Tag Archives: identity

Nothing But Us: echo verse

What happens at the point the point
when we get in our lives in our lives
where decisively, we choose we choose
something to believe in to believe in
much greater than ourselves, ourselves,
and with surprise we find, we find
instead of a great something something
out there, giving us a sense of worth, worth
that we waste our lives seeking, seeking:
nothing but us. Us.

03 MAR 2017



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You Don’t Know Me

We exchange pleasantries online or on the town;
you’ve read my poetry and perhaps you have found
some similarity between yourself and me,
but you don’t know me.

We talk of politics or turns that life may make;
something I say perhaps prevents a new mistake;
but nonetheless it’s wrong, because you’ve heard my song
to think you know me.

How could you know unless you’ve felt my pain,
from a life that is not your own?
All that you have is your experience;
not my life – that is mine alone.

We’ve shared a meal or two, maybe a glass of wine;
not quite enough to know just where to draw the line.
I’ve not been in your shoes; you’ve never sung my blues,
so you don’t know me.

Almost acquaintances: that’s all we really are;
I wouldn’t push the definition all that far
without me cheapening what should be deepening:
no, you don’t know me.

How could you know what makes me tick inside
in a day, or brief afternoon?
There’s more to me than shallow “seem-to-be’s”,
that simple melody is not my tune.

We’ve only just begun to plumb the hidden depths;
as far as I’m concerned sometimes, it seems we’ve barely met.
There’s so much I don’t know about you, and I know
that you don’t know me.

My number’s on speed dial, and yours is likewise stored;
but it’s a simple truth, and cannot be ignored:
you want to call me friend, but just “sort of” pretend.
Well, you don’t know me.

26 JUN 2006

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What’s My Name?

What’s my name?
You may have seen it in the papers
Saw the lines ’round my face
and you read about my latest capers

What’s my name?
It’s on everybody’s lips
Who’s hip, who’s tripped, who’s slipped,
who’s got a case of the vapors

What’s my name?
It’s on the cover of a magazine
And the headlines read “Is He Live or Dead?”
“Is it him you think you might have seen?”

What’s my name?
Maybe you just can’t remember
Because I’m not someone toting a gun,
or dating Miss September

It doesn’t matter if you can’t recall
Sometimes it’s safer in a faceless crowd
When I think of all the stupid things we believe
We may be learning, but we’re not too proud
To put it off until tomorrow.

What’s my name?
You may have read it in the Bible
A fine line on the sign of the times
between obscenity and revival

What’s my name?
It’s on a billboard ’round the corner
A poster child for the wild and wooly side
against which parents try to warn you

What’s my name?
Maybe I can’t even tell you
Except as part of a slogan for some new product
I’m trying to sell you

It doesn’t matter if you can’t decide
Sometimes it’s better if you just don’t know
When I think of all the stupid things we believe
We might be better off digging a hole…
I guess I’ll start that tomorrow.

Memphis, Summer 1992

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On Dialogue with Self

When does a dialogue with self cease being a monologue?

At what precise moment does the epiphany conceived of self-deliberation end its foolish premeditation on some inner change of being and address itself to the self in others, recognizing in external, living beings that same life force that propels it along the path of least resistance to its indeterminate conclusion?

When does that personal philosophy (or love of knowledge) come into being that requires the death of philology (knowledge of love, one could propose) and must of its own accord stand naked, alone and shivering on the mountain of endless esoteric academic masturbation and let loose its seed to propagate the action of love?

On what basis is the foundation for living laid?

On the cold and calculating pillars of what we think wisdom, but is in reality mere logic and more of the same false illusion separating the observer from the observed?

Or on the fetid swamp, crawling with unseen slime-in-the-making that marks its time of evolution simply absorbing the dry coastline and turning it to scores of miniature Atlantis fragments?

When does the monologue, the endless harangue against unseen foes and perceived slings and arrows that pierce the wondering mind with necessary doubt and wavering conviction, cease to be a speech released to the waiting air alone, and listen, beyond the echo of its own Doppler castings, to the response in the ears (any ears — one’s own, or someone else’s) that comes back, like a Messiah encased in the triangulating pulse of myth’s strange sonar, like a quiet ripple lost in the cascade of the sea at high tide?

At what precise moment does the angle of the jaw when open start to close the portal of the ears?

When does a dialogue with self cease being a monologue?

18 AUG 2004

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Self-Similarity: an acrostic


J ust give me a moment
O f your time, and together, we’ll try to
H onestly explore the taste of
N ew wine in old wineskins,
L ight cigarettes with old matches, and
I n the process, attempt to learn something about
T he way the world has shaped us. In the quiet
Z en of here and now, where
E verything, like Shroedinger’s Cat, both is and is
N ot, let us wander wide-eyed and amazed,
B oth expecting nothing, and
E verything, seeking for a new
R eality. Let understanding be our
G oal, this time around. On the next trip, who knows?

I again:

J ury’s still
O ut. Will they
H ang him, or
N ot?
L ikely they’ll call him
I nsane, either way.
T ruth is, the
Z eitgest that
E nvelopes this time will
N ot accept or
B elieve the possibility
E xists for a
R eality outside its chosen
G rail.

31 APR 2004

Well, it’s that time again. Time to revisit, in alphabetical order, the poetic forms as identified in Lewis Turco’s The Book of Forms: A Handbook of Poetics. Starting with today’s poem, we’ll visit all the traditional verse forms, starting with lyric Poetry, then progressing to dramatic and narrative Poetry.

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If just one word I write or say,
some thought I manage to convey
in describing my frame of mind
or experience in this life
touches even one other mind
then I have truly accomplished
what I set out trying to do.

I write to be of creation
when the entire world is distilled,
cast in a single space in time;
to be consumed, not by those who
peruse to say they are well-read,
nor by those who desire to find
in my words some explanation

(of my life, the world, our purpose),
but by seekers who in being
themselves, look for others’ musings
that echo their own conjectures.
My intent? To identify these striving individuals,
not by recognizing that look

in their eyes, or their reaction
to anything I may have said.
These are indeed my true brethren,
who realize that not knowing
is only just the beginning
of who we actually are.

The rest is in the finding out.

16 MAR 2004

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