Dead Dreams

Koi Moon

The lonely Koi in the pond

slowly swam unseen, unsung,

below the new Moon, beyond

all glimpses, alone among

a garden long neglected,

a house lost and forgotten,

and so the Koi reflected

on his little life, caught in

this clandestine little pool,

wishing to be with others,

to be free, or in a school

with his sisters and brothers,

just to swim broader waters,

to follow his own streams

and beget sons and daughters

and what he could of such dreams,

for he felt the subtle song

of the Moon, that coy mistress

and, thus, longed and longed ere long

she caused him much in distress,

for the Moon governs all fish

in pond, lake, river and sea,

and he felt keenly the wish

to be elsewhere—to be free.

Nonetheless, he died alone,

belly up in the small pond,

his deep dreams never his own—

hopeless as each new day dawned.

Fallen Leaves

In the smirksome depths of Saki

I find a handful of dead dreams:

some slips slipping out to mock me,

business cards and their stillborn schemes.

“Marshall Arts,” the little cards read,

with my phone number down beneath,

the cards now only serving need

as cheap bookmarks between each leaf.

I was once an entrepreneur,

both an artist and optimist,

who saw flowers in all manure,

but needed an optometrist.

I told myself I was sober

about my prospects and my “skill”,

but like a man in October

planting seeds when the winds go chill

I hoped an Indian Summer

would save me from the coming Fall,

but that proved me all the dumber

as leaves fell for a fallow haul.

Debt begets debt, lest we forget,

and excuses lose all value

as we spend them, more and more, yet

there is wisdom gained in one’s view,

meanwhile menial labors call

and these cards are but dreams deferred,

throwaway slips of paper, all—

my dreams dying still, word by word.

Confidence

To have confidence so cock-sure
as that placid crow standing still
to not be timid or demure,
but as that bird so calm and chill
with swift wings at a flap ready
to lift it high into the sky
with graceful airs, nice and steady,
to spite the bobcat’s baleful eye.
How I should like to be quiet
within and without, as that bird,
feathers smooth as voices riot
and laughing off an angry word.

Fancy And Folly

I met two sisters so joyous-jolly
as sisters seen in playful debut—
I met the sweet twins, Fancy and Folly,
while longing for experiences new.
The one to the other to me but smiled
as if each a mischievous cohort,
and the two sisters seemed lovely and wild
and worthy of great efforts to court.
So I dared to ask for a dance or two
and they obliged me at the ready,
taking turns in the dizzying venue
till my mind spun quite light and heady.
But how to describe such lovely ladies?
Fair, at first glance, as floating fairies
with dreamy eyes as if beneath shade trees
and lips as tempting as red berries,
but as berries of the crooked yew tree,
for they tasted of a final breath,
and, if pursued so quick and foolishly,
one may well pursue untimely death.
But pursue them, I did, and quite gladly,
the two together, or thus never,
for they were as one, though both were madly
in love with me, for I was clever.
Though bigamy might give pause to weak men,
the very thought thrilled without surcease,
for I was the rooster, they each a hen,
sharing my life without moment’s peace.
Enraptured of them, I felt I could do
all things, however implausible,
nor did I fear what I might, in time, rue—
for everything seemed possible.
And my ladies did so oft entertain
when I took them out on social nights,
being popular (whoever did reign)
and the talk of many socialites.
Who needs wine when my twin lovers swayed me
with intoxicating emotions
and wild dreams that both made and unmade me
in the drunkedness of their notions.
What mischief twinkled in their lovely eyes!
Those who claimed it a lunatic’s gleam
were but jealous, envious, or likewise,
at being denied our special dream.
Arm in arm in arm, we were such a force
and accomplished much by our merit,
not withstanding the end result (of course)
which failed because Fate could not bear it.
Yet, even our failures were victories
insomuch as we attempted them
whereas others, from fear or idling ease,
dared not, choosing instead the venom
that was smirkful gossip and ridicule
to recompense such complacency
as would dismiss me as a naive fool
while forfeiting their own agency.
Who are they, after all, to thus decry
the twins as foes of the human race
when, frankly, such ladies are reason why
Man exists in the very first place,
for the twins were improv midwives of Man
and have raised all peoples as their own
from small, scattered tribes to today’s great span,
great gardens grown from a few seeds sown.
Without Fancy and Folly at our side
where would we all be as a species?
Never would we have gone so far and wide
to dare the chance of our odysseys.
And so I still court them, the sly schemers,
on the chance of Chance they can provide,
hoping they favor me as those dreamers
who, in the past, took each for a bride.

Fairy Wealth, Or The Cure For Pessimism

There is much love to be had
and so much joy to enjoin,
far too much to be so sad
as if all a fairy coin,
and even so, covet leaf
in a purse of gilt Autumn
rather than indulge the grief
of a lordly, ill-got sum.
Some fear the poor peasant’s lot
and there’s much to fear in such
for what comforts might be bought
or fare found at such a touch,
but fairy leaf from the wood
can still make a bitter brew,
which when hot still tastes as good
if imbibed with wisdom’s dew,
for it warms and heals the soul
even when a trick is played,
drank inside when cold winds blow
with lemongrass from the glade,
whereas a brow on the throne
breaks beneath the coffers’ weight,
castles chilling to the bone
and troubles beyond the gate.
True his throat knows better food
and grows fatter, (never thin),
but it is his neck that’s hewed
if deposed by his cousin.
So when life gives you such wealth
from the Fae, those puckish thieves,
thank the errant, lying elf
and boil water for the sieves—
after all, you could brew tea
which might earn sums most handsome
from folks feeling quite chilly,
thus earning a king’s ransom.

Condescending Dreams

A midnight too cold, I do declare,
as I tremble in such air
as breath of a frost titan
while stars shine, but do not lighten
with the twinkle of dreams thus outcast
in dark gulfs that last and last,
and I wonder, in such chilly air,
if they twinkle and they glare
because of prevailing ingratitude,
wishing me a change in attitude.
But I cannot, anymore than they,
being ever-fixed as night and day,
and so I think they have no right
to judge me this or any other night
for they, too, in darkness shiver
as if alive and all aquiver
though grown bright each as the sun
and hypocrites, every one,
they are too distant to know of woe,
being far above, and me far below,
but should they wish to condescend
then by all means, come on, descend,
and let us have a sun at night
to warm the hours as a sun might,
but if they should, please be so good
as keep some distance, or they would
burn the earth to blackish cinders
with their resplendent splendors—
indeed, keep thou to that great star chasm
or wither the world, not unlike sarcasm.
Am I belligerent as blood-red Mars
that I should begrudge such long-dead stars?
No, more so Saturn fully crowned
with the ringed dust I have found.
But enough! Hear now the truth I give
and know the truth withal I live:
I clutched at stars once, quite defiant
and thought myself a looming giant
only to find a firefly therein dead
in my hand, a streak that bled
a constellation, a glittering stain
to remind me oft, and to oft remain
so I might know the truth of such dreams
and all above that gleams and seems.

The Slow Suicide

I have oft slain myself
with many leisure hours
spent idle on a shelf
while my dear dream sours—
squandered much in repose
when I might have else gained
much more, or so it goes,
had I not thus refrained,
and in wasting the hours
wasted myself in course
and whatever powers
of mine might provide force
to propel with the stream
of my goals and desires,
profligate unto dream
while my dull life expires.
So many my phases
spent sawing my own thread—
sawing my thread with wear
as Atropos raises
her scissors as fated
to spur strident regret
as I see the frayed seams
and how I also whet
Death with layabout schemes,
for languid was my mode
when ample time blessed me,
but now that I grow old
I am no longer free
to seek diversion for
lounging as I so please,
but must face Death’s black door
and the chill in Fall’s breeze.
I who have taken day
and made a dull, dim thing
of every sunray
that could crown me a king
with the riches of Time,
(a precious rare tender)
rather than this crime
as my own self-lender
indebted evermore
and never to be repaid
as the mortgage grows more
with debt indolence made,
for I am a turncoat
against my own season,
a suicide whose note
was slow in its treason.
Hark! The clock strikes again
as day drains to the lees—
it is a mortal sin:
suicide by degrees.

Ambition

Ambition is a busybody hobgoblin
green with envy
as it fidgets in the gut,
peering out upon the wide world
and wanting to stride over lands
with a tall, dark shadow,
hoping to become an
ogre
if it consumes enough as it
tantalizes an appetite
too unwieldy
in the bloated,
herniated
bowels.

Ambition is an anxious salamander
smouldering in the heart
and thirsting for the blood
which fuels its flames,
yearning for the yields
of other hearts
so it may become a
dragon
as it burns up its own pulmonary
nest
with stoked, flaring aspirations
and inadequate kindling
from the mortal frame.

Ambition is a neurotic imp
eliciting electric impulsiveness
as it pulses in the brain,
imagining itself a cosmic
jinn
conjuring thunderstorms
to subjugate empires and cosmos
if it only schemes ingeniously enough,
stroking its skull,
and its ego,
toward a seizure of
jittery spasms
and an aneurysm of
magical thought.