Take all of my winters
but leave my first
frost on the pane
sting in the air
no turning back
snowfall at dawn day.
More than stillness
I want the beauty
I blurted profanity that rhymes with duck poo at a person I see on my regular walks.
The guy who has been working overtime to save my soul ever since I told him my church congregation, who knows about my condition, who tells me he has stepped up his prayers for me, who asked if I am even a teeny bit better, to which I replied Nope. My condition is progressive and my future course is unpredictable.
The guy who then pointed at the SKY (!) and told me only God knows my future and a miracle will happen.
The guy whose face betrayed confusion with my two precisely chosen words (I’m a poet!) or that his evidently crappy prayers haven’t been working.
I am certain he is not confused by the incoherent world he has conjured, in which he knows a miracle will happen, though only God knows my future.
A world in which God gave us brains that we are shamed into not using, a world in which an omniscient, omnipotent, and pretty good God permits our brains to be smashed to smithereens.
So, I think I blurted Duck Poo. “Lordy, I hope there are tapes.”
The editors at The Cortland Review saw something in my poem, “I Could Say” and they published it in November 2015.
[Poem text is in the photo]
Today, I think the poem is strange, I do not like it, and I don’t think it’s very good poetry. Reading this poem conjures memories and emotions associated with my writing of the poem. Unpleasant, disturbing emotions.
I was very ill, living with a massive, destructive brain tumor, only weeks before diagnosis and surgery.
My notes tell me I had become obsessed with Sappho, and I tried to adapt Sapphic stanza and meter here. I even obsessed using long vowels at the stresses and short vowels at unstressed syllables. I don’t know why I did that. I mean, I worked the poem instead of eating, talking, bathing, sleeping. I was possessed by frightening drive and detachment. Writing was not comforting; writing this poem made me feel desperate and ill.
This describes a fairly benign episode of my otherwise terrifying insanity in summer 2015, when my brain tumor had begun noticeably crushing my neurons and blood vessels.
The parlor of my cerebrum where Sappho would frolic is today an untidy mudroom. Cleared of the big-ass mass, there’s neuro-crap strewn about, surgical and radiation damage, and a wee tumor has regrown. Could it be that Sappho’s cousin Dementia has moved in? That’s kind of funny, no? I’m laughing at it and you can, too.
In spite of your thirst
you gave up prayer
bowed your head
lowered your hands
put down hope
took up despair
And in despair you envied prickly pear
growing gray by day, invisible each night
or sandstone’s insensible dementia
And erased every tear
stifled hope’s breath
forgot hurt’s bite
Until one warbling figure of wren-flight
claimed his domain
And released tear’s sting
set hope’s hook
hammered hurt’s spike
Until raised hands surrendered
and folded round bird, song,
Today, I realized 10 months of mask-wearing in public has messed up my resting face. This got me into a couple situations (that I can remember).
The first, in response to a question I evidently misunderstood, I snarled and blurted profanity, which wasn’t all bad because people let me cross the street ahead of them. Such nice people. Profanity rhymed with duck poo.
The second, I smiled when I greeted a person as we entered the gym, which she interpreted as “Please, you must ask me out for a date.” Which she did, after following me around my circuit. In response to her query, I snarled and she went away, so that worked out because she was hogging the hip adductor/abductor anyway.
I might be having a bad day but I can’t be sure until I review my copious notes. Per my notes I have so far, the day seems about today-ish.
My notes tell me this poem aspires to be a roundel. Aspirations be damned, here it is!
On the first day there was art,
on the second, marble, clay,
then the reed, string, and heart.
On the first day it was good
until one day
we saw dancer and dance apart
knew potter from the clay,
found player playing the part,
forgot no chorus, note, refrain
were printed on any chart
on the first day.
Local man reportedly blurted profanity at yet another person he sees along his regular walk. First responders treated bystanders for shock and awe but no serious injuries were sustained.
When asked what provoked his outburst, the man shrugged “No clue, but wasn’t it awesome?”
Now uncorked, he continued, “cussing is more fun today than it was during my Catholic high school days.”
“It’s not for everyone” he admitted.
Although nobody asked or cares, he advised aspiring cussers, “with study, practice, and not a little cortical disinhibition, you too can weave glorious threads of filth into the dull tapestries of daily conversations.”
For tips, training programs, and self-defense tactics, check out his podcast “What The Hell Are YOU Looking At?!”
10 Jan 2021
Local authorities responded to complaints of a middle aged man dancing salsa to the 1970s hit Sweet Emotion.
Asked why on Earth he would commit this atrocity in the kitchen, he shrugged, “This is the way?”
He received a verbal warning and was released to the basement.
He was last seen wearing headphones, and he appeared to be dancing foxtrot with a broom.
to sum up,
on the whole
the results suggest
in the final analysis,
in a word,
and in the end,
that warrants further study
We don’t notice how silence
comforts and conceals,
fractures and heals,
until one voice
dividing the silent,
reveals what was,
what remains among us.
Silence is not absence.
Silence is ether compressed
before an echo,
in the moment between
lightning and thunder.
The echo grows
from one voice.
from one bright