Categories
Poetry

I Could Say: A Poem Is More Than Meets The Eye

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.

Categories
Poetry

Desert Litany

Desert Litany

In spite of your thirst
you gave up prayer
and wept
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
with song-sweet-spit-of-flame
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,
trembling heart.

Categories
Poetry

The Fall

My notes tell me this poem aspires to be a roundel. Aspirations be damned, here it is!

The Fall

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.

Categories
Poetry Quirks and Quarks

Concluding Remarks

Finally,
to sum up,
on the whole
the results suggest
we are
altogether,
in the final analysis,
in a word,
and in the end,
briefly,
a phenomenon
that warrants further study

Categories
Poetry

Physics

We don’t notice how silence
comforts and conceals,
fractures and heals,
until one voice
bridges chasms
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.
Thunder,
from one bright
lightning bolt.

Categories
Poetry

A Poet’s Resolution

Of means, none silent as the candle

greetings, none soft as dawn

causes, none grand as the moth

to weave moonlight each night.

Of words, make mine such steel

that I too would render

wonder from darkness.

Categories
Poetry

The Gift

What comes each dawn                                      
I do not know

Dawn knows no reason                              
Keeps its own season

Buds at budding time                                
Ripens at harvest time

Dies in its prime                                        
Leaves one fresh gift

To confound the clever painter            
Blending at their palette.

Categories
Poetry

The Pursuit of Happiness

Happiness is not yours.
A guest in our home,
It arrives warm, bright, generous,
Leaves quietly before its time.
Happiness is not mine.
It lives untamed
In wilderness between our hands
But not in our hands.
A tide between our shores,
Happiness is not yours
To keep, not mine to give.
But it may be shared
As you swim beside me,
The wake trailing your body
Gently joining mine.

Categories
Poetry

On Memories and Dreams

John 1:3

If through You
All things were made
And all things are possible

I know why
Lilacs smell like rainbows
And antiseptic

Winter wind
Stings like steel
Needles in my vein

I remember one summer
Sweet as lemonade
Sharp as a scalpel blade.

In my dream 
I taste warm cinnamon

I kneel beneath
Watercolor skies

Fold my hands
Round this tiny wren

Its injured wing
Quivers 

Like its
Trembling heart

I unfold my hands
But I will not wake 

Until my dreams 
Become memories

And I keep my memories
To do with as I please.

Categories
Poetry

What Endures?

Trimming the Tree

One glass swan
Color of Riesling
Weightless.
What else endures?
Nothing
Ornamental
Nothing fragile
Not artifacts
No relics
This frost-lit night
December’s tea-stained sidewalk
The aurora
Flowing through
The cold black sky
Thick with stars?