Monthly Archives: June 2005

Ain’t Too Proud to Beg

The true ascetic does not ask for things
to compensate them for some perceived lack;
and yet, each vow of abstinence weaves strings
of favors that they fancy will attract

the warm benevolence of unseen might,
a glance from some divinity’s kind eye,
although the chance of answer may be slight.
Their reasoning for getting no reply

is that their hearts still crave and are not pure,
despite a lifetime’s sacrifice and pain,
and loneliness not many could endure.
Small wonder that they seem a bit insane;

it makes you wonder, what sort of a god,
when as a loving parent is beseeched
by needy children, fails to give. How odd
that it requires such effort just to reach

and in the darkness, hear that parent’s voice.
How many caring mothers could deny
indulgence of their baby’s whims? What choice
does any doting father have? To lie,

and say, “There’s not enough for you, my dear,”
despite possessing infinite supply,
so much that it will never disappear?
No human parent acts this way. So why

not ask for everything you think you need,
including things that you could live without?
The list won’t be so long the gods can’t read
it, or not have the brains to sort it out.

Ask, cajole, demand, beg, plead and whine;
use all the tools in a child’s repertoire,
A loving universe will think that’s fine,
and likely grant your wishes, and much more.

29 JUN 2005

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Cause Without a Rebel

I have no cause to champion
that’s worthy of a flag,
bedecked with symbols meant to stir
like-minded souls to arms;
no psycho-babbling sycophants
pore through my work to find
some mystic key that might unlock
their esoteric core.

if taken quickly, just skin deep,
there’s no euphoric high
to titillate the rebel throng
who seek a new messiah.
My generation does not struggle,
nor is it oppressed
by more than its own aspirations,
which don’t add to much.

We seek to decode messages,
enamored by their form
but not impressed by their content;
besides, who has the time
to contemplate some foolish scrawl?
Besides, as we all know,
all knowledge worth the knowing
was old news some years ago.

Our elders? They resent the way
we skulk around and wait
for them to die; we will inherit
naught but scornful pride.
The younger generation
we already do not like;
they simply fail to listen when
we outline our great plan.

In part, because there is no plan,
no underlying glyph
that seeks to make the parts a whole;
instead, we ask “What if
there is no point to anything,
no future, and no past;
therefore, there’s no good reason
to build anything that lasts.”

28 JUN 2005

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The Chalk Lines

The lines were drawn some time ago;
they framed the fallen corpse
where it was found to be expired
and removed, in due course.

Its owner left it vacant there,
having no further need
of its method of transport,
or ability to read.

One might imagine that the chalk
by now would be long gone,
what with the traffic in this place
and all the goings’ on,

but there it is, as sharp and clean
as when it first was lain;
it’s neither flaked away to dust
or been washed down the drain.

The permanence of some things
seems a little bit off whack;
for instance, the sidewalk beneath
the chalk, no longer black,

but softened to a misty grey,
is cracked beyond repair
and only held together
by the chalk line drawing there.

27 JUN 2005

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Gray Days #4

She’s waiting on the deputy, but he never comes;
got her finger on the trigger, sucking silent on her thumb;
and the ninety ninth caller has just been struck dumb:
like an old pair of stockings he just turned to run.

She’s waiting on the postman, but he’s just got advice;
got her hands on the counter, stirring tea in her spice;
and the TV show hostess is colder than ice:
like an old pair of shoes, she tries everything twice.

She’s waiting on the milkman, but he’s running late;
got her lips on the coffee cup, dripping stains on her plate;
and the radio spokesman has just sealed his fate:
like an old book of matches, he scratches the slate.

She’s waiting on the savior, but he never calls;
got her mind turned to worry, her eyes on the walls;
and the Jehovah’s Witness  sounds just like Lou Rawls:
like an old rusted needle, the pressure just falls.

She’s waiting on the preacher, but he’s been sent home;
got her hair in her fingers, pressing it to the phone;
and the roving reporter is standing alone:
like an old saint at twilight he’s trying to get stoned.


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Dividing Up the Blame

Wind blowing through a courtyard
Shattered windows turn their broken eyes on me
Blind, can’t see the street because I’m crying
for my soul is in the gutter, trying to find release

Is there something on that wall?
Looks like some writing on it, it says
Just six more hours until the dawn
Then you can crawl back where you came from

Some sin, something I can’t remember
Memory’s the enemy shot down on these streets of love
Lost, in the battle, in the fighting
for my soul, an empty victory in a war that does not cease

Is that someone up ahead?
Looks like a friend of mine, who said
“You won’t stay warm without the wine,”
and passed right back into oblivion

Oh won’t you give me something for the pain
I can’t stand another night out in the rain
Please don’t call it charity, but help me just the same
While I’m waiting for the jury who are out right now
Dividing up the blame.

Spending my time searching for nothing
To add it to the nothing that I own
Spending my last dime on a bottle
So I won’t spend this night alone

Wind, blowing cold against my body
Shuttered windows turn their sunken eyes on me
Blind, seeing nothing but the nothing
in my soul, an empty shadow where an angel used to be

Is that something up ahead?
Looks like a fire burning.
Pull up a chair and throw it in
It’s six more hours until the morning

Oh won’t you give me something for the pain
I can’t stand another night out in the rain
Please don’t call it charity, but help me just the same
While I’m waiting for the jury, who are out right now
Dividing up the blame.

You say I’m guilty
I say you’re guilty
We’re all guilty
If no one’s guilty.


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Sometimes a phrase

Sometimes a phrase, or single word,
will prompt a poem. How absurd
to think that there is some great plan
on my part; so few understand

how unlike following a chart
this process is. There is no start
or end defined, no single grain
of sand that unlocks in the brain

the secrets of the universe.
A gift? More like a mummy’s curse
that reaches from beyond the grave.
All one can hope is to be brave

enough to take the message down
before it slips back underground
into the psyche’s fetid lair
(assuming that it comes from there).

It bubbles, like some sulphur gas
up through a molten, gray morasse
of hidden urges, secret wants,
and like a phantom limb, it haunts

the poet through their waking hours.
It begs, cajoles, and then devours
the retinue of conscious thought,
never elusive, unless sought

from the great void as one small word
or single phrase. See how absurd
it is to think the poet’s craft
one honed on purpose. Yet some daft

professors praise as skill and art
the bull’s-eye found by these rare darts,
and build great schools to analyze
what comes, if at all, by surprise.

24 JUN 2005

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Stop all the clocks

Stop all the clocks! The hours must halt
their slow and steady marching on;
let all lay fallow in default
until this fickle mood is gone.

Stop all the movement of the sun
and stars against a sombre sky;
let fall in finish what’s begun
until this darkened thought goes by.

Stop wishing, stop your work commute,
leave off that endless exercise
until that dream that convolutes
and busies us lays down and dies.

Stop forward motion! Stop retreat!
Let all momentum slow and cease;
pretend, for once, the world’s complete,
and does not need to be policed.

Stop watching! Look for no more signs
revealing subtle Divine thought
Let that watch halt; do not rewind
its mechanism. Let it rot.

Stop all the clocks! Keep time no more
inside each minute’s careful cage;
let structure collapse on the floor,
and words escape the page.

Stop reading! Let the lines of text
begin to swim and blur to black;
throw out your plan for what is next.
That moment’s gone. It won’t be back.

24 JUN 2005

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