Personal Growth

The Rhythm of Love

I could keep that side of you
That’s been missing,
Store it, try to return it
As if it were mine.
But you, for whom hesitancy
Has been a practiced art,
Would prefer to defer
Until the moment it suited you
To give me more
Of what you’ve hidden
From others—-
A willing hand on my mouth,
A tongue that might melt
My own resistance
On days that I have chosen,
Of my own accord,
To sit on the beach and read,
Or change the lightbulbs
In the basement,
Playing the same game
Of a lover’s phone tag

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Liebestod

Sometimes I see in you
A moment’s hopeful glance,
Brashness without fury,
Holding solitary court
Like your mother’s diamond ring,
Glinting for attention,
Its sheer legacy
An heirloom woven
With unkept promises,
But energy, my love,
In your silent haughtiness.

Then the return
To sheer dullness,
Predictable as the mail,
The smug dog in front
Of a winter fireplace,
Its face stretched out
In yawning contempt
For the unhinged.

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Silence

I have chosen
Not to speak to you
Today, of all days,
Cowering, as I do,
In front of simple truths,
Stark revelations,
My coliseum’s nakedness
Before the crowds
Of thumbs down,
Blossoming towards
The front rows
Of your rage,
Those forgotten wounds,
And fanged cruelties
Spiraling into
New memories.

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Love You, Love You Not

Anonymous Lovers
In night’s full throttle,
Withhold all leanings
Into the wind of
My desire for certainty,
Brief as a bus stop,
Masking, as I do,
A child’s fear
Of elevator strangers,
With easy clothes
On motel carpets,
A shoe’s lace
Aching in the corner
After morning goodbyes,
Startled briefly
By the cruel speed
Of my forgetting.

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My Enemy, My Friend

How should I react to those, I believe, don’t like me? Especially, the corporate, four-testicle, country-club guys who love to be master of their fates and everybody else’s?

I read, today, Pema Chödrön’s phrase, “the sweet spot,” giving me some clue about the need to live on the mountain of kindness, no matter how craggy. Maybe even to accept my enemy’s perception of me as too cocky, too self-assured, too sarcastic, too intellectual.

Where can I retrieve that soft spot from when I feel judged? Too often, I pull back. I start to invent an image of my enemy as a cold, detached, cruelly confident man, who beats his wife; says “fuck off” to his kids at least once a day; argues with a Mercedes Benz salesman to include, in the base price of his new car, a flat screen on the backs of the driver and passenger seats. As an added resentment, I will probably hold him responsible for the 2008 Great Recession. Continue reading

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Capitalism and Corporatism

All My Sons, Big Business, Moral Responsibility

I recently saw the Arthur Miller play, All My Sons. It reminded me of how much Miller was in tune with so much of American culture.

The play revolves around Joe Keller, an entrepreneur, who owns a factory that shipped out cracked warplane cylinder heads during World War II. Twenty one pilots died in crashes as a result. His associate, Steve Deever, warned him of the defective engines, and Joe told him to seal the cracks. Deever tried to call him, not wanting to take sole responsibility for the shipment. Joe, later, claims that he had the flu and was not able to answer the call.

After a courtroom trial, Deever is sent to prison. Joe is exonerated in an appeal of his case. The rest of the play is about all the collateral damage Joe’s big lie has on his own family and the family of his associate. Continue reading

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Natus Est

Things are due,
Never in the same way,
The rent, a child,
One imposed,
The other called
By its own schedule
Into the world,
A cut chord
Of fragile attachment
To its refuge,
Temporary hostage,
Learning timed deference
Or quick rebellion
Against check-ins
And the agony
Of the hurried

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Transgendered Me

I dedicate this poem to Kricket Jerná Nimmons, a black low-income New Yorker, who had genital reconstruction (From the “New York Times” article, “‘A Whole New Being’; How Kricket Nimmons Seized the Transgender Moment” by Deborah Sontag—12/13/15)

Swimming against
The orders
Of others
To be
Who I am not,
Body parts
From my mother’s womb,
Gifted back
To the cruel source
Who made me
What I never was,
The old world’s contract
Broken by my
Own stern will,
Penis as memory
Vagina as hope,
Breasts mounted
To my willing chest,
Hair shaven
From my bony legs,
Communion miracle,
The old host
Disappearing
Into new flesh
And flowing blood
Of this, the
Newly honed
And tender me,

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Simplicity

I need to forfeit
All the reins
Of what I control.
Simplicity I am told
Cools the blood
Into small units.
All love, after all,
Is weighed
With equal vigor,
No one desire
Mortgaging my path.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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