The Racism

You’re going to ask if my poem’s racist

and what I’ll say to your face is

anything can be racist in the wrong hands

something innocent here

can be weaponized in some other lands

And some will say, but a racist minority just can’t be

sure if you’re looking at it shortsightedly

Because there’s usually more than one minority around

like during the Rodney King riots

didn’t they bust up Korea town?


Sure, when one race has been handled racistly

they’ll handle questions about their own behavior evasively,

but noone’s hands are clear when dirty behavior is handed ‘round

even when who’s in charge gets turned around

It was rough, nervous days in many African countries

when power was handed to the actual, natural majorities

and in some cases

they turned on the racism against things Americans don’t think of as separate races.

What the hell is a Tutsi or a Hutu anyway?
Well, any Rwandan can readily say

YOU can’t tell the difference between Germans and Francs,

but both World Wars were simply race wars –

don’t get distracted by planes, artillery and tanks

For Americans the issue of races narrows down to two, three, or four,

but beyond our borders there are at least three thousand more

This is what it’s really about

– teeming masses at our shores

And to the average ‘Merican

it’s only Mexicans knocking at our door

Doubtless racism is a problem here

one we’ve taken steps backwards on lately, I fear

But I’ve learned the following things that lighten my heart

oddly item one is that any race can play either part

But if overcoming racism is ever going to be our goal

This Country has a better chance at making it’s society whole

It’s understanding and exposure to the other guy

that starts moving towards the better sky,

And by the end of the twentieth century

we got closer to understanding all these faces

And I think we almost got over the stumbling block

that we seem to think that race is


in our minds


Trainwatching as Real Ironic Hobby

When you saw me,

         my guitar,

         my bag,

         and my dog at the train station,

even on the platform

It was an uphill battle to convince you

         that I was not gone, baby

         that this was just a soulful moment

of just watching for trains to go by


It was an uphill battle talking my way

         back

         into your bed

         stay in your head

since I needed a place to stay

         one more day

         to get to next morning
cause I need one more try, baby.


See, I’m always late,

         and the trains run on time.




September 9, 2019

Untitled 2019B

I get it

Uses your freedom of speech

         to refute separation of church and state

Willing to misinterpret the second amendment

         to defend your privilege from the low-hanging fruits

         that you define as a threat, like the minority and the immigrant

well anyone different,

really


I get it

You were born into this country

         but feel torn between no-choice

a victim to rights

         you don’t care for others to have

and rights you insist protect things

         which you have no right to


I get it

Because my kind,

         most were born here

Thinly protected by rights that they carefully study

         get down pat, … perfect as a verb

Which confounds you since you know little of these rights,

         much less care for them

And it confounds you since you feel the need to vilify them,

         chastise them

          for being low-hanging fruits

          like minorities and immigrants

         and people who are different


Yeah, I get it,

         but it seems…

You feel more right to your feeling of injustice

           which could be enforced by law-given rights

...that you care so little fort

No wonder you care so little for those

         who hold those rights as precious defense

         against your assaults

And you wave the word “patriot” as your personal flag

Yet as the best parent deserves the child

         and the best chef deserves to eat well

Ask me whom I think deserves this country more.



September 9, 2019

Depth of the Pillar

Speak not of the ocean’s depth as far down

The same gravity holds it down that holds you, me

and the very material of the earth

So depth is measured

by how far up

Marianas and the Laurentian are the pillars

upon which the seas stand


But above that even the air…

The ocean is but part of the atmosphere

thickest, lowest part

But were it not there, it would not be replaced with negative space

While a good art lesson, that term does not dominate your physics

not for a good hundred miles up

Right, up like depth

as rise the waters

so rise the airs


Whether above us or below, we experiences depth as down

Whether above us or below, both rise.


Upon the concluding of a day’s lesson one of his boys

asked of Aristotle:

What is it like to be sophist?”

By way of answer the master seized the boy

and held him into the water.

Upon letting him he he proffered it is to want to know

as much as you wanted air.

How far from down that boy must have struggled to go.


So do not measure our greatest minds by how far down they go,

but by how far up they have risen

For Einstein admitted that had he seen farther

then it was only by standing upon the shoulders of giants


So do not measure a love by how far down it goes,

but how far up it rises

If you were there when it started you saw the building,

the stacking or piling or adding upon

Never forget the pillars,

because without you’ll have shaky love at best

because without it will surely fall

and if it does

then without, however will you build back up?


You won’t



September 9, 2019

Everywhere, Everyone

What if,

just what if…


See I know that your god is that bearded old man

and in your comic book bible he’s white

and comes from your land,

but, it also says he’s everywhere and all things,

and has indomitable plans.

So I think that means a “what if...”

What if god is that child in your class

whom you teach, but you lie?

What if god is that uncle who’s leaving you a fortune

and you wish he would die?

What if god was your mother

whom you cursed out n church?

What if god was that girlfriend

whom you left at dinner in the lurch?


I’m not naiive enough to say it matters if

god is the animal you killed for meat

but if you want more serious issues then

what if

What if god is the wife you control with terror

     No!

What if god is the wife you know you beat?


It’s easy to say he’s the homeless guy you leave in the street

but isn’t god supposed to be more than …

someone you leave as quickly as you meet?

I thought faith in him was supposed to be a part of your daily life

so god should be as important as your family,

your employer

your kids

your wife

Or perhaps you should treat them as important as he

because if he’s everywhere

you don’t know whom he could be.




September 6, 2019

Hurricane Wait

You’ve lost all your sense sir

Once named by meteorologists

  after the most disruptive forces in their lives

    – their wives,

Then occasionally after men

  to show that you were expected to be particularly

    – aggressive.

Now names just alternate

  to demonstrate

  equal hate

Shows we expect equal danger from

  every mystery at any rate

This time the plan will work

  North Carolina juts out just far enough to deflect you

That’s what it’s meant to do
Carolina was put there to protect the Old Dominion

  one more reason it’s better to be Virginian

I digress

This is still going to be a mess

Just a bunch of rain this time

  still anxious how much of our town sits on the waterline

I stepped out front at One AM

  looking for signs like religious men
But I am a man of science so I look to bands
of clouds

  sounds of winds registering aloud

  directions they blow and rains come down

Not just now

Not now

No, this is the other thing
During the day there was a misty rain

  and driving home the first lines in the clouds arranged

Twelve hours later and there should be

    the barreling down of forces screaming death

But all the world here is holding it’s breath

Message on the phone says
“Don’t worry about me it’s quiet here”

    but I know I can be almost silent if I know there’s a

    – a hungry tiger lying near

So many move to my town

  want to pretend one can take this laying down

I know I’m looking my fortieth tiger in the twisty eye

  even if this one skates on bye

  I will continue to withhold my sign

    – until late Saturday
See...

    – the calm wait is not a sign

  that everything’s fine

This is the test of your patience and faith

The storm you can’t see is there

  it’s lurking around the corner

  like a graveyard wraith

  unfed it does not simply stalk away

Now a second science comes into play

  snakes and deer left the neighborhood during the day

  birds and bats don’t dare flap a wing

  despite the still air – that’s the thing

And all stridulating crickets and grasshoppers make demands

  of negligent gods of whom we know little

  and without understanding

  human lovers’ patience grows brittle

And somehow Maryland thinks it’s time

  to tell Virginia how to read Carolina signs

    – of Florida weather.



September 6, 2019

There’s No Dancing in Downtown

This city is supposed to be a concrete jungle,

  but it’s turning into a glass desert

  under policies that keep sterilizing it

      of personality,

          uniquity,

              individuality.


I see a red door and the HOA wants to paint it beige


This is why we can’t have nice things

This is why even the hip head out

  to suburbia

  and your storefronts stare out

        onto the streets like dead-eyes

Eyes of ghosts all wide with

  shock and surprise

        not sure why they died


I see a dance floor and the HOA wants it sanitized



August 29, 2019

Return of the Poet's Domain

Wider Perspectives Publishing is ecstatic to announce that... The POET'S DOMAIN has returned to the roost here in Virginia with some new features that I think will welcome the many previous contributors back into the fold and excite some newcomers to jump aboard. The theme for volume 33 shall be Seasons and Crossroads. As before we don't want to dictate how the poet interprets the idea, but I will offer just these thoughts to get the juices flowing: It seems that what Seasons and Crossroads have in common is change. Both herald changes to come. One is predictable in timing and you might have some idea about what it entails, but really it's outcomes are out of one's control. The other comes up in one's wanderings and presents a choice, which you can control, but the outcome may still be unpredictable. If you wish to throw in a brief statement as to why you think your entry addresses the theme go for it. The submissions reading fee is $5 for the 1st poem and less-a-dollar for each subsequent poem to a maximum of FIVE submissions. So…
Items sub.= Total
1   =          $5,
2   =          $9,
3   =         $12,
4   =         $14,
5   =         $15

Poet's Domain accepts only original poetry submissions from residents of Virginia or any state bordering it, individuals having significant dealings within or formerly living in Virginia, or anyone who previously contributed to the journal. The entry fee is $5 for the 1st poem and less-a-dollar for each subsequent poem to a maximum of FIVE submissions. (So $5, then $4, $3, $2, and $1, respectively) There is a maximum length per entered item of 4 pages typed(12pt., 8x11), below that any style, form or voice of poem shall be considered. English is the assumed language of the journal, but poems with mixed language will be considered. Submissions open on July 1, 2019 and close October 6, 2019 at midnight. Each accepted contributor shall receive one complimentary copy of vol. 33 with a postcard upon which they may vote for their favorite piece from that issue. The winning poet will be acknowledged with a certificate and $50 prize. Additional copies will be available to contributors at a discount. Please notify at time of submission if a poem has been submitted elsewhere (and where) or previously published. Simultaneous submission or republication can be done with coordination with other source. Submissions should be .doc, .docx, .dot, .rtf, .odt, .xml or .pdf attached to an email titled Poets Domain 33 to HRACandWPP@outlook.com. The body of the email may contain text of the poetry, too, but it’s unnecessary. Payment may be made in the form of check/M.O. paypal.com transfer to friend/family or Credit Card through paypal.

Ballad in Gold and Blue With Sidewalks Stools and Condos

When we met we was 5th St.

Shoved to the edge

       by our propensity to skate on by

That is days on wood, nights on sand.

You actually thought you were going to ride wave

       to impress some other man.

       Too lazy to extend you his hand

So I took you down to Croatan

       where the real surf meets the sand.

Sometimes we'd leave boards at my place and play

9th street and pizza was the plan.

Bags left in the sand

We finally held hands


Into the business of falling in love,

       but I might be too shy

               to be the textbook surfer guy

                       that you need

You have certain thoughts to feed.


I couldn't really talk about it until we were 17th street,

       or 19 and inland Mediterranean

               and shopping led through bikinis and trunks

                       by those same hands.

I think you lost me in the shops like a little boy.

Maybe I was too into novelty

       you like a toy.

It wasn't for 3 years that I'd see you again

picking at drinks in seaside bars.

We stopped and talked about “how far”

And decided 21st street block

       was going to be our rock,

               well for awhile.

Until we realized escape up 22nd to the highway

       took less than a mile.


We wandered up and down the strip alone again for awhile.

How many times we glide by

       and didn't recognize each other's smiles.


Little did I realize what the Boulevard had undone ...

It would take Laskin Rd. to take me back to you.

Freshly 31,

I married, with a daughter and a son

But you gleaming laying in the sun

I spotted you from 30 floors above like there's no other one.

I didn't want you to remain just a ghost

       who haunts me from the strand

       So when I hustled the kids down to the sand

       it was to talk to you

               make you real again, too.

After an hour you said you had a sick friend to look into,

       but when I looked down you said

               he has a place up on 52,

                       and suggested we could use the beach access there

                               to slip on through.

And so we talked late at night hidden by the dune.

Decisions made then – known better by the moon

       than even to me and you ...


Yeah, better understood there than by either of us.
        But it didn't seem to matter until 3 years later,

               when my life had been bowled over in the rush.

And even my marriage turned out not able to last out the fading lust.

I was at 67th searching at the Cayce

       to see if maybe Their answers answer best,

but on the verge of deciding they were just like the rest

       with even their cards close to the vest.


By now we've learned not be be surprised

       catching each other's eyes;

So when I detected your look

       when you were at ARE library returning a book.

I told you I am at a loss about what to do,

       though time keeps running us out

               the sea and land keep crashing together to …

                       push me into you.


You said, "Look, you need to stop worrying

       about what you're supposed to be doing,

               don't worry about time.

I've finally got my own place here on 89.

It's fixed up right and I think you'll be fine,

       But it's at the end of the road,

               you can't come and then bail this time

                       just because you think life's like this

                               and you have to fall in line.

You've rolled back here like the tide,

       and you need to unwind,

               learn your mind,

                      and learn that if you're mine

                               then you're meant to be someplace

                                       where someone treats you kind.

But 1st meet me for pizza back by street number nine,

       but boy when you come to me,

               come like you 5th St.






July 29, 2019

Poetry Society Meeting 7-27-19

What does it take to get that poet to take on your experiences

– to claim you to their page?

Fallacy

     Short comings
              The door must be cracked open enough

             to see your fault clearly enough

             to sneak it out and onto the page.


And then it must take something

– a little more.

Yep, something extra

     Special

             Distinct,

                     but not so much unique.


Because the poet must see a little of that you

In them.



July 27, 2019