MIRROR

Actors on a lawn asked  questions

They have no answers for.

 Blanks,

 Their next part has not yet been written

 Their past ones nearly forgotten,

And when and why a tangle of chaos to them.

The audience cheers.

They are a known quantity.

 They are in fact every part they have ever played.

 

Does the mirror ever stop reflecting?

And when there is no image what does

The mirror become?

I am because I know you see me

Without you I don’t exist.

But do you lie?

Yes, you do

Because you are a cheap mirror.

AUTUMNAL BLUES

And, yes

Around us everywhere

The golden note

Autumnal glory, as you please,

Messaging the possibility

That ease may arrive

All dressed up as Sunday.

 

I lay in wait for Godot

With the same stumbling quality

With no ideology

No compass, no certainty,

All the spiderwebs that lead me here

That left me here bereft

The question marks looming

The leaves used up

The casual way they spread.

 

Perhaps I am dead

Like them

I had a home once

Where I belonged,

Now on my own I beg

Something miraculous must come

Yes, like the glory around us suggests

We are something other than

Appearance dictates

And presses so hard against

 

The thin film to

Evanescence and escape

Only motion and peace

And no suffering in the end

There is so much time to contend

And I am so tired of calling for

Something

Something

I don’t even know

What anymore.

LOVE THE INSANE

Love the insane

They sleep in a garden of fire

Their dreams are as alive as gold

They speak in foreign tongues

And drink the music of the spheres

 

Love the insane

As they pass you in the street

And touch you with a killer’s glance

Their rags represent perfect pictures of what

You are in fact

 

Bless the insane

They carry your pain on their backs

They know things that you only suspect

Their wisdom is as old as the earth itself

 

Your food does not sustain them

Your jobs do not pay them well

They house an army of men in their bones

Shattered glass is their home

 

When you look into their eyes hold their gaze

Let the child in you escape

And touch a place

That may not even exist

 

Don’t put on your face

You are a dream to them

A body and a hand

Gracefully let it all expand

 

Love the insane

Let your cold heart fill with a furnace of blood

And

Be grateful

Be still

THE MAN WITH NO VOICE

What can we say to the man with no voice? We hear you still, your nagging, coughing ways, your hunchback array of fineries. Your wild eyes and ambition crippled in the bud. You sound beyond the hypnotic mass of mediocrities. You reach the crux of our half yearnings. You investigate the caverns of out sheltered hearts. You are the voiceless voice that captures us in our sleepy wanderings. Hail to the underground pulse!

A SILENT SCREAM

Waiting is like dying

 Each moment steps away

 Into a tomb

 Never to return

 Even in memory

 Just a facsimile

 If that,

 While we labour on

 In existential uncertainty.

Awareness of this brings on

A silent scream:

 

Am I these exposed nerve endings

Am I this plodding mass

Am I this prisoner of false memories,

Or, actually, none of these?

 

I hope I deserve some sort of something.

Even if I have only fumbled

Lame attempts at this Game

All my long lifetime,

(or, all my lame lifetime this Game fumbled)

 

I have tried.

 

Even a taste,

A whisper in the wind…

BLACK – an homage to Beaudelaire

I turn my back on black

I exclude her from my home

She has been trouble from the start

She has ruined a good man’s heart

 

She came to me long ago

Who she was I did not know

What she promised me was nice

 Then led me on a trail of vice

 

That took me to a land of woe

I gave up everything to her

Desires dark and terrible

Caused decency to crumble

 

I turned on love’s sweet side

It never had a chance

Hatred was a constant whip

Black held in her grip

 

I crawled over broken glass to her

To the jungle where she lived

I transformed into a predator

I killed and maimed for her

 

Every prize I sacrificed

Took me further from myself

I had a wife who waited for me

What I was I could not be

 

Was this man a monster

It seemed so in the mirror

Despicable and deformed

Into black’s visible creature

 

That turmoil within me

 Finally broke me to the bone

Armies of confusion

 Against ultimate reason

 

Then one day I woke from this dream

That black had sent to me

She knows my mailing address

Will I ever be free

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

THE MORE I EAT THE HUNGRIER I GET

RON’S WISDOM SALON: 

A fictional advice column

Dear Ron,

Are there foods that make you hungrier after you eat them? And If there are, shouldn’t there be warning on the label? There is a pastry (I won’t say which because I don’t want a lawsuit) that I have been eating which  makes me so hungry that right after I finish one I immediately want another one.

This is not right. I eat to get full, and so if this food makes me even hungrier than I was, it stands to reason that I shouldn’t eat it. But- And this is a massive but- I love this food! It is a food which I would choose as a last meal if I were languishing on Death  Row.  When I finish a box of this edible, and I am starving, I feel cheated and I tell myself I will never buy it again. But I do!  Help me, please.

Hungry Hal

Dear Hungry,

You will have to choose. Either eat and be hungry or eat and be full. It does come down to that. Pleasure is what is driving you. This food gives you pleasure but it also causes you pain. Is it worth it? From your tone, I don’t think it is.

Weigh the alternatives. Be a man (if you are a man) and stand up to this pastry! A wise woman  I once met at the  zoo told me that what causes pain hurts more if we have just had pleasure. We suffer by its contrast. It is so simple and so true.

It is like going out with a girl who has real snappy answers and you enjoy her for that, but at the end of the night you realize that she was making a fool of you to everyone at the restaurant. Okay she had a silver tongue, but do you want everyone in the restaurant to laugh at you as if you were the biggest idiot in town?

Well, this pasty is doing that to you. It considers you a jerk and it is right. I am certain that it is telling all the other pastries in the box, “Look at this guy. He is going to eat us and HE WON’T EVEN GET FULL!” And they are LOLing at you.

Eat something that is more boring but ultimately more nourishing as well. A hunk of cheese or a salami pole that sticks to your insides and gives you a firm output the next day. Brush off the pastries. Demanding labels on the boxes? Unfortunately these never work like they are supposed to. If people read labels, there would be lots more fasting in the world.

This should help. I hope!

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.

I’M A SWEATER, RON

RON’S WISDOM SALON: 

A fictional advice column

Dear Ron,

I notice that you have letters lately that have to do with humidity and I just wanted to add my own. It is something I could never tell anyone, but now I am going to tell it to you: I am a sweater. You read it correct. I sweat, Ron. I am a woman who oozes and I cannot help it. My problem is not only do I sweat – I sweat profusely., and when I do, I stick to things.

For example, I will be passing a table and by accident I touch it with my arm and my arm sticks to the table. It is not fun to have to pull yourself off furniture all the time while everyone around you is enjoying a good glass of lemonade and a couple of rice batons, and they have to put it down and help you to come unglued. It is not a way to keep friends.

And besides, I am a proud person. I don’t like to ask for help. I am made that way. I would like to be able to sweat less. Is there anything I can do about it?

Liquid Nightmare

Dear Liquid,

The first thing I would tell anyone in your position is: Don’t sweat it. The truth is we all sweat, it is a normal, natural, unattractive function of the human body when one is hot or under some kind of stress. It is nothing to be ashamed of.

The fact that you become attached to furniture is obviously a problem. On warm says, I would suggest that you wear lots of clothing to cover you up, say a housecoat or a djaalabba. This will prevent contact with your moist surfaces. Carry a hanky or a sock around with you in case your brow bubbles up. Don’t hold anything in your palm too long as this is a part of the anatomy that likes to get wet first, and stay away from toilet seats.

If you are ever in an emergency and have no one around to  help you sever yourself from an inanimate object, don’t panic.

Wait until nightfall when the heat is dispelled and then calmly back up. Don’t worry about burdening friends and neighbours if these are available. People are surprisingly forthcoming to aid their fellow man (or woman) and it might even prove a bit of a lark for them to dislodge you. Best of luck to you and have a nice, dry summer.

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.

NAUSEA

I felt dizzy today. I never get dizzy, I get nauseous, quite often, in fact. It comes from a place beyond my body, I won’t say my spirit but in that vicinity, and it travels inward and out at the same time. It tells me I might not be living, that part of me, a large part of me, is dead. And I walk around as this semi-corpse as if nothing is wrong and I say all the appropriate things and do all the necessary things even as I feel the need to vomit out disgust, (not despair) closer to rarefied revulsion, on my fellow passengers in our postcard voyage toward doomsday. And then I say why bother, it would just be a waste of fluids. Then I might eat a peach or tickle myself, or get to bed and steel myself against the impending darkness. I don’t have actual nightmares, but instead the dullest dreams imaginable that make me believe hell must be elongated boredom, an eternity of waste, a state of  neither pain nor pleasure nor feelings, and I must in the dream scream to get me out of this place. Of course, nobody hears me, mainly because everyone else is screaming the same thing, all silently in an orchestra of futility. The bars in my dreams are made of paper, yet I can’t leave, for some reason, I cannot relieve my sickness, my nausea. It is as if I were born to it, and I must survive. And always coiled in an anger that I do not discharge. I should have been…I think…I always thought I should have been a killer, maybe for profit, a gangster. a hitman that everyone admired for his smooth delivery. I imagine there must be a sweet cessation of pain at the point of murder for the giver as well as the getter and I could have taken either side enthusiastically. Kill or be killed. I would be comfortable in. Alas, it is too late for that! I am too old to whack anyone. And what follows in this confession? (It is bad form, after all, to inform that one hides a killer’s heart.) Let me add that I could blow away the human race in one breath if incited. I am a human atomic bomb. I should not be trusted with the Nuclear Code. As for this prevailing spiritual desolation, it is apt to inquire into a remedy, no? Is there one? People live with incurable illness all the time and do not resort to violence. It is perhaps a test of machismo that makes me think I can do the same. All manner of disturbance can be regulated to the degree that it is bearable. Most of us inhabit a frontier space between sickness and health. anyway. I might just be entertaining a mild cold as far as spiritual sickness is concerned. I might just get over it, in some future life, perhaps. Suck it up. As they admonish in the military. Am I that weak that I can’t take a spell of spiritual desolation?  Do I have the right to whine as a civilian? Yes, the questions, yes, the recriminations that go on, that never end, that latch onto each other like train cars, with no answers, no solutions, no sense. Until I realize the absurdity, that nothing is answerable, that our lives are made up of only question marks, not even periods, other than death, and the realization makes me laugh and laugh and laugh, and I am still laughing when I have my fatal heart attack.

CHARLIE ROSE INTERVIEWS JULIAN SCHNABEL AND DAVID BOWIE

https://charlierose.com/videos/12092

A man appears at a round table. He is long and wears a jacket tie and shirt. The collar is not the same color as the rest of his shirt, which makes him seem somewhat special. His face reminds one of a horse. He could be a supreme recluse. Another man sits facing him with a bushy head and beard. He is wearing a white shirt open at the neck, revealing a profusion of chest hair. It seems like there is a sad beginning between the two men. It could be dead time because neither of them shows emotion on their face. The man with the bushy chest says that he lives in a pink stable in Manhattan. He tells the other man that he is a painter and filmmaker and just finished a movie about a dead painter. They engage eye to eye seriously. A lot of information seems to pass between them. Their mouths move all the time. Who knows if they like each other or love each other. They don’t seem to be of the same tribe. Next a pop tart appears on the scene. He has hair the color of a carot that sticks up straight as if he is angry. He is very thin and would make a woman worry about him. He smokes a cigarette , but we never know where the ashes are going to land. Nobody seems to worry about it. Everybody takes on happy faces now and chatter abounds. Some important things are said by the thin man, which makes the burly fellow want to fight him. We wonder if burly man will sit on carrot boy and squash him. We don’t want him to because that would stop their conversation, and everybody would become unhappy. It doesn’t happen. Phew! I don’t know if I like these humans or I don’t. Does that make me bad, I wonder.  Will I have to go away and pray. It is not as if I should be called bad. They appeared like a vision on my screen and I looked. Will my eyes be taken from me? Everything went black at the end and disappeared.  I was left shaking my head.

https://charlierose.com/videos/12092

MY T-SHIRTS DON’T LIKE ME

RON’S WISDOM SALON: A fictional advice column

Dear Ron,
I am happy to hear that you have become a fashion consultant. I didn’t think you had it in you. Let me tell you a problem I have with my clothes. I like to wear crew-neck t-shirts. Okay, who doesn’t, right? But I am finding that  when I wear the kind I like, which are the high ones (my curse!) the neckband  eventually begins to curl down, causing me no end of aggravation, and I am always nervous that people are going to judge me for it. Is there any way to keep this from happening? – I mean about the t-shirts.
Too High For Comfort

Dear THFC,

First of all, where do you get off thinking I didn’t have it in me to pass on good fashion advice? I happen to be as natty as they come. if you happen to come from Uzbekistan.
This t-shirt business, though, has got under my skin as well.  Can’t they make a t-shirt that won’t curl down? I mean we have put men on the moon. I have to tell you that if you are a high-neck, t-shirt aficionados, you will have to learn to keep your chin up, because that is what is making this nasty down-curling  come about. Your chin is causing it to fold. You might try using a brace around your neck to prevent this from happening, but I am guessing that you would stick out like a sore thumb if you do, which may make people think you are feeling sorry for yourself. You could always  turn into (if you aren’t one already) a snob and keep your nose up in the air at all times. Good luck.

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