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A bunch of new poems and stuff





The fatigue


I have tired

Of the noise

Of the incessant

Drumming of

A heart

Running on

Empty.

Empathy

Silenced, even

A modicum of

Humanity

denied



I have hollered

At the hills

At the miscreants

Ill advised

Ill informed

Hectoring

Others

Not to Get

Vaccinated,

To play Russian

Roulette

Live.


Jim Jones

Could not

Have coached

To the Kool

Aid any

Better than

The fools who

Feed a fear

To earn a

Dollar appearing

On Fox with

Pillow man.


Games have

Scores that I

Do not want to

See. Interviews

With those on

death beds

Wishing they’d

Vaccinated, knowing

They were duped,

Begging other not

The same fate, the

Same last gasp.


Nurses, doctors.

Orderlies—all

Heroes of the

Highest rank

Must witness

The suffering

That could have

So easily been

Alleviated. If I am

Tired, what

Must they be?


Elder days


Elder days are flying

Past me. Elder time

moves so much

Faster, seconds

Pass in milliseconds

As the sand pours

Out at a perceived

greater rate.


Unlike the Youthful days

Where we risked all on

Wages of emotional toll

That were easy to pay

Because the effort bore

Little real consequence.

Time like air just seemed

To be there.


Elder days involve the

Joy of surrender and

Light loads. Admissions

Of ignorance invitations

To explore more, and

Still, those whose youthful

Days were filled with trauma

Relive its horror.


And for those in pain

I commensurate

But cannot take on the

Battles fought and lost by

Others and ones I was not

Drafted to defend.


I walk along the streets of

North Beach, the alleys of

Chinatown, the stretches

Of Ocean Beach and the

Marina. I stop on benches

And I absorb the sunlight

Into weary bones and

Chalk outlined memories.


As people pass, I open

Up my life and pretend

To talk to them and give

Away my memories like

Seed to the flocking sea

Gulls at my feet.


I give away grief to the

Stranger on the corner

Who seemed to need

It more than me.


I give away regret to

The angry boy who

Yelled at people who

Did not look like him.


I give away blind ambition

To those who will later

Lament their sad inability

To truly enjoy and see.


I give away much of the

Baggage that stored the

Marks of defeat and

Victories now amounting

To so little.


I run naked into

The crashing waves and

Yell in primal scream

“A life well lived needs

So little, THINK!”


Elder days will see my

Selfish charity as I wake

And throw off old ideas

For the few promises

Of dwindling tomorrows.


Smell of Texas


Rain falls on New York

Sidewalks, Washington

Square or Red Hook

And its scent differs

Little from LA detours.


Texas after rain smells

Of Millenia, desert rich

El Paso from Meso

America to No Country

For Old Man Mesas.


And the smell is blood

That on its Streets has

Poured from when

JFK was killed to

The Twenty-Two

Innocents of

recent past.


But the smell lasts

In its ocher baseness

Deep in the Trinity

Riverbed begging

For forgiveness for

The horror it has

Begat.


And yet I still smell

Lizards running, red ants

Forming farms, hay, tule

Riverbed bull frogs croaking

Along the Rio Grande where

Pilgrims drown seeking

Freedom from despair.


A cussedness that prefers

Death to science, that

Sees freedom as a

Complete denial of anyone

But the proverbial “me.”

Selfishness bred into a

Fiber of disdain.


But a new smell is permeating

The air. A liberated Texas

A new defined Southwest,

The artists, the poets and the

Scholars are carving out

Canyons of creativity in the

Lone Star state.


Dixie Fire 2021


Violet dawn morning

Lines agitate the pink

Hawaiian sky. A horizon

Fighting with itself to

See who best welcomes

The full sun.


We are not there. We are

Here as flame oven heat

Races across our towns.


Smoke like the door to hell

Singe a curtain across the

Peeks of sky that attempt

To shine through the charred

Canopy’s demise.


We are here. We have run

Before and we must run

Again, fire refugees.


Fire and wind and the

Incessant heat, Dante

Rings don’t do it justice.

We melt as we run and

We freeze in silhouetted

Pantomime fear.


We are here. For now.

As I see the flames’ rage

I just drown.


On your face: In praise of aging faces


You wear the shades

Of make up over

Age spots and

Wrinkles well.


It is not an insult

And please don’t

Scowl or take it

this way.


Look for yourself.

See how you pay

Tribute to your

Aging features.


You wear your

Powder’s charm

Differently now.

Less is more.


The lightness of

The mask allows

The wisdom of

Beauty through.


And that is what

I meant to say.

You are more

Beautiful today.


Yesterday was

Wild and you

Harvested your

Face that way.


What I see is

The morning of

Dawn breaking

Over your face.


Radiance shines

Through like

Amazon sun streaks

Through canopy.


Your eyes open

With more and

Deliberate strength

And charm.


Words leave your

Mouth with more

Confidence, wit and

Unencumbered flair.


As I gray and hair

Has created a parted

Bald sea on my head

I Moses ahead.


And the joy of life

Is in seeing those

You love face aging

With aplomb.


Let youth have its

Have; let’s enjoy

Life without regret

Or Concern.


Let your face and mine

Face a mirror of time

And thank time for each

Wrinkle earned.


Looking back at philosophy’s gates


Young, I believed I understood

Philosophical works of great

Worth.


Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Hegel,

Locke, Hobbes, Nietzsche,

Wittgenstein—I grabbed

What knowledge I could

And left the unknowable

Behind.


If I understood anything I

Knew as Socrates said “I

Know that I do not know”

And maybe by asking

Questions I can at least

Know what I do not

Know.


And the gates of knowledge

To which I narcissistically

Thought I had a key remained

Locked though I opened them

And walked in.


Leafing through the pages of

Books, I refused to read others

And only looked to the next word

In the original text.


A youthful exuberance created

A passionate façade that made

Others think I knew what I was

Talking about.


Humility would come later and

Fear at not knowing overwhelmed

The ego that sought solace in

Not being found.


But I saw what I saw, and I felt

What I felt. And the morning

Kettle boiling whistles in utter

Disgust.


Admit you only saw the outline

Of the cave young boy. Admit

That ideas whirled undigested

In your brain.


Admission is confession is a

Legal malaprop to those who

Know and I will admit but

Refuse to confess.


So, old man tackle the text again

Now that you can admit and

Confess that you gathered

Only a bit.


Forgive the young you and

Hand it to the old you now

Who once again asks entry

Into philosophy’s gates.


Letters of regret


Acquaintances tell me of

Letters, long and detailed,

Written by the disenchanted

Sorcerers who deconstruct

Pasts and truly wonder

Why their greatness was

Passed over.


As if talent

Were as easy as gossip

Passed along and embellished

Creating in minds truth not

Based on fact but gossamer

verbiage as vapid as yesterday’s

Tea bag in the cup that has

Sat and dissolved into a

puddle that stains all that

It touches.


And such are the

Unread letters of regrets so

Plainly evident that the reader

Pities the sender for both the

Time and effort at revealing

The reasons for failed dreams

And endless baptisms of

Nietzschean eternal recurrence.


If only the effort at preparing

For regret had been spent

In envisioning something not

Yet come to pass or creating

Futures instead of spending

Time rehashing misspent time.

Loving, believing, and trusting

In themselves is arduous work

for those who never look in

the mirror.


Rereading Camus Again


The Absurd comes back

Into view when I read

The pages of my favorite

Work of Albert Camus.


The cycle of humanity

Seeking meaning and

Value and never being

Certain it is found.


I introduced my lover

To the Absurd, “swim

in the curative grey

Water of ambiguity.”


Conflict of the soul

A path to nothingness

Or the essence of true

Freedom unbound.


On the Road, Bukowski,

Ginsburg, Burroughs,

Anais Nin—all answers

To the Absurd.


Sartre’s Nausea, No Exit

Define my today as I

Sit at the café table and

See strangers pass.


Ambiguity and the

Absurd are posed

Questions and

Uncertain answers.


To be or not to be.

To live is to embrace

The challenge of

Living every day.


I hear the voices of

The poets and their

Muses through the

Weathered hours.


Prose: forceful and

Alive, Strangling

Answers from the

Daily toil of life.


Oh, the repose of

One who believes

They know.


Oh, the will to

Freedom a torch’s

Undying glow.


Oh, the mountainous

Challenge of the

Creative soul.


Oh, the finished art

Derived in responding

To the Absurd.


I reread Camus as I

Reread Don Quixote

Free dreamers, creative

Life forces.


I reread in silence at

Pace with silent music

Filling the air and something

Out of nothingness appears.


Exiting War: Afghanistan 2021


Break ups are hard

But never more so

Then at the end of

A war.


Black and white still

Photos or moving

Pictures make the

Point.


Eyes of alleged victors,

Downward glances of

The vanquished, and

The living dead.


In a victory where the

Spoils include imprisonment

For women and children

Who keeps score?


A taste of freedom can

Only be quenched by

Its denial for all who

Want more.


Myths abound at the

Start or end of war.

gods created and

devils defined.


Religious altars raised

And others destroyed

For gods are jealous,

They are.


And in the hearts of the

Victors and the vanquished

Alike is the knowledge that

War never dies.


Angel baby: the Lowriders in La Misiòn


Lowriders take life slow, that slow and

Easy that Tina Turner starts Proud Mary

With, low and slow but with pulsing

Power in each despacito movida.


You can’t control the world but you

Can make a world of your car and

Dressed it up and take out for folks

To awe and admire.


Once you learn how to polish and

Make up a car, you can’t do anything

But scrub, chrome and polish

The beautiful design.


A low rider is a poem in movement.

From its original equipment to its

Modified parts. It gets prettier

The older it gets.


On the Road could not have

Happened but for the car.

The nights of reflection

Under the stars.


Jack understood the modern

Wagon and its ability to give

Joy simply by allowing the

World to go by.


On the Road ain’t nothing but

A low ride cruise by white

Kids trying to find what

Is the eternal Hip.


And on this Saturday as

I see the row of low riders

Going down to La Misiòn

I join the cruise.


The winged black 59 Impala

Busting and blaring out the

Oldies that are like Verdi

Asphalt opera.


“It’s just like heaven being

Here with you. You’re like

An angel, too good to be

True. But after all, I love

You, I do. Angel baby

My angel baby.”


No Parisian smoky café.

No basement NYC bar.

It’s an Easter parade

With audacious cars.


The 56 Convertible Impala,

The 68 Malibu Super Sport

The 54 Mercury Monterey

All motor gods.


A low rider culture with

Its rhythm and rhymes

A civilization created by

Those left behind.


A Retort of Sorts


“For the poet is a light and winged and holy thing, and there is no invention in him until he has been inspired and is out of his senses, and the mind is no longer in him: when he has not attained to this state, he is powerless and is unable to utter his oracles.” Socrates words from Plato’s Ion.


I shared Socrates’ words with the quiet stool

Next to me, the sullen, pock-marked, reddened

Face that topped the space above raised his spit-



Lined glass, a price for conversation offered

And I accepted the proposed contract with

Interest and as the bartender topped the

Glass to the rim the face smiled and

Acknowledged the consideration

Rendered and proceeded to

Expound like an engine on empty

After having its tank filled.


You look like a javelin with your

Thin body so I’ll call you Sword.


Socrates looked like a badly stuffed

Pillow so I’ll refer to him as Trouble.


Trouble always starts something when

He tries to tie poets to gods or the divine.


Poets are forgers. If inspiration was the

Seed why all the sweat to get it to fruit?


Writing isn’t oracle work. It isn’t wait

Until madness comes and start again.


Poets are foundries of impressions burning

Through ideas as they melt and cinder.


A line of poetry, if it is good and has melded

Truth and beauty, throws sparks of fire.


Poets play with fire. They rub words together

Until words create something not there before.


A poet is not a light, winged, holy thing. She

Is a goddess on loan with interest owing.


Plato? Socrates? Never knew who was the

Ventriloquist and who was the dummy


While we believe that words come from the

Magical and divine sources, that is not to be.


Words and poems and stories come from

People just like you and me. Trust me.



The magic is not in the creation of the

Poem. Words expound. Readers explain.


If a poet wrote a poem and no one read

It, would her work still be that of a poet?


And would it matter? For the writer must

Forge ahead regardless of the audience.


That poets could keep people from seeing

The earth as earth, worried the philosopher.


What dribble! The fecund reality of daily

Life inspires the poet’s work palette.


If I could not read the hard wrought words

Of poets I would just a soon start to die.


Leave the light and airy madmen to write

Prose to see toothpaste or fruit jars.


The tilled words of a poet’s labor will

Lift the wearied souls of humankind.


Socrates should have worried less about

Poets then the philosopher kings inspired.


So, Sword never go looking for Trouble

Is the lesson I hoped you learned tonight.


Poets looked to the sky and earth with

Freed and abundant inspiration.


To make the heavy burden lighter, to

Make the time, incessant time, bearable.


To this the poet sets her sights because

she is saving herself as she writes.


He laughed as he finished and downed

His drink. In that moment he appeared

To me a light and winged and holy thing.


Secondary


Crossing borders between Mexico

And El Paso are a hold-your-breath

As power asserts itself over your

Person roadside tribunal.


Even if we said we had nothing to

Declare they still pulled us over

And directed you to secondary.


Secondary, an afterthought, a loss

Of the freedom given to those

Waved through at primary.


As huddled children, four to a seat,

We stay quiet as the green uniformed

Fear went through our belongings.


Brown people left and right at secondary.

It was a rare sight to see someone other

Than these in the line.


Secondary is a word wasted on the

Procedure. Why not “suspicion?” Why

Not “hunch?” Why not “just because?”


Mother keeping quiet and holding her

Gaze, teaching us the same technique

To avoid further delay.


Some days the gaze caused concern

And out the car we would be made

To sit, wait, further detained.



As cars passed and saw us being

Searched the eyes convicted us

Of crimes in their heads.


Secondary presumed guilty

Wait to be given the once

Over and released.


Each time it happened nothing

Was ever found except the bit

Innocence once in the air.





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