Monday, May 31, 2021

Tryptych

TRUTH     TRUST    TRUTH

TRUST    TRUTH     TRUST 

TRUTH    TRUST     TRUTH 


TRUMP    TRUST      TRUTH

TRUST     TRUMP     TRUTH

TRUST     TRUTH     TRUMP


TRUTH     TRUST    TRUTH

TRUST    TRUTH     TRUST 

TRUTH    TRUST     TRUTH 

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Bear In My House

There's a bear in my house

and he won't leave.

He's eating my food,

made a nest for himself

out of leaves and branches 

dragged in from the woods.

I try chasing him away,

he's gone for a few days

and we feel safe,

but he always returns

because the house is warm,

the kitchen's well stocked,

and he knows the place.

In my house he lives 

in the half-hidden space

above the stairs.

He's not a huge bear,

but big enough 

to tear me to pieces 

if he wants to.

He's not an angry bear, 

but I've seen him get angry.

When I'm lying in bed at night

I smell his fur,

hear him munch and slurp

(on God-knows-what 

he's always eating something)

and I hear his heavy breath, 

his grunts and moans

when he's sated.


In the morning

I can't go to work without 

thinking about the bear,

whether he's still there

in my house,

or gone, and if he'll come back,

and I think about my wife

if she's safe at home alone,

all day long,

and who

she's been fucking

when I'm not there.

I need a gun.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Smokers


I smoked for about 5 years

1/4 pack a day, maybe 1/2 at most

when a pack had 25 cigarettes

(so 7 to 13, never more)

and cost about $5.

I stopped in my early 30s, 

so haven't smoked in 20 years, 

and never thought of myself 

as 'a smoker' and that's important, 

somehow. For those who do (or did, 

think of themselves) 

a pack of cigarettes 

is a pocket-size calculator

keeping track, 

marking days 

before or after quitting, 

like BC/AD,

or like a punch-clock card, a pack

keeps an hourly schedule,

a smoke with your morning coffee, 

at break-time, after lunch, and so on.


Smoking defines you in ways 

few things do, you're a smoker, 

a non-smoker, or once-smoker;

my dad was a smoker,

a 'Craven A' man,

a pack-and-a-half-a-day man

all his life till the day he died,

but smoking didn't kill him,

other things did,

and that's how he knew,

he could tempt fate,

and that all things considered, 

he was pretty lucky in life.


Mom smoked too 

but wasn't devoted like him,

only half-a-pack, and quit

when they divorced,

the marriage run its course.


Dad taught me 

in the way he smoked,

how a man looks

when he loses himself in love, eyes closed

drawing in, exhaling, slowly, 

like he's praying,

smoking is like meditation,

you concentrate on every breath.

Dad would cross a border

just to buy a carton at the duty-free.

He was at ease 

when he smoked,

did his best thinking 

when he smoked,

couldn't be touched 

when he smoked.

I tried to be like him,

for a while, 

then around the time 

my first child was born, 

I realized I couldn't 

and actually didn't want to

be like him,

AD, after dad.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Renaissance

for Annetta


In the beginning we shared a vegetarian pizza

in a corner booth at the bistro  

above the metro station,

split a carafe of house white wine,

and spoke in hushed tones, laughed, 

as the train arrived underground, 

came to a rumbling stop,

and then left to the next the station

with a piercing electric hum

that we felt deep down 

inside.


We ditched restaurants, 

partly out of time, partly out of cost, 

and you started cooking for us

in a practical kitchen that was too small

and getting smaller every year.

We got used to the uneven linoleum floor 

scuffed by the creaky wooden legs 

of our wobbly melamine table, and our high-chair 

with squeaky plastic wheels 

and removable tray. You fried eggs 

and potatoes, boiled noodles -

made pesto, soups and stir-fries,

pureed carrots and peas

in the food processor

that was my anniversary gift.


When the kitchen got bigger, 

like the kids did, you graduated 

to quiches, asparagus, broccoli and mushroom,

you reached backward to master 

your grandmother's sweet and sour meatballs,

your mother's spinach lasagna, and signalling 

your culinary wanderlust for a transcendent sphere, 

you started baking breads:

braided challahs and multi-grains, 

zucchini loaves with walnuts or pecans, 

cornbreads with raisins or blueberries, 

and olive bread with tomatoes, to dip

in exotic spiced oils, 

your ovens wafting heavenly aromas 

making a home that transported the soul.


These days we are more settled,

drink filtered coffee from souvenir mugs

collected over decades,

crunch on crisp homemade cinnamon biscottis

sitting across from one another at the island,

I fill in the Times crossword in pencil 

(ask you for a 'type of cheese 

made with goat's milk'), and we watch

the fruit you lovingly selected 

from the grocer's mound mid-week,

oranges, bananas and pears, ripen 

in the bowl you thrifted for a song

from the Renaissance store.


Thursday, May 13, 2021

Fighting

I hear them fighting

all day long

I hear them fighting

in this office 

and the next office

in this room

and the next room 

in this house 

and the next house

on this street

and the next street

I hear them fighting 

in this city

and the next city

in this country

and the next country

I hear them fighting

and they fight

for what's mine

and what's yours

for who's right 

and who's wrong

I hear them fighting 

about making money

and losing money

I hear them fighting

about having too much 

and not enough

about who's to blame 

and who's not to blame

I hear them fighting

about promises

about expectations

about what was meant

and not meant

about what was said

and not said

I hear them fighting 

for compensation 

I hear them fighting 

for restitution

reimbursement 

redress

repayment 

retribution

retaliation

revenge

I hear them fighting

all day long

and it sounds 

like a clock

that will never stop.

Monday, May 10, 2021

The Screen

Between me and you there is a screen

That shows us what cannot be seen,

How you appear and what I perceive

How you think and what I believe.

I see you in a room, body 'neath a face,

Almost lifelike inside flattened space

An assemblage of mind from pixilated lights 

Charged by a million million bytes.

Between us a distance as thin as glass

And thick as questions left unasked,

Something I think I hear you say

Is misconstrued by time delay.

Moved by an urgent need to bond  

I touch the screen, (this kind won't respond)

And for an instant you do feel close

'Til your expression freezes - and they're exposed 

Those gremlins that make resentments rise

When we lose faith in the compromise

On which our love is supposed to work

So easily sabotaged by a technical quirk.

We wait, and wait, and press refresh,

But the spirit has by now departed the flesh,

Disconnected, we simultaneously log out,

Each to his room, wracked with doubt.

Alone with thoughts and sweet memories 

That access passion's energies,

A desire resurfaces for what has been,  

And we seek each other again, through the screen. 


Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Exhibit A

 I 

am Exhibit A:

I make the case

for myself

and against myself

every day.

I make the case 

for love

and against love.

I make the case

for joy

and despair,

for truth 

and lies,

for reason 

and against reason

for passion 

and against passion,

for flesh

and for spirit,

for God

and against God.

It's not a trial

there's no defendant

or prosecutor,

no judge

no jury

and no law

there's just

Exhibit A

and a case made

every day

for and against

for and against

for and against.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

He Was Right

for Charles Bukowski


He was right

about one thing:

He had to write

not because he was so good

but because the rest 

were so bad -

and that was before 

smartphones

that tell us

what we want to hear 

all the time,

study us

like rats in a maze, plus

stimulate us

reward us

with digital kibble

for every dumb idea 

in our heads

every prejudice 

in our hearts

and we can't get enough

of ourselves 

so we engorge

until we die, fat

stupid and twisted

as the smiles 

on our faces.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Weather

What's the weather

like today

she asked.

I said

let me check

my phone.