A collection of 140 poems by Ron Kozloff is featured in Edge of Humanity magazine.
Writer and Director
A collection of 140 poems by Ron Kozloff is featured in Edge of Humanity magazine.
Celebrity figures invade the dream lives in the dullness of us, incoming from WIFI zones and boredom channels. The slick images of glamour lay claim to our delicate private spaces, our individual inner worlds, lodging there like squatters, spreading the virus of appearances. The gleam of the celebrity figure is what used to be the bauble in the child’s hand that fascinated and then was relinquished. What the child has discarded, the adult now absorbs through the media, marketed by the celebrity and their environment. There must be a constant bombardment in order for the celebrity to be successful in their quest, which is desirability. It is important that the child’s mind in the adult remain engaged. The celebrity is salesperson as well as product, which ultimately serves to establish the sanctity of the system of the marketplace and the vaunted appraisal of its goods.
When I speak of my heart
I describe a
Factory after hours. Light from
Illuminates the dust
On the machinery
and faces, like rags,
lay scattered throughout,
ghosts of family, friends, lovers,
Each one is given is their due
and passed over.
In this room, the temperature
Remains tepid, static.
A placid, windless vacuum occupies
Is this a comfort zone or a cell on
Is it the bottom of the night where
We hide from blood, from fire, an
Asylum from the living
We are beside ourselves or behind,
in a perpetual, pervasive
There are wars to be fought,
Children to be protected,
Skin to be investigated
All outside the
purview of this room.
Yes, outside, far away,
I can see it all too clearly.
My heart is a room.
I have no use for certain rooms.
The way November falls on you like a bleak vision,
The way November rolls over you like a bone crushing incident
The way November empties you like a vampiric spirit.
November dances toward the precipice with gloom.
I love all her dead children blowing away in the wind,
such loveliness waving goodbye, opening the door
to the frozen heart of winter.
Blanket me in white.
Let me sleep a thousand years in your vault.
I am the sexy beast,
a sad clown
the constant wall
of repetitive repetition.
I’m a house in Missoula Montana
my pink in recline.
My mailbox is clogged,
My friends are nowhere to be found.
What to wear to my tragedy?
The young girl’s cheek is hot,
I can’t even find her jacket in my closet,
I thought the worst, that I would forget it.
Skull folks always fear public perception,
I donate earplugs, the virginal haircut to them.
Horizontal hunters number their disappointments,
Under the lamp, a matchbook coffin.
Actors on a lawn asked questions
They have no answers for.
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.
Waiting is like dying
Each moment steps away
Into a tomb
Never to return
Even in memory
Just a facsimile
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…
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.
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.
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
There was no going back, it seemed.
I can’t situate myself to absorb you again,
to bring you back to me,
to see thru your eyes.
but innocence is not available.
I am hungry and in pieces
but I remember.
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.
While having lunch
At a delightful patio
I noticed beside me
A little birdy walking the ground
Searching for handouts.
Unfortunately, I had none to offer.
This bird suggested to me this situation
May be reversed one day.
I tried to make a sculpture of you,
Cutting away bit by bit
From the stone
Until you were not there.
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
One does not excise the emotions and conscience
Of adults to this degree in such a short time.
Everyone knows one must demonize
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?
Many hate hate
Many love to hate
Many more love
Is hate an absence?
Perhaps it is a force
Equal to love,
It elevates those who hate,
It consolidates them.
Their muscular spirits
Laser in over a target
It matters not who or what
But that it be destroyed,
And to no end
Other than the act,
And what results
Is cried over
But not understood.
Do we hate the hater?
Which causes more hate.
Hate is as old as the earth
Itself. It is survival,
No one will destroy it
No one will change it.
Everything man stands for.
Hunger indicates lack.
Hunger for anything, really,
Tells us we are incomplete,
Our anxiety requires some state
In order to be at ease.
Unease is the root of invention,
The cause of civilization.
But humans hunger
For what result?
And then on to the next
And so it goes in constant
Religion assuages some
Love can too.
Yet the heart of this matter
Is even more mysterious:
We hunger to cast off
Our human form,
Someone else, something else.
Transformation is the end game.
We are sick of being human,
We have exhausted our possibilities.
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
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.
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.
He sings like a demon on fire
He moves like a wildcat in heat
When he stands still he can even make the women weep
So give reign to your pain and your anger
Get up and throw off your blues
Get a monkey to befriend you
You’re right to say you’ve paid your dues
I don’t remember the man I used to be
Now I’m tired but I’m nearly free
I never look in the mirror
I don’t even want to see
Something coming up around the corner
Get a jump on me
Yes I can feel it in my ears
All I can say is I don’t want it to be
Something more than a tragedy
To all my friends in a tree
Singing your songs for me
You give me heart you bring me ecstasy
I want to be inspired
But inspiration hides under a pile of soiled clothes.
I want to be in demand
But I’m not the man I used to be.
I want to be completely me
But I don’t know where I permanently stand on anything.
I want to do what I’ve forgotten to do
But I can’t remember what that is.
I want to be on a tropical twist with A.
But she has her obligations.
I want to get back all the wasted time
But it’s time I stopped trying to do that.
I want to be free
But from what and for what?
I want to be able to love unconditionally
Everyone everything even myself.
I want to want something,
I mean really want like I’m on fire for it.
Despite these wishes, I’m a reasonably happy person,
Which I don’t ascribe to all the drinks and dope.
The wide blanket that covers it all,
I have a heart for you.
The dream has always been
to ride the skin that is your game,
The sad markings thrown away.
In any climate I make a vow:
I will not change my quest for you,
Your lullabies that bring on sleep.
I leave my gift at your doorstep.
I have no more appetite for loss.
This pales before your promises,
The great defeat of unhappiness
That trails along a cool white sheet
With whispers down an avenue.
Between your pear-like breasts
I lay my head
I lay aside my childish scorn
In you I will be torn
Outside of time and flesh,
An exquisite Nothingness.
You are always there
In the glare and in the dream.
From your constant womb of white
The perfect crown of a perfect life
You beckon to watery steps
With an air of indifference,
Or down into the arms of earth
Where we relinquish our flimsy truths
Of the noises that were us
The stances and the spasms spent
You open your legs to this.
It is your fragrance that overcomes
In the dream I have seen
Your lipstick is reminiscent:
I am afraid.
Outside of myself I watch myself
In my drugged state
Tethered to another life,
A weaker life,
You fade, removed page by page.
Over oceans of time,
I am clear
It is another day:
I watch the sun rise.
Finger friends, your shapes inspire me
To write an opera
About how you have made
My life a dot easier.
But I won’t because
You are just
Crumpled up paper
Between my fingers.