August 2021

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About Poemography

To commemorate the tenth anniversary of my Poem-A-Day Project, I am reprising my daily poetry challenge in 2021.

Every day this year—from January 1st until the 31st of December—I will create a new poem inspired by whatever moves me at the moment I sit down to compose that day's poem, publishing them here with subscription-free access for all.  

Every Tuesday throughout the year, I will write and publish one bonus poem that will be available exclusively to my Patrons on Patreon.

In 2022, I will publish a book of my complete poems, spanning more than 40 years of poetry writing. The complete collection of poems will be published in a limited edition hardbound book available for purchase. As an added feature, I'm considering releasing some of the poems in this collection as spoken word recordings by a variety of special guest readers. Enjoy the year!

31AUG21

Overheard in Rotterdam

The clean American family 
Having breakfast at a

Rotterdam diner; the
Husband, a man

 

Around my age
Who looked a lot like

Yotam Ottolenghi wore
Dark blue Levi's 501s and a

 

Crisp powder blue dress shirt;
He looked up momentarily

From his telephone,

Smiled and said to

 

His wife and son:

He’s from Virginia

And loves the mountains;

They went to buy a Persian rug

29AUG21

Pomegranate ​Trees

We used to picnic in los Viveros;

Spread our blankets out on a small

Hilly mound in the shade of pine trees

Where we would take refuge from the sun

We ate sandwiches on long crusty bread

And passed the long hot afternoons

Talking, reading and watching our

Children playing with the dogs

There was no clamor or urgent

Need to get on our way; we were

Confined only by the necessities of the

Moment and​ took pleasure in the calmness;

And once awakened from my brief siesta, I

Would stand up and stretch my legs and

Walk over to admire the Pomegranate

Trees and the wonder of their being

30AUG21

Frescor

I love the days at summer's end;

Cool and overcast preparing to

Welcome the autumn; the night

Grows shorter and colors burst

Leaves ready themselves to fall

From their branches, light misty

Rain kisses the luminous green

Duckweed floating on the canal

So many ways to describe the

Wind and the infinite manners

It blows and gusts and drifts in

Clean coolness of autumnal air

And with the approaching new

Season comes the mellowing of

Temperaments and the easing of

The intensity summer provoked

28AUG21

The Unknown Journey

1,532 miles separate

Krasiliv and Cherbourg;

I've always wondered how

You made this journey with your

Wife and small children in tow;

Did you travel on foot or

By train or horse and

Carriage to France?

And where did you

Eat and how did you

Pass those long summer

Days and nights until you finally

Arrived at the port of Cherbourg

Where the RMS Aquitania

Took you and your family

To Ellis Island, America

27AUG21

Things I Should Keep to Myself

The hat and scarf have to go;

While you think they add

Character, they make

You look joyless;

Who tells you

To smile with your

Mouth closed? You look

Like a doleful long-faced​ horse;

Your nose ring is absolutely the

Most disagreeable thing

Adorning your face;

Are you a cow?

Bending your

Knee to the side in

Photos has been out of

Style for decades; please stop it

26AUG21

The Calm That is the Storm

My mind is like

The eye of a

Hurricane;

It is at

Once

Peaceful

And at ease

With the storm

That surrounds

It; but at the

Same time

It is fully

Aware

Of all the

 Ruin looming

In its aftermath

25AUG21

Toast

In the late 1980s

I found myself living

In Granada, Spain, one

Of the most delightful places

I have ever lived; I'd pass the

Days wandering around

The city, making new

Friends who I still

Consider friends

To this very day; and

Of all the memories that

Were made during those two

 

Short years, it was thick toast

With butter, strawberry jam

And sliced cheese that I

Remember so vividly 

24AUG21

Gradually

Picking up the pieces

Is a splendid metaphor

For the gradual changes

Life seems to be enduring

I can feel the thrust of an

Oddly shifting flow that

Carries me from here

To there and back

But I never seem

To actually arrive at

My destination, only to

Unpredictable ports of call

Arrivals and departures;

Endless journeys that,

Time and time again,

Take me nowhere

23AUG21

Wonderment

Even after all these years

I'm still in awe of life;

Mesmerized by the

Beauty of trees

The poetry of

The sun setting on

The horizon and the

Glory of the sea and sky

And through the struggles

There are always the

Subtle reminders of

Those close by;

Those who are

No longer present

But whose loving eternal

Presence watches over me

21AUG21

The Muse

 ​

It's bound to happen

Somewhere, someday,

Someone will ask me, so,

Who is the Rosa in the song?

It won't be an easy question

To answer and while I've

Mulled it over, the only

Conclusion I've come

To is to simply make

Something up that will

Satisfy inquisitive minds

While the truth remains safely

Guarded in the depths of my

Soul; the muse whose light

Illuminated the darkness

 And captured my fancy

22AUG21

A Diminishing Sense of Reality ​

It's not just the forgetfulness

Or the nagging aches and

Pains, but the diminishing

Sense of reality that looms

It has begun to slowly creep

Into the crevices of my being

Serving as a constant reminder

Of life's predetermined fragility

And while it appears that I am

Fully aware of all the changes

I am experiencing, it doesn't

Alleviate the anguish and fear

I'll go back to bed now with a

Better understanding of what it

Is I truly most desire; and I will

Dream about all that's to come

20AUG21

Uri Kashter

 ​

I've told the story a hundred times about

The Israeli family I met while staying at

A small hotel in Capileira, the highest

Inhabited village in la Alpujarra

They had come to see their son,

Who had been living in the nearby

Town of Orgiva, selling freshly-baked

Challah alongside other new-age travelers

 

Uri arrived that afternoon and we shared a

Beautiful Shabbos dinner followed by

An evening filled with storytelling,

Singing and merrymaking

A few years later I returned

To Orgiva and found Uri living in

A small stone house on the Guadalfeo

River; we sat together beneath a beautiful tree

19AUG21

A Slight Easing of Temperament

 ​

There are so many consequences

Of aging; the slight easing of

Temperament and the slow

And subtle mellowing

Of character that, as

It's happening, begins to

Create a nuance in the way

The world is observed and life is

Lived; joy turns to melancholy but

The remnants of joyousness

Lingers in the hallowed

Recesses of my mind

In the end, there will

Only be the sea and my

Beloved; together we'll walk

Along the sandy beaches of eternity

18AUG21

The Con Artist

 ​

Behind the Cheshire Cat grin

Lies a soulless fraud; a man

Of a thousand faces who

Was only ever in it to

See how long and far

A single lie could be coldly

Perpetuated at the expense of

Naïve and unsuspecting people

How mindless was I to let myself

Be hoodwinked, bamboozled

And made a pawn in such a

Deliberately deceitful scam

While I am convinced you

Are simply a ruthless con artist,

I have often wondered whether

Perhaps you might just be insane

17AUG21

The Future

 ​

The youth in this city are repulsive
Not one redeeming quality

Second generation of

Immigrant sons

 

They've never

Assimilated into the

Society that gave their

Parents and grandparents a home;

True, they are discriminated against

True, they are marginalized

True, they are hoodlums

True, they are lowly

Yet, they are the

Future; they are what

Is to become of this country

A lost and sadly soulless generation

16AUG21

Lifeline

 ​

There isn't much keeping

Me tethered these days

No lifeline holding

Things together

 

Not much in

The way of refuge;

A place where my idle

Thoughts can calmly steep

 

And the loneliness tugs on

My awareness of how

Things would be if

They would be

But that would

Be too much to ask;

I'm swimming against the

Tide of an unforgiving stream

15AUG21

Drowning

 ​

I've been having a recurring dream

Where I'm swimming in a pool with

People I know; friends, family, kids,

Those I love who are closest to me

In every dream I go off to swim on

My own, swimming away from all

That is familiar, safe and nurturing;

All the usual metaphors join forces

And there always comes a moment

In these dreams when I take a deep

Breath and surface dive to the very

Bottom of the pool nearest the drain

As I begin to swim to the surface, I

Am overcome with the fear I might

Drown, aware that the possibility is

Real while knowing it is improbable

14AUG21

Cobblestone Streets

 ​

I keep having these daydreams

About walking down cobblestone

Streets in some Mediterranean country;

But no sooner as I take delight in the vision

It is as quickly quelled by the stark reminder

That those pleasant meanders will be

Accompanied only by the longing

For those who are far away;

Which begs the question of

Whether being alone outweighs

The unhappiness and pain of staying

Where I am unwanted and no longer needed;

While cobblestone streets beckon me to come,

To lose my inhibitions and consign my

Sadness to the melancholy sea air,

I will remain where my heart is 

13AUG21

Darla's Very Good Point

 ​

I have some very smart friends

But more often than not, what

We learn in life comes from a

Result of trials and tribulations

Scrolling through social media

Posts this morning, I came upon

A very good point Darla made

That sadly struck close to home

 

It made me reflect upon how so

Many things in our lives we all

Share in common; that our very

Existence is so often intertwined

But behind the memes and truths

Lies the poignant reminder that it

Is our relationships which have the

Potential to make us soar or drown

12AUG21

Let Them Eat Cake

 ​

Let them take Kandahar

Let them take Kabul; let

Them kill their brothers

In the name of religion

Let them refuse the jab

Let them endanger the

Masses and allow the

Virus to continue killing

Let them carry on with

Their agenda of hate

And hounding those

With different voices

Let indifference and

Ignorance feed those

Who would impart

Wisdom upon a stone

11AUG21

Ode to a Young Poet

 ​

It's delightfully pleasing

To see a young person

Embracing the waning

Craft of writing poems

Equally as pleasing was

To make this discovery on

The very night I dreamed

About Jodi, your mother's

Childhood friend who, for

The first time ever, appeared

To me in a dream wearing a

Powder blue dress, walking

With me down Devon Avenue

When, to my surprise, she took

My hand in hers, looked at me

And smiled as we walked along

10AUG21

I Am Stillness

 ​

My ability to sit and remain still

Has been slowly increasing as

I age; the ants in my pants

Have waned over time

And more than simply

Being calm and collected

I am content with my stillness

And relish in the quiet composure

I often find myself lost in daydreams

Contemplating this and that

Wondering how my life

Might have turned out

But I soon realize this

Is how it turned out and I

Quickly return to the stillness;

To the sanctuary of being lost in time

09AUG21

Balfour Street

 ​

I was sitting enjoying

My morning coffee at

Café Lucia on Balfour

Street; as the waitress

Set down the plate of

Fried eggs in front of

Me, I saw you just as

You stepped into the

Crosswalk; I called

Out to you and you

Turned to me with a

Look of utter surprise

We had never met in

Person, but it seemed

Our destinies aligned

That magical morning

08AUG21

Unrecognizable

 ​

I don't seem to recognize my arms anymore

I look at them stretched out holding a mirror

Whose reflection reveals a face I can hardly

Discern though it stirs up faint recollections

I'm not the man I used to be; happy and full

Of life and love and desire living a content,

Uncomplicated existence in a place where

Loving kindness subdued my troubled mind

No, all of that has changed and changed

Forever; soot blots out the sun and heavy

Rain falls from ominous clouds and what

Once flourished now chokes on toxic funk

I am becoming invisible and there seems

To be very little I can do to change that;

Light passes through my translucent body

As the sound of my voice fades into silence

07AUG21

The Same Limbo

 ​

One can only withdraw so far

Before the precipice catches

Up with us; and it alway

Does and always will

Eventually, life pushes

Us off the cliff and into the

Valley of the unknown or into

The depths of uncharted waters

And while our body is in free fall

Our minds ponder where the

Ensuing journey might lead

If it leads anywhere at all

Awakened by the glint of

Cobalt skies, I was finally able

To perceive that my journey began

 And ended in exactly the same limbo

06AUG21

Beth & Tina

 

I wanted to write to tell you

    That our biological father had

         Died, but I didn't know how to

              Communicate the doleful news

                 I've been looking for the two of

             You for 19 years with very few

        Clues; not a day has gone by

   That I haven't thought of you

   I've imagined you homeless

          Living in poverty, ill and alone;

             Or married to a wonderful man

                   And living in the western suburbs

                       I've dreamed about the day when

               The universe finally aligns and

        Reunites us three; stars in a

Galaxy of infinite matter

05AUG21

Decibels

 

I'm growing incapable of

Coping with noise; perhaps

Another foible of aging that is

Creeping slowly into my reality

My ears are constantly tormented

By the sound of my screaming

Children and DIY neighbors

Banging and drilling

There is always a

Hum, a buzz or clatter;

Builders across the street and

Cable layers digging up pavement

Oddly enough, my only reprieve is

Music; savior of my sanity, the

Buffer between silence and

Life's merciless resonance

04AUG21

101 Things

 

I've been contemplating my

Final journey and have come

To the conclusion that it will be a

Voyage of wondrous enlightenment

I've been slowly ridding myself of

My possessions, purging all the

Useless sentimental mementos

I've collected along the way

But I'll keep 101 things in the

Safety of a fine steamer trunk like

The shiny black one my grandfather

Gave me that I took to Spain in 1987

Books, devices, clothing and sundries;

The bare essentials of everyday life

Nothing to encumber the lightness

Or unassuming nature of my trek

03AUG21

A Long Life (For My Father)

 

It's been a long life lived well;

One that has endured challenges,

Hardships and more emotion than you

Have ever outwardly revealed to anyone

You were the hard-working breadwinner

I'd wait up for late at night hoping you

Would divert your after-work chats

At Casey's and just come home

And when you did, we'd talk for

Hours (even on school nights); talk

About B-movie stars, westerns and the

Chicago Cubs; moments I'll always cherish

Today has arrived and you've come all this

Way; a happy life, 89 years a weathered

Survivor; our rock, our constant, a father,

Friend, champion always there for us

02AUG21

I Vacuum A Lot

 

It seems that I vacuum a lot;

At least more than most people

Perhaps it's the satisfaction derived

In observing the task's immediate result

 

After years of waiting patiently, I was

Finally able to afford my first Dyson;

beautifully designed piece of

Technological brilliance

Its form and function are

Complemented by robust suction,

Filters and practical accessories, thus

Creating a delightful cleaning experience

Vacuuming has always been my favorite

Household chore; I remember riding

Atop my grandmother's Hoover as

She drove me around the house

01AUG21

A Year of Emma

 

It was a splendid summer Saturday morning

We had been looking forward to that day

For months with anticipation and want;

All the necessary preparations made

We boarded the train in The Hague,

Changed over in Haarlem; arrived at

Alkmaar Nord at 9:46 a.m. and picked

Up at the station by the breeder soon after

I'll never forget the first time I saw you, so

Small and lovely; we spent a little time

Exchanging niceties and going over

Documents and necessary details

Dropped off at the station, we had

little time to kill before our train

Arrived; we had some soft-serve

Ice cream and took you home