#158

June 14, 2012 § 15 Comments

Shouts of swimsuited mini-Vannas, pointing
to crayon-colored posterboard pricelists
which – if Truth in Advertising
applied to minor enterprise
would give the cost of soggy hotdogs
over-powdered lemonade, under-iced
and cookies home-baked only
on the picnic table racks of sun-ovens
but we buy them anyways
Much like the eye and beauty,
value is in the wallet of the holder.
Past the picket line of child commerce
beneath the watchful eye of the napping guy
armed with a cooler and a cashbox
lay the lengths of tin tables, teetering
unevenly on cracked concrete, covered
in discarded relics.
Like the shreds whipped from semi-tires
stripped flying down the interstate,
ribbons of evidence flicked
from the grip of a warp-speed life
lay waiting – a museum exhibit of decades
decaying on tables – anticipating
the hands that may reuse them
Most of which
I fly by, interested only in the reasons why
one would try to sell such things – but I
am a sucker for books.
Attic-baked, dust-glazed
deeply creased, and long-since steeped
in fingerprint oils of mysterious hands I’ll never meet
I graze their pages –
the thinner, softer, the more torn – the better
Irrelevant print I will never read
(Wisdom made public is fairly cheap)
but for handwritten dedications
and scribbled inky margin notes,
I will count my quarters out,
(feeling sneaky!)
Much like the offerings
of little chefs in the street
An under-estimate on the pricelist
of just what “priceless” means!

#157

May 31, 2012 § 14 Comments

“It was stuck in my head
for days,”
she said –
“until I sat down
and got it out”.
And for a moment
I am scared to death.
She is eight –
nine, maybe… so small
that it’s hard to remember.
But she is
young
and I am holding
so much potential
in incapable hands.
Build to handle
Hanon,
yes
and made
for mastering
Mozart – my hands
can handle octaves
with ease despite their size
— always much
to the surprise
of the judges –
But there is much
these hands can’t do
for someone so full
of music
that Barbie dolls
and Easy Bakes
are played
to soundtracks
non-existent
until she gets it out.
She is a living jukebox
of latent masterpiece
A composition prodigy
in potentia
She speaks of the piano
the way gravity
would the heft
of the universe –
as though there’s nothing to it
As though penning music
years ahead
of what today
she could read off the page
is just natural.
I could never have taught her
to be this way.
Instead, I must be careful
not to break it.

#156 – Rewrite

May 16, 2012 § 10 Comments

Let’s make imaginary deadlines
to meet like Ira and George.*
Stay up all night with me
in a quiet room –
like the Gershwins.
Sunlight steals
my reverie
so sit with me
Two pads of paper,
a bottle between –
wine and a watchful moon
to ward against
the responsibility of sleep
Bring me a full box of pencils, just sharpened
to those dusty, surgical
points that I love
The lace of lead will stick to the tips
of my fingers, swell the edge of my hand – spreading
as the world is darkened
Like fruit inside a paper bag
we would ripen
Like pianists playing double hands
this Rhapsody would not be Blue
because silence is more creative
if I’m silent here with you
I will reach into the empty air
and find your genius resting there
I’ll hum soprano to your syncopation
Sink sleepless into chicken-scratch
stretched across dawn’s treble clef
and erase the dotted line
where art and life detach
I’ll rummage for phrases on the ceiling,
browsing selections you’ve rejected
break my metronomic heart
with the sounds that you’ve perfected
I’ll bounce ideas off the whites of your eyes
Watch the weather change and seek asylum
in your mindstorms – rain
that falls to these pages
like we’re Americans in Paris
in April –
but we’re still painting stateside
and I’ve got Rhythm
but you’ve got blues
So who’s
to say
the kind of art we could create?
I will share my notebooks with you
You can read every page – except
the ones I’ve written on
those are where my heart is kept
But I will give you every word on my blank pages
the unwritten potential midnight engages
and I would share a spine with you on library shelves
the result of magic deadlines we created for ourselves

*When composers George and Ira Gershwin were facing looming deadlines, they would lock themselves in a hotel room without distraction and work until they completed the necessary projects. Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris, and I’ve Got Rhythm are all Gershwin compositions.

I spent quite a bit of time going back and forth on whether to assign this a new number.  No one but myself will have been around long enough to recognize it – but it has already made an appearance on this blog.  Seeing as how I spent more time on the rewrite than the original though, I decided it deserved a new number indeed!  For anyone interested in seeing the original you can click here: #56

#155

May 10, 2012 § 22 Comments

We
are the High Horse Army
but far
more
dangerous
We harness
all the horsepower
of a Ford Explorer.
A jalopy of judgment,
long car rides provide
endless time for speculation
and we
the inexperienced erudite
the osmosed wise
the jaded jury –
We
dissect
the honestly less-
than-impressive
daily-doings of our
equal-in-age
but inferior-in-decision
counterparts:
Do
as we say – Not
as we have never done.
The perfect science
of theory untested.
This post-college
pre-marriage
totally un-
(for us) charted
territory triggers
an ever-growing
artillery
of gossip-worthy
drama moments –
posted
for the world’s scrutiny:
the un-private
uninvited
world of technology
books of faces and
beaks of birds speaking
of your indiscretion
we are never low
on ammunition
but somehow
always lacking
for opponents
of our own
Hard, really
to find people
to bruise and abuse
to be used by and
confused by
from way up here
on these high high
horses.
Perhaps
the problem
is our uniforms
aren’t pretty enough.

#154

May 3, 2012 § 33 Comments

“What is Love?”
A poet would not write such a thing.

She will simply tell you that this morning
when he kissed her
gravity
got stronger

that it pulled the blood through her veins
like those swirling
soda pop bottle
tornadoes

She will tell you
that his fingers
are tied
to stars

like balloon strings
because when she holds them
the sky
draws closer

She will tell you
of the perfect
shape
of his pockets
and the notch
just below
his right shoulder

She will tell you
she does not know
how long
she has known him,
can no longer distinguish
dark from light
and the calendar counts days
in black and white

She will not pretend
to comprehend
what “love is”
She will simply tell you
she no longer remembers
what it felt like
to need
to breathe

#153

May 2, 2012 § 5 Comments

“The great slumber”
they call it
as though
this
is real
and what’s to come
is the dream

#152

April 27, 2012 § 13 Comments

Clouds
painting
pavement
like a
watercolor
Pollock

Soil
stained
streaky
by the
strokes of
sliding
raindrops