Archived Poems: 2015

Here are the poems I published on my blog during 2015.

December 30:

A Zombie’s Argument*

It is not my lot in life
to be happy,
to feel unbound joy,
to savor the moment
as if it is all there is—
as if that moment
will never return.

It is not my lot in life
to feel sorrow so deep
it drowns me, so pro-
found it shifts the
molecules of my soul
and changes me
forever.

It is not my lot in life
to be wrenched by love
or hate until they con-
sume me, until they
transform me into
something that needs
to shed its skin before
it can live again.

For I am not alive; I am
an automaton, a robot,
a zombie going through
the motions without thought,
without feeling, without
substance.

*In the philosophy of mind, a Zombie Argument posits the existence of a parallel world in which every physical action that is happening in our world is happening there—e.g., my typing this sentence and revising it, and you reading it—but the parallel world is inhabited by zombies who lack consciousness. Thus, in the parallel world, the zombie who typed this and the zombie who read this have done exactly the same physical actions as we have here, but that zombie did not have any conscious awareness of the poem. Assuming that you are not a zombie yourself, if you’re interested in finding out more about this, the Wikipedia article “Philosophical zombie” is a good place to start.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

December 23:

First Bite

The delicate balance
of flavor and aroma
invites the memory
of Grandma’s last
Christmas dinner.

© 2015, all rights reserved.

__________

Tulip

How
strange
it is
to pluck
a beautiful
flower
only to watch
it wither
and
die.

© 2015, all rights reserved.

__________

God:

Santa
on
steroids.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

December 16:

I Am a Cliché

Day after day, I sit
in the café and stare
out the window at soft
drizzle or sunshine and
write love poetry to
the waitresses.

Her apron is stained
with coffee and ketchup in
all the right places.

Alas, it never sells,
and I am the proverbial
starving artist—surrounded
by the inviting aroma of half-
eaten meals—with a cold
coffee in my hand.

© 2015, all rights reserved.

__________

Aura

She was
the color
of wind
dancing
on a calm
clear day.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

December 9:

First Contact

Looking out the viewport,
I see a forest of tiny green
fronds with thin, leafless
stems and featherlike crests
standing silent vigil, as if they
are toy soldiers arranged
for a battle long forgotten—
or about to begin.

© 2015, all rights reserved.

__________

Erato’s Kiss

She wore a gown of raven wings
wrought from broken feathers,
and warbled like the sparrow sings
in bleak and cold December.

Her song befell a troubled man
that dark and dreary midnight,
and left behind a haunting strain
that plagued him through his life.

He called to her—again, again—
longing for an answer,
but she did not return to him
that maiden lost, his sweet Lenore.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

December 2:

Unredeemed*

If only love
could wash away
my transgressions
and leave behind
peace.

© 2015, all rights reserved.

*Inspired by Dan Tharp’s poem “Weary.”

__________

Food Chain

Lazy flies grazing
on milk cows graz-
ing on alfalfa as
hamburgers siz-
zle on the grill.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

November 25:

Still Resolute

Tomorrow brings Thanksgiving Day.
My resolution’s kept.
Five more poems—five more weeks—
is all that there is left.

And then the New Year will begin—
New resolutions made—
Will I make the same again?
Or will I make a change?

I doubt I’ll post much poetry—
It’s been too much a chore;
My fiction has been suffering—
I need to write it more.

So next year I will take a break
from writing poetry,
But now and then I’ll sneak one in—
just you wait and see!

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

November 18:

Haiku

Your beauty blinds me
to every other woman—
except Jennifer.

© 2015, all rights reserved.

__________

Haiku

Six crows
sit side by side
on telephone poles,
eavesdropping.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

November 10:

Senior Moment

I can’t believe
how long it takes
to find my pool
cue.

Why did I put it
in the closet?

It’s too early—
10:00 am—and
no one I know is in
the pool hall when
I get there.

I play an hour
before my back
starts to hurt.

Half an hour later
there is a dull throb
in my forearm, as if
it’s forgotten some-
thing important.

Maybe it has?

I pocket ball after
ball—the best I’ve
played in ages—and
finally call it quits
after three hours.

The faint, muffled
scent of fresh sweat
stains rises from my
armpits as I reach
out to pay the bill.

My fingers shake
from fatigue, but I
feel refreshed, alive.

On the way home,
something nags at
the nape of my neck,
worrying it like a half-
remembered, half-
forgotten itch, but it
isn’t until I pull into
the driveway and
see the other cars
that it hits me.

I don’t recognize them.

The dorm house is
a different color.

The boys standing
outside throwing the
football back and forth
are so, so young…

I slowly drive by and
pull up to the stop sign.

I grip the steering wheel
so hard my knuckles almost
bleed, and I sit there so long
that one of the boys runs up
to my car and taps on the
passenger’s side window.

I turn with tears seeping
from my eyes, and press
the button to lower it.

“Hey man,” he says
in a way that only
the young can.

“Are you okay?”

My mouth moves a
few times before I fi-
nally say in a soft, even,
empty tone, “I forgot
I was teaching today.”

He has kind eyes, like
a Born-Again striving
so hard to live up to
His new standards.

Before he can say
anything else, I nudge
the gas pedal and my
car creeps away.

I haven’t played pool
since I graduated college
and started teaching—
there wasn’t time.

It’s midday.

I should be
teaching now.

How could I
have forgotten?

I’m only 43.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


November 5:

Jealousy

How often
do you say
“I love you.”
when I’m
not around?

© 2015, all rights reserved.

Clingy

Your love
is like a soft
drizzle slowly
smothering
me.

© 2015, all rights reserved.

In Orbit

My world
revolves
around the
sunlight
in your eyes.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


November 1:

Reflection

It took me twenty years to write a thou-
sand poems. Why? Because the vast major-
ity were formal verse, and learning how
to write them took some time. I probably purged
two hundred of my early ones before
I had five hundred that I kept. The son-
net took a year all by itself. The tor-
ture of its simple rhythmic form—once found—
became a splendid melody, and then
they flowed like rapids from my pen. The more
I wrote the easier they came, and then….
Well, college put a damper on my work.
Although I kept a thousand, there were more,
so why the hell have I been keeping score?

I’m anal. That’s the simple answer. Sure,
the numbers measure what I’ve done, but poor
ones rate the same as masterpieces. Purg-
ing all the worst ones helps. But still…. And then
there’s this year’s poems—some five hundred short
ones—added to the tally. Barely ten
percent are formal rhyming poems bound
by rigid rules and expectations. For
the most part, they are free verse poems, sound
bites, haiku wannabes, imagery, word-
play, mimicry, and moments captured—more,
by far, in three to five lines or a doz-
en words than otherwise. They came in spurts,
like sips of boiling coffee too hot to swallow.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

October 29:

Arlington, VA

So many
white marble
headstones
standing
at attention.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

October 20:

Religion

The inspiration
for many to do great good
and greater evil.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

October 13:

Fox Hunt

A red fox prowls the surface of a snow-
pack three feet deep. The frozen crust is strong
enough to hold its weight, and down below
amid the snow the subnivean zone
is thriving. Mice and voles have burrowed through
its depths to make their nests and raise their young.
They think they’re safe, but the red fox is hun-
gry, tilts its head to listen, hears them go-
ing to and fro. Its ears perk up. Its eyes
shift to zero in on them. It scrunches up
like an accordion, its muscles poised
to strike at something it can’t see. It jumps.
Its spear-like snout impales the snow and buries deep.
Its white-tipped tail held high, a flag of victory.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

October 7:

Forensic Science Conference

The hotel room is
spacious and the bed looks clean,
but I know better.

© 2015, all rights reserved.

__________

Remnant

Your lilting laughter
has followed me everywhere
I left you behind.

© 2015, all rights reserved.

__________

Shingles

In my
own skin
I find
no comfort.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

September 30:

Intensity

calloused palms
.    clumsy fingers
.            groping
.                  pawing
.            searching
.    eager for purchase
on the crumbling
.    stone
.           cliff
.                 face

© 2015, all rights reserved.

__________

Persistence:

my shadow
stalking
me.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

September 22:

Untitled

.     fierce
       October storm
.     gnashing lightning
              thunder
.              rain
     flowers
folding up

© 2015, all rights reserved.

__________

Query

. I wonder
if John Deere
.     ever
got a Deere
John letter.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

September 15:

Murder Most Foul

She stomps down the side-
walk like a giant robot for
ten minutes before coming
inside for her box of chalk.

“What are you doing?” I ask.

She barely has time to chirp,
“Playing coroner,” before
rushing back outside again.

Coroner? I wonder as she
opens the box and takes
out a thumb-sized piece
of white chalk.

She tosses the box in the
grass and watches her feet
as she takes baby steps down
the sidewalk, pausing here
and there to drop down to
her hands and knees long
enough to scratch some-
thing onto the concrete.

Later, when I go outside
to see what she’s done, I
can’t help but smile at
the chalk outlines—shaped
like small bodies three
inches long—around each
bug she had squashed.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

September 9:

Empty Nest

Once upon a time
in a land far, far away
the princess still reigns
and I, her faithful servant,
still tell her bedtime stories.

© 2015, all rights reserved.

__________

Haiku

Inspiration is
like cancer: sometimes it goes
into remission.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

September 2:

Roman Soldier to a Friend:

Archimedes screwed us
over big-time when he
built that thing in the
harbor that picked up our
boats and snapped them
like twigs, but I got him
good in the end when
I messed up his perfect
little circles.

© 2015, all rights reserved.

__________

October 3, 1849

Did Poe hear Lenore
whispering in the rain just
before nevermore?

© 2015, all rights reserved.

__________

July 5, 1995

If I asked Bob Ross
why my happy little clouds
have started crying,
would he tell me that it’s just
a little passing shower?

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

August 26:

Raven at Dawn

 

Raven_at_Dawn


 

August 19:

Narcissus

LOST

in the mirror
of making

LOVE

your huge blue eyes
swallow me up
and
reflect back
my charnel soul.

© 2015, all rights reserved.

Midnight

His snores resonate
like rutting pigs snuffling
out truffles and wallowing
in the wheezy whistle of
gustatory ecstasy.

© 2015, all rights reserved.

From the Throne of Thought

There once was a poet obscure
who wrote like a banshee on fire:
.          he screamed and he raged
.          for page after page
and found out that no one else cared!

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

August 12:

Elvis Impersonator

japanese poet
reading classical haiku
voice trails to silence
sound of one hand clapping
—smile—
tanka, tanka very much

© 2015, all rights reserved.

May 6, 1937

The Hindenburg lost:
a spark of humanity
that went up in flames.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

August 4:

Oh Glorious Rain!

I wax poetic,
lionizing each
precious drop—
until the roof
begins to leak.

© 2015, all rights reserved.

Open Casket

Warm touch of your hand
held close to my heart. I stroke
the cold reminder.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


July 29: 3 Haiku

Haiku

flummoxed again
—tongue tied into curlicues—
whenever you are near

© 2015, all rights reserved.

______

Haiku

forgotten crayons
melting in the summer sun
painting abstract art

© 2015, all rights reserved.

_____

Haiku

little drummer boy
tapping out a melody
only he can hear.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


July 22: 3 Haiku

Haiku

bundles of cherries
on the uppermost branches
unsteady ladder

© 2015, all rights reserved.

_____

Haiku

parasitic growth
humanity spreading out
to carpet the world

© 2015, all rights reserved.

_____

Haiku

enigmatic wolf
baying at the western moon
mangled sheep carcass

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

July 14:

Kitten—Kitten

If the internet had been invented
one hundred sixty years ago,
What would Dickinson have written
in a blog post about cat videos?

Silly feline—Kitten—Kitten—
tangled in yarn meant for mittens—
Playing piano? Dancing to music?
Why do so many find you amusing?

The winter wind is cold—brutal—
that tangled skein—that knotted ball—
was never knitted into mittens—
thanks to you, O Kitten—Kitten—

Who can knit with frostbit fingers?
Still your playful mewling lingers—
mewling echoed in Death’s laughter—
O Kitten—Kitten—gone hereafter.

Then again, she might have fancied
all those videos broadcasting
feline merriment and folly—
a cure for rampant melancholy.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

July 7:

Pristine

hidden little valley
smothered in wild-

flowers ringed by
granite claws stretch-

ing into the crisp blue
sky, natural wind-

born fragrance tick-
ling my nostrils

the old oil derrick
the only blemish

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

 

July 1:

Skipping Stones

each plop an
exclamation point
sending ripples
through time

© 2015, all rights reserved.

__________

Haiku

still water resting
in a shallow depression
deep thought forgotten

© 2015, all rights reserved.

__________

Haiku

suicide bomber
seventeen dead, eight injured
no sign of god’s love

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

June  24:  3 Brevettes

[1]

quipu
s h e d d i n g
memories

© 2015, all rights reserved.

[2]

honeybee
r a p i n g
flowers

© 2015, all rights reserved.

[3]

bondage
f o r g i n g
intimacy

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

June 17:

Duality

League night—we’re away—
the bar is much too intimate
for my comfort.

At the counter, a man
sits down next to me, says
he’s confused, unsure.

He’s married but left
his wife to explore his
sexuality.

He’s polite—so damn
polite I’m flattered. I tell
him no, I’m not gay.

He lingers, chatting
me up, trying to reverse my
orientation.

I don’t bend that way.
I leave—alone!—return to
the bar I play for

and play pool, trying
to forget about the strange
way he made me feel.

Later that same night
as I was leaving for home,
I am accosted

by a drunken bitch
who devours me with her eyes
and blatantly says

she wants to fuck me.
I pause only long enough
to feel disgusted.

Sometimes I think a-
bout that night and how good he
made me feel—and how

repulsed I was when
she treated me like a piece
of meat on display—

and I wonder what
I would have done if she had
had been half her size….

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

June 9:

Haiku*

lazy old tomcat
watching sparrows flit about
dreams of past glory

© 2015, all rights reserved.

*This poem was inspired by the first of John McDonald’s five haiku published on Whispers… and has a significant resemblance to its theme.

__________

Haiku

altar of candles
lined up like wax figurines
soldiers on patrol

© 2015, all rights reserved.

__________

Haiku

fog-shrouded morning
soft echoes of memory
lost to Alzheimer’s

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

June 2:

Growling dog—night light—
squeaking door—shotgun cocking.
How fast can I run?

© 2015, all rights reserved.

__________

still air and calm lake
faint glimmer of distant stars
rotting garbage bag

© 2015, all rights reserved.

__________

an exercise in trust
teetering on my heels
unable to fall

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

May 27:

Nova

On a crisp clear night
a distant star twinkles and
flares to tortured life,
its brilliance but a shadow
from a million years ago.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

May 21:  3 haiku

my voicemail is full
of your incessant chatter
consuming my grief

© 2015, all rights reserved.

____________

Bar karaoke:
the only thing I know where
shame is applauded.

© 2015, all rights reserved.

____________

Sagittarius’
arrow is aimed at your heart.
Eros got there first.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

May 12:

Inspiration

drips like
a water clock
running backward: it flows
upward, filling up my head with
nonsense.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


Six Feet Under

not
nearly
deep enough.

© 2015, all rights reserved.

May 7:

Dear Jane

She gently placed
the rose
between the pages
of the heavy
tome
and then
crushed
the memories
out of it.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

May 6:

Daddy’s Girl

It is but one soft-
spoken, trembling word

Pleeease?

punctuated by sad
little blue eyes…

But it has the
power to collapse
the world into
a smile.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

April 28:

Recovery

I did not forget
Valentine’s day! With you,
all the other days
of the year are just as sweet!
(Do you think she’ll believe that?)

© 2015, all rights reserved.

Exchange

Nowhere
does it say that
I have to pay each time
we go on a date. But after?
You play….

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

April 23:

Untitled

Fundamentalists
P R O M O T I N G
Ignorance

© 2015, all rights reserved.

Untitled

.      reason
i l l u m i n a t e s
.      TRUTH

© 2015, all rights reserved.

Untitled

cannibals
.     e a t i n g
.           vegetarians

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

April 16:

Yerkes

the
.    bonobo grieves
.       for 3 days
she drags the young male’s
.      corpse around
.                       cradling it
.   in her hairy arms
like a tiny rag
.             doll

© 2015, all rights reserved.

Untitled

patients
l a c k i n g
patience

© 2015, all rights reserved.

Untitled

MMORPGs
i n v a d i n g
households

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

April 8:

AWOL

I call upon the muses to assist
me in the telling of this tale. Come! Come!
and bring to me your words! Oh! Bring your song
so I may sing! Alas, your silence is
a torment I can’t bear. Where are your verses?
Calliope? How still your epic tongue!
Euterpe? Have your lyrics come undone?
And Polyhymnia? Your sacredness
has fled from us. Sweet Erato? Where has
your loving heartbeat gone? Thalia? Gone
to pasture? Please, I beg of you! Return
and bring to us your rhythmic mythic hearts!
Alas, the muses have no place to be
in our contemporary poetry.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

April 1:

Untitled

procrastinators
t[ime] a k i n g

© 2015, all rights reserved.

Untitled

puzzle
s o l v i n g
crime

© 2015, all rights reserved.

Tanka

A maple leaf falls
pirouetting on the wind
adding to the pile.

A prima donna dancing
without accompaniment.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

March 25:

June, 1972

Neon sign:

Tonight Only
.      Five Man
Electrical Band

Love the irony.

© 2015, all rights reserved.

Untitled

There is no need
  to touch you
with my fingertips
once I’ve loved you
  in my mind.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


 

March 18:

Writer’s block is
just another stepping
stone to unfulfilled
brilliance.

© 2015, all rights reserved.

____________

The sculptor captured
every magnificent curve
and odd protrusion.

© 2015, all rights reserved.

____________

I see her naked
in my mind—the only place
she will ever be.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


March 11:

Status-tician

Yesterday your friends
told you romantic stories
that saddened your heart.

Today you fished for
flowers, angled for dinner,
and panned for chocolate.

Tomorrow I’ll whine
about how your envy drives
me to distraction.

Untitled

Bacchanalia:
an orgy of sex, wine, food,
and consequences.

© 2015, all rights reserved.

Untitled

burnished silver mirror
deep-set corpse-like blue eyes
once my best feature

© 2015, all rights reserved.


March 6:

3 Brevettes

______________

tears
d r o w n i n g
sorrow

______________

chocolate
m e l t i n g
melancholy

______________

minimalism
a d d s
substance


March 4:

Untitled

a fragment of song
—sad, hauntingly familiar—
the scent of your hair

© 2015, all rights reserved.

Untitled

a flaccid blue sky
indifferent summer sun
lazy afternoon

© 2015, all rights reserved.

Untitled

reading old poems
reliving the memories
of someone long dead

© 2015, all rights reserved.


February 26:

Untitled

Isaac Asimov:
prolific author driven
by atheism
to write so feverishly
before the ink ran away.

© 2015, all rights reserved.

Untitled

Twilight star falls and
veers suddenly to the right—
lands near Serling’s grave.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


February 19:

[Untitled]

asymptotic verse
blind vultures circling a
feast of dead poets

© 2015, all rights reserved.

[Untitled]

A thought, a poem—
.       spoken: heard
.       written: read—
how much is lost
in translation?

© 2015, all rights reserved.

Tiny Blue Marble

Earth seen from space—a
photographic image that
made the world stand still.

© 2015, all rights reserved.


February 16:

Presidents Day

We lionize them like Olympic gods
to make it easy to forget they’re men.
Yes, men, not gods. Or women. Every one
of them has been a man. The most revered
of all are Ares incarnate: the gods
of war. If Washington had never been
a Revolutionary hero and
if Lincoln had no Civil War to win,
I wonder what they would have been. A man,
revered for farming, speaking truth through wood-
en teeth? A prairie lawyer who would stand
behind the man who paid the most? How hon-
est would Abe’s image be? The point is moot!
It’s what we made of them we celebrate!

© 2015, all rights reserved.


February 12:

Crows

Up they fly—high! high!—
from the road as I drive by.
Then they swoop back down
again to peck and scratch the
corn-strewn ground—a banquet feast.

© 2015, all rights reserved.

Cheesy Poetry

Trite little lines of
wishful thinking brought to verse
and thrust upon us.

© 2015, all rights reserved.

[Untitled]

blooming lilac bush
flickering hummingbird wings
camera inside

© 2015, all rights reserved.


February 5:

Poetry Reading

I pull into the
driveway of the old house
where the Underground
Railroad used to stop to
drop off fleeing slaves
for a night’s rest.

It’s a museum now,
and our writer’s group is
meeting there tonight.

As I get out of my car,
a kind of soft darkness
settles in around me so slowly
it’s barely noticeable until
its eerie chill has me
completely surrounded.

The moon peeks through
the clouds like a half-shuttered
eye and then blinks itself away.

An easy October wind blows
intermittently—puffy gusts,
sudden stillness, whipping
air—and a spattering of rain-
drops strike my face with
sharp little slaps.

Gothic, I think, a thin
smile spreading across
my face as I walk inside
and get ushered down-
stairs.

The basement is rough-hewn
sandstone with no windows;
it is dimly lit, and most of the
group is already there, sitting
on rickety old fold-up chairs.

The curator shows me
a hidden alcove—barely
large enough for a cot—
where the escaped slaves
would wait for the train to
resume its mission of mercy.

I imagine the fleeing slaves
huddling together as their
saviors told them to keep
quiet and bricked up the
entry—just in case.

I look for a cat….

When it’s my turn to read,
I bow my head over the page
and almost whisper the title
of my poem: “A Tribute to
Edgar Allan Poe.”

© 2015, all rights reserved.

“Poetry Reading” is one of the few poems I’ve written that is autobiographical. Although I wrote it last week, the events depicted in it happened about twenty years ago, when I was participating in a poetry group that called themselves “The Writer’s Block Club.” We would get together once a month and read poetry and encourage each other. One of those meetings occurred in late October at the museum mentioned in “Poetry Reading,” and here is the poem I read at that meeting (it is not autobiographical):

A Tribute to Edgar Allan Poe

Slavishly I plied my pencil, scratching out with that utensil
In my lavish, simple scribble, groups of words I’d read before;
“Once upon a midnight dreary,” written in a manner eerie;
Nowhere hidden is a cheery thought of long-forgotten lore;
.                                                   Not a cheery thought of yore;

Always is there hints of pining for a love that’s not declining
Even though she was reclining in that ancient volume’s lore;
In my mind there came a tapping, as of someone gently rapping
Or a distant shutter flapping, flapping in a wind of yore;
.                                                   In a chilling wind of yore;

“Edgar Allan Poe is coming . . .” Whispered in my ear by something,
Little more than quiet humming – could it be from Nevermore?
Hesitantly, I descended, feeling like I was suspended
In a time that is appended to another poet’s chore;
.                                                   Down the stair, across the floor;

Hesitating then no longer, feeling courage growing stronger,
I approached with fearful wonder, throwing wide the oaken door –
“Who is there?” I meekly stuttered – Had I seen a darkened flutter,
flying past with quiet mutter of a tragic “Nevermore”?
.                                                   Could it be from Nevermore?

Deep into the darkness peering, I imagined I was hearing,
In a distant, silent clearing, echoes of a time before;
“Edgar Allan Poe is coming . . .” In my mind the strident humming
of a heartbeat quickly strumming, sent me fleeing from the door;
.                                                   Sent me fleeing ‘cross the floor;

Here the voice of calm and reason spoke in soothing tones appeasin’,
Telling me it is the season for the ghost of sweet Lenore;
I approached the open doorway, then I closed it – only partway –
So the Raven had a pathway, should he choose to bring Lenore;
.                                                   Friendly, kindly, sweet Lenore;

“Edgar Allan Poe is coming . . .” Came the whispers from the something;
“Edgar Allan Poe is coming . . .” Reaching out from days of yore;
I could feel a certain presence – Was it truly Edgar’s essence?
Would he come in, incandescent, like the spirit of Lenore?
.                                                   Draped in brilliance like Lenore?

Oh! That bright and lovely maiden, brought to him before the Raven –
Had he found her in the haven of a death so long before?
I began a brief reciting of The Raven, dark and fright’ning,
Growing, growing, more exciting with each uttered magic word;
.                                                   Drawing courage from the words;

“Edgar Allan Poe is coming . . .” Through my mind was madly running
In the whisper of the something standing just outside my door;
“Edgar Allan Poe is coming . . .” Whispers in my mind from something,
Harshly on my door, a thumping, too insistent to ignore;
.                                                   Was this thumping on my door;

Edging nearer, ever nearer, so the better I could hear her
Quiet, eerie, lovely whisper, dreaming it could be Lenore;
Grabbed the door and flung it open, in my mind, I had been hopin’
That I’d see the lovely maiden – Oh, the lovely, sweet Lenore!
.                                                   Standing firmly at my door;

In the moment that I saw her, “Sweet Lenore!” I almost called her,
Ere I saw that it was not her – it was not my sweet Lenore;
“Hello, Robert,” said the lady, shrugging so infuriating,
For the prank she had been playing, playing as if . . . “Nevermore.”
.                                                    Playing as if sweet Lenore.

I regarded her with anger – this was not a lowly stranger,
This was just my older sister, who is rotten to the core;
Screaming out, infuriated – Oh! the thoughts I contemplated
Would have gotten me committed – but I simply slammed the door.
.                                                    Then I walked across the floor.

© 1996 by Iowa Western Community College. Originally published in the 15th edition of Backroads and reprinted in my collection Last Rites . . . And Wrongs.  All rights reserved.


February 3:

Poem #1000

There is no need to write another Pro-
gress Report: I have now achieved my goal—
or will when this one’s finished. Wow! One thou-
sand poems! Now what? Should I try to pull
another thousand from the dark and dirty
recess of my mind? I’d rather not—
it took too damned long to reach this one! Twenty
years of writing poetry! But that
can wait. For now, I’ll bask in the accomp-
lishment—it’s such a lofty milestone!
But then again it’s just another poem,
isn’t it? Nothing special…. Ha! I’ve found
the perfect word to suit this situation:
floccinaucinihilipilification!

© 2015, all rights reserved.


January 29:

Progress Report: January 24, 2015

I see on my horizon—close enough
to smell—the milestone I’ve sought. I set
the goal when I began—I was so young!—
as something to be striven for, and yet…

A part of me had thought it would be easy—
in ten short years I’d have a thousand poems!
Another part was sure that I was dreaming—
a pesky nightmare that would never end!

So here I am, my goal within my sight—
but not within my grasp! This poem is
#900! Just another ten
percent remain! One hundred poems! Might
I write them all this year? But, really, does
it matter? I know I’ll just begin again….

© 2015, all rights reserved.

Rereading this progress report made me realize how industrious I have been over the past few days. Thanks to the short poems and haiku I’ve written in that time, I am now at 970 poems, most of which were written in three days. Here are a few of those poems:

Dawn

uplifted
.      by the rising
.             sun
.         we break
.    into
birdsong

© 2015, all rights reserved.

Untitled

man juggling chainsaws
spinning, whirling blades of death
I nudge you closer

© 2015, all rights reserved.

Untitled

the television
intrudes upon my writing
silencing the song

© 2015, all rights reserved.


January 22:

Pole Star*

In the gloom a beacon shone—
.         a twinkle of a star consumed—
to bring the ship and crew to home
.         amid the fog, amid the gloom.

© 2014, all rights reserved.

Power of Prayer

If only belief
alone could make a thing true!
Damn lotto numbers.

© 2015, all rights reserved.

Untitled*

fresh snow
spans the horizon
a tabula rasa
waiting for words

© 2015, all rights reserved.

*If you think the untitled poem is a metaphor for a blank piece of paper and the inspiration/intimidation it may bring, the title I have for it may transform the meaning considerably. It is: “Yellow Snow.”


January 16:

Adam’s Birthright

The joyous mud surrounds me like
the womb of God: it gives me life
and nourishes me with its warm-
ing touch. I revel in it! Squirm
with ecstasy! I squeeze inside

its oozing glory—awestruck—righ-
teous—full of furious delight!
For minutes I am lost in form-
                                            less joy!

And then it’s over. Too soon the high
descends into a grim final-
ity. My soul is caged, entombed
in flesh and blood unfit for worms!
And then a spark, another kind
                                            of joy….

© 2015, all rights reserved.


January 8:

Swimming in Sorrow

Three sheets to the wind and
your hair still flows through
my memory with the stench
of a stagnant pool.

Your eyes loom before me
as large and full as two distant
moons with dark abysses
at their core.

Your voice lingers like a
haunting banshee wail that
can’t be captured or thrust
away.

I have tried so hard to forget
you, but three sheets to the
wind is not enough. Shall I
try for four?

© 2015, all rights reserved.


January 2:

Tabula Rasa

A brand new year. A fresh new start.
I have no poetry to post.
My resolution? How about
one poem every week? Of course,

I probably will waver, fail
by Groundhog Day or Easter, give
it up by Mother’s Day, or bail
on Independence Day…. What if

I make it all the way to La-
bor Day? I’ll be surprised! Perhaps
Thanksgiving Day will find me say-
ing thanks! I know that if I last

that long, then Christmas is a cer-
tainty and New Year’s Eve will see
my resolution kept! Before
I count my chickens, though, I’ll need

to lay some eggs, some poems that
will ring untrue, fall flat upon
the page, be empty of all thought,
have imagery that’s bland, and then?

I’ll post them anyway! Unless
I have some better ones on hand.
I wonder which this poem is:
a rotten egg or shining gem?

© 2015, all rights reserved.

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