Turn-Styles

Trimmed Excess
As a bonsai tree
trimmed of cluttering branches;
so, too, poetry.

Enochulum
Firstborn in the cold lands of Nod
to a killer exiled by God,
in a place abandoned by love,
forsaken by Father above—
and yet how is such nascent sin
borne by a boy hapless by kin?
Enoch, child from an outcast seed
and guilty by blood of his breed,
whose father envied a brother
for God’s love, more than another;
Enoch, son born to roam the earth
without hope, joy, mercy, or mirth,
who roams through the wilderness wide
beyond the vale of Edentide
and neath a God who should begrudge
Man as made by his cruel judge.

Parasites
Cleptocrats never believe
that they have ever stolen,
by sleight of hand or up the sleeve,
for an empire fat and swollen
on the blood of their employees
upon whom they feed,
never knowing themselves as fleas
on a dog they slowly bleed.
They believe they built the edifice
on their own, and all alone,
blind to the truth, as Oedipus
upon his shameful throne.

Good Jazz
Not that busy jazz
where instruments trip and tangle with
one another
in a confused, rambling clamor
of crazed pedestrian traffic,
but jazz removed from the hustle and bustle,
as slow and moody as the haze
of smoke lingering long after
she has gone to bed,
the ashtray breathing thin
while its sultry plume is aglow
with the insomniac skyline
of a restless city—
while she turns in her dreamful sleep,
mumbling a name
like a wish in the cold blue twilight
of endless longing.
Perhaps piano keys
dripping like raindrops
off the eaves of the somnolent stoops
and trickling along the
black-gloss streets, alight with
the city’s neon blood,
or the steadily pulsating drums
that lull with their thumping ease,
the distant rhythms
of faraway apartment life,
and that soothing bass
echoing up to the ceiling of the soul
like a subway train deep in the
heart of the city
felt at the cloudy heights
of a slumbrous skyscraper.
Nothing is so fine
as sleepy jazz
reverberating in the
dreaming glow of the midnight city.

Rising Wind

20151108_160222

Wherefore the cock doth crow aloud
as doth a man vainglorious and proud
to fancy rise of gilded sun
as if a deed he hath by his breaths done
with lungs soon fit to fill a sail
so may his pride expand, a seaside gale,
and enterprise forth by high wind,
his voice a conceit unto fatal end—
for how shall puffed pretense prevail
if not by measure of lie he doth tell?

A Candle On The Borderlands

Let us join these tears by candlelight
as we huddle close together
in a small halo not half so bright
as we would like in such weather,
for this woe-betided Winter’s night
is cloaked in the raven’s feather,
so hold each other, (hold oh so tight),
knowing Death may always sever
our lives so starkly as black from white
in his borderlands of Never,
for a time will come when we alight
beyond such borders forever.

Another Smattering Of Poems

Panis Caelestis
The strength of his faith was just paper thin
like the bread of the angels, a wafer,
and so he stacked up the toppings of sin
to make an hors d’oeuvre of the bland flavor.

Pride
Pride is as the hard seed
deeply buried in the
hardened earth
and coiled tightly
in upon itself in a shell of
stubbornness.
But how beautiful our
potential
when we crack that shell
and allow ourselves to
open
as the bud unto its
bloom,
presenting sincerely our soft-petaled
humility
to the open sky
and its humbling elements—
to drink from the pelting rain,
to bask in the glaring sun,
to blossom unafraid
of being trammeled underfoot
by living with our hearts
wide open.

Trigger Warning
Stop your crying—
it’s just birdshot.
You’re not dying
from some heard thought.
I’m shooting off
at the big mouth,
so turn and cough
or migrate South.
I’m the kettle,
you’re the hot pot:
while you’re fretful
take your potshot.
I do not care
if the mic’s hot;
free speech, free air—
I’m no robot.
I’ll speak my mind
as I so please,
both fruit and rind
without surcease.
Be glad it’s not
a stronger shell
like some buckshot
or truth to tell.

Three Variations On Speaking Truth To Power

Haiku
Speak truth to power,
buried to your neck in sand
as the tide rolls in.

Rhyme
Willful, he speaks his truth to power
as a man against the surging tides;
speaking until the late evening hour
when wave upon wave rolls and collides
with the wide, unwinding, shell-strewn land;
speaking to stop the ocean with truth
while buried to his neck in the sand,
the moon unmoved above—aloof.

Ebb And Flow Rhythm
Willful, he speaks his truth
to power,
the moon climbing high, aloof,
hour to hour
while wave upon wave collides
with the shore;
a man against the tides
speaking evermore,
yet buried to his neck in sand,
the moon sitting atop its tower
as he stakes his final stand,
gurgling truth against power
while the surf strikes his face
like the backwash of his own words
as he struggles, stuck in place,
and there gather the seabirds
to torment him as the waters rise
and the hours dim to night,
deaf to his cries
in the cold moonlight.

Poems About Aging

Millstone Of The Millennium
Turn and turn, grind thus on,
Millstone of The Millennium,
dawn to dusk, dusk to dawn,
on and on, ad infinitum.
Grind to dust the Summer’s crops
from which we may harvest hopes anew
with wheat and barley and corn and hops,
all watered with emotion’s bitter dew
for a drink to dull our tired minds
and our hearts beneath the relentless stone
that turns and rolls and chews and grinds
until the day we drink alone—all alone.

Fog And Frost
Age is ever creeping
like a fog
or the frost
when the woods are sleeping,
each black log
coldly glossed;
and blearily peeping
through the bog
are the lost—
those who are weeping
from the fog
and the frost.

Digested
Make no mistake,
employment is a snake
which slowly devours
your life, the hours
allotted by luck
and we are all stuck
in its long throat,
coil by coil, rote by rote,
our own time divested,
our essence digested.
For what is toil for us
except Ouroboros?
We eat our own tail,
end to end, without fail,
so we may “survive”—
a dilemma which I’ve
concluded self-defeating,
like a candle fleeting
as it burns on both sides,
the flame meeting at the ides.
Ours is such a Fate
as an entry-exit gate
whereby we earn our stay
only by going away
down the acidic chute,
that terminal route
that brings us to our end
by the rigors which rend
for us a life our own—
an unaffordable loan.
And sacrifice is sacrifice,
whether for virtue or vice,
for yourself or for others
its constriction smothers.
Past, Future, Present—
whether sad, bland or pleasant,
we all feed a python,
Time’s fanged pylon
through which we travel
as we unravel
to die with so much giving
to earn for ourselves a living.

Poems About Poems

Slam “Poetry”
Attitude
without latitude,
far-reaching
like a star leeching
only to die
in the stage-lit sky.
Showing a lot of sass
and growing to critical mass—
appeal by keeping it real
as to how you feel,
a plastic feel, a scenery meal
of emotions with the drama
overlarge, yet small—a diorama.
Overrated while masturbated.
Your slam doesn’t jam
except like jellied ham.
It’s Instagram spam,
flimsy flimflam.
Anyone can rhyme,
given some luck,
given some time,
given a fuck,
but the scheme
and the theme
have more to score
than a mediocre meme.
Wade out of the shallows,
fade out from the tallows,
parade out to the gallows
and try to hang
with my gang
of poets, of know-its,
before you blow bits.
Show some class
even when wiping your ass,
because the masses
can give only so many passes
to the pretentious
before they lynch us.
Try to understand
that even in Wonderland
you are undermanned
with whatever word-rhyme
allows meaning and flow,
without catching, like birdlime,
to halt you as you go.
There is always a speed limit
for someone of a dim wit—
you are only veering left and right
with one headlight,
like a car on slick roads
while sliding on toads
come out to feel the rain
and listen to the thunder,
not of applause
as you blunder,
but of a worthy cause.
And while you seem to know
how to put on a show,
that foghorn sure does blow
every time you roshambo
for your petty tugboat row.

Rupi What’s-Her-Name
A confection of
colorless cotton candy
lacking
substance and sophistication
and sold popularly to
sweet-tooth instagram sycophants
from a mollycoddled generation
longing for safe spaces away from the
carnival grotesqueries
of life.
Put her cotton candy words
in your mouth
and they dissolve precipitously;
easily digested, for there is nothing
of substance
in their wispy conceits.
Eaten and forgotten
upon the same instant,
nothing lingering as an
aftertaste—
nothing to chew
as it
vaporizes vapidly
on the malnourished palate.

Lugubrious
Soap opera soapbox antics
and papier mâché frailty,
the outsized pinata of an
easily busted heart
spilling suicide notes
written on Starbucks napkins.
Before you go hang your
Emo effigy
from a church’s belfry,
don’t.
Your pity-party has got the
Fire Marshall
peeved.
Mellow out the melodrama
and the melancholy
you melon-headed colic baby.
You treat your podium as if it was a
chopping block
and every time you step up to it
the greatest tragedy is taking place.
Your persecution complex is less
saint
and more
sanctimoniousness.
What are you a martyr for?
Love?
Who isn’t?
Cupid has made a
St. Sebastian
out of everyone, whereas
some of us wear the quills like wings
to ascend the past
and you act like a canary in a collapsing coal mine,
but you are just high on your own
gas.
You don’t have a broken wing,
only a
compromised spine.