labyrinth

Though close friends often know it before you, no one can tell you what you’re born to do. There is no Oracle who sees your fate. there is no guarantee it’s not too late. There are no pre-made maps to travel with; there is only a vast stone labyrinth whose pathways wind & wander to […]

The Crier (An Allegory About Social Media)

“Hear me, hear me!” all day long he cries, soliciting thumbs-up from passerby where the people are many & most of them cry just as loud—why he tries to be heard over the crowd is beyond me, but there’s always somebody responding. “Here’s my story!” he yells. “Nothing to hide! I’ll play-by-play till the day […]

Platonic

There is a cave where people are enslaved with manacles around their necks & ankles & made to sit silent & well-behaved beholding shadows cast from many angles. Eventually, one prisoner gets free & sees (in horror!) the machinery that’s been projecting his experience. He knows this is his disappearing chance & climbs out of […]

a definition of desire

Desire (n.) a self-devouring snake, its scaly tail convulsing in its fangs; whatever satiety it feels is fake; there’s not even a momentary break as it ingests its own abdomen’s pangs for emptiness alone fulfills Desire, which, eating itself, eats you along the way. what’s more to say? you’re empty of, or else feeding, Desire; […]

the ballad of Willie Lester

Willie Lester was a man who toured in Afghanistan; he left when he was barely 18. on that day, his mother cried with sunshine in her eyes; her son looked better than she’d ever seen. he was decorated some for how well he used his gun, but mostly for the lives he fought to save; […]

The Receiver

There once was a quiet dystopian town where the people amazingly found one among them was born with an uncanny gift: taking bad memories. He’d just lift pain from your brain like it was never there, each trace recollection erased. How it worked: This ‘Receiver’ himself made space for your suffering in his own mind, […]

verse designed to convey

verse designed to convey understanding will fail.            stiff, shallow & opaque, like ice on a lake, it restricts movement instead of inviting swimming, boating & stone skipping;               rather than explaining, it drains each sinking, suffocating idea of all its warmth.                          this is the difference between force & power: words that disclose thoughts already formed before […]

Gethsemane

Cold blood beading like sweat on his brow, he fell to his knees pleading, “Take my place, God, if you have any power now, & quench the bloodthirst ravaging my race! After I’m killed, they’ll only kill again, but maybe with your death, the killing ends.” The Lord supported troublemakers then, so before he felt […]

Cheating Venus

the modest god of blacksmithing was husband to Venus, which, in my opinion, means he wielded a fine penis; but (being immortal) Venus craved variety, so with the violent, forceful Mars came impropriety. without missing a beat, the blacksmith took to his forge & forged a silvery net where two gods could be stored & […]

Sun worship

in antiquity, the sun was said to be a god (shaped like a man) who ran all day, cooled his burning feet in the western sea & came home with his rays docile & dim to his beloved, waiting there for him. he’d give her anything in his peerless power, which is what turned their […]

sonnet for a visionary

my love, your genius is hosted in you like a parasite, a demon, an ancient ghost haunting your wanting eyes—how those little windows burn with the immense, intense intelligence inside! what i’d give to set foot in that cathedral, to behold the hoard of treasure being held there hostage by the fire-breathing monster whose lair […]

In Sparta (A True Story)

In Sparta, in general, lived men of few words. However, whenever they used one, it burned. One day a tyrant, fresh conquests in tow, sent Sparta a threat: “Will I come friend or foe?” Unamused, Sparta’s leader said: Neither. That’s when the conqueror’s patience wore thin. “If I ride in,” he warned, “with my brothers […]

Wisdom

Wisdom is moderation of all things: to neither be a puppet nor pull strings, to lead with strength but not an iron fist, to smartly borrow from, but not consist of lessons learned in lifetimes besides yours, to seize the day, yet not forget your chores & take action, but give in when you’re wrong. […]

Superman

possessed by the curse of being the best, he couldn’t help but help people in need. power like his was easy to use wrong, but Superman’s heart was bigger than greed, too big to let him sleep around or rest; he could barely go an hour without putting himself in harm’s way for a stranger; […]

foreplay:

one day maybe i’ll understand beginning before beginning— today i have no discipline

sonnet for a drummer

How is it that Time understands your quivering twin wands & their commands? Now takes shape as it passes through your hands, resembling strong youth, infancy & age with equal grace; Some rhythms are warlike; some fight for peace; right foot runs straight & the left syncopates, teasing timelessness out between beats. Where is your […]

phoenix

in the shade under the Knowledge tree lives a phoenix by the name of Poetry. times change the shape & pigment of her wings, how long her beak is & what songs she sings, but, sure as the moon follows herself in rings, the phoenix flies, dies & again revives. when in the cooling coals […]

i persephone

i persephone though living wander in death’s shade along the sidewalk by day the moon raising her sickle overhead reminds me monthly of the bloody dead bodies who have carpeted battlegrounds for generations laying their lives down for the next generation & i am a fly on the wall who will die with all she […]

evolutionary

i picture the evolutionary march from primates to homo sapiens & stand in awe. i don’t need to carry around the whole Origin of Species, our genesis painstakingly described— it’s a living truth, this instinctive contest of minds that made sure we survived; it’s in us all, in the nucleotides that combine our twin helixes; […]

when i think about the Tao Te Ching

when i think about the Tao Te Ching (though thoughts about it tend to distance it) i fear the utter speechlessness it brings; i dread being alone to witness it when the universe of all things profound pours out its annihilating secrets; i’m scared of being infinitely drowned in that vacuum where no light or […]

all the great Masters recommend restraint

all the great Masters recommend restraint of thought, word, action & initiative: always be ready to respond, but wait for the right time to strike. how do they live so disciplined, their only time around more competent than others, but less proud? as a dam may serve to irrigate the land & pens pinpoint the […]

if only, love

If only, love—if only I could love a tiny bit more deeply than I’d grieve in the extreme worst case, I’d be above peevish paranoias that you might leave, free to release my passion with abandon! The trouble is that even bottomless love can never swallow up grief’s canyon. Like balanced scales, grief is love’s […]

how to write two poems

How to write one poem start with vivid, ballooning, colorful visuals that bring daydreams of childhood out to play. celebrate the wonderful carefreedom of your clear-minded reader.           catching him midair, feel his weight thump your chest & answer it with a push back to the sky                           now, with his legs straight out, let him relish […]

Camera Man

Last time I saw my son, I was a young man. Now, he is. It’s OK. I like listening. I don’t resent the woman. I’m just tired of traveling, listening, hauling my tall three-legged robot & his box of replacement eyes, ears & memories. Things could be worse. Want to see a grown man cry? […]

Bottom Line

once & for all time, Shakespeare says it best: life’s short, love’s true, & silence is the rest.