New Reality

Sometimes I forget that my brother killed himself, when I suddenly remember the new reality.

 

New Reality

 

sitting alone

at home listening to

a jazz trio new to me,

the pianist

reimagining

“blue skies,”

the drummer

pulsing, pushing

with the chords,

the bassist

plucking, playing off

the pianist,

the trio creating

cool beauty,

so I reach for the phone

to share

this discovery with you

then suddenly

I remember

your suicide.

 

 

 

After Your Sudden Departure…

My youngest brother committed suicide not too long ago, and I’m still trying to absorb what happened. Sometimes I feel sad. Sometimes I feel angry (please reference the poem I posted earlier “Now That It Has Seeped Into Us,”)  although I  find my anger dissipating. Sometimes I feel lonely (please reference the next posting). Sometimes I feel as if I need bitter humor: 

 

After Your Sudden Departure…

 

I dreamed you drove your hot-fast Fiat into Hades,

blasted past the toll booth over the new bridge,

where boat-keeper Charon shook his bony fists

as your turbos howled over the River Styx,

 

then you stomped the gas when spotting Cereberus

the gate-keeper, its three dog-monster heads

snapping too late as you sped beneath its gut,

to where the damned suicides drift, in Hell’s seventh ring.

 

Then you just had to disturb the shades’ self-pity

throwing the Fiat into a power-slide,

when Dante did then admire the color of your car:

of blood and Ferraris and open scars.

 

Commentary, Political

The Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court a few years back still infuriates because its effects keep impacting our lives.

 

Commentary, Poetical

 

So five Supreme Lords of the branch, judicial,

declared that corporations should have the same rights,

political, as a human, individual, and that since donating money

is a form of free speech, metaphorical,

this is a right, constitutional, which cannot be denied

to said groups, institutional. But to suggest that corporations,

that solely exist to profit, that evade taxes

on those profits, that pay the lowest wages, possible,

to the rank and file while paying wages, colossal,

to executives, often irresponsible, even unethical,

to rule that these institutions, which send our jobs

to foreign countries, are entitled to the same rights

as citizens, individual, seems a classic example of

activism, judicial, and of logic, unfathomable.

For corporations are “birthed”  by lawyers filing papers.

Corporations do not breathe,

get hungry, fall in love, do not, themselves,

bear children, except in ways metaphorical,

and do not worship anything but gains, quarterial.

Thus to grant them first amendment rights seems an INjustice,

undeniable, giving them even more power over us.

And to regard the paying of money, which we people do,

to keep the water flowing, the lights on, the house warm,

the doctor paid, the bank satisfied, the tithes made,

the indigent fed, the tuition paid, the tuition loans paid,

the loans that help to pay the tuition loans paid,

to, again, regard the paying of money as a type of free “speech,”

takes the adjective, “conservative,” upends it,

requiring “lawyer-logic” to defend it.

 

 

 

 

Man Communicating

Last night my wife and I saw a woman lecturing on TV about how women simply have so many more words than men. Evidently, it’s another of our many failings. And she’s right. Part of what I attempt in the next poem is show the sorts of fears we men try to hide, and how much we lose because of our inability to say what is to happening us.

 

Man Communicating

 

Holding my bruised ribs

       wounded hero

a back stiff and god damned sore

       aging

I hobble with you in the dark to the hot tub

       feeble

and stub my freakin’ toe

       unathletic

against a protruding pipe and then

       ungraceful

jump around like a maniac

       unmanly

hit my head against a hanging basket

       laughable

which propels me beyond reason

 

to tear the son of a bitch

off the hook       throw it over

the hot tub       to see

dirt from the basket

dump into the spa

which just this week

you had cleaned and refilled.

 

You walk back into the house

informing me in measured words,

averting your eyes,

you feel it best for me

to be alone for a while:

 

better than I deserve

but the last thing I want

hoping that you would

       so help me

read between my lines.

 

.

Paris Girls

After our visit to Alsace we stayed a week in Paris. It’s a beautiful city, for the most part, but we noticed again the tensions between cultures and religions. The 2015 attack on Paris revealed a complicated history with tensions still unresolved.

 

Paris Girls…

 

wrap scarves

over their heads,

beg in front of

Notre Dame.

 

Our Mother,

take pity on these

poor Muslim girls

whose long drab dresses

reveal just their soles –

seemingly without

fathers or brothers

as the girls

shake down tourists.

 

“Do you speak English?”

they ask.

 

Or they clean windshields

from traffic islands,

where I see a driver scream at two

of the girls,

his face red with hate.

 

And yet, I confess, I never

drop a coin

into a beggar’s cup.

 

From Colmar to Paris

 

 

 

alsace - 1.jpg

 

 

A few years ago my wife and I visited the Alsace region in France, a beautiful area with small towns and charming villages. One day we drove to Siglosheim and up the hill above the town to find a big cemetery containing the remains of 1,400 allied troops that died in the Battle of the Colmar Pocket, one of the bloodiest in World War II. Even though it was a sparkling, bright autumn day, we felt the tragedy the place represents. I went away struck by how the French had organized the graves according to religion. I thought of this cemetery after hearing about the attacks on Paris earlier this year.

 

From Colmar to Paris

In the Battle of the Colmar Pocket

French Resistance,

American G.I.’s, and

Moroccan Mountain Troops fought

three months in bitter cold to

cleanse France of the Nazis,

drive them across the Rhine.

 

All this unimaginable now, looking down

from the Siglosheim cemetery

toward Colmar and other towns with their

schools, churches and bakeries bordered by

golden vineyards glowing in autumn sun,

but vineyards planted in soil darkened

by the blood of thousands.

 

The French, ever seeking symmetry of design,

segregated even the graves: in the middle,

headstones of Christians and a few Jews,

flanked by two sections, just for Muslims.

 

Still in Paris:

the Christians, the Jews,

the Muslims, the Nazis,

in Paris still…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Surround Her Bed,…

If you are male in a family that cannot communicate with each other about feelings, how do you react in emotionally charged situations?

 

We surround her bed,…

 

her dignity somehow stronger

for her immobility:

silent as she waits for death.

So we sons, grandsons,

tell jokes and laugh

with large voices,

anxious, desperate even

to vent the pressure in that room,

filling it with laughter that

splashes over the beds and tables,

the bottles of oxygen,

the inevitable vinyl chairs,

drowning the incessant TV,

then escaping the room,

spilling down the hallway,

rousing the patients

propped up in their wheelchairs,

chins on their chests,

surprising the aides who earn

back aches for minimum wage.

Then our laughter stops.

We feel embarrassed.

We feel awkwardly large,

inadequate,

we men

who cannot save

our mother.