Momentary (Senryu)

A joyful moment
The spirit washes over
The moment passes

9/28/17

This is my response to Colleen’s Weekly #Poetry Challenge No. 52 ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL #Haiku #Tanka #Haibun: “SPIRIT & JOY”. Happy One Year Anniversary, Colleen!

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Still on the Road

Driving down the poison highway
Through the nightmares of my youth:
Saccharine poetry, suicidal thoughts;
Disastrous experiments with vermouth.

Sterilizing self-inflicted wounds
With tequila, scotch and beer.
Bathed in sticky sweat,
Self-loathing, and fear.

Decades down a dusty highway
Through the terrors of middle-age:
Thinning hair; graying beard
Covering the still smoldering rage.

Calming the demons of the mind
With a single chilled glass of mead,
Wounds healed; scars run deep,
And occasionally still bleed.

Seeking release from suffering
In Athens; under an old fig tree.
A chance to finally flourish,
Living life in true equanimity.

9/27/17

Visions from the Wasteland

Standing alone in the wasteland
Of dying dreams and abandoned ideals,
I watched the greatest country in the world
Decay into an over-sexed, under-educated
Cesspool of self-gratification,
Intolerance and ignorance.

I saw culture, art, and creativity die,
Suffocated by the new plastic culture,
Whose sterile halls and prefabbed cathedrals
Were crowded with worshipers
Biting, kicking, scratching;
Trampling each other,
Screaming in a frenzy
Just to catch a glimpse
Of the great greenback god
And his hollow gifts,
Promising to fill the voids
And empty spaces
So you no longer wish to die.

I saw a once fit intelligent citizenry
Grow fat, lethargic, and dumb
Minds vegetating, souls atrophying
Entranced by hypnotic figures of light
Dancing in illuminated black boxes.

Continue reading

My Generation

I wasn’t born with a club foot
I didn’t fight in Vietnam
I didn’t teach at Columbia
I wasn’t fooled by Nixon’s charms

My generation was as lost as Hemingway’s
And just as productive.

I didn’t escape Minnesota in a snowstorm,
I didn’t go mad at Arfderydd
I didn’t smash a guitar at Woodstock
I didn’t drown in Delacroix

My generation was just as angry as Townshend’s
And just as destructive.

Note:
Arfderydd is pronounced Arf-der-ith (“th” as in father)

Margaret (Dream #4)

I’m sorry, Margaret
I didn’t mean to hurt you.
I just did what I thought was right
But some things are more important than virtue.

It didn’t really click
Until I saw that look in your eye
The look you thought you could hide from me
As you gathered up my books and tried not to cry.

This wasn’t some strange lustful urge,
Or some mad irrational whim,
This must’ve really been important to you
If it meant going out on such a limb.

And in trying to protect our honor
I hurt a very good friend,
By trying to be virtuous I forgot
That love is all that matters in the end.

1 December 1993 / San Antonio, TX

Perspective

“Thou art a little soul bearing about a corpse, as Epictetus used to say”
– Marcus Aurelius, translated by George Long

Life is short;
The Universe is forever:
An ocean swallowing
The teardrops of human existence,
Born a thousand eons
Before our earliest ancestors
Had drug themselves from
The primordial ooze.
So long ago that
Only God was there
To witness the blessed event.
Though, perhaps, even He
Is too young to recall the day.

A dozen millennia after
Our great-great-grandchildren
Have become dust
Blown on the solar winds,
It will still be here,
Waiting patiently
For its appointment with Death
At the other end of Eternity.

19 July 1999

The Gift (Haiku)

A song on the breeze
Gentle, soothing; organic
Gifted to us all.

9/20/17

This is my response to Colleen’s Weekly #Poetry Challenge No. 51 #Haiku #Tanka #Haibun: GIFT & SONG.

Broken Hearts

We are the broken men
We hold our broken hearts,
We are the stupid men
Chasing those stupid tarts.

See the hollow man
With his hollow soul
Gazing at the dawn
Wishing to be whole.

See the golden angel
With her golden hair
Wondering what broke him
If there’s any hope of repair

See the golden light
Reflected from golden wings
The source of salvation
Of which the singer sings

See those stupid men,
Moaning dirge-like tunes
Crying, rubbing salt
In their self-inflicted wounds.

These are the broken men
Clutching their broken hearts,
Trapped in the plays they wrote
Dutifully playing their broken parts.

1991/2017

I wrote the bulk of this during my senior year in high school, around 26 years ago, influenced more than a little by T.S. Eliot’s The Hollow Men. I ran across it today in a box full of old poetry, edited it, and added to it.

Toys in the Attic

The lunatic is in my room,
I never thought he’d find me so soon

The lunatic is in my chair,
Running his fingers through my hair

The lunatic has slept in my bed,
If only I could remember what he said

The lunatic is watching my TV,
His hand resting on my knee

The lunatic is wearing my clothes,
What is it he thinks he knows?

The lunatic is using my pen,
He’s toying with me again

The lunatic is trying to make me cry,
Showing me he’s no longer afraid to die

– 2 January 1993 / Gießen, Germany

Written 24 years ago after listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon and The Wall one too many times.

Wholeness

260px-Yin_yang.svg

Not opposite
Poles apart,
Nor contradictions:
Complementary continuums,
Spectrums growing from
And into one another.

There is no tall
Without something short
To be taller than,
Nothing is close
Without something far
To be closer than,
Nothing dark
Without a light
To be darker than,
No light
Without a shadow,
No up
Without a down
To be upward from,
No left
Without a right
To be to the left of.

The stairs that lead up
Also lead down,
The road that goes away
Will also bring you back again.

9/13/17

Written after reading Chapter II of the Dao De Ching. The image is the Yin Yang (from the Chinese 陰陽 (yīnyáng), literally: “dark-bright”, “negative-positive”