Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Poem: Vortex




eyes big as the Earth in a socket of Void,

blue and green

and so much distant cold

for beams of justice to travel a lifetime and not reach.

what matters

takes place in the sparkle of daily treasure,

which surely props up the sky.

and yet, somehow,

so much outside and around--and especially inside--

never gets heard or seen or known.

there is only this fix,  

this label of beauty as value,

and the fight to own it,

carried out by eyes with dilated pits,

better to suck down the blue and green and gold and red and

amber and mahogany of dawn--

to gorge, to devour, to own, to swill--

while days turn to narrower tomorrows,

again to witness whatever crave can be contrived




2/21/24 ... sound mod ... 

This poem is inspired by the concept of an "ignorance vortex":  dysfunctional culture transmits ignorance from generation to generation, thereby preventing the collective consciousness of humanity from advancing ethically.  It is not 'human nature' that holds us back and traps us in warfare.  We are, instead, trapped in an ignorance vortex.  Peace is possible, but first we must deal with the vortex (which heavily resists, of course).  More here:


Saturday, February 17, 2024

Poem: What is Done



What is Done


in the smarm-festered upper floors,

servants with big smiles

coil around a tonsilitis of money,

which insures their lack of voice,

and bloodless replica of care.


elsewhere, across the world,

 a child is punished for the joy of their giggle,

and put to work in a field:

a furrow where hope, good, wonder and dream

can’t endure, pretend, believe or escape.


in the latest movie, all the rave,

a druid enspells with rowan

to tame the cruel of an evil prince,

who gleams serpent-tooth of skin;


and yet 

there is no tender conscience of sidekick

to abate the world's de facto kings, who proclaim 



what is this endless thirst for lies,

gulped down through the intenstines of skyscrapers

and comparmentalized cubicles?

what if this mandate to hide from what is done

is itself an anchor that pulls neckties to drown?


2/18/24 ... mods for clarity and flow

It's men (kings) not women (queens) who have led humanity to the brink of doom

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Poem: Candenza For a Witch


Cadenza For a Witch


raven whose feathers are hummingbirds.

whose stride

reconciles butterflies with vultures.


her spread wings

a landscape from honeysuckle to bloodroot.

her heart moon-kilned, agile of inner fire,

where dawn and evening kiss.


her  crown

around the world births new days,

as she dances wildward,

leaps to gather anise from stars,

or pluck mangos from noon.


she chides landslides.

threads brambles to sew petals.

soothes beaches

as sandy fortunes skip away,

whisked into sparks of receding crystal.


only humans

cannot be salved by her spells,

as they shuffle with old fears

which muss the weave of her mandalic tresses. 


they have no conjure, not anymore,

no cauldron to summon ancestors,

no asphodels to tease

from their soil of laws.


2/17 -18 ... changed some words for clarity

Monday, February 12, 2024

SE Cupp sums up the raw power of xenophobia


On CNN News, political commentator and pundit SE Cupp stepped it up with an unnervingly trenchant statement.  It shows two things.  The first is the sheer power of fear when bottled to fuel an engine of xenophobia.  The second thing Cupp brings out so well, with sharp, layered phrases, is Trump’s skill as a con man.

Here is a paraphrase of what she said:


First he [Trump] managed to get conservatives to stop caring about conservatism … then he got Christians to stop caring about scripture, the Bible, ‘what would Jesus do?’, now Jesus is woke … He got Republicans … to stop caring about America and what democracy should mean and … he got the patriotic military-loving far right to stop caring about national security and to stop caring about our servicemen and -women, our troops … I mean, it’s a feat, what Donald Trump has done to the right in a very short period of time.


 You can also watch at this link, starting at 5:37:



Sunday, February 11, 2024

Poem: Ghosts In the Leaves


Ghosts In the Leaves


dangles and wriggles,

shawls strewn over shoulders of invisible mouths

which once writhed in battle.


venules who were sinews once,

lunged flesh glistening young,

fury surging to flutter crimson--


legions of them, these waving, flapping flags,

acute for a slashing season or two,

before they congeal into a garden of rust.


silent then in rot

to feed memorials risen

in the branches of statuesque oaks.


every autumn more lobes drip,

laying their own versions of vanguard colors,

feeding a graveyard of whispers


to testify in the breeze.


2/13 changed some words

2/12 ... changed some words 

Friday, February 9, 2024

Poem: In the Kingdom of Invisible Threats


In the Kingdom of Invisible Threats


sly anxious heads

scramble in official indecency,

trapped and rough

under a suffice of polite surfaces.


such neat, preened miens,

postured to abjure any garland of greed;

as if the world turned on a daily smile,

and gutting the future was rational.


when not asked, they say,

yes yes yes,

a freudian slip,

obeisance automatic

if the taste is intense.

lies mean nothing

if pretended not to be had

by those who inflict.


better to toe-kiss the haves

than the cesspool of the horde,


on the keys,

lock that rare honest thought

in a prison of bland cruel,

far beneath you.


Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Regarding the Poems


Now that the University has reduced my classes to almost zero, I have, for the first time in decades, found an opening that has fostered a renaissance.  I find myself with many hours in which to go back through the poems on this blog and edit them.  As a result, they are taking more fluent and evocative shapes.  Then again, I could be like Sisyphus with his stone.  Who knows.  

 So far, I’ve edited back to July ’23.  But I intend to keep going.  I intend to leave these poems as my legacy, as well as the novel I have finished, and the one I am working on now.  Finally, I hope to write a nonfiction book, based on the concept of ‘the Good’ expressed in this blog.

Of course, I am in poverty and have mediocre health, still mostly on crutches.  But through poetry, literary prose and philosophy, I strive to make a higher statement, one that transcends my mortal miseries and speaks to the universe.

As far as my longevity, I find life on this Earth to be cruel, unjust and demanding, the price of its miracles, not only suffering and death, but the sadism and narcissism that are so successful at taking power and immersing everyone and everything else in misery.  I myself was born with privilege and was able to get highly educated, which allowed me to develop psychological strategies for survival and meaning.  I can find ecstasy simply by meditating or staring at a leaf, or writing a poem.  But the large majority of people never get the unfair advantages I had.  Many, for instance, are born into poverty or even slavery.  Many are born into dictatorships overlorded by de facto kings who demand to be worshipped, on pain of torturous incarceration.  And let us remember, too, that there are animals on this planet that are not human, animals that feel pain and emotion, and they are all hostage to our selfishness, greed, fear, and ignorance.  We harness other animals to our needs, or destroy their environments and extinct species for even a meager gain.

It's an incredibly barbaric world, and humanity is probably about to blow it all up with nuclear weapons.  Making it worse, in my mind, this armageddon is not fated.  It is possible for humans to evolve ethically and live in beauty, decency and love.  But this is not going to happen, because we are trapped by fear.  This goes back to our primal needs--to eat, to have stable shelter, to feel safe.  And here I also blame nature, because if we don't eat, our own bodies torture us.  If we don't have stable shelter, our bodies, again, torture us with inflictions of cold and heat that can lead to disease.  Our bodies have elaborate nervous system, including pain mechanims, that can be  exploited by our fellow humans to coerce us into slavery and other degradations.  This is the 'fault' of nature itself, which has made us vulnerable to extremes both physical and mental, delightful extremes, yes, but also the opposite.

So, it's a very brutal planet, the price of its beauties.  Evolution has been as vicious as it has been kind.  I think the best we humans can do is to seek the Good with an open-mind and promote it through ethical acts.  I say 'open mind' because too often people fanatically embrace religion, for it helps them to pretend that that the misery and injustice they suffer will someday be compensated for by an all-Good God in heaven.  They do this because facing the truth is too painful.  Reality induces such intense fear that they cannot handle it any other way.  

Such fanaticism, of course, breeds ignorance--such as racism, sexism and anti-LGBTQ--and leads to war, which increases suffering.  It also makes one susceptible to the command of theocratic tyrants, and in that aspect fanatic people do horrific things, such as participate in inquisitions and crusades.  It's a grand irony that fanatics who claim to follow an All-Loving God inflict so much cruelty, suffering and oppression, making life far worse for everyone. 

As far as my own longevity, half of me wants to quote Herodotus, "This life is so sorry a thing ... that death is a delightful refuge for the weary."  The other half of me finds rapture and wonder in the beauty of the universe, nature, and many aspects of human expression.  Whenever anyone does something good, it is a gift to all of us.  It is a seed.


Monday, January 22, 2024

Poem: Serenade




troubadour tucked

in fingerbones of sorrel,

a single cricket,

chirrs gnawing on the quiet,

urgent of humid flame

to thaw the blindness

and prick the moonless night,

distant ephemera

of gulls and coyotes.


a single cricket,

substitute for my breath,

heart liquid in its chant,

as a key might be forged,

charmed by the soft trebles,

radiant of exhale, warmth unlocked,

unfathomable and keen,

fluent with stars.


1/28/24 .... changed last line 

1/23/24   removed "its" before " distant ephemera ..." 

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Poem: Lament




flat on my back,

a spread star fallen to its grave,

unknown to a wish,

i wonder

why watermarks on cotton fiber

and roses and wine

and charmed tears are a status most people

will never know,

i wonder

why i am so special

as Ethiopian ribs replace skin

while i whine about the best word for a poem

that ends up as hors d’oeuvres

for a few ruthless eyes?



1/22/24 ... removed the second stanza of the poem, which appears below.  I was always on the fence about it, at best, as it doesn't fit the flow and is 'obvious.'


i wonder though it is useless to wonder,

i wonder because it is useless to wonder,

i wonder for i am forced,

and i am forced because i will not hide

from how much i hate god.

Poems like this allow me to love god as much as I hate god.  Honesty is double-edged.