Monday, October 16, 2017

Song of Myself

Ah, Whitman!

The leaves of grass may be dead, yellow and brown,
covered with a littering of sharp pine needles,
but the ground is warm
and smells fresh and new.

I chose to sit in the shade, on this side of the tree
that slopes upward toward the concrete school.
I want to face downward, downhill, but I want to feel the strong,
rough bark of this tree hold me in the breeze.  I feel safer here,
so I try to avoid glancing at the school.

In order for you to understand,
I must look, but understand
I am doing this for you.

It's depressing, really, to see
the sun warm its cold, white walls.
The sun does not differentiate
between concrete and grass
(although it should).
It shines, warms every body,
tree, building, and child's head.

The juxtaposition of grass to concrete,
city to nature, warmth to cold,
is understood by us all.
Thoreau is not the only one
to notice the banks of Walden Pond.
Nor Whitman,
as he sat and cradled the leaves of grass
capturing their in nity
for us to understand.

The difference:
Thoreau, Whitman (and now myself, I suppose),
continue to notice and
continue to write.
But they are dead, you say,
They cannot write!
Ah! But they do, for
they write through me and in me,
and by me.

Thoreau: in every drop of water;
Whitman: in every leaf of grass.
They are still here, and so am I; glad I chose this side of the hill;
Glad I chose this pen,
and this day and this sun.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Matera

Take me out of this moment,
this place in time, and
invite me to your home,
smooth and quiet.
We can take my boat and

float down this milky-white river
and pass the rows of yellow tulips.
I will speak to the raven
overhead and ask him to fi nd me.

Take me to your cobbled streets,
and show me wide buildings
crowding the shops. Let me

sit in the cool corner
under forgiving basil plants.
I want to smell of mint and basil,
so let me bathe in Romanesque sun.

I can feel us nearing
the bright, green clearing, malve growing in Santa Lucia;
smelling the stones
of the short, wide homes.
I can see the raven calling
and the rain falling.

I am here;
we are near;
I do not fear
anything.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

On Death

Part I

I can remember how when I was young I believed death to be a phenomenon of the body; now I know it to be merely a function of the mind--and that of the minds who suffer the bereavement.
Dr Peabody--As I Lay Dying

eldest son

Son, she's dying..
Mom's dying.
I knew,
somehow.
The Stillness:
cold, quiet;
There is nothing,
and I felt it.
Moments before,
it was clear.
(The pounding, crashing sound
rips me from it…)
I knew,
somehow.

father

We're going to beat this thing.
I don't fail.
I cannot fail.
I'm not going to lose;
I can fix this thing.
You gotta be smarter than the…the…
renal cell carcinoma.


eldest son

Months before
Weeks before
Days before
moments before
I knew.

youngest son

Mom's sick,
in bed
sick
smells funny
(I don't like her smell)
Does it hurt, Mom?
No, sweetie, I'm just tired.
Go to sleep, Mom.

eldest son

I fall to the ground;
my legs do not bend.
I crash;
my head
slams me down;
I cannot move.
Weeping, weeping, weeping:
no tears will fall.
I can't talk.
How long?
(The voice; sound
stabs me).
Six months…maybe less.
I'll drive down.
I'll see her.
I will stay with her.

Part II

It's because I'm alone. If I could just feel it, it would be different, because I would not be alone.
Dewey Dell--As I Lay Dying

middle son

I hate you!
I fucking HATE you!
How can you do this to me?
You've always hated me;
now you’re dying?
Fuck no!
Hell no!
I don't need you,
just go,
leave me alone.
Stupid bitch!
Goddamn you!
Goddamn it!
You never loved me,
liked me.
Just leave;
I don't need you.

father

You don't know; you fucking doctors
don't know crap…how to fix this!
We're going to beat this thing,
Toni.
Don't leave me
with these kids…
are my life.
This house is yours.
These kids are yours.
renal cell carcinoma
yours.
Mom's gonna be just fine.
Don't worry,
we're going to beat this thing.
Don't you damn doctors know
how to beat this thing?!
Worse?

youngest son

mom's breathing
breathing
the tubes are breathing
looks funny
(mom looks scary)
Mom, can I go to play?
Sure you can.

eldest son

How's she doing?
Ok…not good.
How long?
A month…maybe less.

middle son

I can't do it
not going
hate hospitals
NO GODDAMN IT!
not going
can't

father

I can't do it
anymore.
It's a poison:
toxic.
I can't do it
anymore.


eldest son

I got class:
school.
I can drive away,
cross the line
into
no death
no cancer
no.
I got class:
homework
a test
finals
I'll drive down this weekend.

youngest son

her hands are cold:
white
like bones
Mom, cover up with a blanket.
Mom is wet,
her forehead is wet.
Here's a towel, Mom.

eldest son

I'm tired,
waiting.
The painful lights
strike me down,
strike down my skin:
numb.
I'm tired,
numb,
waiting.
I've got school tomorrow.
This must be hard,
difficult
for Ellen.
I'm sorry, honey.
Sorry.
I love you, Mom.
Love you.

mother

I'm so ugly
feel sick.
I'm tired
of being
not ready.
Ed, be a good father:
be around.
Stop working so much
and be a father.
I'll take care of it;
my family is my life.
I'm sorry.
Eddie, you be a good boy
for your father, and
listen to your brothers,
especially Adrian.
Be a good boy
good boy,
Son.
I love you:
take care of my sons.
I love you,
you're my number one son.
Be a good son, Tyson,
for your father.
Don't cause trouble
Be a good son,
good son.
Tyson,
I love you.
I love you, too, Mom.
(I hate you)
I love you, Tyson.

eldest son

The stillness
remains behind
after we have left,
she's left
us.
There is nothing.
I notice the badly-decorated walls,
ugly,
so ugly.

father

I'm not ready yet, guys.
I can't do it.
I just feel close to her.
I can't.
It's only been a year,
give me more time.
I can't do it.
I'll take care of it.

middle son

Dear Mom,
I didn't want to
hate you.
Didn't want.
I miss you.
I love you,
always;
no matter
what was said,
you said.
I will love you.
I will miss you.


father

I just don't feel anything
for women.
nothing.
I'm just so depressed.
depression, depressed, depression.
sadness.
I'm just so down.
I can't imagine myself
with another woman.

Part III

I heard my mother is dead. I wish I had time to let her die. I wish I had time to wish I had. It is because the wild and outraged earth too soon too soon too soon. It's not that I wouldn't and will not it's that it is too soon too soon too soon.
Dewey Dell--As I Lay Dying

middle son

I'm just so depressed.
I'm just so down.
I wanted to be close
to know
you liked me.
I never felt, knew
before.
I know now.
I will love you.
I will miss you.


father

I miss your mother…so much.
depression
I'll take care of it.

eldest son

I knew,
somehow.
I knew there would be
nothing
within these walls,
this room:
cold, quiet.
I feel it
again…
moments before,
forever after.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

No more drafts

After receiving my latest rejection email, I have decided to put the rest of my poetry online.  I have been holding onto a few poems, some old; some new, that I have been afraid to publish on my blog because I am holding out hope that they will be published in various journals.  Yes, that would be amazing, but I am tired of holding onto these poems.  I want to release them out into the world for all to read and comment on.  I am not coming from a place of high-and-mighty: I do not feel that I have been depriving you all of my amazing poetry!  Instead, this is about release.  I need to let them go so that I can stop letting these poems hold be back.  I am only as good as my last poem and I have not written anything for a few weeks because I have been holding onto these poems.  No more!

Stay tuned for a slew of regular poem posting.  Thank you again for everyone who reads.  As always, I appreciate any comments you are willing to make for my poetry.  

Friday, October 06, 2017

Where is love stored in the heart?

I can feel it, starting in my groin, my inner thighs,
rumbling.  It isn't desire, love, nor sex.
It's dull scratch elicits nausea
as it rises to my abdomen.  I ignore
it's pull, tugging a my intestines, focusing
instead at the children around me, waiting for their
swim lessons, crying as rubber swim caps
get yanked over tangled hair.
Children waiting for their turn to splash:
chicken -- bird -- soldier
Different lives surround me and I can
still feel it growing, a direct B-Line
to my chest.  I stare
at the other mothers trying to distract
my brain, for once my head and heart are
connected, the rumble has won.
It is difficult to go back once it
has grown: full-blown longing, insecurity:
sadness takes over.

As a last resort, I dip into my reserve
supply of gratefulness, stored in the left
atrium, pumping oxygenated blood throughout
my body: a temporary shelter, a lean-to.

It's time to pick up my own children from the pool.


Tuesday, October 03, 2017

I may be untitled

I really would love to tell you that I can never
find the words to say:
I'm a poet/writer/coach/father/husband
I don't know why I drink whiskey
at night except to understand
and seek for understanding.
I love this album!
Sipping whiskey, I feel connected to
Yeats
Whitman
Heaney
and others....

All the other writers.

I'm drunk; or may be, but my pen is still moving.
This is the space I need and want
to transport me to a deeper, higher
level of everything.

I may be untitled, but I'm still writing.
I will see you on the other side.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Decision

The boiling water,
fresh from the whistle,
splashes onto
the black, glass
stove-top,
and I wonder
if I need to slow down,
possibly read a book,
or just stare
into the cool evening
waiting for dusk
to whisper into my ear.