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Poetry

In Boston the air tastes like carrot soup

When it doesn’t smell of fried clams

 

In Maine the air tastes like honey

When it does not taste like briny salt

 

In Manhattan the air tastes like crushed dandelions

When its doesn’t taste like burnt gasoline

 

In Washington DC the air tastes like stewed propaganda

When it doesn’t taste of freshly minted bills

 

In Las Vegas the air tastes like sautéed pinecones

When it doesn’t taste like volcanic dust

 

In San Francisco the air smells like spearmint

When it doesn’t taste like seared fog

 

In London the air smells of crushed barley

When it doesn’t smell of flat beer

 

In Paris the air smells of lingering chamomile

When it doesn’t smell of freshly baked bread

 

In Vienna the air smells of stale history

When it doesn’t smell of wilted roses

 

In Moscow the air smells of squeezed beets

When it doesn’t smell of perfumed whispers


Sitting by my iron woodstove in winter

with pipes clanking as they warm,

I ponder how fire has played

a pivotal role in forming humankind.

 

With fire we could barbeque,

eat more safely, keep warm,

even turn forests into grasslands

enabling more animals to graze.

 

Fire says “I’ve inspired imagination

to transform your life

in more productive directions

by contemplating flickering flames.”

 

Is not fire the standing metaphor

for the blind excitement of intemperate youth?

Is not fire the image of young love?

To live in the moment like the point

of a flickering flame remains

a quest, a youthful fantasy.

 

Fire says: “I am transcendence,

the flame of truth in the moment,

consuming the past and birthing

the new in metamorphic moments.”

 

The fire in my brain puts words to paper,

consuming paper, and from its ash

a re-birth of identity for you and me

in a world that runs on fire.

 

Fire says: You will be destroyed by me

for you cannot control me.

I will eat you in the end.”

 

“Even so,” I reply,

“we will become

winking embers of wisdom

before our glow expires in darkness.”


As for composing poems, I pen my part

whether early with dawn birdsong singing

or midnight wine accompanying the art

of bringing common sense to my scribbling

lyrics, sonnets, odd political rant,

sequences, reminiscences, rural

bucolic scene, religious supplication.

 

All in an effort to be congenial

with topics who resemble wild children

demanding absolute close attention

to unconscious, needy motivations

that ambulate numerous distractions.

Abstraction in lyrics is the devil

who avoids allure in a waterfall.


May morning mist, Smithfield Valley,

highlights blue, yellow pansy

blooming as bees hover softly

with air of light comedy

while brindled cows munch quietly,

clouds hovering hillside lightly

with dew-water droplets wooly

nesting in damp hair cozily,

sunlight spearing on pond that spills

our Creator’s cup of good will

on frogs, heron, and whippoorwill

amid chorus of insect trill.

At such moments like this Spring day

pleasure halts my tongue: naught to say.

 


How pleasant, refreshing to see

our tinpot dictator ranting

at justice, common sense. Silly

Europeans were expecting

 

polite, rational behavior,

but Don displayed ability

to lie, appear superior

with a sneer in society

 

while insulting a warrior

at the D-Day cemetery

for having displayed great valor

fighting for his beloved country,

 

jailed many Mafioso dons,

and wisely helmed the FBI,

then provided measured response

to blatant, lawless perfidy.

 

We wait for the fourth of July

in the hope of patriotism,

yet we are quite likely to fly

into the maws of despotism

 

while the Don celebrates himself

as the greatest politician

since Nero on stage played himself

crucifying a dumb Christian.

 

His compassion remains unmatched

in the annals of history

and his crass insults are beloved

by those who know no history.

 

Like the god Nero, Don is praised

as a great public orator;

the populace loves he was raised

as a famous branding realtor.

 

Don is the high school bullshitter;

exaggeration is his theme—

when it works, he’s a big hitter,

when it doesn’t, the joke’s quite lame.

 

 

(Americans think a realtor

to be a form of royalty

because their opaque behavior

appears as magic fantasy.)

 

Media manipulation

as the engine of governance

produces an awkward question:

can one rule through nasty vengeance?

 

As Christian Prez Jimmy Carter

points out: we have oligarchy,

unlimited scandal, huckster

mentality, gross bribery.


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I am an oak tree,

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Sometimes I would walk down

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When burrrring back of Old Man Winter breaks

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When I dwelt outside of time

spear-shaped leaves of grass

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before I had many words

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