The young man stood straight as the teacher’s loud, angry voice bristled. She berated his atrocious spelling and wretched grammar. He held back tears of shame and anger as she publicly humiliated him. She declared his entire family abysmal failures as human beings destined for an eternity in hell.
He found abysmal in the dictionary. When his mother later asked how he had done on the school paper he worked on so diligently, he reported that the teacher said it was very deep and that the entire family was destined for infinite success.
Look both ways. They may forgive, but they’ll not forget.
Mind the gaps. No memory is flawless.
What was the most tired you been?
Slept standing or fallen down tired?
Been so dizzy? I hallucinated.
At POW camp they
would not let us sleep.
Peed in a #10 coffee can,
locked in cell, both overflowed.
To learn how to survive capture,
being treated beyond awful, we endure
such misery; to live it, feel it, survive it.
I thought I would not. Might never try.
How did they survive not knowing;
forsaken and forgotten?
Many decided to die. Too awful
to live. Most decided otherwise.
Sometimes, dancing in the rain,
or walking through the fire
are both hard-learned lessons.
Look both ways for light at both ends of the tunnel.
Mind the gaps in the dark until you can see.
Find life. Love freedom.
The vertical pronoun was your god,
the long corncob pipe,
a crutch as you’d exude imperious
confidence of irresponsible
narcissistic self-assured vanity.
Brilliance without wisdom never
questions self or knows dark
duality like Hastie Lanyon’s soul.
Your crime, a distant impassioned
supercilious and cavalier concern
for the misery your pomposity
beset upon your courtiers, devout
mindless adventured foolish demons,
lost souls who rose to the peek
of principled Peters with blindfolded
ignorance of history in the future,
now a legacy of incompetence
foddered with pride. With hubris
envied by Xerxes, you forced
your own shameful dismissed
The wisdom of a fading old soldier
heroically without end is clouded
by the dark shadow of your way,
the way, and the way of stars.
Legacy looks both ways, but history finds truth in justice.
Mind the gaps of human success for the failure of the soul.
Some things I’ve always known,
like where the Library was,
especially the one with a funny name,
the Osterhout Free Library,
in my hometown, which to me
was and is The Library.
Looking like the Presbyterian church
it first was in 1849,
with (now gone) ivy covered walls,
hinting of mysteries, adventures,
and the wisdom within;
a mile to walk was nothing
for a keen young lad to go
for a book or two.
Through church doors that open
into the vast, once Calvinistic,
nave with colorless unstained leaded glass,
now with desks and shelves filled
with books and things,
one finds it all.
Hush! Whisper please.
People are reading.
Off to the left dim dark stacks
beckoned like a secret
church transept and silent choir loft.
The true spirits of the library’s haunted
dark and dingy, yet welcoming,
old book-scented stacks, silent
dust and maybe mischief,
with muffled giggles of children
or lovers, each playing with
resident hushing ghosts.
Long ago—a place of prayer,
now a sanctuary
of human wisdom and happiness.
Comb the dark stacks of old libraries looking both ways for dusty old history.
Mind the gaps and giggles of the ghosts.
Note: Because this was my first community library during my formative years, it was what I expected all others to look like. Not a bad standard.
Day was turning to dusk,
soon to be twilight,
and a lovely sight, one my
muse would give me clues
to a perfect poem, this
sight to be the meter
of my metaphor
for the twilight of humanity,
but it was not to be.
Going to the pool
to swim my hour, to do
aerobic huffing and
puffing, to get my
workout, after a day
putzing while working
around the house,
the garage mostly.
Sometimes, even as poets,
the best we can do is to say,
“Yes, I was there, I saw that,
and it was beautiful.”
Then I jumped
into the pool and swam.
‘twas a clear dark night
when I got out.
Apparently, my muse
can’t swim and retired
early that evening,
Leaving me even
as twilight comes and goes,
to be a verseless but happy
Swim both ways to lap away the twilight looks.
Mind the gaps as we seek piquing peeks.