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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Crying, Brown Bear


He kept me company
every Sunday
when I dragged myself
into the empty computer lab
in graduate school.

It was lonely work
crunching all them numbers
chasing my thesis,
but his plaintive
beautiful voice
sang to me
like a lost brown bear,
crying in the black night 
trying to find
his mate.

He wrung poignancy
out of every lyric
and when he played piano
it sounded like it had
a million keys
and was 30 feet long.

When I finally got the chance
to meet him
the following year,
he was as genteel and kind
as he was tall and dazzling
in his sharp blue blazer
and his sequined captain’s hat,
and my only regret
is that I shook his hand,

suppressing my instinct
to hug him.



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Best Friend’s Best Friend (Prompt: Friend of a Friend)


On Facebook
I see all the friends
of my friends.

They all look great.
Wonderful, glorious times
with gleaming movie star smiles.

They do not look incomplete.
They do not look melancholic.

Smiling happy people
reveling in their college memories,
with that same REM soundtrack.

Summoning my imagination,
I try hard,
squinting,
to picture myself among them.

Too fat.
Not brown enough and
not white enough.
Hopelessly uncool smile.
Too square to party.

I haven't forgotten the sting
of exclusion,
of betrayal,

so I became
my own best friend,

and sensing his loneliness
I am also
my own best friend’s
best friend.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Hibernating


It is a quiet,
sullen
sour grape of a month.

Jealous that it’s sandwiched
between the showbiz spectacle
of Christmastime
and the sexy pink orgy
of Valentine’s Day,
January is the
“get your tax forms ready” month,
the “sober up from your holiday bacchanal
and pay those
‘I don’t care,
Christmas comes
but once a year’” bills.

And this January
was the 12th time
my father’s birthday
passed without his embrace.

January
finds me hibernating,
in my bed,
at my desk,
in my heart,

storing up my energy
for brighter,
more verdant days

that I am almost certain
are on the way.

(Posted as part of Open Link Night http://dversepoets.com/2012/01/24/open-link-night-week-28/ )

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Fatherly Perspective


My brothers in Christ
tell me of the lost souls
who have not accepted
and will be separated from the Father,
damned for Eternity.

I realize that is
a brotherly perspective.

In many human families,
children vie for the loving attention
and protective embrace of the father,

thinking
if they do the right things
if they say the right things,
they will be favored.

Since becoming a father
I can report that
and each of my children has
betrayed me
disappointed me
and saddened my heart with their actions,
some intentional,
some incidental.

However,
I do not
and I cannot
love them any the less for their
shortcomings
ignorance
or meaningless noisy rebellion,

and I welcome their return
even if it takes
years.

I realize this is
a fatherly perspective,

and this is very good news
indeed.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Her Empty Bedroom


Her empty bedroom

as silent as my heart

when I think of
her unexplained,
abrupt
departure.


(Written for the http://dversepoets.com/ January 20, 2012)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I’m Just Being Honest (prompt: Cruelty)


Look at the fat
dripping like fleshy syrup
off that gross stack
of pancakes
he calls a torso.

He had the nerve
to put a tattoo
on those arms?
Like trying to draw
the Mona Lisa
on a drinking straw.

And when
he gets his guitar out
and tries to sing,
he thinks adding vibrato
to his warbling voice
will make it soulful.
It doesn’t.

His nose
has the width of his old man’s
and the length of his mom’s,
and I won’t even mention
the wart on the left side.

Don’t be fooled.
He might sound
authoritative,
but if you
question him hard enough
he’ll cower
and back down,
assuming that he’s wrong.

Worst of all,
he writes this pseudo-poetry,
wrapping his fear and insecurity
into trite monologues
and foists them upon
an unsuspecting internet.

I’m not trying to sound cruel,
I’m just being honest
and trying to anticipate
the criticisms that are
inevitably headed my way.

So,
now that I’ve exposed
my weak spots,
I trust you won’t use them
again me,

for to do so
would be cruel
indeed.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

This Passionate Communion


I bring the delicacy
to my lips
and breathe in its
presence,
the hint of steam
and the scent
immediately swimming
in my bloodstream,
finding my heart
and rocketing
its adrenaline magic
throughout
my body.

I am brought out
of the gray silence
into a fresh new dimension,
a secret garden,

and I am unashamed
at my gluttony,
but that naked vulnerability
I share with only you,
liberates me
and I unravel
like a morning glory,
petals unfolding
to catch every bit
of life from above.

I cannot,
nay, will not
stop this
passionate
communion.

You are here
bringing me life
and my response
is ravenous
and messy
and unrestrained;
I never feel more alive.

Now, bring that canister
of aerosol frosting over here
and let’s tear the roof
off this sucker. 

(Written for the http://dversepoets.com/ Open Link Night, January 17, 2012)


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sparrow


In the parking lot
of the big box pet store,
a lone brown sparrow
flits and hops,
a displaced sprite
in search of
the discarded French fry,
cellophane with a smear
of something edible remaining,
a stray sunflower seed.

She is too consumed
with her tenuous survival
to notice all the people
returning to their cars,
with bags of overpriced kibble
for their kept,
chosen animals.

She doesn’t know any better
and perhaps that’s why she
looks happy:

she doesn’t know envy.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Protocol


Serious meeting

confidence shattered

not by miscreant ringtone
but an uncontrollable
coughing
fit.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Moment (February 10, 1990)


The pointy- toed-
shoe-in-my-eye-socket
hangover headache
made its
predictable
return.

The voice:
“How many days
are you gonna do this?”

Shutup.

My stomach felt like
every disease in the world
was inside me
fighting each other
for bragging rights.

7am,
which meant I wouldn’t
get back to normal again
until that afternoon.

The voice:
“Turn over and look out
the window.
Look at the sky.”

People always tried
to point out “nature” to me
which I always hated,
but I was in no condition
to fight.

I turned over
and pulled up the shade
an inch
and I saw it.

No clouds
to give a sense of perspective,
just a clear
blue
infinite
serenity.

It awakened my heart
and I smiled,
and as if on cue,
gossipy birds
sang and chirped.

I laughed
at how
“perfect”
it all seemed.

The voice spoke
one last time:
“OK, now what if
you’re not here
to enjoy this anymore?”

It was a question
too pointed to ignore,
and a moment too beautiful
to throw away.

I lingered in the moment
a few minutes more
before confessing my alcoholism
and changing my life.

(Check out Open Link Night at dversepoets.com)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

No Contest


She solves puzzles
and spends hours at the computer,
trying to get high score on Bejeweled or
the perfect triple letter triple word score
in Word Feud,
her mind ever-working
trying to figure out a solution
within the confines
of established rules.

He writes poems
and jokes for future ad libs
trying for the perfect combination
that will pierce the fa├žade
with honesty and laughter,
his mind ever-working
trying to figure out solutions
to problems that
may not even exist.

No contest:
she’s smarter than
he is.

(Linking to dVerse poetry open link night, first time!)

Thursday, January 05, 2012

I Can’t Write Small Stones

Perhaps it’s my
argumentative nature
or my verbosity,
but I can’t write
small stones.

Some stones are smooth,
some craggy,
but each one is perfect
because they’re not
the product of
an imperfect
human
hand.

So
I stick with the label
micropoetry,
as it describes both
the genre
and my painfully
modest
talent.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The Unstoppable Rain (Prompt: Unstoppable)


It's taken years
to un-learn
that purposeful alienation
of my self
from my feelings.

Now,
when I see something
unspeakably beautiful,

or feel something
dark and cold
collapsing upon itself
at the core of my being,

or rejoice ecstatically
in those rare moments
of bliss,

I allow the tears
to stream down my cheeks
accompanied by sighs
sobs or
smiles
as the case may be.

Ironically,

I have triumphed
over what was intended to be
the unstoppable power
of male socialization,

with the
unstoppable
rain of
human teardrops.

Box of Dreams (Prompt: Box)


I used to keep a
box of memories
and over time
I kept shifting the contents
from smaller
to larger box.

Once when I was
switching boxes,
I lost my grip
and it fell and broke,
scattering my memories
mementos
anecdotes
across the floor,
like beads
from a busted necklace.

Seeing them all there
the pearls mixed in with the dross,
the voice spoke:
“why are you keeping
everything? 

You can’t even remember why
you wanted to keep it
all.”

So, I picked out
a proper display case
to honor the pearls
and threw out
everything else.

A box of memories
can weight you down,
so now I have a smaller,
lighter box of dreams,
which helps me fly.