Daily Archives: August 14, 2003


I was thinking this evening about Starlight Dances and Mars Tokyo – the latter’s empty nest and the former’s soon to be emptying one. I wrote this poem for them, and all the other parents on my friends list.

She used to turn to wave
a few steps from the car;
and when the journey off
lasted more than a day,
I’d get a short phone call
when it was time to turn
off the lights and say ‘nite.

But now, her turns take more
time; and often, she fails
to blow a last kiss back
as her beau’s car rolls them
off. This month, she makes one
more turn, her sense of self
spinning larger circles
beyond the range of my
door; as she grows each day,
turning heads when she smiles
(that bright smile that used to
melt just my fragile heart)
I feel her turn away:
she turns eighteen so soon.

14 AUG 2003

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Small Things


There is no better thing,
I guess, than to believe
that my good thoughts take wing
without a by-your-leave
and find their way to where
they are needed the most;
that way, I do not care
if they remember their host.


There under the carport
in the sweltering heat
of summer, it made sport
among the sticky sweet
passion flower petals,
its dusky wings beating
against the fence metal
in a brief and fleeting
hope for immortality.
Top that reality.


The box is there, outside —
if you look, the edges
may be visibly spied
and looked past, like hedges.
Don’t try to muscle past
taking them for granted;
for they will hold you fast
’til the day you’re planted.


I walked outside last night
while moon glow splashed the street
and the reflected bright
warmed my still earthbound feet.


Some faith is a madness
not often criticized;
Without questioning doubt,
it is too polarized.

14 AUG 2003

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The Poetry Reading

Three hours into a heated discussion
on how entropy is unavoidable
in most applications of modern philosophy

having drunk down to the bitter dregs
black coffee laced with chicory seed
and double shots of expired yesterday creamer

hand calloused from holding cheap pens
like vise-grips on a burred bolt

watching the casual observers roll in about seven
as they try to avoid walking by the corner table
where the ashtrays boil over, still burning

then the loud click of the amplifier
as the mic, ungrounded, fails then passes
its tentative check – the gathered throng murmurs
as the cash register punctuates like a meditation bell
and the same old welcome, call to order is issued

there is so much bad poetry in the world
like scenes from terrible highway accidents
so many seem to want to share it
and they do
punctuated by short glimpses of beauty
a whirl of words, from wanderlust to whimsy
then for a brief span of moments
there at the mic, barely looking at the freshly inked
page, it comes out brash and loud and wild
like a panther from behind the brush
it catches you by the throat and pulls
your strength and suddenly the caffeine is not
enough, then too much, shaking with it
hanging on to the mic stand for dear life
knees weakening as your mouth dries
like too much cocaine and that metal taste
of seizure
and then you write another one.

14 AUG 2003

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Seed Thought on Worrying

Here’s something that regardless of your worldview and spiritual/religious persuation, it is useful to bear in mind:

If there is a way to overcome the suffering, then there is no need to worrry; if there is no way to overcome the suffering, then there is no use in worrying. — Shantideva, A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life

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Poems that Changed my Life

UPDATED to include URLs for the poems (and man, that was a bit of work)

Here’s my list of twenty or so (oh, how limiting), in no particular order. Poets, what are yours?

1. Howl, Allen Ginsberg
2. The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock, T. S. Eliot
3. The Stolen Child, W. B. Yeats
4. Auto Wreck, Karl Shapiro
5. The Men That Don’t Fit In, Robert Service
6. Richard III, William Shakespeare
7. A Season in Hell, Arthur Rimbaud
8. Gitanjali, Rabindranath Tagore (I know it’s cheating, but they don’t have individual titles)
9. The Double Room, Charles Baudelaire
10. Fiddler Jones, Edgar Lee Masters
11. America, Allen Ginsberg
12. Song of Myself, Walt Whitman
13. Directive, Robert Frost
14. Faust, Johann Goethe
15. the cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls, e.e. cummings
16. The Book of Thel, William Blake
17. Fern Hill, Dylan Thomas
18. The Moonviewing Party, Basho
19. Chicago, Carl Sandburg
20. Evangeline, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Dreams from California

for Tasha

talking about america growing old while we watched:
between lying and sleeping
(during which thrown about like helpless pillows
we wrestled our thoughts about each other
and pinned them to words)
in the ashtray the ghosts of our lips
met between us.

talking about america going out but not being seen:
between sighing and stretching
(during which lain around like breathless corpses
we whispered our thoughts about each other
and hid them in words)
in the darkness the tongue of a kitten
shared us.

talking about america burning up while we thought:
between sharing and painting
(during which pushed against like restless fear
we sought our thoughts about each other
and wasted them in words)
in the shadows the smoke from our lungs

talking about america losing time while we watched:
between smiling and laughing
(during which crawled about like searching beacons
we held our thoughts about each other
and formed them in words)
in the doorway the rest of the morning
separated us.

talking about america feeling lost while we looked:
between drinking and eating
(during which crept about like sleepless soldiers
we created our thoughts about each other
and pressed them in words)
in the kitchen I warned you we were
writing a poem.


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