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.
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,
Though people love you
Even as you scorn them,
Revere your sickness
And you secretly don’t believe
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.
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?
He made us laugh
He drew us in
He left his imprint
On our screen
And then he was gone
By his own hand
One early summer day
In a French hotel
Chef and seeker
Into our lives
We miss those CNN
Around the globe
Those sparkling dishes
And easy conversations
You had a rare talent
For empathy that
Broadcast to viewers
That you end this way
Who might have
Seen it coming
We hope you are in
A better place Anthony
Rest in peace
You need to connect with only one person.
If you have affected one person
You have affected the world.
I believe this and need to believe this.
He affected many with his humour
And was killed at the age of 49
By his wife as he slept.
Is God playing a bad joke on him?
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
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.
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
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
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 .
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,
Desert notes that brace.
I can finally breathe.
You are always fidele,
I am never put off.
You settle me
I need more, more of your cold love,
I must trick out fresh cubes.
Second rounds, please.
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.
and the leaves are waving goodbye
to an empty mansion.
What do you cling to on
the way out, you with your blind gaze upward?
There is so little justice in the world that
when it gets cold I put on a second coat of skin,
I paint my teeth white
and try to leave footprints in the snow.
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.
This may or may not be true.
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,
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.
A master of circumstance,
black rules quietly.
Black is jazz,
a burning saxophone on
the summer pavement,
sex, easy and long.
Black is the dislocated,
sirens blaring to upset
Police bullets spray,
the city is turned into
a trauma unit.
don’t mess with black,
because black has been here
even longer than truth.
She is the Great Mother,
that can swallow you.
and raise your glass to black,
in Coca Cola or in Russians.
everything goes with black,
it’s a well known custom.
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.
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.
The feeling of drowning in morning light, cloud power and the dreamy skull, the promise of the blues gone forever. In the blonde blondness of the day, the caramel coated summer passing in a slow motion mirror, the trees cheerful as they sink into a yawn. It is a famous present, whispering seasonal traffic, the angle of a sun-splashed brick wall. A cityscape delirium. I exit my closet, blink orange, and I’m there, Sunday Morning by Lou Reed, and I don’t know what to bring to this last gasp of summer. It is a little like being invited to a beheading. How long will it take, will there be neck tightness, bleeding colours? I don’t know. Nobody knows when it comes to transitions, nobody’s an expert. And I don’t want to know. I prefer my windowpanes vague. I hope we can cut to the chase with a sharp blade, avoiding the tangled up telephones, the exhausting positions, the gum ache. I might be doing something wrong. I wish it were not so.
Everything went dark
The screen eclipsed
I felt for your hand
I couldn’t resist
Your mouth restrains me
Your tone is harsh
I withstand your judgement
I stand apart
These years don’t matter
When you strike that pose
The distance we travel
Leaves us alone
Solitude in the afternoon
The sky wakes up
I wish I could be there
In a slim neat cup
I’m going toward something
The wind at my back
I’ll get somewhere one day
Beyond the pins and the rack
If this means something
If this makes some sense
You‘re in the middle
Of this whole bloody mess
Who is going to keep my ashes
when I go?
Who is going to keep my ashes
on their kitchen table
and think of me