Monday, December 14, 2009

Thursday, April 2, 2009


"Hey, Laura, how about some freakin' new poetry?"
"Gosh, I dunno! That sounds like a really good idea!"

...So, it's been awhile. Unfortunately, the poem I have to offer here is not new. I wrote it on this most recent Election Day. Without further ado...

the yellow moon hangs low:
the lone witness to this,
our greatest triumph,
our proudest defeat
as november breathes her pallid breath
and fills hearts and throats
with autumn fire.

with tired shining eyes
we gather at this unholy temple -
not elevating stripes and stars
but worshiping the mindless god,
the god of chad and of me;
seized with fever, blind to reason
as hope begins to cloud.

en masse, the people brave
their boredom and
their judgment, in these,
communities of solitude,
weighted down with thrilling fear
of seven seas and reaching arms.

but no devil lurks in this pen,
and no paper angel;
and in the box
waits no apocalypse.
if hope prevails, then so shall we.

if well-intentioned promises
instead evoke catastrophe -
up from ash and soot we'll rise
and, in learning, become free.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

oh, mr. moon

i bet you didn't know that if
you squint your eyes at the night sky
you can catch the moon singin' his lament
an old hat tipped low over one eye
he's lost his lady love, they say
she was too much for him to handle
she left him for a brighter star
so out he went, just like a candle
his light doesn't shine no more.
so now he sings the blues at night,
in smoky bars that reek of gin
and now he's just a daytime ghost
consumed with all that could've been.

but i bet that he could tell a tale
a story like you've never heard
from his high perch among the stars
he sees it all, knows every word.
he sees the boy eating worms on a dare
he sees his mother yell and scold him,
he sees the old woman lay her husband down
wanting so desperately just to hold him.
oh, moon, come down from that lonely bar,
come down and sing me off to dreams,
where moons can fall in love with stars
and nothing is quite what it seems.

everything i've got

everything i've got's unfinished
my hair color's always changing.
edge of twenty, hurricane
like autumn, rearranging.

one thing that i haven't got,
that i can't claim as mine:
it's true, my feet have got sole, but
it isn't the right kind.

but if i'm no ginger rogers
then you're no fred astaire -
we'll do the waltz or laugh trying,
and make up for skill with flair.

all i've got is little words
to take me faster, higher
all it takes: two syllables,
the spark that starts the fire.

i know i'm yet in progress -
still tangled up, still taking shape
so in this chaos, i take my pen
and, on paperback, make my escape.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

small (better title later)

i can still remember now
the days when we were small.
the bathtub was our pirate ship
we jumped, but couldn't fall.

barely children, i and you
were smaller than we ever knew.

we played a game of tug-o-war
i thought to let you win
(or maybe i was paralyzed by
that constant, sweetest grin).

barely children, you and me
were in far deeper than we could see.

but when i tugged, i found that you
had fled the war, and stole the rope.
hitting the ground, i looked and i found
my little hands grasped only hope.

while still a child, you gave to me
my first lesson - too hard, too early.

today they say that i am grown.
i'm older now, but still i own
these same childish hands
these same childish feet
keeping in time to
that same childish beat.

but now -

i know a jump will bring a fall
and my city bathtub's far too small.

maybe one day i will forget
these things that i now know
i'll tell my feet their work's complete
and small, smaller i'll grow.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

at shore, at sea

you were the secret inside my smile
now you're the blue behind my eyes.

endless nights spent carelessly
the future in my outstretched hand
why couldn't you tell - why didn't you say -
our future was made of grains of sand?

waiting at shore with a flag and a shout,
a mind full of you and a heart full of doubt.

i drank it in as a thirsty child,
your name my life, your words my prayer,
but came to find that my greedy cup
was filled with only empty air.

floating at sea, longing for shore.
floating at sea, longing for more
than a heart full of doubt and a mind full of you,
a heart full of doubt and a mind full of you.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

five and dime

and now, my most recent - i finished this at about 1:30 this morning.

the man at the corner of fifth and main
dressed in colorful rags from head to toe
will sell you your future in a cardboard box,
"come on, baby, don't you wanna know?"

i tossed a quarter in his direction
i grabbed the old box to put on my shelf
for rainy days, but it was empty; he
started quoting shakespeare, talking to himself

it's not to be, it's not to be, it's not to be

and the happiest man that i ever knew
died in front of the old five and dime
employed by the city to sing the blues
for a dollar or two, he'd sing you a rhyme

people are always willing to listen to
their troubles sung low by a man on the street
whispering "now, this man, he's seen real problems"
and tossing a crumpled old five at his feet.

his eyes, blue and cloudy, they couldn't see
he hadn't known soap for almost a year
he beckoned me over, his smile ablaze
with some frenzied truth to grace my ear.

"don't wait" he said simply, his voice all low
and colored with years of hardships and snow.

he died later that day, his toothy grin
stuck to his face like an old billboard sign
i'm still turning his words inside my head
the old man that died by the five and dime.