Wednesday, July 31, 2013

V. 2, #125: July 31, 2013

I've heard it said a man cannot survive
without a dream to make his life worthwhile,
a vision he can call to mind, and smile,
of some bright future toward which he can strive;

It gives his days a meaning, steels his will--
each dollar earned, each hour he spends at work
is just another step out of the murk
toward his shining castle on the hill.

They say a life without a dream is dark
and void, the formlessness that was the Earth
before God spoke and shaped it with His voice.
And I have dreamed, and set my shining mark
upon the clouds. I set it there by choice,
and missed. So in the end, what was it worth?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

V. 2, #124; July 30, 2013

The  kingdom fell on dark days--all the knights,
whose skulls did not adorn his throne, had fled.
The earls and dukes had given up their rights
to that cursed, blasted land. The beast that fed

upon the serfs and vassals that remained
lay undead in his crypt, fat as a leech.
His nails were black with earth, pale white lips stained
with every brave man's blood, as if to teach

all humankind what price is paid for sin,
in this world and the next; to show there's worse
awaiting man than simple death--his skin
a parchment on which God hath writ His curse:

"Here is the end of Pride and Vanity,
the mouth of Hell agape--it waits for thee."

Monday, July 29, 2013

V. 2, #123: July 29, 2013

It's not a night for writing poetry:
the day has beat me almost to a paste.
Ground me under its heel like cigarettes
that have no more to offer. I have spent
my store of thoughts on trinkets hardly worth
the toting home--code queries, database
designs. Not what you'd call a poet's dream.

So: not a night for looking in to see
 what's left. Such introspection is a waste
of time and muscle. Nothing but regrets
for days slipped through your hands, and where they went
no sage nor magus strolls upon this earth
can tell. But you can ask 'em, just in case.
Meanwhile, I'll sit here, trying not to scream.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

V. 2, #122: July 28, 2013 ("Eureka")

It may not be the answer, but at least
it's not another question. My head's full
of riddles and enigmas, all this bull-
shit I can't figure. Water, malt, and yeast

have never puzzled me with subtle snares
nor kept me up at night with no recourse
save to themselves. And if I felt remorse
next day, it did not catch me unawares.

There's things in life I'll never understand,
injustices I'll never see set right,
desire no earthly knowledge satisfies.
But in this glass, a shaft of liquid light
that smites my brain and stills my shaking hand,
asks me no questions, and tells me no lies.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

V. 2, #121: July 27, 2013

We don't know how he did it, but it seems
the radiation set these powers free:
gigantic size, ocular laser beams--
a hell of a mutation, you'll agree.

What's more, the creature--Phil--seems strangely drawn
toward that from which his powers take their source.
He'll cross the northern border before dawn.
We're locking the reactors down, of course.

We're hoping Dr. Smith might calm him down--
she worked with Phil in Research, Biotech.
She's outside, in a low-cut evening gown.
Word is he's sweet on her, so what the heck.

And if that doesn't work, I guess we'll fight.
Get comfy, boys. We're in for one long night.

Friday, July 26, 2013

V. 2, #120: July 26, 2013

I don't think I could eat a kangaroo.
Their drumsticks are too big, their arms too thin;
though if their tails should prove too tough to chew,
you'd have the pouch to put leftovers in.

A rhino would not whet my appetite;
its skin would bend my steak knives, I suppose.
To get one on a plate would be a fight
(that ain't no toothpick sitting on its nose!).

But on the other hand, a bat might make
a tasty snack, once battered and deep-fried.
Or how about a candy-coated snake?
No sense in knocking food you haven't tried!

The same with life as with exotic meat:
you never know when you're in for a treat.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

V. 2, #119: July 25, 2013

Don't have much time, so let's get this shit done!
I've got places to do, and things to be.
As poems go, this won't be a great one,
so keep your expectations low. You see,

To be a poet's not that good a deal--
you have to sing, although you want to scream.
And if you slip, you're not "keeping it real,"
as punk kids say. But I won't break the stream

of words I've started. Keep the pressure high!
Put both fists in my temples now, and squeeze!
I'll pop this sonnet like a zit. Let fly
the pustulent parboiled prose, if you please!

So now I'm at the end. No need to strain.
Come back tomorrow, and we'll try again.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

V. 2, #118: July 24, 2013

Don't mind me: I'll just sit and do my work
like any drone would do. While I'm alive
I'll put my needs behind those of the hive
and if I'm happy sometimes, that's a perk.

If not, it's no more than my kind deserve--
we build our hexagons and chew the food
the Queen will eat while pumping out a brood
of next-gen workers, born and bred to serve;

I must admit, sometimes when I'm in flight,
in search of nectar, my antennae burn
and twitch toward the horizon; then I yearn
for some sweet flower, just beyond my sight.

Perhaps one day I'll chase it, just to see.
Till then, I've got responsibility.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

V. 2, #117: July 23, 2013 (Men's Room, Revisited)

It's bad enough when you try to converse
with me while in the men's room at the wall.
But when, enthroned, you choose to make a call
on your cell phone--my God, that's so much worse!

What must your poor girlfriend or mother think
to hear you grunt as foul excretions flow?
Does she just sigh, as if she didn't know,
or is she glad? At least she's spared the stink!

If I burst in, ripped that phone from your hand,
and flushed it down the next bog in a huff,
would you then realize enough's enough?
Would it take that to make you understand?

I'm sure of one thing, friend, and this is it:
nobody wants to listen to your shit.

(Author's note: a companion piece to this sonnet from the first volume, detailing a personal pet peeve.)

Monday, July 22, 2013

V. 2, #116: July 22, 2013

He calls his daughter by her mother's name,
and doesn't recognize his son at all.
He's been quite lucky--never had a fall,
at least not yet. Most days are just the same:

breakfast, then TV. Sometimes exercise,
or else board games. Miss Johnson thinks the staff
steal blood from them at night. It makes him laugh.
Bedtime, he says his prayers and wipes his eyes,

and wonders how he ended up this way--
an empty shell, a burden, nothing more.
Sometimes he smells his mother's biscuits, yeast
and butter--how it makes his stomach sore!
He wakes at five-fifteen A.M. each day.
He gets to watch the sun come up, at least.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

V. 2, #115: July 21, 2013

We used to get together every week
for dinner, drinks, perhaps a game or two;
we'd laugh and sing, and most important, speak,
about the wondrous things we planned to do.

And then we did those things--the babies came,
we all found jobs that challenged and paid well;
our dinners, less frequent, were not the same.
We laughed less, and had not so much to tell.

The children grew, the jobs demanded more,
and now we barely even telephone;
We hardly ever sing, but do drink more--
though now we do it somber, and alone.

Remember all those games we used to play?
I can't think now just what I meant to say.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

V. 2, #114: July 20, 2013

When he was twelve, Rick Smith got in a fight
with big Butch Jones, whom everybody feared;
and thought his friends thought he was brave, all right,
the truth is this: Butch won, and Rick got smeared.

For weeks Rick nursed his wounded, broken pride,
which unlike cuts and scrapes, is slow to heal.
It gnarled and twisted Rick down deep inside.
He swore he'd live to see that bully kneel.

Years later, now a black belt first degree
in Tae Kwon Do, Krav Maga, and Kung Fu,
he called Butch up to challenge him and see
who was the better man between the two.

They fought, and someone stood and someone fell;
but which? I wasn't there, so I can't tell.

Friday, July 19, 2013

V. 2, #113: July 19, 2013

Let's have a beer for you, and one for me,
and one for our companion to your right.
As sure as one and one and one make three,
we're celebrating well into the night!

You're welcome, sir! I'll drink mine to your health,
as many as our lovely barmaid pours.
If we have friends and beer, what need of wealth?
Drink up, I say! Mind you, the next round's yours.

Our days, much like the free nuts on that bar,
are salty, finite, cracked, and gone too fast.
But are we gonna stop? Like hell we are!
No fine, delicious thing is meant to last.

I'll leave you gents to ponder what I said,
as well you should. I gotta hit the head.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

V. 2, #112: July 18, 2013

It's midnight, and he lies awake in bed
rehearsing possibilities. He frets
over her phrasing--if or not he gets
the true meaning of every word she said;

Whether she meant to look him in the eye
and smile, sending his heart rate through the roof,
or was it accident? Could there be proof
of deeper feeling hidden in her sigh--

or was it just a yawn? There could be reams
of stories undeciphered, signals missed
in every awkward pause or stammered word.
He wonders--do realities exist
wherein she meant just what he thought he heard?
He sleeps--she whispers answers in his dreams.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

V. 2, #111: July 17, 2013

Aw, baby--I could write a goddamn book
about the many ways in which you're fine,
with three appendices just for the look
you give me when you tell me that you're mine;

A chapter on the way your body moves
around the house, just naked as can be,
and how when I make love to you, it proves
that God is in His Heaven, presently.

The index would have separate entries for
each leg, each breast, each soft, ecstatic moan
you make when I'm on top of you, and more--
the most exhaustive study ever known.

And for a dedication, just one line:
"For you, sweet Baby Love--Goddamn, you're fine."

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

V. 2, #110: July 16, 2013

The kid is seventeen at best. Dark hair,
with skin like Yellowstone, erupting grease.
His flat, bored unconcern shows in the crease
that brackets smirking lips. If he could care

enough to look my way, I'm sure he'd see
a bald nonentity in khaki slacks,
my age-lined face like something from a wax
museum: an old man, like he'll never be.

Perhaps I ought to warn him--let him know
how years can ambush you, then slip away
like thieves. Maybe he'd find it frightening.
But I'm no mage. I'm fat. Forgetful. Slow.
I tried; I didn't win. But he still may.

I doubt that I could teach him anything.

Monday, July 15, 2013

V. 2, #109: July 15, 2013

I know it's quite unlikely I'm the best
of all the guys from whom you had your pick;
there must have been at least one of the rest
who'd make my love and care look downright sick.

He would have brought you flowers every day,
been better with the kids and loved his job,
have pleased you more in every single way,
and not become a balding, grumpy slob;

And yet you've stuck with me for eighteen years,
despite each careless word and dumb mistake
that caused you pain and inadvertent tears
those other, better men would never make.

I guess there's only one way to explain
your love for me, my darling: you're insane.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

V. 2, #108: July 14, 2013

He fell asleep beneath the blasted tree
and dreamed prophetic dreams: a monolith
built by some inhuman machinery,
a new Babel, unmatched in height and width,

cast its long shadow over battlefields
locusted with the writhing, bleeding mass
of wounded, dying warriors, whose shields
bore crests of kingdoms yet to come to pass;

And there, among the rills of steaming blood
that flowed from neck and arm and heaving chest--
with eyes like pure, blue glass, a child stood
and cradled two white eagles to his breast.

He shrugged. One leapt aloft; its feathers shone
like gold. The other one fell like a stone.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

V. 2, #107: July 13, 2013

I've thought of giving up, a dozen times,
just stop, and never think of it again.
Quit updating the blog and wrestling rhymes;
find some secluded spot to stow my pen.

Let someone else call out the iambs' march,
beat dactyls and trochees back into line,
or bend their metered thoughts until they arch
into a pleasing shape, that isn't mine.

I've really got no reason to continue.
Not much here worth the time it takes to read,
and no one frequenting this run-down venue
to see if we're still open. Grim indeed.

So--if a poet doesn't make a sound
and falls, who cares, if no one is around?

Friday, July 12, 2013

V. 2, #106: July 12, 2013 (High School Medley Revisited)

The Go-Gos did not really have the beat,
they just thought it was something cool to say;
Bananarama weren't desire, nor heat.
Sue Hoff says Sunday's just another day.

The Final Countdown--not so final, right?
The Footloose teens have arthritis and corns.
We're much too old to rock n' roll all night,
and now they're breeding roses with no thorns.

She's got the legs, but now they're no use to her,
That child o' mine's not really very nice.
Those New Kids on the Block--well, they've been newer.
Less said the better re: Vanilla Ice.

The summer's past; time to get back to school;
As it turns out, I'm everybody's fool.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

V. 2, #105: July 11, 2013

I'd crank out sonnets every single day
as long as I could hold and pen and pad,
if I thought, at the end of it, you'd say
I'd done a noble thing few people had;

I'd force my secret thoughts in molds of verse,
expose my red, raw heart for all to see,
if afterwards, while following my hearse,
you told the world how well you thought of me;

But I do not expect such eulogy,
from you or anyone. I've made my peace
with how I'll be remembered when I'm gone:
a vomiter of doggerel, that's me,
who only gave his rotten Muse surcease
at death, and was no one's sine qua non.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

V. 2, #104: July 10, 2013

The sink is full of dishes, and the kids
will want something to fill their bellies soon.
The pots and pans are missing all their lids,
the cupboard's bare--it's one familiar tune.

The pizza place is miles on down the street,
and I don't have the cash on hand for tips.
But still, we're going to need some food to eat,
and more substantial than this bag of chips.

If only I had found a magic lamp
when I was young! I'd rub it and produce
a feast fit for a conquering general's camp
in ancient times. Caesar--ah, what's the use?

I guess it's PBJ's and milk again.
Lord bless this haute cuisine we got. Amen.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

V. 2, #103: July 9, 2013

Young Gunther haunts this room. He was a child
who caught the pox in 1865.
He's friendly to the guests--a little wild,
but kids are all the same, dead or alive.

His best friend is our Bogeyman named Bob.
He's ugly, thin, and glum, but still quite nice.
He lives under the bed (hey, that's his job)
to snatch at toes with fingers cold as ice.

The attic houses three sisterly shades
who leapt out of the window on a whim.
Down in the basement, teeth as keen as blades,
there's Ashtaroth--we'd best steer clear of him.

Round back, a dozen restless spirits roam--
it isn't much, but still, we call it home.

Monday, July 08, 2013

V. 2, #102: July 8, 2013

Oh, darling--I can tell you had it rough
today at work. Your shoulders are all stooped.
Let me take over now--you've worked enough.
Sit down. Here's the remote. You must be pooped!

I fixed your favorite meal, chicken and rice.
It should be ready soon. Here, have a drink--
a gin and tonic, easy on the ice,
just how you like it. Fancy, don't you think?

The kids have done their chores without a fuss,
and gone to bed. The pets are all asleep.
We'll have the evening to ourselves, just us
and my new lingerie...I want to BEEP

BEEP BEEP goes the alarm. I nearly scream;
I should have known it was only a dream.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

V. 2, #101: July 7, 2013

So now I've passed one hundred posts again.
It's something to be noted, one would think.
The dreams and visions I've leaked through my pen,
the blood and sweat I've used in place of ink,

have now produced this electronic stack,
a figurative ream of poetry
quite worse that those I did a few years back,
but still--if quality and quantity

are not entirely separate, I might hope
that perseverance will pay dividends;
that if I give my muse a nice long rope,
she'll trap a few fine thoughts before it ends.

So I'll continue cranking out the rhyme.
At least no one is watching me this time.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

V. 2, #100: July 6, 2013

Behind the old abandoned house, there stands
a stone globe on a base of plain cement,
unmarked, and six feet high. A monument
to what, the former owner of these lands
alone would know, and he's been in his grave
a hundred years. He had a son, I've heard,
who left his family home without a word
the day he came of age, no more a slave
to his strict father's whims. One summer night
I chanced to walk nearby while on my way
back home, and saw it bathed in eerie light,
like cold blue flame. Then, with a mighty groan,
the sphere shifted, and turned. I didn't stay
to find out more. I won't go back alone.

Friday, July 05, 2013

V. 2, #99: July 5, 2013

If you're going to share your domicile with cats,
you'll have to deal with dead things now and then.
Decapitated chipmunks, stiffened rats,
three-quarters of a squirrel. They'll bring them in,

or leave them on the doorstep like a gift,
a gruesome, sad, first-class delivery.
Those critters not as healthy, not as swift
as their kindred, are doomed. All shivery,

one day I took a shovel to the fence
behind our house, where in the knee-high weeds
a half-skint rabbit lay, gasping for breath.
The blood bejeweled her fur like ruby beads.
Her almost-killer lolled, all innocence,
and licked his paws while I clubbed her to death.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

V. 2, #98: July 4, 2013

Let's all ask God to bless the USA,
And also all our flame-grilled shish kabobs,
Let's thank Him for this celebration day,
And for the fact that most of us have jobs;

Let's all festoon our houses with the flag
And sing our favorite patriotic songs,
Inhale barbecue corn chips by the bag
And pinch our neighbors' wives' butts with our tongs;

Let's drink too much, eat all our meals off sticks,
And say those things we only should have thought;
Fight with our families over politics,
And be Free as we like, till we get caught.

Then later, when it's dark, light up the sky
With fiery, exploding octopi.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

V. 2, #97: July 3, 2013

The warrior's left his trusty sword to rust.
His helmet's on the mantel, under glass,
a piece of ancient history, gathering dust.
He spends time at the Y, teaching a class

on low-impact aerobics, in a pool
with middle-aged ladies in swimming caps.
They tell him how his battle scars look cool
and bat their eyes whenever he does laps.

Sometimes he wakes up in a sweat, his skin
still raw where it was licked by dragon flame
or sawed by goblin knives. He drinks his gin
neat at the bar. The drunks all know his name.

He reads his Bible every single day.
His beard is long and white. His eyes are gray.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

V. 2, #96: July 2, 2013

I wish I had a room where I could go,
just shut the goddamn door and disappear;
soundproof--no blaring SpongeBob Squarepants show,
no children's siren wails. I would have beer,

a full-stocked minifridge. Also, nearby,
a locking liquor cabinet full of booze.
TV, Blu-Ray, game console with WiFi,
and all the snacks and mixers I could use.

I'd be like Kubla Khan in Xanadu,
enthroned on pillows, framed by odalisques.
But most divine: the sweet freedom to do
whatever I wanted. No buts, no tsks.

Sometimes I'd trade the riches of a shiek
for just a little peace, three times a week.

Monday, July 01, 2013

V. 2, #95: July 1, 2013

The week after he died, I found myself
distracted by his widow's gentle sobs
through tissue walls. We friends stuck to our jobs,
thumbing through files, inspecting every shelf

for bills neglected, one recent receipt,
some sentimental things--a dog-eared page
marked with a daughter's note, yellowed with age.
It read, "I luv u, Dad." I kept it neat,

right to the lockbox, doing what I said
I'd do, those years ago, that drunken haze.
I found the envelope, the photograph,
him and the girl I'd called not seven days
ago, who'd screamed when she learned he was dead.
They smiled, so young, while I ripped them in half.