoolbooks held in hand,

The sight that sees the hungry feed the land.

— February 1985

Good Mack Café

The banana peel.

A metaphor for falling,

Not watching our step.

I hold the banana peel in my hand,

The freshly eaten, soft interior

Losing its identity in my stomach.

A limp thing, yellow and green and brown

Nutritious protection for future worlds,

A jungle or tropical garden,

The veins no longer flow with fluidy substances,

The seeds are lost in rotting dumpsters

Filling sewers, freshly flowing,

Floating jetsam, flotsam pressing

Forward toward my nose,

The smell offending softly spoken,

Perfumed bodies like myself.

My fingers loosen, the peel drops (Plop!).

Rising from my chair, I step to

Reach down to the floor, taking hold of

My future, discarding it as I leave the room.

— March 1985

Words, Only Words

Beneath the surface of your face,

Beyond the limits your brain implies,

The love I want remains in place

Becomes the spark that lights your eyes;

Yet love, one word, does not explain

The love we share and cannot hide.

Vocabulary words bring pain

To those of us who’ve searched, we’ve tried

In vain, regardless of the thought

The other hopeless folks may say,

“All lives are meant for sale, then bought,”

Their voices listless, dull, blasé —

The timeless “love” they call a word,

The love we feel cannot be heard.

— March 1985

I float on an imaginary sea

I float on an imaginary sea —

Waves of motionless, substanceless, nonbeing —

rocking me to the tune of vertigo-go.

AND…&…ET…Y

A straight line does not exist.

Approximation

Approach

Appreciate

Appearance

Appropriate

Apples

I’m always going home;

Seeking home.

Home?

It is a matter of expressing myself, isn’t it?

– 22 September 1985

I am not the wind

I am not the wind

yet I am of the wind

I am a wing of the wind

I am winding down slowly

No longer wing

Nor wind

Just…

Formations of the form of motion

Seas frothing at the mouth

Reality — only seven letters

– 3 October 1985

My religion is based on a form

My religion is based on a form,

neither simple nor complex,

Known nor unknown,

A form that can never be perfected.

The form is based on the shape of a wave,

A wave that completes a revolution,

That revolves around an unfixed position.

The wave does not exist

But its form is imitated by physical phenomena.

My religion is based on a few short words —

Everything goes in a circle.

– 3 October 1985

23 October 1985

I search my brain and find naught

But six terrible nightmares leftover

From a feast of sleep.

I open my eyes and find naught

But what I want to see.

The dreams of a thousand years

Locked in a brain with no hope of escape;

Where do I go from here?

Modern-day Martyr

Anticipating your reluctant smile

And knowing that we sometimes fail to see

Our love (that drive to satisfy), and while

You wiped away the tears, recalling Lee,

I hugged you tighter. Had they told the truth?

I mean, your brother fell. You know the bridge

Was slippery. You know they cannot prove

He killed himself. Just take your privilege

To put these thoughts aside and sleep tonight.

In time, you’ll have perspective and the strength

To put your brother’s death back in the light,

To recall the times he went to any length

To pull you out of your self-pity. Now

Is not the time for asking “Why?” or “How?”

— 29 October 1985

The Artist In Me

The artist in me cannot resist this momentary desire

To put on paper words that burn, words that die, like fire.

The artist in me cannot deny this denial of the work ethic.

What is the work ethic?

What is reality?

I hear people speak of inner worlds and outer worlds,

How one is real, the other false.

I hear myself laugh and laughing.

“We see through the filter of our experience,” one says.

“We do not see the lens through which we look,” says the other.

The one I heard that said the most:

“Reality is only seven letters.”

— 26 September 1985

Sounds In The Night

Onaki som

Vrimurnika

Ola, mifrind, ola

Cizurpi, Ta

Omal jamal

Amarki ti nipur

Solonga long

Ananika

Aloki fanipa

Apar tipar

Avert aumur

Nipusi ti amour

– 7 October 1985

I’ve had the gift for flowery words

I’ve had the gift for flowery words

So I need not escape on grandiose schemes

Just put words upon this page

Without lofty themes

Tell you how I feel and leave

Let you see my love

Let you feel my need.

– 7 October 1985

Resisting Temptation

The world, in circle, flow —

The mind, enlightened, glows —

The civilized enclose —

The seed, on wind, grows —

The Classic and the Beautiful.

Forever setting forth

The future in the past

The past in the future

Setting a new course;

Careless and fancy-free.

Never you or us, just me.

– 7 October 1985

Crystal Mountain

“All I need is the air that I breathe

And to love you” —

Words sung by the master love-song serenader

(Of this age),

Julio Iglesias;

Words have taken on an acrid taste,

Become an irritant that burns the eyes,

Resounded in the ear explosively,

Shocked the touch of a gentle hand,

But words still smell good.

These symbols that I give you

Never can replace the hugs or the kisses;

These splotches of ink that you see

Take the place of my electrochemical longing,

My desire,

To hold you in my arms

And block their reality away from our world.

Each of us has an obsession,

A satisfaction of a basic/primal desire —

Cigarettes, alcohol, automobiles, guitars —

And if we’re lucky,

Our obsessions are part of our daily lives

(Hopefully, socially accepted).

So you see, not only do I love you

And wish I didn’t have to write these words to be with you,

I’m obsessed with you, baby,

And I want to be lucky.

– 10 October 1985

Poking along the ol’ desert trail

Striving For Efficiency

Undocumented love songs do appeal
To unrelenting robots at the job,
The automatic working people’s deal
About their heavy hearts’ (in stillness) throb.
You people! See your wasted VCRs!
Take comfort with the loved ones from the rain,
Wave pennants at the ballgame, and our cars
Shall eat the track. Replace oldtimer’s train
With progress’ routes, invented by the Old
Guard, so the New will build starcruiser ships —
The labored, never-ending future, cold
Beyond imagination — mindless trips.
The words we say, the plans we’ve made in haste,
Perspective bears their worthiness or waste.

[Published in Gallery 1985, a Walters State Community College publication, spring 1985]

=====================

The Farmer’s Almanac Guide to Shakespeare: A 1/2-Act Play

To be performed in a casual setting; the performer should wear an old hat, dirty overalls, and a wornout pair of boots and be holding a large book, preferably the works of Shakespeare.

Hi folks, I was gonna tell y’all about the weather and how my farm was doin’ and all that but this morning I picked up this stack of tall tales that’s been holdin’ up one end of my kitchen table ever since my daughter got kicked outta eighth grade for chewin’ tobacco.

The fellow in this here book says that old psychiatrists have gray beards, that their faces are wrinkled, their eyes all yellowed-over, their gums are red from gnawin’ and that they lack their sanity, together with having weak legs, so they have to hang onto the toilet when they pee (kinda like some of them politicians after they’ve had a few sips of my moonshine…er, I mean cough medicine). I don’t mean to insult the bunch of you but that purty well describes the rest of us here today. But as I was sayin’, you can tell this fellow has a lot on his mind, and he uses some purty fancy words to say all what he’s got to say. I especially like this story, called…

The Good Ol’ Boy Hamlet

[The performer makes a sound, clearing the throat, thrusts the book out in an overdramatic fashion and then pulls the book in close as if the words are hard to see, bending down to study the page for a few seconds before saying the following paragraph slowly, as if getting used to reading out loud.]

I heard this speech once, but it was never acted; or if it was, not more’n once; it didn’t please a lot of folks; it was like fancy fish eggs to the people: but it was — as I reckon, and others, whose judgments in such matters are much smarter’n mine — an excellent speech, every sentence put together purty well and set down with as much modesty as a cunning politician.

[The performer stands up straight and holds the book back out, then loudly enunciates the following, overacting as much as possible.]

To seed or not to seed the fields: that is the question:
Whether this brain of mine can suffer
The Cadillacs and Pierce Arrows of winnin’ the lottery fortune,
Or take pesticides against a sea of boll weevils,
And by sprayin’ end them? To die: to sleep:
No more; and by sleep to say I end
The heartache and the thousand bumps to my butt
That a tractor’ll do to ya, it’s a sitiation
Definitely to be wished fer. To die, to sleep:
To sleep: perchance to dream : ah, there’s the rub of Ben Gay;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When I have taken off these dirty overalls,
Must give me pause: that’s the respect
That makes a calamity of this long life;
For who would bear the naggin’ and complainin’ of your spouse,
The government taxes, the businessman’s contempt for farmin’,
The pains of your ol’ sweetheart’s love, the delay of your farm loan approval,
The overbearin’ county commissioners and the free handouts
That lazy farmers whose crops fail take,
When I myself could quietly make
Out like a barefoot bandit? who would bear the burdens,
To grunt and sweat under this weary life,
But that the wonder of somethin’ after death,
The undiscovered country from whose boundaries
No traveller has returned, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we don’t know of?
Thus conscience does make Christians of us all;
And thus the natural-born worldly will
Is replaced with Jesus and his cast of angels,
And enterprises of great importance and in regards
to this moment our thoughts run to God
And lose the love for the world. — Listen now!
My fair wife! She calls me back to the dinner table for some vittles.
Well, folks, I’d best be going afore she up and feeds my supper to the hogs.

– 19 May 1995

There was a boy…

There was a boy.

He, in today’s world, might have been diagnosed on the autism spectrum (or pick your other favourite euphemism for “we medical professionals aren’t really sure”).

He was in constant pain, a pain without a locus, a locust without a home, a home without a crop, a crop without a horse.

He did not know he was in pain.

He didn’t even know to assume that his condition was normal or not.

He wasn’t aware he was a boy.

Labels were given to him, labels that others insisted he adopt as his own.

These others, bigger than the boy, operated out of fear, misunderstanding and something the boy couldn’t quite put a finger on.

He knew he was supposed to care about these others.

But he lived in a different world than they did, on another plane, in another universe, somewhere not quite completely connected with the others.

He was alone with himself, sometimes sad, sometimes happy, sometimes mad, sometimes sane, always in pain.

He had a point to make — he wanted to be free of pain.

To be free of pain meant only one thing to him: he wanted death.

People died because of his actions.

People were tortured and survived because of the boy’s temporal wants and needs, wants and needs imposed upon the boy by the others.

The boy really wanted to care about people who suffered and died to meet his wants and needs, people he’d never meet, people who lived out there somewhere in their own imaginary universes, their homes with locusts and crops.

But the boy didn’t care.

The boy didn’t care because he only knew how to be alive.

Whirlwinds of people swept the boy up into their storms, a rush of excitement like a carnival of lights and sounds, making the boy smile, laugh, and forget his simple happiness of being alive.

Left alone, the boy sat by himself in silence.

He sat in his unknown pain and waited to die.

Contented.

Years passed.

A half century or more.

The boy thought maybe he had changed a little.

He forgot a lot.

He repeated himself more and more.

He closed his eyes and slept.

One last, long sleep, drifting into a painfree foreverness…

There was a boy.

No more.

Know Venus, Know Mars

image

image

Signs of life. Actions without words.

That’s what she showed me.

A love song about life in life with life.

Like, love, affection.

The long view, not just instant gratification.

For her, everything is not enough.

For it never was about her.

Her body bore the future, constantly held in her thoughts, waiting for when she was ready.

Love and happiness.

A walk in the woods on a cloudy cold winter day clears out the past.

Saying goodbye means giving someone else the chance to say hello.

We grow older, wiser but remain youthful.

image

Rewind — looking back at poetry to a younger woman now that we’re both older…

Meditation on a Dress

Between two points, a line,

Between two friends, a love

(A line of love? A love of lyin’?);

Love bends in compensation,

The line becomes a curve

And the curve becomes a dress,

A soft, not subtle, red —

Like a drunkard’s nose

Or a fragrant rose —

“Cotton knit piqué,” you say,

In your suave, cosmopolitan voice.

Aggressive, or should I say assertive,

Attitudes that greet your dates and boyfriends

Do not sway your friends

For we know your throwing back your hair,

Winking in confidence and coming back with snappy answers

Are but your daily masks and

Have nothing to do with us.

-19 June 1992

=     ==   ===  ====  ===   ==     =

<|[WARNING: CREATIVITY BREAK AHEAD]|>

Fredirique Quo Vadis,

You have always been polite enough

to put up with my creative output,

despite the puerile nature of the stuff I do.

I appreciate your Southern manners —

a compliment to your parents, no doubt.

That I am here at all is strange, for I never

asked to be, but being, so the thinking, I do.

You never lack for friends and that, too, is

Your nature, natural, nearly nocturnal, normal

path to nidification. I’ve enjoyed spinning through

your gravitational pull of which is broom-straw bright,

shimmering light yet not moth-killing blindness —

your sunlike qualities have spun me past other satellites

named Kate and Adam — or are we comets, instead,

spinning past each other? Who knows. What is

on second base. Abbott and Costello are dead

but this joke called life still goes on and tonight

we’re going to party like it’s 1999. Can I say that or

must I give homage to the artist formerly known as?

Of these questions, I do not have nor want the answers

for the painful reminder of life is enough for today.

Tonight, I go to bed committed to contemplating —

inaction is a better word than laziness. Enough said.

Ars longa, vita brevis, Hic Jacet Lee.

– 20 November 1997

=     ==   ===  ====  ===   ==     =

Sanctum, Sanatorium

If we are our friends then are you eclectic?

No. Instead, you take after Saint Brendan —

The Irish monk from county Kerry —

Who through his travels saw

That small towns in which you are born

Bear little resemblance to who you are.

The struggle to free ourselves from forced labor,

And face the pile of words we have become,

Has driven me to wonder how you’ll read

When your last breath drops petals on the floor.

For now, you sit in Charles’ saintly town,

And peer through family-tinted, bridal eyes;

You wonder when you’ll venture off the porch

And wander into your verbal sentence.

Apostles, martyrs, matrons, widows, all,

Have widened paths for nothing more than

Wanting peace for ever more. Your path —

Peat moss, bluets, partridge berry, and

Soothing streams of sun’s delight —

Rolls out before the one and only,

The only one who’s never lonely.

When we are old (we’ll never say),

Will we look back and ask ourselves,

“On which page did I look my best?”

Will we recall angelic faces

From the sanctuary of paragraphs

Written in the city of brotherly love?

Heaven only knows.

– 5 December 1997

=     ==   ===  ====  ===   ==     =

The Bee (For Brenda)

The bee, the meek from which we get our strength,

The bee, whose energy from nectar is drawn,

The bee, in pollen sneezes not but gets its protein;

Some say you buzz, I say you freely fly,

Some say you sting, I say you defend naturally.

Your beauty depends not on human eyes,

If beauty were a concern to you at all;

You’d rather rub your legs on flowers,

Whose seeds will feed your offspring,

Than worry about your sisters’ looks.

How do bees meditate?

Is there a desire to drop the flesh

And become a seat of knowledge pure?

I see not why.

Your pureness is, it need not think “I am.”

If thoughts you had, would you see

The thought of an eternity?

Would then you’d find a way to sit and cross your legs

To climb the ladder of knowledge?

“Okay class, repeat after me,

Yama, niyama, asana, pranayama,

Pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, samadhi.”

Or are you, instead, absent of self-thought

And congenitally devoted to the All?

You need not say —

Your inner illumination burns a silver image in my mind

Of a bee from Dellrose who wants it all.

She is, she be, this she-bee.

– 8 January 1998

=     ==   ===  ====  ===   ==     =

Rewind — looking back at poetry to older women now that I’m their age…

Written for Betty D’Auria when she was about 40+ and I was 26…

Fountain of Youth (for Betty)

Though the spring of your youth has bloomed and dried,

Your youthful smile lives on…

Though summer’s swimful mood has swept you by,

You swim effortlessly through life’s daily tides…

Though fall has finally come with its forest quilt,

You keep your head high,

Your walk vivacious,

Your voice as strong as the roaring, springtide stream

(Yet gentle as the creek where the swallows gather in the evening)…

Though long you’ve seen this planet Earth (or so it seems) —

This small, small world where we live our meager lives —

You see the shortness of life, how one brief live leads to another,

Passing the elations and disappointments to the next generation.

Do not despair, for we are not judged by those around us

(Or how they choose to respond to us);

Our judgment comes from a higher source Who knows our hearts

and has often carried our burdens.

He gives us a fountain of youth when all life has to offer is a drought of troubles.

— 28 June 1988

=     ==   ===  ====  ===   ==     =

For Betty

The choices we make in our delicate lives

Lead us gently throughout the day.

Though beset with coarse and dreadful lies

We bite our lips and find our way

Toward quiet, peaceful moments where

We briefly stop to sigh, and tell

The ones who haven’t yet to dare

To try, that all is never well.

The changes, troubles and evident trials

We face each day, that put us through

The wrinkles and gray hair, the short and long miles

We have to walk, and while we do

We raise our children, teach them love;

Attention we give freely despite

Our woes. Although we reach above

Ourselves, someone dims the light

And leaves us wondering where we’ve climbed;

No time to stop, we grope for holds

Within our grasp and wait. In time,

An outreached Hand of aged folds,

A Hand we’ve known though never seen,

Will firmly guide us up and shed

Our fears of those both cruel and mean

Who’d rather bring us to the dead

Than help us in our living. This Hand

We trust though seldom use has met

Our needs through the years. Our grand,

Ambitious plans cause us to fret

But welcome Arms embrace our tense

And worried lives to slow our pace.

Our structured lives built like a fence

Are held together by His grace.

— 7 March 1990

=     ==   ===  ====  ===   ==     =

Sunny Bonnet, Bonnie Sonnet

I give to you my only sun, my sun

Whose voice is sweet and low. The sound you hear

Within your heart and soul makes haste to run

Yet walks anew. Though now you seem to fear

Alone, you soon will find you’re in a crowd

And while you search and seek in vain to find

The other soul whose tenor voice is loud,

The one you seek waits here within your mind.

No sooner than a moment and you hold

That voice within your hand. Now wait, take note,

Don’t take a step! You think you’re quite a bold

And forward gal. Forget we learn by rote?

Let’s both sit down and kiss awhile. Before

We do, let’s take a breath and kiss some more.

— 12 March 1990

=     ==   ===  ====  ===   ==     =