There is no need to stop the clocks,
nor try to dim the constant noise;
let those who listen, soldier on,
despite the sonic din’s abuse.
There are no hidden codes to find,
nor secret doors along the wall;
let those who look, persist in vain
while their illusions peel and rust.
There is no gathering of tribes,
nor universal dream to come;
let those who would awake, sleep on.
The morning will come soon enough.
There is no right, there is no wrong,
nor side that always ends face up;
let those who would place bets dream on,
beyond the realm of win or lose.
There is no stirring battle cry,
nor mourning wail to soothe the dead;
let those who sing learn different tunes
in some more pleasing universe.
04 AUG 2014
All music cannot be contained
in simple structures, common forms,
by formulaic skeletons
that would restrict the way it’s made;
it reaches out beyond those lines,
a crayon in untutored hands
that blurs the edges in between
the guidelines of a thing.
Some music, yes, belongs inside
of metered time and measured space
to ground us in the here and now,
to mold from chaos grand designs;
without such structure, we might fail
to understand in order’s calm
the limits of what is right here,
constructed on our yesterdays.
But other songs burst free those chains;
they must, else we could scarcely breathe,
and would attempt constant escape
from ordinary life, or worse,
might find a way to shade in grays
without a trace of brighter hues,
and silent, shuffle off to death
without a word but still in step.
24 APR 2013
The possible surrounds us all:
an unseen swirling smoke
that clouds our good intentions.
Proceed carefully, the joke
is that too many options
can confuse the way ahead,
and leave you in committees
wanting progress, but instead
debating some great nothing
or deciding on a fate
that puts you where you started
but a half an hour late.
The possible, the possible:
to organize it all
requires the patience of a saint
and a good wrecking ball
to knock aside the posturing,
(those indecisive dilettantes
too quick to call it quits),
and clear from the great many paths
the one that suits you best.
That is the option you must choose;
you do not need the rest.
14 APR 2013
The smallest gesture multiplies instantly:
a careless murmur, effortless whispering,
with armor piercing force, it thunders;
delicate palimpsests shudder, helpless.
The silence of an infinite solitude,
in just an instant, changes its character;
and shouting, loses shape and substance,
wallowing uselessly out from nothing.
06 NOV 2010
How fickle fate doles out its random hand,
the faces of the cards down on the felt
unknown and spiteful of the best laid plans,
now little use once your lot has been dealt!
You work against the odds to make your play,
and with each round invest a greater sum;
with hope your only ally on the way,
an oracle who seems both deaf and dumb.
And then, by clever sleight or seeming chance,
a single card remains to seal your fate;
time slows each movement to a sluggish dance
as you see first a glimmer, then, too late,
a final pip is thrown to fill your hand,
destroying in an instant what wild dreams
of avarice you held. You understand
how fate works at that moment; and it seems
a bitter pill to swallow that such things
should be permitted by a loving God,
who gave the pendulum its cause to swing
and yet refused it any path but sod.
15 FEB 2006
The streets are filled with idle, itching hands,
their owners on the prowl in vain pursuit
of some pastime to fill the vacant hours
in darkened rooms enswamped with summer heat.
Without their cellphones, TV sets and games,
and fast-food fare likewise beyond their grasp,
how will the city’s folk be entertained?
On what diversions will they spend their cash?
Driveways are strewn with fallen trees and wires;
on front lawns, baking in the noon-day sun,
we sit in wrought iron chairs, and just perspire.
And wait. There’s not much else that can be done.
Who wants to light a flame to cook a meal,
and add the stove’s hell-fire to this malaise?
It’s better to go hungry than to broil;
besides, the food’s gone bad. It’s been two days.
Tonight, the house is hotter in than out;
by candlelight, perhaps I’ll read a while.
I miss the air conditioner’s white noise;
Too bad such silence has gone out of style.
11 JUL 2005
I chose to walk a path of wildness;
though these modern city streets are paved
and seem to revel in a blindness
that believes the urban sprawl has saved
us from what nature could remind us:
somewhere beneath all this black and gray,
behind the masks that progress may wear
as it fumbles through lines of a play
it has not written, and does not care
to find meaning in what those words say,
there is an rough edge to our control.
Beyond that border the feral earth,
that patient presses diamonds from coal,
in each single instant gives birth
to the strange chaos that feeds our souls.
Where the sidewalk ends and turns to vine
is never clearly marked on a chart;
and your map is not the same as mine,
even if we would pretend to start
from the same place at an exact time.
What’s more, both paths may appear the same
(if anyone still took time to look)
and like gods often bearing false names
to confuse those who insist on books,
will merge at times; they are not to blame.
Instead, it is our pride that deceives;
we do not seek to balance, but rule,
and as a despot king we believe
our road divine, and others for fools
unfit to share the glory we perceive.
But it is there; the wildness can’t be tamed,
nor trimmed and manicured for too long
before it tires of such polite games
and flexes its muscles, lean and strong,
to escape the gilded picture frame.
I would go after, where it now stalks
amidst the dark, thickened underbrush;
sometimes just at dawn I hear it walk
right under my open window. Hush!
Can you hear it too? It likes my block.
18 FEB 2005