Wednesday, April 28, 2010
RED ROOF INN,
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.’
Thursday, April 22, 2010
JAMES EARL RAY*
He was known to be the kind of guy,
Who studied every brick and crack,
And by sight alone could spot a weak, steel bar.
A single-minded psychopath,
Escape was always on his mind.
*He was convicted of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He confessed to the crime and passed on a jury trial. A habitual criminal, Ray was sentenced to 99 years in prison. Later he recanted his confession and unsuccessfully tried to gain a trial. He died in prison in 1998.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
At the Hardware Store
Though try as hard as I can,
I won’t be able to finish the inventory.
Count up the boxes of screws?
Can’t get the details straight,
The length, the head type, the number of the thickness,
All those different labels,
Way too much task to require of me,
Given my present mental state!
I’ll never enter the correct figures on the sheets;
That accountant, he’ll have to wait, until I feel better.
Soft as she is
She has almost
Killed me with
Love for that girl.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Against All Odds,
I know it's cosmic!
It's like, heavy, man!
Mystery inscrutable to regular analytical tools,
A Logic whose outcome sits beyond
Scope of rational, academic exercise!
Even with reference to twenty, ancient texts
I could not begin to fathom
How in a parking garage,
That on weekends became a swap meet,
A regular New York City antique flea market,
With stalls and all kinds of old and colorful goods,
Jarek, a friend, and my helper,
Who always had kept counsel his own,
-- This, the one instance, for he never, never
Interfered, ventured opinion on any other matter! --
Interrupted the normal, business routine,
The booth’s weekly setup,
And with all the patience he could muster,
Reiterated to me, not once, but on at least, half-dozen,
Separate occasions, a notion that you and I were right,
Good, one for the other, in every special way.
He said you wanted me.
You later objected,
Said no such thought ever entered your head,
That his estimation was wrong, yet admitted
Women frequently flirt to their advantage.
I had noticed you, to be sure!
You were a regular customer,
But no thought of romance had entered my ken.
I had not imagined us a suitable couple.
No! Not at all,
Until the one, very early morn when,
During a heavy rainstorm, I drove across Brooklyn
To collect you from the hostel
For our first daylong excursion, and brought you a
Single exotic flower in a clear glass vase.
You, sister, Oeland, Baltic island woman;
I sprung from the land-locked plains of Illinois.
Consider it, the millions-to-one odds
Stacked against our favor, I... I, I mean, duh!
I trust you may come to believe
This thing of ours rests outside human command.
And let’s remember,
Whatever the divine designates together
No mortal may draw asunder.
This is it! I do! I do love you!
Tonight the pilot naps in the back seat.
I fly the aircraft. The bright,
Rollover arrows signal the glide path.
And over the wire direct to my ear,
Ten thousand watts propel the voice.
It says, 'You do! You do love her!'
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
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 whether,
If 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.
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?