Monthly Archives: February 2013

To Be Two

She hides beneath the covers

as though they could protect her

from the monsters under her bed.

Luckily she’s two

and too young to know

that these monsters

will find you

one way or another.

When you’re two

anything is possible

except this capacity to express this

wonderlust coupled with this naivety

that the universe could keep up with the creativity

of a two year old.

There is a genius in childhood

that we’ll never remember

no matter how hard we try to practice

the gift of innocence

is always taken back from us

and we spend the rest of our lives thinking we’ve sinned

when

really

we just learned the lesson

that some lessons are best left unlearned.

The Weight of Light

I understand your moody seasons.

I know why you have to be yourself, why sometimes it’s gray.

Night, I know intimately,

we’ve shared countless cups of coffee.

Colors are all chameleons,

not even light is constant,

dying out all day long,

gasping for breath, choking on shadows.

This white shirt under black light

shines the truth between reality and illusion.

Or, how the light of an entire universe can be

snuffed out in the glow of a single streetlight.

Still, you rise like Hope itself every morning

to prove you have not given up on this world below.

Taking a Tape Measure to the Horizon

How we define ish defines us

you say eightish

I say great

I arrive eightish

you say I’m late

I say eight thirtyish is eightish

you say you can’t fake fate

I say what’s fate got to do with timeish

you say it’s time I learned how it feels to wait

and now every time the phone rings I hope it’s youish

and it’s not and I know I always go for fate’s bait

for it was fate to tempt time to be hooked like a fish

onto these lines cast deep into this sea

measuring the ocean in a cup that can’t contain the vish

and we think we can delineate infinity

or, at least, infinityish.

New Haiku Deja Vu

Left without a stain

the past drank itself away

empty spirits glass.

****

Drunk men fall softer

from their galloping horse

than the sober man.

****

The ocean takes sips

of sand from the rock face and

slowly drinks the cliff.

****

Writers always write

like a painter has to paint

and you always use.

****

Lost between the sheets

a grammar never spoken

in lovers’ silence.

****

Any empty room

has so much more potential

than my furniture.

****

What’s left at day’s end

a drink, a smoke, and a sigh

an ashtray of words.

****

Drool on my pillow

the placenta of a dream

wets the afterlife.

****

Hands of man made time

we chose to spin this clockwise

heads chasing our tails.

****

Tao is not the Tao

now is not now now or now

now never was now.

****

Light By Night

We all share the stars

isn’t it amazing to think

all the richest, poorest, most desperately hopelessly lost traveler

share heavenly bodies

those same stars that lead Columbus across the Atlantic

though he was itching for India

got him lost to get me found here

lost in the night writing about the man who introduced my mother to my father 5oo years ago

and didn’t even know how much he saw when he saw that the horizon frowned at its edges

we all share these stars

though history has been written and rewritten a thousands times over

those supernovas dance over us

whether we know how to read them or not

to some they’re no more than lost light

to others they find sight

and still to others they paint patterns called constellations upon the heavens

a puzzle waiting to be solved

the Sudoku of the skies

we all share the stars

like newspapers left on subway seats

all night long to be read and reread by a dozen set of eyes

all reading the news differently

a Jew grinds his teeth for his homeland

a Palestinian runs his tongue across his teeth for his

we all share the stars

but only one guy got to finish the Sudoku.

Email Killed My Pen Pal

When I was a kid

I had a pen pal

Bobby Vess

he lived in Tuscaloosa Alabama

and we’d send each other letters

and when his letter arrived

it was always one of the great thrills of the month

to hear of life in Tuscaloosa Alabama.

Now in this new Century

kids have access to Facebook, Twitter, Skype, Text Messaging

anything that takes less than a minute seems a waste of time

like the microwave makes food faster

but not healthier

we have turned correspondence into instant popcorn

and we eat and digest the kernels of communication

without tasting the roots of the crop

without appreciation of the hand that planted the seed

and the difference between an email and a hand written letter

is the space between now and infinity.

Sounds Like Haikus

Sound is malleable

if we can speak in music

we don’t need English.

****

Shouts upon the waves

sound louder, carry farther

our liquid voices.

****

Men know from their eyes

women see with their ears

men are deaf and dumb.

****

The sound of your voice

is an entire choir

set free on the breeze.

****

Nothing can rouse me

like the note of your bouquet

where fingers can’t touch.

****

Making Make Believe Believeable

When building a character

their soul is within the soles of their shoes

said the master Stanislavski to his acting students

and to act means

to just stop acting

just find the penny hidden on the stage

don’t pretend to find it

Shakespeare knew we are all actors upon the stage

and we all know Shakespeare’s right

still when we put a camera right in front of us

we take a left at reality

and go right into acting

and all that comes out is photocopied memories

when we enter a room or a stage with an idea of how we’re going to react

we’re faking our own surprise party

“Surprise!”

and you seemed shocked

though you’re not

and the ones who know you best know you’re not

because you knew what was waiting behind the door

all emotions, if honest are involuntary

and that’s what makes great acting great

letting go

and trusting you’ll find light behind the dark door

we did at birth

we trust at death

so what’s to stop us in life?

Only us.

The Face’s Best Before Date

The invention of continents is as brittle as

the invention of time

as twelve o’clock does not feel itself turn into one

cross a bridge in Istanbul

as Europe becomes Asia

we always ask on our birthdays:

“Do you feel any older?”

and we panic at forty and at fifty

but by sixty we’re looking forward to seventy

and by seventy we’re praying for eighty

as our bones grow more fragile

our hearts grow more resolute

as the earth shifts beneath our feet

tectonic eruptions

reinvented Pangea

some time ago

before we sat down and drew horizons on the sky

and divided the day into two halves of twelve hours

six of one and one half dozen of the other

and though time is linear

there is no straight line to the beginning of time before time

cause time is a cloud

nothing something expanding nothing something expanding

nothing defines time more than the lines upon our faces

still with reincarnation

who’s to age the body we now grace?

You Have a Fat Soul

Some people some times

would rather die than tell you their weight.

I worked in Alaska helping tourists on and off helicopters

to tour glaciers

part of my job was to ask people’s weight

cause helicopters are sensitive things

we are truly not supposed to fly like that

so it’s very important to get the right weight distribution to ensure we don’t crash and die

we’d explain this to the tourists before asking them quietly for their weight

and still people would lie

I remember asking this one woman who was 400 pounds easily

she tells me she’s 120 pounds

I ask her again

smiling, reminding her the grave reason it is so important for her to tell us her true weight

“Well, I had just a salad for lunch, so, I’d say I’m about to 120 pounds,” she says.

“Ma’am, if the helicopter is even fifty pounds overweight it is very dangerous. If we are over 300 pounds overweight we are sure to crash and die meaning you will die, your husband will die, your kids will die, and me and Bob the pilot will die, madam, please, it is crucial you be as accurate as possible, how much do you weigh?”

“I told you! 120 pounds!”

Why is it more embarrassing to expose an out of shape body

than an out of shape soul?

Your body is your business until its weight can crush mine own

and you would rather die than admit a secret that most of us can guess at:

you have a weight issue

and the issue is not that you are obese

the issue is that you lie about it putting five other people’s lives at risk

so, I put her down for 400 pounds

trusting my eyes above her words

hoping we could fly above this lie and our world

without crashing so low as to hide our weight

the weight of the world weighs in this woman’s gut

when the physical far outweighs the metaphysical.