“He is a rake,” she surmised. “Nothing more, nothing less.”
And yet, as I casually studied her,
I realized she felt the pain of his neglect,
the utterances of his patronizing dictum
and the teasing he was notorious for.
She wanted him and was sure he felt the same,
but slowly she came to realize
he would never change.
He was unalterable; a stoic messenger of impertinence
had him mysteriously in its iron grasp.
She sought to cast him from her mind
but every waking moment brought with it
a galaxy of torment no woman should ever bear.
Oh, how she wanted to hate him;
Oh, how her emotions failed her so.
What Use Have I?
What use have I for loud alarms
and social charms at workplace farms?
What use have I for ticking clocks,
ill-mannered flocks and loading docks?
Of course, no boss I shall discourse
to toss across this moss of floss;
but still endeavor I do best
beneath this bridge my head to rest.
The View from Taksim Square
I am pro human, pro freedom,
pro innocence seeking the truth
with the inexorable thirst
that I am pro knowledge.
I am pro rights, pro dignity,
and I understand those who deserve
to be free and devoid of subjugating fantasy
that would bind them,
or stilt their growth.
I believe in you and me.
I am pro unity
and I won’t digress
as the truncheons beat around me
and the tear gas flows like rivers
as I protest.
I see the blood, the bonfires,
and the stench of animosity.
I am young
so I watch the shadows.
Some I will embrace
and some I can’t erase,
though some I’ve yet to face
with malice not shorn beneath.
Unbroken, not tarnished.
Sneakers that need to be laced;
an energy drink waiting to be imbibed.
My solitary duty,
like the streets of this city, awaits
but I sit huddled on the floor,
in the corner,
the courageous spirit I once possessed
now a fluttering insect, struggling,
riding on a wave
Muscles like a canopy
over stringent bones,
yet the delay exists.
My attempt denied
by a thoroughly sunken spirit
amongst four perfect walls.
under a parasol
points me to the rain
first kiss derailment
no jagged tides
coursing through my mind.
art is a
and the realm of aesthetics
a boundless pool of imagination.
exists in it
and who knows just how high
the ceiling is
but the artist.
What is content?
Is it some illusive beast
with stone cold eyes
predicating on the weak?
Or is it scenery
chewed and discarded
like mollusks in the eastern tide?
I take, for example,
the pride of the sufficient few,
twisting like barnacles in the storm
and I am left with wonder,
to wonder this:
if I circumscribed myself
to the knowledge
that I am my own content,
is my being bearably enough?
So, bared for all to see, is this murmuring heart,
and jagged tongue, with a breast that heaves
like the stormy waves of lost Atlantis.
Solace, be her romancer now. Soothe her
and let her angry breaths be even,
unlabored, not unlike the dews of morn.
A soul, so betrayed, so in need of infirmary,
must be healed of all the hatred and scorn,
but as she stares into her trembling hands,
she yearns for the sweet dish best served cold.
Jaded by the weak, ill-begotten of the strong,
it will be her turn to strike,
and like a flame that’s sullied the furrowed brow
she will, alone, face the sullen wall.
Out and In
All I hope is to be the man I can be,
one who requires no verdict as if his life was on trial.
At times I may stand bankrupt, unwhole,
my insides dug out and strewn like the brightest confetti
across these disparaging streets.
Then I am joined together again,
a ragdoll vulnerable, bruised and tortured,
dusted off and prepared to take those lashes again.
Against the Pole
He was cruel –
more so than I’d been led to believe.
Words like barbs, cutting through the wounds
barely tolerable or repaired.
“Ready!” “Aim!” “Wait!”
My blindfold slips and I see the faces
pitifully drawn even in this withering darkness,
this brutal jungle without a name.
Perhaps I’ve lost now
but I can take comfort in knowing
my cause is far from over.
Fear not, my mysterious deliverers.
I’ve got friends and they will see it through.
Behind, Between, Believe
To our ancestors much is owed,
and to our progeny much is revealed.
Wisdom is borne on the feeblest of shoulders
and the strongest of breastplates.
No feast nor flounder of faceless nations
should give vent to our vexing fury,
but the simple act to prosper stubbornly
reveals so much of the pride we contain
and the contentment enshrined within.
After the venomous smoke has cleared
we will know that from our big hearts come the big tales
and neither of our generations shall forget.
Come hither, ye steel formed hero,
be the panacea from my deathbed, my last comfort.
My ebbing life, so bitter and transparent
flails as it surrenders to infinity.
Like the piercing call of the whippoorwill
my soul, in evanescence to the thin air,
will wither and fade like a red rose’s rouge.
Rapidly, painlessly I fly –
no mountains left to conquer,
no sorrows left to hide.
I am broken, torn, rag doll innocent,
with wings that cannot fly
and hands which cannot heal.
But I aspire like a zephyr in flight
to reunite those modern instincts
supremely torn asunder and left for dead.
Forlornly, I cradle these angry streets,
a decaying ember struggling for air,
and my head is filled with shame,
and my pride wanton, lost and unforgiven;
I am the one who forgives me.
Dreams left undreamt, tales left untold,
lives left unlived, lovers left to hold.
The weepers flood the broken streets
and blossomed saints arrange to meet
amidst the carousel of doom
to cast aside the differences
that plagued us from the empty womb.
It shall not reek,
that scent of the untarnished.
It shall not burn,
the souls amongst the banished.
But a reminder that we, the living,
should cherish what we’ve conquered,
it make us bold enough to dream
and dares to make us stronger.
Limb From Limb
You speak to me of nightmares?
Awaken me when the pains of your memory
become so unbearable
that nothing less than a sledgehammer
to your bulging skull
will ease your endless suffering.
That is my nightmare.
At the hands of a skilled pianist, the cascaded waterfall that is
Debussy, Ravel, Faure and Dukas empties into a gently flowing stream.
The tapping of the keys, sonorous to the ear, is unstoppable and resilient
in its forward momentum.
Flowing ghostlike over smooth and ancient rocks, I hear the rhythm
and fear no tangle as the sensitivity to enjoy it corrupts me.
I listen as the stream is interrupted ever so slightly
by an acorn falling from its lofty perch,
a trout struggling against the upstream
or a young boy skipping stones against its waves,
skipping history through its iridescent shell.
Yes, it is music, an infectious thrust bolted unto mankind
from the Grecian Muses with nothing else to bestow but what they’ve loved,
but it is finite and has a reason.
It thrills me with its gentle fairylike touch, comforts me in ways
no wooded forest or spectacular rainbow ever could.
I let the vibrantly cascading waterfall that is Le Tombeau de Couperin
wrap me in its tentacles and I will rejoice.
No resistance, no painful sorrow, only miraculously spun notes
wafting through my soul.
Box of Notes
Father knocks the stuffing from his pipe out into a bowl,
a cherry wood bowl of mesmerizing iridescent hue
that just screams, “pick me up!”
Then, laying back in his favorite chair,
he closes his eyes, soaking in the lavender scent
invisibly streaming from a condenser on the wall.
Quietly, I sit cross-legged on the carpet just a few feet away
and plug in the new guitar he’d bought me.
With the plectrum in one hand, I give the instrument
a casual strum; nothing special, just a desultory caress.
Father smiles and looks over.
Encouraged, I coax more notes from the strings,
channeling the efforts of the masters.
It isn’t long before I fall for the gentle subterfuge
of my own imagined greatness.
Images swirl in my mind of Hendrix and Blackmore.
The frenzied dashes of Zappa alight on the fret board
as I careen from score to score, juxtaposing rhythms
like Scott Joplin at a music convention.
Father stands up and walks over to me; the smile that once
laid bare on a face so kind now replaced with
an ominous twist of malevolence.
Is this box of wires too loud with its aggressive overtones?
I receive no answer, just a simple flick of the switch and all dies.
I force no argument, no ruse of the tongue, no ill-borne spirit
tugging at the flesh. After all, he bought it.
My gift is his if he wishes to accept.
She has a life all her own.
She can be touched, felt, tickled
or simply left alone in our abandon.
She cannot be defined by inches or meters,
neither can her undulating form be bottled
or sold without discretion.
She is a unifying force,
a carrier of armies,
and a womb of lives unknown.
In front of her you feel tiny, miniscule,
Above her, like an endless pillow,
a cushion, she is a comforting embrace.
Beneath her, a swill of marine souls
teeming and bursting into an epiphany of sorts.
I am her watcher
and she has a life all her own.
I’ve begged the print from off your wall,
a sturdy, craft-filled scene of fall
because I stood before it, weak
and flushed with thoughts that I should crawl.
I’ve listened to your sullen tongue,
it breaks and breathes to everyone,
and like a bird who’s lost its beak
I hunger for that work so young.
Yet you assure me I’ve devised
some way to keep me satisfied,
but if I falter, am I weak?
Or just a patron mesmerized?