Friday, December 31, 2010

Poem #27-2010

2010 was.
As 2009, 2008
and so on
Blurry as usual

Some hopes were crushed
aspirations fulfilled
pettinesses punished
kindnesses returned

Love remained a varying constant
Aggravations - self-induced - appeared and
then were forgotten

Someone asked,
"What was your year's most memorable moment?"
Since one does not jump out,
does that mean I didn't have one
or that it was an endless stream of bliss?

I had some pretty damn good orgasms
and that's not insignificant
But, you can't talk about that in polite company

Getting tenure was an upside moment
Spending time with my son and meeting his girlfriend
Seeing Crystal's face when I bought her flowers
Playing at a big festival
Swimming nude on deserted Green Island
The new addition to the house, and the deck
Charlie's book winning first prize
My new banjo arriving
My song catching a record exec's attention
Surgery going well

It's trite but at this point
not seeing myself in the obits
is a pretty memorable
and daily moment

We'll just say it was a good year
Tempered by the knowledge that -
for many -
it was another drawn-out nightmare

Perspective alternatingly
thrills or saddens

A lot of ups
a lot of downs
a lot of "what-have-yous"


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Poem #26-2010

In private,
as an experiment,
I have called my cat
the foulest of

To my knowledge,
it leaves absolutely
no impression on his brain,
no memories created,
no biases toward me whatsoever.

He does not meet me
conditioned by language,
but rather by how I
treat him.

He does not judge me by
the words I use,
the beliefs I espouse,
but rather by how I
love him.

He has no images of me
to relate to,
but relates to me
anew in each moment:
an enlightenment lesson for humanity.

I don't know about tigers.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Poem #24-2010

Tongue-tied in a hair forest
jacked off
pulled out
put away

Trespassing with permission

No man's land
a forbidden spot
pleading for abandon

There is no saving yourself
nor vindication beyond
damp pleasure

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Poem #23-2010

despite your omnipresent ubiquitousness
(redundancy for the redundant)
I marvel:
at your heartiness in Maine winter
at your persistent gatherings
at your fierce social order
at your voracious appetite
(for insects, but most of us don't know that)

For most watchers
thrills are reserved for the uncommon -
cardinal, grosbeak, pileated woodpecker

But I thrill to see you
I thrill to see life lived
and need no comparisons

Such only make me a warmonger

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Life Lines wins Writer's Digest Award!

My friend Charlie's book, Life Lines, has won the poetry category in the 18th Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards. That is big news! I hope you'll be persuaded to pick up a copy or two from Amazon.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Poem #22-2010

Been away awhile
Been grooving on skillet time
wavy gravy dishes
What's left
in the cupboard?
Always sumpin
even canned punkin
beats a fine-spirited emptiness
So light a candle
and dig in
Dig dig dig
There has to be one more
bite, else
fade to black

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Poem #21-2010


I am warm
here, in this place
Outside, rain falls relentlessly
yet I am warm
From where comes this warmth?
My coffee?
The surfing young man seated nearby?
The fleeting thought of her vagina?
Or is it much more real than that
(and therefore much more powerful)?

Keith calls
vans without windows
“child molester vans”
Thoughts are the same:
Dangerous to self and others
when kept on a leash with
nowhere to go but in

Poem #20-2010

White Isn't Always Good

Dark soldier
suffering silently
who knows no promise
I would hear your oath,
hold it safe until your

It’s all nonsense
The seabreeze channel
is locked and blocked
There’s a bomb in the
flower girl’s bouquet
and in the House
we speak of peace

This poem contributed to
dVersePoets Open Link Night #9
Follow them on Twitter @dVersePoets.

Poem #19-2010


Born in the disinfectant sunlight
fog-turning apple by-ways
– a wordslinger
Tombstone words?
Green Maine rain
Sunny Slingerland – Sonia
(college roommate fragments)
One hundred K
exactly on the nose
“Moose . . . Indian”
Thoreau said
on his deathbed
And it’s all a happy strangeness
Leftover soup
and warm whiskey to forget

It is a sin to collect so much
and hide it from others
Turn on the spigot
Let flow the teeming water

Do not fear –
it’s just a poem

Poem #18-2010 Age

That old man
sporting a flop-tilted cowboy hat,
trenchcoat belt hanging,
leaning on his ancient cane-yielding wife
with one gnarly hand
and his own wood-worn cane in the other,
making his wobbly way across
the wet Gardiner bricks

Why, is he that same
little boy who ran and ran from
school’s out to suppertime, with
no thoughts of feeble dependence
on others, on the contraptions of age?

I wonder:
Does he run in his fitful dreams?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Poem #17-2010

I know who I used to be
I know I'm not that
and I'm happy about it
I also know who I want to be
I know I'm not that either
and I'm not happy about it
What I do know is not as important
as what I want to know
and what I want to know
is how to be who I want to be
without forgetting who I am
in the process

But this is all "why" stuff
and not "what" stuff
Analysis and questioning
not living the answers

Monday, April 12, 2010

Poem #16-2010

I vary
from dream vapors
to crystal revelations
from warm glasses of lousy beer
to expensive Irish whiskey on the rocks
from reading Hemingway
to Sunday morning cartoons
from liberal leanings
to conservative crassness
from intellectual inquiry
to barroom bawdiness
from narcissism
to unworthy depression
from ecological sensitivity
to wanton wastefulness
from youthful vigor
to tired senility
from jacket and tie
to jeans and T-shirt

I can do all of this
in the space of a day
and sometimes even an hour
or a minute

No police come to my door
no notice appears in the newspaper
chiding me for my inconsistencies

At best a lover, friend, or worse
will point it out
giving me pause to see if I can
remember the person I was
when I opined oppositely

Most of the time, I figure
it won't matter a hundred years from now
and so I turn to more pressing matters
like whether to write a poem
or commit suicide

Friday, March 19, 2010

Poem #15-2010

I ain't got a poem in me today
but I got a hard fire burning
and a cold shoulder to lean into it

I got too many lures
dangling off my pole
and a wide open lake calling for justice

I got inside information
no one wants
and a bony wreath made out of newspapers

I got high end merchandise
to sell the natives
and two fingers crossed behind my back

I got interminable busies
floating on borrowed time
and a broken watch to prove it

I got harsh words a plenty
for them that hurt little children
and a big knife to show 'em I mean it

I got a whopper of a story to tell
woven out of mustard seeds
and stuck between two false teeth

No, I ain't got a poem in me today
but tomorrow may be worse:
I may have to birth one

This poem contributed to dVersePoets Open Link Night.
Follow them on Twitter @dVersePoets.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Poem #14-2010

Listen to the voices, child
inside your muppet head
they're telling you to
try and try and try
until you're cold and dead

Listen to the colors, child
that swirl inside your mind
they're telling you to
paint and paint and paint
until you're old and blind

Listen to the whirling, child
that buzzes 'round your face
it's telling you to
sing and sing and sing
before you lose your way

Don't listen to the noises, child
that walk about your bed
they're telling you to
pray and pray and pray
until Amen is said

Don't listen to the adults, child
who strut and throw their chests
they're telling you to
hide and hide and hide
what is your very best

Don't listen to the poem, child
that tries to set your steps
it's telling you to
lie and lie and lie
'bout you that's coming next

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Poem #13-2010

Water is patient
drip       drip       drip
I am not
desire       desire       desire

Be water, my friend
said Bruce Lee
But he never mentioned patience--
and crashing

My small point is made
within the point
Water has no need
for any of these states
If none ever manifest
a drop will stay frozen
until the end of time
and never desire differently

Monday, March 1, 2010

Poem #12-2010

I opened the door
and a day poem greeted me
Singing a familiar song
and lifting my spirit
in a swirl of anticipation
Easy, easy - it is all too much!
Pockets of lazy grass tease me
tempted to wake up
but I know it's still early

There's a certain spring smell:
Wetness. Life. Promise.

May my soul remember its own
transformative power
amidst this mad awakening

May it grow like grass
and give soft landing for
what is to come

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Poem #10-2010

I think if I hear one more cutesy,
make-me-want-to-puke aphorism
about life and how to live it
I shall drop a roll of quarters
into the toe of a white sweat sock,
grasp the other end,
swing it violently,
and strike the speaker
repeatedly about the head and shoulders

I’m pretty sure it would be the best
ten dollars I ever spent

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Poem #9-2010

       for J.D. Salinger

Salinger dead
Don’t ever tell anybody anything.
That next-to-last-line in Catcher
a mission statement for his life
of respected reclusiveness

Author fame – a funny, fleeting thing
Deserved or not, it lands
like an encyclopedia on
your shoulders
Never as wonderful as you hope
or as dreadful as you fear
(although it has certainly driven more than
one writer crazy with unrealistic
expectations: The only ones for me are the mad ones . . .)

But few things can claim universality
and fame is no different
Maybe it isn’t anything at all
Maybe it’s everything
Or maybe it’s just the same
recognition we all crave –
run amok for a time

For every author you think famous
there is someone blissfully
unaware of their existence

The wind blows through the rye
and leaves no trace at all
Yet words blow through my mind
and leave a permanent scar

Still, long-hidden behind page and pen,
J.D. himself could walk into my local pub
tomorrow and escape all notice
except perhaps a passing comment
about the decrepit old man drinking alone in the corner

Don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do,
you start missing everybody.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Poem #8-2010

Blowing white spindrift
Fire-white skyclouds glowering
Somewhere – it’s sunny

Monday, January 25, 2010

Poem #7-2010

Alone but not lonely
Sad but not despairing
Still but not paralyzed
Unfeeling but not indifferent

Something in the wind
passes slim notice
to an unrehearsed limitation
giving life to the long-dead
emotions sputtering
inside my level-headed distress

A small slick-haired fox
creeps through the endless rain
toward the solitary ghost of a tree
standing vigil in the five-acre field
behind our crooked barn

Watching him
everything makes sense for a second
Eat. Sleep. Move. Repeat.
So simple

I wish for a fox-like philosophy
to invade my core
and burn steady there

But I am not destroyed enough
to deserve such a gift

Somewhere between triumph
and annihilation
I linger, more afraid
of either than the soft middle path
I continue apace

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Poem #6-2010

During that in-between time
of sleep and wakefulness
when the window blinds
are just visible with early light
and all of my senses
seem to be – at the same time –
set at low volume yet high resolution
The birds right outside my window
sing piercingly soft songs

During that in-between time,
thoughts arise, scatter, and
recombine as if searching
for the answer to some unknown question.
I can almost see them –
a swirling vortex of energy,
careening molecules carrying
microscopic messengers
in a stew of chemical communication

This very morning
arose a sentence
Time marches on inexorably
And for the first time
in many months if not years
I knew the lie in that sentence
I saw the lie we’ve been taught
laid bare to a truth beyond symbols
A truth that sadly dissipates with age:

Time is something we’ve created
to hide ourselves from eternity

I returned to the birds

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Poem #5-2010

His sequin-starved
synthetic wife
fell sound asleep with a lit cigarette
in her mouth
while sitting in their
overstuffed chair bought
on credit from some flim-flam
discount palace

All the firefighters found was
a pile of ashes,
chair springs,
and her left foot

It cut down on cremation costs

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Poem #4-2010

Her neck veins bulge
as she belts out the old rock number
For some reason I focus on them
and not her other bountiful parts

On a junkie’s withered arm
On a dying loved one’s forehead
On a diabetic’s swollen leg
protruding veins evoke
desperation, loss, and pain

But tonight they symbolize
energy, passion, and desire

There can be no guilt
over nature’s meanderings
and no meaning
short of context

Monday, January 4, 2010

Poem #3-2010*

Not half – all
so romantic
value knows no time
ode to the premium

Rapid response
a thousand years
magic was lost

Life or death
available now

*This is a "found" poem. Every word came from a series of sequential TV commercials in the order seen.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Poem #2-2010

Let’s go because we can
Up and out and across this wild-eyed

country – no one else
has done it like we! No one

else can see first its sunrise
through our blurry eyes or
taste its fleshy freshness on

a dewy morning stirring
beside a sleepy New England

mill town. Or smell the pungent steel hearths
of industry. Or feel the warm

ghost sea air. Or hear the sugar sand settling
under the door on bebop winds
of change, change,

change the clock, the sheets, the tires,
the weather – bursting our

chests open from love of this and this and this
This small café. This gravelly food. These
world-worn compatriots. This familiar

strangeness. Let’s go because we can
Let’s take it all in, all of it –
the whole throbbing sweaty length of it and
come back for more, begging

please! – for more and more and more
until we lay exhausted, caressed in the sweet
traveler’s afterglow: sullied and spent, sorrowed and satisfied . . .

. . . loved

This poem contributed to dVersePoets Open Link Night.
Follow them on Twitter @dVersePoets.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Poem #1-2010

Somehow –
perhaps from lacking hallucinations
or suicidal ideations –
I have skillfully avoided
commitment in either
the Augusta or Harrisburg
state hospitals

Not that I aspire to it
(most of the time)
but occasionally they
seem like the only places left
where people can say
exactly what they’re thinking
and it makes no difference to anyone,
not to the psychiatrists or nurses or attendants
and not to loved ones who have come to expect
disconnected fragments or ravings,
unmanned communications spewing forth
with not even the speaker sure
of their origin or intent

Dark dark unspeakable thoughts
lurk inside everyone I fear

Or else I really do belong whereof I speak