Wednesday, September 22, 2010

To Be Continued... Or Not

Erase yourself,
and then...
silence.
   - mce

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Daunting Task

To restart
the clock,
you must
unlearn
and forget
your entire
life.
  - mce

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Pirate To His Lady

Pour me a drink, lover.
My heart is stricken;
my rage is mounting.
I want to feel my blade
slash the throat of the past.
Pour me a drink, lover;
soothe my anger
with your smiles.
  - mce

Requiem

He knew great joy
and embraced it.
He knew dark despair
and accepted it.
What destroyed him
was the roller-coaster ride
of his helpless mind
careening from one
to the other.
  - mce

Sappho: A Lyric Fragment

   ~ Rendered by mce

The pale moon
and the Pleiades
have dissolved.
In the darkest moments
of the still night,
I lie awake,
sleepless and alone.
  - mce

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

No Regrets

Only
the young
and
the dead
have
no regrets.
  - mce

The Meaning Of Suffering

This world
was designed
to make sure
we would
never want
to live in it
twice.
  - mce

Linguistic Certainty

In the language
of love
there is no word
for impossible.

Improbable, yes.
Unlikely, yes.
Uncertain, yes.

Impossible, never.
  - mce

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bad Luck

If I began
selling coffins,
people would
stop dying.
  - mce

Guerrilla Epistemology

Although
running short
of ammunition,
he continues
to skirmish
hopelessly with
the unknowable.
  - mce

Woman Of Power

Wild, witchy wench
whirling naked
beneath a full moon,
conjuring me
inevitably
under your spell.
  - mce

Beyond The Veneer Of Reason

Love remains
inscrutable
as prayer;
not something
you understand,
but something
you do.
   _ mce

Egotism

The belief
that even
the weather report
is about you.
  - mce

Sitting

Make a Zendo
of your hovel;
it doesn't matter
where you park
your lonely ass.
  - mce

Hubris

Four years spent
demanding answers
to questions
that have none.

The desire
to know too much
dangerously
transgresses
the territory
of God.

And the world turns,
regardless.
   - mce

Dietary Question

Obviously,
the human heart
can subsist
on hope alone;
the question is:
for how long?
  - mce

Teetering On The Brink

At some point,
either you evolve
your own
private religion
or you risk
falling off
the edge
of the world.
  - mce

Three Days Without Whiskey

Alcohol provides
a place to hide
in a life where
real hiding places
are far between.
  - mce

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Dream Lovers

Black silk and white wine;
candlelight and incense.

The secret sounds
that only lovers hear:
the throb of heartbeats
in the velvet night,
silky sighs
and throaty gasps.

Come to me, Love.

We will writhe
like two horny angels
fluttering our hearts
like wings in tandem
as our souls float away.
  - mce

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Children

The permanent
scar tissue
left by
a momentary
biological collision.
  - mce

Friday, September 10, 2010

To Do List

Wake up.
Have a drink.
Make coffee.
Smoke some
cigarettes.
Ponder the
vacuum of the
pending day.
Walk out
to face it,
numbness
incarnate.
  - mce

The Futility Of Meeting New People Late In Life

You already
know
they will
abandon you,
betray you,
break your heart
or die.
  - mce

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Two Poems By Hermann Hesse

    - Rendered from the German by mce.

The Days Press Down

The days press down.
No fire to warm;
no sun to laugh.
Only barrenness,
chill and unforgiving.
Even the dear,
crystal stars stare
bleakly down
since my heart
discovered that
love can die.


Evil Time

In the silence
there are no songs to sing.
We tread heavily;
this is the inevitable night.

Give me your hand!
We may still have far to go.
Snow and more snow;
hard winter in a strange country.

Where in time
does a bright fire burn for us?
Give me your hand!
We may still have far to go.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Siren Song

 “The thought of suicide is a powerful solace: by means of it one gets through many a bad night” - Nietzsche

He slept alone,
the nights were long;
suicide
sang its song.

Walking in
the light of day,
its melody
seemed far away,

but in the night
the song rang clear,
tantalizing
in his ear,

promises of
rest and peace,
oblivion
and sweet release.

He slept alone,
the nights were long;
suicide
sang its song.
  - mce

Preemptive Strike

Time is
the enemy;
strike first
or all is lost.
  - mce

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Melancholy Paradox

The one thing
he wanted
in the world,
the one thing
he could
never have.
  - mce

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Terminus

Every rope
has an end;
the question is:
do you hold on
once you've
reached it
or do you
make a noose?
  - mce

Dessert

He tried to concoct
a feast of words
from madness,
misery and despair
until he lost
his appetite
for dark vapors,
and tasteless air.

The last course
must be served;
he only got
what he deserved.
  - mce

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ebb Tide

Ounce
by amber
ounce,
the tide
of life
ebbs.
  - mce

Friday, August 27, 2010

Eye-Opener

Thank you,
Evan Williams,
for another day.
  - mce

Safekeeping

If you
gave me
your heart,
I would
tuck it
into mine
and keep
it safe
and warm
and loved
forever.
  - mce

Physicians Know Nothing Of The Soul

My doctors say
I should
give up whiskey,
but I know
I'd rather
give up breathing.
  - mce

The Virus Verdict

The Prison Of Marriage

For most,
a kind
of voluntary
Death Row:
still breathing,
not living.
  - mce

Families

How sad,
to admit
your love
only after
the funeral.
  - mce

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Weight Of Depression

Swallow a loaded
Exxon supertanker;
settle the
Great Pyramid
of Cheops
on your chest;
balance a 747
on it's pinnacle.

Now try
to take a breath.
  - mce

Morning Run

Nothing graceful about it.
I am no fleet-footed Achilles
circling the lofty walls of Troy.
Just a loping, older man
favoring the ankles I destroyed
playing high school football
that remind me with
each awkward stride,
it isn't 1969 anymore.
  - mce

The Shortest Love Poem Ever Written

Us,
together.
   - mce

Whiskey For Breakfast

When you wake up
to a world of dementia,
it's the sanest way
to start the day.
  - mce

Temp Agency

All the women
in his life,
until her,
came from
the same
temp agency.
  - mce

Futility

He was furious
with a world
that no longer
noticed
he was alive.
  - mce

Suburban Morning

Instead,
of birdsong,
the endless,
grating drone
of idiot
homeowners
cutting their
perfect,
unnecessary
lawns:
mindless
masturbation
by mower.
  - mce

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Anxiety Attack

swirling
     vertiginous
downward
    tumbling
freezing
    firey
gyre

  - mce

Duet

a small red house

two minds dying

age and disease/
grief and despair

two minds crumbling

a small red house

a slow falling away

faint footsteps
on narrow stairs

the patter of death

a small red house
  - mce

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Ballad of Bedlam Zoo

Bedlam Zoo,
Bedlam Zoo,
start the day
in Bedlam Zoo.

Wake up and face
the madness;
another day
crushed by sadness.

Nowhere to go,
nothing to do,
caged like a bear
in Bedlam Zoo.

In Bedlam Zoo,
the days are long,
time is crooked,
clocks are wrong.

Nowhere to go,
nothing to do,
eternity
in Bedlam Zoo.

In Bedlam Zoo,
the witches fly,
the demons shriek,
the devils cry.

Nowhere to go,
nothing to do,
cacophony
in Bedlam Zoo.

In Bedlam Zoo,
memory weeps,
guilt orates,
madness speaks.

Nowhere to go,
nothing to do,
insanity
in Bedlam Zoo.

Up and down
pace the cage,
an actor on
an empty stage.

Nowhere to go,
nothing to do,
a specter haunting
Bedlam Zoo.

Pace the barren
cage alone,
loneliness
dense as stone.

Nowhere to go,
nothing to do,
the broken man
of Bedlam Zoo.
  - mce

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Attic Of Memory

That's where he lives,
and he spends his days
nailing up perfectly framed
pictures of nothing.
  - mce

Hell

No devils,
no pitchforks,
no screams,
no fire,
no brimstone:
just
another
day.
  - mce

Dramatic Inquiry

Why sit through
an absurdly
tedious
denouement
when the end
is so obvious?
  - mce

The Unraveling

The mind's fabric
begins to fray,
sun at night,
stars by day.
The woven brain
comes undone,
threads peel loose,
one by one.
Madness pulls
the final thread,
light goes out
inside your head.
  - mce

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Low Fuel Indicator Light

When
you run out
of hope;
then
you run out
of life.
  - mce

Friday, August 20, 2010

Time and Distance

   ~ for CB

Soon, the birds
will fly,
another year
has passed me by.

The birds will fly,
another year,
and you are there
and I am here.
  - mce

The Curse Of Self-Awareness

He had loser
tattooed in red
on his forehead;
no one else
could see it,
but he could.
  - mce

Agenda

Wake, rise,
stumble away,
into the ruins
for another day.
  - mce

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Extremities

He has wandered
through foul darkness
caught in murk
and gloom and shade.

He has burned
with searing brightness
that sliced his world
like an fiery blade.

The center never holds;
the edges tell the tale.

It is always
the peak or the abyss;
the ocean's bottom
or the lightning's kiss.
  - mce

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Final Knowledge

The broken
stay broken.
  - mce

Declivity

Ignition, spark,
a turning key,
sets the writhing
serpent free.
Worlds spin,
words collide;
realitas begins
to slide.
Markers
fall away,
lines implode;
unlikely voices
yawn in code.
The palette
melts to a
fluid smear
that  trickles
down a
thirsty ear.
Sounds skew,
scream, resonate
at an inaudibly
alarming rate.
Neither sense
of life nor joys,
only cacophonic noise.
The birds of touch
are flown away,
leaving vacuums
in the day.
The chain-mailed,
twisted, human heart,
tortured from
its fatal start.
Find the answer,
spin the wheel,
stop the madness,
cease to feel.
  - mce

The Febrility Of Imagination

The mind as a lens
concentrating
and focusing
until life sparks,
catches, explodes
and disappears
into smoke and ashes.
   - mce

Implementing Plan B

Eight AM:
liquid amber fire,
harbinger
of respite
and oblivion.
  - mce

The Northampton County Asylum

    ~ for John Clare

Lost
brother:
I know
exactly
how you
 felt.
   - mce

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Inverted Karma

The Zen Masters say,
when you reach the top,
keep climbing;
the deeper question is:
what do you do when
you reach the bottom?
  - mce

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Gentle Reminder From Our Sponsor

Time is running out.
Time is running out.
Time is running...
   - mce

The Nothing Poem

Nothing matters
anymore.
  - mce

Friday, August 13, 2010

Redux

Sometimes,
to move forward,
you must go
backward.
  - mce

True Love (Redux)

All the lost loves
of my life
have prepared me
for you.
Isn't it about time
you show up?
- mce

Petition (Redux)

   ~ for CB

Come to me, love.

Put your body in my hands;
let your heart snuggle in mine.
Be the voice in my throat,
my warmth against the chill.

Together holds delights
solitary cannot imagine.

Let us sing, love, a duet
sweet as this morning bird song,
notes intertwined, filling
the day's freshness with harmony.

Only trust, love, and let the music begin.

We will teach each other songs
unimaginable alone.

Only sing with me, love.

All of this and more awaits.
  - mce

"Not Universal Love, But To Be Loved Alone." (Redux)

Be my lover
and I will bring you
blueberries and love songs,
smiles and sunshine.

Let the mad world
spin violently
out of control
as it always has,
as it always will.

Blueberries and love songs,
smiles and sunshine;
respite within chaos.

Only take my hand, love:
no better life is possible.
- mce

Mykonos - for H.M. (Redux)

"Memory is a kind of accomplishment." - William Carlos Williams

Forty years later
I still see you
standing on that
dazzling Greek beach
wearing nothing
but your bikini bottoms
and an innocent grin.
A vision like that
can last a man
a lifetime.
Where are you now
smiling Venus?
- mce

Optimism (Redux)

Place your hand
inside my chest
and touch my heart.
It beats
for the possibility
of you alone.
- mce

The Ex-Wife's Revenge (Redux)

Since
she left me,
I have never
really
been able
to unpack,
not once.
- mce

Coda To The Morning Report (Redux)

A poet writes
what he writes;
the reader reads
what he reads.
The real poem,
the poem
of the mind,
exists when
the two collide
and belongs -
exclusively
- to both
and neither
of them.
- mce

Morning Alba (Redux)

You wake
in a warm bed
and feel her
female presence;
she wakes,
opens her eyes,
and smiles.
What is more
lovely
and reassuring
than waking up
next to a lover
who wakes up
smiling?
The entire
coming day
seems to smile
along with her.
Small instances
like this
make the world
not only bearable,
but beautiful.
- mce

A Tentative Ode To Desire (Redux)

Approaching sixty,
I find that
I still love women,
but not as much
as whiskey and ink.
- mce

Gender Wars (Redux)

I'd like
to get
deeper
inside
your head
she says;
I'd like
to get
deeper
inside you,
he thinks.
-mce

The Clash Of Plato And Aristotle (Redux)

It is easier
to be in love
with the woman
of your dreams,
than with the woman
beside you.
- mce

Valley Song (Redux)

Caress the earth;
it will feed you.
Laugh into the rain;
it will cleanse you.
Study the sky;
it will teach you.
Listen to the wind;
it will whisper wonders.

Open your heart;
quiet your thoughts:
do not be
in the world,
be the world.
-mce

A Short Treatise On Dealing With Loss And Grief (Redux)

Pretend
(a little whiskey
may help
at first)
that you don’t
give a damn.
Eventually,
you won’t.
  - mce

Zazen On Struggle Mountain (Redux)

Only be present
and the world awakens:

colors shout fragrance,

birds recite poetry,

breezes whisper caresses,

light smells of hope.

Consider your past,

but do not dwell there;

consider your future,

but do not expect it.

Now is Is.

Peel away the squawking

layers of your heart

like an onion unwinding,

like a snake molting.

Approaching nothing,

you arrive at everything.
Do this until you think

you will vanish:

the more you lose,

the more you are.
  -mce

Simple Song (Redux)

a wooden room:

waking in the morning light
beside you in a simple bed.

we drink from simple cups
subtle waters.

simple wood and light
simple cup and bread
simple warmth and calm.

difficult -

the simple world
is difficult…

or

simply open the door:

the breeze calls us
the birds sing
our mortal names…

plain table,
subtle fire.

two plates as round
as owl’s eyes.

your heart and mine:

simple,
simply,
beautiful.
  –mce

A Problem Of Perspective (Redux)

At 30,
you could only
look ahead.
At 55,
I could only
look back.
We only looked
in the same direction
when we looked
at each other.
Looking at you
was all my pleasure,
but future and past
pulled too hard
to overcome.
There are lilacs now,
new lovers,
fresh beginnings.
Still,
I remember
your eyes
looking back
at me,
greener
than even this
soft,
new spring.
–mce

The Zone (Redux)

   ~ Laos 1972

known variously as:

Indian Country,

the Shit,

the Jungle
& the Zone.

bloody stumps,
flying metal,

charred flesh,

screaming agony,

cellular fear,

burning choppers,

dying men,
dead eyes

staring,

betrayal.

“Don’t mean fucking nothing.”

not a place
on a map
but a state of mind
-
my mind.

The place vanished,

but the Zone
remains
a jungle
in my head
& some things

return me there.

there i learned
the necessary.

in the Zone,
only predator and prey,
kill or be killed,

win or die,

the quick and the dead.

in the Zone

only survival matters
-
no morality,
no right or wrong

no lies,

no truths,
no fair,
no unfair.

no rules at all.

in the Zone
everything is allowed…

meet the enemy,
destroy him,

maim him,

outsmart him,

walk away
with the blood of others
squishing in your boots

feeling gloriously alive.

friend,

brother,
enemy,

child,

lover,

you do not
- ever -

want to meet me

in the Zone.
–mce

A List Of Joys (Redux)

Blogmeister's note: I was once asked to make a list of things that bring me joy. This is what I came up with. I found it again yesterday. It still holds up. I publish it here especially as a gift for those who knew and sustained me in my bleaker days. These are some of what I found on the other side of all that suffering.

*****

Real work, whether of mind or body. Real work isn't a job or an occupation. It is any effort that occurs when what you know and what you do converge with who you really are.

Mammalian warmth: the touch of human bodies in all it's wonder and pleasure that reminds me of Nietzsche's saying, "First, be a healthy animal."

A cat's purr. It's existence requires no justification; it is complete in itself.

Blueberries, the plants and the fruit. A feast for every sense.

Books, movies, and works of art that are so compelling they take you on a vacation from reality by creating their own more vivid reality.

My white, 1997 Saturn with 200,200 miles on it. A gift from an angel, I call her Moby and together we sail the asphalt seas. She's a real lady.

Birds. They fill the world with color and music and desire no profit in return.

A lovely woman with bare legs in a sun dress. As Wallace Stevens said, "Beauty is momentary in the mind, the fitful tracing of a portal, but in the flesh it is immortal."

The electric charge of lips touching lips, of flesh brushing flesh.

Anything, on a woman, that is made of silk. Silk is exquisite, elegant and erotic.

Weeds that flower, because their beauty is unexpected.

Evan Williams bourbon. Exquisite, distilled napalm that burns and satisfies.

Cool evenings after hot days.

Conversation that sparkles with intelligence, wit and conviviality.

Warren Zevon, Thelonious Monk and Mozart, not necessarily in that order.

True friends. When the chips are down, they are a treasure more valuable than even family.

The magical, healing sound of flowing water.

Trees, especially the deciduous. Their greenness speaks to and cools my spirit.

Writing and reading poetry, my craft and my solace.

Love. It is elusive and difficult and perhaps impossible, but the belief that it may be out there sustains even the jaded, aging life.

The fecundity of the unexpected.

Fireflies. Almost too much beauty for one world.

Sunrises, because they bring the undeserved possibility of another shot at redemption.

Garlic, the spice of the gods.

And on and on...
- mce

Alzheimer's

A seething chaos
of dusk and storms:
the mind adrift,
lost and tossed,
upon the ocean
     of itself
with no hope
     of rescue.
   - mce

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Democracy 2010

300 million
petulant toddlers
throwing tantrums
in the dark.
  - mce

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Homecoming

Welcome
to Hell;
enjoy
your stay.
  - mce

Invocation At Morning

Mornings are the worst,
dissolution and despair,
the terror of karma
in the pallid, dim air.
Witches of memory
shriek and taunt:
you'll never be free.
The past pukes demons
that chant and moan:
you belong to me.
Oh Muse of light,
protect me from sadness;
Oh Muse of light,
shield me from madness.
Keep my soul safe
for just one more day;
hold my heart in your hands,
keep the past at bay.
  - mce

Monday, August 9, 2010

My Mother's Dementia

A
whirlpool
of
disconnected
dots.
  - mce

The Pain Of Selective Memory

Can't find your glasses;
can't remember
your phone number;
can't forget your failures.
  - mce

A Gardener's Lament

If only I could
    plant myself
deep in the
    perfect earth
of your body
    and grow us
a new life
    together.
  - mce

Procrastination

On my death bed,
I will wryly smile
and think how
I was finally planning
to get my shit together -
next week.
  - mce

Wordless Conversation

Your smile said,
I dare you;
my smile said,
I do.
  - mce

Desire

Open to me, love,
like a rose bud
unfolding,
surround me
with your being,
contain me
in your holding.
  - mce

AM Lottery

Some mornings
life is a hangover
you wake up to
wondering what
you did to deserve
such pain;
sometimes it
is a spring day
and you wake
to cool breezes,
sunlight and smiles.
The only way
you can know
which it will be
is to take
the chance,
open your eyes
and see.
  - mce

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tennessee

Verdant, lush,
green paradise:
I will miss you.
  - mce

Monday, August 2, 2010

Coda

The road;
    one
         more
             time.
- mce

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ode To Odie

I have a dog friend
named Odie.
Odie lives
with a nice woman.
He is often petted
and spoken to
endearingly.
He eats well
and regularly.
He doesn't work.
He sees a doctor
when he's ill.
He sleeps
in air-conditioning.
He even gets treats!
Odie's dog life
is much better
than my man life.
How I aspire
to be Odie.
  - mce

Green Whispers

He sat in a green world
of good green things.
They whispered to him,
those good green things.
They said to him:
put your pain away,
place it in a drawer.
Visit it when you must,
but do not carry it with you.
It will always be yours.
You will not forget it,
but it won't own you.
The time has come
to return to the green world
of good green things.
The time has come
to be green again,
to breath and to live again.
The time has come
to be green and to grow.
Open your heart;
take a chance;
do as we ask.
  - mce

Climbing Mount Essig

All these years
of toil and pain,
I have finally
reached
the summit
of my life.
The trick now:
figure out
how to keep
on climbing.
  - mce

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mountain Wisdom

Nothing is
ever given,
or taken,
that doesn't
have its price.
  - mce

The Last Poem

The last poem
will be written
in blood,

but that time
is not yet.

Smiles, tears
and wonder
remain;
hangovers,
laughter
and joy
as well.

Not just yet.

When the time
is right
he will open
a vein
and write
that last
bloody poem.

Until then,
he will live
and breathe
and love
in his painful,
imperfect
human world.

Until then,
until that
last poem
is written
in blood.
  - mce