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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 ...

Monday, June 30, 2014

Poem for My Brother (and in response to Allen Ginsberg)

I wrote this poem after visiting my brother in Denver this weekend.  He happens to live around the corner from the Colburn Hotel, where we went for drinks one night (in the very same bar where Allen Ginsberg wrote his great poem Denver Doldrums), and I thought about Jack and Allen and I took this picture in the lobby as well:


Art is no illusion
For a poet who commits
To the present tense
In more ways than
Just one forever
Sparing no expense
Reason or rhyme
In other words
Not holding
Back in the least
In the love of my brother
No less than you of Jack
I suppose

An edifice (or two)
Worthy of Oedipus
If you know what I mean
Mythically strong in that
These twin towers
Have been built to last
Thus your poem speaks
To mine even though
Sal Paradise and I now
Must go our separate ways
Each prone to our own misreading
Part willful
Part not

And completely unknowing of
Whatever unworldly future states
I too may happen to move in
Such is my keen sense
Of the brick façade
And the interior space
Of the Colburn Hotel
So very well in the doldrums
You said but I say
Not in the least
But in elation really
And with utmost confidence
That’s how things stand today
Upon our subsequent embrace
Near the airport departure gate

So Sal Paradise and I
Now we go our
Separate ways
Each prone to
His own misreading
Both giving birth to new meaning
Mine full of hope 
Come whatever may

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Poem for the Summer Solstice

Here is a slightly expanded version of the poem I wrote yesterday while watching the sun set with my wife on the back porch.

* * * * *

Now comes the first day of summer
And already time has stretched
Out to the horizon
Much as the clouds do

And upwards ascended
Into my neighbor’s treetop
Where this finial of light
Makes a last stand
To mark the zenith
Of the year

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Short poem written as live blog post on the back porch

Now come the first day of summer
And already time is stretching
Out to the horizon
Much as the clouds do

*  *  *  *  *

The next morning I woke up early and added another short stanza to this poem which you can read here:

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

An Evening in June Paddling my Kayak Homeward on Weesuck Creek

The sun is setting
Just ahead of
Of the starboard bow
If I let up paddling
For ten seconds
Or less a stiff north wind
Will push the boat
Around and back out
Towards Shinnecock
Inlet with all that
Such a name implies

But what
A peaceful night it is
With the egrets
Lined up along
The eastern shoreline
Wading out amidst 
The creek’s detritus
Knee deep into
The outrushing tide
For whatever hapless
Minnows may happen
Their way

But for me
The controls
Were set long ago
And here I am still
Going at it and paddling
As hard as I can
Straight into the heart
Of the living sun
The view out towards Shinnecock Inlet

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Swan I Saw One Night

I came across the notes for this poem in one of my notebooks and I realized that I hadn't quite nailed it the first time.  There were still a few lines missing.  Here's the complete thought (for now).

A Swan I Saw One Night

A swan I saw tonight
Sleeping by the mouth
Of Weesuck Creek
Head tucked under
Its wing all but indistinct
A pile to the right and
Looking ass backwards
Much as I was
And outward
Towards the sea
Pensive and proudly
Surveying the night's
Indisputable truth
Not so much mindful
As empty and still

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Song Written on Returning Home

Look again
You'll notice
Signs everywhere
That explain which
Button to push and
Which key will fit
The front door lock

If you're lucky I mean
You may have received
Instructions that spell
Out every last step
You need to take to beat
A path back home 

Yet still there comes
A moment when you have
To take matters into
Your own two hands

There's no other way
To return home
Except by turning
The heart's cylinder with
Your own sweet hands