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The Journey to the West

Though we journey to the West We pray to the East More or less that's the way Each day begins and ends It’s a tale everyone ...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Short Poem About Poetry

Another poem about poetry I'm afraid.  How droll.  No one really wants to know or cares but in case there's someone out there who does.... 


 A Short Poem About Poetry


It's not so much
A matter of trochee
Or synedoche
Not that they're
Inconsequential

But I primarily
Care how a poem
Falls on the inner ear
Whether composed
While walking the dogs
Around the block
Or at home alone
With Artie Shaw
In the background

For me
Words unspoken
By the breath
Carry the purest
Possible sound
That I can only
Hear when I write
Them down

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Short Rhyme for the Greatest Minds of this Generation

Here's a short rhyme I devised on my way home from the store tonight, it helped no doubt that I was swinging a bag of heavy groceries to get a good rhythm going.


-->
And why is it
We have seen some of
The greatest minds
Of this generation
End up wasting their
Time online first
On Facebook
And then Twitter
As if there's nothing that matters
That can’t be expressed
By instant messenger or
In 140 characters
Or less I mean

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Poem Written in Reply to Greg

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But time really
Can't be wasted
Since we don't own it
In the same way
It may be said
We own all our
Other assets 

Because time
By definition 
Is a wasting asset
Anything we really
Do with it
With full heart and mind
Can only enhance
Our abiding sense
Of what Nothing
Is more truly worth


Ode to Mister Apology (II)

That something
Could be so personal
And still anonymous
Was an important part
Of the discovery of
The undercover work
That you did

That Truth likes
To wear all sorts
Of disguises
More playful
And bashful
Than misleading
In intent
For how would
She otherwise ever
Feel comfortable
Displaying herself
In the broad light of day

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Poem Written in a Coffee Shop on 29th Street


It might be
Right there
In front of you
Because some
Of the world’s
Greatest discoveries
Just happen by
Serendipity
Juan said to me
Sitting in a midtown
Coffee shop the other day
When he turned my way
And noticed my glazed
Distracted look

And then one of
Reality’s hidden dimensions
Began to cohere right there
On the page in front of me
Just like a pop up book
As I realized the clarity
Of a picture depends
Not only on the aperture
Of the lens’ setting
But also that of the heart
As it ranges from fear
In the extreme
To something more open
To the plenitude of light

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Grammatical Lapse or Two


Just recently
My mom tsk tsked
Me for a grammatical lapse
In an email I sent
When I wrote Me
Instead of I as any
Second grader
Should have  
Known better 

And I lamely replied
That having dispensed
With punctuation
In deference to style
I felt it my prerogative
To abandon grammar
As well if and when
I felt so inclined

That being part
Of the basic liberty
To which I subscribed
When I signed up as
A practitioner of the art
Of completely free verse

Not standing beholden
To any truth higher
Than the hope of
More pleasurably serving
My listeners’ ears



A Poem for Deflationary Times

There are no more
Or less than three sides
To a coin even in the most
Deflationary of times
Not failing to count
The perimeter

On the one hand
I just bought
A cup of coffee
For exactly
One dollar
In a gourmet shop
In midtown
For the first time
Going back
Beyond my recall

And on the other
It would taste
Much less bitter if
I had a good steady job
Instead of sipping
From the cup
So timidly 
Prolonged by the
Fear of coming
Adversity

But clearly there's no point
In waiting around on the outside
Chance something good is
Going to happen
Because the future depends
On nothing but the sweat
Of my own brow
As it drips and mixes
With the ink that's setting
On the pages of the
Very next volume 
Set to roll off
Roll Your Own Press
While also for display on any
Atavist  friendly device
And then out the door to address
Whatever hard money fate
Happens to await me

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

About the High-Line

The High-Line
Poses the question
As a microcosm
Of the city itself --
What has most shaped
The outcome of this
Encounter between
Nature
Industry and
Art

When all three
Have recombined
In such an intricate way
It's all but
Impossible
To sort
Things out

What nature
Reclaimed from
Industry with native weeds
Has been so well arranged
By the gardener's art
As to revive an abandoned
Right of way
So it carries
An ever more
Essential flow 
Of Euros and Yen
Straight to the City's
Beating heart


Wet Paint On Fence!




Last night was
The first night
Of the new moon of
The Lunar New Year
And there was wet paint
On the fence according
To this sign I saw
Taped to the ground
When I went for a walk
Along the High-Line




Monday, September 17, 2012

The Essence of Chan

Just like
A seagull's call
Reality has
An iterative
Ring to it

That for me
Is the essence
Of Chan
How it starts
With a sudden
Reverence
For emptiness

But must be
Cultivated further
From there

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Poem About the Social Network Effect

Ah so now we are
Networking
Me and my old
College professor
On one of those
So called professional
Social networks
So what sort of
Extra benefits
Can I expect
To reap now


If my life generally
May be said
To be analogous
To a multi-level
Marketing scheme
Then I most definitely
Intend to pursue
A middling course
Steering far away
From the extremes

And of Sancho Panza
And the good Don
I remain perfectly
Comfortable
In either part
Depending
On whichever one
I first happen to land

What a Guy on the Ferry Said

The other day
I ran into this guy
On the Long Island Ferry
Who told me about
The Striped Bass
Along the North Shore
Who have made a home there
Year round in the warm waters
Spewed out by the power plant

And how similar to that
I have planted myself
Here in the intertidal zone
Along Weesuck Creek
In the warmth
Of a power plant of
Unknown devising

Where my kayak
Gently bobs up
And down on the
Incoming tide as
I proceed slowly
Almost without effort
On a slipstream of time
Gliding along with
A paddle in my hands
Both sides alternately
Stretching
Literally floating home
Into the corona
Of the last light
Of day
What more incredible
Perpetual motion effect
Than that can one
Ever hope to attain

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Another Thing I Learned from Gus

Maybe Gus
Is onto something big
The way he crouches
Under the far side
Of the hydrangea

As it seems what
This one-eyed cat most
Particularly delights in
Is laying in wait
In a very simple
Predator state
Of mind
Honing his 
Craft

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sonnet Fifty Five

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Between the published
Self-published and not
And a baker’s dozen
Of other possibilities
The randomness of success
Defies all understanding
And the vagaries of
Popular taste bother
Me not in the least

But what I find extremely
Vexing about my
Present circumstances
Both as a person and a poet
Is the titillation provided
By the least sign of
The world’s interest in my work
And how the smallest increase
In page views per day transforms
Itself into a perceptible bounce
In my own sense of self-worth

Monday, September 3, 2012

For Sasha - My Almost Blind But Seeing Eye Dog


I’ve learned a lot
From Sasha
My nearly sightless bitch
By cataracts afflicted
And boon companion
For the last few years

When she heads
Out the front door
She hesitates not
The slightest bit
But onward she charges
To smell and bump
Into the world largely
Without regard
For all the terrible things
About to happen

And so too I should like to
Proceed about my business
With sight likewise occluded
Speaking not of the outer two
But solely of the inner eye
Through which vision is
But dim and intermittent
Yet not to be deterred
In the least from continuing
To bump and grope
My way about
Stout of heart for as
Long as I’m able


*  *  *  *  *


The Puritans fancied
We are all like
An old blind dog
Lying underneath
The blacksmith’s table
Oblivious to damnation
Even amidst the sparks and clangs
From each anvil burst

I see the simile too
Walking down the street
With Sasha as she bangs
Along cranium first
Knocking into lamp-posts
Scaffolding poles and
Hefty sac garbage bags
Piled high by the curb

It’s just how
An old blind dog
Navigates through
Life’s many dangers
Finding her way
And giving us
A clear glimpse
Of our own future

*  *  *  *  *

And I can see her 
As she stood outside
On the front lawn
Just the other day
Her muzzle cocked
Her coat riffling
In the breeze still
With a pure delectation of spring
Coursing through her veins




Sasha at rest

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Few Verses in Praise of George Orwell

I wrote this poem after reading what struck me as an overly snide review written by Barry Gewen in this weekend's NYT's Book Review about George Orwell's recently published diaries.




A writer’s credibility rests upon
His or her ability with words
To impress upon readers
A love for truth unvarnished

So George Orwell towers
Above all others
Of the 20th century
As a devotee 
By instinct abhorring
All cant

And please remember
Counting eggs is a
Time honored occupation
Among English empiricists
Down through the  centuries
Those who truly relished
The beautiful taste
Of what's been home laid
By a bird in the hand