This World of Beauty

How can this world of beauty?
This world of stupid and brilliant cats
(they are both)
This world of moon blocking sun
This world of laughter and hope
and art and dance and reflection
How can this world of beauty
also be a misery
a poverty
a pain unending
a death of a loved one
or a stranger
How can this world of beauty
feel so sour
hurt so much
destroy innocents
destroy innocence
How can this world of beauty
host warmongers
support greed
deny autonomy
encourage slavery
This world of beauty
shakes apart at seams
kills with wind and water
spits hell
pits life against life
How can this world of beauty
if there is no song?


The Carp

I remember deeply inhaling the summer air
squinting under sunlight
Today would be the day
or tomorrow
there are plenty left

I knew there was something to seize
to grasp and pull myself up
Today would be the day
or tomorrow
there are plenty left

What doors I would smash through
what barriers I would break
They would never expect me
but they would be grateful to have me

There was something to seize
I would light the world on fire!
Today would be the day
or maybe tomorrow
there were plenty



I looked at the doorway
and saw light and dark
a pathway between
the possible and the not

On the other side
rooms infinite

How could I know
without crossing that threshold
And within
if I held still
my world would be the same

Nothing changed nothing gained

The doorway held
a possible future
a probable failure
most likely a couch or sofa
In between
the atoms held
a cat alive and dead
No chance for escape

To not or to do
Either way a choice
a decision I cannot undo

The doorway held
both light and dark
shadow and sun
neither of which could tempt me
The threshold to
A new way forward
A decision made
A confident step

Would I move

A world open to me
My thoughts are not action
Stillness is a choice

I looked at the doorway
and saw light and dark
a choice not made
between the possible and the not


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


The Dilemma

Should I write a haiku
Ten minutes before midnight?
Oh no, that’s cheating.



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



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
    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…