LIFE IS UNEQUAL

Image result for sylvia plath

Life is unequal. There are more stars than the moon.

Love comes sweetly too late, or excitedly too soon.

Earth has a greater day when summer warms the night.

He finds joy in the winter. She finds joy in the light.

She—my love—was sexy and aloof,

But I—I wanted proof

Of love, while she could love, and not love.

After love, she sought the mundane,

While loving her, always, made me always, insane.

The madness of love belongs to only one—

He seeks the stairs—she needs the sun.

Up in the darkness, flying around up there,

He looks for her—different, because a little more removed from care.

We can understand the yellow, and say exactly what we mean,

But she frowns and turns away and wants more green.

We can be stable, or we can lose our minds,

We can run to meet the day, or slowly pull down the blinds.

Unequal! I loved without end, but she, only for a time.

She was one of those

Who worried and fretted in prose

While I sang—and died—in rhyme.

Moods are unequal—some rise to genius with wrath

Mixed with love unequally, like poor Sylvia Plath.

Or one travels out, into the cold day

And drowns in the warm rain, like Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Poets will love poets, but they always seem to miss,

Meeting in a strange dream, too strange for the simple kiss.

Shelley sailed outward, in a dangerous boat,

Leaving her within, coughing with a footnote.

One played a trumpet sadly in the shadows, here,

Promoting tears in them—but never for her, a tear.

Some want to love in the spring, and some want to love in the fall.

Some want to love too much, and some, not at all.

The world is unequal. Protesting for equality,

She lost her head to one who lived aesthetically,

Who pointed to the whole face, who quoted Edgar Poe:

Progress is useless. The light is better than what’s below.

I accepted the tragedy of asymmetry—I knew

She would always love me, and I would never have you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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TWENTY FIVE MINUTES

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Twenty five minutes can reverse years—

When you have been dull and good—

And turn them into tears.

Twenty five minutes can wake up joy

That for months slumbered and hid.

In twenty five minutes you can find

Love in the body, a whole affectionate mind.

How and why were those previous minutes untrue?

Look at what twenty five minutes can do.

In twenty five minutes, see what can happen:

The hands, the glance, the eyes,

A word or two at twenty two minutes to one.

Darkness for a thousand years.

For twenty five minutes the sun.

 

 

 

 

BEING RIGHT

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Contradicted by the unseen,

Being right is mean.

Correct, stumbling in the night,

The stupid want most of all to be right.

You are right. This poem is bad.

And I write it because I’m sad.

The hills have green and dappled sun.

I remember when you were the one.

Inspired, I held you near,

And told you I loved you. I was clear.

I love you, as the sun shines on me here.

You are right. And always were.

You are right. And what does that mean?

You are right about me.  And her?

She was wrong. Very wrong. But unseen.

 

 

SAFE WITHIN

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The shape and size of my window keeps changing

By what’s going on outside.

You think safety lies within,

But it’s impossible to hide.

Your window is helpless. It can only see

What they’re thinking about you and me.

Your window can only say,

“How are you? It’s a lovely day.”

But life depends on whether scenery

Crowds your window, or is far away.

A panorama has been fortunate

To do business with this train

With its hills and canals in sun and rain.

The train rumbles in its easy ride.

You watch the views come and go outside.

You know I can’t stop thinking of you.

It’s not us.  It’s them, who cannot believe what we did is true.

 

DESIRE WHICH ACHIEVES ITS DESIRE WILL DIE

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Desire which achieves its desire will die.

Is desire blessed, which fails, and continues to try?

But look how my desire grieves to never capture you.

I fail, wisely; I let desire fail, which all desire must do;

If my desire wins, and you are no longer desired by me,

Love will die. So I let my desire win you in my poetry.

My desire must love this poem, not your desire.

Not you, not you. I cannot put out the fire.

Let me desire the poem which perfectly captures you.

When this poem does at last what desire, dying, must do,

You and I will be immortal, and I will burn as brightly for you

As the sun, which aspires

To burn more nights,

To burn and feed with love, the shady, lesser lights,

Who God, with bright desire desires,

Desire of my love as bright as you and all your bright, and loving, fires.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE LOVING EYE

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There is nothing more loving than the loving eye,

No matter how heavily the blind, or the physically unattractive, sigh.

Beautiful delight

Impregnates my sight

With hues of sculpture moving,

If sight is sex, I am always loving.

It’s true—no lover can be true who has an eye.

Love loves what it sees, and loves the beautiful, truly.

The loving eye loves morally, too,

Seeing the sneer, or the vacant look,

Seeing at a glance when beauty is fake.

The eye has a mind beneath its lake.

I know you will love the cloud or the bee

As much as you love me.

But the loving eye is always knowing

When danger or love is coming or going

By that vast light which ponders the light

Of risk and love and safety in the shadow

Where seeing sees deftly in the night

Where understanding and the shadows go.

Even when we hear—in love, or fear,

We ask, “What am I seeing here?”

The heart has no mind but to beat and die.

We love each other best—as we live—with the eye.

 

FRIENDSHIP IS LOVE

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Social interactions are seldom valued for what they are.

When out of the crowd, a friend is randomly met

We are pleased not for the interaction, but for the friend

And why one is a friend, instead of not, is all there is to friendship;

And this is how the pieces of evolution fit into one.

We look forward to the next interaction whatever it is,

And so friendship is truly love.

But love has intricate demands

Which love hiding in friendship never understands.

When we take the hand of a friend and kiss that hand,

And kissing takes a journey which never stops,

A different interaction occurs,

One belonging to the sea, to the rain, to the green lands

Heaped up around windy mountains, valleys, and lands

And we love the interaction for itself—lost in the kiss,

Just as you forgot what poetry was when reading this.

 

 

 

 

 

THE RULE

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The Web is full of spiders, but I don’t write to spiders.

I write for the honey bees and butterflies.

The bees are busy, and the butterflies won’t sit still.

No one listens to me. But I was told once, you will.

 

The irony for one who hates the majority—

The majority of the minority doesn’t like me,

And the rule applies even when I’m faced with two.

I need a smaller minority. I need you.

 

She once ran to me, and now she runs away.

I think and dream on that happier day,

And fear there will never be a happier tomorrow.

Yet I was happy once. And called it sorrow.

 

 

 

ONCE A STORY IS TOLD

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Once a story is told,

A crazy story not quite believed—everything else takes hold:

The poetry, the love, the belief the story isn’t true,

And all the poets pause before the story because of what it says about you.

Poison, mixed in a jar, will lose its force.

The poison of a story never gets old.

A good story will never stop; every poet wants to ride the horse,

And every poet—no matter how good—falls off;

Poets are not reporters; poets fly too close to the sun,

Poets sing weakly in shadows, die by a criticism, or a cough.

The story tramples poetry; no poet benefited from news, not one.

Actress Gloria Grahame had lots of men—but she couldn’t stay away

From one man—Tony Ray,

The son of her director husband, and later her husband for 14 years,

The son she was caught with when he was thirteen.

One story kills illustrious careers.

Cruelty is everlasting. The knife of cruelty is keen,

But nothing is crueler than a story, though it’s low on our list of fears,

A bunch of words—and who cares what a poem might mean,

Unless a poet can somehow tell a story, too—

Not at all what a poet is supposed to do:

Leave that to the liars and the gossipy scum,

Who paint the shipwreck, but never the beautiful foam

Scattered by the wind, the spray which the setting sun shines through—

The ship which had a note on board, a poem you might call it, a warning, written for you, for you.

 

 

NO ART NOW

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Who wants to be a poet? I can tell you how.

Outside the Cologne Cathedral I sold a bunch of hash

And was able to party hard at Giza.

Most importantly, decide you are a poet,

Say you are a poet, write obscure poems no one understands. That’s how.

I asked Pablo, “why does contemporary art look like trash?”

He smiled. Then she asked, “I could be a poet?

There’s no art now.”

At Angkor Wat I found her hesitating, yet there was nothing

She was supposed to do. By noon I knew there would be a delay.

The whole choir wasn’t feeling well. I could not allow

The truth to get out. The Dome of the Rock was crossed off the list,

Machu Picchu, the Statue of Liberty, and then, my house.

She said, “Could anyone know that I could be a poet?

There’s no art now.”

Stonehenge, Persepolis, those shadows

Loom over every ambition we had.

There wasn’t anything contemporary

About what was backwards, or really considered bad.

There was a fledgling belief we had to cross

The river Yung Pung Kao.

“Cosmetics? Maybe. But

There’s no art now.”

Who would say something bad

About the Taj Mahal?

I got in trouble as a dad

For being too critical. I had

To be a parent. Poetry, no.

Far from the Lotus Temple,

In a bad rain storm, she voiced

Silently the word, “wow.”

 

 

 

THE WEREWOLF HAS NO WHERE TO GO

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When things become too deliciously beautiful, they stop,

As when even the verbose Mozart pauses for what seems an eternity

During passages found in the slow movement of piano concerto number 17.

It is the natural outcome when extremely beautiful music is slow,

The music wants to stop itself so it can listen.

The werewolf disappears when she has no place to go.

Time resumes after love, and we realize life will go on and love will not.

Where was the music during the love?

Music belongs to time, but love does not.

Music exists in time, in itself, and so it never has time for itself.

Music laughs at its predicament and invents new tempos in which to die

But love only becomes offended. Love hates waiting, marching, watching. Love hates time.

Music stops and resumes. When love stops, it does not resume.

Love exists outside of time.

The werewolf disappears when she has no place to go.

I waited for her. She was either absent or slow.

I might as well confess what you already know.

She turned into a werewolf

And allowed me to love her,

But only when she was a werewolf.

Love made her for me a werewolf completely.

I loved her falsely but completely.

The sadism inside her masochism grew,

Fed by my masochism. Her sadism knew

I was not a werewolf; the werewolf grew

Enraged when I pleaded, I want to love all of you!

I was the innocent one who turned

Her into a werewolf and I burned

For her—as a werewolf

And loved her—as a werewolf.

My masochist loved her sadist

And since there is some sadism

In every masochist, I delighted

In the dilemma of our love

In which our sadism and masochism,

Fiendishly intertwined,

Made me delight in her body

And the strange inconsistencies of her mind.

But when the werewolf was away,

I was afraid; I needed her to eat my flesh

And the music to resume.

I spend long nights staring out the window at the beautiful moon.

It is almost as beautiful as music.

 

 

 

 

PRIVATELY

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Privately, I think this, but publicly, I say that.

I hate them equally: the public dog, and the private cat.

I don’t love her publicly, I love her for myself.

I don’t love her for them, I won’t put her on the shelf.

Call off the wedding then, and let me have her alone.

Words will blab to the mob; she is my sweet moan.

I don’t love her privately, for that’s a public of one—

No matter how secret my vow, it will be seen by the sun.

I love her without comparison, without reason or challenge or trial,

I kiss her in a perfumed bed that goes underground for a mile.

Love was in the beginning, so love cannot be taught.

Leave us! Return! to the surface of the earth and thought.

 

 

 

THE GAY MAN HYPNOTIZING THE WOMEN

Just out of college, nothing to say,

But what job, and how far away

And I have something to share

To all of you, but I told Lisa first,

Who first heard about my heartbreak,

And now I’m going to share it with you guys, too.

I spent all day Sunday in bed watching Sex and the City

And really crying. He wasn’t afraid to touch me in public

And he was gentle and also pretty

But I’ve worked hard and deserve to be happy

In my great new job, and if he won’t move, what can I do?

“You’ve learned from this, it only gets better with each new one

You date,” a hopeful one pipes up, the whole conversation

As shallow as a beer commercial, but the women are relaxed

And can be themselves, the shy one quiet if she wants to be,

Because it is shallow and unexamined, life and love are nice this way,

And this is what he does, creating a safe and harmless atmosphere.

Life is too difficult and sad—simple needs are what we listen to and say.

A woman with masculine features who was sad, and now is not confused, but gay.

Only once, the relaxed conversation had to stop.

A tiny puppy oh my God came into the shop.

Oh power over all! oh the long lines to see!

The loving emptiness of purest feelings, eventually.

 

MOTHER, FORGIVE ME

Mother, forgive me, can I see again the last

Miracle in your patient and beautiful past?

Can I have your first decision

Before I grew to face the world’s derision?

Can I have, again, the birth

Before I began to leave this earth?

Mother, can I have the sighs

In wrapped safety before I was rained on by the same skies

Which also rain on you?

Mother, the old proves what everyone knew you could do,

But the gift is always this,

The new, the new, the new.

 

 

BE PREPARED TO NEVER BE LOVED

i courted fairest Nancy, her love I didn’t obtain. Do you think I had a reason or right to complain? —old song

Be prepared to never be loved

By the head too big, by the neck too short,

By the lisp reading the book report.

Be prepared to never be loved

By the numerous crushes you have—

Distracted, overworked, or sad—

Or indifferent, just as you suppose.

Be prepared to never be loved

By the lined forehead, by the pimply nose,

By the combat victim. To never be loved is not so bad.

Be prepared to never be loved

By the dog who only wants a treat,

By the quiet one, whose perfumed desk is very neat.

Be prepared to never be loved

By the one like you—

That’s self-loathing for two.

Be prepared to never be loved

By the different and the strange.

They will always seem just out of range.

Be prepared to never be loved

By your parents who cannot believe

They age, and you leave.

Be prepared to never be loved

By children who cannot conceive

You age, and they leave.

Be prepared to never be loved

By the gentle, law abiding, woman or man.

You’ll find there’s another plan.

Be prepared to never be loved

By the one who writes poetry—

No understanding. Rivalry.

Be prepared to never be loved.

Unless you are in hell

And once they knew you well.

Be prepared to never be loved.

 

 

 

 

SALEM, MA, MAY 9, 2018

Image result for fog in salem ma

Out of a whole pack, I finally find a cigarette that pleases.

It’s the cold fog moving in. The thick, smoke-colored air.

The headlights of a few cars moving down narrow streets are on.

I’m only a few steps from home. How do I have a house? I don’t remember.

The sea is around the corner. A bar, only friendly as it takes your money

Will not be needed this evening.  How long has it seemed

That friendly is not so? I want to think on love and be alone.

The cigarette warms my lungs. My blood, which once succumbed to love,

Feels the warmth, too, a coursing, bodily thinking beneath the skin.

After four drags, a cold wind starts up. Soon I’ll go back in.

The evening darkness is erasing the fog. The cars move delicately and slow.

The blossoms on the trees in front of me look nice, but their time here is brief,

And already they are returning to the flesh of what they were before, or were not,

Or never were, or don’t care to be.  Can blossoms have these thoughts?

Give them to them. This is my poem and it has them, too. I’m sentimental,

Despite the fact—or is it because of the fact—of this cigarette?

Cause and effect, reasons for love, and the love itself, are confused.

Poetry lives exactly here—in the impossibility of knowing cause from effect.

Shelley—and there is no doubt he did—asked, “Can spring be far behind?”

What do the blossoms of spring think when they die in the cold wind?

 

THE PRANK

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The best jokers do not joke.
You and the secret world were one.
You were not in love with me at all.
Whatever you might have thought, you never spoke.
You hurt my feelings when the prank was revealed—
But I loved that I was fooled—I wanted to fall.
I wrote about the beautiful world
As beauty laughed behind my back—yes, you were that girl.
But I loved that I loved—what else is there
Behind the eyes, the veil of the hair?
Love enjoys the occasional private joke,
But this was one, long prank,
And maybe—how could I know?—you loved me, after all?
If there’s no one to love, there’s still someone to thank.
Love? Will? Not even movement exists. We fall.

 

YOUR TEARS

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Your tears are a sign of weakness.

The cruelest today are full of tears.

Sentimentality drips from the towers.

There hasn’t been this much cruelty in years.

This swaggerer who talks a lot, shuts up around me.

We both want you—both know the other can see.

The whole world is unspoken.

When anything is articulated,

It is immediately contradicted,

And dies. All speech is a token—

Actions, too.  Everything hides inside the unspoken.

I know what you are—but couldn’t say,

And you knew I knew. So you went away.

I could plead and protest in this verse,

I could buy you Cleopatra’s barge

With buzzing slaves. The sun burned

Her canopy; Antony, war, and the curse

Of the unspoken was, again, too large.

Since that day, the day has turned.

 

WHEN SUDDENLY I DESPERATELY WANTED

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When suddenly I desperately wanted,

It must have been after wanting

The good I had calmly wanted, to end.

I did not want to want the good, again.

After wanting the good for so long

I began to believe the good was wrong.

I stopped wanting the good. I no longer knew what to do.

Wanting needs to be good—so instead I began to want you,

Because you wanted me—not the good—because I’m not good—but me.

You must have been surprised when I kissed you suddenly.

Why didn’t I want the good this desperately?

When suddenly and desperately I wanted you

You became the good—because you wanted me, too.

The good became living, and could do

Bad things—suddenly and desperately I knew

Love’s the good—the good which hates everything but you.

UNDERSTANDING POETRY

This magazine wants to be on the internet.

This magazine isn’t famous yet.

It’s really proud of itself, this magazine,

But it’s just a whore. It just wants to be seen.

And this poet is a total whore.

They want their horrible poem to be seen some more.

The poem was published. The poet is proud.

At a reading people clapped when it was read out loud.

This poem is ironic blathering

Of a novelist who is lathering

Up readers with feelings we all feel.

But I love this poet, and my poetry is just as bad.

I’m going to get up and read this poem now and make everybody sad.

 

 

 

 

WHERE ALL IS UNCERTAIN

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Where all is uncertain, and nobody knows,

O shimmering lake, where the lake dweller goes.

Around the lake are flowers and weeds

Giving the lake dweller the privacy she needs.

The certainty of what we are, and know,

Cannot be stopped. A glimpse detects the high and low.

You will judge them, you will—out on the street;

You know them, homeless, and writhing at your feet.

It doesn’t matter what the personalities say,

And if these are more intelligent than anyone can say.

You know the high and you know the low

At first glance. You know, you know.

If you feel emotional about things like this

You will never be calm enough to enjoy the kiss.

You will never be able to sink into the pond

Where giant fish in the shadows are found.

If you think you know the rounded lake,

This might be your worst mistake.

The lake doesn’t wait for you, like love.

Go under. Forget those reflections you saw from above.

Come to the cold. To where nothing is known. Go.

Only when you do not know, will there be a chance to know.

Only when you take steps, tenuously, without aid,

Is there a chance for sunshine to come into the shade.

Where does the composer get the storm?

The aching for cool, and the weeping for warm?

The composer half-slumbers, half-works, in calm.

Only distraction can do him harm.

Only the living which is inarticulate is true,

And will let him see what he has to do.

Slowly, in unknown hours, he learned the art,

Which now, calmly, he plays by heart.

Only excitement will end his reign.

Feelings harm. Whether sane or insane.

The lake is not a lake. And nobody knows

The lake, serene, where the lake dweller goes.

 

IT IS NOT THE BAD

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It is not the bad, but the bad which seems to be good,

Which gets you in the end, and chiefly by its seeming;

For soon good which is really bad ruins your judgement completely,

And the bad which turns out to be good doesn’t help, either.

You resent the good since it was good all this time and you didn’t know,

And when you start to resent the good, you lose a sense of taste

For the mundane steps common sense must take, and confusion

Slowly and unconsciously poisons all enthusiasm and joy.

The style ruined the poet, who had much to say, but remained silent,

As the style of the poetry inhibited speech; the artificial naturally the aim,

Which is the great mistake of all artists—to be artistic.

I could see what you were depicting, and that was the problem—

Speech is not seeing, but the poets don’t get this. I have eyes.

But poets, lovers, it is my ears, not my eyes, which need food.

Talk is the secret of poetry and love. Depiction is for the painters.

Our talk will put to shame even the sensuality of three dimensions.

Be conversant with me, for many hours—those hours lit still.

THE LOCAL IS POETICAL

The local is poetical,

Not the distant, or the far flung.

I don’t remember—and who cares—what I did when I was young.

That’s for the mawkish and the fictional to pretend—

The built up beginning for the manufactured end.

As if details from one’s youth

Were truly remembered. Childhood isn’t truth.

Ask the child. Oh you can’t. Tragedy, then? Or spoof?

Humpty Dumpty is daddy’s?  And who fell from the roof?

The local is poetical. No use traveling distant seas

To where “dagger” is called something else, and there’s a different word for “please.”

Someone has already done that, and brought the sultan to his knees.

Tennyson was in love with “far away.”

Cliffs were foggy and many domains were gray.

But the Empire isn’t relevant today.

The local is poetical. I’m writing this to her

Who loves me, and lives a few inlets over,

And if she doesn’t love me—I plan to show her how.

The local is poetical. The poetical is the one I’m in love with now.

 

 

SINCE SPRING IS BACK

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Since spring is back,

Maybe you will think of me,

In your burning lack,

Maybe you will think how ambitious love

Once made you and I

The slippery duck and the misty dove,

When love happened and we didn’t know why.

Each green morning was warm

And for three springs you leaned on my arm.

The weird warm February when it all began

Was as warm as spring, in love’s plan.

You loved gardening because the new,

And also the parting, appealed to you.

This was a metaphor which frightened me—

Attached to you, sad and greedy.

Did I love? Yes. But did I learn?

I wonder if you will burn

As you once burned

For me, even when it was wintry.

But anyone will do.

Life is trillions. It doesn’t have to be you.

Spring has returned.

 

 

IS IT THE BUYING AND SELLING THEN?

Is it the buying and selling, then,

Which creates the gulf between left wing women and right wing men?

The government radio station and the king

Are mighty, and bring a misty calm to everything.

Remember the coddled dreams of the perfect prince?

The left wing woman knows what she wants at once.

No argument in the market place of ideas will sway

The left wing woman. She carefully plans her moral day

Based on the latest acts of compassion, and every expert approves

How she cares for the unlucky and the sick and everyone she loves.

She will make a place for you among her donations

Flowing from good to good; if you understand poor tyrannical nations

Improve each day, and do not disturb her, she will find an afternoon

To give you. Check your calendar. She might have a nervous breakdown soon.

Meanwhile the impious, wearing lots of makeup, quick as a fly,

Hunts for bargains. A strange object, almost sacred, nearly attracts her eye.

 

 

 

 

IS IT THIS WAY NOW?

Is the understandable more true?

Is the desire to boil things down and understand, a need

Which only serves itself? What is the highest creed?

What, exactly, do I want from you?

Is my love real? Or a bundle of envy and hate and doubt

And petulance and desire

Which needs affirmation, when this thing I feel as love, comes out?

Even as it lurks and trembles within, an earthy, watery, airy, fire

Unable to know what it looks like to you—

And you fail to know the storms lurking inside of you, too.

And when we call this bundle of intense feelings, love,

Are we deluded, and would we laugh at ourselves

Observing ourselves as ourselves from above?

Or is this to put too much of an objective burden on the feelings we feel as love?

If we examine the parts of love and separate out the selfish and the confused,

Would we finally say love does not exist—or will love we call love not be so abused?

Do we know love is only a part

Of jealousy or hate, which burns to the ground even the most poetic heart?

And is the effort to understand this

Ugly, and should the philosopher, instead, take off his glasses, and kiss?

Couples, for practical, mundane reasons, exist.

Why did I think it could happen to us—just because we kissed?

Is it really impossible to understand?

Is inquiry criminal? Is science not planning, but planned?

Is all we think we know

Continually fading, but since the torture of living is imperceptible and slow,

We are blessed, as things larger than ourselves musically come and darkly go?

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE GREAT GIFT

Image result for ruined castle in renaissance painting

You, who tortured me, grow fat and old,

Imperceptibly; a lovely gift, if the truth be told.

Oh I am bitter, it is true—

But I was so in love with you.

Why shouldn’t love be satisfied,

Which still would love, if love hadn’t died?

Why shouldn’t love be able to transform

After the cruel and hateful storm

Of recriminations? It is not love which is to blame.

If you hadn’t stopped loving me, I would be loving you the same.

I grant it might be my fault, that you went away;

You never told me why—who knows what came into your head one day?

When we took our walks beneath the sun,

Maybe you thought of clouds, or thought of a different one,

And under that skinny tree, when I kissed you twice,

Maybe you thought on a fat hill a single kiss would have been far more nice.

When I discussed an idea, a movie, or a song,

A humming bird, a bumble bee, maybe you thought I had discussed it wrong.

When I read you a gentle poem and let out a sigh,

Maybe you resented a gentle poem, then, and preferred I had looked you sweetly in the eye

And held you, and brought you low

With an animal embrace—or maybe that’s not what you wanted, I don’t know.

Your moods changed fast;

In the middle of a kiss, your desire to kiss hid in a mysterious past;

And when I talked incessantly, hopefully, philosophically, respectfully,

You would cry out, “I had wanted you to kiss me!”

This was all my fault, perhaps, I know.

But love saw you arrive. And love will see you go.

Love is the cause of all—if love sees you lose your looks,

Let love have that small joy; love deserves to be happy, says history, and the history books.

If history ages, anyway, then why shouldn’t helpless love be somewhat glad

As you—who left me—turn ugly and fat and sad?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IT’S STRANGE TO THINK THAT WE ARE TAUGHT

Image result for singer showing emotion

It’s strange to think that we are taught

Thinking is hidden from view,

Unlike visible feelings. But even your own feelings are hidden from you—

And nothing can hide the mathematical steps of thought.

Two plus two cannot hide four. Four is two plus two.

All thought belongs to steps which are discrete

And inescapable. Thought cannot be hidden. We think we can defeat

Conclusions we don’t like with emotions—which hide emotions.

Emotions can convince us two by two is not four.

Emotions hide. You did not hate me anymore

When love, a safer emotion, broke through.

Anger, you said, first made you realize you had feelings for me—

And when my friendship made your anger disappear, I fell in love with you.

Or, I thought I was in love. I let myself feel it was so.

The cessation of anger was as close as you ever came to love.

I did not need anger to teach me what to know.

You hurt me, as my love hid troubled feelings about you I had.

Your anger found love; that was strange—in the end my anger greeted what I found out was bad.

 

LOVE IS WHEN

Related image

Love is when want eclipses need.

Look my cats position themselves around the dish to feed—

Much fighting occurs. We need to be fed.

We don’t need to take the prettiest person to bed.

All the cats will eat, though the bold may get to the bowl first.

Say what you will about love, not eating is far worse.

I am not food. You will not eat me.

If you love me, I return, completely.

I will always be here, making other choices

Look bad. The harmonizing voices

Of a choir surpass need and want;

They sing of me, the beautiful,

Which you don’t need, but oh you want.

 

 

 

I ALWAYS WANT TO BE WITH SOMEBODY ELSE

I always want to be with somebody else.

Imagine then, my shock and surprise,

When somebody else was you,

Your face, your smile, your eyes,

Your body, your breathing, just you,

Which was unusual, and you made me happy, too.

From early on, I was like this—

The prettiest, unreachable, introvert is the one I wanted to kiss—

Blame my artistic nature; I judged with my eye—

I loved the pretty who silently walked by.

And conversation with friends had to be about love

Or art, or the philosophy of desire for the highest things above.

But there were terrible drawbacks. I was nothing special.

I was healthy, but I was not beautiful, to love those who were beautiful,

And I understood that being like I was, was close to being a jerk.

A snob with a wandering eye,

Yet ordinary and shy.

How, I thought, could I make that work?

I chose aesthetics. Or, aesthetics chose me.

I understood that, too.

I didn’t blame myself for who I was, I knew

I was fated to be an artist, and to long

For unreachable beauty—I knew this wasn’t easy, but I knew it wasn’t wrong.

So I always wanted to be with somebody else,

And felt uneasy socially

And pursued poetry madly and sadly, willingly and chillingly,

Cold in my hot pursuit

For what was coldly beautiful—burning in ice—oh, wasn’t I astute?

I longed for the beautiful, and at times came close to the cute,

But life was not easy, because life was not enough,

And my life was a dream, because I was guided by ideals,

And it was a miracle I survived; I worked, I loved, I ate meals.

I won’t bother you with the details of my bookstore life,

My urban dreams and pleasures, children, wife.

I always wanted to be with somebody else,

Until you—but you were a punishment, the somebody else who finally came,

Because you left me, and broke my heart, so you were more of the same—

But you revealed to me who that somebody else was: it was me.

I was the one I wanted—pursuing artistic fame.

 

 

 

 

 

 

HYPNOSIS

Hypnosis is far more common than we suppose.

Who understands what is good for them? All are led by the nose.

The secrect techniques the seductive masters keep

Are tricks of no purpose. Everyone’s drunk or asleep.

Poetry is failed hypnosis. We like when we see

Speech that cannot seduce; speech that can only be.

The poets are boring, since they don’t hypnotize.

But that’s the point. The poem says, look, when I look into your eyes

You might be awake. You might be asleep.

No seduction will occur, superficial, or deep.

Implanted commands will make you think

Not that you are thirsty; only that wine is a beautiful drink.

Poetry’s favorite theme (after love) is intoxication

Which you don’t need, and if the ups and downs of fractionation

Are used, the poet has no intention of seducing you—

When I tell you quietly about my tragedy,

And then you; and me, again; then tell me what makes you happy?

The worst hypnosis is mass hypnosis and poetry avoids that, too.

Emotional openness can get you over any hump.

Everyone who voted for Hillary will sue everyone who voted for Trump.

You’re not crazy. Not like them. Maybe you’re asleep.

A poet’s indifferent. If not, he’s a creep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOTES ON A POEM WHICH ARE BELIEVED TO BE A PAINTING

My mind is sick, and these poems and rhymes

Are symptoms—of journeys through Keatsian climes

And hills, haunted, worthy of Poe—

That no one needs to read or know.

I should be on the phone with friends

Rather than traveling this landscape which never ends.

Give respect to art, and yet we can tell

These painted figures can’t talk, and their artist isn’t doing well.

People go to the hospital to visit the sick

And suffer from love which murders the will

And suffer because of some stupid prick.

Sure, poets charm—the way we are sometimes charmed by the ill,

Or the very young, and the song

Is beautiful, of course it is beautiful,

Yet we know secretly something is wrong.

All respect to art, but these poems are bad;

Smile at the patient; tell him his poems make you glad,

Because of course they do.

You think: if this is art, your life hasn’t been that bad to you.

 

A MODERN POEM

Image result for pond and tree in renaissance painting

Your cute little dog gets more attention than you.

Cute is mathematical. But how it affects me, I haven’t a clue.

Our response to cute is hardwired.

The warmth of a body might be desired,

But the ratio of cuteness is a mystery.

Why do I love you? It’s uncanny.

If science and measurement could tell

Why I love you, would I love you this well?

With deepest feeling, I respond

To your face; a frog jumps into a pond,

A child bends down to pet a dog;

Yet why this pond? Any pond will do.

A thousand dogs bark and yelp.

But you—only you hurt me. And there isn’t any help,

And I don’t think there is meant to be.

It’s crazy—-as if poems using “thee,”

Old romantic poems by those now dead,

Afflicted my youth—but deep in my heart, I love “you” instead,

Though, in truth, it is a love for “thee,”

In the fantastic dreams of my poetry.

There are no cute dogs there.

You wear a white dress. You care.

You care, and love me beneath a tree,

And you cry. I cry. Oh God, I cry. I cry—for thee.

 

 

 

 

 

SINCE LIFE

Image result for green swamp in painting

Since life is theater, and love is defined as actors expressing love,

I move in cautious secrecy for the sake of my love.

Since my humble love will be mocked as too serious,

And become food for the humorous,

Should my humility ever become known,

I walk in the shadows, humbly, secretly, and alone.

I have seen actors naked on screen and stage,

Marching to love’s music, aching and graphic,

Cleopatra, Romeo, or a shy porn star, dying in a cage,

Or free to walk among us, the healthy, the dying, the sick,

In schools and conferences, the professional setting,

The rich, the poor, lousy poets, having creepy affairs,

The touristy street, the apartment building missing lights,

Climbing, drunk, the seedy last bit of stairs.

Introvert! Don’t obsess on the extrovert’s laughing and forgetting.

I’ve been there; I’ve hurried to fly in the middle of the morning,

Flown all night, arrived in the next incomplete middle of the night, without warning.

Since you put our love in your poetry, I walked away,

So that I could wake up in the morning to a plain day

Dropping into the lake of nature; the tiny, vivid frogs

Calling back and forth a green comfort to me

In a quiet, final reminder of nature, no drama, or poetry,

Just green; green lakes, green streams flowing into green bogs.

All seek comfort: half-sacred, purely profane,

Love in various best sellers and guises, difficult, insane;

The more we write or talk about it, the worse it gets.

The public proclaims news, principles, God, the New York Mets.

I reject every advantage, comparison, thought, weight,

In my frail solitude. Call it loneliness, love, indifference, hate.

I’m sorry I didn’t talk to you, or let you know.

It’s my fault. I know this better than anyone. Please go.

I’m doing a little thinking. I’m thinking how

I can express how much I love you. I may.  But not now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHO SEDUCED YOU?

Image result for paintings raphael

Who seduced you? The lean wolf, who warned you the fat wolf

Would say to you, “Defy instruction, for pleasure is enough?”

Who seduced you? The philosopher? Did you call his bluff:

“Scholars say, read a poem for learning! But learning’s a curse.

The end of life is happiness, but scholars teach the reverse.”

Who seduced you? Was it wine, which poured over you: “Pleasure

Is here; thought stops, delays and toils for measure?

Why dig for a hundred days? A moment holds a treasure?”

Who seduced you? Your own beauty? Which quickly you used,

Cynically, in fake pleasure, to make someone else confused?

Who seduced you? The riot of the hungry world,

Which made you love the dull quiet of the world?

Who seduced you? The director of the actor in the film which made you cry?

The soldier, who never watches films, who said, “today, I die?”

Who seduced you?  Christ, who said, “The sweet, soft lamb

Will save you from the reasoning of a sly and tedious man?

Who seduced you? The sacred, sacred tradition of the sacred, sacred cow?

This poem?—Me?—Or your mother, who said, “eat your meat now?”

 

GIVE ME WHAT I WANT

Image result for aphrodite in renaissance painting

Give me what I want. There is enough

For me. I want to simply love.

But all of us are puritans. We deny

The one who wants to simply love.

Is there such a pitiful supply

Of lovers? Who need love? Why?

And tell me, why did I

Love the unlettered Alpha,

And make the lettered Omega cry?

Omega loved, and wrote

Poems, weeping over a quickly written love note.

God! Every Alpha epistle was pissy,

In brief emails she rebuked me,

Meanly and selfishly.

Selfish Alpha was the world to me,

Because the world doesn’t give

To the world what the world wants. Wanting is how we live.

Alpha had it all: youth, beauty; she didn’t need

The love which those who want love need.

But that was OK. She gave me what I wanted.

Her body was a passive house I haunted

With my desire. Oh my desire

Had nothing to do but burn.

And her house never caught on fire.

But Alpha, as all eventually do,

Came to puritanism, too.

These old trees have seen it all.

Love in the spring, grief in the fall.

What is it the poets need to say?

What we want we can’t have right away.

Alpha turned proud and strove to write.

Her ink became my darkest night.

Give me what I want. And I will give to you

What Omega the poet wishes for too.

 

 

 

 

 

GENDER

The man is the poet, the woman is the poem.

Men and women do not quite meet, like the earth and the moon.

The man is the telescope and the woman is the moon,

An orb circling, half-dark, and alone.

The woman wants the intangible, the man just wants sex.

The woman wants to run, the man wants his ex.

The man is never what the woman expects.

The man is the poet, the woman is the moon,

Who writes poems, too, to a different moon.

What can you say to the woman, or say to the man,

Which you cannot, but they already can,

In the outdoor restaurant, dusky blossoms for a mile,

In the shades of the earth, arguing for a while?

They cannot hear you, but if they could,

They would live in this poem. Which isn’t very good.

 

 

 

BOREDOM IS SEXY

Image result for getting ready for a date in painting

I want to be with you, completely bored.
Bored is the only way to be with someone you love.

Activities exist for those not in love.
When you are not in love, you plan activities like mad,
You think of songs to play, and perfume to put on,
Hoping songs and perfume will make you fall in love.

You think of food and movies to make you fall in love,
You think of taking off your bra to make you fall in love.
You think of marrying to make you fall in love.
You are madly thinking of being in love because you are not in love.
You are terrified of loving someone you do not love
And smile because you think perhaps this terror will make you fall in love.

Because you try everything to fall in love, even terror and despair,
You do not fall in love.

To fall in love, you planned activities, and hated me
Because it was you, not me,
Who planned the activities.

You hated me because I was bored.
You hated me because I was the one
Who was in love
With one who could not fall in love.

MY LIFE IS FINALLY SAFE FROM SORROW

Image result for ripe fields in painting

My life is finally safe from sorrow.

All my dreams are ripe,

The smoke pours from my philosophical pipe.

The fields will be less ripe tomorrow.

The roads of mud where the cannons were dragged,

To fire on the enemy from the hill

Are dry paths.

The landscape is still.

My debts. What are debts?

Someone else will pay.

Isn’t that what we always meant by one fine day?

I always had what it takes.

A little soil and sun,

Wheat. The grinder grinds and shakes.

My sons and daughters

Have read enough.

That creative stuff,

Despite what I said, has gone by.

My children are filled by other containers.

I gave. They are giving.

I died in them.

Now I’m living,

A small light fading in pastel skies,

Looking for stimulation and song.

Is it ripe? Is it ripe?

The paintings? The golden fields?

Everything is ripe. And still it is wrong.

 

PEOPLE THINK THE WORLD IS GHOSTLY

Image result for lady of the lake in painting

People think the world is ghostly.

It is not ghostly in the least.

People think there are ghosts.

Physical is the beast.

The wealthiest man longs to be tall.

She twists her neck to parallel park.

You want to play, but you’re too small.

She cannot see in the dark.

Inspiration didn’t make her sing.

There is a physical reason for everything.

The physical is so strong

It writes, sings, and condemns the song.

A dress code is a dream of law.

The handsomest soldier you ever saw

Wore the blue and then the gray

After speeches, and dinner’s delay.

This poem will mock what you heard

Because it’s rhythmically absurd.

There isn’t a ghost

Who will not admit it loves me and air and touch and this poem the most.

 

 

STILL SOFTER

Image result for kissing in renaissance painting

I

Still softer. Your kiss will kill me.

Don’t send me out into the murdering cold.

Still softer. Don’t let this love grow old,

Which now breathes too fast,

Which pursues pleasure too quickly,

So neither the walls, nor the air between, will last.

Wanting makes wanting end.

Your love burns me. Be my friend.

Still softer. Be deliberate with every kiss,

So every pause saddens what every pause will miss.

Thought turns back and repeats a thought from the past

When love is desperate. Love can have no now—

Unless we know how only a soft kiss knows how

One long kiss will never know

There are others. You’ve killed me. I must go.

II

Prevent my erotica. I want to think, instead,

Of the sweetest melody, sweetly falling dead.

The uncompromising shadow surrounds your head

And frames, as in high art, your cheekbones,

Leaving half the forehead and your eyes

Beautiful and sad; too sad for truth, and all truth implies,

The rest of you in darkness. You are not what this owns,

You are the faint scents and musical tones

Falling by your feet, unseen—half-sights, half-sounds, half-sighs;

From the whole mystery, a partial mystery you took;

Your eyes open, too sad for truth; and closed, too sad for lies.

Prevent my erotica. I look

For an hour into your face. Never read another book.

What if another sun burns the low, burning, skies,

A sundown wrapped in pink and fiery sighs,

And this alternate, hungry for grey?

Your sunny eyes.

III

This disgusts me:

Come trembling into my fuck.

I like to say the word, “fuck,”

Because fucking is what I like to do.

After I am tired from fucking her,

Can I say the word “fuck” to you?

I would rather this were out of the way.

To heaven. And let Leda in the arms of Zeus play,

As a swan; the myth of a glad white swan

Was the grey one trying the bright one on.

I will be cogent and fraught. I will sing of God.

I sinned, spoke, repented, felt better. Is that odd?

Is a carnation a religion?  Is a rose religion only a clod?

IV

Moan against me, so that your smile

Will be more memorable after a while.

Or take your smile and put it away

While heavy erotica calls to us all day

In the groan of love and touch.

After I love you, in a way even love will say is too much,

Your smile can come out, please! after a brief time—

Love brief, compared to the sun,

Making its fiery, lengthy run—

The sun that feeds forever on sunny streams

Will place itself on furniture and climb.

V

I remember the direction of that religion

Telling me I was more,

Because I was humble and small—

To love, to fit in, is what I was for.

I remember that Greek religion.

I remember almost all.

I don’t remember the wishes,

The desires, the talk, so much.

I remember your body

And the sweet touch.

I went into the temple

And never came out.

All the scents of heaven?

When the heaven came about?

When the heaven, yellow,

Came next to me, with its eyes?

You dissolved, didn’t you?

Into the sweetest sighs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TO THOSE WHO TAKE MY POETRY SERIOUSLY

Image result for streams in the sun

To those who take my poetry seriously,

Don’t.  Unity is the soul

Of poetry. Unity is just out of reach

Of life’s incomplete, enduring reality

Of accidents, memories and slurred speech—

A poem is a part, that for a moment,

Is greater than the whole,

And because it is a moment, dies In a beautiful way.

A life just cannot be neat and tidy that way.

Should I think, for a moment, that my poem is life,

And you must take it seriously, I fail

At everything—the two opposites, poetry and life,

Must live apart—the head never knows its tail,

The body never knows the soul;

You taking this seriously is a part

Which never knows the whole.

Poetry and life will always be at odds,

Life, the clamor of friends and foes

Who change places; life comes and goes.

Poetry is consistent behavior by lovely gods.

They splash, their limbs always near,

Bathing in summer streams moving not,

The very movement of the air—the silent parts of the intricate plot—

Is never moving.

Choose. A love poem. Or me. Who tried to be loving.              

SHE INVADED IRAQ

Image result for winfield scott in mexico General Santa Ana faces off with General Winfield Scott—Diego Rivera

“I really entertain greater hopes, that America will not finally disappoint the expectations of her Friends” —Washington to Lafayette, letter, 1789

I

Of course when we discuss politics,

There’s no other way to do it

Than to seek compromise.

To point the finger of blame In a simplistic, across the board, manner,

Or in a scientific, true-or-false, manner, Is pointless.

Meeting in the middle IS politics.

II

When you hear people scream, “facts,”

It’s already hopeless.

Those howling for “facts”

Want politics to be a science.

But it’s not. It’s a matter of the heart.

III

Socialists think capitalism is evil,

And capitalists think socialism is evil,

In a factual, scientific, manner, on both sides.

The facts of the argument don’t matter;

There are too many of them.

Only the division matters.

IV

Socialism v. Capitalism is a big diversion.

What matters is you love your country,

And don’t trust globalists, who have no country,

Who will take your country and rob your country

And bring thugs as saviors into your country.

V

It really comes down to this.

Behave as if there is a future heaven.

A future heaven is not a fact.

A future heaven is a lie, but it’s a great lie,

Because it makes people behave honorably and selflessly.

VI

But you always have the people who whisper, “sucker!

There’s no future heaven!

Get pleasure while you can!

Get it now! Don’t be a sucker!”

VII

The world is divided between good, hardworking people

Who are suckers, and smart criminals, who are not suckers,

And know how to make you feel like a sucker.

They know how to promote jealousy, and make you feel

You are missing out on pleasure, and the grass is greener somewhere.

Sometimes these criminals are

Left, and sometimes they are Right.

They wear whatever mask at a certain time which that time requires.

VIII

So the socialists say, “Leave the church and have some fun!”

The capitalists say, “Leave your labor and have some fun!”

“Don’t be a sucker!!”

IX

Whoever has convinced themselves

There is a future heaven, is a good soul.

Whoever thinks the future is hell, is a suicidal soul,

And gives into the hateful politics of “Don’t be a sucker!”

X

Dissembling takes many forms, but it boils down to:

Either, “Don’t work hard. Come write poetry and have sex!”

Or, “Poets are crazy! Make money and have sex!”

And that, in a nutshell, is Left vs. Right, all over the world.

But there’s a third group—they don’t trust the poet or the businessman.

They don’t trust the siren call of the world.

They believe in a future heaven.

They’re not into immediate and momentary pleasure.

XI

Politics is compromise between these three groups.

Rarely do these three groups get along.

It is heaven when they do.

XI

They say when Winfield Scott invaded Mexico, he was kind.

She invaded Iraq. But we didn’t mind.

TOTALLY SEXY IS NOT LOVE

Image result for frogs in painting

Totally sexy is not love.

This is why your lover isn’t nice.

She has urges. She doesn’t want advice.

She doesn’t need excuses. She needs

Fat frog legs eaten whole in the weeds.

Love is just a word to her. She hates

Waiting. She’s not waiting. She waits

For three, two, one and she’s gone

And you running after her turns her on.

Now adore what she really hates.

Herself. And then she hates you, too.

Totally sexy has undressed and murdered you.

Hatred fed sex with its specialized needs.

Where is beautiful now? Oh somewhere in the weeds.

 

 

NEVER TELL YOUR LOVER

Never tell your lover she is stupid.

But don’t tell her she is smart.

Let her figure it out.

Don’t brag. Then she’ll nag.

Make your mind a vast, neutral, space she can fill with her heart.

If you want her to care,

When you go here, or there,

Don’t tell her where.

Let her decide who you are

By your calm, understated, demeanor. Let news come from afar

That you might tell her something soon

About a certain feeling you had, earlier, under the misty moon.

Always meet her at fifteen minutes to six, never at six on the dot.

Don’t allow her to love what you are—

She never will. Let her try and love what you could be tomorrow, but are not.

She is kind. She may fall in love with someone weaker than you,

Someone incapable of sex.

In this case, there is nothing you can do.

Love, when it turns kind, will always perplex.

Ah romance. This is the worst part;

When a loving mind is killed by a more loving heart.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DO NOT WONDER WHY BEAUTY

Image result for dark forest in renaissance painting

Do not wonder why beauty eludes you,

Why beauty hides,

Why everyone is embarrassed by beauty,

And sweetest beauty even the poet derides.

Do not wonder why beauty

Cancels wonder. Beauty is an end

In itself, as you are;

Beauty is not involved with wonder.

The curious, in silence, walk by.

Philosophy can only stare at the beautiful and sigh.

This is why beauty eludes you,

This is why beauty hides,

This is why beauty threw herself

At someone else, and someone else decides.

Someone else is almost satisfied.

Someone else almost wonders not.

But you wonder. Because beauty eludes

You; colors, paintings, nudes.

You belong to a darker, different plot:

A forest at night, with thunder,

War raging, death and sorrow,

And revenge using science to be more savage tomorrow.

Poet! Painfully you wonder!

You write poems every day.

Long live the wonder—

The distant crash of thunder—

Which chases beauty away.

 

SHE HATES TO WAIT

Image result for the moon

She hates to wait.

She has never waited for anything.

When the train arrives,

There she is. Never early. Never late.

When I love her, she hasn’t waited for me.

There I am. Suddenly.

She welcomes me as sweetly

As a love which has waited for years.

When she finishes, there is a smile. No tears.

I tell her I have been watching her,

And falling in love, for weeks.

“How observant!” she says.

She smiles when she speaks.

One day, the train is late,

And she sees she will have to wait.

“It won’t be bad! You can wait with me!”

But without speaking, she returns through the gate,

And slowly walks away,

Disappearing like the moon, fading in the brightening day.

 

 

IF YOU DO THE CALCULATIONS

Image result for RENOIR

If you do the calculations,
The most successful movie ever claims but one percent of a nation’s day,
Then less, as time gradually intercedes.
If there is a living fame,
It has nothing to do with the living, or their needs.
Fame is a song fame presses, but doesn’t know how to play.
Mutable mother, when naming me, you didn’t think much about my name.
You thought about my hunger.
I haul my name through the living day,
Trying to be good, for the good of fame.
Unnoticed, finding no rest,
Composing what will be famous tomorrow, is best.
The music of the famous is always playing—or not—in someone’s ears,
Until the odd delivery happens, and the music disappears.
The sweetest light is light filtered through the trees.
Attempting to find love in what only a few liked,
Her intellectual torture grew from a simple need to tease.
There is nothing to fame, really.
We merely want pleasure, and to please.

 

MAYBE YOU’RE LIKE ME

Image result for diana in her bath

Maybe you’re like me

When it comes to sexuality,

Maybe you can look and laugh

At beautiful Diana in her bath,

Walk away, and not feel the need to touch,

Not really loving sex that much,

Seeing it as emotional and social

In a very complex way.

I saw a very beautiful woman today.

I was married to her in my mind

In a second. After five seconds, she turned unkind.

We were fighting before I even knew

She was gone. Or that I’m in love with you.

 

ALLOW THE POET TO GO OUT THERE

Image result for the lonely walker in painting

It is best for you to be true, and practical,

Even if it means you are dull;

You should work hard and be sensible.

A lot of people depend on you,

And people are generally kind, and work for your benefit, too.

It is easy to understand this—and I do.

But if there is one who ventures, in silence, into gardens,

Who walks beside secluded lakes, or mountains, or fens,

Who dreams of poems in the chilly weather, while animals crouch in their dens,

Who smokes a cigarette, as the end of their fingers freeze,

Who takes pleasure in lonely outdoor walks because their own thoughts please,

Their own words a devotion converted from a life with no real care,

Can we allow one, at least, to go out there?

 

 

 

 

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