Well Godfrey, ask and ye shall receive! Sorry if I have been awol. Glad to see that Record still rolls along. I think James D. Ardis shows some good promise. Anyways, the last couple of months have been busy with re-orienting my life around and working at summer camp. Nevertheless, here are some poems for your enjoyment and consideration. Hope all is well, - Ben
In the End is the Word Our passion sets up apart
With a light that goes on and off
In its own way and pace,
We recognize ourselves as we rise,
Touch the floor with our feet
And head off into the day,
Each made whole by a destination
That does not overlap with any other,
Though the paths might collide.
God is another name for our desire,
And the idol reflects back to us,
We celebrate it and pray to no other,
In time we leave all churches
Close all the holy books
In order to turn the world our own way
Upside down with us on top,
And as each of us takes to such cycles,
We have loves, no enemies,
The idols are real and all else is an illusion,
There are only obstacles in holding each other,
Our passion sets us apart.
I became used to the new shapes
That she made in the bed quite easily,
Even when they changed with breathing.
Now the sheets are flat and seem
To go on forever, I remember
The way she would block the moonlight
And the moonlight now flows
All over me and I am drowning,
That feeling was never there before.
Her perfume never smothered,
Never filled my throat or lungs,
It reached my heart and mind first
Before taking time to travel and circulate,
It gave me clouds that I alone
Could sense on otherwise clear days.
Now I roll up towards her again,
Can she hear my breathing?
Has she been remembering my arms at night?
I have been her perfect tourist,
Making a souvenir of everything given,
Even the bites and cuts.
One certainty, I have been missing her,
The question is in other bosom,
Will she ever miss not seeing me?
The floor was too hard,
Perhaps under it was better,
Sleeping with the pipes and rats,
But I had a sponge put out
And slept on the division bar,
Thinking of myself as a remainder.
The sponge was hard too,
It was trying to flatter the floor,
I tried to make a field of sheets,
Where I would be held up
On a small patch of thin ice.
Of course it was too cold
And I felt like I had slipped,
I imagined my pillow was a cloud
Raining on everything below me,
It drew the lids down well
And laced the lashes shut.
The Age Demands It
If this is a iron age, so be it,
A golden age shines,
But bends too easily for descendents,
It never breaks and is rubbed thin,
A silver age stretches time
Into a lake to sit and glitter,
But it tarnishes and causes insanity,
Carrying lead under its skin,
A bronze age is a stronger imitation
Of the golden, but an iron age
Will give us something heavy,
Something useful for swords and ploughs.
Index of First Lines
A cold coming we had of it,
After the torchlight, red on sweaty faces,
Although I do not hope to turn again
Among the smoke and fog
Of a December afternoon.
Midwinter spring is its own season.
Here the crow starves
The songsters of the air repair,
The winter evening settles down.
The eagle soars in the summit of heaven,
There are those who would build the temple,
Let us go then, you and I
We are the hollow men.
A More Perfect Union
The earth is not perfect,
Not as a flat circle making
Euclid and Pythagoras giddy,
Or a sphere that spins,
It bulges at the middle
Like us in old age,
And why should it not,
It’s got billions of candles
Still left to blow from so many birthdays,
Attended by a family of planets
Growing distant every year.
It does not even travel
In perfect circles, it does not move
As Ptolemy and Aristotle
Tried to choreograph it,
It does not stay still, silent
Firmly grounded, because
It is the ground itself, it had nothing
To reach out and hold onto,
The thing comes back to where it started,
But wobbles in an oval, drunk
On the gravity of the sun.
Everyday perfection is a dull joy,
Bright for a moment, colors
And shapes too well defined
Begin to melt us, break us down,
We feel apart from the earth,
And disgusted with ourselves,
We cannot have such white teeth,
Happy families, clean bathrooms,
The world we make was imperfect,
Off-center, poorly defined, the edges
Blending into one another, the horizon
The only straight line to worry about.
Dreams are now our approachable reality,
The waking life is a mirror,
Reversed, imperfect, a shadow
Of a Platonic realm, the veil
Has fallen, with curtains not far behind,
What was always present, always real,
The stench and the grind,
Is now the treasured thing, the exotic,
The vanguard and the avant-garde
Lead us back to the cave.
The perfect things I store
In a menagerie between my ears,
On a shelf with the straightest lines
I’ve ever seen, I take them out
When the day is rough, when
The wobble is too much,
Or the spin too fast, when
I want the oval to drag us into Mars,
Then will be the time for perfect things.
A Narrative Maybe
Let your envy perfect you,
That flame inside, make it
Brighter, and burn away
Those impurities, that heaviness
That kept you down.
They spend too much time
Waiting for chemicals,
Elements are slow to react
With words placed on tables,
There is antidote, because
There is no poison, all life
When I sit and admire you
Across the room, don’t
Take that as a compliment,
You had nothing to do
With that nose, those lips,
(I look around the piercings,
My eyes are not magnets.)
I don’t understand, we’re right,
We made love, I think,
And I tried to sell what came out,
Don’t look ashamed, you asked
For ten percent, but the merchants
Were picky, their dollars smell
Like vinegar, they want to keep
Digits constant as their fingers shake.
Sorry it’s blue,
My chemical companions,
Do not mourn the loss
Is always finishing your sentences
No one writes alone.