Wednesday, June 15, 2005

BEHIND

Behind

Some religions leave you hollow
Some ideas are hard to swallow
But there is one truth you can’t deny
Where your mind goes
Your behind follows

Wishing

Wishing

I wish I was a genius
I truly do
I wish that I was smarter than you
I wish universities would call me and ask me for advice
And inventors would want help with their newest device

Diplomats would ask me to help end a war
Interior designers would want my d├ęcor
I’d design my own fashions
I’d hybridize my own plants
I’d be a philosopher and win genius grants
I’d write a best seller
I’d write a great play
And they’d build a statue in my honor someday

But I’m just a poet
I’m wrinkled and old
If I sit here much longer
I’ll start to grow mold

Inner Singer

My Inner Singer

A fledgling opera singer declared that singing cured his depression.
That putting his passion and deepest emotions into the songs was healing for him.

And that was a truth I used to know
When I was young and sang a lot
I sang in the hammock in my front yard
I sang while walking to school
I sang while gardening in my backyard
I sang in school choruses and church choirs

And my voice was high
So high
Second soprano

I felt it was high time I started singing again
If I still knew how
So I started doing warm-ups
And least the few I remembered from choir long ago
And I did not find the high voice from my youth
But a deeper richer voice
I was just as surprised by that
As I was when I realized
I’d gone from a B cup to a D cup
And there is a big difference between singing along with a song
And knowing the song deep in your bones
So now I have to figure out what songs
My bones want to sing

Angel Island

The Walls of Angel Island

See in your mind the 1900’s in California
See thousands of Chinese immigrants
Coming to the land of opportunity
Coming to the gold rush on mighty ships
And standing between them and America
Is Angel Island
The immigration center
And for many the last stop
And there they are held
For days, for months, for years
And on the walls in Chinese characters
Are poems carved in the wall
Thousands of poems
That speak of disease and mistreatment
And hunger and hopelessness
And missed loved ones still waiting in China
Waiting to come to America
And then to have your journey end
And to have your body sent back to China
Never even getting to dig for gold
Isn’t freedom the real gold?

Unplugged

Unplugged

Why is it so hard to unplug from things?
Why can’t I just turn off the television?
Leave the radio off
Disconnect the phone and the Internet?
So many voices in my head
Other people’s opinions from every direction
Bombarding me
Evoking emotions
The agony of the world parading in front of me
The vanity of celebrities
The follies of the rich and not so rich
I breathe deeply and try to find a calm space
A space where I can be who I am
And that is enough

Great Beauty

Great Beauty

She was a great beauty they said
She had the best rack money could buy
Her acrylic nails were rimmed in gold
She wouldn’t dream of leaving her penthouse without make-up, false eyelashes & the newest fashions
Men bought her cars and furs and cocaine
Her schedule included stops at the tanning salon, the hairdresser and the spa
She had a ring for every finger
White gold and diamonds of course
Each one from a different lover
They found her in an alley with dark circles under her eyes
Her nose collapsed
Her heart stopped
‘Pity, she was a great beauty once’


She was a great beauty they said
Her wizened face looked peaceful even in death
Her husband said her heart mothered the whole neighborhood
She had put eight kids through college
All of them adopted from poor countries
No job was too humble for her
She held three jobs at a time once
And still visited the elderly every Sunday
She said God would rather see her face at the hospice than in church
Even at 70 her husband was hard pressed to keep up with her
Even when she went blind she still insisted he drive her to the hospice and to visit shut-ins
As she lay dying she gathered her children and grandchildren around her
She said to them, “There is still so much work to do. I’m sorry I ran out of time to do it myself. Don’t let me down.”
Her youngest daughter held her hand.
“I hope I am as beautiful as you are someday.”

Six Haikus

Reaper

When he comes calling
Tap tapping on my window
Death in tux and tails


Tres Gatos

Rocky: striped half tail
Black Bob looks like a brawler
Wallop earned his name

Trio

Obsidian grounds
Amethyst clear sight
Emerald heals hearts


Rocky

Rocky is part Manx
He talks to the birds outside
He has half a tail


Wallop

Black with white mittens
The perpetual teen boy
Has a milk mustache

Bob

Fur of black velvet
Robert loves his scratching post
He loves catnip more