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A Series of Poems on the Senses

A series of poems on the senses


Twilight is devoid of light

When the moon is hidden

By the sun.

Even if it tried the moon

Could not be seen even

If it used a gun.

And on those days of

Unilluminated nights

Sometimes sound

Follows suit.

Twilight is quiet like

Those “not even a mouse”

Moments where breath

Exhales nothing.

Without sound my world

is not deaf; it is not disabled;

it is magnified as shadow

edges emerge.

Communication is more

Pronounced, sound being

So apparent as if to drown

Out nuance.

When sounds make their

Presence heard I must listen

I must obey I must respond

If I can.

This is my relation to sound

No else’s, I cannot speak for

Others I can speak for myself

As sound allows.

I hear no better than when I

Don’t make a sound.

Sound dances best when its

Vibrations hit me like dance

Upon my skin, upon the placid

Lake of life.

Music is to sound as light speed

Is to darken stars at the edge of

orbits as they race to be seen by

Those on the ground.

And if we are to bath in sound

Let us quiet to the notes of nature

And the timber of shimmering

Snare drum time.

Sounds matter in the reaction

They create upon the universe

Of cues. Process being the end

Sound the means.

Words of history, words of

Science, words bubbling streams

Of knowledge.

And the age-old query again

Asks: if a tree in a forest falls

Does its sound matter

At all?

Second in the series on the senses:


Autopsy photographs, whether in color

Or black and white, startle, intriguing to

Some but horrifying to the innocent

Who upon seeing them wish they were


Sight, oh dear camera of my eyes, negatives

All processed quickly even if I had wished to

Toss them aside.

Grand Canyon vistas, the Himalayas in the

Morning light, the first breathes of life of

Child or yearling alike.

The close-up, the far away horizon, the

Timed blink that makes everything seem

New and sparkling again.

Nothing is lost. All is retained. Once seen

It is no longer a dream. It is that thing all

Know as reality.

Always seeking to see. Sleep but a rewind

Of what the day has been. Even as I image

I continue to see.

Lens are different for everyone. What the

Philosopher or scientist see is so different

From the poet’s visual acuity. One sees only

Surfaces, others the beyond.

When my brain seeks information it first

Asks me to see. I return with data that

Kickstarts gathering.

Life is a gathering, forging enterprise.

Minds filled with moments, thoughts

And excrement.

Sight does not differentiate. Its job is not

That of judge or jury but like a sponge

It squeezes and gathers.

Thank the powers that be that it gave

Us eyelids to close our eyes for sight

Can often be too much see.

Third in a series on the senses:


The first memory I have of smell

Is the lactating mother’s milk

That sustained me early in

Life. I remember it vividly,

Even today, because my

Mother chose to breast

Feed me until into my

Second year.

As I grew, I realized that most

Of the smells that caused me

To squint my eyes and move

Away were coming from the

Differing orifices and cavities

That made my small body a

Human foundry of bellowing


But as life let me walk and I

Could move freely about I

Smelled flowers, kitchen

Smells that changed by the

Hour, outdoor fluttering

Nature with its floating

Parade of trees, earth plants

And creatures with their own


Food odors of the sweetest

Kinds became a sounding bell,

Causing me to run toward what

I knew would be something that

Taste would join with smell to

Create pleasure, warm comfort,

satisfaction making me feel I

was uniquely whole.

The first time I smelled the body

Of another from its hair down

Through all the treasures buried

and hidden from sight through

most hours of day and night then

and only then did I feel human not

in a civilized way but in what Eden

must have been like, skin-to-skin,

devouring lustful, loving, unabandoned

sensuous adventure.

I have smelled birth. I have smelled

Death. I have smelled the joy of

Dance. I have smelled the morning

After heartache. I have smelled success

And I have smelled failure. I have smelled

Unwashed clothes and fresh hung laundry.

I have smelled the wild native flowers after

a Texas rain. I have smelled Paris and London and

Rotterdam. I have smelled New York City

As the street cleaners wash the jazz night away.

I have smelled life.

Fourth in a series on the senses:


Sweet and sour, smile or dour,

every taste associated with others

given more flavor by comparison

as if its taste alone were not enough.

Sweet sugar cane crushed between

your teeth, squeezing juice that runs

down your cheek and introduces your

teeth to the reality of cavities.

Sour pickles, tart fruits, honeyed yams

mother's milk, yogurt tang, creamy butter,

hot peppers, earthy vegetables, tubers and

roots, seeds and grains, salt and spices.

Smell and taste are conjoined senses. One

introduces and the other lets the introduction

linger, perfumed invitations to taste and smell

God's Eden creations, feral, fecund, sensation.

Delicious, scrumptious, enjoyable, pleasant,

berry, juicy, acidy, chalky, clean, jammy, musty,

rancid, smoky, yeasty, pungent, green, tangy--

words that seek to define a sense sublime.

When the word is lifted from its body, it takes

on the ephemeral flight of giving sense to

inanimate objects hanging on walls, a cascade

of colors on cloth and furnishing galore.

We are attached to the senses and they give

primal joy to the electricity of living, taste

the current whose flavor racing through

the tongue, savored in our mouths, alive.

Fifth in a series on the senses:


Skin and delicate fingerprint touch

Paint sensations soft and hard on

Canvases in mind.

Hand and floating hair and furred skin

Sculpt images of flowing wheat and animal

Wild creation.

Feet and toes and socks and mud and water

Form the molds of warmth or squeezed dirt

Mush that flower.

Fingernails scraping and touching strings

Bring together touch and sound to make

Music divine.

Touch heals, touch hurts, touch fixes, touch

Destroys, touch emboldens, touch depresses,

Touch is intention.

Touch withheld can traumatize, touch misused

Evokes havoc, touch done right soothes, touch

Is two surfaces made one.

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