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Monday, June 26, 2017

What Would Atticus Do? (For Sarah)

We get in the car,
my 20 year old daughter
who suffers with depression
and I,
driving around
looking for normalcy.

Her moods,
dark and bleak
marinate in her room,
her hospice cell
she calls it.

So, everyday
I try to get her
out of the house
out of her own head
out of her sadness.

Some days,
we have errands
but some days
all we do is
aimlessly drive
the freeways
as she reads to me.

Right now,
we're in
the middle of
"To Kill a Mockingbird,"

and as we drive
her mood lightens
(being outside will do that)
we talk,
we share,
we get a soda.

I'd like to think
Atticus Finch
would do the same
if Scout had
treatment-resistant
suicidal depression.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

and Suddenly, it was Clear (for Anita)

A little before midnight
on my way back
to my bachelor apartment

her perfume still in my nose
her heat still on my skin

my mind replayed
the evening:
we sat with the kids
laughing at
“Spongebob Squarepants”

and after they fell asleep,
we did likewise
in each other’s embrace.

It felt like home,

but there I was
driving back to a place
I called home.

As I came up
to the intersection of
Alessandro and Moreno Beach

an idea I’d banished
long ago

floated in

like a leaf
through an open window

and suddenly,
it was clear,

and I said it aloud:

“I’m going to marry that girl.”

Thursday, June 15, 2017

When the Fruit is Ripe

You have to trust
that when it is
ready
to spring forth,
it will.

It does so
out of necessity,
because that
is what it was
made to do.

When the fruit is ripe
it will fall.

When the faun is ready
it will walk.

Don’t try
to predict when.

Just try
to be ready.

Life presents
all that
you need.

The trick is
to know when
to reach out
and grab it.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Oliver's Inheritance (for Sarah)

It's not going
to be found
in a stack of books
you leave him,
no matter how carefully
you choose them.

No,
the real legacy,
his true inheritance
will come from
memories
you'll make,

the part of you
left behind

in the cluttered
emotional attic
of another.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

The Foggy Unknown

Just as we
cannot predict
which hue of blue
the sky will be today,

or how the really
best films
are going to end,

or how sweet
the red-black cherry is,

no one knows
exactly
how this will
turn out.

I couldn’t predict
my world changing
-thunder loud and
lightening fast-
with a phone call,
telling me Pop died
unexpectedly
two days after
his own mother died.

My world was
not just thrown,
but cosmically fucked
off its axis,
my compass pointed
in every direction

and each way ahead
was soft, foggy
and unknown.

Some paths were bright,
some dark gray,
a few even black,
but none of them
were clear.

I got lost trying to find
my way back
to my life before,
until eventually,
I gave up that
search,

realizing
his death
also erased
who I thought
I was.

Only when I accepted
I couldn’t go back,
then I started moving

forward.

Be not afraid
of what the world
and this life have
waiting for you.

Stay open to
the foggy unknown
for one day
it will be
your turn,

and then you’ll be
reunited,

and it’ll all
make sense.

Right now,
however,
it remains
a heartbreaking
mystery.

Written for D'Verse Poets's prompt: Poems To Save a Life

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Neither Condition nor Profession

"To be a poet
is a condition,
not a profession." -Robert Frost

To be a poet
is neither
condition nor profession.

It is
confession.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Stray Strands

Years after
she committed
suicide,

we keep finding
stray strands
of
her long, red hair
throughout the house, 
silent,
painful reminders.

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Monster in the Mirror

"Yes, I know
why I'm here:

I'm scaring people again,
but listen:

I'm trying to save you
from a terrible monster,
an inescapable, ubiquitous threat!

They're all around,
everywhere!

You don't
even notice
them anymore!

Yes, I know
what it looks like, but
when I break
those mirrors,
I am not
just smashing
someone's private property,

I am slaying the monster!

Yeah,
I has hospitalized,
once in 2008
and again in 2011.

In every reflection
I see
a hateful monster,
a creature of ignominy,
simultaneously,
proof of
no God and
proof of
a God Who Exists But Does Shit Work.

Don't you see
a monster
when you look in
the mirror?

You don't?

You're lucky,

and I feel
a little sorry
for you."

[Inspired by "We all go a little mad sometimes.” - Psycho - for the with real toads' Monster writing challenge. ]

Fixing (for Sarah Lynn)

To fix something
outside

usually requires

un-fixing something
inside.

[Inspired by Poetic Asides prompt and dejackson.]

Monday, May 22, 2017

Better Than Music

Blood pumps
through
my veins,
loud and strong.

Breaths come
shallow, ravenous
in heady
anticipation.

The gentle
slurp and kiss
of tongue and lips
on the skin
of a lover.

This lubricated
piston,
finding home
repeatedly.

These are
the only sounds
better than music.

[Written for Dverse - Quadrilles with Sound]

The Perfect Idea

In the haze
of my
self-induced
twilight,

I had
The Perfect Idea.

I don't know
from where it
came,

but I was alone,

so,
I figured
I made it.

Thinking
"this thought is
so good,
I don't have to
write it down"
I luxuriated
in the in
thick warm glow
of satisfaction.

Then,
just as mysteriously
as it arrived,

it disappeared.

I despaired
until I realized
it came from
inside,
so the ingredients
are still there,

and then I remembered
the wisdom
of my teacher

"Don't Try."

I stopped frantically
trying to recover
this cloud-memory,

just accepting that
The Perfect Idea
will come around again,

and when it does,

I'll write it down.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

I Come Here for Hope

Laying on the floor
of my walk-in closet,
it is the darkest
quietest
place in my house.

Between boxes and
piles of dirty shoes,
I lay myself down
listen to myself breathe
and pretend
I am all alone.

I come here for hope.

I know there is a way
out of the present morass
but I can’t see it
in the light of day.

I need the comfort
of the dark
where any obstacles
are hidden.

Here,
I am limitless
and aware of my
connection to all
living things:

I don’t see
where
one thing ends
and the next thing

begins.

I open my eyes so wide
they hurt, but all I see
is the monolithic,
unanswering
black.

It reminds me that
there is no me
and there no you
and there is even
no us.

It’s all one infinite
interconnected
experience,
and since it cannot
turn back on itself,

there is only one way
it will all turn out
but I can’t see it
right now,

and I like it that way.

[Posted for Open Link Night at https://dversepoets.com/2017/05/18/openlinknight-196/]

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Tightrope

It’s a tightrope,

only it’s not tight
and it’s not a rope
and it’s more like
a straight line
on the floor

and I walk it,

It really isn’t
life or death
if I slip
but still I know
it’s under
my feet

and one end is tied
to my past
and the other is tied
to someplace
I can’t quite see yet

and veering to my right
may be too little
and tipping to my left
may be too much

and sometimes
when I follow the
beat of my heart
I look at my feet
caught like fugitives
in a searchlight
and I find
I’ve jumped the track.

So I resume the practice
of my loopy walking zazen
respectful of all
that hangs in the balance:
my sobriety
my self-respect
my soul,

but I still try to enjoy
the cool sweetness
of the morning dew
and a tune
is always on my lips
and the cotton clouds
delight and awaken
my heart.

It can’t only be about
self-denial .

I could be easily pulled
from my path
from the sensual
toward the ascetic

but every one of my
excesses
courts future regret

and I’ll do the walk

in my own time
in my own way.

Too slow for some,
too swift for others

because I know
this time
on my feet
is so brief
and lightening fast
and to walk it
solemnly and prophylactically
seems hardly worth it,

a death sentence.

So I smile
and I continue
on this line
of mine
at my own
jagged, jaunty pace.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Do That (for Erica Falk)

In the 11th grade
he wanted to be loved
or invisible
but he was stuck
somewhere in between.

He failed another
algebra II test
and stood there
in the stairwell
as the flood of students
rushed around him.

He dreaded his fate:
“Pop’s going to be mad.
He’ll think I’m a bum.
How am I ever going
to get anywhere in life?
And what the hell’s
the square root
of -1?”

A disembodied voice
came up from behind:
“Don’t worry about that.
That’s not who you are,
a numbers guy.
You’re a writer.”

It was Erica.
They were just friends
as she was too tall
to be anything else.
She must’ve seen his grade.

“I remember that poem
you showed me.
You’re a writer.
Do that.”

Continuing down the stairs
she passed by
and out of sight
unaware of the fire
she’d lit.

Right there
he rearranged everything
in his life
and set out to be a writer.

He wrote
plays
songs
jokes
poems
screenplays
articles
love letters

and it comforted wounds
preserved victories
reified dreams
and it gave him
a place in this world.

So,
Erica Falk
if you Googled
your name,
and found this poem

please know

David says
“Thank you.”

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Long-Ass Days

Long-ass days
as my father
used to call them,

days full of
graceful sunclouds
boiling tears
serving others
and undeserved laughter,

and every night
I lay myself down
to recharge my batteries,
but as with
all batteries
as they age,
my batteries aren’t
holding their
charge so long.

So
in between
the morning alarm
and the last
consciousness
there is so much
to do –
more than can be done
or even listed
in a day.

So, it’s not a
complaint
but rather just a note
of gratitude
for the privilege
of another
long-ass day,
as my supply
of them
sadly and
predictably
dwindles.



Now,
to add to my exhaustion
I must post this poem
before
midnight.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Draw More Blood

Here I go again,

secretly picking up
my favorite blade
and cutting myself.

I don't know
what I'm chasing
but sometimes
I find it.

Perhaps someday
I'll no longer need
to pick at the scab
and feel the sting
as I tear
my beautiful brown skin open
to provide a canvas
for all this pain.

Sometimes,
if the skin is intact
I will swallow it
in a shameful communion

"this is my body
broken by everyone"

and as the full rich red
slowly drips
down my forearm,
I taste it
and am not surprised
that it is flavorless.

"This is my blood
drink this in remembrance of me."

I replace my bandage
and roll down
my long sleeve shirt
and rejoin the party.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Afterglow

After I shoot it inside her
I float on a morphine cloud
and I swim with dolphins
through banana pudding
and I am warmed and soothed
by her warm and sticky skin
as her breathing lulls me
into a lucid dream where
everything moves slowly
and nothing is in focus
it's blissfully soft
with every sense engaged
and I do not exist
because there is no place
I am needed right now
and I peer over a cliff
spread my arms and shove off
and fearlessly glide
back to the meadows
of green marshmallow clover
where pan flute breezes
guide me to the only
person who wouldn’t ruin
this moment and I
close my eyes as we embrace
and open them only briefly
to find the blankets
to cover ourselves
and complete the cocoon
we started with a kiss.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Her Moaning Assent

The memory of
her moaning assent
echoes forever.

The echo bounces
off one block
of memories,
onto another,
ad infinitum.

However,
they do not decay
as naturally occurring
sounds do.

No,
they loop
at full-volume,

a supernatural siren
ever distracting me
into lustful dizziness.

[Written for De Jackson's quadrille prompt.]

Sunday, May 07, 2017

Raindrops Applauding

In the
flash rain storm,

I sit on the swing,
under the patio cover
listening to 

millions of raindrops
applauding my decision

to sit outside
and enjoy it.
video


Friday, May 05, 2017

Pang

This hunger
doesn’t sate.

I drink in
her sweet skin,
my private treasure,
face down
and naked
in our bed,

perfect in hue
and contour,
spilling like silk,
smooth
and cool
and luxurious.

She looks
over her shoulder
in my direction
giving that
unforced
beaming smile,
a lustful mix
of consent
and encouragement.

My eyes glide
downward
to her feminine curves,
as I
fit myself in
perfectly snug,
mounted skin to skin,
rocking and swaying
to the rhythm
of the cosmos.

I grab
sumptuous handfuls
of her thick
honeyhair,
and pull myself down
on her,
front to back,
sticky warm
skin to skin.

I proceed,
faster and deeper,

part of me
fearing I may have
a heart attack

and part of me
hoping I do,

as this is
the best moment
of my life.

Afterward,
a momentary
heavy silent bliss
hangs over us,

until I feel
another hunger
pang.

Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Trance

Nightly
I sit in the cool spring air,
rocking back and forth
on the patio swing,
trying to put myself
into a trance.

I inhale
the cannabis vape,
and play the recording
of Liz Damon’s Oriental Express
singing “1900 Yesterday.”

I am drawn
to this hopelessly dated
recording,
anachronistic for 1971,
it must seem positively
prehistoric now.

“Where's the love 
that we knew, 
is it gone, 
or have you 
thrown it away?”

Something about
those voices,
that 1960’s Hollywood sound,
takes me back
to my earliest memories
of something beautiful,
someone unblemished.

I perform this ritual
hoping one day
it will be
the key
that unlocks
who I really am,

who I really was
before the crash.

[Written and posted for the Tuesday Platform at the Real Toads.]

Monday, April 24, 2017

Still (A Quadrille)

Still,
I believe you’ll triumph
even though
the torture
still
continues unabated.

What are
the magic words,
the black market
black magic
to still
your raging wildfire
of sadness
and wholesale
emotional immolation?

I just wish
your plans
for your
threatened suicide
would
still.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Life's Job and My Job

You can only do
so much,
so
stop killing yourself.

That’s life’s job.

In the meantime,
find some meaning
and don’t be mean.

That’s my job.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Enemy of God

"Fear not,
we have God
on our side."

Realize how
ridiculous
that statement is.

Show me someplace
where God doesn't
exist.

You can't tell
a believer
"show me the
enemy"
and believe what
they tell you.

Show me the
enemy of God?

Well,
there's a mirror
over there.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Glide

I stand on
the precipice,
looks like
a cliff,
but I choose
to see it
as a launching pad,
a runway.

I peer over
the toes of my shoes,
shifting my
body weight
ever so slightly,
and
gravity takes over.

I do not
fall.

I do not
fly.

I extend my arms,
as if on a cross,
and I glide,
carried on
the currents of
the wind,
trusting that I will
land

precisely
where I am
supposed to be.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Groovin'

At the moment
when it all kicks in,
and I follow
the natural rhythm

I dance
to whatever is on
the tv,
most likely old sitcoms.

It's not quite
a dance,
but rather, a sway-

back and forth
like a backup singer
in a black and white
kinescope loop -

forever groovin'.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Be Here Now

This world
doesn't stop
or even slow.

To keep up
I must run
alongside it,
as catching a streetcar,
running with guilt,
knowing I am late.

However,
there is no timetable
that says I am late,
but I have agreed
to the world's sense
of time,
and forgot
that this time is neither
fleeting nor dripping.

This time
is my only possession
and even that
is an illusion.

To be here now
is the only appointment
I have to keep.

Now,
what is now?

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Blank Pages

All my dreams
began with paper
because as a kid
that's all I had,
and some pencils.

Once I embraced
the freedom,
this uncensored liberty,
the world was mine
and there was nothing
but potential,
tantalizing potential.

Now I have
computers,
cell phones,
unlimited space
in the cloud,
but in my mind,
it's still
just a blank sheet
of possibilities.

May the excitement
and the thrill
of a blank sheet
of paper
never diminish
in my soul.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Unraveling

Show me
your most private places,

where you dream
and where
the unfinished surfaces
of your soul
await your touch.

Loosed from these bodies,
we can float and dance
like the essences we are,
light and graceful
as smoke
snaking upward
to Heaven.

I am not what I seem.
None of us are.

Each one is
part-mystery
and part-illusion
to the other.

Let’s spend
the rest of our lives
unraveling
each other,

until
there is no you
and no me,
only us.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Grace

A day of grace
during
National Poetry Writing Month

means
a day off for me

and
a day off for you.

You got
the better
of the deal.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Flowerbreeze

Vapor-soft
and berry-sweet,
the essence of you
is not possessed
by any embrace,
but rather
in memories,
some cherished,
some embarrassed.

I don’t know
where your
Earthly home
is today,
but I know where
I can always find
you:
in the first scent
of spring,
wafting on the
flowerbreeze,
with the saxophone intro
to “What’s Going On”
reverb-filtered
playing under
my memory
of you,

in an image
that all great
romantic movies
attempt,
in vain,
to emulate.