Archive for November, 2009

making a mess

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Up in the morning and turn on the box
to see what the world is doing
and if anyone cares about my opinion
or what I myself am doing or at least
whether I’ve paid my due this time or not.

As usual mostly stuff
I don’t need or want
except for the blog of a former colleague
taking off on a sabbatical
to photograph National Parks in HDR.

Barry is a talented painter and a gifted teacher
who loves life and lives love
all in his own special way
some are put off by his boldness and candor
but it encloses a brilliant calm and warmth.

He mentions another colleague who
is losing a battle with cancer and
I wonder who that may be, as yet another falls.
This is something to get used to
as I approach my own autumn.

I feel like my words are such fumbling and yearn to express
the void that fills each day with wonder and bliss
as I move into each moment skipping and laughing
and making a mess of all that I touch.

circle of fire

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

I was in the US Army
so that makes me a veteran

It was during the Vietnam War
so that makes me a Vietnam Era veteran

I was trained in rifle, carbine, pistol and machine gun
and qualified as an expert shooter

I was taught the sprit of the bayonet (to kill)
and how to kill hand-to-hand.

to survive gas attacks and render first aid
for sucking chest wounds and gushing blood

to inject atropine and splint the breaks
and take the dog tags from those who’ve fallen

to crawl under fire and run through explosions
and all of the targets were silhouettes of men

to lie in ambush and snipe from afar
whether day or night and shave without water.

turned into a machine responding to commands
first left then right — to bring death with my hands

my head was shaved and my reflexes sharp
starched and stiff and ready to kill

but unlike most of my unlucky peers
I was a reservist and would stay in the rear

not seeing war face-to-face as they
nor returning battle-weary and spent

spoiled by death and blood if living at all
and none the richer for facing their own end

I cowardly felt no duty nor desire
to place myself in anyone’s line of fire

I am both proud and amazed that I served
as a soldier in waiting and still,

held my antiwar position as well
as the brotherhood of warriors I’ve known.

Aggression is one thing, defense another
and unfortunately the distinction gets muddied

by those who prosper and are in command
of those who serve our once proud land.

I am a veteran only in name, for only those
who fight and die deserve that proud name.

It would seem that if we could live without them
our world would be at peace but the reality is

that warriors are the outer edge that holds
our civility inside its defining circle of fire.


Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

I’ve successfully put off a mid-life crisis
until I am 67 years old because I plan to live
to be about a hundred and forty four

I think that’s a nice number of years to live
and fully plan to enjoy every one of them
but here I am and it doesn’t really feel like
anything one would call a crisis by any means.

A crisis is something that should throw you
into a panic or at least cause some anguish
trying to choose between myriad paths and
maybe that’s why most folks do this
around 35 to 40 when things are moving faster.

I’ve been there and done those years
and they were a blast and filled with busts
of any sort you can imagine but nary a crisis

and now that I’m approaching the mid mark
all seems quiet — too quiet and the crises
are all outside of me, all someone else’s
that seem to have the potential to cast
either a shadow or wind in my direction

with the potential to totally annihilate me, and
my ambling path, which leads me to surmise
that perhaps its the entire human race having
a midlife crisis to which I’m not invited —

as usual — but must endure the racket
and inconvenience that always comes
when THEY get it on. Please.

As one of my prominent forebears said
“Get thee behind me [expletive deleted]”
I’m doing my thing here and you can go
screw yourself to a wall somewhere and
blow yourself up if you wish, just keep
the splatter off of me and mine.

If necessary I will fight you with words
and pictures and powerful thoughts or
maybe even more since my earlier objections
weren’t conscientious enough to keep me
from your unwanted and forcefully imposed
training grounds and disciplines

So you that want strife and would force
your ways onto mine beware, I am here
and I am fast in speed and position moving on
into the light of days filled with love and passion.
Crisis my ass.

let’s dance

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

The Hadron Collider could end the whole universe
so why are we concerned about Al Qaeda?

Al Qaeda could launch a nuclear attack from
Pakistan and destroy parts of the United States

North Korea could launch the same
from the other side of the planet

So why worry about anything?

Health care, the economy, drugs and immigration
why care about any of this human nonsense

If the whole THING could be gone in a flash?

Live, love and forget about all this stuff.

Dance, eat and whatever else moves you and yours.

If you want to care, go ahead; if you don’t or can’t
don’t. It really makes no difference, even if it does.

That’s just basic physics and cosmology.
Let’s dance.

the artist reading this poem

one-act play

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Could a poem be
a one-act play?

it seems to me
there is a way

to take a plot
and weave it through,

its all I’ve got
let’s make it do.

The curtain ascends
with a man that’s coughin’.

and abruptly ends
with him in his coffin.

The audience applauds
this writer’s grovel,

a one act play
from a two-word novel.