dreams

i dreamt last night
in a cloud
of mildew bed sheets
wrapped warm
as baked apples
with cinnamon seeping
and sticking like glue
to my skin

i dreamt last night
in a seine
of inspirations
stretching towards
heavenly ascent
i dreamt words

not answers

just sheets of papers
streaming from my ears

i woke
this morning
to nightmares

7/14/80

Words

How does one live in
a world of loathsome words?

“Punch him in the face.”
We can’t disagree with grace?

“She has blood coming out of her whatever.”
Grandmothers eyes roll what? Never!

“I moved on her like a bitch.”
Behavior of the rich?

“Grab them by the pussy.”
So kitty cats aren’t fussy?

“Islam is a cancer.”
Medical disaster?

“Gay rights have made us dumber,
time to get back in the closet.”
Oscar Wilde and Alan Turing –
Intelligence – do you doubt it?

“HBCUs as pioneers for school choice.”
And is cotton picking a stroke of luck?

“The slave as immigrant“
well glory be!
Oh, that middle passage –
surrounded by salt and sea!

“Civilization can’t be restored
with someone else’s babies.”
Seems some folks are itching
for Jim Crow to return from Hades.

There is no poetry here.
The poet has been bleached dry
eczema flakes drift into the wind-
breeze into gutters and drains.

Spiders don’t fly –
I find they traipse,
they crawl.
They act sanctimonious,
they bite they bleed they kill.
The relentless ego sees
only himself.
Oh wastrel, oh wastrel,
what hell on earth you weave!

So I ask again
how to live with loathsome words –

Have a dream.
Be a Berliner.
Dedicate yourself to equality.
And after great pain
perhaps that formal feeling will come.

Money may swear
and cruelty is a human lot.
But words that matter live
and all the rest is naught.

3/2017 [with a nod to Whitman, Shakespeare, King, Kennedy, Lincoln, Dickinson, Dylan and Blake]

Don’t talk when not spoken to

A rocket is lifted off the ground,
gazing faces astounded
at the booming sound
which roars and roars and roars.

Pounding, pounding from the start
the beat comes through as part
of that deadbeat cart
rolling on and on and on.

You should do this – you should do that
do not wander near a lone black cat
leave the mouse and rat
alone because they aren’t real.

Whatever you do best follow me
straight up the money tree
away from bad things and you’ll see
I am always and forever right.

Buying this and buying that,
the top ten off the album list,
hot commodities never miss
not comfort but conformity.

To do and be the latest thing,
head off on a super binge,
it’s time I start questioning
the idea that I belong here.

 

1980s

Beloved

My life these days is lived
in the fog of a visit to mom.
We sit at lunch, lost in 90 years of forgetting.
I caress her with sweet nothings to bring a smile
that I can lose myself in.
I want to lose myself in this forgetting.
To remember is to think of death
which seeks us in so many ways.

These weather blues beset me, on this day,
the twenty-second of February
anno twenty seventeen.
Sandhill cranes and grackles were seen.
Redwing blackbirds squawked at me.
And the tundra swans swept in for the night.
Tarmac does not shine, gravel flies,
and nothing human-made breathes.
The birds are speaking to us I believe.
And the frogs croak with snakes that are waking up.
Go back, and sleep, I want to scream,
but think instead – perhaps the cold snap will not come.
And buds will bloom instead.
But will the water then be dry? The lake levels lower yet?
Nothing weathers well these days. All confused
and still-

The oil that lubricates the capitol’s dome
has a voice that isn’t dim. Its’ shiny lucre rubs the pulse-
which moneygrubber will be the king of the hill?
That biological imperative equals biological death-
Of crane, of blackbird, of frog,
perhaps peace on earth will finally exist at last.
All it takes is the death of life.

These oil blues equal water blues,
whiteout that broken treaty yet again.
Water protectors – the incomparable
losing yet again.
Listen to them, listen without ears and
with the justice of your heart.
No-we hear them not.

So we roll on down to Rome
in an American auto machine.
Braking not in time of course,
a collision written in stone of what has passed-
but not been remembered,
repeating our ancestors’ sins.
I sit with my mother in forgetfulness-
her mind lives in a fog.
I know that fugue surrounds me,
letting what’s right shadow what’s wrong.

2/2017