Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Stacked Deck (Written October 17)

A Stacked Deck

 

Don’t just walk away from me like that,

Stay a moment, say something, tell me

You still love me, tell me the only reason

 

You’ve lost your appetite for life,

Your joie de vivre, is the season,

With its diminishing light, or the storm

 

That’s approaching, with its sudden

Drop in air pressure, or the worm

In the apple that you happily ate

 

Half of, before throwing it down

In disgust. Tell me you have no hate

In your heart, only a feeling

 

Of being cheated, a sense that

Whoever or whatever is dealing

These cards has taken you for a ride.

It’s Very Delicate (Written October 16, 2013)

It’s Very Delicate

 

What harm is it doing to you?

Let him learn from his mistakes.

He’s the one who has to pick up

 

The pieces, not you. Your job,

For the time being, is to stick up

For him when he stumbles.

 

He’s at an age when he might

Turn and run away if he feels

He’s under too much pressure.

 

It’s very delicate. You can’t live

His life for him. He has to decide

What he wants, a life of constant

 

Brushes with the law, or something

Better than that. It’s up to him.

He knows what’s at stake.

Running, Running (Written October 15, 2013)

Running, Running

 

But still he is running, running

Against the icy wind. He runs

From the house into the starry night.

 

He runs from the voices raised

In anger. He runs from the fight

That never seems to end. He runs

 

Through the woods that he knows

Like the palm of his hand, as sons

Know the hearts of their fathers.

 

He runs through the fields and meadows,

He runs to the dark and dreary waters,

He runs from those he must leave behind.

 

He runs and runs until he can run

No further, like a whirlwind

When its time has come.

A Hammer of Nails (Written October 14, 2013)

A Hammer of Nails

 

They are the color of oats, the hills

I travel through, over winding trails

And rocky terrain, the slender birch

 

Lighting the way. And yet,

As if by some miracle, the church

Where we were married still stands.

 

But the farmhouses, in the valley

Below, have been abandoned,

Leaving nothing to take their place,

 

Nothing for the future.

Everything is a race

To the bottom. Here, we pledged

 

To love and obey, but that was before

We lost the child, and hedged

Our bet, with a hammer of nails.

Like an Old Married Couple (Written October 13)

Like an Old Married Couple

 

It’s interesting to hear the two of you talk,

In a sort of code or shorthand,

While all around you people come

 

And go, edging close, but not daring

To speak, for fear that a stupid

Question might amuse you

 

And leave you doubled over

With laughter, or confuse you,

Even worse, and trouble

 

Your precious peace of mind.

Like an old married couple,

Whispering sweet

 

Nothings, you move from

Group to group, to greet

Your many admirers.

Win-Win (Written October 12)

Win-Win

 

I wouldn’t go as far as that.

Let’s just say things could have been

A whole lot worse. For example,

 

If I had not taken the trouble to be born

Where would you be, unable to sample

The full range of my wintry sentiments.

 

How dull your life would be!

So take that as a compliment

To your sagacity, that you found

 

In me a mate worthy of your own

Bleak vision. Don’t come round

Me, if you think it’s such a raw deal.

 

I could have told you that

In the beginning. Let’s put a seal

On it, and call it a win-win.

The Man with the Goblet (Written October 11)

The Man with the Goblet

 

The man found holding the goblet

Is the one, we believe, who started

The fire. In the panic that followed

 

He was knocked to the floor,

And trampled underfoot.

For many, the only escape

 

Was through a second-story

Window, down an improvised ladder

To the flower bed behind the house,

 

And onto the clay tennis courts,

Where, a few hours earlier,

This same man, already drunk,

 

Shouting and swearing, in nothing

But a pair of tight swim briefs,

Had challenged his rival to a fight.

It Ends, Of Course (Written October 10, 2013)

It Ends, Of Course

 

It ends, of course, in the slaughterhouse.

Cows, horses, chickens, pigs, human

Beings too, share the same fate.

 

We have little choice in the matter.

Under cover of dark, at the gate,

Two men, one on each side, lock arms

 

With you, and walk you to the outskirts

Of town. They have their charms,

So that you almost come to believe

 

That it’s you who’s in control,

But that’s only to deceive

The fool in you. Whether you turn left

 

Or right you always arrive

At the same place. Gloomy, bereft

Of hope, the earth is clogged

 

With the dead, who come in all

Shapes and sizes. In a sort of bog

You lie down, your head

 

Comfortably against a belly, or a thigh.

The men have covered their faces. Dead

Or alive, it’s all the same. Is there anything

 

You want to say, they ask, with a smile.

You try to think of something.

Too late! One of them draws a long, thin

 

Knife from his back pocket. Not

Waiting, he plunges it in.

It’s quickly over, and the only sound

 

That we hear is a soft sigh

From your lips, which grow round

And fat like a tumor.

Like Him Afflicted (Written October 9)

Like Him Afflicted

 

That as myself could pity him

As myself could see myself

In years to come, like him

 

Afflicted, like him unable

To find the word, the dim

Light, as under a cloud,

 

Hiding, rather than disclosing,

Better calibrated to shroud

And confuse than to reveal

 

And make whole again. How like

Him as myself, as to conceal

The progress of the illness

 

And to keep my thoughts

To myself, in the stillness

Of the night, in the pity of myself.

Can You Help Me? (Written October 8)

Can You Help Me?

 

I’m his grandfather, but I don’t hear

Very well. Can you help me?

Ask him to repeat what he said,

 

But more slowly. About his mother.

She lay in the grass with her red

Dress on. It doesn’t make any sense.

 

Ask him, where is she now?

I’m a little worried, a little tense.

It’s not like her. She promised

 

She’d give me a call. I stayed

By the phone, but I missed

What she said. Ask him how

 

She looked. Was she scared?

As far as I know, up to now

She’s been just fine.

 

But everyone, I suppose,

At one time or another,

Runs into trouble.