Sunday, June 30, 2013

V. 2, #94: June 30, 2013

Of course there's nothing wrong with beer; in fact,
I think you'll find the opposite is true.
No threat you make, no law you could enact
could sully my opinion of the brew;

Likewise, I've no bad things to say of wine
to serve as a prescription for your woes,
and though it's not my favorite, it's just fine
for those with finer palates, I suppose.

But when the cocktail hour has rolled around,
the workday actors all have played their roles,
a gin and tonic in my hand, I've found,
sweeps clear the table and inverts the poles.

And some days, when I'm weighted down with care,
I try all three--you know, just to compare.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

V. 2, #93: June 29, 2013

A quiet house, a cold afternoon beer,
and silly horror movies on TV,
with nothing much to do and less to fear,
I'm happy keeping my own company.

I play guitar, sing loud as I can shout,
talk to myself and answer back as well,
go to that website friends told me about,
but couldn't click at work, for fear of hell.

Tonight the house will fill with noise and light,
the kids returned, the wife there at my side;
much less peaceful and free, but that's all right--
my need for loneliness is satisfied.

I'm not an antisocial wreck, you see;
I just know, without a break, that I could be.

Friday, June 28, 2013

V. 2, #92: June 28, 2013

This work week's back is one I'm pleased to see--
it's lingered, listless, longer than it should
I'd kick this anthropomorphology
in its unwelcome keester, if I could;

It's been a monster, wreaking havoc with
my peace of mind eight hours of every day.
And worse than that, like vampires out of myth,
has sucked the joy from time reserved for play.

But now its reign of terror must needs close,
and in its place, Goddess Weekend Divine
sheds light and idleness on all of those
who've kept their faithful eyes upon her shrine.

Some say I should improve my attitude;
to them I say, "It's done. Now beer me, dude."

Thursday, June 27, 2013

V. 2, #91: June 27, 2013

So White is purity--a virginal
young woman, her white robes spotless and clean,
led to the altar, while a madrigal
vibrates cathedral pillars, lichen-green;

And Pink, carnality--the folds of flesh
bedewed with lusty moisture, slick and sweet,
where wild young oats are sown, and bodies thresh,
discovering the ecstasies of meat;

Then Red, mortality--the pulsing flow
of thick, rich blood from veins cut heedlessly,
thoughts thickening, the puddle creeping slow
past fingers tugging earth, most needlessly.

A flash of White again, fading to Grey,
then finally Black--past that, no one can say.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

V. 2, #90: June 26, 2013

He draws the lines exactly how they look
to him, the photograph in black and white,
like lines of poetry in his sketchbook,
erased, redrawn until they flow just right;

He pays attention to the empty space
between the features, all proportions true;
the gentle, soft gray contours of her face.
It's perfect. There is nothing left to do.

But still there's something missing in the eyes,
a form resistant to the graphite's trail
that he is powerless to realize,
against which his artistic efforts fail.

He crumples her and throws her in the bin.
A fresh white page. He sighs. Begin again.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

V. 2, #89: June 25, 2013

Some days there's just no water in the fountain,
no wind to blow your sailboat to the shore,
no rope to haul yourself with up a mountain,
no apple left around the bitter core.

Some days you've emptied every brimming vessel,
and spent your last two bits at the arcade;
some days the train's gone clean around the trestle,
and all that you can make has done been made.

But some days there's a jar of peanut butter
with just a little left stuck to the side.
You grab a knife, and scrape and cuss and mutter
and finally get your craving satisfied.

It isn't much--it isn't even free.
But some days, friend, it doesn't have to be.

Monday, June 24, 2013

V. 2, #88: June 24, 2013 (For My Daughter, on Her 9th Birthday)

Thea, my love, my most beautiful rose,
today I sing the glory of your birth--
who brought down to this undeserving Earth
perfumes no other flower could disclose;

You put the gentle summer breeze to shame,
such is the loving warmth you radiate--
a beauty poetry can't duplicate,
a sweetness that could have no other name.

Whatever sadnesses may yet remain
for me, whatever tragedy still lies
in wait, I have known happiness enough;
for galaxies of stars could not contain
the simple sacred wonder of your eyes,
nor bound the vastness of your father's love.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

V. 2, #87: June 23, 2013

Perhaps I could have realized my dreams,
had novels lined on shelves in every store,
my name on all the spines, fans wanting more.
I'd buy my printer paper by the reams;

One different decision, other paths
pursued, I might be up there on the stage,
a god to screaming groupies half my age,
who'd give me head to sign their photographs;

But then I might have been a drunken wreck
like Hemingway, or died of overdose
in some record producer's opium den.
The happiest might be the path I chose:
day job, my daughter's arms around my neck.
Perhaps this is the best it could have been.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

V. 2, #86: June 22, 2013

There is a place behind the hospital,
beyond the pauper's graves and wrought-iron fence,
that saw the suicide of Donnagle,
and every night for years has seen it since.

Who knows how he slipped out, got away clean,
eluded nurses, searchlights, and barbed wire,
lugging his can of stolen gasoline,
and, calm as bishops, set himself on fire.

And so it's been for fifty years or more,
behind abandoned rooms and rusted gates:
at midnight, spectral flames begin to roar
and that poor madman screams, and dissipates.

Some say a doctor was involved somehow;
but anyway, it doesn't matter now.

Friday, June 21, 2013

V. 2, #85: June 21, 2013

No time to put your feet up on the bed
and contemplate the things you did today.
No time to put your hands behind your head
and watch the lazy evening drift away.

No time to sit and have a glass of tea
with dear old friends who've stopped to say hello,
nor to re-read The Old Man and the Sea--
short book, even for Hemingway, you know.

No time to watch TV or strum guitar;
no time to go for walks or play a game.
No time to look around at where you are--
tomorrow and tomorrow look the same.

No time for anything but turning in.
Best get your rest--soon we begin again.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

V. 2, #84: June 20, 2013

The monkey sat upon the mountaintop
where cold winds blew and snowstorms raked the crags,
and charged supplicants twenty bucks a pop
to ask their questions, and receive gift bags.

Most queries tended toward the quite inane:
"Will I ever be rich?" "Who'll be my mate?"
It drove the wise old simian near insane,
but still he answered, at the going rate.

One day a young girl summited the peak,
and said, "I have no question for you, sir.
I think the ones who trust your wisdom weak,
and lacking fortitude. Don't you concur?"

He smiled, stretched out his hand, and shook his head.
"I do. That's twenty bucks," the monkey said.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

V. 2, #83: June 19, 2013

If you were truly happy, you would smile
each time a trifling pleasure went awry.
you'd wink your eye without a trace of guile,
and in the face of disappointment, sigh.

It would not matter much if now and then
things did not go the way you wished they would;
you'd take the loss, anticipating win--
a balance beam tipped always toward the good.

But no--you grit your teeth and agonize
each minor irritant and small defeat,
quite sure that every setback prophesies
a life of failure,  total and complete.

Each cloud is lined with silver, though, my friend:
one of these days, its going to have to end.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

V. 2, #82: June 18, 2013

Oh Motorist! Who gunned your Honda through
this four-way stop, though I had reached it first!
Of all the reprobates I ever knew,
you and your selfish ilk are sure the worst!

Discounting traffic laws and decency,
heedless of all potential accident,
you count yourself the roadway's regency.
May birds bespatter you with excrement!

You risk collision, injury, and jail
to shave three seconds off of your commute.
May your headlights explode, brake systems fail,
and hornets build their castles in your boot!

Till Justice turns her sword on you at last,
I curse thee with my horn's contemptuous blast!

Monday, June 17, 2013

V. 2, #81: June 17, 2013 (Happy Birthday to Me)

I guess I'll never be a movie star,
be loved by millions, live a life of ease;
I'll never drive a fast Italian car
or date as many models as I please;

I'll never do a Fresh Air interview
about my novels and their fine awards;
I'll never be a rock star idol, who
makes female fans freak out and flip their gourds;

I'll never be the things I dreamed I'd be,
I won't accomplish what I yearned to do.
I'll live a life of sullen normalcy,
No better and no worse than all of you.

And when I die, it will be all the same.
In fifty years, no one will know my name.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

V. 2, #80: June 16, 2013

I crammed my words into a pepper mill
and ground them down to sounds and syllables,
shook consonants into the mix until
they'd seasoned all the stewed participles;

I reached for parsley, rosemary, and thyme,
but put them back for spicy similes
as fiery as flambe. I added rhyme
for flavor, then threw in some English peas.

Now that the pot was almost full, I stirred
it vigorously, bringing it to boil;
the mixture steamed and bubbled, then a word
popped out and burned my fingers like hot oil.

It's done, so sit and have a cup with me.
It might not taste that good--but hey, it's free!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

V. 2, #79: June 15, 2013

Let car-crash noises infiltrate your dreams,
awake to a cacophony of bells;
have coffee while a fireman's siren screams,
and breakfast to the sound of cats in wells.

The car alarms will get you through midday,
and chattering chimpanzees will stay for lunch;
all afternoon a mad wild ass will bray,
then listen for the trash compactor's crunch.

With any luck, when evening rolls around,
the chainsaws will be almost out of fuel;
the metal grinders' loads will all be ground,
and neighbors' Harleys will have ceased their duel.

Then you can lay your weary head to sleep,
lulled by the smoke alarm's relaxing beep.

Friday, June 14, 2013

V. 2, #78: June 14, 2013

It's travel time! Wake up and help me load
the car. Shake out the cobwebs in your head.
C'mon, let's get this freakshow on the road!
I felt your pulse--I know that you're not dead.

There's miles of open road ahead of us,
and hours without a single bathroom break;
I won't be moved, no matter how you fuss,
so hit that toilet now, for goodness' sake!

We'll stop at every roadside tourist trap,
and gawk at each pickled two-headed snake.
We'll buy a lot of useless plastic crap
that says, "Wish you were here! Pookausey Lake."

Then, once we've finally reached our destination--
well, that'll be the end of our vacation!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

V. 2, #77: June 13,2013

It won't be long, my love, and all the care
that kept us up at night our whole lives long,
the bands around our wrists we thought so strong
will dissipate like steam into the air;

One day, perhaps not soon, but not too far,
desires and needs will vanish with our breath,
and in that restful slumber we call Death,
we'll hope to be no more than what we are.

So, knowing that such freedom is our due,
and waits for us no matter how we strive,
it makes no sense to pound our chests and fret.
Let's walk a little slower, just we two.
Watch sunsets. Smell the rain. Just be alive.
Kiss me.The sun's still high. We've ages yet.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

V. 2, #76: June 12, 2013

The sleepy little Snufflepuff had stopped
to rest along the steeply sloping road.
His chubby fuzzy body stooped and dropped
onto a very rockish-looking toad.

The toad croaked out, "Get off me, you big lump!
I'm not a stool for floppy, furry freaks!
Besides, the downy whiskers on your rump
will likely give me allergies for weeks!"

The weary, worried Snufflepuff arose
and made apologies for his neglect.
"I didn't mean to irritate your nose,
good sir. I'll just move on then, I expect."

The toad harumphed, then turned to let him pass.
That's when the Snufflepuff cold kicked his ass.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

V. 2, #75: June 11, 2013

The tall man never moved; he simply stood
stock still, under the shadow of the trees.
Leaves swirled around him like a swarm of bees.
His grinning lips stretched farther than they should.

With thirty yards between him and the pane
of glass that shut the night wind from my room,
his eyes still shone like twin coals in the gloom.
Above, the moonlit cloudbanks threatened rain.

It felt like hours, eyes fixed on that blank stare,
my teddy bear clutched tight. I could not cry,
could barely even breathe--until at last
the storm broke. Lightning tumbled from the sky
brought momentary blindness; when it passed,
I turned to call my mother.

                                             He was there.

Monday, June 10, 2013

V. 2, #74: June 10, 2013

We called them gumballs--pulled them from the tree
by careful handfuls, every time we could.
They looked like medieval weaponry,
a morning star, its handle living wood.

All spherical, spiked thorns along thin seams
with one bare stem on top to grip them by,
we'd pouch them in our shirttails, choose up teams,
take cover, declare war, and let them fly.

With no objective except to attack,
and daring, pointless forays from each side,
advancing until we were beaten back,
our ammo ran out, or somebody cried,

We sweated out the dusky autumn hours,
till called inside for cookies, milk, and showers.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

V. 2, #73: June 9, 2013

Oh glory be to God for smelly things,
For pungent cheese and vinegar in vats;
For swamps and all their rot and moulderings,
For incontinent dogs and pissing cats;

For armadillos flattened in the heat,
Their outlaid innards all puffed up with gas;
For unwashed athletes' armpits, sweaty feet,
For butts, and all the fragrances they pass.

What would a summer be without the pong,
So strangely chemical, of angry skunk?
Praise Him who made the musk so foul and strong,
For every fulsome, fecund, fecal funk!

Though flowers' powers might be fine indeed,
Sometimes I think a stink is what we need.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

V. 2, #72: June 8, 2013

A princess was imprisoned in a tower
(it happens to a lot of them, you know),
and years on end nobody had the power
to kill the beast that would not let her go.

This beast, of course, was quite a nasty dragon,
a fiery, fiendish brute par excellence,
whose castle no king yet had hung a flag on,
whose roar made most brave knights besmirch their pahnts.

So one day, tired of waiting for defenders,
the princess (who had read some Buddhist texts),
chanted some prayers, then burnt herself to cinders!
Which left her captor shocked, dismayed, and vexed:

"It's brave, and quite a statement, I'll allow--
but folks will think I did it anyhow."

Friday, June 07, 2013

V. 2, #71: June 7, 2013

The columns on the porch are drab and boring.
The drapes and carpeting are out of date.
We'd rank near last if anyone were scoring
our home decor. It would not even rate.

We'll watch a hundred hours of Flip My House
and learn to maximize our curb appeal;
put in a Zen rock garden while we grouse
on House Hunters. (It isn't even real!)

Then, once we have exhausted energy
and funds alike, we'll beam with homely pride,
to see our house as it was meant to be:
perfection in facade, a dream inside!

It makes me misty, dear, even to tell it;
The house we've always wanted--now let's sell it!

Thursday, June 06, 2013

V. 2, #70: June 6, 2013

She said her friend Max was invisible,
and only spoke when grown-ups weren't around.
Her parents thought the notion risible,
of course, but cute. And then one day they found

their dining chairs stacked like a pyramid,
and arcane symbols scratched into the floor.
The kitten disappeared, their keys were hid,
and late at night, small hands rattled their door.

Her parents frowned and sent the girl to bed
without her snack. The attic floorboards groaned.
Blood drizzled thick from every shower head,
and something in the basement pitched and moaned.

She giggles in her room. She likes this game.
She knows that Max is really not his name.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

V. 2, #69: June 5, 2013

The lobster is immortal, practically,
and all his life he grows and grows and grows.
Just how big one might get, nobody knows;
his only limit is catastrophe.

If neither caught nor eaten, he'll expand
to twenty, forty, fifty pounds or more;
and one who watched the pilgrims come to shore
might still bestir the deeper ocean's sand.

And maybe, further out, beyond the reach
of lobster trap and cage and fishing net,
silt billows from beneath two ancient claws
the size of sunken ships. And one day yet
he'll roar and rise toward the moon that draws
him, like the tide, to crash upon the beach.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

V. 2, #68: June 4, 2013

You want to scale the planet's highest summit?
If that's the way you choose to spend your time,
I will not be the one who keeps you from it;
as far as I'm concerned, go on and climb.

Clamp on your crampons, sharpen up your pick,
and acclimate yourself to thinner air.
Suck bottled oxygen if you feel sick,
and tell your friends it's "just because it's there."

While you do that, I'll sit here on my haunches,
imbibe a beer or two and watch TV.
Some folks don't mind if they develop paunches
and let the day drift by. One such is me.

What good to put yourself in God's own nest
in record time, if you can't ever rest?

Monday, June 03, 2013

V. 2, #67: June 3, 2013 (The Creature's Lament)

This used to be a quiet neighborhood,
three million years ago, or maybe four.
Lagoon was clean, fish plentiful and good.
On sunny days, I'd bask right on the shore.

But then the water turned an inky shade--
who knows the reason? Crocodiles appeared
to fight for food. Not many of us stayed,
and those who did turned taciturn and weird.

Now I'm the last to bear my species' name.
I swim these shadowed waters solitaire
and longingly gaze up watch the dame
do butterfly and breast strokes, unaware.

She's lovely...but c'mon. It couldn't work.
Those kind of thoughts make Gillmen go berserk.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

V. 2, #66: June 2, 2013

The dog next door is mean and muscular,
with bear-trap jaws and eyes as black as pitch,
disposed to barking jags crepuscular,
nocturnal, and diurnal. Not a bitch

in heat within a one-mile's radius
of our backyard puts pheromones on the breeze,
but this canine town crier has brayed to us
glad tidings of her imminent menses.

He prowls the bound'ry line like Cerberus
alert for souls escaped from Hades' flame.
Step through the patio door--he's there for us,
to growl and howl us back from whence we came.

He stands triumphant, confident he's won;
he can't know yet about the pellet gun.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

V. 2, #65: June 1, 2013

I almost missed my deadline for today.
No opportunity to sit and write.
So this is just a placeholder to say
I'm meeting my requirements tonight.

It's hard to write a sonnet in a club,
With amplifiers ringing in your ears.
But I'm still doing it just for you, bub.
So my account will not be in arrears.

Not many compose sonnets while half drunk
And listening to a metal cover band.
But here I am. Because I care, I dunk
my head in cold iambic verse. I stand

by my promise to write, for good or not.
I've done it. Sorry,  but that's all I got.