Just After Dawn
She came to him just after dawn,
Stood before him in the doorway,
Until he saw something wrong
Written in her stare.
"The crow is gone," She declared.
"Gone? Out of its box?"
"It’s dead. Poor thing."
"Do you think I killed it?"
"No. You saved it from the cat."
"Then why did it die?
I fed it every time it cried out.
It was warm.
No harm came to it."
"I guess it just died for want of its mother.
I can’t think of any other reason."
"Yeah, but you tried.
All stories don’t have happy endings."
"Crows eat other baby birds, anyway.
I’m going to throw it away."
"Go give it to the cat."
Thinning The Crop
Plucked unblossomed from life’s stem!
Fruit of maternal failing,
Snatched straight from thy phlegm!
Thou of marauder’s gullet!
Hatches the call of triumphant thief!
Cracks the granite cliffs with grief -
Antigone’s muffled wailing.
I Did Not Shoot An Albatross
I did not shoot an albatross.
I did not wake a dog.
I did not break a holy cross,
Nor brave a hallowed bog.
I did not stir the dead to hate,
Nor see a crossing cat.
Yet, still a stroke of vexing fate
Has found me where I’m at.
A watermelon swelled up round,
And dropped down,
Rolled around on the ground.
A watermelon was abandoned,
And never made a sound.
In the human body, from birth,
There are minerals, I’ve been told.
There are trace elements of great worth,
Even platinum and gold.
There is wealth in a body.
Though the arrangement somewhat shoddy,
There are enough minerals to forge a ring.
And my father said I would never amount to anything.
An ode I offer to the foulness
Molded in subtle contour along my way,
Bejeweled by winged metallic settings -
The crowning achievement of my day.
To what aesthetics might I lay claim?
There is no novelty I see -
Only the stink of mediocrity
Aborted into temporal fame.
Mold on the wallpaper,
Just over the window,
Has turned to dust,
Dry as the phrase I must speak,
Dry as the phrase I have spoken,
That our time is almost done.
And we are almost done,
Not wanting to know,
But waiting to know
That the promise of life is soon broken.
Woeful is this thought.
Woeful are my thoughts.
Wayward are my thoughts,
Wanton my schemes.
I am neither sitting or lying in my chair.
My feet alone are elevated.
The afternoon is waxing on
With but a fly to cheer it,
Tracing figure eights about the ceiling,
Fanning the air, stirring the air,
Haunting me, fearless and feckless,
Buzzing, quo vadis, quo vadis?
I think if ever there was
Something to write home about,
Any run-of-the-mill cause
I could champion, beyond doubt,
Nothing could be as great
As the quite medial way
I always stay middle rate.
One might accurately say
That I try, so-so, to be
Content with mediocrity.
Oh, my! You say you don’t like my verse!
Why, you’ve cataloged my fault
In a scathing two-page curse!
I believe you’ve tried to scratch and rub in salt.
But why the morass of mock literary critique,
When you’re just pissed at my biffing your religious mystique?
I would offer a steaming response, with ample adduce,
But, unfortunately, I’ve already flushed it down the loo.
So what’s a bitter critic and a foul poet to do?
We’ll just have to agree to disagree.
Don’t shake your aspergillum at me.
And I won’t piss on you.
Sins Of Omission
Wherein have I done wrong,
When there is none to make account?
I haven’t taken anything that didn’t belong
To me, never harmed, in the slightest amount,
Any creature, being, substance, or creed.
I have spent my time in meditation,
Avoiding even the least questionable deed.
Innocence is my vehement annunciation.
My talent was mine to discard,
No obligation at all to be a bard!
I confess, I never sang my song.
But wherein have I done wrong?
What To Say
Have you found a voice?
Have you discovered a tongue
That might articulate the thoughts of your day?
Do you wish another choice
Than to hear the bells rung
For you, still wondering what to say?
Rebel Without A Clue
A little boy grew his hair long,
And listened to a rowdy song,
Painted mad tattoos on his arm,
Outright refused to work the farm.
He pondered what he had done wrong,
And wondered who had done him harm.
We pushed your boathouse in the lake,
Razed your Boy Scout camp to the ground,
For retribution’s sake,
When we found
You had taught us honesty, but lied.
For an award we were denied,
We destroyed your camp and your pride.
You tried to catch us with idle threats,
To make us pay our moral debts.
But we were not scared.
We knew where to hide.
We had learned to be prepared.
Pertaining To Rage
If we could focus our rage,
Measure with a pressure gage,
In its incubation stage,
We could make the right package,
Lock a tight Pandora’s box,
Treat it as a deadly pox
That eats a mind full of holes,
And leaves behind wasted souls.
But I suspect I could not
Contain my wrath when it’s hot -
Pressure must soon overload,
Would just build up and explode.
Rage Against The Machine
Rage against the machine.
Demand to be heard.
Demand to be seen.
Utter a single word.
Raise your angry voice.
Silence the grinding gears.
Make known your free choice.
Cast aside your fears.
Strike your hardest blow.
Break the laws that demean.
Stand against the flow.
Rage against the machine!
A critic who knew not his place,
Was determined to rearrange space.
He threw up his scheme,
Tied fast to a beam,
And got back harsh words in his face.
A hateful vengeful renegade,
With irons at his side,
Cursed the life his mother had made,
And stripped of all but pride,
Vowed the scales of justice to raid.
A hateful vengeful renegade
Embarked upon a ride,
To bring his maker to the grade,
To feel dignified,
To prove that he was not afraid.
A hateful vengeful renegade,
Feeling his hands were tied,
Took his anger out on parade,
His wrath unsatisfied,
Along the path on which he strayed.
Run, Monster, Run
Run, monster, run!
The town knows what you’ve done!
They have you under the gun!
They’ll skin you just for fun!
Go, monster, go!
Too late to make a show!
The upright folks all know!
You’re in for a nasty blow!
Hide, monster, hide!
No time to think of pride!
The people see inside!
This is the end of the ride!
Fate, monster, fate!
It has always been too late!
No time for a debate,
When you’re the point of hate!
He made a computer game to amuse himself,
Countless megabytes of animation
Fighting it out on a computer shelf -
All a product of programmed determination.
The computer’s electronic creatures
Thought that they were to blame
For all of the nonsensical features
Of the randomly destructive game.
This made the computer man smile,
Until he turned it all off for a while.
Sylvia, you Nazi Jew!
Why should I feel pain for you,
And wear you like a worn-out shoe?
But I do.
Who are you?
Nightmare come true,
Come to take the heaven’s blue,
And paint the grass with ghastly rue!
You suck life from me.
I drink pain from you.
Call me a knave.
Roll over in your grave.
Though I am sure you will see
That what I say is true.
We fought the same war.
We loved the same whore.
But I am still here.
And you have no fear.
You rotten-tongued bard!
You’ve decayed in some yard.
Long ago, you died.
But when I heard you cry, I cried.
Until the Wind Blows Again To Frankfurt
I wear a cross of red fury broken.
No Messerschmitt roar can ever drown out,
Nor songs of over all and praise spoken,
This blitz terror wailing in my cold heart.
Random ack-ack has found its mark no doubt;
On tragic stage, the Nibelungen part.
An eagle never again taken nest,
No martyr’s wreath on Brandenburg to pass,
I had a dream before my fiery rest,
To hail just one more dawn on growing grass,
To work, or walk, or waltz, of jackboots freed,
No care where the father’s footsteps lead,
No epics more to curse my wretched creed -
A cause for which so many nations bleed.
If ever again my name is token
Of bold and brazen goose steps beating ground,
And zeppelin parades on earth now broken,
(Forgotten bones beneath some Norman mound)
Know the current carried me against my will.
No honor or Teutonic glory may
Grant eternal peace, nor make my soul still.
Memory barred, then let lips of truth say:
Hanukkah candles shall not sing my praise.
Beneath this foreign soil there is no rest,
But wandering until the end of days,
And pain pillowed against an iron breast.
Until the wind blows again to Frankfurt,
Bringing fair gods to redress my hurt,
With olive branch, the vanguard point I’ll roam,
Till wings of doves shall bear me swiftly home.
A Mouse In A Mouse Trap
A mouse in a mouse trap,
Caught by the tail,
Gives the bait a frantic tap,
But to no avail.
There’s nothing to do but stay,
A writhing dying rat,
Unless to chew his tail away,
Or call out for the cat.
I was asked what day it is today.
And I had to say,
That today is today,
And will stay today,
And can be no other way.
Your hands are hard as stone,
Your skin a leather hide.
Your muscles feel like bone,
But you have grown soft inside.
Is it from the heat, or the cold,
Or knowing you’ll never grow old,
Or the tedious days you spend,
Or the mornings that never end?
You are strong, but you are sick,
Like a broken-handled pick.
But perhaps you’ll sleep better tonight.
Just one more day, one more fight.
Come on, you can’t be through!
To give up is a crime!
Stand just one more time!
It is all that you can do.
Every morning as I’m waking,
I can feel my hands are shaking
From the turn this cog is taking,
From my work the day before.
Should I pull a different lever?
Can I make the quota? Never!
Will I see the belts run ever,
Hear the gears spin ever more?
Will this cog continue taking
Sprockets grinding without breaking,
Ever turning, ever making,
Making, making more and more?
Shall I pull a different handle,
Both ends burned now from the candle?
Widget, gadget, ratchet, hatchet -
Wrench it. Drop it.
Pain is no stranger,
A doorman without shame,
Dutiful attendant he,
And no one will disclaim,
Forsakes all other dignities,
No courtesies he spares,
To honor with his presence,
Meticulous his cares,
Faithful in his calling,
Intimate this friend,
Devoted till the end.
Sitting at the ocean side,
Underneath a tree,
I spied a little hermit crab
Running from the sea.
Clinging to the jagged rocks,
Hunting for a lee,
It spent the chief part of its will
Running from the sea.
Toying With Joy
Let me tell you about despair.
I have plenty to share.
It is everywhere, like air.
I hold my breath to postpone death,
Try not to let the darkness in.
But I’ve found no way to win.
I always breathe in again,
Find another heart full of pain.
If you have joy to spare,
Perhaps you might share,
Perhaps barter for my despair.
But what would I do with joy?
I would use it like a Christmas toy -
Use it, abuse it, and break it straight away.
Toying with joy is a game I cannot play.
The Heart Of My Mind
In the heart of my mind,
One can usually find
That emotion has no license there.
The thoughts are quite blind
To matters of despair.
My cold-hearted mind
Pays no mind to the silly things
My frail-minded heart sings,
The axes it has to grind.
It takes heart to leave such troubles behind.
My mindless heart cries often.
Heart-stricken, it bleeds.
But my mind never heeds.
There is nothing that can soften
The cruel heart of my mind.
No Where To Go But Up
It appears you’ve fallen down
Like a bolt from the blue.
Your fears have come true.
You must swim or drown.
Think of how to sup.
You must take to live.
There is nothing to give,
And no where to go but up.
There is a solitary crow
Perched on a tombstone.
He’s been called a raven by some.
He is silent now,
But bitterly weeping inside.
And there is no one to console him.
He is alone and surrounded
By cold wisps of snow.
Whose destiny is this?
Whose fate is this
I am sealing?
Whose dream of bliss,
Whose mocking bliss
Am I feeling?
Whose deathly kiss,
Whose deadly kiss
Am I stealing?
Will I wake and discover
That I have simply seen
Through the eyes of another,
Find that I have always been
Acting out a pantomime,
Wasting someone else’s time?
Warbler On The Wing
Sweet songbird, do not leave me.
There is no need to leave
For the shelter of a tree -
Nothing you might achieve.
Your song is all I impart
Of happiness this day.
Might I cage it in my heart?
Might I coax you to stay?
From The Top Of The Tree
From the top of the tree,
It is easy to see
The world go by.
It must surely feel free
To sing so merrily,
And not know why.
I cannot disagree
With a gay chickadee -
Her happy cry.
Her sights are high.
She sees better than me,
From the top of the tree.
Phoebe, can you hear a whisper lift up to your ear?
Phoebe, can you feel a lunatic’s radiating fear?
I sing to the moon – a loud and languorous tune.
I sing with the loon, that twilight comes too soon.
Phoebe, I wish to see what I shall be.
Phoebe, will you lend an ear? Will you hear me?
Whose face is this that I am seeing?
Who wears these myriad masks – these many countenances that glower
And bicker by nature, and wage war in colossal storms?
What is this awful being
Who vies with itself for power,
Whose supremacy shapes so many contrary forms?
Which hand, if not contending powers, creates a schism?
If not conflicting forces, then what purpose, what reason
For a single mind, so broad, to follow an aimless quest,
To refract will and light through a prism,
Never coming to conclusion or proper season,
To struggle so, never finding rest?
Creator, O my creator! My eyes are weak!
The body of my comprehension is fractured.
The foundation of my spirit shakes with instability.
If a god must be so wicked, then where is a simple soul to seek
The station of a servant enraptured,
And on a calm tide of benevolence, find tranquility?