CALL ME LAST (A SCARRIET SONG)

Call the ones who want to play,

The ones who pine for you all day,
The ones who ruin you fast.

The annoying ones.

Call me last.

I’ve studied lessons of love pretty well.
If I love you, I won’t tell.

The best loves burn like hell.

I’m waiting patiently, like the beautiful past.

Call me last.

My heart noticed you. You’re filed.

I was always chosen last as a child.

I grew as an introvert, secretly wild.

I have known patience. This won’t be fast.

Call me last.

I won’t tell you what I’m thinking.

The loving heart is the heart, thinking.

The love is the love that can’t stop thinking.

I rarely fall in love, and not fast.
Call me last.

Find all your interest in the past,
It saves you trouble.
You can take things slow—

Well. That’s all you need to know.
Don’t bother with the confusing and the fast.

And look. Now is already past.
Call me last.

I RUN TO REVISION, MY GOD

I was mad when I wrote that poem,

And I wrote it too fast.

But since I still love you,

I wander happily back to its past.

I read myself because I love myself,

And I still love you, my precious division!

I forgive my poem and all its flaws.

Self-love is my genius—but it’s genius,

Not selfishness, which breaks a few laws.

Revision is my God. Revision, like Criticism, forgives

The awkward poem, lifts my poem up.

And that’s how my love for you still lives.

 

HAVE YOU SEEN WHAT YOU NEED TO SEE

Have you seen what you need to see?

No.  Because you haven’t seen me.

Astronomers will tell you what revolves around what,

And if the center is expanding outward,

Or if “outward” is the proper word,

Or if contraction, not expansion is occurring,

But science, valient foe of the absurd,

Finally fails, eluding our understanding,

As the moon’s shadow stares into the confused sun.

So it’s better that you overcome your fears of me

And see what you need to see.

I, of course, will not be posing and just standing around.

I’ll be integrating the formulae of Renaissance art with sound.

But I’ve made poetry before, and each time it was the same.

A word or two. And then your name.

 

 

 

 

 

WOMEN CRAZED

Women, crazed, because of the polyamorous nature of men,

Reject the good man over and over again;

Monogamy and monotheism are a prison and a bore,

O heart, you feel cheated. O heart, tender heart, you want more.

You want what others have, the love which is over there;

You want the lover behind that dazzling curtain—who doesn’t care.

Crazed, you suffer; you need to be indifferent, too;

You want what doesn’t want—not my happy love which presumed to understand you.

The lake refuses to be a lake, the heart is fed by many streams.

The lake is not one lake. We can’t live. The heart is divided by dreams.

I wish I could be one person. I wish I could give you one kiss

Over and over again. But it failed, even as you were reading this.

I know poets who are dying; they wrote beautiful lines

To the divorced and the crying.

But life is the serene blue sky seen through a tear.

Nature has all the beauty we need—so why are the poets here?

Why don’t the poets see that no one gives a fuck?

Beauty isn’t made. The truth is a big hotel. The truth is a pickup truck.

A blue sky is enough. The best poet I know slaves in a restaurant.

Nature is beautiful enough. Poetry is not what we want.

The love of his life divorced him. This might happen to you

If you write poems. Someone planted a tree. And it grew.

 

 

 

 

 

 

IT’S HARD TO TELL

It’s hard to tell if temperamental, nasty shits

Are bossed around because they are shits

Or they are shits because they are bossed around.

The successful appear benign

When there is plenty of wine.

And because they have what they need,

Are the rulers without greed?

When is it okay to say the oppressed,

Because they are so, are not as good as the rest?

I have noticed, when I normally walk about

If anyone walks into a woman, she completely flips out,

Even if it’s another woman, but a guy,

If his wife should accidentally veer

Into his space, treats it with good cheer,

Even as an excuse for a hug or a quick kiss.

But she acts like something is totally amiss.

A woman’s space is everything,

And when she lets you in,

This is how she expresses love;

A guy wants sex; the woman lets him in,

Not for sex—because if the secret be told,

Women pretend to like sex much more than they do—

It’s like when you host a party,

And opening the door when guests arrive,

Makes you happy and thrilled—

For women it’s about the occasion,

It’s about opening the door.

The love I describe is this—and nothing more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE WORLD UNCLOTHED

The secret society met secretly,

Their stupidity to hide.

The vow to be secret, the only

Accomplishment inside.

A secret isn’t worthy

Unless the ivy covered wall

Of its secrecy remains silent, and never falls.

If any holy secret

Be found along the path,

And you stoop to examine it,

You can’t help but laugh.

Can this be what high symbolism means?

Unpleasant music of moral disorder?

Calculating hearts with empty dreams?

A wet cave, which goes no further?

 

THE POETRY MACHINE

The machine can do many things

And the poets are frankly scared that the machine,

Stocked with “tears, stars, berries, woods,”

Can now write poems

And can say, with just the right anger, “I hate Trump.”

The machine does work and that’s fine

But when the machine’s work extends to love,

We are horrified.

We are machines when we work—

But are we machines when we love?

What are humans? Machines emerging from nature,

The writing ruining the writing,

The memory of a sun blocking the memory of a moon,

The moon, human, the human comparing itself to the moon,

The trifle that is the universe sorry for its complexity and its size.

The poem unable to manifest itself in the beloved’s searching eyes.

And when, at last, the whimpering animal dies,

The touch of what feels like a metallic hand on your shoulder.

 

 

 

MAYBE THIS TIME

Image result for mona lisa

Maybe this time my love will be

About this poem, instead of this

Poem being about my love. Poetry

Can do two things; first, find bliss

In how the poet manages to convey

What anyone in love would like to say,

But cannot. Since poetry isn’t painting,

The poem needs to be a kind of fainting

Rather than the eyes of the love seen.

The poem says where love has been;

This telling reveals the beloved, unseen,

The eyes in all their glory hinted at;

The reader feeling what the poet feels.

A poem cannot do much more than that.

But maybe this time my poem will be

Love itself—the origin of all poetry.

The beloved will not only make the reader weak—

She will open her mouth—oh God!—and speak.

 

 

TOO MUCH LOVING, TOO MUCH POETRY

Image result for large coffee to go

Too much loving, too much poetry

Has consumed my days. We don’t want to be free.

We want to be trapped by love. We want to hear poetry by the sea.

But today I do want to be free,

I want one ordinary morning in a café,

The boredom of those who work here. “A large coffee,” is all I say.

The customers are older couples, softly talking. Of course poems are insane,

I always knew that, and songs,

Like films, exist because of adultery; the poetry of sexual wrongs

I’m deeply sick of; the sensitive singer strumming the guitar

On in the café, please stay in the background. I know who you are.

Silent nature: cliffs and hills, the military, stoic pursuits

Will not save me, because I will think of love in the silences.

A second cup of coffee is about all I can do.

I need to take a walk.  And think about you.

I really don’t know what to do. Maybe I’ll buy a suit,

A good fitting suit; I’ll get a good haircut, very subtle cologne,

And then maybe I’ll run into you, and you will be alone.

 

 

I HAD THE BEST TIME

Image result for skyscraper at sundown

I had the best time of my life an hour ago—
But this elevator is dark and slow.
She sleeps a pleasant sleep. I’m not sure who to call—
Now it seems the elevator isn’t moving at all.
I entered the elevator at the top floor,
After kissing her one last time—I couldn’t kiss her anymore.
She loved me. The protests died in our room,
And we loved. Has this elevator become a tomb?
Just a short time ago, I left the highest bliss—
In the cold and dark, I remember the kiss.
The building is tall, and down below, the sun rises.
Next time I’ll take the stairs. And do all that love advises.

 

EVERYTHING CHANGES YOU

Image result for two lovers listen to music in painting

Everything changes you as you listen to it,

Whether the music is good or bad.

A music or a speech has something going for it

Even if it makes no sense, and drives you mad.

Madness improves the economy—mad, you will dare

To do all kinds of things.

Cures are sought, love is made, things are bought—if you care.

The best entertainer half-talks, half-sings.

You think I have bad musical taste,

Or don’t like something I said?

What can you do about it? What do I care?

I put myself in your head.

I will stay there—and now you are thinking of me.

It’s what we want to remove that we think about the most.

How can one person change the universe? You have to let it be.

No one knows what you are thinking. You don’t boast.

I’ve noticed what is popular is exactly what you hate.

You and the universe are at odds,

It’s the sensitive person’s fate.

Darling, do you remember when we took time

And leisurely lay in each other’s arms, and let a whole Beethoven piece play?

When we loved? When I wrote about you in rhyme?

That was bliss. That was us. And it simply faded away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WE DON’T KNOW THE COLOR OF THE MOON

Image result for yellow moon in painting

We don’t know the color of the moon.

I’ve seen her dreaming yellow in the beginning of the evening

As if she were the sun.

I’ve seen her sad, mute and blue in the morning

In love: O what have I done?

I’ve seen the moon change color with the changing clouds,

Clouds the swift night wind is forming,

Clouds which escape, but barely, from the sea.

You didn’t think there was desperation, did you,

In the still evening sky? Maybe you do know,

For your sadness always moves,

Almost escaping, almost happy.

The color of the moon. Is it a voice or a mood?

The painters are in despair, for the moon is always nude.

I despaired, until one day I saw a white moon,

Faint, like my heart, in the bright noon.

 

 

THE CHESS LESSON

Image result for chess in renaissance painting

These are your men.

Since I love you, I can’t give this lesson again.

Couples retain pride

No matter how much they confide.

I will show you the moves

As decorously as sensitivity loves.

I am white. I move first.

This means I should win.

Where losing is cursed,

Lack of focus is the only sin.

Control the center of the board.

Push pawns forward, defending them

With the larger pieces, hidden.

Hiding happens gradually

In the growing number of possible moves;

Castles and knights are easy to see,

But where they move in the future is all.

Protect the king. The king cannot fall.

Hold the smooth piece in your hand

And note the temperature of the squares—

The hottest, where the most pieces are able to land.

Gather the assembled army where

The exchange, the battle, favors you.

Love? No. Plan. So every move seems new.

Take your man. Don’t listen to what you

Think the player who plays black is saying.

Do you love me? Will you read this poem?

The metaphor is all. You cannot win without playing.

 

 

BEAUTY IS A WORD

Image result for blurry candle light

Beauty is just a word we use to describe women.

Imams use beauty to mean temptation which should be hidden away,

But those who love beauty say why should we hide it away?

As soon as we mention beauty comes the request that beauty should stay.

The star is beautiful, but more beautiful, the beautiful ray.

When we see a group of brothers and sisters, in a free society,

Freely entering a room, smiling, we see beauty over time.

Beauty, hold still. I am grateful. My arrogance is cured by rhyme.

We want the dreamy candlelight not to blur too much. Loving

Should remain, like candles in a row, burning. I drank too much and the room is moving.

Beauty, remain. Don’t be the candle flame which moves.

Beauty means fidelity—which always loves.

 

 

TO STUDY POETRY IS TO STUDY NOTHING

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We are wise, we know advanced physics, by what the poet Wordsworth said:

The living flower is you; the examined flower is dead.

The words of the poem could be said to disappoint, but this isn’t quite true;

If I don’t like the poem you wrote—I won’t like you.

How’s that for hyper-criticism? Don’t cry

Because your poem fails—in your poem’s death, you die.

The secret is out: the poetry degree isn’t worth a penny.

A poem succeeds—or not—for reasons far too many

And unique—good beside a good in a poem may be bad;

There’s no method but madness—the best poets are mad.

You are hurt, love can’t help—still there’s something you can do.

But remember: if your poem fails, I won’t be pleased by you.

 

 

 

 

WHEN I SWIM

Image result for swimming in painting

When I swim in the sea,

Holding me up, thinking the water is me,

I do not fear drowning. I have no fears at all,

Living, being so big, I, being so small.

I am exactly the sea.

The sea is exactly me.

The sea wants me to be a part

Of the sea. The lungs and heart

Were already built to thrive,

So I never not was. I have always been alive.

When you see me vanish in a sea of error,

Mere fears cannot conquer your terror,

Thinking you will lose me,

As if I never existed, or was the sea.

 

I WOULD LOVE YOU

Image result for house by the sea in renaissance painting

I would love you in your house by the sea.

I would love you and you would love me.

We would dine on a meal I cooked.

And then we would kiss, after we looked.

We would have wine, but not too much,

Saving each other to taste and touch.

There would be sigh and there would be rub.

There would be caress. But most of all, love.

There would be work and love between play.

And if my manners were bad, you would send me away.

 

 

 

I COULDN’T UNDERSTAND

Image result for girl vanishing in the mist in renaissance painting

I couldn’t understand why our love had to die.

Mystery unsolvable! You loved me

Madly even as you said goodbye.

I had to know the answer to the mystery.

Love is not a part of life, but everything, and so

Love makes us feel, and makes us want to know.

Solving a problem which is simple and small

Can be impossible, but love is the greatest problem of all:

So most give up; it is the brain—

What the timid fear, what the bold lose by going insane—

The brain, not the heart, kills love—the loveless are ignorant, at last.

The unloved finally view love as a hurtful, confused, failure in the past.

I love as I think, and think as I love,

Because love is a mystery—and there’s the rub;

Love is a mystery, a mystery to be solved—

So everyone has cried since the world revolved.

You had feelings, the mystery hurt, you cried,

You wept away your thoughts—first, thoughts, then feelings are denied.

I solved the mystery: our love was strong,

So the small goodbyes were always too long;

Love was always saying goodbye

To us. To you. Your sorrow was love’s.

You left because of love. And love has told me why.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOW THAT I’M GONE

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Now that I’m gone,

She can go to a beauty salon.

She can try a dress on

When she goes to a store.

She can pick out wines

And buy wine, and buy more

Than when I was there,

And she can be at ease when she dines;

In her kitchen let her count tines;

Let her oven be off or on,

Now that I’m gone.

She can take long walks by lakes

And she can go on the internet,

And if she senses the offers are fakes

She can smile, and think of me, or, forget.

Let her write memos and fret,

Let her  vacation message be off or on,

Now that I’m gone.

She can make a batch of cookies

While she talks on the phone,

She can watch a movie with a friend, or alone,

She can watch a nature show on bees,

She can visit historical houses,

Or stay in and sleep, and have wonderful dreams,

She can throw out old blouses

And bras and when someone blames

Her for something she didn’t do,

She can explain patiently

And not lose her temper. The madness grew

When I lay with her by the lawn

And that was because she was a beauty.

Today she does what she needs to do

Now that I’m gone.

She can laugh. She can laugh.

She can laugh and laugh and laugh

And fall asleep with the television on

Now that I’m gone.

She will leave early, but not too early.

She will surely

Never be hopeful at dawn

Now that I’m gone.

But dread or hope—

Who knows their scope?

In a mad moment or two, hope may really turn her on.

She can go to a beauty salon,

Now that I’m gone.

 

 

 

 

 

WHEN I’M NOT THERE IT’S YOU WHO STARE

Image result for house by the sea in renaissance painting

You go to me, as if I’m there,
Though I’m not—but aren’t I always there?
Seeing the flowers, even when flowery love’s not there?
The flowers are there because you are aware.
When I do not, it’s you who stare.
It’s you who look around, and look,
At the world, as if the world were your only book,
And I am in there; yes, you look,
You look at the emptiness of my stare,
And don’t see the flowers, but the flowers are there.
Once I looked at you, and now you’re blind.
And you complained. But never mind.
When I’m not there, it’s you who stare.

 

POETRY IS THE SOUNDTRACK

Image result for lady of the lake in painting

Poetry is the soundtrack to this sea of prose,

The noise made in the boat. You better get one of those.

Stupidity is silent and hasn’t made a sound

Since it grew so heavy it can’t get around.

Thought and feeling don’t come alive until articulate

And heard patterns come alive in the lantern of wit.

Intention walks into the light to be heard

When poetry is poetry. Anything else is absurd.

You make it clear to me,

With groans, you like creativity.

You make your love certain with your cries

That cry into music. Don’t open your eyes

Until the feeling inside becomes too much.

Smile. Write poetry. Keep in touch.

SO MUCH POETRY

Image result for valley forge in painting

Poetry overpowers the weak—

So they will never read poetry again.

Poetry even kills poetry when poetry attempts to speak

In a valley with eleven hundred starving men,

And the wind starts up, to make even worse the snow,

Now flying sideways, the world with no place to go.

Poetry isn’t needed here, so you better be quiet,

Or bring out this menacing guy, if you don’t want a riot.

The poetry in this gun will not fire,

The poetry you loaded onto the bus

Will get old before it gets to where it’s going,

And at some bus stop, by a drug store, will sigh, and retire.

The poems like a trumpet you heard in books which roar

Like the sound of Tennyson don’t roar anymore.

Remove your wind-breaker, get wet, scream, implore.

That’s not poetry. Maybe blood will do it.  Or a pricier store.

So much poetry is lying around,

In casual speech, in the accidental sound

Of overheard music and trains.

Your poetry in the sun will never compete

With what this imbecile smells when it rains.

 

 

 

LONG LIVE THE KING (HE SMOTE THE SLEDDED ON THE ICE)

Image result for ghost scene in hamlet in painting

When pictures, noble, inspiring wonder and fear,

Swim into your sight, but do not respond when you speak to them,

These, like movies and books, are dead, like ghosts, their nobility

A rumor, a shadow, a reflection of anything which happens to move

In front of the mirror, even your own image, which you naturally love

Because it is you, though you may hate the way it looks

Because it is not beautiful enough to inspire movies and books,

And further, there you are, it is you looking at you, it is you

But it cannot tell you anything you want to know

Even as you stare meaningfully alone in the cinema at the glow,

The light and meaning of all light and meaning, but when you think

Of a question, it will not answer; it doesn’t know, it can only blink

With its noble eyes

And from its lips, anything—even lies.

When the noble Horatio heard the wild rumor, it was clear

How Hamlet’s friend felt: “Tush, tush, ’twill not appear.”

But when his thick reason saw the cheat, he turned pale with fear.

Who’s there? The rumored video, ghost, history, life, is near.

 

 

HE’S NAIVE, AND THAT’S GOOD

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He’s naive about drinking

And that’s good,

He’s naive about drugs

And that’s good.

Monks are wise from ignorance.

You can’t say how much good divinity brings

When you are ignorant of all bad things.

He never ages. He eats food raw.

He is the most beautiful thing I ever saw.

He is not addicted to sex or drink.

He has peace and ease and knows how to think.

He’s addicted to nothing. He will play

His flute quietly a few minutes a day.

He has no desires and this is good.

But one thing is never understood:

Even as he glories in being naive:

He wants the rest to believe.

He’s addicted to talk. He has to share.

As soon as he speaks, we don’t care.

As soon as he whispers, “Do you know what I think?”

I roll my eyes. I reach for a drink.

If he were silent when he looked at me

My thoughts would drown and I would be free.

 

 

 

 

I HEAR THESE SOUNDS WHEN THESE SOUNDS STOP

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I hear these sounds when these sounds stop.

When the shouting ends I hear these soft voices drop.

When you begin to love and no longer pretend,

All doubts in the woods and mountains will end.

The hawk will keep deadly silence above.

Let her. As long as you love.

That is crazy that you went that far!

I’m lazy. I listen for the car.

When the cats stop coming around

My cat will drop from the tree to the ground.

When Cynthia says she can come by,

All sounds will cease. Even my sigh.

ODE TO A THING

Image result for lamplight in a beautiful house

Houses are comfortable and comforting.

Things have their uses,

But I love her because she looks like a witch.

I look forward to her abuses.

People are cruelly physical

And not theoretical at all.

She loved me for my blue eyes and because I was tall.

She loved me because I cleaned my teeth and cut my hair.

If you are beautiful, or walk with a limp, people will stare.

The human is physical more than any other thing.

Theory cannot punish. Theory cannot sing.

Houses are comforting; objects are more human than human.

We want silent pictures in our room.

We want artistic lamplight in the gloom.

We don’t want the human.

We want a good bed to sleep in.

In that good bed, we dream,

And maybe there’s a kind face in a stream.

But people outside of dreams are physical, and that’s all they are.

Do you remember when the eye looked at a distant star?

 

YOU BETTER GIVE THAT TO ME

Image result for rabbit in renaissance painting

You have been working hard and making money
And the rabbits are running in your flowers
As dandelions droop here and there and the hours
Fall as they always fall when shadows cover the hill
And the sun bathes the hill, by turns, cloudy and blue,
And night settles down, with dwindling sunlight and moonlight, too.
Always making it, with your thoughts of me,
To where I am, and me kissing you, finally,
And you indifferent, as the women always are,
Unless the big act of the porn star.
Hey it’s about time we agree.
You better give that to me.

You have been aging, and trying hard not to age,
Putting in new plants, the basil and the sage,
The things you are able to do, always ready to do;
Sometimes with tree trunks it’s difficult to tell false from true.
The soil is ready, and you are purposeful, not quite soiled,
Trying to keep your health and another cookie, or two,
Leaving the fermenting alone, so it doesn’t get spoiled.
It’s impossible to know what women really are.
Children are the best. But they only take you so far.
Of course. It was expected. We couldn’t agree.
You better give that to me.

The far-flung hasn’t made it here yet, but it will,
They are working on something new,
Hear the sounds of the workers on the other side of the hill?
The rabbits are coming out more in the evenings.
Look at them sitting there, with those eyes.
It makes you want to renounce the human race, sometimes,
The innocence and plainness of these animals.
And all the poems heaped up and not rhyming.
It’s not my business, really, to ask who you are.
A little can be found out. A telescope. A star.
I’ll be peering into the night. Maybe we’ll agree.
You better give that to me.

 

 

THE SHADE

Image result for dark green abstract painting

This towering tree creates a thick, deep shade

So one thinks gloom is a thing God made.

Underneath this gargantuan tree

Cool spring days fade quietly

Where lilacs and ferns sit around

A small stream making a small sound.

We talk upon outdoor furniture here

In the middle of the year,

Until the day’s shade turns into night.

We go indoors and have a little food,

And rest under music to remain in a good mood.

Before we sleep, I kiss her face

And the poem vanishes, without a trace.

TO OUR TRYST

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To our tryst be quick,

For you seem to be in love,

And I am love-sick.

To our tryst don’t be slow,

You sense already

What I don’t know.

To our tryst be fast,

You seem to understand

Trysts won’t last.

To our tryst hurry please,

I’m already waiting

Upon my knees.

To our tryst run,

For being there

Will be more fun.

To our tryst the night

Plans to come,

If that’s alright.

To our tryst the sun

Will keep his tryst,

When we are done.

To our tryst give

All we can give,

So we can live.

To our tryst don’t delay

And then hurrying love

At last can stay.

 

 

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