back bent slouching
the curve pushes you down
belly squishing extended
you shrink from life
alone you notice
your posture, your pain
make it go away
you shrink away
from the weight
down into the mist
of uncertain thoughts
will they know the fake?
rarely tested, the back bends
alone it descends
rushing up to meet you
the floor of the cavern
crashes into you
you turn and smile
when someone enters the room
I don’t belong on this path
Walking through the parking lot
There is something not quite right
Looking down at the pavement
The grass, the trees, the cars
I’m not in the right place
Eyes are telling me
Tell me I don’t belong
This isn’t the only time
It is often this way
Walking, sitting, being
Not, quite, right
Is this my place?
That lawn, those bushes
They are there when I pass
In their place
Because, even when
I know it’s right,
I feel at times out of place
The feeling hits like a wave
Unexpected, an intruder
It would seem to me that
In your opinion the
Smart thing to do would
Be to take the easy road:
Write poetry and
Writer: A Block
The writer sits extending his wrists,
And feelings and thought do mix;
Or, the writer walks through wooded fair,
The wind whipping through hair:
The ideas tumble, reeking of trouble,
And furrows the brow from ear to ear;
Family and friends do hide from him,
To pass the writeless day.
The thoughts are there, yet in a fog,
The joyless task today,
Where others won’t tread, to me my home
All lost in mindless stare:
This place without work, it soothes my soul,
Comfort in a knowing loss;
The wordless pages my senses please,
This is where I’m at!
The antenna seems to miss the call
These words of mine fulfill,
The page, my liege, they must be best,
Because they flow from you!
Still all I want (please, oh Muse, grant
Just one complete poem, just one!)
And to write you just deny,
Assist me to desist.
[Based on Robert Burns’ Winter: A Dirge (1910)]
The Wild Teenager
Wild teen and your mild growth spurt,
Hid in the tumultuous, busy school,
Untouched your honeyed blossoms grew,
Unseen your young fingers fool:
No roving bully will crush you here,
No busy body provokes a tear.
By Nature’s self in flesh arrayed,
She asks you to shun the wanting eye,
And sat here in the great oak’s shade,
And heard the bubbling brook go by;
Thus murmuring the summer goes,
Your days without rest fly.
Filled with the energy that must decay,
I grieve to see your future doom;
They fell asleep – neither were they more awake,
The children that from Eden bloom;
Unpitying time, and Age’s power
Shall leave no visage of this youth.
From early morning the sun rose
This is from where you came:
If from nothing, you’ve nothing to lose,
For at death you are the same;
The flash between is but an hour
Recapturing the light of a teen.
[Based on The Wild Honey Suckle by Philip Freneau (1786)]
The Manner of the Kids Nowadays
So many droopy pants
Towns with transplants
And breasts with implants,
I never saw:
So many good songs
The crowds in throngs
The showing of thongs,
I never saw.
So many hats worn
Twisted and shorn
And so many forlorn,
I never saw:
Way too many laws
The kids drawing straws
And getting beaten for their flaws,
I never saw.
So many good books
So few good nooks
So few that reading hooks,
I never saw:
Spelling by phonetics
Faces covered in cosmetics
Downright dastardly apathetic,
I never saw.
. . .
It is a pity that every day
So many gamblers go that way
Buy with their winnings our democracy
I never saw,
To the Universe I make my plea
That all the kids come out and see
Different than I hold them to be
Never was it worse!
Indeed a rant
Though it may not be;
We have exiled empathy.
God is either dead or sick;
The kids all know this bit
They will use their wit,
And you must believe it.
For better I hope ever,
And worse was it never.
[Based on The Manner of the World Nowadayes by John Skelton (?)(1500)]
Of Food and Television
Macaroni, cheese, and soda is most their fare
America’s diet fine;
Thy cup runs over with supermarkets’ galore
Isles of chips and cheap wine.
Sometimes God gives them steak or fish,
Yet they are content without
And what they get, they divvy with friends
Yet strangers go without.
Reality TV is rich to see,
Let none think it’s fake:
In wilderness, on the Jersey Shore,
These craven scoundrels shake.
[Based on Roger Williams’ Of Eating and Entertainment]
From the Dream of Common Taste Buds
No one comes into this kitchen
Without confronting the stainless appliances
Next to the breadbox, shelves of food,
Photographs of delicious looking peppers.
Without contemplating last and late
The true nature of food. The drive
To cook, to eat. The dream of common taste buds.
[Based on Adrienne Rich’s From the Dream of a Common Language]
Sometimes, Puppies are Cruel
Ultimately, that is the fundamental lesson, as those puppies whine,
Run in circles, and leave little presents for you on the floor.
Sometimes, the puppies whine at 3 AM.
Sometimes, they whine at 6 AM.
Sometimes, the presents they leave you are clearly seen.
Sometimes, they are underfoot as you slowly make your way to the bathroom at night.
Sometimes, puppies are cruel.
No matter how we try, we do the same things.
We clean up their presents.
We yell, “NO!”
We growl and moan.
But, we go on.
This is the price of having puppies.
And arguably, they are our best friends.
[Based on Leonard Pitts’ essay Sometimes, the Earth is Cruel]