Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The Nineties

There were still
payphones

and you could watch tv
over the air
for free
with a bent coat hanger
for an antenna,

and there were
countless chat lines offering
respite from loneliness
for $3 a minute,

and his name was still
Prince,

and OJ was not guilty
of murder,
but then he was responsible
for Nicole and Ron’s death,

and there were still
bookstores
and record stores
and video stores,

and I was still
young and single
and spent money
like time,
and days
like water,

and everything
I thought was
so fast,
now moves slowly
through my mind
as a lumbering dinosaur,
bathing my memories
in a romantic,
dreamlike patina,

or so it seems
from the vantage point
of this on-demand culture
I find myself
running alongside
just to stay current.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

I Pray

It's not my business
where the prayer goes
after it’s released.

Still
I find myself
searching for a place
outside
of my ego
to send
my thanks
and modest petitions.

When the smoke
clears away,
at the end of play
at the end of the day,
I pray,

and take my place
among the strivers,
the jivers,
the connivers,
the late arrivers,
and the stay alivers.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Counter-Terrorism Strategy

[The tv goes click]

“What’s that?

Human madness
running through
the smoke and confusion,
blood and anguish,
screams and cries.

Another attack?
A suicide bomber?
Hm.

They found an
un-detonated belt?
Well,
that’s something new.

It matters
less and less.

I was wondering when
the latest threat
was due.

No,
if they’re trying to scare us,
a random explosion
in an airport
a thousand miles away
won’t do.

Hell, they shot up
a Christmas party
20 miles away
and that barely held our attention
until December 17th.

Sure,
I’m angry and
I’m outraged,
but I won’t let them
see my tears,
my fears.

I cannot.

I watch
from a distance
and keep hidden
these wounds,
refusing to let them see
what  it’s doing to me.

If I let them
kill my soul,
my body will
surely follow.”

Friday, March 18, 2016

If I Could Fly, I'd Find You (for Anita)

The sky is bright
yellow and blue
and if  I could fly
I’d find you,

and we’d glide high
over the freeway,
past all the traffic
in the beach
parking lot,
to find that spot
that’s too far away
for people to walk to,

and I’d be the
richest bird
in all the world,
our basket
full of insect snacks
and sugar water,

and we'd share this
private shoreline,
just you,
my fine feathered
lovebird
and me.

It’d be
the one gift
that everyone
would covet:

time alone,
all alone,
watching
the infinite waves

crash and retreat
crash and retreat,

content to breathe in
the ocean spray,

and you’d still
love me,
even if I were
only a cuckoo.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Are You Really Experienced?

I saw her
in the bookstore
but she didn’t see me.

We went
to junior high school
together
but she fell off
the radar screen.

It was four years later
and I was
a high school graduate.

I knew a thing
or two
and I was going
to the university
next fall.

I won
a national
student journalism award
and gave the commencement address
at my high school graduation.

Most importantly,
I lost 50 pounds
and I started dating
and maybe even
broke a heart or two.

Yes, the world
was my oyster
back in that
summer of 1981.

So,
I stealthily
snuck up
behind her
and said

“Teri?”

She turned around
and smiled
“Hi”
crooking her head
in an inexplicably
cute way.

The conversation flowed
and I knew
she’d say yes,
so I looked
for an open window
to toss my invitation
into

and just as I was
about to ask her out,
she said

“Would you like
to meet
my son?”

As if on cue,
like a perfectly planned
prank,
a brown-headed
preschooler came ambling
around the corner,
holding a book out
to his Mom.

Dumbstruck,
my words stumbled,
I stammered out
a compliment or two,
and made a graceless,
hasty retreat.

Suddenly,
I didn’t feel
as sophisticated
or experienced
anymore,

but on the other hand,
I wasn’t
so embarrassed
that I was still
a virgin.

[For Open Link Night at D'verse Poets at http://dversepoets.com/2016/03/17/openlinknight-168/]

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Driving Through the Fog (for Sarah)

All fog
does not come in
on little cat feet,
resting on silent haunches
over dark, picturesque harbors.

Some fog is
unforgiving, maddening,
dangerous and dense.

When driving through
such fog,
slow down.

So much
unintentional damage
can be done
with one wrong reflex,
to one unseen victim,
especially to yourself.

If you can’t witness
the fog
safely and serenely
from a distance,
pull over
and let it pass.

No,
all fog does not
come in
on little cat feet.

Sometimes
it masquerades
as anger
or depression
or relentless pain.

Don’t let it
drive you
into the side
of a mountain.

Friday, March 11, 2016

Roar/Shock

Serious business,
this Christianity.

Willingly,
I traded
my skepticism
for the Holy Trinity,
and gambled
that I'd find
something that
I could not find
any
other
way.

I was new,
hungry 
to find my answer,
my place
in this family.

Flash forward
nine years:

I read the entire bible
(took seven years),
countless tracts,
books, blogs
trying to
untie the mystery.

The mystery
still exists, but
this I believe:

God is neither
frightening
nor boring
nor grim.

God is a metaphor,
(or perhaps an
extended allegory),
not intended for
literal interpretation,
pointing the way
to something,
someplace
wordless and inspiring.

Like the movie
"Eraserhead",
or a Jackson Pollack
action painting,
or any breathtaking art,
God is a Rorschach test,

a outward projection
of our inner selves:

So, then
my God must be
beautiful,
funky,
explosive,
funny,
creative,
loving,
forgiving
and alive.

Friday, March 04, 2016

Nines

I look for
nines
everywhere.

My birth month,
my birth date
a multiple thereof,
my year in the century,
yet another multiple
of nine.

The highest digit
to stand on its own.

Perfect multiples
18, 1+8;
27, 2+7,
36, 3+6,
you get it.

Even 9 times 564,821=5,083,389,
which breaks down to
5+0+8+3+3+8+9=36
36 becomes 3+6,
it's damned near magic.

Just before
the odometer
clicks over
into a milestone,
the nine holds on
for just
one
more
moment.

The whole nine yards.
Picking up
a nine-pin spare.
Lennon's #9 Dream.

Thesis, antithesis, synthesis
(count the syllables).

Is there any number
better than nine?

Nein!

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Holy Communion

Everywhere I look
I see the flock
lost in their prayers:

young and old
rich and poor
Jew and Gentile.

Each in holy communion
huddled around
their electronic beads,
their mutant rosaries.

Speaking in tongues
to unseen companions,

each believer
in holy solitude
connected
to something greater
than themselves.

In gratitude
they offer
the abstract sacrifice
of their time.

At last,
the world is of one accord.

Bridging the gap
between human loneliness
and cosmic emptiness
is this
God With a Hundred Names:

Verizon.
AT&T.
T-Mobile.
Sprint.

[Posted for http://dversepoets.com/2016/03/03/open-link-night-167/ ]