THE PERILS OF BEING THE BEST

Rainbow Little Torch

I’ve been running for my dream
That started well before
The public even knew
There was someone to adore

I was swimming for my dream
Well before I was born
Who knew the heights that I would reach
The laurels my head adorn

I’ve been throwing at my dream
As you watched and tisked disdain
“She’s so big and unbecoming”
As if my goals were your domain

I’ve been fencing with my dreams
Assault by angulation
Beautiful balestra in hijab
Avoiding fearful imagination

I’ve been balancing all my dreams
On rings and bars and mats
Long before you got off your couch
To write uncharitable scat

Don’t shower me with bloodless praise
“I’m the greatest in the land”
And in ultimate compliment say,
I “compete just like a man.”

Flunking Retire -ment

cropped-kw-seminar-books.jpg

 

 

 

I have flunked that good, after life

Leaving desk, chalk, and youth sublime

Eight years and a clarion light

Continues to call me to dine

~

With character filled texts and chairs

I return to a chalkless life

Anxious, faded elegance dares

To drag my dreams to “that good night”

~

Dreams die hard desire remains

I answer the call to return

Restoring dream’s dust to grain

Desires continue to burn

~

Teaching is now a brand new flight

Where time and love is now outsourced

Knowledge now comes in bits and bytes

Pass, fail with a little remorse

~

Virtual reality reigns

As 21st Century fun

As if being “real” needs explain

Over needs for real wisdom

~

So I am back to spread my grains

Of wisdom and where I found

Meanings to life ‘long side the brain

Which the “Road less traveled” is bound

 

 

 

In the Wee Hour of Life

cropped-lake-from-porch1.jpg

My father-in-law,

Lucidity, blinking and broken

Declares his life a night,

a forgotten dimension.

So fast,  where

Did it go?

He is still outside

The forest of human

Travel

Following the script

Of human hand

That began in sand and

Grit

 A hand that sent him to war

To love

To fatherhood

To the hearts of those

Who would wash his sluggish body

Wrinkled, tissue depleted

Immobilized by an angry destiny

And landscapes of untold design

And still he wonders why –

The three letter

Through the looking-glass question

Whose answer awaits in the forest

Where the path – trodden slight –

Will call – he is moving there

To that forest where flowering

Dogwood bloom in wait

For his steps light and inoffensive

Like he

A child in this fractal world

Enfolding unto himself the same

As we’ve always known

Even as he is resorbed

By nature – that path

He will trod, swaddled in linen

Looking ahead in painless

Expectation

TEACHING THE UNPOETIC HEART

sunset text poem

Next week I begin my poetry unit

New students –  new approach

But what?

Only a few will admit

casual hook-ups with the art-form

Will my desire be enough

for those hearts who fail
to see the ‘blues’ in a Stormy Monday?

Do I want them to see me anguished & pounding

words into order

solidifying my life in

confessional meter?

Do I let them in on my secret

crazy spinning tie-dye history?

A history I have yet to mourn

Do I say my poetry

is simply my ‘other’ novel

or desire

repurposed?

Do I want them to hear my

cursing the last tea bag on this

cold March morning and the tiny

hole that allows Earl Grey to escape

into my oversized mug

 Warming my cold hands

this last cup – confirming

a short unit

THURSDAY NIGHTS

cropped-night-water.jpg

Formerly my Fridays

With “the girls”

Now, part-time

Poet

Teacher

Vain fool

 Driving home still

The same

Wine-happy two glasses on

The edge a lonesome reality

Truck cab filled with

Some inane tune

Not Aretha, Stones, or Hendrix

Those here-to-fore

Post-cultural anthems

Not even Motown’s

Grooved soul strong invoking

Memories of sweaty

California nights

Dancing on perdition’s

Edge  – no

This impractical

Tune made me glad

For winter  & windows

 Up sparing others

The sound of my voice

Emboldened with spirits

Singing from a seat on the

Fringe of bedraggled dreams

Twenty-two miles

Before I engage

Sobering cold

Doors

Reality’s reluctant usher

 

A Love Letter to February

cropped-icy-road.jpg

It’s late I know

But the challenge was there

Write a love letter

I love you because

From 15 – south

Comes warmth

Even as the wind howls

Whipping Persephone

In lustful agony

I think it’s love

For I forgive

Your harsh cold

Dashing happiness

On the ashes of my

Invincible summer

And

I do love your silence

Not a sound from

Letters marching freezing

Over snowy mental-scape

Defying order

Scratching for purchase

Among the warm sacred

Hoping to build

Images in minutes

I know I should hold

You at arms length

You have mastered

The look

Into my eyes

Pacifying  desire

With a 40˚ faux spring

Senses in turmoil

Deaf to the rumblings

Of interrupted cruelty

The ultimate head-fake

The warm hand

Cold heart

The 40˚ offering

Happiness

Even as you run away

Laughing and sunny

Hiding behind

The cold equation

Of the season

February,

I am blinded by degrees

Of hope

Even as I know you

The Butcher

Of Beauty

God’s Cavalcade

cropped-icy-road.jpg

There is a man who lives up the road

He walks 20 miles a day for milk

Bread, cigarettes, peace

He talked a while ago

About the upcoming

War between the haves and have-nots

I wondered if I should be afraid

But that was before his son threw him

Off their porch

Breaking his arm

Explanation became evident

In the bruises peeking through

Constant self-deprecation  on

Those zero degree mornings

As he sat, my passenger, and I

The ride he prays for in winter

 And I wonder what he dreams

At night next to his heartless wife

In the trailer, in the one room

That’s not his son’s

I wonder what he has other than

Complaints about the empty wall

That used to hold the rented flat-screen

That was sold by wife and son for $100

 His type is legion

30 winters in this god-forsaken landscape

And I know creation is a joke

Free of will

Free to suffer

Blows to the sacred empire

 God loves you?

Tell this to the walking man

The thin stick of humanity

Face lined like a map going nowhere

At two miles an hour

Tell him he’s one of Jesus’ children

Take him to Rome ensconced in luxury

For his silence for

I have yet to hear him curse

Rail about his scat-littered life

This socio-diversity for god’s pleasure

This constant cavalcade of misery

 I can see it as he trudges past my porch

Hunched deep in cold tattered jackets

He is blind but for his need for milk

Bread, cigarettes, and peace

POWER TO THE WORD

cropped-words.jpg

I stand before my class struggling

For the forty-dollar word to replace

The two-dollar one

That inadvertently slipped my lips

You know –

Those words that tell

The skeptical you’ve been there

Done that

Read that and

Know that

The words that have worn smooth

My rugged road from Compton

Words that speak in a sub-text of

Silhouetted meanings

Engendering the dreaded

Compliment “articulate”

As if I could speak

Any other way

But, it appears I can

With a way of words plentiful

The two-dollar variety

Like my cheap shoes

Supporting me in the beautiful

Velvet (mom-made) dress

Of childhood

My two-dollar words

Work (happily) in poetic dungeons

Fooling no one

Hooded in simplicity

Laboring, as they do,

Under the

Trappist Creed:

Give up everything

Give up everything