Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Poem: Sins

 

Sins

 

anemone tentacles

on the throat of a dove,

or threads unwinding

from a beggar’s coat,

 

they barely bind,

hints of jail or guilt,

a trace that won’t sleep.

adulterous silence.

 

until it’s dark enough,

then they chant, soft as dew,

patterns in clammy octaves.

the wards of skeleton keys.

 

an armoire opens.  who guessed?

grandparents pine there,

their frowns like thumbscrews.

hands secretive as moths.



==========================

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

A Note On Poems

 Thank you for looking at the poems!

A quick note.  I often edit a piece quite a bit after it goes up.  The more-or-less final version, the one that settles in, arrives after a few days of the initial posting.  (It's almost fair to say that a true 'final version' is like the Holy Grail and not likely to ever materialize). 

Admittedly, this is a feeble strategy.  I use it simply because it gets me to edit faster and more attentively than if the poems were merely tucked away in a folder.

The big downside is that readers who visit right after a work goes up are often met with a less-than-stellar version.  For this I apologize.  Again, my only excuse, albeit feeble, is the quirkiness of my own craft.

If you have comments or suggestions, or potential topics you'd like to see, you can email me:

owlwholaughs@gmail.com

Fly Well in the Dark,

OWL


============

Monday, December 28, 2020

Poem: A Widow

 A Widow


a widow culls

the many lies of men,

smiling still,

wanton as she goes,

 

from shack to shack,

mansions of the heart,

every accident or bed

beleaguered.

 

ants to lions, none remark.

 

but humanity, profuse,

gasps to curse when lungs stall,

cashiering chains and chores.

 

elephants dwindle down tusky roads.

 

but ill to violent crowds

beat on the ground,

mawkish as they sink,

clutching their wasted lives.

 

birds chirp last fermatas,

insects chirr in choirs.

these, the widow feels,

never turn to dust.

 

it is those tethered to tombstones,

or ladderlike prayers,

or who cling to lists of what wasn’t--

because because because …

 

and so it goes,

shack to shack, bed to bed,

through mansions of the heart,

wherever desperation lies naked.





=======


A playful poem, believe it or not, in the sound patterns (probably to offset the morbidity).

I would prefer to use "wym" instead of the male-aligned "men."  "Wym" escapes gender.  But the neologism would be distractive.


===========

Friday, December 25, 2020

Poem: A Love Poem

 

A Love Poem

 

my dawns and heights,

the mansions of my throat and heart and breath,

the rootstock of my life,

my laughter and reflections,

these molecules and auras--


her hands a sextant through this wilderness, her hands

the lockpicks of my evolution.  her eyes 


redolent healers.

her body swoops and slopes in my avalanches,

agile over my rugged chest.

my tides, my fault lines, my fates,

they lean into her oceans.

 

candles serenade us.  wooed stars.

i float in her fluent bed.

this fair hypnosis,

multi-celestial, unfathomable,

irreligious.  this mystery of her.  she 


melts protean under my kisses, 

her shivers a pleasurable rain.

her whispers crescents of music.


within this love, its songs of time,

nocturnes or sun-burnished,

whether chasm or pinnacle,

through seasons that sprout or sink,

aloft or wept, rough-clad or satin,

i need not search

 

for she enfolds like wings.  she--


sculptress of my muscles,

weaver of my moved veins,

she seduces 


as art, as lost inspiration,

this hurt magic that i am, or forgotten,

so in each other’s arms to play,

seamless in this theater of sensations.  alive


pulse by pulse, motion through motion,

where tempests behold what must be,

revealed in us, to form stairs.


=====================

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Poem: Still Life Late

 

Still Life Late

 

wafer

of pearl and eve,

dim,

 

soon to go,

i see myself

in its weak depth,

 

this gloss

that daubs my thoughts,

this nimbus, this depression,

 

this puddle,


dusk’s last offering

of communion bread.

 

color wanes

from its tender heat.

my fingers

 

move to mimic wax,

slow yet fluid,

melting

 

into reflection.


=====================

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

 When I was young, the world was so big to me, and ugly.  Now it is beautiful and yet so very very small--Galaras Sphynxwyld.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Poem: A Gamble

 

A Gamble

 

mousy,

brown against black,

scurrying on paws

once maple lobes,

 

wind its muscle,

decay its flesh.

mottle dripping off,

such brittle rot.

 

it rushes a busy tire,

eager to kiss,

earn an autograph,

or perhaps a speck of peace.

 

always so swift,

Fate obsessed with dice games,

rolling over and over,

bidding leaves to tumble

 

and resolve.




=================



Thursday, December 17, 2020

Poem: Alder and Deer

 

Alder and Deer

 

a doe in the woods

shies from an effortless signpost

of thorns.

 

none of the thousandth

scrape her.  hasteless

she flows,

snaps no twig.

 

brittle jags of shadblow

comb her fur

in quiescence.

 

drops of sun glister,

sifted by noonday birches,

when she cranes

fair.


============

Monday, December 14, 2020

Poem: Quiet Bay

 

Quiet Bay

 

azure basks in slack breezes.

it's hard to tell reflection

from lobster boat.

 

water scolds skipped rocks

with successive brief mouths.


nothing is supposed to be quick.

 

clouds are origami.

rocks gargoyles.

the sway of an arm

unwanted flame.



=================

Saturday, December 12, 2020

Poem: At the Keyboard

 

At the Keyboard

 

fingertips.  bishops and rooks

greased and sliding.

diagonal.  orthogonal.

hostage to a rash hopscotch,

obsessed and servile

over sleek tiles glisteny and smooth,

black as Darth Vader’s chest.

 

eyes track mumbo jumbo.

ears dog a ridicule of clicks.

hours of this.  hands now

twin crabs in a shuffle.

fingertips--now--

a faltering clog dance.

 

heart yanked

as if in a time machine.

from Z’s to ampersands,

drowsy then aroused.

commas are chores, but then semen.

hyphens are hymens

losing innocence.

 

how long can this length of repeated period marks last?

 

fingerprints erode, now, drip by drip.

they lose face on the geo-topo-creative-conversational map;

and so ponder whether to retreat,

satisfied enough with the mission,

into video games.



===================

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Poem: Diagnosis

 

Diagnosis

 

infested with warfare,

blood on your blue

and white.

 

we’re not sure

how to remove the bullets

sunk in your organs.

in effect, cysts.

 

you have canons for femurs,

sabers for ribs.

why did you embrace the Enola Gay

in the first place?

 

did you know

you’ve had radiation sickness

ever since?

 

we're putting you on a diet.

no more bingeing on prejudice.

this sclerosis of fear

and its paroxysms of hate,

they attack the heart.

 

and the gold that plates your veins,

quite the heaviness, you know.

it sucks up all the warmth.


we sent a shovel, not a scalpel,

to extract the corpses.


==========



Tuesday, December 8, 2020

The Democrats Need to Do Much Better

 This is styled as an op-ed for newspaper submissions.  Unfortunately, I have less than a 5% acceptance rate.  Part of the reason is that the biggest newspaper in my State (Maine), the Bangor Daily News, leans Republican in its endorsements.  They did take one of my pieces last year, though.

============


 The Democrats Need to Do Much Better


We live in a corrupt system, and the Democrats have been a big contributor to the problem.  They need to do much better.  Otherwise, a redoubling of outrage will make their recent victories short-lived. 

The wealth curve in our country, over the last several decades, has been like a broken lung, one that deflates the middle class and pumps up the wealthiest.  Four hundred citizens now have as much wealth as 50% of Americans (about 150 million people).  The mathematics of the distribution graph don't lie.  It is the clear sign of a sickly nation, not a healthy capitalism.

Who has spoken up about this?  Until the last election cycle, Bernie Sanders, who was not even a Democrat until recently, was the lone standout when it came to wealth inequality and obscene grift.

Consider our healthcare system.  It has come to the point where a hospital is ready to fleece someone for their entire lifesavings if they dare, heaven forbid, to get sick or injured.  Big pharma has no cap on pricing, unlike in other countries.  Once affordable drugs, such as insulin, have skyrocketed in cost.  Not long ago, the pharmaceutical industry had no qualms about flooding the country with addictive opioids to make a buck. 

I won't even go into the maddening, byzantine machinations of the health insurance companies.

The Democrats have been onboard with this decades-long moral decay.  They take plenty of donations from big insurance and big pharma.  Jobs went overseas or to Mexico thanks to Bill Clinton as much as the GOP.  Even very recently, Democrats have defended absurd tax cuts for the wealthy (such as the SALT deduction).

We have become an Alice-in-Wonderland nation.  If wages increase, the stock market suffers (worries of inflation).  If people lose jobs, the stock market benefits (overseas profits).  With a slant worthy of Svengali, increases in the Dow Jones are seen as more vital to our country than indices that monitor the health, income and happiness of the people. 

Case in point:  The Dow has soared to over thirty thousand points while Americans suffer the worst phase of a pandemic.

The siege on the middle class has been so sustained, so awful, that Donald Trump, an extreme outlier, took the White House in 2016.  He would not have been able to accede without tapping into outrage at how rotten our structures of governance and finance have become. 

Trump is even more blatant in his corruption.  But that's not the point.  Large segments of the population, say the 85% who don't have sizeable investments in the stock market, have lost confidence in America.  They have lost faith in our principles.  Many are ready to follow a new kind of leader, one who would change everything by acting as a monarch.

We should all, in fact, despair at the decline that has taken place.  We should recoil at the kleptocracy.  At the sucking away of middle-class life into a grotesque distribution curve.  At the obvious, brutal grift that has wrecked families and homes, and cost lives, health, and hope.

Are we now, even somewhat, that City on a Hill?  The Democrats need to do much better.  Heroically better.  They cannot be as weak and compromised as they have been, or we will continue our worsening decline.

 

=======

Friday, December 4, 2020

Poem: Lily and Spider

 

Lily and Spider

 

tarweed, bindweed, shorn plots of grass,

they know nothing of the nine blossoms on the hill,

gold and purple crowns

of the mariposa lily.

 

they do not know

the secret name of the chalky spider

poised like a cross inside the fifth lily.

guardian pure as pearl,

a navel in a tiara,

who portrays both pentacle and christ.

 

this sacred vigil

mates with the corolla's curves

to dance a spell, whirl it, flourish it,

through the texts and bends of things.

 

time.  beauty.  hope.

 

don’t ask the pesticides and ragweed to explain.

they haven’t watched ravens

soar to make love in moebius strips;

or seen the paired butterflies, festival of sylphs,

who twine in purple yaws,

ascending in a helix.




=====================

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Poem: 107 in Sunland

 

107 in Sunland

 

the sun gnaws on sprinkler-fed lilies.

it pinches ants till they riot,

irascible manic flames.

 

crows gloom the phone wires,

cursing at cars

on an asphalt abacus,

and squawking at the glisten

which coats their own onyx.

 

only the seven jacaranda maidens

redeem this hell-tinged town,

drizzling soft flakes to dust the curbs

with ephemeral purple.

 

a fat owl hides

in the crook of one trunk,

plumed as willow bark,

face more of a knothole

than the gourmand it will be

 

when night unveils

a banquet of espionages.

a prosciutto of gophers,

a platterdom of voles.


=================

Monday, November 30, 2020

A Note on Poems

 

Thank you for looking at the poems!

A quick note.  I often edit a piece quite a bit after it goes up.  The more-or-less final version, the one that settles in, arrives after a few days of the initial posting.  (It's almost fair to say that a true 'final version' is like the Holy Grail and not likely to ever materialize). 

Admittedly, this is a feeble strategy.  I use it simply because it gets me to edit faster and more attentively than if the poems were merely tucked away in a folder.

The big downside is that readers who visit right after a work goes up are often met with a less-than-stellar version.  For this I apologize.  Again, my only excuse, albeit feeble, is the quirkiness of my own craft.

If you have comments or suggestions, or potential topics you'd like to see, you can email me:

owlwholaughs@gmail.com

Again, thank you for your time,

OWL


====================

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Poem: Swift Pleasure

 

Swift Pleasure

 

eyes slay,

razors of gleam

that open the heart without

removing clothes.

naiveté made them weapons.

 

a gash in the hideout of my chest.

such is the secret

of emotions that bubbled,

once revealed

innocently enough

forsaking odds.

 

so brash in my leaps.

unprepared for the swift

pleasure that fled,

 

faster than the giddy race

of ridiculous pulse,

soon fallen into the oubliettes

of an unkind stare.



======================

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Poem: Crystal Ball

 

Crystal Ball

 

an upside-down imp stares back,

leans left for my right,

stretching into befuddled rainbows.

 

leans right for my left,

till auras split into ribs,

circling round to live larger,

upped by factors of whatnot to .

 

i dive in and live immersed,

in sync with the imp, so free and clear.

photons frolic and paragons flow, 

a hypermath of hula hoops.

 

we skip together,

strumming the chords of Saturn.

tweed turns into a fingerprint of the ocean,

and the ocean a bulbous aurora borealis.

 

this orb,

it holds every coronet in the world,

adoring atop its stand of brass.

if light plays keen and color exquisite--

paisleys and whorled jewels--

then galaxies emerge,

fantasias of Hubbell dewdrops,

novas and big-bang rendezvous.

 

how they blossom,

born from spaceless specks.

cosmic, impossible, a language of comets, 

only to collapse, fated once more 

to render such nothingness

beautiful.


=====================

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Poem: Mosquitoes On Screen

 

Mosquitoes on Screen

 

honor loathes such tongues,

bashing into stitches of tin.

a language of bloodthirsty whining,

forever obsessive, sharp 

and lean.

 

it once made the mistake

of giving too much.

too honest.

too intimate.

nothing left in the aftermath

but something shriveled that guzzles.

quested.

 

such is the legend, anyway.

 

dozens of skinless wraiths

scrape the cold, threadbare sieve,

seizing any drips of warmth.

any aura of contact.

any semblance of touch.

before seeking comfort

in the dark.



===============



 

Monday, November 23, 2020

Poem: A Ghost Leads Him

 

A Ghost Leads Him

 

this elder he

touches but does not,

this psychopomp

who exists but won't,

 

flies through a sideshow

of his memories,

making them incandesce

and then collapse.  the past

a possessed accordion,

playing a song never composed.

 

this daredevil

in his arched veins

streaks to push the rollercoaster

to a higher fervor and flight.

 

(the EKG waves, the oscilloscope ...)

 

as if mental extremes

are prisoners of a knotty philosophy.

and only by freeing them

can the jail crumble into blameworthy bricks.

 

(so much of his life was spent under brick...)

 

bricks, cubes, gravestones,

he buried much of himself long ago.

but now

 

(but now ...)

 

the ghost offers a tortuous path:

fresh rubble, steppingstones, 

back to some wounded and yet earnest,

dependable joy.



===================

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Poem: Crows In Wheatfield

 

Crows in Wheatfield

 

flecks of pepper

in saffron stipples,

 

summer dreams

atoss on straw beds.

 

scythes could reap through

if they writhed like snakes,

 

feverish implements,

stroked to obsess.

 

you hear the labor,

vaporing off the canvas,

 

a chain song that could

overwhelm your lobe.

 

it wavers, this scene.

a stung pond, a façade troubled.

 

peace,

perturbed by pigment,

 

ripples.



================

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Poem: Election Day 2008

 

Election Day 2008

 

the people had their swill,

and now throng the troughs,

not to digest more, but to vomit up

what they were told to know.

 

each face reacts to the caricature

of the one in tandem,

 a cordoned assembly

of the anguished and the grotesque.

 

a man holds a noosed monkey.

three women wear the same t-shirt:

a baboonish candidate

sucks a banana and gloats.

 

there is talk

of terrorist homosexuality,

of negro delinquency,

and a liberal anti-christ,

urgent to outlaw prayer

 

but mostly guns.

 

big-bellied clichés

with beer-red neckmeat

bluster and swagger,

while dog-fierce kids 

fetch to return, return to fetch,

the hate thrown out between sighs.

 

the unamerican elites.

round them up.  brand them.

force them to leave.

 

hours of this,

a vexed parade of the bitter.

how it bristles to constrict the schoolhouse,

raring to get inside.

 

 

==========================





Obama vs McCain 2008, based on news footage.


This poem is a way to get out my own hate and rage, focusing on racism.  The enemy is not people.   The enemy is racism and its effects.  

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Poem: Fence Wizard

 

 

Fence Wizard

 

nervous dagger,

no caesar to slay,

heat will not die

and it surely is king

 

of alabaster and tan,

the only colors known,

crumbling like the foothills,

a fuzzy kind of real

thick with blurry waves.

 

caffeine for cold-blooded veins.

they simmer more fervent

than any mammal,

making love to burning stone,

chest to chest.

 

one heartbeat enough for both.

the squamous belly sleek

against coarse, mummified clay.

 

a romance so fast

it can disappear, flee to blink.

gone to some nowhere

to slip the pluck of a kestrel.

 

other times the fence wizard

sits still like speckled dough,

impossible to snatch

in its oven-like magic.

 

could it though, at long last,

choose the talons, as a sage,

to glance the world

from a final height?

 

that has always been

this survivor's strategy:

 

staccato reconnaissance

through hairline eyes

to surmise the truth

from fragments.


========


"Fence wizard" is a play on "western fence lizard," a common species in the chaparral. 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Poem: Intersection

 

Intersection

 

beads on phone wires slide fat to drip,

numb as the drool of an infant,

bald deformed pliant dome,

that stares down with mock horror

at the slanted trajectories:

 

how they end in hot water, empty as run off,

a fizzle on a char of roads.

tires slice through with the polite manners

of dutiful butchers. 

 

commuters

those metal-cloaked lip-biters,

come and go, roll and smoke, chug,

sit at attention, roll and come to go, peel-out, honk,

some jerk, some chug, one screeches, many cuss,

coming to roll and stop to go and roll to stop and go to roll stop-

lights, lines, math, laws (something's coercive here!),

this organized but not-so-cooperative mathematics of stress,

such as it is, this come-stop purgatory

for each and every flesh-nucleus.

 

it's the watering hole of the city’s motion sickness.

a glut of pop music drama/mine.

what would a last prayer look like,

splayed open on these never-ending slabs,

vivisected by streetlamps, cleansed by polluted rain,

picked over by claws of wrecked tin

under the starless Shadow?


=============

Friday, November 6, 2020

Poem: Tujunga Arroyo

 

Tujunga Arroyo

 

willow and nicotiana

hobo along the arroyo,

leafy plumage of anemic jungle birds.

strata stash squashed stones in the banks,

catastrophe upon extinction,

sabertooth pupils, long-slitted in black veins,

gazing above shark teeth.

 

my sandals, lost in the aftermath,

sink into dry quicksand

to kick up blossoms of dust.

empty orchids and not-really-there mallows

ogle me with two-seconds of life.

 

i come to a place

where crows interpenetrate shadows,

both seeking shelter, both scrutinous,

demanding proof that the blackness

will not soon die.

 

the gulch has shredded here,

warded by the fronds of an old pepper—

a place where coyotes come to take rabbits,

and burrs cast hooks,

anglers at a waterless stream.

 

not so deep in the sand-hissed heat

minnow eggs bide their time.

yes, algae will wave, one day, the real thing,

victorious in immersion,

while frogs swell their vivid backs,

harrumphing about the short shrift

of amphibian orgies.

 

=======================

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Poem: Deselection

 

Deselection

 

it was an age of wired golems,

the construct of humanity's cold electric nest.

cell by battery cell,

smiles became bytes of a vampire,

screens the concierge

of dreams. 

 

it was a marketplace of mothlike hearts

sorted by googol spiders

in fire-fast webs. 

a savior of pixels

on a pedestal of rush,

colorful ghosts

risen from luminous crypts

to agitate eyes.

 

arrow-magic captured flesh:

a seduce of mouse idols

lightspeed in icon lines,

jingle, prattle and seethe.

sex-bloated orgies of murder,

lurid in networks of thigh.

panem et circenses.

 

it was contagion

like no psalm had predicted:

the great new servers of the temples

hunted quick to infiltrate far--

far, far, who knew this death?--

urgent to perform and hawk

a new sort of mind.

 

==============