Best Poems From
(04/23/52 - xxxx)
After Folly - An Aging Poet Addresses One Who Wanders In Mountains Remote
'Now I've broken my ties with the world of red dust;
I spend all my time wandering and read all I want.
Who will lend a dipper of water
to save a fish in a carriage rut? ' - Han Shan, Tang Dynasty, China
There's a wary Moses in the distance counting pocket
change to give to the ferrier, coins to fit the eyes.
I'm hanging at the back of the crowd. There's manna
enough for pockets. My Red Sea is long parted but old
Pharaoh's got a new army. Each day is a scrape in the tents.
Prayer and fear is sustenance dragged further out by pillars
of fire. A volcano rumored to be God publishes 'Mandates for
a New Junta', led by a well-bred stutterer (prototypical politician,
it seems) . In odd limbo there trail reluctant murmurers.
That Golden Calf Incident was a silly mistake,
an overreaction, but there were agreements made
at the outset, sealed in blood, first born sons threatened
or worse, guaranteed real estate for dairy farmers and
bee keepers, oodles of milk-and-honey futures, money
to be made in hopefully greener pastures. Now it can
be said with certainty, a 'promised land' comes with
big catches - I've exchanged one for another, same
mistake - the barbs are plenty, mostly mistaken people
thinner than scripture loudly staking claims to land
and deity in long meander.
It's a luxury, sure. Some choose to wander. Some don't.
Water is scarce in deserts. Wheels are few but for
chariots of war, not many ruts though there's thirst aplenty,
not the bounty promised before the journey.
A penny for a wet tongue.
I'm of that hung up crowd forced to flee, a victim of unleavened
fate, or is that too Greek a notion? The question begs asking.
Unintended impertinence must be forgiven. That's the theme,
right? the long march of history, that of redemption in time though
each and every has an opinion. Can't be helped. Much to explain.
All's a seeming washed in blood.
How passing strange is life in old age overwrought by
too much thinking. All is not yet lost but merely tossed
and scrambled in this ramble where etymology is everything.
And good boots. I'm then to poetry and books a-sundry,
an attempt to keep a horizon. Above it. Not under but
the dip is soon enough. Humor with others is still intact.
Alone I manage to laugh out loud.. After a life of folly so
much frivolity empties one out. I cry out in the night but
remainder to Silence.
Old friend, I've been reading zen, the death poems, and
Sayings of the Desert Fathers, in many ways the same.
These orient. One can still lift a head up amongst the stars
while swatting flies, be silly, for what care stars at all
but for eyes, maybe they're wanting to be seen?
Reading remote poets and prophets purposefully hiding
out to 'draw nigh unto' is ironic, remove the eye of the
perceiving other and it will show up upon the sky, mountains,
all things between, universally; perhaps even TV screen static
between channels links here/now with beyond; easier to
be in subtle presences sublime than these lumps in solidity
which are the material, a hard father's boot-steps on the stairs
just out the door sends one packing, a shy Desert Father
beneath his bed to hide, a wilderness of sorts.
From there I pray,
'Abide with me, Father,
give sons a safer world,
bring them gently into it'.
Many sons are ill-prepared,
'not yet, not yet, ' they bray.
I'm flung further into the fray though I sway up 5 flights
of stairs, long in exile, dizzy with the street, the human
beauty and brokenness there, all those flower pots in
windows, on stoops, the blossoming tree brightening
between darker bricks to truly dwell. It is for me, a shy
son, to see in spite of big chunks missing or torn out,
to remake the world as it always is for gods long to
be bread to dwell in our finitude. To them, then, I am
'the Dude', a daffodil in my lapel, gate of heaven and
h*ll open at the end of the block. I skip forward singing,
'La La La, ' poems a'pocket. If questioned at the gate
I'll blame you, meandering still, granting permission
the entrance to boldly storm.
Between St. Marks and the horizon my fingers still work.
Amir, Prince Of Treetops, Now Sleeps In His Bright Yellow Room
perhaps you are
a bee sleeping in
the heart of a flower
the stone of your
sweetly upon a pillow
your little hands
open into bestowal
while you sleep
the sun ripens
plums into honey
upon the little
feet of the bee
a child screaming
you carry his
cry to parks
declared war on
yellow and pillows
all plums are
exile yet still
in a shrub beneath
the golden window of
the girl you must
love in secret
you smile and
and the walls of
state and of the
local god are
down truly one
still the powers
that be refuse to
see blood and dust
though the lemon
trees at Ferdosi's
tomb are opening
kingdom of justice
through bitter tears
little bee now
sweeps the little
room of its heart
the muezzin calls
fly away all to each
his dutiful prayers
bee too flies
honeys the feet
of those who would
kneel to be closer
to the Friend
whose Voice is
sweet in the halls
the streets the
friends of the
Friend of Mashhad
they do not know
that the bee up
is busy keeping
they do not know
that the child
sleeps whose hands
are gentle bestowals
one two three
at the top of
**Mashhad is the second largest city in Iran and one of the holiest cities in the Shia Muslim world. It is also the only major Iranian city with an Arabic name.
Mashhad is also known as the city of Ferdowsi, the Iranian poet of Shahnameh, which is considered to be the national epic of Iran.
Bessie Smith - Powder Dancing On 3rd Street, Chattanooga (Circa 1971)
Already the river begins its sweat.
April to September I'll be on the porch
Come sunsets listening to cars in the
Dark and you, remembering the flour
On the floor** and me and Willie in
Stocking feet dancing till dawn,
An old man down the street come
To drink on my porch sometime.
You were singing one night
While we drank and he just
Had to dance and pulled me,
Reluctant, skinny ass kid
All over the floor that night.
But my feet did dance.
And the flour stayed down
The whole summer long.
[**In the Jim Crow South
in juke joints for blacks
sometimes powder or
wheat flour would be strewn
on dance floors and couples
would dance silkenly gliding
barefoot or in socks..
To read more about this read
my account of it on poemhunters
titled, 'Now Heart - Some of
What I Remember When I Listen']
Brunch With Nietzsche, A Dazzlement
'It's undertow that matters.' - Jango Kammenstein
I am the man most pursued in last night's dream.
That emaciated thing at my back keeps tracking me.
I remain just out of reach. Classic. Even there
as here I am escaping something, a life time of
practice in this 'Kingdom of the Canker'.
It was no banker who followed me last night
but a starved lacklove rejected by 'Canker' and, well,
by me. Who'd want that part all start and no finish?
Replenishment has often enough meant hiding out
and a demand that it keep at least 5 arm lengths away.
I will try, I tell it, to look at it but I find its presence
most disturbing. Its handful of leaves continually
proffered leaves me in a quandary. What do they
mean, this offering, though my father was a lumberjack?
Perhaps this is a track of sorts to follow for an end
to the mystery.
I am stumped.
One adjusts. Continually.
The persona is adaptation
appearing to be solid but sleep reveals the neutrality
of the animal.
Dreams tell us otherwise
when we remember them as it takes an ego to witness,
They reveal that we are
caught up into something so much greater than
flush and stir.
It's a wonder we make do
as much as we do and still call ourselves by name,
a species of animal, 'homo sapiens'.
I regret self pity.
I'd reject it if I could but it adheres,
last resort of old coots born honestly
into it no matter the copious Mercurochrome baths,
the smelling salts obviating the needed nipple.
The stippled trout I nightly catch,
pink insides turned out by blue blade
kept beneath the pillow,
baits me with the riddle
again and again.
Something about a stand of trees,
a man carving some bark,
what breath is for.
Today the Market reports a run on Mercurochrome.
Birth goes on.
I am for rebirth.
A dirth of days makes me suddenly Hindu,
foregoing gurus and bindu point.
I've made my own here.
Still, methinks I'll have your ear
for a little while longer, a handful of leaves only for
one foot well into
'Cracked and Crank', the drunk tank a memory
Doubt is my companion.
Love, too. No remorse here.
Buys me time, aftershave and
loads of underwear for the trickles ahead.
Thank the gods for all that.
Oh. And one last good cigar.