Monday, October 16, 2017

On The Death Of A Friend

i.m. George Tsiros, 1954-2017 


Blot it out of your mind, 
You cannot--it remains 

There, in that hollow left 
Of your brain--where 

That quivering candle was 
Snuffed out by a blast 

Of hard, hard rain. 

Saturday, October 14, 2017

B/W Photo With Young Dummy In Shop Window, Raymond, Washington, 1972


You might not see him 
At first but he’s there 

Alright—on the left— 
Wearing a striped 
Long-sleeved shirt 
And dark pants, looking 
Smart as a tack as he gazes 
North onto a long gray 
Street stretching south 
Under an endless canopy 
Of low gray clouds— 

Three cars are parked 
With their noses pointing 
North, too—it looks 
Like it’s early spring, 
For the lone 
Leafless sapling 
On the sidewalk shows 
Signs of coming 
To life again. 


NB:photo courtesy of Tom Mattson, Administrator for FB page "You Know You Grew Up In Raymond When. . ." for which I thank him.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Physical


My eighty-year old 
Mother-in-law, now 

Well past recalling 
Anything that transpires 

Over a minute after 
It flashes before her, 

And so 

Thin and frail you can see her 
Bones pressing against 

Her flimsy night- 
Gown still remains 

Sharp enough to tell 
The young 

Doctor feeling her 
Body for any 

Tell-tale signs of 
Imminent danger 

To go to hell the moment 
He brushes what now passes 

As her breasts. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Transient Harvest Moon


The sky was ever so moving last night— 
A surfeit of broken, moonlit pie crusts, 
So I thought to hesitate a while, take

My fill of it, or if not all, as much as 
I could, when I heard a voice I swear 
Coming from the dark side of the moon:

“Move on, you light-headed fool, 
Indulge as you will, what makes you 
Think you’ll ever get your fill?” 

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Outside A Railroad Station Coffeehouse Where Trains No Longer Run


Early autumn late afternoon 
In a light northerly breeze 
Under the centenarian 
Plane trees, we pass 
The time sipping 
Coffee and keeping 
An eye out 
For the next crumpled, 
Crablike leaf to fall 
And scuttle past us when 
Just across the other 
Side of the rusted derelict 
Tracks, we catch sight of 
The black-garbed village priest 
Slowly making his way, pushing 
His paraplegic son along. 

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Practicing What You Preach

Yes, indeedy— 
No particular place to go was his motto 

And he always doubled back 
To where he’d started 

Particularly 
To make doubly sure 

He knew precisely where 
He wanted to go. 

Monday, October 2, 2017

Curmudgeon's Epitaph


Never a slacker, his life was marked 
By a stoic refusal to follow any lackluster tack, 
And steer that lonely, steady course he did— 

Till he found himself a haven where
No groveling lackey missed his absence,
And nothing ever lacked.










Saturday, September 30, 2017

Out Of This World: 5th Century B.C. Attic White-Ground Lekythos


The Ancient Greeks used to think 
The soul was a moth, a small 
Bird, or butterfly that escaped 
From the body once 
A mortal had left his mortal 
Existence behind; as such it was 
A favorite motif of many 
An Attic white-ground painter— 
Take this piece for example, 
Where we see the little winged one 
In question has just made his exit 
And is now perched upon the head 
Of the upright dearly departed 
Prior to taking off again, 
Presumably to somewhere 
Where no doubt it won’t be 
So easy for the artist 
To recapture him.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Suspension of Disbelief


All told, 
When they finally fall

To earth and rot,
It’s not as if all that

Hanging on was 
Definitely not 

For naught. 


Friday, September 22, 2017

Archipelago of the Aegean

of that jasmine 

from first light 
of day to night 
winding through 

narrow passage 
ways smelling 
of sea- 

girded white washed 
limestone still 
blinding white. 



Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Janus-Faced Plumb Cuckoo's Cogito Ergo Sum


Of all the nutty 
Scenarios that keep flashing 

Through his double’s dealing 
Mind’s eye, the one that sticks 

Out from the others like 
A sore thumb is the one where 

His alter ego’s little 
Jack Horner jamming 

A humungous middle 
Finger up the other’s 

Piebald bum, all the while 
Trumpeting “I’m the greatest 

Tweeter of all, I am, I am, 
Oh, what a titillating prize 

Plum of a cornucopian 
Fruitcake I am!” 


Saturday, September 16, 2017

Curmudgeon Closing in on the Summation


In the end, 
He who is continually 
At odds with himself is close 
To knowing who his chief adversary is, 
Though never close enough 
To make a difference. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Phantom Undertaking


Let him who is beyond 
A doubt devoid of substance 
Be the first to show us how 

Soul-cleansing the act 
Of casting shadows on white 
Washed walls can really be. 


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Drawing A Blank: Returning To The Motherland, 1959

"They enter the new world naked, 
cold, uncertain of all 
save that they enter.” 
—W.C. Williams, Spring and All 

I imagined 
The village welcoming 
Ceremony would be 
Like the farewell 
Eleven years before 
When I was all of four, 
But who knows what 
That was like when 
I remembered nothing 
Of what had come before, 
Let alone my mother 
And the midwife bringing 
Me into a new world naked 
In the middle of March 
On a hard-packed earthen floor.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Pushing Renewable Energy To Its Uppermost Limits


It was green as all 
Get out up there 
On Resting Place Ridge 
And it was going 
To keep on 
Getting greener, 

A real going concern 
As they say, something 
A live wire could die for, 
Even the daisies out doing 
Pushups could be seen 
Turning green with envy. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Huuklyeand Cinquor On The Difficulty Inherent In Finding Your True North


Like a compass gone 
Haywire, the why 
Of where you may be 
At any given point 
Has nothing to do 
With where you think 
You are going. 


Moderator’s comments: OK, Cinquor—you just keep throwing your soul-searching lines out—sooner or later, some lost soul will take the bait and follow you straight to wherever it is you think you’re going.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Vagrant


urchin’s 

small sky- 
blue bouncing 

ball bouncing 
from one vacant 

lot to another 


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Her Mama Done Told Her


The quickest way to his heart 
Was through his stomach 

But she garbled the message, 
Peeled, and sliced his 

Adam’s apple instead. 


Friday, September 1, 2017

Bankrupt Wordsmith Soon To Be Back In Business


Out of the thick dark- 
Green blackness of vegetable 
Life smothering the derelict 
Study of the late obscure 
Minor underground poet, 
There comes the fevered 
Munching of eager beaver 
Ghost writers rabidly attacking 
A bolted, worm-eaten door. 


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Squint-eyed Kid Strikes (Out) Again


Sun, it’s time you stopped 
Playing with me—how 
On earth am I 

To reflect on all 
That’s under the heavens 
When you’re always on the run? 





Friday, August 25, 2017

Gullible Masochistic Supplicant Beseeches Imagist Muse


My unerring, yea, insouciant 
Lady, should you deem it fit 
To kill me with a panoply 
Of words cutting 

To the heart, please 
Please with your leave
Before I depart, let me see 
How they all hit the mark. 





Wednesday, August 23, 2017

But For The Grace Of God: Making America Great Again


If it’s true that 
Time waits 

For no man, yet 
Neither does it 

Stand still, caught 
As we are 

In such a debilitating 
Conundrum 

And drained of any 
Feasible exit plan, 

It’s not unreasonable to expect 
The great unwashed will 

Opt for the next up-and-coming 
Maelstrom to suck the whole 

Godforsaken kit and caboodle 
Down, down, down to where 

Everything settles in
To the muck 

Of just being there. 


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Making The Best Of Small Talk


under the shade 
of the huge 

coffeehouse maples, 
where the receipts 

of what has been 
spent so far 

flutter round my feet 
like the dying 

leaves soon to be 
scurrying over 

the crushed gravel 
when Fall rolls round 

again, I cannot 
help but overhear 

the mindless droning small 
talk of grownups 

behind me—all 
the while 

my eyes riveted 
on the children hard 

at play in the play- 
ground opposite, 

and though not 
a praying man 

myself, I swear 
I can almost 

hear the desperate 
small white cry 

of the child I once was 
pleading with me, 

telling me don’t 
give it a second 

thought, no matter 
what you might be 

thinking, make the best 
of it, it’s all we’ve got. 


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Moira, Kindred Spirit


Second-guessing her is akin 
To knowing bloody well what 

Where and when to turn down 
All blind alleys to Hell. 


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Seriously, You Can Ask Me


If I’ll be here 
Tomorrow to answer 
Your life-and-death question; 
To give you, 
Among other things, 
The proper time 
Of day when everybody looks 
Askance at you then turns 
To look the other way; 
You can ask me whatever else 
Pops out of that enquiring
Mind as long as you remember 
Not to blow it when unfinished
Business calls and I’m not 
There to stop that pap before 
It ups and blows your brains away. 





Saturday, August 12, 2017

Memo From One Of The Wolves On Wall Street


Share and share alike? 
Never did buy 
That piece 
Of pap—why 

Should we 
Portion out half 
Of what we have 
To some ungrateful 

Misfits clearly unfit 
To reap half 
Of our precious hard- 
Bought misanthropy? 

Better we let the wretches 
Dawdle in their misery. 



Thursday, August 10, 2017

Poem Fraught With Symbolism


I bet someone could write 
A poem worthy 

Of Baudelaire’s best 
About these two 

Doves suddenly 
Lifting them- 

Selves up from 
The gashes 

Of plowed land where 
They were 

Foraging for food, 
Now darting lovey- 

Dovey from branch to branch 
Of shimmering silver- 

Green olives with 
Nary a hawk in sight, 

But I wouldn’t 
Stake my life on it. 


Tuesday, August 8, 2017

How To Make A Killing In Commodities


Tut-tut, not to worry— 
In brief, the bulk 

Of the argument being 
You have to haul your own 

Weight all the way over 
To the right side 

Of the tracks or else 
Some pell-mell runaway 

Freight train makes double 
Sure your burden is disposed of 

Properly, so as to fit 
Such a moving occasion. 


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Ill-Conceived With The Speed Of Sleight


Thinking you can fashion 

A living out of writing 
Poetry’s tantamount 
To believing 

There are hobbyhorses that fly. 


Thursday, August 3, 2017

Immaculate Minimalist Body Poetic


my dear fly- 
weight mates, stay 

clear of midges 
that swarm round 

you in your spot 
less white and do 

nothing but maculate. 





Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Ruminations On Pulling The Wool Over One's Eyes


In this dazzling midday heat, 
It’s comforting to think how 
Contented the innocent 
Lambs must be, gathered 
With no care in the world
Under the protective canopy 
Of the blessèd olive tree, 
Suckling their mothers’ teats 
As if their lives depended 
On it, and indeed how 
Easy it is to be sucked in 
By that old rustic wives’ tale— 
A bit harder to digest how 
Gamboling they are 
Soon to be led off 
By city-bred wolves 
In always appropriate 
Cutting-edge abattoir attire. 


Sunday, July 30, 2017

Definitely Not Lemmings: A Benediction


No, no, not these 
Poor misguided 
Driven ones that 
Dive headlong in 
Droves over 
The nearest head- 
Land, dear God, let me

Please in my next life be 
Anything, anything 
Save those consumed by that 
Sweet, deadly urge to self- 
Destruct without never 
Ever knowing why, 
Amen.



Friday, July 28, 2017

The Dawning Darkening


The village elders were fond 
Of telling us the waxing 
Sickle slowly lowering it- 
Self in the western sky 
Would be full before 
We knew it and empty 
Itself just as fast— 

An eternity passed before 
We knew it. 


Thursday, July 27, 2017

Smug Wannabe Psychic


Insisted you could always tell 
What we were about to say 
By the look on our faces— 
How we chuckled back then 
But then again how 
Were any of us to know? 

As it so happens, second- 
Guessing the future’s a lot 
Like digging your grave 
Specially now when 
Everybody round you turns out 
Dead right grim in the end. 


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Fantastic Freshly Plowed Centenarian Olive Grove


Amidst the frenzied clamorous 
Backdrop of cicadas readying 
To draw the curtain and call it 
Still another night, the dumb 
Eye strains before finally 
Falling upon fold after fold 
Of newly-wrought furrows 

Under the wrinkled arching 
Brows of row after row 
Of stately silent grotesques— 
My arrogant fellow bit players, 
If you please, please observe how 
Once more the stage is being set 
For yet another humbling 

Twilight. 


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Great Expectations Till Hell Freezes Over


In the searing July heat 
Hot enough to broil 
A souvlaki on asphalt,

This seventy-year-old man 
Has just crossed the street 
To a neighbor’s where he

Picks up a goodly-sized 
Leafy branch from a freshly
Pruned lemon tree, tenderly 

Brings it back and then 
Proceeds to dig a hole 
In his garden, plants 

The amputated 
Limb, waters it profusely 
And waits for it to take root, 

Come hell or high water. 


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Heads Up, Or What's That You Say?


I said Poet, 

If you’re finding it hard 
To hear the sounds 

Of silence, you’re 
More than likely 

Talking your ears off. 




Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Welcome Mat


This dreary derelict mud 
Brick hovel in which squat

A Roma family 
With six kids all

Under twelve also 
Sports a brood 

Of scrawny kittens 
Numbering about 

A dozen taking in 
Today’s brilliant 

Sunshine in front 
Of a hanging 

Pied blanket 
Serving as 

Its front door. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Immaculate Cycladic Morning


From round, blue-green 
Plastic tub next to her

Frail frame, white-spattered 
Black-robed widow wielding

Long-handled red brush 
Attacks greying house

Walls with wide swaths 
Of blinding fresh whitewash—

Soon everything will smell 
Of clean wedding night sheets. 



Monday, July 10, 2017

Turning Point


You know she’s right 
And you’re dead wrong 

When she sees red and 
You’re already past 

The last green light, 
Long past gone. 

 

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Gloam


Slowly pedaling past black ornamental 
Cast ironwork railing round small candle-

Lit cemetery cramped by too many large marble 
Tombstones crested with white crosses where 

No matter what you’re thinking, 
The mind always reaches 

A blank there. 


Friday, July 7, 2017

Are You With Us Or Against Us?


“You” being the “we” we always thought 
We were until someone came along 

And told us otherwise and then 
We became “them” with a whole 

New perspective concerning who 
We were and who they were 

And gave up trying to answer 
Their question right then and there. 


Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Littoral Expanse


Literally on edge, 
The complacent self-

Same image now 
No longer

Grounded, breaks in- 
To an un- 

Broken recitative 
Of waves leaving 

Nothing to chance. 

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Has-been Apprentice Hack



NON-DISCLAIMER: This is a work of poetry; as such, it is the product of the author's imagination, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is definitely not coincidental in any way, shape, or form. On the contrary, it is clearly intended to enlighten the reader as to the character of the splashy, hubris-filled blowhard now playing hack actor playing at playing the role of the most powerful man in the world—a part soon to be assumed and straightaway transmogrified into a bit player’s nightmare by a most desperately driven, artful director called Nemesis.  


Used to be 
You could tell how

Hot you were from how 
Much fake precipitation dripped

From your forehead 
As you manipulated your way

Up Broadway to no end—what 
A farce, my no longer cool friend!

No more easily anticipated 
Big splash round the bend, 

Only just too much 
No sweat vaporized

In the sweltering end.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Huuklyeand Cinquor On Postmodern Poetry's Distressing Emphasis On Omphaloskepsis


"The question of the nature of navel fluff seems to concern more people than one would think at first glance.”  – Dr. Georg Steinhauser, chemist 

Reflecting 
One way or another 
On the idea that 
Idiot in its ancient 
Greek sense did not 
Mirror what it means today, 

But rather someone so 
Caught up in his self- 
Importance that he is 
Useless to society really 
Makes one kind of wonder, 
Does it not? 

Moderator’s comments: Huuk, I suppose it does but if so, shouldn’t that questioning spirit supply us with real answers rather than ending in a vapid query that does nothing but prolong the agonizing naval-gazing status quo that characterizes a great deal of contemporary poetry, yours included? 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Know Thyself, Dude


Like the man said 
Before he drank his last 
Bitter draught toasting 
Man’s stupidity, 
One thing only I know, 
And that is that 
I know nothing. 


Say you do not know, 
You know. 


Say you know, 
You do not know. 


You know? 


If not, you must be 
Some kind of stupid.

Monday, June 26, 2017

In a Rut, or Business as Usual in the Land of Timeworn Phrases

Here 

In the civilized 
West, whenever we hear

Of some poor soul beaten 
To death by a crowd

Of angry barbarians 
In some god-

Forsaken corner 
Of the globe,

We change channels. 


Friday, June 23, 2017

Lazarus


Emma, should you 
Miraculously emulate 
Your celebrated namesake 

By appearing before 
Your lady-in-waiting 
Once more, keep in mind 

Her lamp is tarnished 
And the door now 
Shutting, golden no more. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Dystopian Ways and Means


Oh yes 
Indeed, we aim 
To please the tired, 
The teeming destitute 
Derelict masses washed up 
Like so much flotsam 
On our shores, 
By keeping our eyes 
Always on target, 
Even if it means losing 
What we set out for. 



Thursday, June 15, 2017

Working-Class Stool Pigeon


on the bum, 
strutting under 

neath chicks 
on stools out 

side up 
scale coffee 

house gleaning tit
bits of hot 

info from un 
suspecting cool 

cheesecake crumbs. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Not In The Script


In this dark grave 
Comedy of errors, 
If you wish 
To begin
Once upon a time,
Best not to 

Plan on ending it 
Happily ever after,
Right on cue 
And always oh
So tellingly 
Nondescript. 







Thursday, June 8, 2017

Grease Monkey Gigolo Riff


Maestro? 
That’s me— 

Screw driving 
Down right 

Up tight low 
Down staccato funky 

Monkey wrenching Mr. 
Ostinato Lubricanto— 

At yer soivice, ma’am. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Trumped: Tower Block Asylum Gravity


In the high-rise, 
Everything was in 
Great, scintillating order— 

Including any semblance 
Of order which had gone 
Right through the ceiling 

When every able body 
On the premises 
Found itself going up 

And down 
In circles, unable 
To do anything but 

Pace the abysmal,
Bottomless pit 
Of the ground 

Floor. 

Friday, June 2, 2017

Exemplary Poetic Specimen


Go ahead, 
Stare at the blank 
Page all you want— 

Nothing needs all 
The help it can get, 
And you’re no exception.




Monday, May 29, 2017

Best Laid Plans


When the rudimentary yet 
Humungous suicide 
Bomb went off 

And everything and everyone went 
To pieces with it, there was nobody to ask 
What became of the intricate 

Nuts and bolts designed to hold 
The whole shebang together. 


Friday, May 26, 2017

You Don't Say!


Listen up, young fella— 
People who say 
They like to tell it 

Like it is most likely never 
Tell you what it is 
They like to tell; 

The few times they do though, 
More than likely they 
End up short on the telling 

End of another tall tale. 



Sunday, May 21, 2017

Air of Yearning


The pine’s whispering 
Something all but inaudible 

Under its breath 
The wind pines

To hear it, too. 


Thursday, May 18, 2017

Shape Up Or Ship Out, You Swine


Tut-tut now, we know they say 
All the world’s a stage but 
Then again, it’s not 
Your oyster, mate— 

Though it could be 
If you were but a god- 
Damn watchdog standing 
Sentinel at the pearly gates. 


Monday, May 15, 2017

Timeworn Life Sentence


In the morning it’s easy 
Getting caught up 

In the hope it won’t be 
One more wasted day, 

Only to spend the rest 
Of your life wondering 

How that too got away. 


Friday, May 12, 2017

Unsettling Unearthly Affair


where sudden suspect 

gust in trees 
leaves 

                    minding 
                    nobody’s business 

still up in air. 


 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Curious And Curiouser At Four-And-A-Half


My wife holding 
A sloshy plastic bag 
Into which she’s thrown 
Up half her guts, Phaedra 
Peers into the bathroom 
And asks her 

Granny, I wasn’t 
Here when you started, 
Please do it again— 
I want to see how 

It all comes out 
In the end. 

Thursday, May 4, 2017

First Things First

—for Eleni, first of all 

I suppose you’re right, my love, 
After all— there are many things 
In this world worth pursuing, 

But who can recall them and why 
Try when most of the time 
I end up wanting

Nothing but to follow you 
To the ends of the earth. 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Heartthrob


Departing like a slasher 
In the night, you went 

The way you came, ever 
Returning on the morrow 

With my heart in your hands 
Like a bloody cliché, 

Willing and able to do 
Love’s bidding again

And again—touché. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Barking Up The Wrong Tree


Trying to focus on what 
Your poem’s going to be 
About’s a lot like throwing 
A stick as far as you can 
Into a whitecapped lake, 

Then pointing to it so 
The pup at your side can see 
Where it’s bobbing so 
It can go retrieve it when 
All the while what it’s been 

Up to is wagging its tail 
Like all get-out, those 
Bright, beady eyes 
Of his concentrating 
On nothing but 

Your finger gesticulating 
In the ambivalent air. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Anger Management For Rejected Poets Hung Up On The Muse


Keeping as much as you can
Of your cool, take one last look 
At all the abortions you’ve sired, 
Then quickly dispatch with them 
By counting slowly to ten--

When you've come
To your senses,
Send them back 
To that heartless bitch
In heat again. 







 


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Christian Soldiers' War Room


Bit by bit, 
Year after year, 
The hot air leaking 
From the air- 
Tight crypt kept reaching 
Our ears garbled—

True to life 
Year after year, 
Mouth to mouth, 
We had to swallow 
The gibberish quickly
Or slowly die laughing. 


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Beehive of Conflicting Emotions


My head buzzing 
Over the latest crazed 
Talk of imminent war, I try 
To forget by spending 
A good part of the morning 
Under the shelter 
Of our Judas tree, 
Taking in the inebriated 
Bees as they bomb cluster 
After cluster of deep pink 
Flowers —I know 
It makes no sense 
Whatsoever but I hope 
The bees don’t start 
Making a beeline 
For the wine cellar. 


Monday, April 10, 2017

Evensong: A Time for Reaping


violet- 

blue- 


black 

mountains 


cradle 

up- 


side 

down 


bloody 

orange 


waxing 

sickle, 


verily my cup 

runneth over— 


tea, anyone? 



Tuesday, April 4, 2017

"Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is"


How many times 
Have you heard this 

Priceless one and gone 
Out of your way 

To sell your wares cheap, 
Craftsman? 




Sunday, April 2, 2017

Hocus-Pocus Habeas Corpus


You owed it to yourself 
But nothing yet of note 
To warrant a poem today— 

Like Bulldog Drummond hot 
On the trail, time to back- 
Track to where you lost 

The right to have writ 
Something whose smell won’t 
Soon go away. 

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