Read poetry. You heard me.
Read poetry. You heard me.
Read poetry. You heard me.
Great victories in youth,
some of them remarkable,
are recorded in a scrapbook
lost for many years
only to emerge decades later
when age affords the leisure
to rustle through a dresser drawer
and find a scrapbook underneath
an ancient uniform, some jocks and socks.
Cheers from games spring off the page
as do tall teammates dead for years,
their jump shots perfect, their laughter loud.
This will be the last reunion,
he knows that for certain.
The scrapbook will become
a game of none on none.
A doctor told him yesterday
he's dribbling out the clock.
When my wife is in her garden,
she becomes a ballerina
moving with the morning breeze
through hollyhocks and roses,
peonies and phlox.
There is music only she can hear.
It's been that way for 30 years.
I never interrupt her dance
not even when the house caught fire
early in the morning. I didn't holler out
the way another husband might
if he had never had a gardener for a wife.
Instead I called the firemen,
and while they were on their way,
I poured water from the sink
on the growing conflagration.
My efforts proved to be in vain.
The firemen arrived too late and so
the house is now a shell of smoke.
The garden still looks beautiful
yet I have no idea what I'll say
when my wife comes back inside.
But if she's toting roses to arrange
she may not notice any change.
when the light snaps on
at midnight in the bathroom
the way this woman's eyes
dart when I see her
dancing with a nice man
but not the right man.
He's shorter than I am,
has a neat goatee.
She always knew
my interest would last
once I had gamboled
in the garden of roses
she had been planting
one rose at a time
for a devil like me.
What winged men wait above the hills and valley?
The mine descends within the earth, and shadows
have gathered with the lowered sun. The darkness
of night is coming, notwithstanding starlight
and windows. Come into the parlour, silence,
for night is full of echoes, is of echoes.
We dare not speak for fear of waking echoes
of thunder in the hills. Deep in the valley,
the horses' hooves once thundered, breaking silence
like bread. We hungered once for voices; shadows
moved in our hearts and parlours. Tell me, starlight,
did you awaken once within such a darkness?
But we are adults now, and fear no darkness
within or without. We do not heed the echoes
of life at night, nor do we stir in starlight
or moonlight. Instead, living in this valley,
we take our ways through time. So tell me, shadows,
will you allow our noise to break the silence?
We breed of adult insects shrill till silence
dissolves. We speak and natter noise in darkness
till signals seem dissolved and broken. Shadows
in our hearts gather, as we murmur echoes
of name. Walhalla.... Will you tell me, valley,
what once you dreamt without the houses' starlight?
I never saw that town beneath its starlight,
I seldom felt that town in furling silence,
but I remember you, O dreaming valley,
and I remember time and summers, darkness
of solid shadows within, so tell me, echoes,
what hills reflect you, haunted by these shadows.
We breed of adult insects shrill till shadows,
and dream of nights when only moon and starlight
had entered in, within the valley's echoes
of hills. And I now know there is a silence,
a secret hid among the notes, so, darkness,
be still, have wit, be quiet in the valley.
So listen, shadows, to the sacred silence
that seems to sing of starlight, soft-lit darkness
and silver echoes of the night-lit valley.
Light is on the hills, overhead are seabirds, flying from the sea to land,
beneath are people. They look to the ground, seeing not sunlight on the sand.
In the rivers are fishes, they swim like fire, like fire they're flashing and twisting
as the birds fly. Something about this is moving, sweet and grand
as, on winds, the birds, flying through breezes, turn as streams of water
unlike the fishes. Strange how it seems that there's nothing worthy to stand
and be noticed, and cherished, not bird nor fish, nor hills nor river, not anything.
It seems to me strange, almost as if reckoned, destined, or in a way planned.
Knowing, now, that where I played
with my family as a child is gone,
forever gone and lost under you,
I am disheartened and grieve in these lines.
All that I have (faded memories), lies
and lines of free verse written out,
falter as they cannot catch at it
with veridity and any sense of strength.
But I shall not remain as you shall,
and I too shall fade as that favourite place,
that golden memory etched in my verse
like a leitmotif of silence and poignancy.
Moving from Chicago to Missouri wasn't easy
but breeding Lady Goulds kept me sane
for many years--well, almost.
I was writing then to make a living.
All day I'd rearrange other people's words.
I needed Lady Goulds to look at
in the evening and most weekends.
Otherwise I might have married
some nice lady for the wrong reason.
Right now, a canary helps me dance
away the years or days or hours
I have to face before
I take on a cane or walker.
The canary calls the dawn with glee.
Lady Goulds, you see, don't sing.
They don't have to.
All they have to do is sit there
as if Mondrian painted them
or God lifted a pinkie on the 7th day.
The beauty of the Lady Gould,
some say, is the result of evolution.
There was no grand designer,
most scientists maintain.
The Lady Gould is one big accident
that happened eons ago.
I find it comforting to stare at them
and know otherwise.
The break bell rings
and itʼs time to enter into the second half of the day
a groan of disapproval hums in response.
A herd of young frivolous minds
bustle past each other,
through the narrow dimly lit corridors
like cattle, driven to their destination with a stick,
with which they measure aptitude.
there was always one window
that opened in from the receptionist office,
it would stick out like a sore thumb
obstructing the path of the already narrow corridor.
You had to watch where you were going,
You couldnʼt walk aimlessly,
or you would bump your head against it.
but thatʼs exactly the w ay I would walk in school
so the window was always like a reminder for me,
it made me wake up, it was like a reality check
it made me careful
It let me see where I was going
It was a wall of glass
where the light would set on it impeccably,
in accordance with the second half of the school day
casting hollow reflections of the passer byers.
When I would stare through it I felt like a porous version of myself,
as if my body had small cavities through which my soul had poured out,
Separate and desolate,
leaving a hollow memory of who I was.
The way I might appear in the mind
of someone who knows how I look
but does not know who I am.
I felt like I am the way the future wants me to be,
like a hologram of myself
being molded out of light
that does not run
on the same frequency as me.
Through the thin frame of grey
that bordered the window,
the color of neither black or white
a transitional color, ʻinbetweener.ʼ
it composed my thoughts perfectly
and as I could see the other children pass through me
I realized, I can not let myself
Become a day in the life of someone else.
I am a porous membrane
A region of higher concentration of life
Breathes life into my dried up insides
Today, I absorbed and soaked up, the bleeding colors of the sun,
how it overflowed
like the sunny side of an egg,
when it is carefully cracked,
with a gentle poke.
I breathed in the dusk,
And so, there was a balance.
The now and I have coalesced.
A harmonious state
Life is voluminous with possibilities.
Not all of them arrive in brown paper boxes,
Within two weeks after you have pre ordered it online.
The satisfaction within is guaranteed but limiting
It encloses your options within the container,
Never allowing the surroundings to get through.
Warding them off like a taboo.
Holding on tight to what can be and will be.
Thoughts jumbled in a bowl like batter
Your tongue goes numb,
Thinking of the baked cake
Why not try dipping your finger in the batter,
And taste for a mistake.
Wishing and waiting always debating
Hoping for life to unfold and unravel,
A never-ending carpet unrolling a pathway
Stop to run your hands
On the soft trail that you’ve planned,
Feel the smoothness seep through your skin
And with every fleeting moment just breathe it in.
Listen up! It's Deacon Simon here,
reporting on Pastor Harold Schnabel,
the minister we long ago defrocked.
Remember how he went to Holland
years ago. Hard to believe but
he's coming back a millionaire
who made his money
running a bordello for midgets
with Peyronie's Disease
in downtown Amsterdam.
He hired his staff carefully,
favoring double-jointed women who
understand the geometry of angles,
isosceles and otherwise.
He's coming back to take advantage
of an American Renaissance
in porkpie hats. He says men
will wear them once again
this summer and possibly forever.
It will be the same porkpie hat
made famous by Buster Keaton,
the beloved comedian,
who for years was chief custodian
in Harold's congregation, long before
we deacons finally defrocked him
for simony, calumny,
heterosexuality and serial fraud.
Anyone who thinks Harold's wrong
about an American Renaissance
in porkpie hats needs to remember
the startling success he's had
running that bordello for midgets
with Peyronie's Disease.
The staff of ladies he recruited.
made Harold a millionaire.
We defrocked him for cause but
he's an entrepreneur extraordinaire.
He knows midgets and porkpie hats.
So, please, join me at the airport
Sunday morning after services
so we can make Harold's return
to our beautiful city a boffo event.
He's giving out free porkpie hats
to everyone who comes to greet him.
And big discounts to all midgets
with Peyronie's Disease planning
a trip to Amsterdam this Spring
to admire--what else?--the tulips.
There will never be another Harold.
Let's welcome Pastor Schnabel home.
The wafer given soft and slim:
not Flesh-- Him--
Bone and Blood and Ghost and All
to celebrate the Descent
of Rerisen Christ
(the history of Man is written in these silent messages).
He sees the silk cushions,
the red draped hall,
the wooden door,
the iron stall,
(the entry to purgatory).
The music creeps through the walls,
surrounds the perfume clouds
that rise and fall:
in and out
in and out I rise!
in and out I come!
in and out I die!
in and out I lie spent.
in and out I fall.
Out. I rise.
The lover awakens from a coma
and touches the breast next to his .
(Theology in motion).
They cried for all the world to see:
They touched each other’s dreams.
The picture spins,
is lost, is sought,
is rescued thrice,
is drowned in mistrust
(Pretty pictures on a chandelier).
Our lives, our limbs have connected,
have intertwined in restless motion,
have sought to have known all,
have drawn out all feeling,
all seeing sights,
have given * in return,
The priest raises his hands:
A Man lifts up:
A Spirit flies down/
A stomach twists;
A clown smiles;
A child voices protest;
A finger stretches,
separates from hand/
Eyes glaze, fade, fade...
A fate awaits
(put practice in motion).
-- Robert Fabre
Back in 1957, kissing Carol Ann behind the barn
in the middle of a windswept field of Goldenrod
with a sudden deer watching was very special,
let me tell you. Back then, bobby sox, poodle skirts
big barrettes and ponytails were everywhere.
Like many farmers, Carol Ann's father had a giant radio,
a console occupying the living room, and every
Saturday night the family would gather 'round
with great big bowls of ice cream and listen
to the Grand Ole Opry. It was beamed
“all the way from Nashville," I was often told
since I was from Chicago and I sometimes wore
a suit and tie so how would I know.
One time I asked Carol Ann if the Grand Ole Opry
was the Mormon Tabernacle Choir of country music
and she said not to say that to her father. Instead
I should tap my foot to the music and let him watch me.
Otherwise, I’d best be quiet and say “yup,” “nope” or
“maybe” if he asked me any questions which she didn’t
think would happen. "No need to say much more,"
she said, and after a few visits I understood why.
Over time, I learned to tap my foot pretty good because
when I’d come to visit, her father would insist I have
my own big bowl of ice cream. I liked the ice cream but
not so much the Grand Ole Opry. After all, I’d been weaned
on Sinatra in the city. Big difference, let me tell you.
But in 1957 kissing Carol Ann behind the barn
was all that we could do until I found employment.
Only then, her father said, could we get married.
There were no jobs in town, however, for a man
with horn-rimmed glasses and degrees in English.
Yet the weekend drives from Chicago were worth the gas
my Rambler guzzled because kissing Carol Ann brought
a bit of heaven down behind that barn, especially on
summer nights when darting fireflies were the only
stars we saw when our eyes finally popped open. It was
the Fourth of July every time with sparklers twinkling.
Now, 55 years later, Carol Ann sometimes mentions fireflies
when the two of us are dancing behind the cows at dusk
and coaxing them into the barn for the night. I’m still not
good with cows despite my John Deere cap, plaid shirt
and overalls which proves, she says, that all that kissing
behind the barn in 1957 took the boy out of the city
but not the city out of the boy.
“Hee Haw” is all I ever say because I know why I’m there.
I'm there to tap the cows on the rump until we get them
back in the barn so we can go back in the house and start
with a kiss and later on come back downstairs
for two big bowls of ice cream.
now i know how the kid
in that johnny cash song felt
all through high school
my name was misspelled and mispronounced
in college i considered changing it
even tried to get people to call me "eric"
but it didn't take
but i figured there was a reason
for my name
mama told me daddy didn't
want a junior
a name should be a fingerprint
it may be spelled like a girl's name
but it's mine
i'm proud of it
i won't answer to anything else
" good girls are just bad girls who never get caught..." mae west
if john hughes were alive
and still making movies
he'd cast her as the "molly ringwald
a nice girl, just rough enough around
the edges to make her
years from now, she'll be a professor
or a professor's wife
and she'll tell you about all the
books she's read
or about her unique worldview
she will not be doomed to
be a worker drone
girls like her are the
reason i caught jungle fever
i just hope she doesn't change
that no matter where she goes
or what she does
her skin stays pure as
the snow outside
that she can quote bronte
or jane austen with a midwestern
and that her smile is always full
of picket fences
if playing the piano were like breathing
she would be the oxygen flowing
happily through my veins
i mistake her for a french woman
but she is spanish
but she could easily look
every word that comes from
her mouth is a poem
her hair is black as a
and she walks like she plays
her fingers strolling across the
as i imagine we could be doing
along the streets of seville
if i were picasso, i would
paint her the way she plays
in long, broad strokes,
which would be an accomplishment
since i'm a concrete poet
though like dali, sometimes,
i allow my mind to travel
outside of my body
i want to feel her playing the
" clare de lune,"
even as the night gives us wings
left behind by the waters
devoid of the breath of
can these dry bones live?
lying next to a baby doll, blue eyes
covered in mud, next to a red dress
a woman once pulled of
in the name of pleasure,
of a life now spent
clacking with the song of
as the waters are rising
like the sound a jazz band
can these dry bones live?
but god breathes jazz back into
takes their voices back
from the winds
puts it back into their bodies
and they live
dry bones rise from the
gumbo of despair
and they live
dry bones dance a second
line into dreams
and they live
she just came out and gave me
and it left me paralyzed ( in a good way )
and she went away
i tried to look for her
wanted her to find me
wanted every search engine and social
network around to be god
make the stars line up
and make her come my way
cos that hug made me
believe that the pop songs
and that love at first sight isn't b.s.
it does happen
but i never heard from her
i wasn't disappointed
i figured if it was meant to happen
it would have happened
so, you can imagine my shock at
seeing her again
this thrift store girl
who would be sexy in
a designer dress
who would be a hottie
wearing a garbage bag
sitting beside me in
sunday school class
and i looked at her
only i didn't realize at first
it was her
when i did
i realized i didn't care
if this was a dream
or how long it was
going to last
i just wanted her to hug me
(which she did, later )
i didn't care if this was
just another head game
or that the kisses
i imagined her giving me one day
would turn out to be
i'm just glad that god lets things like this
happen to me
and that i can appreciate them
the thrift store girl
with the blue jean
whose walk was full of swag
i'm not a middle of the road person
when i'm happy
i feel like i'm touching god's face
when i'm low
i'm in the toilet
i don't want to grow to love someone
i want it to hit me like an f-150 truck
i want to feel love like i'm caught
by a floyd mayweather right cross
to the eye
and i'm falling happily to the canvas
i want to fall...hard
and see stars
i want to feel love like god's hand touching my soul
and he's finally revealling himself to me
saying, " now, do you you believe?"
cos that's what i felt from
the thrift store girl
whose heels echo my heartbeat
as she's walking away
my blue jean angel
and i'm going W.T.F.....
There are fewer believers now
than at any time in recent history
but they are still recruiting since
lions no longer wait for them
in ancient coliseums.
Believers knock on doors,
seeking to convert folks who are
dining, reading, maybe copulating,
an interruption certain to disturb
even those open to the message.
So why not do away with Sundays,
change to a six-day week
and make every day a work day.
If we do away with Sundays
believers may come to understand
folks on Earth are here to work,
buy nice things, pay taxes
and die at a reasonable age
so other folks can have their jobs
and not rely on unemployment,
the way so many must today.
If we do away with Sundays
we can set believers straight
even if we have to hire a lawyer
and take the case downtown.
If we lose the case, we'll appeal
and if we lose the appeal
we can take a jet to Washington
and picket the Supremes.
In Washington, noise wins.
After bawling for
a week straight
over my last dog,
I found myself
in the grassy parking lot
of the dog pound.
The stench was the first thing
It was a frightful concoction
of urine, wet dog, and
After that, it was
from the cages.
They all wanted rescued.
I chose an abused brown mutt,
the runt of the litter and
the last to be picked
from her clan.
As I quietly pulled away,
the puppy furiously licking
my chin and armpits,
I wept for
the one I rescued,
and I wept
for the hundreds
I had to leave behind.