Friday, May 31, 2013

Supplemental: An Apology for the Previous Poem

I know the poem I wrote today was bad
I really thought about taking it down.
The thing is feeble, childish, ugly, sad,
and scatological. It made me frown.

But if I take down every poem I write
that doesn't live up to my lyric dream,
I'll scarcely have a sonnet left. I might
as well just quit and go out for ice cream.

Not every dog's a champion of its breed.
Some smell, some bite, some might be blind or worse.
Put them to sleep for that? Too cruel indeed;
I feel the same about my mongrel verse.

So let's move on. I fully realize
it sucked. And for that, I apologize.


V. 2, #64: May 31, 2013

It crawled from tile to tile across the floor
I watched and mapped its progress like Descartes--
Each spider twitch, each spasmic fit and start
of its segmented body. Even more,

The whip-slash of antennae, sharp as pikes,
the iron-gray, thorn-studded carapace,
the eyes like cursed jewels in an idol's face
aflame with evil admonition--yikes!

No broom could dent the armor on its back,
no spray snuff out its Luciferan life.
I cowered in the corner, butcher knife
in hand. Consumed with fear, my bowels went slack.

Lucky for me, it seemed to like the scent.
We're roommates now. He helps out with the rent.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

V. 2, #63: May 30, 2013

The zombies shamble up and down the aisles,
their jaws agape, their eyes all glazed and red.
Not one will shift his arms nor turn his head
to mark another's passage. No one smiles.

The zombies' brains don't rot. They're not blank slates.
Their skulls are crammed with figures, lines of code
to be debugged. It's neural overload
that keeps them in their sad, subhuman states.

Yes, once they lived. Their hands held warmth and sense--
but that was long ago. Now, fingers curled
to keyboard-scratching claws, they shun the world
and haunt their cubicles like revenants.

They stumble out for coffee, stiff and slow.
Don't look them in the eye--just let them go.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

V. 2, #62: May 29, 2013

The man paused at the door and turned to stare
at what he'd leave behind once he stepped through.
The road stretched out for miles--familiar, bare.
What lay beyond this portal, no one knew.

He saw the well-worn paths he'd paced for years,
all long, slow spirals, concentric and clean.
Beside them, choked with weeds and pointless tears,
those left untraveled, unknown, and unseen.

He paused to look, and like Lot's wife he learned
how ruthless God can be to those who stay
too long to reminisce, fearful, unsure.
Perhaps she wept to see how Sodom burned--
perhaps, instead, she merely wished to say
goodbye. He turned around. There was no door.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

V. 2, #61: May 28, 2013

Perhaps I'm getting soft in my old age,
my stony stoic front ground down by years.
It seems ridiculous at this late stage
to be so often moved to senseless tears;

The radio brings trite, corn-sweetened pap
that blurs the road until I wipe my eyes;
News stories leave me misting like a sap
for reasons hard to consciously surmise.

A harsh word from my son, my daughter's kiss,
a half-remembered line of poetry,
and I'm a blubbering mess. What causes this
strange flood of new sentimentality?

Rain, wind, and time lay veins once covered bare;
and nerves pain sharpest, thus exposed to air.

Monday, May 27, 2013

V. 2, #60: May 27, 2013

When she was just a child, there on the floor
amidst her building bricks and bits of string,
she learned what many kids had learned before:
with the right parts, you can make anything.

And so through school and university
she studied what things fit, and where, and how;
she struggled on through all adversity
and failed experiments (Bug-Dog; Cat-Cow).

Till finally she saw it in a dream--
amino acids lined like Lego blocks!
She woke and wrote it down--then, gaining steam,
accomplished it, breaking all Nature's locks.

Now Jaguar-Eagle hybrids rule the skies,
and she smiles, polishing her Nobel Prize.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

V. 2, #59: May 26, 2013

Upon a time once, far away form here,
there lived a princess known as Scary Jane,
whose suitors screamed and scattered, pale with fear!
The King asked his advisors to explain.

"Could it perhaps be how she spins her head
right the way round?" pondered one trusted Duke.
"Or how she levitates, raises the dead,
and covers all her would-be beaus with puke?

"She summons branches from the Haunted Wood
to tear their flesh and prod them shamelessly.
Of course they run away! Anyone should.
The fault's your daughter's, Sire, it seems to me."

"No one's perfect!" the King said, with a cough,
then asked his men to cut the Duke's head off.


Saturday, May 25, 2013

V. 2, #58: May 25, 2013

Today it's by the numbers--there's no time
to do it right; just doing it's the thing.
Mechanically slot meter into rhyme
and hope that one or two of them will sing;

But if they don't, if all your clumsy feet
trip on themselves, don't let it get you down.
No drummer never missed a single beat,
and writing's always been more verb than noun.

A stream of water, falling drop by drop
can penetrate the strongest stony wall.
With time, determination not to stop,
and patience, you'll get through too, after all.

That rare bird Inspiration's very nice--
but sometimes Perspiration must suffice.


Friday, May 24, 2013

V. 2, #57: May 24, 2013

Connections have a tendency to fail:
some water seeps into the circuitry,
a flash, a little smoke, and suddenly
you're tapping at the keys to no avail;

Or something quieter that doesn't show--
a wire, corroded due to lack of use
or bare neglect, curls up and wriggles loose,
thus severing the current's normal flow.

So many things can disconnect our ends
from what gave them their power, till one day
we find ourselves alone and in the dark,
where once we shared the light with cherished friends.
Thing is, it doesn't have to be that way:
Hold our your line. Here's mine. Wait for the arc.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

V. 2, #56: May 23, 2013

My Time is not a maniac scattering dust
as Tennyson would have it; He's a slow
cold monster, covering everything with snow
that makes my machinations stall and rust.

He stretches out His frigid hand and turns
momentum to inertia, blood to ice,
and growth to atrophy, until the price
of Change seems far too great. Whatever burns

in me, whatever dreams he's yet to snuff
between his fingers like a candle's flame
grow fainter day by day and year by year,
while I sit by and watch them disappear
in smoke, till what remains is not enough
to summon into thought, or give a name.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

V. 2, #55: May 22, 2013

She turned and left the room without a word.
Some stared at him, his thoughtless cruelty
still hanging there like smoke. But as for me,
I coughed and made believe I hadn't heard.

But I could still make out her heels' tattoo
upon the marble tile, still see the way
her mouth convulsed, with nothing she could say
to counter that, and nothing she could do.

He bowed his head, ashamed, and left. I sipped
my gin and thought of her, the lipstick smudge
we sponged off my shirt collar in our room.
The band played. One by one, the guests all slipped
out to their cars. With no one left to judge
me then, I drank, still breathing her perfume.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

V. 2, #54: May 21, 2013

My inspiration comes from breathing in
and every time I breathe out, it expires
My soul is born, it dies, and lives again
as often as biology requires

My eyes create the world from rays of light,
and then destroy it every time I blink
It crumbles and reconstitutes, not quite
the same it was before, I sometimes think.

And cell by cell my body is replaced
at night when I'm asleep. A year or two,
this mortal coil will crumble into waste
and what remains will be completely new.

So am I me? Or am I someone else,
condemned to replicate these faulty cells?


Monday, May 20, 2013

V. 2, #53: May 20, 2013

You boys go on ahead and have your fun.
I won't try to convince you not to go.
Some things won't let you rest until you know,
and in your eyes I see that this is one.

The key is on a ring above the jamb.
Be sure you mind the loose boards on the porch.
There's been no gas for years, so take a torch
or flashlight. It's not like a give a damn,

but if you're fool enough to head upstairs,
the room's third from the right. Set up your glass
and wait till one, not stirring from the spot.
I'm old. There's not much in this world that scares
me now, but I'll say this: I've seen the lass
before. Another time? I'd rather not.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

V. 2, #52: May 19, 2013

Benny was only seventeen years old
the night he disappeared. An average kid
who did no worse than anybody did
at school, nor better neither, truth be told.

They say he climbed the city's water tower
on some fool-hearted dare. He danced atop
its dome--the girls were begging to stop,
the boys just egged him on. And then a flower

of bright kaleidoscopic brilliance flashed
above his head like some magician's act.
There was a sound like falling, broken glass.
The kids all gaped, waiting for it to pass.
It did. They found Ben's clothes, folded, intact,
right where he'd stood, beside a pile of ash.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

V. 2, #51: May 18, 2013

The cat sits quiety and licks its fur;
meanwhile the dog is sleeping on the chair.
It's getting late, and no one seems to care,
or else they lack the energy to stir;

Games have been finished, boxed and put away,
the TV dark and silent for a change.
Such sudden stillness counts as something strange
in this house, where it's always noise and play;

There's nothing cooking on the stove--outside,
the sun sinks silently beyond the trees
and soon the sky will purple like a bruise.
So, separately, without a thought, we slide
into the night, completely at our ease,
as though we hadn't anything to lose.


Friday, May 17, 2013

V. 2, #50: May 17, 2013

The doctor doesn't know where he went wrong,
but something's got his Creature out of sorts.
He plays his PS3 the whole day long
and never bathes, not even after sports;

He eats five meals a day, as many snacks,
and watches TV like it was his job.
Ask him to clean his room, and he reacts
as if you were some crazed, torch-bearing mob!

Invites friends over without asking first,
throws parties that make matchsticks of the lab,
and when confronted, screams "Dad, you're the worst!
I never asked to be raised from the slab!"

"Oh horrors!" quoth the doc, "That kid of mine
has grown into a Teenage Frankenstein!"


Thursday, May 16, 2013

V. 2, #49: May 16, 2013

There's never going to be a better time
than now to change your life and start anew.
But that's not saying much--it's no sublime
intelligence says so, nor makes it true;

Just simple mathematics: days subtract
from years, and with them opportunity
for renaissance dwindles as well. Thus Fact
reduces Dream to cold futility.

Moment by moment, changes we've got planned
meet their negation and resolve to naught.
It's exponential; so we understand
the maxim's much less happy than we thought:

"There'll never be a better time than Now,"
because Tomorrow will be worse, somehow.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

V. 2, #48: May 15, 2013

I was a Monster for the FBI
back in my younger days. The scientists
fused to my back the arms of octopi,
and gave me a gorilla's arms and fists.

For watchfulness while in the field, my eyes
were deemed too weak, so half a dozen more
were grafted on--eagles' and dragonflies'.
For fearsomeness, a lion's teeth and roar.

I'd rustle gangsters, sting spies with my tail,
and cripple crooked cops, given the chance.
Those were the days! You should have seen them wail
in terror, drop their loot and shit their pants!

Now I'm retired, and glory days are done.
Except for Halloween--that's always fun.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

V. 2, #47: May 14, 2013

It doesn't bother me if no one reads
my scribblings here, these wayward drops of ink
I scatter heedlessly; I hardly think
such service one that any stranger needs.

This wordy stream might bear some specks of gold
that, if I'm lucky, settle in my pan,
but more wash past. I do the best I can;
The water's shallow here, muddy, and cold.

There was a time when, screaming myself hoarse,
I splashed and floundered, desperate to be praised
by all who passed. But now I am content
calmly to watch the river take its course,
kneel down beside it, quietly amazed,
and cup it in my hands, a sacrament.


Monday, May 13, 2013

V. 2, #46: May 13, 2013

We helped the doc move boxes--homemade crates
of pine and cedar. Research cores, he said,
extracted from some cave, encased in lead,
and stored. He paid us twice our normal rates.

The next day Peter's leg began to swell.
His foot took on a sickly greenish hue.
The doc said there was nothing he could do
but get some rest and hope all would be well.

And now it's been three days since we've seen Pete,
and one since paramedics found remains
they think must be the doc's, but can't be sure.
But worse: they found footprints out to the street,
three-toed and clawed, that match the bloody stains
I tracked to Pete's apartment's splintered door.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

V. 2, #45: May 12, 2013

I cannot give you everything you want,
or even most of it--that's just a fact.
My pockets aren't a never-drying font
of golden coins; my mattress is not packed

with Franklins, hidden from you out of spite,
or some perverse desire to kill your joys.
I don't withhold from malice--though I might!
Fit punishment for greedy little boys.

In truth, the little money that I make,
left over after mortgage, bills, and food,
I freely give; you just as freely take,
and call me stingy when it's gone. How rude!

One day you'll have a job, and understand.
Till then, for answer take this empty hand.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

V. 2, #44: May 11, 2013

Don't need to do the things I do, but still,
I do them just the same, and damn the cost.
Don't care if it be good or it be ill,
I will not be advised, dissuaded, bossed.

I'll wreck my liver, conscience, posture, mind,
with acts most inadvisable and wrong.
Just watch me go wild, feral, crazy, blind--
and if it smarts, it will not hurt for long.

Oh sure, I could watch what I eat and drink,
weigh others' feelings equal to my own,
but where's the gain in that? Do others think
of my emotions, or themselves alone?

Some folks will help you now and then, and smile,
but hope one day you'll make it worth their while.


Friday, May 10, 2013

V. 2, #43: May 10, 2013

You see it in the way he sits: his spine
gone strangely limp and strengthless. How he bends
over his desk, eyes focused on the screen
before him, chair sunk lower every hour,
till inches separate him from the floor.
It seems like every day there's something else
to make his eyelids droop, his body sag.

At night he tells the wife and kids he's fine,
pulls himself straight, goes out to drink with friends
or reads. The bathroom mirror shows him clean
and trim. No one would ever guess the sour
black bile he swallows, hid behind this door.
Down in his gut the venom churns and swells.
He wrings himself out like a dirty rag.


Thursday, May 09, 2013

V. 2, #42: May 9, 2013

Jocephus String is loose as anything;
He shapes his limbs and joints with just his thoughts.
Of all contortionists, Jo ranks as king.
You ought to see him tie himself in knots!

His sideshow colleagues hardly think it's fair
How he can twist his spine into a braid,
Or fix his arms and legs into a square
As tight as any Boy Scout could have made.

His finger nooses never lose their bite;
His Flemish Shin Bend goes without a Hitch.
As for his "Manly Slipknot"--it's a sight
to see. That's why he's so well-known, and rich.

He's got a fiancee named Cindy Snow,
Who says he makes the most delightful beau.


Wednesday, May 08, 2013

V. 2, #41: May 8, 2013

The flood caught everybody by surprise.
One moment sunshine, gentle breezes, birds
singing their hymns; then almost before words
to name it could be formed, the western skies

exploded into darkness. Clouds rolled in
and roared as though in anger, dumping sheets
of rain on hissing asphalt, turning streets
to rivers, yards to lakes, as if again

the Lord had judged the world, His rainbow oath
forgotten in His wrath, and this time none
were marked for mercy. Rising waters swept
down gullies, drowned the ones who tried to run,
destroyed the homes of saints and sinners both.
We climbed up to the roof, sat down, and wept.


Tuesday, May 07, 2013

V. 2, #40: May 7, 2013

There must have been a time in ages past,
when hunters stalked with sling and stone and spear,
a curse that would leave modern man aghast
existed: there was no such thing as beer.

How primitive their lives, without a balm
to salve their apeish brains back at the cave!
No golden brew to make the savage calm,
nor help the fearful brute stand straight and brave!

Was Mankind's progress founded on the dream
of some magic elixir he might drink?
Were boozy bubbles topped with heady cream
the font of Evolution? Makes you think.

A toast then, to the race that tamed the beast
with bigger brains, hops, water, malt and yeast.


Monday, May 06, 2013

V. 2, #39: May 6, 2013

The dream he has is always just the same:
he finds himself inside the house alone.
Someone he recognizes, but can't name,
steps from the shadows, holding out a phone;

He takes it, holds it up to his left ear,
and listens as a voice he thinks he knows
says something unintelligible. Near
insane with murderous anger (why?) he throws

it to the ground. It shatters, made of glass.
The shards rebound and pierce his face and hands.
The air around him thickens, a morass
like cold molasses. Now he understands

for one split second everything he's seen--
but waking, can't think what it all might mean.


Sunday, May 05, 2013

V. 2, #38: May 5, 2013

To ride a woolly mammoth would be fun,
Across the frozen tundra like a king;
Set antelope and bison on the run,
who never saw nor smelt of such a thing.

To harness Nessie like a motor boat
And waterski behind her on the Loch
Would be a hoot--I'd try hard not to gloat,
With Scotsmen gaping from the shore, in shock.

I'd have a Bigfoot be my bodyguard,
And Yeti for the bouncer at my door.
He'd keep the fans away who crowd the yard
to glimpse these things that no one's seen before.

At night I'd lay my weary head to sleep,
And count my Chupacabras, just like sheep.


Saturday, May 04, 2013

V. 2, #37: May 4, 2013

Hands clamped around the wheel as if Grim Death
were coming up fast in the passing lane,
he pushed the pedal down, near half insane
with fiery wrath against her. Every breath

was laden with a curse most inhumane,
as pictures of their bodies intertwined,
the P.I.'s glossy photos, underlined
and time-stamped, fired the furnace of his brain.

Not soon enough, he would stand in the door
of that venomous snake he'd called his friend
and partner, watch the blood drain from his face
while she would only scream. A moment more,
and he, the last alive, would torch the place,
then eat his gat. And that would be the end.


Friday, May 03, 2013

V. 2, #36: May 3, 2013

The cold wind slithers through the Johnson grass
and hisses as if every fibrous blade
had cut it deep. A traveler might pass
and wonder what rough beast lies in the glade

so wounded and ferocious. Overhead,
gray clouds turn lucent from the hidden moon
and cast on living skin the pall of dead
but walking things. Some ancient, mystic rune

engraved decades ago on Palmer's Rock--
which stands the meadow's sentinel, alone
--glows most unnaturally (as if to mock
an absent God), the shade of polished bone.

It's said at midnight haunting music plays
and spirits speak. But no one ever stays.


Thursday, May 02, 2013

V. 2, #35: May 2, 2013

Brunhilda was the girl who lived upstairs--
abusive father, mother disinclined
to intervene. They woke one day to find
her bath run red--she'd bled out all her cares.

The basement was the home of young Clarice,
who had no problems anyone could see--
found dangling from the age-scarred apple tree
out front. Her note read simply, "Grant me peace."

And now, though life had placed the two apart
by three warped floors and more than sixty years,
it seems each lonely soul has found its friend:
dark footsteps down and up the stairs portend
long nights of echoed whispers, laughs, and tears,
and childish games that never meet their end.


Wednesday, May 01, 2013

V. 2, #34: May 1, 2013

A bad taste at the back of my sick throat,
as if the Toad of My Most Loathsome Thoughts
were squatting there to rub his slimy bloat
against my tongue's most pink, receptive dots;

Or rather if the Sewage Treatment types
who purify the gurglings of my Id
have not repaired the rusted, leaky pipes
that bear the filth away. ("Tough cookies, kid.")

There must be scientific terms to name
the foulness trickling toward my stomach wall
and reasons for its flavor; just the same,
I'd much prefer it not exist at all.

But no--I'll keep on gulping down the crap
until my white blood cells shut off the tap.