Call me Quasimodo if you want, But whenever I feel I have to venture deep Inside the troubled Heart, I make doubly sure All doors are barred And the window Shutters shut tight— I brook no grotesque salivating Straitjacketed curiosity Seekers disturbing My mind’s deformed slant.
If I’m reading her Three-year-old mind Right, this could mean Either she wants me To write another Poem about her Or for her or who- Knows-what but how Tell the difference, And find words To describe how Her mind works When she’s disarming Me so ingenuously right Now with that telling Look that’s looking right Through me as if to say It’s all right, Papa Whatever you write, You’ll still be The only grandpa I have who’s a poet— Whatever that is.
It appears I have no worldly ambitions In the least, at least that’s what My discerning, highly Esteemed colleagues mostly Accuse me of, and I suspect They are right—after all, All I’ve ever wanted is To make myself comfortable Before a blank piece of paper And make believe It’s my whole world.
My English not so good but I want to write you about problem I got. I know you a good man and you listen. I go to America in 1912. There I work hard in lumber camps. In 1917 I join Army And become proud natural citizen. Army send me to Europe to fight Germans. War over I come back to America. Work hard again. Save little Money and go back To Greece 1936 for find Good woman and make family. Have two boys now, 9 and 3. War and Germans keep me here. In Greece then life very hard die many people. War over now but things not good still. People poor hungry no jobs. No money for return With family to America. You and America last hope. Send tickets please. I honest Swear I work hard pay you back Every cent because I want you know All my life I never vote Republican.
No sea in Syria, no sea In Afghanistan, only A sea of suffering Humanity and if it is With difficulty we see ‘The Aegean flower With corpses’, it is not Because we have to Wade through A sea of the world’s Indifference to witness It but also because We do not wish to hear The siren-beset ship we are Sailing on is well On its way to Lethe.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------- *Agamemnon, l. 659 cf. the following link to see how George Seferis uses this phrase in one of his poems:
First notice that Nothing is as It used to be, Thus everything is No longer on Familiar ground—even that Couch potato you once Thought was impervious To change now Looks to be sprouting Eyes in the back Of its cabbage head.
Dear brothers In a common cause, These teeming masses Of supplicants besieging Our sacred borders Seek nothing Save a sanctuary where They can rest their weary heads; Their plight does indeed cut Us to the quick—pray Let us show compassion, Home in on each and every one With heaven-sent teargas, plenty Of angelic cudgels and lay Their worries to rest before The final, merciful kill.
Hearing her Owner’s frantic Yells for help and before we ran To raise her and she romped off To dry in sun-drenched meadow, She was down there a drowning Blatting bobbing waterlogged pandemonium, Dog-paddling round stony ring of death accompanied By chorus of cacophonous frogs stoically croaking In deadpan disbelief.
Up in the village Watching my wife doting On her mother sliding quickly Downhill into oblivious senility, I cannot but recall how Many times she’d made The long haul from the village To that little summer garden Two twisting miles straight Down to the gorgeous Gorge and back, a straw Basket in each hand laden With freshly-harvested vegetables And hauling more often than not, The latest of her six Children in a sling Across her now Bent-over back, And looking on all That had to be Done each day as inevitable As the sun rising and setting And never once asking why It had to be that way.
Don’t breathe a word— You can’t see it but that Rucksack on your back Has just enough To carry you through Another day, But no need to worry— That other beggar With a rucksack Just like yours Walking before you Will never give you away.
Time was I thought I could think My way through life Using clever arguments, That it would be Easy to imagine A world where being Smart made you Nobody’s fool— Hard to believe now, I ended up forgetting Nobody makes life’s rules.
Virtuoso, do not be taken in— This seemingly boundless Universe we were born into Was made to carry us only Piecemeal as far as the last step we take. So do yourself a favor, will you? Think hard for all of us Before you chance to leap.
That space between your ears remains Shockingly grotesque, revealing A gross lack of fantasy in shucking it— Do not wonder then how it was all Those sheaves of corny poems you wrote And kept turning over in your mind That turned your hair white overnight.