11MAY21

Letters

I found the letters you wrote me years ago

And had to stop for a moment to ponder

Why I would still be holding on to them

And to the memories of times gone by

As I read each letter on its yellowing

Sheet, I tried to imagine you at the very

Moment you wrote them in your pink robe

Sitting alone at your mother's kitchen table

It's funny to think how very close we slept

For all those years; our bedrooms both

Looking out over the alley where we

Talked for hours in the gangway

I know why I've kept your letters

After all these years; it's because we

Were the true embodiment of the love

Only young hearts can truly comprehend

04MAY21

The God of Abraham

Of course God is a white man

Who else to master the art of

Decay more masterfully and

Triumphantly than He who

Has wrought all but the

Total annihilation of humanity

From its earliest days; who has

Fomented only death and sorrow

Certainly not a Black man, who

Has known oppression; or the

Benevolent Brown man; or

The Woman, whose love,

Nurturing and compassion

Foster all that is good in the

World; there is no blessing in

The fury of the God of Abraham

27APR21

Changing Air

 

A few days away will do us all some good

Changing air and scenery in forest green

No matter what the forecast, I will linger

In the pleasure of calm, quiet and light​

If I can muster the wherewithal to get

Out for a stroll, to walk with no other

Purpose than to move my aching body

It will have all been worth the trouble

And if I can remember how to breathe

Free from the confinement of my mask

Inhaling ever so deeply that I am, with

Every new breath, reborn and renewed

And should the stars feel so inclined as

To dim ever so slightly so I may sleep in

Darkness in an oasis of serenities with a

Tranquil mind, gentleness and composure

20APR21

The Real You

 

I seem to have have lost sight of you;

You and so many others who have

Seemingly transformed right

Before my very eyes

At first I thought it

Might be me; but then I

Realized that snakes shed their

Skin and the day turns into night

For some time now I've had this

Burning desire to ask you why

You can't be as nice to us as

You are to everyone else

I once knew the real you

Or so I thought; those were

Our salad days; when we were

Younger and so innocently carefree

13APR21

Sun and Air

 

I can only sit for so long

In the sun and air; until I

Become overwhelmed by

Memories of you and me

The sun on that picturesque

August day in your parent's

Garden; cool sea air blowing 

In over Mediterranean waters

Lying on the soft grass; stroking

My hair while I slept peacefully

Dreaming of what life could be

Like together, you and I, as one

 

 But the tide came in and washed

Away the castles we had made

Illusions drifted out to sea; gulls

Overhead, squawking at the sun

06APR21

You Can Only Stare

 

Waiting beneath the streetlamp's glow

Our eyes met in the reflection

I wonder what you saw in me

Upon your closer inspection

Sparks dancing above

The tram's clickety-clack

You can only stare at me

And I can only stare back

I crossed the street alone

Asked a boy for directions

To a place I'd been before

He couldn't hear my questions

You appeared in the darkness

Tapped me gently on my shoulder

I strolled around for an hour or two

Before the night became even colder

30MAR21

The Plotters

 

Amidst the stale smoke and B.O.

The brain trust is gathered round

Plotting their next big something

On the day after nobody knows

They sit there on a plastic couch

Five-day shadows and filthy hair

Arguing to get their point across

In some language nobody knows

The man with the underbite stands

Pounds his fist upon the IKEA table

Sees me in the reflection and points

I'm a lone silhouette nobody knows

Perhaps they were plotting revenge

Or to return home to their families

In some desolate urban wasteland

In a forsaken place nobody knows

23MAR21

Slowly

 

I've been listening to my breath lately

Telling me its stories about this and that

Reminding me of all the places we've been

All of the moments we've lived so passionately

But today I noticed something curiously different

A silence in the space between each breath

Not a silence which is devoid of sound

But one with a low harmonious purr

And in that extraordinary quietude

It occurred to me I was standing alone

Trying to remember where I had come from

Who had sent me here and what was I to do now

 

I was suddenly overcome by a perception of clarity

A whole life suddenly unfolding before my eyes

Everything I had ever seen, heard or believed

Appeared before me in a burst of wonder

 

16MAR21

On Everyone's Mind

 

I've been taking a lot of taxis lately

Working long hard days until late

Unpredictably inclement weather

A longer bike ride than I'm used to

They always ask where I'm from

Why I'm here why would I leave

It's the greatest country, America

You haven't returned in how long?

And the thing on everyone's mind

The one topic that always comes up

The nightmare that keeps on giving

Is the man who shall not be named

How he's still causing such a stir

Inciting sordid petty conversations

Thousands of miles aways from it all

In a place where politics is blissfully dull

09MAR21

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SCHÖNKE

Perspective

 

I would love to have been a

Fly on the wall during those

Sessions; hearing confessions

All the unanswered questions

Trying to imagine the perverted

Ideas he planted in your heart

How he turned you against me

To reconcile his own suffering

I've often sat wondering about

You riding the bus home; there

Sitting quietly in the presence

Of strangers; deep in thought

But not about me; only how

To rid your conscience of me

And the memories of our life

Festering with tragic bitterness

02MAR21

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The Boxroom

 

There are few stories I have yet to tell

And there are some I'd rather forget

I've had hardships, but hasn't everyone

Moments when we all but surrender

My ordeal began with a perfect storm

Global recession and a failed marriage

Trying to keep family and business afloat

Sinking deeper and deeper into despair

With rent to be paid and groceries to buy

Choices had to be made and tears to dry

The loneliness was long and insufferable

No solace or sympathy to deaden the pain

I packed up my things and sold the rest

Hired a boxroom on a dusty mezzanine

Peed in a plastic jug, slept on a latex slab

Or in the ER on those hot summer nights

SCHÖNKE

23FEB21

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The Last Laugh

 

It all started with a book my brother gifted me

At the Hôtel de Saint Germain on the Rue du Four

Marooned in the lobby in the summer's incessant rain

Paris in July, crowds of tourists, the noise and stale air

 

While lightning flashed and thunderclouds clapped

We sat in quiet comfort, reading and talking about life

Sipping tea and daydreaming; plotting our next adventure

To England, my Lionheart, where I longed to spend my years

I sat in devout concentration reading Max Brod's book

About his visit to that aquarium with his best friend Franz

And then I read the line that would change my life forever

Kafka talking out loud to the fish behind the glass tank

"I like you better that I no longer eat you," he muttered

Words that resonated deep within the well of my being

Then, on that first day of August some thirty years ago

Tasting flesh one final time, the last laugh lost in the sauce 

SCHÖNKE

16FEB21

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In Pursuit of Greatness

 

Playground warriors

Sidewalk superheroes

Sandlot survivors

Pelés, DiMaggios

Kick a ball, bat a ball

The beautiful game

American pastime

Crackerjack box

 Little boys in snappy uniforms

Daddy's unfulfilled dreams

But my boy's different

A cut above the rest

In constant pursuit of greatness

Fast cars and wads of cash

Pretty girls, Jacuzzi swirls

Fame that never lasts

SCHÖNKE

09FEB21

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TETTERO

Freshly Fallen

 

I was never one who longed for winter

Unlike my childhood friends who yearned for it

Eager to run to the church mound to play war

Or a pick-up football game at Green Briar Park

I was more partial to spending my time indoors​

 The warmth of home, the clanking of radiators

The feel of tall shag carpet beneath my feet

Tomato soup, grilled cheese and hot cocoa

 I would spend afternoons alone in my room

Peering out the window into the back alley

The sound of snow crunching under car tires

Shovels scraping against the icy pavement

Freshly fallen snow piled high on the porch

Little crisscrossed slits where the sparrows land

Flurries twinkle in the streetlamp's yellow glow

Dreaming of spring and the season's first thaw

  

  

Luminescence

 

It only takes a few short seconds

For eyes to adjust in the darkness

Switch off the lamp and draw the curtains

Sit beside me on my grandmother's bed

Clandestine meetings on warm afternoons 

Summer gingham caressing your salty skin

Innocence so pure it glistens in the shadows

Pounding hearts and long fragmented breaths

 We drove the winding roads with the top down

It was a few years later reunited as strangers

You no longer looked at me with loving eyes

Your voice still asking when I was coming home

 I never got the note you left me there

Only ink-stained sheets of crumpled paper

Stuffed into the mailbox like the morning Trib

  Like yesterday's news, never afraid of tomorrow 

  

02FEB21

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SCHÖNKE

26JAN21 

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TETTERO

Behind the Glass

They say age is just a number

Memory, an obnoxious inconvenience

How could I forgot your birthday

Or Carole King's last name

I try to ignore the subtle nagging changes

Sleep away my angst and apprehension

Suck my teeth and laugh at my own jokes

Whatever it takes to reel in my faculties

 Aging is the cruelest game

No rules, no winners, no rewards

Only aches and heartbreaks, loss and loneliness

The forgetting, the forgotten and the woe

 I made a promise which I could not keep

To never think of you again that way

To hide the memories behind the glass

In the inner chasms of my moldering mind  

  

Exposed

Bare and raw for the world to see

The soul exposed to vicious disdain

Stood alone destitute and decayed

Bereft of any earthly pleasures

Harboring resolve beneath pure blue skies

Nothing remains of yesterday's news

When we were young and innocent

Unencumbered by life's misapprehensions    

 The bark peeled back on a dying tree

Revealing its inner soft fleshy bast

Smooth and white like creamy skin

Dripping remains of morning dew

 I looked for you once in the dry riverbed 

Nearly drowned in tear-smothered grass

You appeared on the knoll dressed in black

Carrying your life in a small canvas sack  

  

19JAN21 

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SCHÖNKE

The Passage of Time

X

  

12JAN21 

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CARDOSO

05JAN21 

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TETTERO

The Waning Season

It seems forever since I lasted strolled the avenues

The waning season's monotone glow

Continues shining in the cold evening air

Illuminating dancing branches on leafless trees

The streets are silent and clean

Absent of humanity and glee

Vagrants and travelers introspective

Innocent bystanders guilty only of their reality   

 There are spirits drifting above the brume

Ringnecked parakeets nesting near the Hofvijver

Chimneys belching dank plumes of smoke

Choking the city's constricted lungs  

 The spring is waiting in the wings

Patiently it hovers high above the cloudscape

Bidding farewell to souls succumbed to winter's affliction

While life and death hold claim to the same flickering lights