Whitman v. Woods

I

I sing a song of my shelf
and everything upon it: faded photos,
equally faded memories, blurring the lines
between new friends and old enemies.
Somewhere, somehow, maybe then,
maybe now (maybe never), I must
quit myself of this tether holding me
back, gray against black, black against blue.
Me against you.211215_105067042918278_7462179_n

II

I sing a song of my shelf, with all its
broken toys, of youth with all its noise and
no sense of silence. Pilot at the ready, hands strong
and steady: life, with all its heady liquor, cannot
strengthen legs of wicker, marching to
a fading ticker. Beat by beat, stanza by stanza,
vignettes tucked away in a moldy credenza: This,
O poet, is your life. Rhyme is wife; rhythm lover;
extra-metrical affair, undercover.

III

If anyone asks,
I want to go out with the sunrise,
fitting beginning for a fitting end:
one light goes out as another lives
again. And when the dawn, curtains drawn,
shines forth once more, bar the windows,
lock the door. I’m gone to find another floor
to host my dance, to break my trance and show me
a good time. Not on your dime anymore;
just mine. Just fine.

Continually do your coronary heart…*

1378382_10101152404054923_2046409647_nBlood pumps.
The road stumps the
Gypsy
In me. Curves and bends
That never end, places no one’s
Ever been. And here I stand,

Alone at hand, a tiny speck amidst
The grand. I am but a grain of
Sand upon an everlasting beach,
Eternity always
Just
Out of reach. Creature of
Infinity
All wrapped up in
Vain conceit; a
Stranger
On my own two feet.

The road stumps the
Gypsy
In me,
Holds me fast and
Sets me free, a wanderer
Without a map.
What a liberating trap!

*My thanks to the spammer who inspired this verse.
As he said, always follow your heart…

A Life in Several Stanzas

I

I didn’t do the things you told me
Not to do, true. But who does that leave
Me now? How am I supposed to cope with
The subtle extinguishing of hope within
My chest that promises more rest than
I am worth? From birth directed, always as
Expected: passivity perfected is all that’s left
Inside, so open wide and flash that toothy grin
That offers sin wrapped in remorse, gift horse to
My dentist.

II

The poet doesn’t know it; no
Seed will ever grow it. The
Human eye can see it, if it manages to
Free itself from the oppressiveness of vision for
One soul-blinding second. Reckoned in aeons,
Gone in minutes: no matter how you spin it, it
Never quite stops spinning, its neon
Afterglow trimming the stars within its orbit,
Arcing through the darkness, a never-likened
Likeness of a face forever hidden, and it swirls,
Unbidden.

III

When this rocking horse stops rocking and
The finish line comes knocking at my
Inconsequence, with what eloquence will I
Announce the lifetime I renounced and now
Search for in despair? Will I find it is not there? Not
Anywhere at all but in the thoughts of pious mermaids,
Awash in holy marmalade smeared on tasteless
Wafers? Am I safer for the knowledge, or by it am I
Vanquished? Is this banquet for the eating
Of those whose hearts are beating, or must it
Wait and rot, for those whose hearts
Are not?