Poetry: Boys Only

Jimmy and me, and his sister June,
all about the same age
of seven or eight were standing
in the alley behind my house.

On that day I did not know
that in seven or eight more years,
me and June would share the experience
of lost virginity, the one and only day
she did not spurn my teenage romantic advances.

We three friends were all shirtless and discussing
whatever pre-pubescent children talked about
in the 1950s, when the shrill voice of their aunt
Dorothy demanded June not remain shirtless.

June did not get a satisfactory answer to her ‘why?’
(did we ever?), only that girls don’t do topless.

I looked June over, brown hair to barefoot toes
and could see no reason but forced socialization
of such things was commonplace and
in some circles probably still is.

Jimmy and his aunt died years ago. June is
a great-grandmother and we don’t keep in touch.
That’s too bad. I wonder what June remembers.

Look both ways before removing your shirt in the alley behind my house.
Mind the gaps, not the nipples, and aunt Dorothy, too.

Poetry: For a Little While

For a little while longer
I will annoy you with my
banal sarcasm, seasoned
with a pinch of wit.

For a little while longer
I will stare into your eyes—
making you uncomfortable.
I may annoy your sensitivity

With wise cracks or politically
incorrect observations of truth,
but only for a little while longer.

Until I stop, I will stake my claim
to a share of our relationship.

I may touch you, hug, or even kiss you
for a little while longer, and for as long
as I can. For a little while longer,
maybe forever, I will continue
to love you.

Of the forever possibilities, we’re all ignorant.
Look both ways here and now.
Do it now, say it now, mindfully minimize the gaps.

Poetry Report: August Poems

As August washes into September for another year, we shimmy along into the later first part of the second half of 2019, with all it has to offer. School has started in most places and a Labor Day weekend presents itself as the final holiday of the summer, or the first one of the Fall, or both. I prefer to think positive: Fall.

Even though my now grown children always started school in August, I never adjusted to that as anything but an egregious school requirement during the hot summer months. It’s wrong. I never liked school.

My childhood experience was for the madness of school to begin on Tuesday following Labor Day. I don’t hate any month or time of year, it’s just that on the one-to-twelve rating scale, August comes in 12th place for me. I also don’t ever know what to do with it, so I write about it.

I continue to flex my poesy (or is it prosy?) braincells and muscles each day.

August poem titles were:

1. C-man
2. Relax, Old Man
3. Antipathy
4. Impractical End
5. Cicada Call
6. Some Days
7. Seven Times
8. Give Me Time
9. Learning How
10. Song
11. The Greeting
12. DIY
13. My Grief
14. Long Live Sadness
15. The Quacks
16. For Reality Pray
17. My Monster
18. Sabbat Lost
19. Social Sadness
20. The Horror of Love
21. I did It!
22. Big Bang Theory
23. Noted Brilliance
24. Vintage
25. That Shit Sucks
26. End of the Trail
27. For a Little While Longer
28. The Hope Within Hopeless
29. Road Trip
30. Wrong Again!
31. Temulence

Look both ways more than once.
Trust your senses and verify that things have not changed.
Mind the gaps lest you find yourself in difficult embarrassment.

Poetry: Green River

Like when Dick Clark used to ask the American Bandstanders,
What did you like about that song?
It’s music, Dick—don’t over analyze it
—and it is rock at that.

When Fogerty sings Green River

and I hear it

and I feel it

and yes—it takes me back,

not to a place or to a person, but to
a feeling. A condition of my

soul, walking a lonely road at night
barefoot girls dancing, it
seemed so right, the moon
at night.

On the inside a feeling makes me
want to want more,
inside me
a then that defies the reality of a now,
I dance cuz I feel, I sing cuz
I am going back to Green River.

I feel who I am—like
a slightly cracked shell over a sweet feeling that
was my Green River.

I remember things I love,
the sights, the sounds,
the smells and the tastes.

Now I love how it feels
when old John and Cody
take me home to a feeling—

to my Green River.

Look both ways along the river of time. Mind the gaps, bullfrogs hide there.

Birthday Essay

Today I am supposed to celebrate surviving three years into my seventh decade. I am glad to be alive. But such luck is a banal accomplishment, since each day when I wake up not dead (yet), I know I did nothing to deserve the pleasure of such a long and mostly good life. I may have stopped smoking 20 years ago, but I didn’t for the 30 before that. I spent thousands of hours throwing my body along faster than any bird can fly. I never crashed. Many did. I was lucky.

Today I meet the threshold of my end times. Will I survive one more year like my father? Four more like Mom? Less, like my sister, cousin, grandfathers, or grandmums? Today I will stop counting up and start counting down. Ten more? Twenty? And my health? Status quo would be a wonderful thing – but it will get worse – it’s a reality everyone dislikes (including me).

Ten years ago, I ran 20 miles of 26.2-mile marathons (walked the other six). Five years ago, I walked briskly for 13 miles on Saturday mornings until one day my body said, we need to rest. I sat on a bench and I wondered what it was – it was my now well-stented heart.

Nowadays, because low blood flow reduces needed oxygen and other stuff in blood from my leg muscles, I manage a quarter mile without a bench or a tree trunk or wall to sit on. A two and a half to three-mile walk is a big day, and I find tired and sore invades me as my body recovers.

It’s morning. I’m here and you are too. Now what? Wanna go for a walk?

Look both ways with contemplative wonder for life and its privileges.
Mind the gaps but live in the moment.

How I want to write poetry. And how I don’t.

I can’t always do it. I would never be openly showy or make any form of art before an audience. I don’t think I could. Challenges or prompts during writing group meetings and a few online are the most I can do in social settings where people know me. Other than that, my writing is a solitary effort, although I’m not exactly the poster boy of the garret-imprisoned scribe. I do write in coffee shops, libraries, parks, waiting or dining rooms, and even during my morning walks. But usually I write at this desk on this laptop.

Yet, I have times of emotional outburst writing. At least one reader seems to know or recognize exactly when that happens. I love the experience, and I find satisfaction when I read my scribble after the excitement has passed. If I can let go of something within me, an inner editor, judge, or critic, I like what happens. I feel so free. It’s about emotionally letting go of something.

I don’t listen to music when I read or write. I can only tolerate classical type without being distracted. I am not sure how it would work. I may try it sometime.

In order to give you an example for what I have in mind, I did some research on a well-known artist who I am familiar with. Well, I thought I was. Nothing about the art is independent of the artist—not the form, method, appeal, depth, or reputation.

Jonas Gerard of Ashville, TN, puts on an impressive show. The personal emotion he displays in making his art is the poster for explaining how I sometimes want to write, especially poetry. I have been to his studio, I have talked to him and several of his assistants, and I bought some of his work.

The youtube video below is an example of what I mean (he did a number of these). The vision of personal emotion (fake or real) is inspiring. But, artist or not, apparently old Jonas (he’s 78 or so) has had issues with untoward behavior (sexual harassment, maybe assault) in his past. I never put this guy on a pedestal or thought of him as anything more than a cool modern artist. Yet, I’m disappointed, angry, and confused. Because of what I learned, I considered not writing this piece or posting it.

But this is about me and I agree with what he says in the video about fear.

I want to write with emotional vigor displayed by Jonas Gerard when he paints. I want to let go, as he mentions. I love it when I can let go. It’s the temporary feeling and process I enjoy. The product, like all writing, will outlive the writer.

Look both ways. Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future.
Mind the gaps but dismiss excuses.

Poetry: Sound

See it, good and bad, it’s there
but not silent.
Connections have sounds,
vibrations from nature
give pleasantries, threats, and
danger its voice.

Acoustic waves of sound,
perceived in brains
through resonance with timbre.
We hear the soft breezes and roaring
winds perceived as warning,
we hear gentle rains in nature’s
song, and we know the destruction
of the hard driving, relentless torrent.
Quieter or louder, we feel
the sonic texture before our
brains make sense of thunder
and lightning,
before the train passes,
before volcano eruptions
or earth quakes. We hear.

We welcome the pleasantry
of music to our ears, yet we
know the damage of unprotected
loudness, of sonic torture. We
see with our ears, we determine
location, we find friend or foe.

The gift of hearing stands out
not to be assumed as always
there. If no sound is heard,
it did not exist for us.

Without hearing,
our connection with nature is lost.
And maybe with love.

Listen to the rhythm, hear
and feel the music deep inside
your body—then dance.
Dance.

Hear the sounds but see
them mindfully taking mental
shapes—the arts—the senses—
never to be assumed,
never ignored, to be both
cherished and used. Sense all
of life: the sights, sounds,
the tastes and the smells.
Feel the touches of it all
and welcome it until only
the sound of silence
remains.
And a lover’s voice,

listen, hear, love that sound.
Listen, listen, listen; hush.

Look both ways and listen to the sounds.
Hear the drop of rain fall into the distant gap.