Undone Dreams (Tanka)

The ghost of lost dreams
Forgotten and abandoned
Hair grows gray and thin
Haunted by deeds gone undone
Time lost, never to return.

10/11/17

This is my response to Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Tuesday Challenge No. 54: GHOST & HAUNT.

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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

From a Dream

This poem was written during my senior year in high school when I was 17 years old. Some of the poems I wrote back then really make me cringe, but I’ve always had a soft spot for this one. I lightly edited the punctuation, but otherwise it appears below just as written 26 years ago.

You don’t seem to care anymore
(Said she)
Turning into such a lousy bore
(Who me?)
Like a drunk who can no longer hear
(Can’t you see?)
You don’t really need that beer
(But does she?)
Problems like that, we only dream about
(Do we?)
When did you become so stout?
(Not me.)
Like a driver when…
(When she…)
I was just dreaming, and then…
(Then she…)
Not the way I drink…
(Yes, me!)
You’re nearly on the brink!
(Just me)
Why should I care, can’t you see?
(Just me…)
Who cares for me?
(Help me…)

7 February 1991

Reoccurring Dreams

The dreams return,
Can’t stop them from coming,
Dreams of the past,
Relived like a robot,
Unable to deviate from programming.

Dreams of things that never happened
–that never could–
But I that know to be true:
On stage alone,
Ukulele-playing Tangled Up In Blue,
Rock-Band-Playing
Won’t Get Fooled Again,
Sharing a backstage drink with
Early ’80s Pete Townshend,
Toasting a fallen friend,
Fidgeting for a fix.

Dreams of the future,
Not flying-car Flash Gordon future,
No Starships or monoliths.
The real future, my future:
The coming darkness,
Depression and death.
Standing on the beach
Feeling old and tired,
Isolated; alone,
Ready for the end.
But I’m wrong.

5/29/17

Adapted from Chapter II of Summer of a Doormouse.

Dreams of Poems Already Written

Allen was in Asgard reciting America and
Singing the Buddhist Bible Blues for All-Father Odin
While Bobby and Baldr compared notes concerning
Daily dreams of darkness, depression, and death.
Byron rode up and down Bifröst bridge
Writing a poem about Don Juan
(No, not that one, the new one!)
Marcus Aurelius read the mythologies of Midgard,
Studied philosophy with Plato,
Admiring the stoicism of Socrates,
As Rimbaud wrote rhyming prose about Ragnarök,
Containing nothing but the truth,
Delivering it to Valhalla for the consideration of
Siddhartha, Thor and Wōđanaz.

4/2/17

Poem #3 for National Poetry Writing Month (aka #NaPoWriMo)

The Return

Her one dead eye
Looks off center at nothing.
Crevasses cut deep worry lines
In a once smooth forehead,
Freckled and aged,
Furrowed even further
By the pain now inflicted.
Her eye denies the tears
That his return has called forth.

Avoiding her gaze
He says nothing.
A steel statue,
Unchanged by time,
Whose silence speaks volumes.

– 6 July 1998 / 2 February 2017

Inspired by a dream almost 20 years ago. Recently brushed off and revised.

Summer of a Doormouse: Alternate Prologue #2 (Prose)

These is a revised version of the first Alternate prologue for my unfinished Summer of a Doormouse project. It was written around 4 years later in October 2008. It is, if I’m not mistaken, the last major work I did on this project.

Summer of a Doormouse

Prologue

Through the dirty mud smudged bus window I watch as New Jersey blends into Pennsylvania, traveling to a meeting where a complete stranger will decide my future. I am alone, without a home. Not that I am homeless by any means. I live in a dorm room at Columbia University in Manhattan, while the majority of my belongings reside with my fiance in Pennsylvania in the apartment we share when I’m not at school. But neither of these feels much like “home” anymore, if indeed they ever did. Strangely, the Columbia dorm room feels more like a home than my fiance’s apartment these days, and not merely because I spend the majority of my time there. I hesitate to let the thought crack my conscious mind, but I feel her life slipping away from mine, as though we were still “together” out of habit as much as anything else. How telling is it that I am returning to Shillington briefly for a bankruptcy hearing and she could find no time to see me while I’m here. Continue reading

Three From Illinois

three from ill

Lawyer, Warrior, Constitutional Scholar,
American presidents three.
Kentucky, Ohio, Hawaii born,
Springfield, Galena, Chicago home.
Lovers of life, liberty, freedom, and family
Defenders, protectors, believers
Of our diverse union of souls and states,
More perfect that any other on Earth.

Abolitionist, Unionist, Civil Rights Activist,
A dream of a country healed;
People no longer owned as property,
Protector, dream nurturer, country reconstructor,
Reputation ruined by revenge seeking reconstruction killing racist
And history book rewriters.
A dream personified in a country still bearing
Civil War scars and nightmares of the past,
A dream expanded: equality and equity for all.

Captain, General, Commander-in-Chief,
Manning the wheel through the straits in a storm,
Commanding from horseback in private’s coat
With stars sewn onto it,
Leading with humor, dignity, and grace,
Educated, intelligent, but never elitist,
Never pompous nor pretentious,
Never giving up or in,
Ground may be lost today,
But we’ll lick ’em tomorrow.

12/21/16

Summer of a Doormouse: Chapter II (Prose)

Summer of a Doormouse

Back to Chapter I

Chapter II

I’m gettin funny dreams again and again
I know what it means, but…

– Pete Townshend, 1965

I’ve been listening to Pete’s new concept album, Psychoderelict, almost constantly since I got it yesterday afternoon. The main character, a burned out rock star named Ray High, spends much of the album revisiting an old unfinished project of his called “Gridlife”, which is represented by bits and pieces of Pete’s old unfinished Lifehouse project. It’s gotten me to thinking about that story I was working on when I was in college. Mostly crap if memory serves (and it usually doesn’t) and largely ripped of from what I’d pieced together as Pete’s original story line for Lifehouse. Somehow I’d actually thought that I could give those ideas and visions form when their creator couldn’t. Ah, the egotism of a youthful artist… But still, maybe I should fish out those old manuscripts and have a look for old times sake. Maybe they weren’t as bad as I remember. After all, Ang always liked them. I’ve been thinking of her a lot lately. Especially since the dreams have returned. Continue reading

Holy Lotus Cradle

sacred_lotus_nelumbo_nucifera

Have I dreamed this dream before,
Or is this something new?
A psycho-chemical reaction of my brain,
Or a mystical case of deja-vu?

Your face doesn’t ring a bell,
I don’t recall your name,
But I know I know you from somewhere,
Your presence feels the same.

Is our karma a chain,
Holding us down against our will,
Or is it a holy lotus cradle
Lifting us above the swill?

Break the chains, crack them,
Snap them, set yourself free.
Nothing can keep you from
Being who you’re meant to be.

Let the flower grow.
Water, feed it, let it flourish,
In return for the effort,
Your very soul it will nourish.

In the Spring, a sight to behold,
A bloom rising most beautifully,
As we all need help sometimes
To arrive at our destiny.

November 2010

Image from WikiPedia