There Once Was A Poet (For Dr. Seuss)

I wrote this poem way back in May of 1991 after reading that Dr. Seuss, a favorite author since childhood, had fallen ill.

There once was a poet
Who wrote some prose
It rhymed quite a bit
And tickled my toes

There once was a poet
I’ve heard he’s quite ill
Though he has a talent
That no mere illness can kill

There once was a poet
Who brought me much joy
By continually teaching me
What it’s like to be a little boy.

13 May 1991

On a whim I sent a copy of the poem to Dr. Seuss and shortly therafter recieved this card in the mail:

Dr Seuss Card

Sadly, he passed away a few months later in September of 1991.

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Drifting

Drifting down the docks at night
In someone else’s clothes.
The passers by look right through me
As they wander to and fro.

Walking through dark dim light
Trusting my feet to fate,
Pulling me unwillingly from the reservoir
Back to the interstate.

Road weary, body aching,
Looking for the way back home.
Head is dizzy, hands are numb
The world fades into monochrome.

Battered black and white photos,
Yellow tapes corners, crooked on the page
Men with old fashioned hats and fear in their eyes
Barely concealing the white man’s racist rage.

Burning houses and burning crosses
Smoke fills the ebony skies,
Bloodied brown faces look up
To see a hood covering all but the coward’s eyes.

Walking relentlessly down
That dusty old Dixie Highway
Moving further and further away from
Woody Guthrie’s sacred golden sky-way.

Hitchhiking highway in dim light,
Unsure if its dusk or dawn,
Quietly humming a happy tune
From an old Big Bill Broonzy song.

7/17-7/26/18

Stormbringer

Cold black blade
Burning blood red runes
Wisdom worms
Burrowing into tombs

The price of the blade
Is the blood that is spilled,
The victories all hollow
When all else is killed.

11/12/17

 

I’ve been rereading a few of Michael Moorcock’s Eternal Champion novels (The Eternal Champion and Phoenix in Obsidian so far. I’ll be starting The Dragon in the Sword next) and this was the result

The Lovin’ in Vain Blues

 

What do you do
When all your love’s in vain?
Tell me, what do you do
When all your love’s in vain?

Mama, please tell me
How do you deal with the pain?

It’ll smother your heart
’til you can’t hardly stand,
It’ll smother your heart, Mama,
‘Til you can’t hardly stand

And all you ever wanted
Was someone to hold your hand.

There ain’t nothing worse than a woman
Who just wants to be your friend,
I say, there ain’t nothing worse than a woman
Who just wants to be your friend

I tell ya, brother, its just the beginning,
The beginning of the end.

The end of your loving,
And the beginning of your pain
Brother, its the end of your loving,
And the beginning of your pain

But that’s just the way it is
When all your love’s in vain.

27 April 1995

Inspired by Robert Johnson‘s song Love in Vain

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

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

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.

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

What the Cost Can Be

When going to battle monsters,
Surely the noblest of deeds,
Don’t lose sight of your purpose,
Abandoning your noble creeds.

Don’t be so desperate to win
That noble ends justify any means,
Stained in blood and life of men,
Just like all the other fiends.

No one does evil on purpose,
We all always think we’re right,
‘Til our deeds come back to haunt us
In the dismal darkness of the night.

Standing on the Rubicon shore,
You think you know what to do,
But as you gaze into the Abyss
Know that its gazing into you.

5/3/17