2 Poems

Here are a couple poems I wrote when I was still living in Florida. They were published in Main Street Rag and Existere in 2011, and I think they hold up. It’s nice to run across an old poems that hold up because a lot of my old ones don’t. I wrote a lot of crap right after I moved to Berlin, but I think I’m finally back in my groove again… just writing the truest sentences I can, as often as I can. I think I got away from truth somehow and that was my problem. But these bring me back, and it wasn’t that long ago. A lot has changed…

The Ghost of Christmas Future

You never planned on staying here. You are here because of a series
of failed circumstances. Your job, a woman, your mortgage, and probably
some ration of cowardice. This is the Wasteland T.S. Eliot spoke of.
A small town of no destination. A decaying culture. Your
inheritance: a completely grounded people. Soil-bound, you might
say. The graveyard beckoning them, you. Tombstones
not the only symbol of death here. Its forms are multitudinous
and everywhere: a realtor’s unpleasant physiognomy whisking
past on a bus billboard. The cracked blue windowpane at the American
Legion. The factory worker roaming outside of it, who shares too
many of your own features. He’s about twenty years your senior, his nose
scarlet from drink, sad eyes. Even his shoulders, and the hump
that’s growing on his back, remind you of yourself.

I-95 (Nocturne)

It’s still dark out. A small lamp burns
in the corner of the room.
And I can hear the highway from here,
like the sea softly ebbing

and surging. Cars, buses, the rumble
of delivery trucks. They pass by
all through the night. The never ending haste

of humanity. And who are they?
Truckers? Murderers? Factory men?

Young lovers? People with lives
not unlike mine, pass by all through the night.

While sleeplessly I sit up
reading an old book of poems,
beautiful Greek poems. My woman sleeping
in the other room. Seven years

in this house. Fifteen months
behind on the mortgage.
The book soon falls from my hands,

like everything else. The highway still humming.
The never ending haste
of cargo vans, SUVs, motorcycles.
Americans,

blazing a trail. To
where? For what? Softly the sounds
swim over me.

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Bad Wildbad, Germany

After a month in Madrid, and 2 weeks in Lisbon, it’s great to be back in Germany again. I had a wonderful time on the peninsula, but Germany feels like home. I don’t know what it is. Maybe because when I was a kid I spent a lot of time at my German grandma’s house, which was like being in Germany. She had papierkrattler masks hanging all around, Bavarian cuckoo clocks, painted eggshells, beer steins, an antique organ, and she always had chocolate for the offering.

I’m in a little town called Bad Wildbad. It’s in the SW part of Germany in the Black Forest.

Very beautiful here. There’s mountains all around, and a stream that runs through the city. It’s a great place to write because there’s absolutely no nightlife here, and pretty much no way to meet anyone. The average age here must be about 82. I haven’t seen so many walkers and motorbuggy contraptions and sets of dentures since I was selling patio furniture in Boca Raton.

I went down to the stream today and there was a little table there and, since I just found out I’m gonna be doing a reading in Berlin on August 29th (my first ever), figured I’d write a poem, my first since December. It started as a rewrite, but turned into something else.

Termites

There are usually about five or six of them,
middle-aged or older.
They sit outside the bakeries late in the evening.
On the table in front of them there is usually a pack of cigarettes
with the lid open, an ashtray, a neon lighter
and maybe a glass
of Turkish tea.
They’re all dressed in a similar fashion
which is to say, no fashion.
They dress for comfort
in plaid shirts, khaki pants, loafers.
They work in these clothes,
they gamble, lounge and pray in these clothes.
They have become their clothes
and the little bit of gold
they adorn themselves with.
These are men who have spent
the greater part of their lives
trapped in little storefronts, serving the public, playing
the role they were expected to play,
living the practical lie,
practically, while praying to a practical God.
They will die practical
deaths
and their replacements will be just the same as them.
Not necessarily Turkish.
Not necessarily Muslim.
But men.
So-called.
Called upon by nothing.
They could be anything.
Doctors.
Rabbis.
Garbagemen.
Postal clerks.
What they have in common is they are all very common,
but they have no common
sense, obviously,
because if they did they’d live as though they knew they’d be dead one day,
and learn how to die
gracefully.
To die slowly and artfully is better than being a living death.
And deaf and dumb…
For dying
is an honor, but death is rot and dead are the ones
who do unto
themselves
what everyone else does.
Dead from years of believing what they’re supposed to.
Dead in their homes that are really tombs.
And their beds that are coffins in disguise.
And the wives they retain who are really just second mothers
and know it, and hate it, but don’t do anything about it.
And their 2.2 kids, the dumbest things since dirt was invented.
(They’re already brainwashed and past fixing)…
Sometimes the last people you should listen to are your parents.
Even though they want
what’s good for you
they may not know what’s right for you.
They only think they do.
But only you are you.
And only you can unlearn how to think for yourself.
Only you can unmake yourself
into something that will never become
a butterfly, or even a moth, or even a gnat.
And so you squat down in the mud
and look up at the heavens.
Beware of a flatterer’s praise.
There’s a knife behind the cloak and the shit has pigeoned here.
Plumbers.
Fry cooks.
NASCAR enthusiasts.
Philistines.
They could be anything.
But they are one thing.
Common.
And they are another thing.
Imperishable in their numbers.
And they are a third thing.
Unlike you.
Let them
pass.