Archived Poems: 2014

Here are the poems I posted to my blog in 2014.

2 Poems from December 23, 2014

A-Hunting She Will Go…

She sleeps the day away in peaceful slumber,
her breath a nonexistent wisp, her skin
so cold you’d swear that she was dead. But when
nightfall comes, her eyelids flutter, come
to life. She rises slowly, like a damsel
kissed. Her yawn could stretch for miles; thin
arms crinkle like old parchment dried by wind
enchanted by the gods and long-entombed.
The night is hers—this night is hers—and she
embraces it with relish. She becomes
the night, becomes the nightmare, the scream….
She floats atop the stone floor like a dream
that never ends. But soon the dawn will come….
Her time is short, and she must hurry, hurry….

© 2014, all rights reserved.

Morning

The full moon lingers,
as unseeing as Polyphemus’
half-shuttered eye.

A howl—belated, mournful,
not-quite-human—trundles
through the fetid hills.

A crisp dawn drenched
in sweat simmering up from
the bog-infested lowlands.

The chill air whispers
knowing secrets across
bare, hairless skin.

I shiver, goose flesh
subsiding with the rising
of the naked sun.

© 2014, all rights reserved.


2 Poems from December 4, 2014

Lorelei

A long night awkwardly bent
over an easel set too low, brush
dripping incandescent streaks of
memory, figments of fantasy,
a reality consumed by dreams.

She is there.

A wisp of sweeping girlish
laughter; delightful, dimpled
smile; hopeful sea-green eyes.
A single cloud—gray, heavy
with rain—intrudes upon the
coastline, casts a shadow
over the weather-worn stones.

A tear falls, mingles
with the paint—a soft
tear, gentle tear, a tear
of remembrance and
longing, longing….

He knows the name
of the painting before
he’s finished, knew it
before he began.

He dips his brush in blue,
mixes in the white, the gloss,
and bleeds the name into
the hem of her diaphanous
gown.

© 2014, all rights reserved.

The Clue

A single speck of dried
blood ground into the foot-
print of a shoe with worn
soles and angry tread.

It holds within it the DNA
of the killer who otherwise
left no trace, no hint of his
mysterious identity.

Officer Grady kneels on
one knee, next to the victim,
and checks for a pulse, for
the soft intake of breath,
for life.

When he stands, mud clings
to his knee, concealing the tiny
drop of blood that would have
caught the killer, that would
have caught him….

© 2014, all rights reserved.


3 Poems from November 16, 2014

The

distance between us
is no longer than the last
forgotten insult.

© 2014, all rights reserved.

2:00 A.M.

You sit there, calmly
wearing a smile like it’s
an accusation.

© 2014, all rights reserved.

Cuckold

Ten thousand pardons
are not enough for what you’ve
done with him, to me….

© 2014, all rights reserved.


3 Poems from November 2, 2014

To Catch a Butterfly

Wisdom is as fragile as
a newborn butterfly
squeezing out from its
chrysalis with its wings
crumpled, their wondrous
beauty yet to unfold.

A wise man cherishes
the caterpillar and holds
it close to the heart; he
nurtures it, feeds it, and
stands guard over the
chrysalis while it sleeps.

A fool carries a butterfly
net and rushes around,
trying to catch the rarest,
most beautiful specimens
to pin to his wall as
fragmented aphorisms.

While on his impatient
quest for the butterfly,
the fool steps on the
caterpillar and crushes
the chrysalis between
his clumsy fingertips….

© 2014, all rights reserved.

She Read Dickinson … I Think

A soft-spoken, heavenly,
heavily-accented reading
of love—lost—found—mixed
with sadness—consumed by
joy—amid the loneliness
of a poem whose words
I could not understand.

© 2014, all rights reserved.

Scrap Heap

Bad poetry never dies.
It breeds in fecund
cesspools, and its offspring?
Little balls of crap that
congregate together to
form a mountain of
crumpled papers….

© 2014, all rights reserved.


Poem from October 16, 2014

Sonnets to Shiver By

Sonnets to Shiver By? Chilling and sweet,
written in rhythms of iambic feet;
Searching out poems that reach out and snatch,
clamoring sideways on feet that don’t match.
Sonnets to Shiver By? what do they mean?
Wonderment failing, I live for a dream;
Reading in riddles that claim not to care,
the poems of merit rhyme everywhere;

Breathing through nostrils that flare in delight,
hunching down deeper to read through the night,
cramming in mouthfuls of imbalanced rhyme,
porous, like sponges, my mind fills with grime
and sifts through the morsels more precious than gold:
Sonnets to Shiver By? Treasures to hold!

© 2014, all rights reserved.


Poem from September 23, 2014

I wrote this poem a long time ago after reading Poe’s “The Bells.” I’ll let you guess which bell I had in mind for the image.

poe_bells

© 2014, all rights reserved.


Poem from September 11, 2014

© 2014, all rights reserved.


2 Poems from August 31, 2014

Moksha

The murmur of Brahman
whispers into the silence, wait-
ing for atman to hear.

© 2014, all rights reserved.

Ennui

Sometimes, when I’m
bored, I tinker with the
icons on my desktop,
rearranging them into
patterns that serve no
purpose and hoping to find
inspiration. But shifting
the icons around does
little to change the drivel
dangling inside them.

© 2014, all rights reserved.


Poem from August 5, 2014

Instead of wrestling with the indentation and tabulation, I did a screen-capture of this poem and uploaded it to see if it works. Now that I know it does, it will make it easier to upload other visual poems in the future. “The Rose Bush” may have been published in Night Roses back in 1995 or 1996. It was accepted for publication, but attempts to confirm that it was published have gone unanswered.

© 2014, all rights reserved.

© 2014, all rights reserved.


3 Poems from August 5, 2014

Original Poem:

An Apple a Day…

But not that day so long
ago it should have been for-
gotten. But it wasn’t. It was
memorialized in mis-
remembered verse,
distorted by mis-
ogynistic senti-
men-
t.

In Eden,
when Adam bit
into the apple, it
had the sweetest
flavor that man-
kind has ever
known.

But it
left a bitter
aftertaste.

© 2014, all rights reserved.

Revision on August 9, 2014: Since posting this poem, I’ve revised it as two different poems on the same theme. I think it is more effective as the following two poems, since the first stanza had a different style and was much more overt in its criticism than the last two stanzas (which were more subtle and seemed to have a different message). Here they are:

Forbidden Fruit

In Eden,
when Adam bit
into the apple, it
had the sweetest
flavor that man-
kind has ever
known.

But it
left a bitter
aftertaste.

© 2014, all rights reserved.

Original Sin?

An apple a day…
But not that day so long
ago it should have been for-
gotten but wasn’t. Instead,
it was memorialized, mis-
remembered in verse,
and distorted by mis-
ogynistic senti-
men-
t.

© 2014, all rights reserved.


2 Poems from July 17, 2014

On Days Like This…

On days like this
when the sky is consumed
by charcoal-flavored cotton
balls, I think of you
stirring up blueberry pan-
cakes and scrambled eggs.

On days like this
when the sky threatens
to rain down misery,
I think of the muzzled
storm raging behind your
ill-tempered eyes.

On days like this
when the wind blows in
icy outbursts, I hear your
voice echoing through my
heart as you said goodbye
and drove away.

On days like this
when winter’s death
bleeds into the dawn
of spring and the ground
begins to thaw, I think
of you stirring in the
frost-bitten bed I
dug for you….

© 2014, all rights reserved.

Charon’s Obol

She stands before the open
casket, tenderly gazing down
at her young grandson, wrapped
in his favorite blanket,
the rattle by his side
as if he’s sleeping, and
she leans forward to slip
a dime into his palm,
just in case the old gods
are watching….

© 2014, all rights reserved.


3 Poems from July 10, 2014

An Alien Encounter

There is no dress code on Antares,
and fur only hides so much….

© 2014, all rights reserved.

Burning Out of Control

If only love were like
a fire hose we could turn
on and off at will, adjust-
ing the pressure to fit
the situation.

© 2014, all rights reserved.

Chemosynthetic Bacteria

Utterly patient puffs
of life, smothered in salt-
water baths, floating
endlessly in a cold, dead
sea, waiting for a searing
kiss to spark a blooming
frenzy.

Along comes the little
blind parasitic shrimp….

© 2014, all rights reserved.


Poem from June 25, 2014

Kantian Ethics

Immanuel Kant was rigid in his ways
and routinized everything that happened in his days;
People set their clocks by the habits that he had,
and everyone agreed he was an affable man!

The German university at Königsberg was home;
He lectured on commission for years before they chose
to give him a professorship and salary to boot;
and later in his life he started writing books.

His philosophy of morals are more rigorous than most,
demanding no exceptions regardless of the cost;
The only thing that matters is the person’s good intent;
The consequences of the act are all irrelevant!

We formulate a maxim (a subjective moral rule)
and will it to become a universal law;
If it survives the logic of our reason’s guiding light,
then we must act accordingly because our maxim’s right!

The choice is ours to act this way—we have autonomy—
and if we use our reason well, then all of us will see
the duties that we all will find are one and all the same
for from the categorical imperative they came!

The dignity of rational creatures is supreme,
so treat them as an end—never merely as a means;
If we do that then we have done all they can demand,
fulfilling all our duties the best way that we can!

For Kant there is objective moral truth awaiting us
that reason can discover in those universal laws,
but if we fail to use our minds to find out what they are,
the moral choices that we make will always end up flawed!

So use your mind and think it through before you choose to act;
Others have a right to this—it’s what they can expect—
Do your moral work yourself—be autonomous!—
And it will be the better for every one of us!

Eventually when everyone is doing what he says,
his ideal will be achieved in the Kingdom of Ends.
Until that day we’ll muddle through the error of our ways,
as egoistic inclinations lead us all astray.

© 2014, all rights reserved.


2 Poems from June 17, 2014

Post-Coital Mischief

We lay together,
knotted like two slippery
eels out of water.

Charybdis at Play

Her whirlpool leaves be-
hind broken Tinker Toys read-
y to assemble….

© 2014, all rights reserved.


3 Poems from June 7, 2014

haiku

When hell boils over,
what will it bring that isn’t
already long here?

© 2014, all rights reserved.

Impasse

The old wound festers,
craving to become a scar.
You dowse it with salt.

© 2014, all rights reserved.

Star-Crossed Lovers*

You and I are two
parallel lines that never
found a way to meet….

Inspired by a haiku by Rita Odeh. Normally, I have no idea what poets are doing in their haiku, so it is a pleasant surprise when I find one I like.

© 2014, all rights reserved.


 

Poem from May 31, 2014

Progress Report: April 1, 2014

Am I a fool today? I let the dead-
line pass. No health insurance yet. I’ll pay
the fine and hope I don’t pay more. Too bad
my teaching schedule was reduced…. But hey,
it gave me lots of time to write. In three
short months I wrote some fifty four—no, this
one makes it fifty five—poems. Hmmm…. I see
that total isn’t all that high. It’s just
the poetry. I’ve also written fic-
tion: half a dozen stories, one novel-
la, full drafts for a pair of novels (which
are fantasy adventure stories)…. Well,
I guess I have been busy: I’m a writing fool,
and I’ll be one until the start of summer school!

© 2014, all rights reserved.


Poem from May 10, 2014

False Consciousness

They are fools persuaded by glib
promises that can never be fulfilled
while those who make the promises
use the power bestowed upon them
to undermine their ability to think
for themselves….

© 2014, all rights reserved.


Poem from April 22, 2014

This rondeau was inspired by a Nova episode called “Rat Attack.”

48 Year Plague

The bamboo seeds again this year—
an omen drenched with deepest fear—
for with their flowers comes again
the rats infesting all the land.
A plague of rodents everywhere!

But why? The rats are always there
in smaller numbers—nowhere near
the millions that are coming. When
.                    the bamboo seeds,

they feast upon it. Females bear
an extra litter. There’s no scar-
city of food. The offspring can
survive and multiply. And then?
Exploding populations where
.                    the bamboo seeds.

© 2014, all rights reserved.


Poem from April 10, 2014

A Telling Blow

The confidence he must have felt
when taking aim and letting fly….
Or was he nervous? Did he want
to run and hide? But that was not
an option. Guards to right and left,

their swords in hand, prevented flight.
He had but one last chance for life:
He had to hit the apple…. But
                      his confidence

was shaken…. Underneath, the fluff-
y yellow locks, blue eyes so full
of trust and love…. The second bolt
was for revenge, in case his shot
went low…. The twang of string… Relief…
                      The confidence…

© 2014, all rights reserved.


Poem from April 5, 2014

“Stray Thoughts” was originally published by Inner, Weather in 2004, with somewhat different formatting.

Stray Thoughts

A single autumn
.              leaf of amber solitude
A slithering snake     falling in the forest
.             abruptly interrupts me
The teapot bubbles     with its warning hiss
.             angrily screaming like mad
The clouds resemble     Angels from Heaven
.             a toy tugboat and feathers
I see the bodies     floating on blue seas
.             entombed in cold underbrush
My eyes fill with tears     and brittle memory
.             for the buried kittens that
.                          died in the summer.

© 2014, all rights reserved.


Poem from March 26, 2014

[In]Security Management

Eight years ago, I applied
for a job and didn’t get it.

Two days ago, I received
a letter from them: their

system had been hacked,
and my personal data

(name, address, e-mail,
phone, SS#—the works)

had been taken. So sorry,
they said. So sorry….

My only question is: Why
wasn’t my data purged

when the job was filled
so many years ago?

© 2014, all rights reserved.


Poem  from March 16, 2014

Probiotic Observation

My sister says my poetry is bland.
It doesn’t hit her in the gut or draw
emotion out. OK. I understand.
I tend to be cerebral when I scrawl
my sordid little lines. I think—not feel
my way through poem after poem, play-
ing with the words, toying with the rhymes, kill-
ing time while looking for the truth and pray-
ing I don’t find it. But she likes my hu-
mor, says my dark side shines (I have a knack
for the macabre), and will admit she u-
sually hates to read poems—they rank
below dry political theory! But
her droll opinion lines this sonnet’s gut….

©2014, All rights reserved.

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