Friday, June 30, 2006


I'm no professor, but I will profess
Garage, for me, always rhymes with barrage,
And I don't think the Dutch love sabotage,
The English loving Saxons even less.
When lovers love, confessors must confess
And dressers dress to undertake dressage.
We save three-year-olds first; this is triage.
Then do we save ourselves? What would you guess?

Does all this banter mean much, or not much?
Does this fill you with cycnicism, scorn,
And terrible distaste, openly worn?
I never saw sabots worn by the Dutch
When I saw Leiden, but words are my crutch.
A word whirred, borne to me when I was born.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Inflamed with Passion

I am inflamed with passion, but what for?
My eyes are burning, and my heart, inflamed
With longing, rages, savage and untamed,
Emotions spilling out of every pore:
Distress, displeasure, disenchantment, more,
Until my aching sores themselves are sore.
My passion has almost never been named
Since early on, that time we were defamed
And mocked because our heart was on the floor.

The time has come to water the back yard
Where yesterday the bonfire had been lit,
A brother to our cause, a perfect fit
For passions so inflamed we had to guard
Ourselves by giving way. This is so hard:
Rage, love, and death are but the half of it.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Studying Geography

When I was studying geography
My grades were lousy and my time was spent
Considering a warm front's slow descent
From Azerbaijan to the Galilee,
And why the currents in the Irish Sea
Reminded me of how you put a dent,
A fracture, in the Blarney Stone (you meant
No harm, you simply kissed too lavishly.)

When I kissed you, and earned my heart of stone,
I never once suspected, till too late,
I'd hunt you down, sail all the oceans, skate
Through Arctic wastes, cold as an ice cream cone,
Track you through deserts and the Temperate Zone.
I read maps well now. We could celebrate.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Well-Worn Road

I chose the other path, the well-worn road,
And found myself alone. No one had crossed
This way lately and, frankly, I was lost,
Then travelled forward. I quick-marched, I strode,
I ran, I sauntered, hesitated, rode,
Picked my way past the early morning frost
Some demiurge had cavalierly tossed
Into its seams: fine lines, some sort of code.

It wasn't Autumn, nor was this the Fall.
I gave up one brief moment's sullen pride,
And chose, there, where the road chose to divide.
If I had not heard true love's siren call,
I might have gone the other way, that small,
Less-travelled path everyone else had tried.

Monday, June 19, 2006

The Flowers

The flowers standing in the crystal vase,
Exploding with bright colours and strong scents,
Invade my melancholy. Incidents
From someone else's past garner applause,
The flowers, lovely, fresh, and without flaws,
Win admiration from the indigents
Who spend their time here; packing up their tents,
They're sleeping here now, on a bed of straws.

I hate them all, and they despise me, too,
For letting them move in and sucker me
Into allowing them their dignity
While begging for food. I remember you:
Aromas fill the air, soft and untrue,
The way they did when you were playing through.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Knowing How

I have no talent for this poetry:
It's all a trick, a skill, built like a truck
From small parts, piece by piece, one by one, stuck
Together with some nuts and bolts, quickly.
Relying on know-how and calumny,
The work is greasy, like a half-cooked duck,
And if, by some unpleasant stroke of luck,
I finish, what comes next, now that I'm free?

I write another poem. One like this,
Depressing, airless, aimless, empty, small,
About a cardboard box behind a wall
Or stupid snakes who don't know how to hiss,
And, staring down, over the precipice,
I worry that I won't know how to fall.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

To a Young Adult

A wise man told me I should set aside
All hopes and dreams of glory till I'm dead.
"Don't mess with fear," another wise man said,
"But if you do, remember that it's pride
Making you think you can." He wasn't snide,
Merely suggesting I should breathe, instead,
And gently reconcile myself to dread.
A third wise man simply broke down and cried.

Now that your working life is underway
You'll seek advice, sage words you can live by:
Can two live cheaply as one? Does time fly?
I offer only this thought: if you pay
Too much attention to what wise men say,
You'll sink into despair. Don't aim too high.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

The World Gets Hairy

Go on, elbow your way up to the front,
And tell the crowd how they've been so unfair
To label you this way. Aggressive? Where?
You only needed to be near the stunt
When someone really did it. To be blunt,
The man who tried, twice, to ignite your hair
Failed miserably, and you have locks to spare
For tugging, twisting, tearing with a grunt.

The world gets hairy, and you crash the line
Because if you don't save yourself, who will?
If you don't love yourself, will time hold still
While you find someone else? You're feeling fine,
There's something on your back, right up your spine,
And no one's touching it. You've had your fill.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Deep Thinkers

"Impromptu" is a word I like a lot,
The sort of word that people say in bars
While thinking about phonographs and spars,
Debating which technologies are hot,
Insisting Eden was no garden spot,
And wishing they had wives, and nicer cars.
My friends have stuck their heads in pickle jars
To ruminate while others drank and fought.

We are deep thinkers, filled with angst and rage,
World-weary, daft explainers of the air,
Pulling on our draft beers and our hair,
Powdered with baking soda, salt, and sage,
Our solitude the glory of the cage,
An absolute adherence to despair.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


If I were running from the mob, this week,
Last week I would have carried you away,
I would have had your husband shot today,
And dumped his body in a shallow creek.
You might be frightened then, too scared to speak,
But I would reassure you. I would say,
"A word in someone's ear, and you can stay,
As long as you can answer back in Greek."

I know this probably doesn't sound right,
My attitude about ethnicity
Seems trivial, and rather too carefree,
But I know things, beyond vain hopes and spite.
I won't be running from the mob, tonight;
Your husband's not in danger. Now. From me.

Monday, June 05, 2006

My Heart

A myocardial infarction hits,
Explosive as a Sunday bowl of beans,
Or fourteen parked cars full of horny teens.
A missile strike has blown my heart to bits.
Now ecstasy, from where this pilgrim sits,
Has fled, and nobody knows what that means.
In fits and starts, I tried making some scenes,
But even though I started, nothing fits.

I don't care for those medical flash terms.
They like to use a word like "cardiac"
Because it's too plain to say "heart attack";
We'll all take that last meeting with the worms,
Together, or alone like pachyderms.
Like Orpheus, I can't help looking back.

Friday, June 02, 2006

On Capital Punishment

When executing people, is it wise
To say that justice is what you attempt?
Too often, simple vengeance can pre-empt
Your programmed justice when you kill these guys.
Why do it, then? Nobody would advise
Burning my wooden house down while I dreamt
To fight house fires. Your logic is unkempt
And lazy. A deterrent? Bloody lies.

You prove your weakness, not that you are strong
By putting men to death. This way you shirk
All reason. Tell me, doesn't reason lurk
Beneath this heartless killing? Come along,
You won't persuade people killing is wrong
By killing other people. That won't work.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


Inclined to smile and make the best of things?
Acceptance of the worst your stock-in-trade?
Believe your oldest friends, from second grade,
Still love you? Does their friendship give you wings?
You meant it when you promised him, "No strings,"
Right? Never mind the times he may have strayed
Or entertained your friends when they all played
That friendly game where – well, aren't all men kings?

We think you should embrace the future, now,
We think you ought to show some self-esteem,
Accept only the best, whether ice cream
Or men. You need to change what you allow,
And move on. Our brochure will tell you how.
We don't agree that life is but a dream.