Monday, July 18, 2005

Rachel


Rachel
came into my life
with softly suspicious eyes

Sadly
I was only there
for the last moments
of her girlhood
because
in the blink
of an eye
she stretched out
and her soul
deepened

and I now see her
curiously
peering into adult
ponds
and sneaking in her
toe

but just when
I think she is
growing out of
my grasp

she quietly
reverts
temporarily
to the unsure
faun on the frozen lake
and
she curls up on
her
Pop-O

and she silently
drapes herself
over my shoulders
quietly
resting

knowing that
I don’t require her
to be
sophisticated
trendy or grown-up

she knows
she can be
quiet and uncertain
or even goofy
and that I will
take care of
things

for now.

The next time I
blink she’ll be
all grown up

too smart and
pretty for her own
good
with a heart
still growing

but I never fear
losing her
for she is deep in
my soul

at 11
she is already
one of the finest
people I will ever
know

and with that
bright yellow hair
and friendly wide
smile
and soft kind eyes

she will eclipse
even the sun.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Talking Suits


It's a game
rigged against us
and the owners of the game
take pains
to look like players
rather than manipulators

as they stand before
the televised world
accepting nominations
and making pronouncements
the rest of us watch
detached
as if their promises
are scripted
and we care
even less than these puppets

vote for me
I'll help you
don't vote for the other guy
he'll only hurt you

how can I believe
either one of these talking suits

especially when I
don't even own a suit myself?

Monday, June 20, 2005

The Problem with Some Christians


The problem with some Christians
is that they want
to follow Jesus
without doing what He did.

They have not studied
the Hebrew Bible
because they forgot
Jesus never read
the New Testament.

Some cannot even agree
on which translation of
ten commandments
to follow
much less
the 613 mitzvot
they are supposed to keep.

They idolize
the writings of Paul
a different Jewish iconoclast
who lowered the bar
in the name of
The Great Commission.

Their response to
Pharisaic ritualism
is to have no rituals
at all.

The problem with some Christians
is they forget
their savior is a Jew.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Made In Your Image


Your eyes see it all,

all my darkness
and despair.

I cannot fathom your
estimation
but I hold on
to the slim belief
that you understand;

are you immune
from the human
frailties and weaknesses?

I hope you are.

I hope you see us
the way they teach
us how we’re supposed
to see you,

abstract, perfect
unknowable
all-loving.

Perhaps it is so
but if we are made in your
image
then I gotta figure
I share your weaknesses

you long for love
you long for comfort
you long for rest.

If we’re all made in your image
do you spend all
your time
comparing and judging?

I hope you find better ways
to spend all that time

and if you are
collecting everything
on some great
cosmic security camera

you’ll note that I
haven’t helped the poor lately
or observed the Sabbath
or even called my brother

but I did smell a rose
and quietly marveled

as I’m sure you must do
from time to time.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

How Moskowitz was Born


When I picked up
the writer’s pencil at 16
it was really the birth
of something new in
me

so I’d picture
the eventual credits
flashing on the screen
“Teleplay by …”
“Written by…”
with my given name
and after a while
I realized how my name
looked so incongruous
against the backdrop of
Mary Richard’s Minneapolis
or the exterior bar shot that
preceded every episode of
“Cheers”

When I was 19
I wrote a play and
my theatre instructor –
an aging actor who chain smoked
and had flakes
of dryed Brylcreem in his hair-
told me that if I was going
to write a play called
“Illegal Alien” and
use my given surname
that it was going to
prejudice people.

Seems like he made that
decision without even reading
the play.

The name I was born with
so beautiful
so ill-fitting
and unglamorous and real

would condemn me to writing
about bilingualism
affirmative action
the barrio
immigracion

and I figured that
was just about as much
pigeonholing
as I could stomach

and I took a good hard
look at myself

I saw a fat belly
attached to dancing eyes and a
darting mind still
wrapped in guilt and obligation
and ethnic sounds like
“kh” and
“oy” and
“ai”

and I knew of the nirvana
samsara
the logic of law
the comfort of
one God
with one entity

and I liked the name
because it embodied East
and West and Middle East

and it wasn’t clear if it
was male or female
and it was such a strange
mélange

that no one could dare
to presume correctly
to guess my
age
ethnicity
gender
religion

all the categories
that put us apart
from one another
were laid to rest
when I anointed myself

in mechanical pencil and
ink as

Buddah Moskowitz

Monday, April 04, 2005

The Flowers


The flowers come out
every spring
almost surprising me
with their bounty
their beauty and
endless variety,

almost like they
hid and conspired
to look even more
exciting.

God lets these
blooms stay dormant
and covered by snows and rains,

then defiantly
they spring forth
and the breath of
every living being
is stolen by the
dazzling splash
of vitality and their
necessity.

Nothing can ever anticipate
them and I suspect
they don’t even
know their power.

The birds sing
coaxing out their prodigious
pageantry

and the graceless
beasts
see them and
brutishly want to
consume them

and I look upon them
with awe
for they are like music,

the tangible evidence of
the intangibly divine
the drive in my heart
the speed in my soul,

they connect me to that
sweet
transcendent
hum

and all I can do
is admire as I
pass by

knowing that
even though I
will never be as beautiful

happily
I am surrounded
by them.

Monday, February 28, 2005

Pop's Massive Heart


Tomorrow he’ll be
gone six years

that’s 6 Christmases
and 6 birthdays.

I can hardly remember
his voice
and his lyrical
mispronunciation.

he was unpretentious
but he wouldn’t
even use that word

he’d just say that
he didn’t want to
put on airs.

I used to be a little
embarrassed for him –
he was so at ease
with himself
that he didn’t realize
his shirts were too
tight
and his walk
was too bouncy.

He didn’t know that
he wasn’t cool
and I know he didn’t care
as he loved me and my mom
and my brothers.

He put everyone before
himself
and never expected
any credit
any commendation

there was never a trace
of martyrdom in
his duty.

I think he just saw
how so many people
just talked a big game
but never really
lived up to their word.

His words were small
his actions were constant
his heart was massive

and I guess that’s why
his heart attack was
massive as well

he wasn’t perfect
but he came damned close

and he was mine,
my Pop.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Booze (Feb. 9 2005)


Perhaps I thought
I needed you

to fill in all the
unexplored
parts of my
youth

to fill out my resume
and give my avocation
a credible status.

I saw Bukowski
booze it
and Dorothy Parker
and they were
masterful,

but I wasn't them
and the booze became
my monster
in short order,

and at the same time
I couldn't subordinate
my mad frantic
creation of self
to anyone or
anything

and just as quickly
as I picked it up
I put it down,

determined to be
never again
in its moribund
embrace,

and I lived a life
with pain and heartache
and betrayal and lies and gluttony
and death wishes
but I still came out alive
and sober

now I do not
see that destruction as
romantic or attractive

but the love affair
was necessary then

now
it'd be silly and posturing.

So as I glide into
my 15th year
of sobriety

I am quietly
thankful
for every day,

every smile
every moment of gratitude

as I hear my wife's laughter
and my children's reliance on
Pop-O

I see how the road
stretched

and that booze has no place here

besides a drunk poet is
such a cliche

I still have pain
loss
anger
longing
unfilled wishes
envy

but they are mine
and I refuse
to drown them.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Creepy Splendor


I’m not a fiction writer
so everything comes
from the truth within.

If my thoughts stray
to strange evil places
should I follow them
or rein them in?

I can picture anything
and everything
like an algebra problem
of objects and images.

I can place myself in
the center of wickedness
in the degrading abyss
in the filth
as though it was all academic,

but I refuse to keep
my mind as controlled
as the Old Testament
would require.

God is always
making everything new
so why not God’s nature
and commandments?

So if the thoughts come
briskly,
undisciplined
depraved
or naïve,
should I be damned?

The world is forever new
and my thoughts are forever new
and if I squelch them

then I kill any chance of
future new dreams
ahead,
and I need my thoughts
my dreams and wishes

for to deny them
in all their creepy splendor
is to deny myself.

[POsted for #OpenLinkNight at www.dversepoets.com, my favorite poetry site!]

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Rain and Water


Water water everywhere
and it just kept
coming.

It was too short for
a biblical epic
but just enough
for a tsunami.

So much immediate
death,
impossible to grieve
can’t imagine the
force

and the waves
brought the mudslides
and trapped the beautifully
naive people
in their luxurious
castles of clay.

I want to work up
a tear for them,
but they are too
faraway and besides
they lived in
privileged communities

until now.

But the rain
took a young woman
pregnant with child
and swept them
away,

the rain and water
indifferent and unforgiving
dragged them along
and into the
abyss.

Almost contritely
the rains finally stopped
but it was too
late.

Dan lost his wife
and unborn daughter
and I cannot help
but imagine his own
private tearful tsunami
sitting in his house
surrounded by their memory,

trying to find a way
to live with
rain and water
for the rest of his life.