Category Archives: Poetry

Coping, by the lake

I’ve been pretending
Just like you
Never comprehending
The best of you, me,
And the best of you.

The years crept in
While I’ve been pretending
To understand  the  reckoning
To come

How are we to understand 
This simple but grand 
Grand design 
To which we’re assigned  
All signs dissolving in the sand

You know I’ve survived by laughing 
All my nervous white-water rafting 
Pulsing forward and mapping
The rapids snapping God’s thin wrapping
Clapping blindly along with the cohort you done trapped me in: 

Confounded corporate colleagues
Desperate despots desperately diseased
Ungrateful lovers gone to snores
Badly maligned hookers and whores
Bratty kids
Career skids
Age defeating us all
Father’s sudden fall
Blot clots dropping
My best buddy shopping
At Target
The ruin of us all
The mall, the goddamned mall 
Tear it all, tear it all
Down

May we just be
In peace
Increase our ease
Ah, consider these wild geese before ye as they float without strain or pain into the main thing, the jet-stream-thing, that thing that’s some god’s invisible dream driving all pollination, all elation, and cosmic fellation, the seedlings going deep, all sharing our
All sharing our caring hearts with one another
Consider these geese
Cease your cheese eating and breathe 
Just breathe
And end
End
Pretending

American River

Processing

Dusk obtains and breezes shift how?
Your eyes note the adjustment but not the transition
You’re left struggling for something to say

How to paint this marriage of devolving light and insight evolving on some canvas of noise with extant oils and powdered pigments made only of the invisible machinations of your mind

Your ears perk as this babel of birds now ebbs like the slowing chorus of corn kernels popping in mother’s ancient microwave before those anticipated movie nights, those nights of ancient anticipation

“Is this not the finest onslaught of metaphor you’ve grappled to obedience?”
Your mouth is discovered smiling
The mysterious construct of your ego, pleased
“No one will ever understand but I understand and it is good.”

Night triumphs again and you commit your fingers to the dance
Drawing letters in patterns that bind us and propel us and disgust us and seduce us
Reduce us to the frail persuadable dummies we convince ourselves we shall never be but all
All fundamentally are

Your dancing continues and succumbs to your spasm of limbs
Beating at air as if pounding the tribal drums that signal something like strength
Something like the ever-moving matter seeking a place to collide and then I guess see what happens
Like you did with the dregs of your experiments in chemistry class clandestinely stowed in the back of the locker in the slowly filling test tube which one day just might end this all
Or cohere to useless sludge
Or satisfying slime
Or simply birth
A chrysalis

You dance and you bray like a jackass because somehow this liberates you and somehow it does always work
The puzzles remain before you but the familiar frenzied fever to fill in every last empty square has taken leave
And so now you seek someone to kiss and molest and hope they molest you in return in the wild jackass abandon you just displayed on the disco floor
Perhaps the flailing inspired another who will meet your pattern and ride the waves with you to the shore
You cry to them: “What’s poison for Pete may be manna for me!”
And you laugh
And they laugh too and the wave. just. does. not. want. to. end.

Well,
That’s the dream anyway in these nights you are reminded of your persistent exposure to a vastness that cares little for your rituals yet the indifference makes the rituals and reminders all the more resonant to you 

It feels awfully good to sweat through your nice clothes and to drink the cold sweet concoctions  that provide momentum for your howling

It feels awfully good to fall in a safe soft place and surrender yourself to unconsciousness muttering an echoing refrain of our  Lord’s Prayer each heartbeat further depressing  the wah-wah pedal in this fading concert of a night well spent

To know time and duration but feel none of it as it occurs
To know
O

Come morning, you cradle coffee and stare at trees

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Opening Lines To Try At That Generic Irish Bar In Mid-Town Manhattan. Seriously, go for it.

Show your way to me
And I’ll squeeze you
Teach you
To be free
You’ll be confined to the infinite wonder we share
Bound by the limits of our biological needs
The weeds
Ensnaring our aging skins in wonder of What is right? What do I need, really?

Sister,
Screech your screed
You woo-woo girl
Screech your screed
Spit your poetry
Spit it
Spit it babe
You’re a babe
A ripe fruit barely there but by a thread
So insidious to all my prayers
My value statements composed in the analyst’s chair
Under the consultant’s glare
Their behest
I guess

I guess
Anyone’s guess, my guest
My quest to remove you from the crest of this earth and float you to the infinite
Subsume with you
Subsume
In this lonely, oily room
Too soon

Too soon for the truth of what this late night decision may mean

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Offsite

I’m staring this executive in the eye
He’s providing me the gift of constructive feedback
I’m listening and reflecting
Dancing the triangle of effective communication
And all that’s on my mind
Is you

We’re digging deep into this leadership development exercise
We’re learning to delegate and speak with command
Providing context and clear objectives
Standards for success
And all I’m dreaming of is your mouth
On mine

The noise around me is warm and supportive and an investment in my future
And I’m grateful and more engaged than ever
Motivated to perform, baby!
And consumed by the thoughts of my nose near your neck
The warmth and aroma of you just millimeters from me
Nearing the moment we lose ourselves and dissolve

We’re sharing our stories with brave vulnerability in this sterilized setting
Shining a light on our blind spots
Bathing in this pre-programmed artificial light
And I swear I hear your low purr in my ear
As we maneuver naked in the dark
Swimming the gentle currents of these naked sheets

I’m staring this executive in the eye
And your body is sliding on mine
Sliding, our eyes align and shine
As we disappear in the culmination
The orgasm that must not manifest
In this present environment of tolerance and mutual respect.

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Making Love As A Sacred Rite

Remember this:

As you breathlessly scurry place to place
Establishing reputation, name, your face
As you find yourself angry with Facebook and TV
Straining to prove you belong
Paying your psychic fee
While you fret your mortgage, your gardener, and the immigrants raising your kids
Your cholesterol scores – egad! – the lipids, the lipids!

Remember this:

Feed the carnal
Rub some skin
Hold your lover overtly
Take your lover in

In a dark and quiet place
Embrace our bewildered moment
Friend,
Relax your wonderful face

Let your lover learn your theistic soul
That rhythm of you
Beating minuscule but whole
Pardoning all past violence
Vibrating this vast silence
Recalling sounds the vacuum stole:
Our prayers, our farts, our tunes,
Our echoes, our burst balloons

(Baboons, baby
We is
We is baboons)

Imagine:

Whole galaxies collide
With nary a whisper
Nor hummed lullaby
Nor funeral dirge
Not even a “harder,”
Nor “I love this,”
Nor “Thank you for satisfying my urge”

Imagine, just do
Fantasize this place that belongs to you:
This thin sliver of atmosphere, perfect pressure, this chemistry
This constant flow of blood, our majestic ministry

Rejoice!

Rejoice and moan
Into your lover’s ear, moan
Moan:
I’ve come.
I’m here.
Thank you.
Oh, thank you, dear.
Come,
Friend,
Come, too
Collide
Elide
Embrace
Your face
Relax
Let go.
Allow it:

Flow

Amen.

Banff Mountains

Asterisk

For my next poem I thought I’d employ an allusion to the anthems of love, grace, and forgiveness by the rock band U2
But I hesitated
Fearing that 100 years from now
Or thereabouts
The text would require
An asterisk

To explain the band

As if.

As if I won’t be the one crying for that asterisk: clawing out the entrails of my competition, hoping against reasonable hope that I prevail and share a footer with Larry Mullen, Junior.

As if.

As if we’d ever occupy – much less use – the same bathroom
As if my summit won’t be the gutter-swamp of some marginalia
The pinnacle of my legacy some overeager grad student’s hard fought effort to illuminate the “forgotten history of early 21st Century American Verse”

My therapist says I’m too hard on myself

As if.

As if this irrelevance against the vast sweep of a universe I don’t understand isn’t real
As if my turbulence this quiet New Year’s Day isn’t somehow encouraged by the throbbing drumbeat of “New Year’s Day”*
seeping through the thin walls of this ghastly apartment

*a 1983 song by an Irish band called U2, who were once considered quite popular

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Betsy? Dolly. Mmm Hmm. We Need To Talk.

And still you allow the wild to awake, take fire, and break free
You still listen for the chatter of the ancient trees gossiping secrets of freedoms dreamed
You still believe the hope of these towering hills and blinding plains, the lie of infinite rains
You still swim the chaos of rapid waters forsaking the eddies, the ease, the still pools of disease

And still

And still
You’ve become this bloated butterball baking
Basted brightly in cortisol tattoos
And Schadenfreude shampoos
Laboring place to place
A slower and slower pace
Agony in your face
Cowering against connections
Ignoring local elections
Seeking advantage and protection
To mock and tweak
The others you seek
To re-tweak, re-Tweet,
Fellow-travelers naive as thee, judging them, my phrasing, and me

I worry for your heart
Your literal and figurative heart
America

And still
Here I sit
You remind me
This armchair pundit opining
This internet poet resigning
To soft wrinkles, a stiff spine
A graceless and sad decline
Still overwriting every goddmamn line

True
True, I admit
That’s it, that’s it
I too
I too am
Complicit

And still
I do
I do still worry
I still worry for you
My fattened flailing friend
My family
My blood
My soul
My soil
Coiled to bite
Too spoiled to fight
Happy Birthday goodnight
Happy Birthday goodnight

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Saturday’s Song

I feel gorgeous, I feel stupid
I’ve just made out with Cupid

His red lips sting so sweet, so sore
But I’m telling ya, that demi-god is a hot-bod bore

Standing in my socks and waiting
I thought he’d be more intoxicating

“Fall into my eyes,” he groans, “Gaze, gaze deep.”
Twists his face, barely moans, and yes falls fast, fast asleep

I’ve wasted dinner and an hour!
I’m a sinner, I need a shower

So gorgeous
So stupid
So stupid
But gorgeous, believe it
Take it in, receive it

I compel you don’t I
I compel your third eye
To open
To cry
To cry

I feel gorgeous
I feel stupid
Sing it again
Loop it
Loop it
Gorgeous
Stupid
Gorgeous
Stupid
Gorgeous, stupid

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Love In The Present Epoch

What’s happening with me?
Maybe it’s you, do you feel it too, what’s happening with you?
Maybe it’s the artisanal wine we’ve sipped, so so good, so
Satisfying inside and so affordable too?
Maybe it’s this rain and the song that Spotify just chose?

I’ve truly never felt this close with someone, it’s like the lines have blurred
Our merging hearts caressing
You and I sitting here, legs folded, facing one another
You leaning in to me
Our foreheads touch softly, just enough so that I encounter the strength and armor of your skull but also the kindness of your mind
And perhaps your soul
Each message you’re sending so soft and clear and unique to you yet classic like memes passed down from the ancients
Our faces aglow

Gosh, it’s amazing to me
I’ve never texted like this before
I pray to some all-knowing all-powerful intelligence to let this moment never end and our batteries never die and our wifi never hiccup and our thumbs never tire

Your texts are so intimate tonight
Oh damn, that emoji really turns me on, I’m typing so fast

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