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.
Looking at reflections in jagged shards
of a shattered mirror,
The fall of twilight’s shadow
grows ever nearer,
But when you see the reaping angel
There’s no real reason to fear her.
Remember the words and visions
of the blind Nordic seer
The promises made of runes
sworn on the life of Sleipnir:
Bridges will burn, stars will fall,
Witness it with your own eyes.
Life wanes, blood flows,
Darkness alone fills the skies.
Smoke will settle, the fires cool,
And the Sun will once again rise.
Note: Sleipnir is pronounced “Slayp-near”
Image: Sleipnir, Odin’s eight-legged horse by Mike Craghead
Rhymed or un-rhymed
Formal or informal
Metered or free.
Long or short
Macro or micro
Its all still poetry to me
Personal and Confessional
Made up and Mythological
Literal or metaphorically.
Verse or Prose
Sung or spoken
Its all still poetry to me
Haiku or sonnet
Tanka or villanelle
Romance or philosophy.
Epic or mundane
Serious or not
Its all still poetry to me.
The sun outside is shining;
I feel a chill in the air,
The Fates themselves I hear crying,
Drowning in the howls of despair.
Shadows fall over Eden
The future turns black as ice,
Flaming swords and poor choices
Bar the path back to paradise
Threads look so long at the beginning;
Tragically cut short when it ends.
Life is a shelf of books we write ourselves
On either end oblivion is its bookends.
Image: Adam et Eve chassés du Paradis (aka Adam and Eve expelled from Paradise) by Marc Chagall, 1961; France
Of unspeakable things,
Traveling the continent
In the company of uncrowned kings.
Searching for clues
In archaic fragmented rhymes
To unlock the puzzle
Of ancient unsolved crimes
Nowhere we won’t travel
Once we’ve finally set forth:
Snowy mountain passes;
Dwarven mines in the cradle of Jörð.
From the deepest dark dungeon
To sanctuaries on the roof of the world
Facing opposing demon armies
With banners proudly unfurled.
A shadow falls from the east,
From where a cold wind blew
The outcome long since written,
As the weird well sisters knew.
Across nine kingdoms
A lone horn does blow
The end begins here and now
Finally facing the beloved foe.
Though this day is our last
Courage never once fails,
Fight the fight that must be fought
Leaving others to tell the tales.
Jörð is pronounced “Yorth”
Singing the songs of my country,
Singing the songs of my land,
Serenading broken countrymen
Writing their dreams in the sand.
Telling the stories of our history,
All the lessons we should have learned:
The path that says it leads to greatness
Ends with human bodies being burned.
If you tell it often enough
Every lie can seem to be true,
The bigger the lie the better, it seems.
The great crowds won’t have a clue.
Trained to reject the evidence of your eyes,
You’ll see what they tell you to see,
Think what they tell you to think.
All the time believing you are free
This is how democracy ends:
With thunderous applause.
Sew the seeds of dissident rebellion,
Give voice to a sacred cause.
Once upon a time
I saw you turn water into wine
The wine sat alone in the cellar
And no one has the guts to tell her
While wine gets better with age
She’s just muddy vinegar at this stage
Watching the change to fascist regimes
Leonard Cohen haunts my walking dreams
The promise that Democracy will finally come
Orwellian nightmares causing my soul to numb
Though you’ve yet to be grabbed or kissed
Each of us have a duty to stand and resist
Should I even be here at my age,
Watching amateur actors prance on the stage?
What advice could I dare bequeath them,
A tip of the hat, a sad and sincere “Shalom aleikhem”
I could try and turn vinegar back into wine
Maybe it would have worked, once upon a time.
Added 2/17/17: There is now a video available of me reading this poem:
Added 3/25/17: You can also just listen to the audio, if you wish:
High water rising,
Gently caress my collar bone,
Drip drops and patient streams
Wear away granite stones.
Wet wool weighs down,
Fingers bleed climbing garages,
Trying desperately not to drown.
Flood waters flowing,
Creeping the curve of my lips,
Neck stretched, stomach clenched,
Knees knocking atop toe tips.
Rivers run deep and muddy,
The valley floor will disappear,
Thunder shakes to the marrow,
Lightening crackles the atmosphere.
Lips pursed tight,
Almost as tight as my asshole,
Struggle to nose above the water,
This is the way the dice roll.
Oðinn, Myrddin, Whitman, Blake,
Can’t you see what’s now at stake,
Who’s for real and who’s a fake?
Its time for poets to sing their songs,
Inspire people to right some wrongs,
Leaving hate in the past, where it belongs.
Isaiah, Mohammad, Byron, Hughes,
Any idea what we stand to lose
When we’ve lost our very right to choose?
Fascism marching down our streets,
The government peeking beneath our sheets
Justice and Truth contemplate defeats.
A storm brewing in the night,
We all know what is wrong and what is right,
Now is the time to stand and fight.
Oðinn = O-thin (th as in “this”)
Myrddin = Mer-thin (the as in “this”)
Image is The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed in the Sun by William Blake
When rabbits howl
And the hero screams.
Your life will soon be over
Or so the singer sings.
When Death comes for you
And you just let her pass.
You’ll soon see your only friend
Is the one swimming in your glass.
When she finally confronts you
And you embrace those ghostly lips
She’ll simply suck your heart dry
Leaving you dead, as your blood she sips.
-28 April 1992/27 August 1995