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Saturday, October 30, 2010



Within a day the whole matter sours,
We are left with nothing,
All that remains is what we wish to be rid of,
The thing to bury or burn from sight.

Oh, unsearchable way and counsel of God!

Oh, blindness of hope and expectation!



I lie on the bed here in our home.
On the TV screen,
I watched the DVD called The Last Waltz.

Its music has its way with my heart.
And a deep, unmistakably warm and tender emotion,
It floods up, I feel, as if I am immersed,
I swim in my fondness for you.

I see you through the open doorway.
You stand in the next room, working;
You inspect and prepare dresses,
Soon be packed away in luggage,
Merchandise you plan for sale on a trip abroad.

You have on your gray, cotton shorts,
The ones you usually wear around the house,
The ones with the drawstring front;
They have pink stripes on the side.

You sport a pale raspberry (a color,
Which I believe, favors your olive skin)

V-necked shirt and its short, tapered sleeves
Accent, compliment your toned, narrow arms.

I must declare, I do,
I do love you with all my soul
And I love you with every pound of pressure
My physical frame might exert.

In the morning, even before prayer or daily reflection,
When we wake I turn my head to you, and ask,
‘Have I told you how much I love you yet this morning?’

You reply, contract your brow and purse your lips,
And say, “No!”
And then I smilingly reply,
‘How much I love you yet this morning!’

In the afternoon I ask the same.
While we may drive about
And try to accomplish the day’s busy chores,
I divert my eyes from the highway for a moment,
Turn to you and say, ‘Darling!’ I say.
‘Have I told you how much I love you yet this afternoon?’

You shake your head from side to side.
You answer my interrogative, “No!”

And then I reply, dead-panned, but right,
As if I speak, direct,
From the very core of my inner most being,
– And although some one with a jealous ear
Might conclude that I am silly, or immature --
I intone, ‘how much I love you yet this afternoon!’

And now it is evening, and still, as always,
The questioning refrain remains the same.
And your answer no different than earlier, before,
I must necessarily declare.
I record it for all to know.
I want the world to know,

‘How much I love you yet this evening!’

EMMANUEL, West Houston Street Encounter

West Houston Street Encounter

Say! Excuse me, Mister.

Wonder, might you spare some change?

Believe it or not, I was once a teacher;
I had a home in New Canaan, a wife and kids.

And good religious education,
I learned the books of the Bible,
Always felt myself a righteous man.

You might find it hard to phantom,
Given current circumstances,
But is true!

Think on it, mister.

It’s true!

Thursday, October 28, 2010



I read here and inform world,

I am one who had been granted choice
To have life of joy and great party, instead
I embraced age and woe, and prophecy to bear.

I am like David, King,
My verse belongs to heart,
I sing of love, the bedroom,
The nights when limbs fall askew,
And lips of wide-open mouths lock,
I write of events, whose chief renown,
Rest upon time loosening its awful grasp.

My arm is mighty.
I am keenly skilled at weaponry.
Because my heart is pure,
My strength has the strength of ten.
A new kingdom animates my ambition.
I plan to establish Zion.

On mountain top,
Now sitting barren in the wilderness,
The light of the ages shall flourish,
The son of man, He will visit.
The Lord commands I marshal my forces.
My lyre sits on the campaign table,
My sling readies to outrage Philistines.

Warriors reel, they roll in clanging lists
Trumpets shrill up high, shattering the sky,
I walk to the fore, my bearing right,
And in an instance, before the armies
Found their resolve, before they
Stood to and steeled their final formation,
Munificence blesses me, my enemy,
All his might now lies upon the ground,

Surely goodness and mercy follow me.

And in the heat and noise of battle,
Perfume and flowers fall in showers,
Angels sing, and I fear no evil,
I dwell in the house of the Lord,
My victory belongs to the ages,
My name forever bespeaks His bounty.

NOW VOYAGER, A Poem in Five Parts

A Poem in Five Parts,
October 2010

Were I a gentleman true, gallant,
The kind of chap with plumage in his hat,
Whose cape readies for damsel's distress,
I would say let us end it now; you are
Too young or, even better put,

I am too old for love with a beauty your age.

But let us face it!
No two-bit convention possesses me.

Long ago,
It was in the woods of Western Massachusetts,
I saw time tunnel down the trail before me.
I saw the nature of things,
The whirl into which all we know disappears.

And tonight faces of the dead startle me awake.
Family and friends float before me.

Oh the calamity!
Death holds both young and old alike!

Darling, the air in my bedroom
It drops to the temperature of ice.

I envision my aunt, Helene, and see her
When she says to the child, who is me,
"Stanley! Go ahead! Touch her!"
My cousin, Barbara, lies in her coffin
Before the age of six; she was a year older than I.

My buddy, Burton, cut down well before prime.
Thought of him occupies my every day.

Revelry brings me to Joey who cried
"Whitney's dead!" And right there
On Fifth Avenue, opposite the Public Library,
He placed his gun on the glass of the showcase
Counter top. I was in the jewelry shop.
I dream a slip back to my former ways, the drinking life;
I could taste the whiskey shots, the beverage
Dispensed that afternoon, it was Johnnie Walker Black.

The haunting goes on;
More of the dead, they parade before me.

Omar, tall, dark, forgive me here for I know
No better than the honest truth, handsome,
The child, Spencer, my son's best friend,
My high-school sweethearts, Arlene and Lynn,
All taken, all unwitting emblems, as if to prove,
Life bears no promise of continuance.

Nightmare arms with disembodied hands,
Wag imaginary fingers
They seem to demand I pick up pen and write.


But before one dream ceases another appears.
I see the birds of the air keep still.
Those who were eating did not eat,
And those who were conveying material to make nest,
Did not convey it. And before me opens a scene
Of low surf beaches upon which are long ships,
Vessels whose hulls have center masts
With single, rectangular sails, blood red,
And from gar boards up are stakes, broad-axed
Hewed, each board a color its own,
And each board nailed one upon the other,
The sides of those ships appear,
Like the bands of rainbows, red, orange, yellow,
Green, blue, indigo and regal violet.
Color upon color runs the length of keels,
Which themselves are crowned gold
Each has its own fierce, dragon-head prow.

Rudders are mounted at right, and within each craft
Upon rows and rows of chests sit oarsmen.

The ships are set to sail,
Yet the entire assembled host
Seems as if stuck in stone,
Like sculpture done in high relief. Nothing moves.
The waves have stopped, they break not.

What a night! It is,
It really is, what a remarkable night!

Never before have I beheld,
Have I seen such Technicolor panorama.
The closed world of family and friends
Falls to vision from other time and place.
My bedroom warms. And a seemingly true,
But sixth sense intimates Spring,
I bear witness to a prelude,
The dream carries me and I sense the long days,
The glory of Scandinavian summer awakens before me.

Light, bright, bright day dawns, and it thrills me.
I ready for adventure. I am happy;
I am exhilarated beyond normal human expectations.

And, then, suddenly, right before my eyes,
From within a quick, upward swirling smoke,
A bearded visage materializes.

The image takes me aback.

It is strange. It wears a helmet,
(The likes of which I had never before encountered)
A four part iron dome with a sharp spike atop,
A braided chain surrounds its eye sockets,
It gives a spectacle-like appearance to the visor.

Down the back of this visage’s neck,
Mounted from the edge of his helmet,
A chain-mail curtain falls
Directly to the shoulder of a thick, hide tunic.
A strap from ear guard to ear guard
Runs behind his beard, holds his helmet in place.

He says, "Action! Please!"
At once, as though my dream a set scene
Belonging to some kind of cinematic construct,
I hear birds of the air singing,
And those who were eating, eat,
And those who were conveying material to nest,
Now fly about and convey it.

The shipyard has come to life, the din already terrific.
On horizon's plane I hear low thunder.
I see the spray of waves sparkle in the daylight.

I wonder do I sleep or do I wake?


"Today", the specter says,
"Before I appeared in vision to you,
A fierce fit seized my brain, and I took my sword
And smashed it mightily against this stone
Which our men had trundled from the moraine,
A monument on whose face
Inscribed characters memorialized my life."

Wordlessly he hands me a leather roll to unfurl.
It is a runic manuscript and though
The writing, the script olden, it is Norse,
In my dream I could read it!

"My Darling Brunet," the salutation goes,

"I am your countryman, a remote ancestor,
I tell you true, and whether you believe me or not,
Or how you choose to act,
The matter rests entirely with you.
Nonetheless I urge you. Harken!

"Death has deprived me of ability to speak,
The poet’s verse, the dream
It communicates to you, is channel,
The vehicle this ghost employs,
Without this medium no correspondence would exist.

"You have heard of the hurried activity that
Animates the point of embarkation,
Note anticipation of mere material success,
It dwarfs so much noble human endeavor.
The business these ships portend had once been mine.

"The business the ships portend had been mine.

"And now voyager, you, like we before you,
Pursue the world to bring it to your feet,
You seek new riches and hope
To bring them home to dazzle compatriots.

"Yet, whatever the greatness now awaits you,
Yours can not compare to ours, to our accomplishment.


The reverie continued with me reading the ancient text.
The leather roll in my hands,
Wondrously I unfurl it.
The ghostly visage on guard, he insures I wake not,
That I remain under his command and tell his story.

I read the document aloud.

"Forgive the invidious note. Still mull it over;
Allow me this moment. Imagine it!

"The joy! We sat well in order
And smote the sounding furrows,
And sailed into the sunrise
We headed toward the baths of the morning stars.

"And when we landed, we crossed a vast,
Unnamed landmass between Europe and Asia,
Harnessed captives to forge the rivers,
Fought numberless skirmishes,
We used native allies to establish posts for trade.

"And while we traveled we beseeched Odin,

"Oh Father! Oh Father of Fathers! Oh Allfather!
Soak us in the blood of enemies, and let its
Stench increase our fury. Help us to violence!
Oh Great God guide us to murder,
Death to any who would dare to, who might defy us!

"The greater bloody smell that filled our nostrils,
The more the madness drove us to fight and conquer.

"And when we lit the funeral pyres,
Made from the ships of our current travel,
And burned the bodies of our fallen comrades
Into the heaven that awaits the warrior,
Our hair became matted thick,
We were crowned with the ash of the departed.
In the smoke from those fires
We breathed in the spirits of heroic conquest.

"We were men of prayer and momentous belief,
Utterly we turned our will and
We turned our lives over to care of Father.

"And I ask, again, how your may compare to ours,
How may your enterprise
Compare to our conquest of the East?

"We founded Kiev, established the thrones
That became the Royal house of a great nation.

"All the way from the soil of Stora Alvaret,
We crossed the Bosporus,
And battled foes on the plains outside Byzantium,
Our work was in the employ of oriental Emperors.

"We had vanquished the expanse of land
We ruled from Baltic to Black Sea.

"And when we returned to homeland shores
We had ships which were filled with slaves and honey,
And were heaped with all variety of fruit.

We brought women to the North,
Awesome beauties of the East were ours.

We stole the horses of the Hungarians and the Czechs.

Our ships returned laden with pelts, fur, which we
And our people used to win our great fight against winter.

"We had returned home rich beyond measure.

“No one need tell me how great the events,
How the gravestone script commemorates
The immortality of your ancestors’ deeds and mine.

"Yet nothing matches the warmth, the memory,
My dear wife’s body lay in bed, her sleeping next to me.

"And now, so many years ago, I remember
I happened upon my wife while she lifted
Our son to seat him on the front plank
Of an oxcart parked in the front of our home.

"I must convey that there is
More lasting memory and real worth for me
In the way dappled sunlight
Had illuminated my son's head
Than is upon all the runes in the homeland today.

"Our paths emerge but for a while
Then close forever within a dream.

"Time cuts us a length so short only the moment
May be cherished, all else, vanity.
And once we recognize the transitory,
The fleetingness of all we savor,
We may seize the instance and know treasure.

"I am a phantom. My victories mean nothing.

"Were I only able to spend
An hour more in bed with my beloved,
Could I once more bear living witness
To sun’s light across tree tops at height of day.

"If only it possible to play, to tumble,
To crawl along with my toddler son,
Were we to have opportunity for our knees
And our hands to be upon this earth once more.

"Goodbye! Sweet woman, Goodbye!

"Farewell! Farewell! Remember me!"


He vanishes. The runic, leather manuscript,
His letter with its seemingly magic unfurling,
The record of the glory and the moral of his story,
I attempt to continue my grasp, but it, too, is gone.

The dreamscape has turned green.

And the color now before me matches the hue,
The verdant, the summer green of those
Preserves of forest that stretch
For mile upon mile along the River Deplanes,

The green equals the shade of the woods,
The same shade as the leaves of trees,
Which circle the cemetery stone,
The burial ground of the Chippewa Chief
Whose bravery saved the pale skins at Fort Dearborn.

The green is the summer color surrounding the burial plot,
The Indian Burial Ground where I played in my youth.

And out from behind this world of green, voices,
Voices, which I hear, but do not see, they declare,

"Go slowly, my lovely moon, go slowly.

"Time chases upon our heels,
Before long it quickens its pace to furious gallop.
All earthly stores succumb to this onslaught.
In a wisp, as with the language of our monuments,
We cease, and we are remembered no more."

And now -- over and against this flood of green --
A white, spectral chorus appears.
And from amongst the ensemble
A single, ghost figure steps to the fore, and says,

"I am here to repeat ancient wisdom:

"We care not; who cares what the joyless say?
They should get lost, all of them!

"Once our tiny, brief light is pinched out,
There be no night, like that everlasting night,
When earth, it replaces heaven.

"So let’s kiss, and let’s kiss again.
Let’s kiss a thousand times, and, then,
Let’s do it all over again, those kisses.

"How many? How many? How many?
How many, you say?

"Let’s not number our kisses.
There are people with evil eyes,
Workers of black magic,
Who would wish to bewitch us.

"They should not know how many."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010



He was unable to recall
When he had last seen the words,
‘I love you’, form upon her lips.

Still he had not known
The woman sought only his fortune,
Until the time he spent with her
Began to feel the same as
A life sentence in prison.

Monday, October 25, 2010

HER GRANDMOTHER, Early Morning Refrain, October 2010

Early Morning Refrain,
October 2010

Was not handsome, nor was she particularly wise,
No one ever said she was the smartest,
But she painted well, an artist,
Today her family treasures and enjoys,
Landscapes and still lifes,
Wonderful evidence of her output and skill.

She applied the oil heavily, used both trowel and brush,
And captured wood and river, and rural architecture
All around her North New Jersey home;
She also rendered, remarkably, the wonder of Atlantic
Waves lapping upon her state’s South shore.

And following the common adage,
Different time and place, who knows the fame,
The renown she might have attained?

She dressed her grandchild, a girl, in pricey sets,
And family and neighbors seem to appreciate it,
“Oh isn’t Elsie wonderful!” They often said.

For all intents and purposes, the child was orphaned.
Her Mother was sick,
And had long-time stay in sanatorium,
Dad was gone;
He had run off and started another family.

Two other girls, her sisters, older, likewise deserted,
They stayed with paternal father and mother.
And she, the baby girl, was cast off, separate,
She went to her Mother’s Mother and Father.

Hard to explain the cause, yet jealousy reigned.
The new wife kept their father away,
He hardly ever saw the previous wife,
Or bothered to visit the three girls he abandoned.

Grandma's girl was tall, naturally curly, blonde hair,
And cheek bones high enough to make for real beauty.
Possessing natural, happy disposition,
Her eyes beamed, and when all-dressed-up,
She looked as though,
She might model for children’s fashion magazines.


But Elsie, she did have her ways,
(Really, I am told to put it nicely!)
She paid no heed to underwear,
Only interested in outward appearance,
Think on this a moment, for who could see it?

Though it might be tattered and dirty,
And Lord knows should have been replaced,
Especially when one consider the expense,
She cared not the dollar amount of any outfit’s cost.

She favored subtle, flower prints,
Nothing garish; she was master seamstress,
A healthy woman, who loved her cats
(Fed those both inside and outside the house)
And took in every kind of stray, animal and human.

A former dancer who partook of chorus,
Had her training at LUNA PARK,
And, all who knew her swear,
She practiced kicks, over head, when
She had already celebrated birthdays past seventy.

Did she swap a place for her star on the walk,
Take lead role in gilded cage instead?

No way, she was tough and worked hard,
Created a wonderful home and with natural talent,
She made a big garden, a green-thumb delight.

And guess what? To top it off,
She married well, a union man, a good provider,
A leader, he was respected and adored by all.

Sure he was a hard-nosed guy.
He had his trouble with the Schuberts and the mob,
No easy matter getting a salary for men,
Who changed the bulbs on marquee boards
Who hauled wire, and painted sets,
And whose days involved going up and down ladders.
Her grandpa made sure there was a decent wage
For the man whose job it was
To clean and bag after circus elephants.

Over the years, testimony holds,
-- Here we have no mean feat --
They fostered twenty-five kids, adopted four,
And then wound up having a girl of their own.

But something went amiss;
Grandpa went upstairs to bed,
Grandma slathered in wintergreen, and liniment
Slept on living-room couch at night,
Hard to believe,
How long a time they spent their lives that way.

And after her Mom was finally released from hospital,
Grandmother balked when time came to return
The girl to whom she had grown attached,
The girl she helped to educate and rear.
She pretended the child were her own.
She used every kind of conceivable excuse;
Grandma tied to keep the her real daughter away.

And then I heard,
I heard the granddaughter say,
We sat at kitchen table,
It was very late; sun had begun to signal new day.
I heard her wax, granddaughter waxed on the refrain,
Though she said it quiet and was ashamed,
‘I can not wish she were here.’

‘I do not wish she were here today.’

SAD, Following an Ancient Writer’s Reflection*

Following an Ancient Writer’s Reflection*

Etta, do you not care when I am ill?

Remember last week, when a pinched nerve
Kept me in bed for most of a day?
I could not walk,
I began to panic, and
Believed I might never be well again.

And your response, terrible, cold and unmoving,
Declaring what in my heart was apparent;
You told me that you had no aspirations,
That if I sought a Florence Nightingale,
I had barked up the wrong alley.

It hurt most, when after a moment’s reflection,
I came to believe your response sounded rehearsed.

It had a tone, which seemed practiced more than once.

Yet when I had fallen,
Became lost to pain in an otherwise robust frame,
And you had shown no worry, commiserated not a bit.

You had actually precluded concern.

Now that my health returns,
I must wonder,
No matter the many times you have claimed
That you loved me,
If you ... had you ever cared for me at all.

*The inspiration for this poem was Suplicia's POEM 5. She was a woman poet of the 1st century CE, and, as usually is the case, little about her life and work has survived the ages.

Estne tibi, Cerinthe, tuae pia cura puellae,
quod mea nunc vexat corpora fessa calor?
A! ego non aliter tristes evincere morbos
optarim, quam te si quoque velle putem.
At mihi quid prosit morbos evincere, si tu
nostra potes lento pectore ferre mala?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

TO SEE HER AGAIN, A Love Poem after the Verse of Gabriela Mistral

A Love Poem after the Verse of Gabriela Mistral,

Second Version

And never, never more to see her form,
Not even a glimpse of her,
Not in the nights filled with trembling stars,
Or in the face of dawn’s first light,
Or in the blazing sun, whose heat
Discolors sidewalks at noon?

Never, never, again, to witness her walking
Upon the kicked up dirt of the bridle path,
Along the river underneath the shadow of trees,
Never, her body
Against the white washed walls of the causeway?

I wonder if she remembers the bridge, the one
Topping the low-rise concrete dam,
I told her there that nothing had sufficient strength,
That no material exists to control the overflow,
Is there nothing to contain my flood of feelings for her?

How else might I relate my mood?
Ask the pertinent question?

Never, never, again, to eye her fleshly presence,
Entangled, standing in the tresses of the forest,
Or stooped to gather strawberries
Picked from rows and rows of fruit in the truck-farm field?

I call out to her as the night envelops me,
I forget I walk big-city sidewalks.

My cries echo, repeat my anguish.
Throughout the empty parking lots and the city canyons,
My voice carries, yet it registers with no one.
Over and over, I hear myself implore her to return to me;
Should I not, and is it not better to forget her?

Oh, no! To see her again,
Not important, makes no difference, where,
It does not matter when
-- My, my glory of heaven! --
If today it is within a deep, blue patch of sky,

Or perhaps tomorrow in the vortex,
Within the swirling ocean power,
That force which carries all kinds of debris,
When a ship and all its glory sinks,
Down, down into the Sailors’ Locker,
And image of her surfaces when all else disappears
And the scene’s sole illuminate is moon light.

Oh, no! To see her again, and to view her in the moment
When the volcano opens
And I am before the lurid, red hell-mouth,
And witness its demons’ roaring spew of steam and ash.

Yet I do not flinch, I am steadfast,
I have no fear of misadventure. I look into the fire.
I do not plug my ears, I listen,
And from earth’s deep, distant core,
Amidst the Hurley burly of all the explosions,
Within the lightning claps and clamor,
The mad noise of boulders being thrown
I hear it! I hear her name, Cheri, Cheri!

Yes, I admit her deviltry besets me.

And to be with her in all the spring times,
And in all the winters,
Entwined in paroxysm of mighty-muscle clench,
While I suck up the blood of her neck,
And spot it all over,
Make it black and blue with the power of my caresses.

RATNA, You May Laugh At Me, October 2010 Version

You May Laugh At Me, Rewrite,
An Adaptation of a Poem by T. Wijaya,

Ratna, you may have left me,
But the blanket on our bed remains.

Sometimes from out in the street
I hear chatter; I run to the window,
Open the drapes,
Look from our second-story flat,
And I see children.
Because the event more or less reoccurs daily,
At intervals, fifteen minutes before the ninth hour,
I imagine the youngsters are students,
Who hurry, hasten, not to be late for school.

The sound runs major then quiets,
But before too long it returns, again, to loudness.

Beneath its ebb and upward flow,
Within its clamor,
In its swirling contraction and expansion,
Underneath it all, I swear to it, darling, I swear,
I very clearly perceive,
Throughout the commotion, a young, collective voice.

In my mind the cacophony
Amounts to no mere happenstance of noisy play,
But is itself poetry, which I myself have composed.
It seems to capture a lyrical composition.

It is as if the youngsters have gained access,
Know the words and meter of my heart’s declaration.

I feel the children have taken my verse
And boldly recite it for the public.

Their voice expresses every splendid feeling and thought,
I hear my love for you, said aloud with excellence,
A match, as though the poet himself read the lines.


Ratna, think how strange it seems, paradoxical when,
These self-same students learn in classroom,
Study the language of science,
Yet my own textbook teaches at odds,
Against current curriculum, revealing solely
Great passion and affection, a knowledge that
No everyday, timely attendance might bring to reason.

No matter the hours, whatever time devoted to lessons,
No amount of homework or study reduces my soul,
Its lyric, to easy, algebraic, chalk–board formulation.

I am reminded of how hapless the task, trying to reason
All the marvelous abundance God bestows,
Although we may not merit, no way deserve
His grace, the bounty which freely befalls us.

Ratna, you may laugh at me, but when I awaken
I pretend to percolate coffee for you,
Or that soon I receive your telephone call,
Your voice at the other end, you,
No longer at business, far away, but here, now,
The distance between us breached,
The gap closed, that you have called to tell me
You are safe and have arrived home.

My emotions flutter when I hear your timbre.

Ratna, my dreams of you are constant,
And possess warmth and overall good feeling.

Consider it. Once I recount my story,
The story about you,
You the woman, who has abandoned me,
Would anyone accept this tale,
(Suppose we search the whole wide world)
Would we find one, one single person,
Who concludes, believes,
If even for a moment. that I am a happy man?

Ratna, I do not regret a single day.
My thoughts of you, our life together, remain indelible.
And when you promised heaven and earth to me,
Those moments you swore love and your words,
Once spoken ardently – my remembrance of them,
Carry me to joy, and boundless contentment,
They fire within my mind’s eye, and propel my being.


Remember the tree I planted in our garden?
Its fruit has become property of another,
And each and every time I think it over,
Our life, the every moment we spent together,
I find myself sitting at the desk to write,
Hoping to explain, how I trust every word you said,
Wishing to relate the splendid images,
The visceral weight, and the deep compulsion,
To relive the time, our hand was in hand, and
We were held together, our fingers interlocked.

Ratna, in endless run of sentence after sentence,
My life returns to great day, the glory chapters,
Which comprise the big book of our love,
Oh, how thrilled I am to have been at your side.

Ratna, in your heart my love for you may be dead.
But each day I rise again in that blue room,
That blue bedroom, where we started the day,
Each day I wake to the same blue sky,
Which houses our Lord, to Him I pray.
I ask for nothing, only His Will for you, for me, today.

Ratna, my lovely light, you, the dream which floods
Across this room, down upon the key board,
And drives my fingers to write the length,
-- Oh, the grand expanse over which my bosom races --
No mere chimera, no flight of fancy,
But real as is the space between earth’s continents,
My ardency covers distance,
Real as the miles, which total our globe’s circumference.

Do not fear me; do not fear this verse.

Ratna, listen not to friends,
Those who claim misgivings,
Who believe I have taken leave of my senses,
That my ultimate design may want best for you.

You know that is not the case.

Ratna, I write in the moment, and, as you already know,
This instance sums all a human may possess,
We own but this one day, alone,
Still I mean every word I say for the ages,
I want world and posterity to learn.

Oh what a lucky man I have been.
My good fortune, the gratitude I feel for having
Loved you and having made your acquaintance!

STARBUCKS LOVE POEM, Early Sunday Evening Sorrow, Edited

Early Sunday Evening Sorrow,

Another early Sunday evening has arrived.

You, you are gone, abroad.
I sit all alone at Starbucks, drink coffee,
Instead of us sharing dinner together,
I write verse about how I miss you.

The notion, absence makes
The heart grow fonder, nonsense,
In my book no more than a hill of beans!

I am no fonder, fond of you, than I was
Ten minutes ago at the start of this poem.

I am no fonder of you today than yesterday,
Than last week, than weeks ago,
When you departed on business,
Left me in this big, old town, alone,
During that time, since then, my love,
My love has not an iota grown.

Tonight I am simply sad.
I am lonely.
I feel terrible without you.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

RED ROOF INN, Love a Few North of Trenton, New Jersey

Love a Few Miles North of Trenton, New Jersey,

An impossibly large bed stretched out across the room.
Between its feet and a long chest of drawers
A narrow aisle traveled the length.
It ran from the front door to the back of the room.

And you, there, in your bikini briefs, in an alcove,
It was an enclosure directly opposite the bathroom,
And it occupied half the suite’s entire width.

You were standing up against a cantilever table.
It was a wall-to-wall vanity with a mirror,
A mirror, which was as long as the table’s surface,
And it covered the back wall up to the ceiling.
Recessed lamps provided light from overhead.

You brushed your hair, and
With each stroke I saw
How your shoulder blades flexed.

I rose up from the bed,
Took a few steps,
And then, still from behind you,
I bent my torso forward at the waist,
And extended my arms,
My hands reached both your legs at the ankles.

Head-down, I pulled myself close to you.
My left shoulder found the center,
It rested right between your buttocks and legs.
The left side of my chin found a niche,
It touched the back of your right knee.

I was squatting and each of my hands
Was wrapped around one of your ankles,

When I stood up, I told you,
I had never personally encountered a woman
Who looked so much the better naked than clothed.

“Wow!” Burst out. And you said,
“You sure know how to compliment a girl.”

‘Woman! Trust my veracity.
‘Do not confuse my honest praise with flattery.’

I spoke only to myself, my tongue was tied.

Yet, then pretending to further my defense,
I more or less recalled the poet’s immortal words,
Those lines about truth and beauty being one,
And is not response to beauty, truth?

I ran the maxim in my mind, I was dumbfounded,
“‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty.’”

I dwelled in total awe of you.

And when old age our generation shall waste,
And time brings world to more and other woes,
We have had this moment and its sentiment remains –
‘Darling, that is all,’ I said to myself,
I had not uttered a word aloud,

‘You know on earth, and all you need to know.’

Sunday, October 17, 2010

BEWARE, True Love

True Love

Should this book pleasure you, beware!
Know an idolater has made it,
Although he sought to subjoin words to holy theme,
The good news that earth and spirit be one,
He failed and remains unredeemed,
Then to his hands that writ he did betake,
Which he disclosing read, thus as the paper spoke

That it had been forsworn,
Even every single line of verse,
And all else he calls his own,
Believe it or not, his life itself,
To graven image, he worships
Finite woman, a girl made of flesh and bone.

For her, it was all for her, for her alone,
He had conserved his health and appearance,
He tempted fame and fortune,
And since the days of youth,
When he marched in line, the bishop’s Confirmation,
No sacrament meant more to him than a day with her.

And he waited;
He waited as no else could have waited,
No one in this world would have waited for her,
For anyone, as he waited for her, his patience,
Unparalleled, he had not despaired.
Believe me; believe, reader, though now
The axiom rings worn and shallow, he exemplified
That within the human breast hope springs eternal.

Oh dreamy picture of love,
That all force of history might conspire,
Act to exact his design, no, no, not reckless,
But true, he built for the future,
Knew it was right,
As surely as the clock measured the hours,
That she would return to his arms.

He waited for her, heart and mind,
And with every, single bit of his physical self,
His arms, his eyes, his lips, all the flesh of his being,
He waited for her as no one else might have waited!

Let me drop the pretense,
This whole business of third person:

As deer crave for running waters,
So I crave, so I crave, so I crave for you,
As a mother wish for an absent daughter,
So I wish, so I wish, so I wish for you,
As father long for return of prodigal son,
So I long, so I long, so I long for you,
As a pastor aches for a member lost to church’s flock,
So I ache, so I ache, so I ache for you.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

OH CHICAGO! Suite White City

Suite White City,
October 2010

Chicago, I see you,
Though to be there, I must root out scenes,
Which now are very long ago, and what I share, here,
May be more dream, fiction, than actual historical event.

My life enfolds in pictures, and my mind, it sees
Lake-front parking, a lover’s lane,
Way down at east end of Foster,
At the time I and my son’s mother,
-- It was early evening --
A woman who in the future becomes my first,
The one, the only wife, and from whom, today, I count,
Almost thirty years, divorced.

A man, he came from within the bushes,
A stranger with mayhem his intent,
He held a great length of metal, a gaffing hook,
Then a big overhead swing, bang,
He punctured the hood on my Dad’s Chevrolet,
Which was a brand-new, 1960, four-door, hard-top, white.

We survived the attack,
Intact, secure behind the doors and car in reverse,
We were lucky, I guess.


I remember the time in the high rise, near North Side,
Where up on the 18th floor, my buddy and I, we knew
This cop, yes, she was fine.
Oh my, Chicago, I remember her, the fond delight!

I liked the way she let her 9MM sleep with us,
(She placed it under the pillow)
And her blues, her uniform with its badges,
And her leather belt and boots, whether she wore them,
Or when they were thrown, scattered and heaped,
Then accented with her undergarments atop,
I picture them,
The ensemble looked good on the rug of the bedroom floor.

Later, in the back seat, police cruiser unit,
I joined the convergence, while she drove,
And her partner sat shotgun, chased the culprit,
All sirens and beacons blazing,
Down the back alleys, behind the bungalows, fast, 30mph,
Galvanized cans crashing, their lids off, flying,
Like saucers, garbage was everywhere all over the concrete.


River View, the amusement park, sat down the block
From my first high school, its Ferris Wheel dominated
That side of the North Branch Chicago River.
Readers, please, excuse the free thinking.
I leap here and hope to insight and meaning,
Back to the time my great grandfather, John,
Came all the way from La Salle to see the lights,
The white city, magic, and when he returned, home,
Told tales about the city,
How great its marvels twenty-years after the Fire.

He, my great grandfather, he returned home,
And when he told the family about alternating current,
How white the city in the middle of the night,
He ignited in my grandmother lust, she wanted a part,
She sought the grandeur; she had to sell her soul,
What darkness, the narrow, a woman’s common lot,
The drudgery of hand laundry, the knowledge that,
As she often had lamented,
“Yes, I was born too soon.”

No easy task, ironing the household’s attire
With an implement heated on the stove,
Early to bed, early to arise, the great bore,
Small town life, it was said she would bed the devil
-- And many claimed she had -- she wanted out, escape
When she married my grandfather, an itinerant painter,
Who went from town to town painting church murals,
And following the grand cliche,
He drank his liquor as others might milk from a jar,
And to add to his cocktail’s already heady mix,
The family’s romance says, he had bad habit,
To moistened the stylist between his lips;
And we know, the paint his day had lead for its base.

Her husband, he promised her life, incandescent,
A large role in Illinois history, remember,
The new town rose up from the old, up from ashes,
And was there not real truth,
Behind the story, the Whites, the miracle,
How they had been rescued at Fort Dearborn?

She sought energy, electric, the moment
She wanted city burning, burning bright, resplendent.
Oh Chicago! It is from you that I have my life!



She offered him a bottle of Fresca;
It had been already opened and part drunk.
Then she made an off-handed remark
Claiming to have no communicable disease.

How was she to know that he required
No reassurance, that in fact he was eager to seek
A place where his lips might alight upon hers?

He drank down the rest of the soda in a couple gulps.


October 2010

Would you but bale the hay, darling,
And put the pumpkin atop
So I might know where to go to experience,
Enjoy the true worth of a loving heart.

Or better yet! Why not erect a pumpaguben,
One of those giant figures of pumpkins and gourds,
That I might have advertisement,
Direction right to the very center of your being?

There forever might I sample your wares
And feast the bounty of your great beauty.

Saturday, October 9, 2010



They wake me, I beg their advice.

I place my right, open palm on my left wrist,
I place them both upon my chest. I tuck my head.
I assume this posture flat on my back.
Although in my bed, I mimic the stance of a bird,
Which stands with its wings folded tight upon its sides,
When it sleeps at night within a tree on a limb.

My voices urge me to repeat their verse once more,
To rehearse the words they reveal to me,
So that I might better recall my reverie,
And share it with my audience.

How many times, darling,
How many thousand times,
Have I told you that I am yours?

Oh love may I tell you one more time!

How many pens have I used to declare our love?
Surely to discard their emptied bodies would require
The space of many trashcans and barrels.

And how many oceans of ink and electronic script
Have flowed and been posted in our love's name?

Oh. love allow me to spill you oceans more,
And wildly post till my days are done.

How many worlds of hearts
Have been broken in love's cause?

Oh, love, I offer one more to you.

How many tears over the eons and years
Have spilled past the brim of love's beakers?

Oh love when may I stop my crying!

How many children in destiny's starry heavens of love
Have called your name
And have missed opportunity for life and form?

Oh love take me unto to you!

Friday, October 8, 2010

DIE FOR YOU, Crossroad


October 2010

Let me write a quick note,
Say I adore you.

Let me take this moment, or two,
And publish, 'You are the best thing,
That has ever happened in my life!'

May God forgive me;
I have no wish to disdain His greatest gift,
Yet were fate to bring us to terrible juncture,

A crossroad where all the choices reduce
To either my earthly existnce, or yours,
Gladly would I give up mine, I would die for you.

Allow me this simple interlude,
A paean to the experience,
The joy of having had splendid fortune,
How wonderful the time I spend with you!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

NEW YORK CITY, Grapes of Wrath

Grapes of Wrath,
An Adaptation of Sentiments from a WPA Doument *

I am in New York City, but New York City,

It does not belong to me. You understand?
I am in New York City, but New York City is not in me.
What do I mean? Listen. I am from Chicago, Illinois,
Been in New York City thirty-five years.
I am a New Yorker! You must understand!

Nope, nope, I am probably confusing you.

What happens here? Take the Second Avenue Subway.
City continues the project as long as I remember.
Seventh Avenue, it used to be Fashion Avenue;

But garment making has lost its niche in America's trade!

And the neighborhoods, they all look alike,
Very little in the way of diversity.
Corporate interests and franchise,
Dunkin' Donuts and banks,

Drug-store chains almost on every corner.

More begging today than I ever recall.

The murder rate spikes. The poor kill the poor.

And the City's once renowned middle class,
It is forced to flee. I see a Great Migration,
A town left to ladies with big, diamond engagement rings,
And babies pushed in fancy perambulators.

By the way New York City's mayor,
He is the richest man in the state.

And you, you, too, you are not around much anymore.

How seldom I see you during the course of a year!
I am lonely without you.
I miss your not being home with me.

Nowadays, you go abroad and return only for a short time.

Ever notice all the lottery tickets which losers leave
On counter tops, and discard to the floor?
Seems a lot of people hope to change their luck.

You follow? You understand what I mean?

I am in New York City, but New York City is not in me.

*I copied out these sentiments years ago. I adapted them to my own use a few times before and recently have updated them, again. I believe Richard Wright first noted them from street conversations in the late 1930s, when he worked as a folklorist for President Roosevelt's Works Progress Administration. Wright later published his recorded interviews in 12 Million Black Voices.

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