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Category: My poems

POEM: on Tuesday, all as one

Listen to this poem by pressing the play button above.

This was an idea I had for a short story, but I decided to try it as a poem.

on Tuesday, all as one

on Tuesday, all as one,
every creature on earth
experienced a moment
of pure happiness

not the exhilaration
of acquisition
nor the momentary joy
of orgasm,

but a feeling that all
was in its place
and the way ahead
was clear

no babies cried,
no dogs howled,
and the sleepers sighed
and unclenched their fists

a smile stole
across the face of a boy
sitting beside
a baobab tree,

and two lovers
turned toward one another,
their quarrel
forgotten

babies born
at that instant
entered the world
quietly,

their mothers and fathers
exhumed
from beneath mortgage payments
and piles of bills

as the clinical beeps turned
to a tone
and she released
his thin hand,

a daughter saw
her father’s brow
un-knit and watched the pain
pass away

shafts of sunlight
fell
across the needed places
of the world

and on the other side
a starry night greeted
watchmen, nurses
and late-shift taxi drivers

voices lowered,
index fingers relaxed,
jaw muscles loosened
shoulders dropped

in the coffee shop
on the corner
near the library,
everyone was laughing

and the child hiding
in the boys bathroom
stepped out
into the school hallway

true, the moment passed,
but forever after,
strangers passing in the street
caught one another’s eye

and some would grin
and some would smile
and some would simply look,
knowing

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POEM: Citizenship 101

Happy Presidents Day!

Citizenship 101

close the blinds
snuff the candle
fasten the shutters
douse the lamp
pull the shades
don’t ask questions
believe the lie
smile and nod
obey the law
cover your ears
shut your mouth
take your seat
toe the line
pull your weight
watch your language
step right up
place your bets
take your pick
know your place
keep the peace
respect your elders
follow the rules
take it easy
expect the worst
don’t ask why
clean your plate
eat your veggies
wipe your feet
find your name
get in line
sign right here
read the label
write this down
answer the question
raise your hand
recite the pledge
say your prayers
sit up straight
stop right there
do your chores
wash the dishes
do the laundry
empty the trash
mow the lawn
shovel the walk
walk the dog
mind your manners
stand your post
post no bills
salute an officer
straighten your tie
tie your shoes
bow your head
kiss the ring
don’t be late
tote that barge
lift that bail
pay your taxes
pay your bills
pay the fine
pay the piper
follow the crowd
tell the truth
name the names
reveal your sources
betray your friends
kill your enemies
respect the flag
swear your loyalty
sit back down
swear your loyalty
sit back down
swear your loyalty
sit back down
swear your loyalty
sit back down

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POEM: Biography

Listen to this poem by pressing the play button above.

Biography

I could do anything.

I want to do everything.

And so I do nothing.

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POEM: Creeley’s Balloon

Listen to this poem by pressing the play button above.

Written on a lazy afternoon while overdosing on the poetry of Robert Creeley.

Creeley’s Balloon

Why can’t we feel the Earth going around the sun?
Why can’t we feel the world spinning?
I tiptoe on squeaky floors so as not to wake my son,
while the cat sleeps on his back under two sheets of paper.
Now I’m in bed, listening to a love song by an old Nazi
and reading Creeley, most of which I don’t understand.
On the cover of the book he’s grinning,
spent cigarette in his lips, hat on the back of his head.
I think he’s in a hot-air balloon, somewhere
over the western desert.
What is lighter than air?
What is heavier than sorrow?
Faded in the background, a mesa,
above it, a cloud,
captured by the lens for just that one moment.
Who snapped the photograph?
Who is the other passenger?
“It was at those times that I carried you.”
I used to find that so comforting
until I realized that “those times”
call for us to plant our own feet in the sand,
on this shifting ground that is spinning, whirling
around a sun in a galaxy
that is itself spinning
in a universe
that is growing into something we cannot explain.

And yet

there is Creeley, now long gone,
in his hot-air balloon, smiling at me,
and I tiptoe to the bathroom, and my son stirs.

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POEM: The Soft Friction Of Sliding Glass

Listen to this poem by pressing the play button above.

A love poem.

The Soft Friction of Sliding Glass

On the living room carpet, after the prom,
she raises her pale arms in the light
coming in through the sliding glass door.

Understanding, amazed, he reaches down,
takes hold of the bottom of her sweatshirt,
and slides it up over her head.

For the first time, there is nothing between them
but air, skin and propriety.
He can’t believe that this diminutive, angelic gift is his.

He leans over to kiss her,
but even more to feel her skin
and the rise and fall of her breath.

They slide to the floor, arms around each other,
mouths and hands and thighs and stomachs
searching for every inch of long-sought completion.

For all that there have been many moments of exploration,
long afternoons desperately quiet in her upstairs bedroom,
it is these few moments that he will remember most.

Sitting quietly on the couch many years later,
accompanied by the gentle rush of a fan in the next room,
he will close his eyes and once more

feel her under him,
his palms remembering the soft friction of her,
his body still responding, even now.

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My first book!

I found out Tuesday night that FootHills Publishing, a 25-year-old independent poetry press, is going to publish a collection of my work. I really can’t believe it. Huzzah!

Watch this space for more details…

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