AN UNSEEN FRIEND

An itch you cannot bear

An itch you can’t repair

It tortures you at night

The day is just not right

 

Where did my spirit fly

Did my spirit die

I know no reason why

I never told her a lie

 

Please come back in some form

I am so forlorn

I’ll make it up to you

I’ll be your pawnshop Jew

 

The Quest is so obscure

There really is no cure

For the shadow flaw

For the animal in the raw

 

You’ve been an unseen friend

I will love you to the end

Of my voyage on this earth

For whatever it is worth

 

In a moment before dawn

I will find your finger on

A word that must be said

Whether black or red

 

The future is so certain

I stand behind this curtain

With no definite views

I pick up nobody’s cues

 

Am I right or wrong

Am I playing the wrong song

Did I fall into a well

Will I ever get out of hell

 

I have no time to spare

For what I cannot bear

My days are getting few

My voice is ringing true

 

I’m so happy I am old

I never do what I am told

I never eat the common dish

Whether salad meat or fish

 

I don’t believe in anyone

I just believe in One

A jewel before my eye

I see you and I cry

 

You play the utmost Melody

From your branch in the tree

One two and three

Into the heart of me

 

My Muse come back to stay

I can’t bear another day

To be apart from You

When I never know what’s true

APART NOT APART

In the bland wave of a sunny summer afternoon

I found my way,

An opening to happiness.

It amounted to acceptance

That she is a fact

And I am a fact

That we are separate and

That this is not negotiable.

We are true to our own DNA.

We come together in moments

In between the clouds in

A union so solid

That we know our love is real,

Then each go our own way

To face the murky reflections

In our mirrors.

A SORT OF MARRIED COUPLE

I try to picture us on beds,

you on a bed of roses

me on a bed of nails.

Still, we are here together as before and

before that,

a sort of married couple

who live at separate addresses

and meet for dinner and snacks.

I drink liquor and you plan my heart attack.

I have problems and you have nerve attacks.

What a pair, what a team

we present!

Even if we live in different worlds

until we have to pay a bill.

I feel good knowing you’re well,

You feel good when you give me hell.

Then I go into action mode,

I have a new knife, you know.

All is settled in a minute, though.

And we come together as lovers should.

We kiss and cuddle on the rug,                                         

And you plan tomorrow,

I just shrug.

But we are more alike than different, you know.

We were brother and sister in another life.

We toiled the ground and lived on a farm.

We made friends with lots of breeds.

In Italy, everyone has peculiar needs.

But back to now in 2021.

Our love is strong and tough.

We are old, but we give enough.

You are still lovely.

A mask of the sun,

your light is strong.

I wear dark glasses and hope I’m not wrong.

FOUND AND LOST

Angel heart, I start to miss you.

You used to be so light and free.

You walked among trees

and lived on a hill.

You abided by the Law,

the one you discovered

a long time ago in the summer.

There was the girl,                                       

the one with whom you glided along

In the Laurentian air holding hands.

You saw a future in each other’s eyes,

one in which you took the

Path to Enlightenment together.

The world was easy to comprehend:

Famine Disease Misfortune,

there was a reason baked into the horror.

All the while you laughed and made love

and made light of everything.

Playing Jesus,

everyone was a brother.

You walked on air

until the winds shifted

and the snarling face of reality pushed

a hand thru to rip out

the person you had become.

You parted with the girl

with not as much as a kiss goodbye.

And then another you emerged, a darker you,

a heavier you, more cumbersome and questioning.

The world ceased to make sense.

From then it was drinks and drugs and prolonged

loneliness.

There was no going back, it seemed.

Angel heart,

I can’t situate myself to absorb you again,

to bring you back to me,

to see thru your eyes.

Love exists

but innocence is not available.

I am hungry and in pieces

but I remember.

THINKING ON BUKOWSKI

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Bukowski

I’m not as bad as I think I am, and

I’m not as good as I want to be.

I don’t think you’re that good either,

Actually,

Though people love you

 Even as you scorn them,

Revere your sickness

And you secretly don’t believe

They do.

And I keep coming back

To your poetry

Wondering what all the fuss is about,

Wanting to appreciate the magic

I think I’m missing,

And see sleight of hand instead.

Shaking my head, I put the book down

And I say to myself that

A drunk 10 year- old could have written that,

And I feel jealous of this 10 year-old.

Your words don’t touch me, old man.

I can appreciate your naked cynicism,

I’m a cynic too,

But I get hate for being one and

You get accolades for it.

I’ll keep going my own way

Hoping maybe something will turn over.

And I guess, if I’m being honest, believe

We will meet in a bad dream one night

And have it out.

ORDINARY GERMANS

Why ordinary Germans became killers

During the Holocaust is something

I have thought about.

There are books on the subject.

There are a number of reasons.

There are probably as many reasons

 as there were killers.

What is certain is it takes a certain mindset

To be capable of murdering indiscriminately

Humans you don’t know, have never seen,

Have nothing personal against.

Yes, there was a process of brainwashing,

But one does not brainwash an adult quite

That easily.

One does not excise the emotions and conscience

Of adults to this degree in such a short time.

Everyone knows one must demonize

The victims,

It happens in all wars, always has.

Except that the ordinary German killers managed to murder

Large numbers of humans up close, often face to face, often

mothers and fathers holding their infants, any of whom were

Never a threat to them personally.

That requires a true lapse of empathy.

What could they have been thinking, feeling, seeing

When they looked later at their own children?

It has been shown that empathy is inborn, those who

Lose it become aliens, sociopaths.

Are we to believe that ordinary Germans were either of these?

Are we to believe they were robots?

Are we to believe that we would not be capable of these same acts?

TO ANTHONY BOURDAIN

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Bourdain

He made us laugh

He drew us in

He left his imprint

On our screen

And then he was gone

One day

By his own hand

One early summer day

In a French hotel

Anthony Tony

Chef and seeker

Bringing love

And food

From disparate

Locations

Into our lives

We miss those CNN

Evenings

Those recipes

For brotherhood

With cultures

Around the globe

Those sparkling dishes

And easy conversations

You had a rare talent

For empathy that

Broadcast to viewers

What tragedy

That you end this way

Who might have

 Seen it coming

We hope you are in

A better place Anthony

Rest in peace

Friend

THE TRUTH ABOUT AGE

This is a sign of old age:

It is a sense that you have

Seen it all before. There is

Nothing new under the sun.

The repetition freezes you.

But, of course, this is all bullshit.

You know this to be true. Yet

You may cling to that false message.

What you need is adventure,

Which may be had even sitting

In one place. Each moment is actually

Brand new and there is no such thing

As age.

HATE CRIMES

Hate is

Love is

Many hate hate

Many love to hate

Many more love

Is hate an absence?

Perhaps it is a force

Equal to love,

Or greater.

It elevates those who hate,

It consolidates them.

Their muscular spirits

Laser in over a target

And act.

It matters not who or what

But that it be destroyed,

And to no end

Other than the act,

The one.

And what results

Is cried over

But not understood.

Do we hate the hater?

We do,

Which causes more hate.

Hate is as old as the earth

Itself. It is survival,

Dominace,

No one will destroy it

No one will change it.

It is

Everything man stands for.

HUNGER INDICATES LACK

Hunger indicates lack.

Hunger for anything, really,

Tells us we are incomplete,

 

 Our anxiety requires some state

 In order to be at ease.

 

This constant

Unease is the root of invention,

The cause of civilization.

 

 But humans hunger

 For what result?

 

Temporary satisfaction

And then on to the next

Quest.

 

And so it goes in constant

momentary aspiration-frustration.

 

Religion assuages some

Love can too.

Yet the heart of this matter

Is even more mysterious:

 

We hunger to cast off

Our human form,

To become

Someone else, something else.

 

Transformation is the end game.

We are sick of being human,

We have exhausted our possibilities.

WHAT HAPPENS AT NIGHT

What comes up from the depths Is not invited.

The cold hard facts from the ocean’s floor arrive

as a host of information

like gate crashers at a  wedding

to remind the bride and groom

that sores fester beneath their fine clothes,

 

and secrets linger in dusty hallways,

bones  decomposed  in some forgotten room

undisturbed by sunlight.

 

This pale hand of guilt operates to tweak the

functioning machinery of day

so that

We are laid bare and picked apart,

 subjected to voices speaking in bewildering tongues.

 

The faces of night reflect in mirrors manipulated by

an insane projectionist, a sort of god of randomness

 

And

If there once was a whole man he has been  splintered into shards

swirling in flux under our lids.

We have slipped from brave front to the helplessness

of the dead.

 

The night examines  wounds,

 packages of grief  pulled from corners and dragged to centre stage

 that may set hearts thudding and terror to spring.

 

There is no armour strong enough to protect us

from ourselves .

THE FIRST DRINK OF THE EVENING

Margarita,

Your 4 syllables thrill, they chill me.

You are a celebration,

 a marching band down my throat.

Your lips, satisfyingly salty,

Then comes the squash of lime

Joined by a sweet liqueur.

They dance deliciously

To the overall

Tune of the agave,

Oh, agave!

Blue agave

Desert notes that brace.

I can finally breathe.

Margarita,

You are always fidele,

I am never put off.

You settle me

I need more, more of your cold love,

My dear.

I must trick out fresh cubes.

Second rounds, please.

THEN WHAT?

The grim spring of my old age

April May is a time to be born and

I sit there like a plant expecting the sun to shine

in the rain..

Where to find comfort in this world? My mother

died long ago. I should dig her up. I should

hold her close. I remember the comfort I

felt on her lap driving down the street, cars splashing us.

 Maybe if I still smoked cigarettes. The first drag

and I was a baby again. Just thinking about

it made me start to cough.

 

Maybe comfort is too much to ask.

You would have to be on a permanent drug-high

for that.  Then what? I should become religious

and put it into Jesus’s  hand. Let Him do the

heavy lifting.

What I need is a job where I can help people. Help

them what? Be as dissatisfied as I am? I am hardly

a model for others. I resign.

 

 I am looking outward, which always

causes glare.  I am going to have to look inward.

 

There is no home inside. All the rooms are vacant, dusty,

the smell of old paint, the wind thru broken windows

blowing newspapers around, hinges creaking.

It is like listening to a baby crying without stop for something.

Just need blaring away like a siren. And there is no answer.

Nobody is home. Nobody gives a shit.

The baby will eventually stop crying.

Then what?

 

At my age (72 and a half), there isn’t much room for the future.

Whoever thought I would get to half that number?  

I should be grateful for a full and pain-filled life.

But here I am complaining. I do that well.

I can complain about anything at any hour.

I highly recommend it. It is rather cleansing.

 

EICHMANN and SHAVING

 

I realized today

that I am a mass murderer,

that I have been for a long while,

and that I am good at it.

I realized this while I was

in the shower shaving.

It came to me

that I have been killing

my hair stubble,

not letting them live

for more than three

days in a row,

then slaughtering them

with my blade.

 

The aspect that I understood

most acutely

and most alarmingly

is that I do my best

to kill every one of them,

not allowing any to get away,

to live.
feeling upset if they do.

 

Am I,

I ask this dispassionately,

the Adolph Eichmann

of stubble killers?

Would I be as passionate

about doing away with humans?

 

The fact that I am so meticulous

in my task

and feel so glad

when the task is over

and I can touch my smooth skin.

A job well done!

Might I feel the same sense of gratification

after regarding a full shove into the gas chamber?

 

The difference between the two

set of circumstances

Is that I can remember

that the stubble will reappear

in a few days

and I will have to kill them

once again, will have the pleasure

of killing them with an even sharper blade.

 

Did Adolph ever wonder whether

his victims would reappear some day?

I think he might have.

BOTH EYES SEE

Will anything make me want to write this

A third rate writer in a shapeless game

Old weathered forms abound in glee

Walls thick and determined

Around me

My solitary eye is sown with stitches

Of a life well spent

 In constipated weariness

And the present black appears

As heaven sent and repugnant

My dreams take flight every night

In a whirl of penny arcades

That make the morning knife

Strike

In utter mere senselessness

Yet what does the other eye reveal

What is known about what is real

Is that I have lived and learned from you

To know love and know love

Is true

I USED TO BELIEVE

I used to believe.

I used to believe when I looked something in the eye I believed it,

I believed it was so. I trusted other things, people.

I was young and needed to believe in the other.

Now that I am old I don’t need to believe anything, not even myself.

Everything has its worth, even lies, and nobody knows what the truth of anything is anyway, so lies are the only things we may go by.

Choose your truth, but never believe it.

I know there are things that choose us, but in the end they disappear.

Nothing survives.

This may or may not be true.

I AM BLACK

I eat on black plates

I eat black food on black plates

I drink black tea in black cups

The sun shines black on me, too.

 

Black sucks in light,

meaning it contains light.

I am the Real Light, it says,

the hard shapes you see in day

disappear at night,

I own them.

 

Black is the color of sleep.

We rest in black

if black so desires,

or

black wields a whip

to keep us out,

starve us from our dreams.

 

While other colors strike poses,

play party games,

black remains serene

like an unruffled butler.

Distinguished

Absolute

A master of circumstance,

black rules quietly.

 

Black is jazz,

a burning saxophone on

the summer pavement,

slow drinks,

sex, easy and long.

 

Black is the dislocated,

sirens blaring to upset

delicate ears,

Police bullets spray,

the city is turned into

a trauma unit.

 

No,

don’t mess with black,

because black has been here

even longer than truth.

She is the Great Mother,

Africa,

the earth

that can swallow you.

 

So,

rise now,

and raise your glass to black,

in Coca Cola or in Russians.

And, remember,

everything goes with black,

it’s a well known custom.

 

SAYING GOODBYE

I wait for the summons.

When it arrives I comply

and enter the chapel.

I sit like a king removed

listening to the thin silence

draw me back into the

mysteries, and wonder

what artwork to expect fashioned

this day by the devil’s mouth,

what shapes will the body of

the snake take, whether pointed

or curved like punctuation, or rather

coiled almost seamlessly into an O.

I don’t know.

Death’s needs hold sway,

its odors must speak sweet

and fill up the air as in a stable

or a house of ill-repute.

My back arches like The Thinker,

elbows grinding into tops of thighs.

The light is weak.

Then I jut vertical to open

to give the babies passage

and kick back.

They rush to oblige, creating

a symphony, besides, dropping

plop plop into the drink.

I think, that is enough.

But no, wait, I was wrong,

another comes along to

join the song.

And yet another follows.

Oh, my! I sigh, I must’ve had too

much for dinner.

One day, I vow, I will be thinner.

At least, I’m lighter.

And now the party’s over.

Time to tidy up.

That’s less fun but has to be done.

Scroll down.

The white pages, the tugs and pinches,

the moustache all coated.

Fingers probe, scoop up the soil,

acknowledge it’s the wet season.

How much to stem the flood? This

is becoming drudgery! Pad after pad.

But look how bright we’re getting!

Maybe another roll will do it.

Finally, yes, here it is: unblemished. Pristine.

Not a hint of muck. Good as new.

I stand. Roll up. Buckle tight. Proudly,

focusing down, I lean on the handle,

and with sadness, wave my goodbyes.