coastal haiku

gulls flight in the night
coastal lights guiding their slumber
humans haunting sounds

————————————–

seagulls on the prowl
dive-bombing at lunch in hand
McDonald’s french fries

From The Coast

early saturday morning

3 shots fired 1:30AM (a repetition or re-petition)

rat-a-tat-tat
rat-a-tat-tat
rat-a-tat-tat

who fired that gat?
who fired that gat?
who fired that gat?

she screams & shrieks like a wounded animal
she screams & shrieks like a wounded animal
she screams & shrieks like a wounded animal

“where are the fuckin’ pO-lice”
“where are the fuckin’ pO-lice”
“where are the fuckin’ pO-lice”

“I’m back for more nigga”
“I’m back for more nigga”
“I’m back for more nigga”

“yo muthafucka want some of this?”
“yo muthafucka want some of this?”
“yo muthafucka want some of this?”

“they police are comin’”
“they police are comin’”
“they police are comin’”

fight breaks out
fight breaks out
fight breaks out

an unholy number of 7
an unholy number of 7
an unholy number of 7

young men young women
young men young women
young men young women

fight fight fight
fight fight fight
fight fight fight

fists fists fists
fists fists fists
fists fists fists

shouts shouts shouts
shouts shouts shouts
shouts shouts shouts

drown out the sound
drown out the sound
drown out the sound

fists ring out through the night
fists ring out through the night
fists ring out through the night

pain cries pain
pain cries pain
pain cries pain

raw wounds of heart and flesh
raw wounds of heart and flesh
raw wounds of heart and flesh

fight moves inside
fight moves inside
fight moves inside

back outside
back outside
back outside

45 minutes later still no police
45 minutes later still no police
45 minutes later still no police

fight moves down the street
fight moves down the street
fight moves down the street

slinking into the darkness
slinking into the darkness
slinking into the darkness

the distant sound of fists banging on doors
the distant sound of fists banging on doors
the distant sound of fists banging on doors

where are the police?
where are the police?
where are the police?

did anyone call the police?
did anyone call the police?
did anyone call the police?

ameri-KKK[a] loves guns
ameri-KKK[a] loves guns
ameri-KKK[a] loves guns

hunting season on humans is open
hunting season on humans is open
hunting season on humans is open

god is in the gun
god is in the gun
god is in the gun

the age of reason returns
the age of reason returns
the age of reason returns

crippled by emotion
crippled by emotion
crippled by emotion

handicapped by aggression
handicapped by aggression
handicapped by aggression

finally police arrive
finally police arrive
finally police arrive

man on the run
man on the run
man on the run

“I dinn’t do nothin’ man!”
“I dinn’t do nothin’ man!”
“I dinn’t do nuthin’ man!”

dark uniforms in a dark night
dark uniforms in a dark night
dark uniforms in a dark night

shadows within shadows
shadows within shadows
shadows within shadows

flashlights looking for shells
flashlights looking for shells
flashlights looking for shells

gathering of evidence
gathering of evidence
gathering of evidence

belongings scattered like fallen leaves under a tree
belongings scattered like fallen leaves under a tree
belongings scattered like fallen leaves under a tree

“Isabel, Isabel answer the phone”
“Isabel, Isabel answer the phone”
“Isabel, answer the fuckin’ phone”

hope withheld in violence borne
hope withheld in violence borne
hope withheld in violence borne

It’s not about race
it’s not about race
it’s not about race

repression suppression regression
repression suppression regression
repression suppression regression

it’s about decades of hopelessness
decades of hopelessness
decades of hopelessness

decades lacking opportunity
decades lacking opportunity
decades lacking opportunity

results inhuman’s hurting humans
results inhuman’s hurting humans
results inhuman’s hurting humans

the night grows quiet again 2:30AM
the night grows quiet again 2:30AM
the night grows quiet again 2:30AM

rat-a-tat-tat
rat-a-tat-tat
rat-a-tat-tat

3 shots fired 1:30AM
3 shots fired 1:30AM
3 shots fired 1:30AM

in silence forgotten
in silence forgotten
in silence forgotten

for now
for now
for now

long live the NRA!
long live the NRA!
long live the NRA!

for now?
for now?
for now?

more guns are the answer?
more guns are the answer?
more guns are the answer?

for now?
for now?
for now?

how long?
how long?
how long?

who will break the rhythm of violence?
who will break the rhythm of violence?
who will break the rhythm of violence?

It’s now 3AM
water droplets from the air conditioner
falling on leaves like rain
cleansing the night with manufactured tears
but the heart remains the same
the spirit remains the same

All’s quiet on the urban front
for now
for now
for now

maybe I can go to sleep again
for now
for now
for now

 

*written 8/3/19 during the incident

knowing when to make someone’s day

knowing when to
“make someone’s day”
means not being selfish
like knowing when to give
when not to give
being sensitive about what you say
when you say it
and when not to say it
knowing when to do nothing

knowing that to
“make someones day”
means knowing when
to leave them alone
alone to their own devices
alone in their misery
no matter how much it
bothers you to do so
there are just some things
people need to work out for themselves

Knowing that if
you don’t leave them alone
you may make their misery worse
knowing that if you help
help them figure things out
they are being forced
to deal with their problems
in a way that may be unnatural to them

knowing that “being there”
may be all they need
your presence is enough
your gift is your silence
your gift is not the answer given
but the question shared
your gift is the answer
discovered together in their time

knowing when to
“make someone’s day”
means that sometimes
the less you do
is the most you can do
the best thing to do
and that’s okay

knowing that sometimes
we have this wisdom
sometimes we don’t
and it all depends on
how “invested” we are
in any given situation

ramblings on suffering

RAMBLINGS ON SUFFERING (6/21/19)

Of all living things
the most fortunate are
those who escaped….

I saw a still-born hippo
floating in a pool,
it’s legs reaching to the sky
as it’s grieving mother swam, circling around it.

Why did the opossum cross the road?
Did it not see the car speeding onward?
Now just another memory of life
flattened on asphalt.

There’s a black man hanging from a tree, like my savior,
with a sacrilegious cross burning in the yard.
The sounds of wailing through tears
mocked by fleeing hooded jeers and laughter.
And I’ve seen a black man stopped by police
because of the color of his skin
Unjustly harassed, searched and thrown against the car
only to find nothing.

My dear Ophelia, drifting underwater
what was your last thought
watching the last air bubble, wobble
and rise toward a liquid sky?

To a woman: Did you feel free
the moment you jumped
from that high blue bridge
and flew toward the earth?
The broken red wings of your spirit
spilling through your cracked skull
onto the pavement one summer morning.
Your twisted body, lying there
in front of me behind the wheel,
on a street called North when you went South.
The subject of a undisciplined and indiscriminate passerby
who just had to wiggle out of her red van,
before the police arrived, get up close
and take a photo with her cell-phone.

The mosquito gorging itself
on the blood-feast of its host
takes no notice of the hand that will kill it.

The fly for all it’s many eyes
still cannot see
that it feeds, mostly, on shit.

Does the flower feel pain
as each of its petals fall until
all that is left is a withered stem?
Does the tree feel pain
when its limbs are stripped from the trunk
during the storm or when
this living thing is cut down
by the chainsaw massacre of deforestation?

I’ve seen wild mice care for the injured young in a nest disturbed.
I’ve heard the piercing, shrieking squeal of injured rabbits.
I’ve seen the Killdeer risk its life to distract a predator
and I’ve looked into the sad, fearful eyes of an unloved dog.
I’ve seen a deer hit by a car get up and limp away
only to die by the side of road while looking back
as if to apologize for disturbing traffic.
I’ve seen a butterfly with a broken wing
clinging to hope while wishing it were back in its cocoon.
I’ve seen the fish
stranded too long on the beach
its glassy eye blinded by sunlight
its gaping mouth filled with sand and
its scales sticky with death

In Alaska, I found a cassette tape
by the side of the road
the middle of nowhere
the wilderness, no one around for miles
wet and muddy, its case cracked
I don’t know what made me
pick it up and take it home.
I let it dry, cleaned it, rewound it and carefully placed the tape in a new case.
My proud first attempt at restoration.
Then I put it in the player and pressed “PLAY”
I was assaulted by the sounds of thrown objects
hitting something and someone,
cursing, screams, cries, anger, hatred, vicious argument,
begging and pleading.
There were no names.
Only he
Only she
and the sound of a crying child hiding in a corner whimpering “please stop”
Threats and the dull sound of fists hitting flesh
meting out punishment where once there was love.
I sat listening. Frozen. Unable to move.
As the sun set I cried.

I’ve smelled living death
The stink of blood mixed with piss
as the cancer-fill man stood naked by the toilet.
His unbathed pasty flesh clammy with sweat.
He is too weak to bathe himself so I have to help
as I try to disguise my gagging reflex;
and I wonder if this is what the mortician sees, feels and smells.

And I’ve smelled the death of a slaughterhouse
the mindless cruelty and knock of a thudding blow
to the head of a cow with a stunbolt
the still live animal lying helpless, it’s throat now slit,
blood gushing in rivers onto the dirty, stained concrete floor,
the twitching limbs of a dying years supply of hamburgers and steaks.

I’ve even smelled the death
of a carcass in the hot summer sun
at the dumping grounds of livestock no longer “live”.
Cattle, horses, pigs, sheep, goats piled indiscriminately
the rotting remains, not yet destroyed
lying in an open trailer to a buzzing soundtrack
the pungent waves of nauseating stink
this unmovable feast for flies and their maggot young
The bodies juices oozing
from the rusted corners of the container.

I’ve heard the uncontrollable impulsive
wailing of the living that accompanies
the release of the recently dead

Maybe I’ve seen too much
Maybe I’ve heard and smelled too much.
Maybe I’ve even said too much.
But of all the things that have touched me –
Have I let them move me?
Or do I stand in shock,
immobilized by the glare of oncoming lights
that are driven by forces beyond my control?

I sometimes wonder
if the luckiest child is
the one never born
into this world of suffering –
and of those already born;
if the most fortunate ones
have already escaped
the suffering that is yet to come.

REJOICE! it’s what we do

REJOICE!

Humanity will become

                      a slave to its creation.

REJOICE!

Just as God became 

                      a slave to humanity.

REJOICE!

Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

REJOICE!

I sometimes feel sorry for God.

REJOICE!

Maybe one day our creation will feel sorry for us.

REJOICE! Again, I say REJOICE!

imagination and practical reality

Imagination And Practical Reality
(6/11/19)

Where are the words
that have escaped me?
All I find is an empty wire cage
I hear the fluttering of wings
in the darkened corners of the room
Yet I see nothing clearly
vague inferences and impressions
opaqued shapes
undulating slowly
in a heavy pre-dawn fog
Yet I am happy

And once the sun rises
and the fog is burned away
all will be made clear
Without mystery
Without inspiration
Forgotten worlds
Like the man who looks in a mirror(*)
and when he turns away
immediately forgets what he looks like
Left to wander
groping in the clarity of
the harsh light of day
Lost in the multi-sensory overload
Writing without understanding
the words on the page
And I am sad once more.

 

*  James 1:24

What Happened To My Country? (this messy slam poem)

What Happened To My Country?

(5/2019)
What happened to my country?
I feel like an alien in my own land
where everything old is new again
old arguments
new context
the earth is flat
we never landed on the moon
the return of nazism returns and
white supremacy, nationalism, dictators
abortion rights
suppression of the press
the end of free speech
power of the gun
more walls fewer bridges
tiki torches over electricity
more bombast less wisdom
voter suppression
denial, deny everything
forcing yes by saying no
lie, lie, lie like there’s no tomorrow
the holocaust never happened
domestic terrorism rules the day
a normality of school shootings
armed teachers
corporate kings keep half of America
addicted to opioids
never once asking if they should
they knew they could earn a ton of dough
from the drug trade
so they would
act now apologize later
Is this the death of America or just democracy?
the all-you-can-eat
brimstone and treacle buffet

Every moral notion I’ve EVER had
is being crushed by
the people who taught me
everyone has their religion but no one believes
religion is politicized, weaponized and bastardized
everyone is talking
no one is listening
technology moves forward
while humanity falls
faster backward

Where are the lovers the haters have killed?
we pray for ourselves by cursing others
we pray for our kind and curse differences
as if only we matter
sameness perpetuates division
diversity has become a word
to bring attention to our differences
not the things that unite us

Everyone wants to be Goliath
the bigger the better
determined to change history
but they forgot David won the war
believing they can turn back the clock
moving forward in the delusion of progress
taking a life synonymous with birth
the rights of the living aborted for
the rights of the unborn, the nonhuman,
the corporate, the government, the powerful
the dog serves its master
the worm serves the fish
and the pigs shit everywhere

America, where is your
o, beautiful for spacious skies?
when did the battle hymn of the republic change?
Now we only trample through the vineyard
where we grow our own grapes of wrath
and prepare to loose the lightning
of our own swift sword
beating the drum to war
unnecessarily we forgot the
beauty of the lilies and
Christ irrelevant born
forget about his glory transfiguration
it’s just you and me

(sung) Glory, glory hallelujah
Glory, glory hallelujah
glory, glory hallelujah
only the lie is marching on

America America
God shed his
onward christian soldiers
white privilege freedom thieves
now crown your good
white brotherhood
from sea to shining sea
and Jesus doesn’t love the children
all the children of the world
red and yellow, black and white
white are precious in his sight
that’s not the way the fucking songs go!

Hopefully artificial intelligence
will be ‘cause actual intelligence
seems to be the victim of extinction
let there be peace on earth
and let it begin with
someone else

FUCK! FUCK! FUCK!
God will not intervene!
even God wouldn’t deny the freewill
that humanity denies each other
God knows no borders
yet the rich and powerful use God
to force crisis borne of political expediency,
build walls and wage wars

Protect the money
grow the money
protect the money
grow the money
say it with me
protect the money, grow the money!

there is no happy ending here
man may have been made in the image of God but
God is still an extra-terrestrial alien creator
killed by its own creation
just as humanity will be killed by technology
the thing it creates
there is no rapture
the second coming came and went
it’s hard to imagine heaven
when all we create is hell
God damned humanity and
only humanity can save itself

I’m sorry if you were hoping for
words of encouragement
words of hope
words of inspiration
this vessel has been emptied and
washed clean
ready for a new beginning
let it begin
let the day begin!

On second thought
I think I’ll leave it empty for awhile

The Players Song

Players Song

what you lookin’ at?
what you laughin’ at?
what you makin’ fun of?

the end has come
lights gone down
crowds are gone
strides across
this sawdust clown

baggy pants
dirty shirt
worn out shoes
treading through
another broken town

hotel room
lonely bulb
peeling paint
dingy and dank
inhabited mold drown

what you lookin’ at?
what you laughin’ at?
what you makin’ fun of?

the naked man
in the bathtub
smokes a cigar
wearing the painted
face of a clown

milky surface
soapy water
shimmers like diamonds
one deep breath
he’s sliding down
what you lookin’ at?
what you laughin’ at?
what you makin’ fun of?

warm wet meditation
wraps up the man
mind quiet, at peace
distant thunder smoking
cigar lifeline

rising up
paint-stained flesh
reveals the man
washed renewed naked
suffering reality frown

what you lookin’ at?
what you laughin’ at?
what you makin’ fun of?

I don’t remember when I wrote this – possibly 2013-2014. But I only recorded it recently.

poem on silence (or lack of)

Silence Reaching (2013)

in the modern era
silence exists

a decision
a punishment

noisy with appeals
recognizes the imperative
goes on speaking anyway

an intention
an expectation

perforated by sound
enriching emptiness
a resonating eloquent silence

je pe deges parmi le solitude*
horizon
discovery
and formulation

never has less advanced itself as
more

soliciting total attention
strenuous modesty
actual debility
cleansed non-interfering vision
certifying the absence

long silences become almost palpable
spiritual nausea
harsh despair
perverse apocalypse
deployed with systematic irony

blood-tide of decadence
the approaching end
post political electronically connected cosmopolis checked by despair
leaves one without
any
breath
at
all

(*translation – I’m a lonely one)

I actually recorded this one. I always think poetry needs to be spoken/read out loud. Enjoy.

White Supremacy?

White Supremacy

Forgive me if I do not take your hand
White hand
Leprous hand
White as snow
You sound like help and look like death

Forgive me if I do not take your hand
White hand, leprous hand, white as snow
your heart is too close to the skin
you cannot see what I see
Your deformity prevents you
from feeling the pain you cause

Forgive me if I do not take your hand
White hand, leprous hand, white as snow
I see the disease you bring
Hidden among your so-called gifts
Your virtues tainted by
The supremacy of your unclean hand

Forgive me if I do not take your hand
White hand, leprous hand, white as snow
The diseased heart has spread to the hand
You build your gated communities, armed fortresses
Of wealth, leper colonies, prisons of your own making
Separating you from a whole world of wonder

Forgive me if I do not take your hand
White hand, leprous hand, white as snow
You seek to unify YOUR family
By separating ours… mine
You burn bridges and build walls
Usurper of truth, teller of lies

Forgive me if I do not take your hand
White hand, leprous hand, white as snow
The lesions of your thinking
Discolored by the deafening roar of hatred, intolerance & FEAR
I could feel sorry for you
If it were not for the swift kick
Of your Jackboot and the Searing heat of your tiki torch

Forgive me if I do not take your hand
White hand, leprous hand, white as snow
The prophesy has foretold
You will starve, you will lose all you had,
You will die by your own white hand
And when there is no more white
Who will be left to dig your grave?

Forgive me if I do not take your hand
White hand
Leprous hand
White as snow.

haiku’s on fog

O beautiful morn

shrouded and clouded in mist

fogged o’er secret Spring

Links to the Pond smlr

wake up now dear Spring

shed the blanket of morning

wipe the fog away

Secret Gatherings

Where, oh morn are you?

Where are your budding flowers?

Even birds whisper

Behind the Fence Line smlr

 

haiku on spring flowers

In brush strokes
Spring flowers white, yellow
Daffodils

+++++++++++++++++++++

Spring grows warm
Magnolia trees bloom
Not for long

+++++++++++++++++++

Spring flowers
Temporal beauty
One moment

haiku on birds 2

regal, pompous
purple martins majesty
live in mansions

******************

run, run away
a honking, snapping terror
the goose is loose

******************

blue heron
fishes in reflections
one stiff leg

haiku on birds

flock of pigeons
flying over — blue skies
poop on my head

*****************

feeding time
excited sparrows chirp ’round
flower box

*****************

egg adopted
screech owl hatches wood duck
one family

whissspers

WHISSSPERS

You whisssper in my ear
your palpable smile
some mystery
or a secret that only I am privileged to know,
some master plan,
some wisdom or
some knowledge
or just “I love you.”

The warmth of your breath
softly radiates
entering by hearing
and “hearing by the word of god.

Familiar as a breeze
rustling the leaves
on a humid Summer’s day
under the shade tree.

These whissspering waves
ripple through my body
steadily quickening
the beat of my heart.

My pulse registers . . . . .
excitement, a cherished connection
words and meaning lost in anticipation
virtue swirls into sweet sin
tingle of unending hope
inspiring passions aplenty
I dream of grabbing you and
holding you closer
than my own skin.

3 haiku on spring

Feels sooooo good!
First warm day of Spring
Steps lightly

======================

Shining Bright
Birds sing in mid-flight
Spring sunshine

======================

Looking clearly
A glass wall separates me
from Spring outside

 

4 haiku on aging

Daily progress
with pain in every step
These “golden years”

+++++++++++++++++++

Unable to sit
Unease prevents stillness
My restless legs

+++++++++++++++++++

Time goes faster
Losing track of days
One more bare limb

+++++++++++++++++++

Once, clarity
of a happy, sad youth –
memory fades

spring morning rain

Spring Morning Rain

The beat of the
windshield wipers begins
and holds steady
as the dark clouds
of the worlds concert hall
slowly open
to the rhythm of the rain.

Passing headlights
provide the light show
joined with
the whoosh and hum,
a tire chorus
on wet pavement.

Spring’s early morning
experimental symphony.

why i write poetry

I cannot say I’m a great poet.
I’m not even sure I can say
I’m a good poet.

But, I do like words
their power to
evoke and invoke
feelings and emotions
pictures and memories.

And so I struggle
ever so humbly to
express my self into being.

office balloon

A half-deflated balloon
decorated with

colorful stars and
“You’re So Special”

tethered to its cubicle

now
bobbing and weaving

now
drifting listlessly in

currents of stale
recirculated air

its metallic surface
reflecting the

bright
white light of
office fluorescents

“I don’t make mistakes”

“I DON’T MAKE MISTAKES”

“I don’t make mistakes!”

Hmmmmph!
arrogant, ballsy fraud.
Elitist, cock-sure punk.

The claim
itself a mistake
waiting to humble
the utterer of lies.

Pop the balloon
of ego
(or is it id?).

Beat the
empty piñata
there’s no sweetness within.

Drink the curdled milk
soured by
time in the slow
heat of ignorance.

Remove the clothes
made dirty by
the ejaculation of foolishness.

Wash clean
the soiled
soul.

Rinse the body and
dress it in the clean
fresh clothing of
righteous humility.

Walk out into
the quiet morning of
birdsong
welcoming you
to a new life
where others sing
your praises,

as you practice
patience
for the mistakes
of others,

when they look
fearfully to your
criticism
only to find

the warmth
of the sun,
blue skies of kindness
green grass of compassion

in the welcoming embrace
of
forgiveness and understanding.