Category Archives: Poem

War Is a Foreign Currency

War is a foreign currency
When I see it, I know intellectually
There are others that carry it
Though ugly and grotesque
Funny papers and garish hues

But I can’t see what it is good for
I can’t spend it
I don’t know how to get rid of it
So it gets stuffed in a shoebox
The memory uncomfortable to hold

It isn’t an asset
When it crosses borders
The locals hate it
What good is it?
A banker may know

War is foreign currency
I have no way to balance out
The loss I will take
When it’s given back to me as change

Originally published 20 Mar 03

Tabula Rasa

Because destruction is my ken
and fire cleanses
Because mistakes were made
and warnings ignored
I clean my slate

Absence is not loneliness
There is nothing…
and that is my canvas

Starting from scratch
is better than sinking lower
in a morass of malaise

Absence is not escape
There is nothing…
and that is my inception

Because evolution is too slow
and entropy reigns
Because time won’t stop
and death takes it all
I clean my slate

Originally published 26 December 2008

Let’s create something beautiful

Let’s create something beautiful
Today is short, and tomorrow is shorter still
Let’s take our inspiration
That unlocks our imagination
And gives us hope and comfort

Let’s create something beautiful
Because beauty is our goal
And creativity is our gift
We give ourselves to tomorrow
We have vision to make it better

Today, let’s create something beautiful
Let our lives be beacons of joy
Today is short, and tomorrow is shorter still
And there is beauty in everything
And there is beauty in everything we touch

Insubstantiate

The clouds mock
my limited understanding
of fluid dynamics
Twisting vortices
of smoky tendrils
dancing on this windy day

In my backyard
in dramatic fashion
the clouds tumble over my roof
I swear they’re just overhead
I could get on that ladder
the clouds would envelope me
and I would disappear

I remember seeing shapes
when I was younger
in the clouds
I remember animals fantastic
mundane or cartoonish
Now I see fractals
milk in my coffee
and the chance of rain

My head was in there once
dreams of futures
where I commanded fortune
The clouds are barely above my head now
just above the rooftop
I swear they’re just overhead
and I am just six feet off the ground

Song XXIX

Fizzy pop soda
Bubbly bottled brew
Shaken and stressed
Harassed and gassed
With pressure built for two

Rumbly dark cola
Tension twisted too
The cap stays on
With the anger gone
But the bottle’s bursted through

There is no use
no deposit
no excuse
for a bottle bursted through

A month for poetry

October is my favorite month. It’s full of orange and decay and warm spice. We begin to hunker down and get ready to spend time with far-away relatives. It’s a month of poetry and bitter-sweet memories.

To celebrate, I was thinking of writing a poem every day for the month. I tend to peter out of these things, but, you know, I’m forty, it’s about time I followed through with something, what else am I going to do, blah, blah. It’s just some words that take almost no time to put out there. And at the end of the month, I’ll have written half-again of all the poems I’ve written in my life.

So looking forward, I’m going to repost a poem I wrote long ago for this October-eve. It was, of course, written for a lost love and has not aged as well as some of the poems I wrote that had nothing to do with women. Such is life. But this was the first poem that had a cadence that I would unconsciously refine into something a bit sharper, a bit less morose, and a bit more universal. From 1997:

October—and the Sound of It

and I cannot fight this wind
    Our bond breaks
I am gone
separated from the branch
and spiraling down beneath the sky
the world rushes up towards me
and twisting and turning through the breeze
I’m sure that this is the end
but then I land
    Alone
    Soon to be gathered up
and placed within the safety of numbers

This is my fall
    My Autumn
This is my October

remember laughing with me
    About the silly things
    That some considered important
remember holding my hand
    Watching the fire burn in my heart
    And the dying light within my eyes
this is what Fate meant
    For what I let happen
I did not fight that wind

That was my fall
    My Autumn
That was my October

  What causes the Earth to rumble
        is often
            the stillness
                of nothing…

Song XXVIII

The temple has fallen
into disrepair
It’s sagging
and short of breath

The clergy are muttering
kind words to themselves
Holy invocations fall leaden
in front of their feet

The pews are all empty
The audience left
and coughs echo
flat on the marble

The temple is greying
into morbid disuse
It’s puffy
and soft in the middle

It never ran swiftly
nor sprung from the bed
And now it just moans
about this ache and that

The incense is burned
and the body is sacrificed
but no one is saved
and no one is blessed