How many heartfelt vows
have crossed my lips now,
by wrongs I allow
and the petty rows
with swords forged from plows,
seeking sacred cow’s
in the dark days since
the first subtle hints
of truth, that glints
beneath a thin chintz
and gives evidence
30 MAR 2004
She with fond memories of elders now gone,
& I with my own youth to call back to mind,
bought a ten gallon dogwood last year, late in spring
(& though maybe later than some would advise
for a tree that the hot summer’s swelter might fry,
we thought of it grown and the flowers in bloom
& risked all & planted it one afternoon).
We nursed it with water through many dry days
& watched it grow parched & its leaves curl
(until late November, when those leaves were lost
& the ground turned to stone in the grip of the frost).
Now, one short year later, our still watchful eyes
watch the new shoots come from its dormant limbs;
The leaves are unwinding & stretched to the sun,
its roots well established and firm in the ground.
The young tree we planted to grow, with our love,
has passed through the seasons still vibrant and whole;
And we two? Also thriving, and counting the ways
that the universe joining us here deserves praise.
29 MAR 2004
Following the trip trap tripe of the day
With a mentholated cigarette and a soda
Letting the ringing in my ears
From endless hours in conference calls
Die dammit die so slowly as the night settles
Raindrops in my ears, the leaky drainpipe sputters
Underneath it still the steady hum of streets
And the kill rebirth kill murmur of central air
The telephone sits like a spent whore
Laying hot in its cradle recharging its battery
And I write this nonsense
Having spent the afternoon editing
Seventeen lines of text
Four hundred lines of code
With no energy left to modify this poem.
Is it real obscenity, or just a lack of taste?
To legislate morality seems such a useless waste.
For standards vary by observer, and from day to day;
Leaving little black or white, but only shades of gray.
Let Washington decide the content, and it won’t be long
Before no matter what you say, it will be judged as wrong.
If personal objections are imposed by a select few
You can be sure that who decides will not be me or you.
I wonder if those who cry out against culture’s decline
Have paused to look at their actions, their own state of mind?
It seems to me that feeling tempted comes of false pretense
that man cannot discern between paths to experience.
And worse, to think that being tried is not required for faith,
that we can become wiser by remaining stale and safe,
leads only to destruction as we weaken from within
and learn to label evolution as some kind of sin.
So, what is real obscenity? And what makes it obscene –
The context, or the message, or delivering machine?
If you would have your own opinion, mind the censor’s might,
Before you want to disagree, and do not have the right.
22 MAR 2004
Instead of letting each of us choose what we want to watch and hear, Congress is moving quickly to require large fines on “indecent” content. This economic censorship would dramatically infringe on the First Amendment and would hinder the diversity of programming available to consumers. We each have a right to watch what we want on television, and change the channel if we don’t like what we see. If a television show is offensive we can complain to the broadcaster and choose never to watch that show again. This market process allows us to find programming that meets our individual tastes and is free of government interference. New legislation, the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act of 2004 (S. 2056), would allow the government to levy large fines on broadcasts that the Federal Communications Commission considers “indecent.” This vague definition would lead to broadcasters censoring their content and forbidding their staff from playing controversial material. The proposed legislation would even allow the FCC to impose large fines on Musicians, comedians and other artists who it considers “indecent.” — ACLU Free Speech Alert
I once folded space and time
and made it from Memphis to Jackson
in less than two hours
by imagining myself lifting the road
folding the blacktop
making sure the lines met up
letting them blur together into one
keeping the accelerator slightly down
and breathing evenly
But that was a long time ago.
Now I find myself enjoying
a four hour drive
just watching the other fools
who get there too fast
and then have a lot of time
to get in trouble.
19 MAR 2004
come fall with me, he said,
where i have lain alone beside myself
and watched in silence
screaming it is not for me
to say or not to speak the words
that self-destruct and
creep unseen between your lips
where i have seen eternity.
come lay with me, she said,
where i have fallen into trusting you
and waited longing there
explaining it is not my fault
to blame or not to curse the seeds
that self-inflicted and
once wanted from between your lips
i wear now like eternity.
come live with me, i said,
where i have been and seen and done
and wrested quiet angels
whispering it is not for you
to know or not to guess the secrets
that self-deprived and
ancient slip about your head
where i have thought of eternity.
come laugh with me, you said,
where we can blissful meet entwined
and write our heartless memoirs
wishing it were not the same
to you and i or not to anyone else
that self-indulgent and
zealous stripped our guilt away
and thrust us together in eternity.
Delaying the inevitable writing of another daily poem by digging into the archives. This one is from my “ee cummings meets gertrude stein” period. The title refers to, if you can believe it, the Prince Edward’s abdication of the throne of England (that would be the edward) because of his love for Wallace Simpson (that would be the “wall”). That leads one to believe that the poem is about a willingness to pay any price for love. And it MAY be.
Once New Orleans weather starts to warm
it becomes quite bearable in shirt sleeves
to linger under the carport at night
enjoying a cigarette in the dark
while the light scent of jasmine fills the air
and the bustle on the main streets is slowed
(in those few short weeks before summer starts,
and the dense, wet weighted swelter bears down
to sap the strength from your pores, and slowly
suck the breath from your lungs – even the cloud
of smoke leaking from a cigarette sags
to the ground under that ponderous damp)
and in those too few evenings of short spring,
before the chorus of locusts comes back
from its winter hiatus to rehearse
and the palmetto bugs (or big roaches)
are still hidden, too busy with breeding
to venture out and scratch at the screen door
it is often very still and quiet –
and you can forget you are underneath
a carport (in a sometimes dangerous
city where tourists come to drink too much,
urinate on the streets, and leave their trash)
and see beauty in the sunset’s colors.
17 MAR 2004