December 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!

31DEC21

Le Pressentiment​ (One Perfect Day)

I know where I want to be this time next year

Holding you in my arms and talking all night

With half-filled glasses of wine and petit four

Cases strewn about the room; I want to laugh

And I want to cry and I want you to see me in

My strength and vulnerability; to see what can

Be seen behind the veil of my existence; to feel

The truth and the promise of what the future can

Bring; I want to look deeply into your eyes, to

See the joy in your soul and to be immersed

In a world of our creation; but most of all, I

Want to listen to your stories and watch as you

Fall asleep in the afterglow of one perfect day;

Then to wake up by your side and walk with

You along sandy beaches, through fire and

Rain and every last second of this mortal life

 

30DEC21

Screenplay

All the scenarios that fill my head​; the

Imaginary worlds I create like elaborate

Stage plays or black and white films where

Men in dark suits and thin neckties come home

From their sterile offices with wood panel walls

Greeted at the door by their apron-clad wives,

Meatloaf, mashed potato and gravy dinners

And perfect children who read books and

Listen to Puff the Magic Dragon on the

Hi-Fi in the converted rumpus room;

But my screenplays never seem to

Have happy endings, only the

Bittersweetness of the tragic

Comedies whose heroes

Die alone with their

Hearts in their hands

29DEC21

Where Anguish Looms

It's a back and forth ordeal;

Wanting, not wanting and then

Wanting all over again; and there

Is no harsher truth that my years are

Waning and the fear of living is now

Just as profound as is the fear of

Dying; that everything around is

A harbinger of what is to come

That the betrayal of those once

Loved, cherished and relied upon

Paints the clearest picture of what the

World has truly become, a place where

Nothing is sacred, no one regarded for

The kindness of their deeds or the

Gentleness of their judgement; a

Place where only anguish looms

28DEC21

Disclosure

I want to tell you everything

So you'll hear it from the

Horse's mouth; but I'm

Afraid the stories are

Lackluster and bereft

Of the gleeful details

That you might come

To expect; I want to

Tell you about the

Good times and

The bad times;

Reveal every

Part of me so

You'll always know the

Heart that loved you was

As pure as the driven snow 

27DEC21

When the Fog Lifts

When the fog lifts

Blue skies appear

To remind me that

The illusion of life

Isn't merely some

Technicolor trance

But a wash of tone

And daydreams in

Monochromatic hues

Coloring the landscape

Of my mind in dreamy

Pastels, charcoal and acrylic;

When the fog lifts I can see you

Standing there on the platform with a

Bouquet of flowers in your hand and the

Sweetest smile I have ever seen upon your lips

26DEC21

The Night Train

I woke up just as the sun was

Rising over Messina; you were

Sleeping with your hand resting

Gently over mine; and I recalled a

 

Day, some years ago now, when we

Were all but mere strangers who

Spent hours chatting about our

Pasts, about music, books

 

And our children; about

Shoes and Jews and the life

We'd choose if we were given

The chance to start it all over again;

 

And as the train pulled slowly into

Palermo, I felt free for the first time

In my life; free to be who I knew

I was always destined to be

25DEC21

Nostalgic Melancholia

It was fifteen years ago today

That you left us; you took your last

Breath while I held you tightly in my

Arms as breaking news of James Brown's

Passing flashed on CNN and "I Feel Good"

Made the TV speakers crackle during the

Report of the Godfather of Soul's death

In Atlanta just hours before; I sat there,

Numb, holding you in my arms in your

Urine-soaked blanket while the desperate

Haunting din of Simon wailing in the back

Bedroom sent chills through my body; too tired

 

To cry, too devastated to mourn and all I wanted

Was to see the rise and fall of the blanket; to

See that it wasn't as I knew it was; to see

Breath where I knew breath was no more 

24DEC21

Shadows and Light

I suppose I saw it as a way

To stave off loneliness, to try

Reducing the chances of living

The rest of my life alone; but in the

 

End, all I had managed to do was

Plunge deeper and deeper into

An abyss of isolation and the

Kind of reticent aloneness

That oftentimes made me

Feel that life was simply not

Worth living; that nothing I said

Or did had any worth or substance;

That I was a mere shadow on the wall

Because light, in order to be light,

Needed there to be shadow; but

Even shadows can be light

23DEC21

Discord and Desire 

Every now and again my

My heart and my brain duke

It out; like teenage boys on the

Playground, one pit against the other

Flaunting their bravado while hoping

The new girl takes notice of only

Them; and it's almost always

About girls, isn't it?

The angel on one

Shoulder, the devil on the

Other like a stupid game we

Play with ourselves in the senseless

Attempt to justify why we have this

Unrelenting desire to be needed,

To be wanted, to be loved and

Held in the highest regard

22DEC21

Eventually

Eventually, the storm passes,

The sun shines again, snow melts,

Leaves return to their branches and

Life goes on as it always has and does

 

Eventually, broken hearts mend, love is 

Reborn, tears turn to laughter and the

Day becomes night; eventually, time

Fades into the future, the future

Returns to the past and all we

Came to believe as truth concedes

To having been lies; eventually, the tide

Recedes and the sand and sea once again

Meld into foamy green, rushing between our

Toes and leaving us with the sensation that

We are neither moving nor still; and

Eventually, all that remains is fate

21DEC21

Memento Mori 

 

The winter bears a harsh

Reminder that everything

Dies; that we are nothing

More than grass soon to

Return to the dark void of

The universe from whence

We came; but to leave in

A mortal state barren of

Love or a heart filled with

Tender memories and the

Gentle touch of a woman's

Hand upon my face is the

Most bleak and despairing

Outcome of them all, one

Whose weight feels like a

Ton of freshly fallen snow

20DEC21

Distractions

I hope I did not cause

Too many distractions;

Today was like a long

Continuous song, one

That reminds me of Joe

Jackson's second Night

And Day album where

All the tracks are strung

Together by a common

Beat; but the LP ends in

Forty-six minutes and the

Stylus eventually skips the

Groove and a new record

Is placed on the turntable,

Vibrating soulful sounds far

Beyond the dreary grey

 

19DEC21

Traces of Blue

Inspired by traces of blue

Peaking out intermittently

From behind ivory clouds

Revealing hope and calm

And no sooner than I see

Them, they are concealed

Once again by the misty

Overcast of a sunless day

The air is heavy and damp,

My breathing labored and

Wheezy, lungs bearing the

Brunt of anxious thoughts

I would do anything to see

The clear blue sky, to feel

A warm ray of sunshine on

My sullen and sorrowful face

18DEC21

Your Letter

I received your letter today and,

To be perfectly honest, quite

Surprised that it arrived by

Post (that it arrived at all);

I sat by the kitchen window

Reading it, slowly, somewhat

Methodically, concentrating on

Every word as to not misconstrue

The meaning; and within were a

Few niceties and thinly veiled

Apologies; some retrospect

And what I thought were

Reflections of pain and

Regret and your accurate

Assumption that you and I

Could never be as we once were

17DEC21

Conspiracy Theories

I never pay much attention to

All the conspiracy theories

That seem to always be

Floating around;

Though I will

Say some are quite

Amusing, entertaining

Even, and I will admit that I

Occasionally seek a few of

These out online to pass

The time or have a

Laugh or two;

And if any of

These are actually true,

I don't suppose there would be

Much I could do about it anyway

16DEC21

Gone Astray

I sat a moment on my daughter's

Bed and played her Simon and

Garfunkel's Greatest Hits for the

First time; unfazed, she quietly

Sat staring at her phone while

I looked long and hard at myself

In the mirror, an old man with a

Stubbly chin looking more like a

Sugar-coated doughnut than a

Chin, gazing back at me while

Wondering who I was, what I had

Become and just for whom those

Tears welling up in my tired eyes

Were for; and in that short space

Of time, I realized how lost I was,

How far I had strayed from myself

15DEC21

That One Question

They are shocked when hearing

My answer to that one question;

Everyone always wants to know

How often I get back to the States

Every twenty-three years, I tell them;

I love seeing the expression of utter

Stupefaction as their eyes grow wide

Beneath their white paper face masks;

It was June of 1998, just days before

My grandmother passed away; I took

My seven-month-old son to see her on

Her deathbed just as she had wished;

We arrived on Friday and by Monday

Afternoon she was gone, caught a ride

With a passing storm; I kissed her face

As the sun peaked in through the window

14DEC21

Only Just a Little Bit Broken

I used to play with toy soldiers

Cap guns and magic tricks;

I sold Kool-Aid on folding

TV tray tables in back

Of our apartment on

Rosemont; I was afraid

Of David French and the

Gaylords and whatever those

Flying things my mom called

Wasps that were nested

Outside our kitchen

Window that the

Always-empty can

Of Raid never seemed

To kill; so, I suppose in the

End I'm only a little bit broken

13DEC21

Bathing

Soaking for

Sixteen minutes

Listening to Kornfield

Contemplating how long

My fingernails have grown

And how smooth and

Intact my cuticles

Are; and I'm

Reminded so

Often these days

Of memories from my

Childhood; old telephone

Numbers, avocado green

Things and the girl who

Who let me touch her

Cleavage at recess

12DEC21

Time Travel

I could do it

Travel in time

But time not in

The sense of time

But spacial, one

Which transcends

Boundaries of

Time as we

Know it; I

Would return

To Granada, to

The place where it

All began; I would

Wipe away every

Single memory

Of the past

 

11DEC21

An Unspeakable Tragedy​ (For Oliver)

While we were celebrating

Our daughter's twelfth

Birthday, another

Family was

Living an

Unspeakable

Tragedy; a young

Man in the prime of

Life; loved beyond

Words but there

Was pain no

One could

Fathom; a

World no one

Would ever come to

Inhabit has been lost forever

10DEC21

The Unknown Self

There is a part of me

I call the unknown self;

Tired when I'm awake

Hungry when well fed

Smiling on the outside

While crying internally;

I live in a universe of

Constant contrasts and

Contradictions; I'm thin

And fat, wise and obtuse

Sullen and jovial; but of

All the unknowns, there is

 

A self so ubiquitous and

Bursting with life's energy​,

It leaves me with a sense

Of pure delight and awe

09DEC21

What Might Have Been

For twenty-five years

I've been begging and

Pleading, trying to get you

To listen to the voice of reason;

But that voice was mine and no

Reason coming from me would

Ever be reason enough for

You to listen; I often think

About what might have

Been had you taken heed

Of my advice, listened to the

Words I was saying with a deep

Understanding of how what I had

Tried to tell you could have made

A difference for all of us, our

Loves, lives and longings

08DEC21

Family Affairs

There are times when turning a blind eye

Is actually the best course of action when

It comes to these difficult family affairs; it's

Never easy dealing with these dilemmas

And more difficult when there is distance

Involved, oceans and thousands of miles

Separating me from everything I left behind

All those years ago; the people, memories

The quandaries and hardships, the dreams

And nightmares and sleepless nights; the

Angst and consternation about confronting

The inevitability of death and dying and all

Those who were ever loved and cherished

Passing into the oblivion of the unknown,

Leaving a gaping hole where not even the

Light of day can illuminate the way home

07DEC21

The Kessler Effect​ (Part 2)

I spent an innocent Saturday

Afternoon with a friend at

The Old Orchard Bowl;

Ran into Stacy who

Went to school with

Us before moving out to

Skokie; she invited me back

To her house saying her parents

Had gone away for the weekend

And her older brother went to

The movies and wouldn't be

Back until late; she went

To her room to change

And came back wearing

 Panties, a brassiere and a

Sultry grin; told her I had to leave

06DEC21

The Kessler Effect​ (Part 1)

Michelle was beautiful,

So was Stacy; with the

Former, it all began quite

Innocently at summer camp;

We were on a three-day trip,

Canoeing and hiking on

Lake Delton, Wisconsin;

She approached me

Out of the blue; we

Barely knew each other

And only ever spoke on the

Softball field; she asked if she

Could share my sleeping bag

That night though I wasn't

Sure what she meant; I

Slept the night through

05DEC21

Frivolous Consumption

All of these contrived

Fictitious characters,

These Tooth Fairies,

Easter Bunnies,

Santas and the

Like; and they all

Come bearing gifts

Of one sort or another;

But there's no semblance

Of reason, no sign or

Symbolism revealing

A deeper meaning

Behind the hoaxes;

It's all about frivolous

Spending and making kids

Happy with stuff they don't need

04DEC21

Debbie​ (In Memoriam)

You were my first teenage crush;

I waited all year to spend the

Summer in L.A. at my aunt

And uncle's house up the

Street on Fairhaven; we

Were upstairs watching TV

In the guest room when you got

Up and walked into the closet; how

Strange, I thought, so I asked what

You were doing in there and you

Said why don't you open the

Door and see for yourself;

 

You were standing there

With only your bikini bottoms on;

Then you shut the door, switched off

The light and kissed me for the first time

03DEC21

Brandy

I've been hard-pressed to

Remember how things

Actually got started;

We had very little,

 

If anything at all,

In common; but you

Were adamant about

Inviting yourself over to my

Apartment for dinner, saying

How you had grown tired

Of dorm life and crappy

Cafeteria food; and

As you were leaving

You turned around to kiss

Me goodbye; but you shut the

Door and pushed me onto the bed

02DEC21

Lynne

I love the dreams where feelings can

Be felt, where the touch of skin is so

Real and an embrace can take your

Breath away waking you from deep

Sleep; and despite your being late

For such an urgent affair, you took

The time to take your coat off and

Walk over to where I was standing

Looking for you out of the window;

You approached and I was surprised

To see that you had come back when

You had been running behind; you

Threw your arms around me in a tight

Bear hug, looked me in the eye and

Told me you loved me, but no more or

Less than you did when we were kids

 

01DEC21

Andy

Tarzana, 1984;

I was twenty, you

Were older; we had

A lot in common, Jewish

Backgrounds, both of us

From out east moved 

To L.A. seeking a

Better life, fame

And fortune; you

Worked at Nordstrom

At the Estée Lauder counter,

I would visit you at lunchtime;

We arranged for our days off

To be the same so we could

Meet at the pool and pass

The afternoons together