November 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. Enjoy the year!

30NOV21

An Indelible Legacy 

I accept the fact that I know

So little about you, about your

Past, your childhood, your growing

Up in that house with the three of them

I can't really imagine that was a happy

Place or a happy time in your life; I

Often wonder about what really

Happened between you and

 

Your mother and I'm curious

To know if in some way history

Is repeating itself as it often does;

I'm fairly certain, though, that you're

Mostly blind to how your actions and

Words will leave an indelible legacy

That will remain with your children

Throughout their lives and beyond

 

29NOV21

Snow and Lightning

I love the comforts of home

The warmth and security

Family and familiarity

The constants and

The variables; the

Snow and lightning

The bare branches and

The peace of mind kindled

At the sight of my children

Fast asleep in their beds;

But for every treasured

Moment of tranquility

There are times when

I can barely muster up

The slightest bit of lucidity,

Not even moved by a sparkle

28NOV21

Getting Back

It was like finding an old reel

Of unseen 8mm film in a rusty

Tool box that had been hidden

Away in the attic for fifty years

Familiar faces I've known all my

Life; every song, every lyric and

All the stories of their lives and

Deaths; the intricate details of

Their existence, their prominence

And imperfections; their addictions

And afflictions, their nuances and

The very essence of who they were

And for 468 minutes I laughed and

I cried, rejoiced and reveled and

Remembered why I fell in love with

The Beatles all those years ago

27NOV21

Calm, Grey and Ordinary

There is an intense calmness

Settling into the grey, ordinary

Space of my existence; I am trying

To get used to the idea of my mortality

To the unsettling notion that every day

Brings me closer and closer to the

End; as a younger man, I would

Have never imagined making

It this far; and I spend far too

Much time pondering how old I

Will be when my children are this

Age or that, trying to live with what

Feels like an unbearable burden of

Guilt in having made the decision

To have children later in life; so I

Live with the onus of my unease

26NOV21

Death by Water

Fascinated ​by water

Its mystery and awe

The dangers of its

Savage essence

The beauty of its

Stillness and unease

At the imposing force

It can inflict upon the

 

Unwary; I often wonder

About my own fragile

Existence and how

My demise will

Come to be; I

Dream about a

River and my final

Breath, liquid and cold

25NOV21

Calliope

There is no better muse

Than sadness; profound

Melancholy and longing

For what can never return

What will never again be

And who will never again

Fill my life with blossoms of

Lavender and supple ivory

Lace; and in every poem

There is you, in every song

And verse the unmistakeable

Undeniable presence of you

That you no longer remain a

Part of me is the one chaotic

Wellspring of my downfall

And the impetus of my demise

24NOV21

Afterlife

To finally rid myself of

This body and set

Free the best

Part of me

To be left

With only a

Soul and thoughts

And vivid imagination

The reflection in the window

Reminded me what life

Will be like once

I'm gone; it

Will go on

Without me like

It went on with me

Invisible and misunderstood

23NOV21

Before Our Very Eyes

It's happening right before our very eyes

The distorted reality and almost invariable

Consequence of death; it's always the same,

When you close your eyes for the very last time

And the darkness enters the space between life

And light, and the last breath comes as did the

First, silence and serenity overcome you like a

Gently flickering flame; then the winds rip

Across the landscape; thunderclaps and

Lightning bolts explode over threatening skies

That follow you until the end of time when, on the

Final day, they reveal the secrets they've been hiding;

And only then will the answers to all of life's questions

Be answered; only then will the soul be set free; only

Then will we come to realize that we've been living

Our dreams all along in this earthbound paradise

22NOV21

Exhausted

9,614 steps

Four trams and

A bus; morning shift

School runs, afternoon

Shift; the awful stench of

My fellow travelers soused

In pungent perfume and stale

Cigarettes; the waning gibbous

Moon rises brightly in the night

Sky while Sting sings cowboy

Songs in my sore crusty ears

Drowning out the racket of

My daughters carrying on

About this and that; I'll

Take a hot bath and

Get some sleep

21NOV21

Franke, Harry, Marty & Al

I'd known Harry since I was a kid

Growing up in West Rogers Park;

He was one of those older kids I'd

Always admired from afar; when I

Found out he was a drummer, and

Friends with a guy whose band I was

The singer in, I finally got to see Harry

And his band rehearsing in the cold,

Dark, damp basement of the savings

And loan building where my father's

German shoe repairman had his shop;

And then my friend took me to see the

Band at the 11th Street Theater in a

Building my grandmother worked in

For three decades where I would later

Teach English at Columbia College

20NOV21

The Rift

Between the incompatibility of

Who you have become and

Who I have become lies a

Rift of broad divergence;

 

I once thought that which

Made us different would

Acts as a unifying and

Irrevocable bond that

With the passing of

Time would flourish

Into a sacred and

Everlasting love;

But the genie in

The bottle only

Granted but

Three wishes

19NOV21

Dark Direful Warnings

It's the cycle of full moons

And pizza and meals

Taken much too late

That makes it all

But impossible to

Surrender to these

Dreams; they come

Desired but uninvited;

I enjoy driving through

The countryside and

Meeting up with old

Friends and dead

Relatives; I fear these

Subconscious musings

Are sending nothing less

Than dark direful warnings

18NOV21

Dippity Do

Nothing provokes that

Slanty-mouth smirk quite

Like those moments when I

Stop whatever it is I'm doing

To reflect on the way my life

Has turned out compared to

How I'd always imagined

It would; I think about all

Of the things I wouldn't

Have today if the dreams I

Had yesterday would have

Come true; I know there's isn't

Any point to second guessing

Destiny, but it is comforting,

After all, to possess such a

Keen awareness of one's self

17NOV21

It's Okay

It's okay if they don't choose me

I've grown accustomed to being

The one that's never chosen; the

One who was always picked last

When sides were being made for

Baseball games or dodgeball; the

One who Madeline forgot to invite

To her Halloween party in fourth

Grade; and it's also been okay

That I've never had a callback

For a second job interview or

Been shortlisted; they always

Tell me I'm either too qualified

Or not qualified enough, that I

Lack the one skill they need the

Most; it's okay and I'll be okay

16NOV21

Twelve Years Ago

Twelve years ago

My life was a

Snow globe

Of sorts

Lived in

Awe of life

Slept alone on

The trastero floor

Was beguiled by

Her smile and

While I had

So little, I

Had never

Possessed so

Much or felt so

Extremely fortunate

 

15NOV21

Temporary Man

From the day I was born

It seems I was destined

To be a temporary man;

A temporary son,

Temporary father,

Brother and significant

Other; I've been easy to

Brush aside, easier to forget

An afterthought, an aftermath,

A picture postcard that is

Pasted onto the yellowing

Pages of a scrapbook;

A discarded souvenir,

A tattered sock unworthy

Of mending; a short-term plan

Discarded amidst forsaken things

14NOV21

The Prodigal Son

I like to think that a

Memory is the same

As a presence, that both

Are held in a primeval space;

I neither blame nor recoil from

Your decision or the path

You chose to travel on;

And while the pain

 

Has mostly waned,

I am nourished by the

Recollections of yesterday;

Forgiveness is the fragrance the

 

Violet sheds on the crushing heel;

So, return as far as you can

And I will come the rest of

The way to meet you

13NOV21

Que Será, Será

When one door closes

Another one opens

Que será, será;

When time is

Fleeting and

Of the essence

Que será, será;

When some hearts

Break while others

Forgive and heal

Que será, será;

Where fools

Tread lightly

Wise men fly

Que será, será;

What will be, will be

12NOV21

Winter's Barren Landscape

The trees are nearly bare

Stripped of their once supple

Leaves and everything seems to

Be silent, white and slowly dying;

The impatient winter looms and is

Longing to impart its cruel death

On those most vulnerable; but

Time is our humble servant

And will await the coming

Of spring when death gives

Way to life and the fertile green

Leaves that will adorn the trees in

The splendor of the season; then

The sun will rejoice and warm

Winds will breathe life upon

Winter's barren landscape

11NOV21

A Day at the Mall

It's been about a dozen years

Since I last strolled through a

Mall and spent today in one

Of the largest malls in Europe

It was a bittersweet nostalgic

Experience that transported

Me to the malls of my youth

And to those where I would

Frequent as a young father

In Valencia, shopping at the

El Corte Inglés or Carrefour,

Parking my Yaris on the slick

Squeaky floors of the indoor

Carpark; today we ate in a

Foodcourt, played high-tech

Arcade games and spent ten

Bucks on a box of Ding Dongs

10NOV21

Valerie

Wouldn't that be funny?

I mean, if you had the

Same thoughts as me,

If it had occurred to

You that maybe we

Could actually make

A life together like the

Life we have both been

Longing for, deserving

Of, our whole lives;

That the two of us,

The unlikeliest of

Wayfarers, unite

And lay down roots

On the hallowed land

Our forebearers dwelled

09NOV21

Saint Nicholas

I was all cozied up in bed

Ready for my afternoon nap

And was just about to doze off

When my youngest daughter came

Into my room; "is Sinterklass real?"

She asked me; taken totally by

Surprise, I thought about her

Question for a moment...

"Do you believe he's real?"

I replied; "Yes," she said, but

All the kids in my class say he's

Not real; "I see," said I, then asked

Her about the Sinterklass who visits

Us each year at mommy's work;

"He's not real," she replied as

She walked out of the room

08NOV21

Meet Me at Teds

I'd ask you to meet me at Teds​

We can have breakfast while

The kids are at school; I'd like

To get to know you outside of

The constraints of the artificial

Make-believe world (if only to

See how tall you really are!); I

Admire your bravery and fierce

Independence; your unwavering

Dedication to your children and

Career; but mostly it's your smile

And colorful sense of humor; your

Brazen honesty and the childlike

Playfulness I would love to be a

Part of while immersing myself

In the splendor of your radiance

07NOV21

Bedtime Story

 ​

I sat there in the darkened theatre

Nestled between the middle-aged

Spanish couple and the sylphlike

French woman, smartly dressed in

A fitted black skirt, black knitted

Turtleneck sweater and high black

Boots; she was with her elderly

Mother to whom she spoke in a

Rich, low voice through her face

Mask that, once she removed it,

Revealed the smooth ivory skin of

Someone half her age; and there

Was a moment during the climax

Of the first recital when the woman

Slowly leaned my way and I was

Sure she would reach for my hand

06NOV21

Gripping Reality

 ​

Every day a new device

A new dilemma and a

Severed, stilted view

Of the gripping

Reality of life;

The tempest brings

A gloom that no amount

Of sunshine could disperse;

Your bitterness is a cobweb

Strung along the bricks

Of the frozen cellar

Wall, expanding

Wider and wider

With each particle of

Dust binding to the silky

Fibers no one dares to touch

05NOV21

The Crack in the Ceiling

 ​

Drips and drops from

The crack in the ceiling

The incessant rain seeping

In from God only knows where

The pitter-patter of water hitting

The bottom of the plastic

Bucket has all but kept

Me awake this night

And I am reminded

About that awful winter

In Chicago when the ceiling

In the back bedroom caved in

From the heaviness of the snow;

And when the ceiling began

To crack on Bissell Street;

All signs of deterioration

04NOV21

The Darkness of the Night

 ​

I love sitting in total darkness

In complete silence, where all

I can feel is the slow constant

Throbbing of my pulse just at

 

The temples; but the darkness

Quickly gives way to the slim

Breach of light shining in from

The cracks in the door where

Rays of dusty sunshine carry

Memories of those long cold

Nights in Granada, waiting

For Tania to return home and

Seductively take her clothes​

Off and jump into my warm

Bed where we would look out

Into the darkness of the night

 

03NOV21

Departure

 ​

It's really none of my business

What you do or where you

Go, but your sudden and

Unexpected departure

Certainly took me by

Surprise; I waited for a

While, walking occasionally

To the window to see if you had

Locked your bicycle to the railing

In front of the canal; but as I

Stood there looking out, I

Caught a glimpse of the

Pale blue sky and wispy

Silken clouds and thought to

Myself what a beautiful day it

Was for renewal and for letting go

02NOV21

The Gift

 ​

I remember the day well

Just before Christmas years

Ago in Valencia; the school staff

Gathered around and my son, two

Years-old at the time, was on hand

To distribute the gifts; at the end

Of our secret Santa ceremony,

I was given a special gift

On behalf of the staff;

It was a brown leather belt,

One that I have kept all of these

Years and use almost daily; it has served

Me well and has certainly stood the test

Of time; but in strange and unnerving

Ways, I so often contemplate how

This gift might serve me better

01NOV21

Ghost

 ​

I can already sense the emptiness

That no one will feel except me

The lingering remains of an

Apparition; an invisible

Man who no one saw,

A muted voice that no one

Heard and a veiled presence

Never felt; but when the soul and

Spirit depart, those left in the wake

Of solitude will never be alone,

Will never be bereft of the

Love and protection of

A constant, true and

Benevolent custodian who

Will be watching down on those

Who were loved more than life itself