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July 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!

27JUL21

The Fifth Wave

 

It's upon us

The fifth wave

Heavy warm air

Fills our lungs with

Death droplets and

A massive viral

Load of toxic

Brown slime

Sunny days

Mean salvation;

Pack the trams and

Head for Scheveningen

 

But don't forget a mask

Worn below your

Nose; tempting

Fate is folly

26JUL21

Olfactory Memory

 

The smell of the outdoors

After freshly fallen rain

Triggers recollections

Pleasing and fond

Summerime and

The fragrant flowers

And plants take me back

To camp and Los Angeles

But there is one aroma that

Has eluded me for years;

The scent of Zaphrine I

Dreamed in a dream

Musky and warm her

Corporal perfume both 

Pungent and sweet like a

Spiced melon in a ray of sun

25JUL21

Amalfi

 

There is a silence I have

Never before encountered;

An eerie, soothing tranquility

That has always caused unease

 

But seas and skies so very blue 

Air as crisp and clean, dilute

My apprehensions while

I come alive renewed

Distant church bells

Ring out in unison, their

Echoing songs resonate in

Waves of hypnotic symphonies

Walking barefoot along narrow

Cobblestone streets stopping

To watch the sun as it melts

Into the shimmering sea

24JUL21

My Rerun Life

 

     They say there is a difference

Between living in the past and

        Thinking about the past; for me

Both of these concepts prevail

       On the one hand, I often listen

To the same songs and watch

     The same films over and over

Never tiring of the repetition 

On the other hand, I often

Reminisce about the past in TV

             Rerun bursts of the same vignettes,

Indulgently, time and time again;

      The past, for me, is a constant

Reminder of every memory and

                Experience that has enriched my life

Teaching me its most valuable lessons

23JUL21

On Not Being Missed

 

It was more than 35 years ago

I unintentionally eavesdropped

On a telephone conversation my

Long-time girlfriend was having

With her mother; I was sitting on

The floor outside the bathroom on

The white carpeting as I listened to

Her saying how when she was back

Home in Chicago visiting family she

Didn't miss or even think about me;

Hearing those words was devastating

And still resonate today decades later

But in a strange way, I am resigned

To being someone who has been so

Often discarded and seldom missed;

There is little mystery to my melancholy

 

22JUL21

The Poison Mouth (Part 2)

 

I was asked to come back inside

And returned to the examination

Room downstairs where the two

So-called dentists were spraying

 

Foamy water into a plastic cup

While looking dumbfounded by

What they were seeing; but all

I wanted was to see the bottle

Of disinfectant so I could tell my

GP what I had ingested that was

Now making my lips, tongue and

Throat burn and my eyes watery;

They refused to show me the bottle

So I stormed out again and rode

My bike to my doctor's office where

She told me I probably wouldn't die

21JUL21

The Poison Mouth (Part 1)

 

It was a routine dental checkup

My first visit at a new practice;

The clinic was a shithole with

Dilapidated seating, cracked

Paint and a general air of not

Being well looked after; I was

Attended to by a young Persian

Woman who asked me a few

 

Questions before she went on to

Insert a suction tube and began

Cleaning with a water spray with

An unusual industrial taste; I knew

 

Something was wrong and asked

Her to stop; I argued with her boss

Who kept telling me to calm down

So I immediately left the building

20JUL21

Purgatory

 

It's a gray place

Even on the sunniest

Of days; there is a haze

That lingers over the cityscape

Dismal and lifeless where the

Dregs of society drift from

Place to place sedated

By smoke and fumes

Streets filled with men

In blue suits, shiny brown

Shoes and windblown hair

Zombies for our modern times

Hypnotized masses yearning

For nothing, settling for the little

They expect and spending every

Waking moment in profuse mediocrity 

19JUL21

A Reasonable Degree of Certainty

 

I can say with a

Reasonable degree of

Certainty that once the initial

Revelation of my departure sinks in

It will only be a matter of time before

My actions are understood and

Accepted for what they are

By those who will soon

Forget how their acts

Of heartlessness were the

Catalysts that encouraged me

To take the measures I felt necessary

To heal the gaping wounds my soul

Has endured for years; years of

Indifference, emotional neglect

And being taken for granted

18JUL21

A Moment in Time

 

I used to think people changed in an instant

A moment in time when some intrinsic

Phenomenon took place transforming

What was one thing into another

The moment when our child's

Heart becomes hardened and

Indifferent; the instant our youth

Is lost to the first drag on a cigarette

And once the inner child within us is

Gone, it can never again be reclaimed;

One cannot simply turn back time and go

Back to whence they came in the blink of an eye

But I do reserve an ounce of hope that one day

My fellow man will eventually come to see the

Error of his ways and rise to the greatness

Each of us has been endowed with

17JUL21

The Bandwagon

 

It's taken me nearly a lifetime

To finally realize that jumping

Off the bandwagon is easier

Than jumping on; jumping off

Is liberating, it frees the spirit

And soothes the mind; it takes

You to a place of contentment,

Providence and creates a path

Leading to enlightenment and

Greater opportunities; though

Jumping on the bandwagon is

Seemingly convenient, the truth

Is that it is merely conformity in

The most conventional, colorless

And uninspiring way; now, all

That remains is metamorphosis

16JUL21

Amnesia

 

I would take a pill to

Forget every moment

Of my life and then I

Would go to southern

France or Italy where

I could walk alone in

Sun-kissed air where

No one knew me and

The cobblestone streets

Would guide me to the

Sea; you waiting there

With a seductive smile

Wearing a small locket

On a silver chain whose

Contents revealed a photo

Of everything I'd ever seen

15JUL21

Dumbing Down

 

We don't read books anymore

Or purposefully listen to music;

We don't go to the theater or to

The ballet, opera or concert hall

We rarely pick up a newspaper

Or magazine; many have never

Known the delight of flipping a

Page or dog-earing a corner

But we make decisions about our

Health and wellbeing from online

Experts who heard it from the guy

Who won't don a mask or get a jab

This is where we are; how far we

Have evolved as a civilization of

People who no longer possess the

Ability of thinking for themsleves

14JUL21

Babysitters

 

I had a few babysitters as a child;

Pauline, who lived with Mrs. Hart

Downstairs on Maplewood; white-

Haired, short and portly, she used

To let me run around the basement

Pauline moved to Miami and once

In a while I would stay at Dolores

And Kurt Hoffman's house on the

Second floor and eat chocolates

Kurt gave me a little red chair he

Kept in the kitchen near the stove

He moved to San Francisco and

Became a homosexual and died

Then there was the young woman

Who cared for me in her mother's

House near Howard and Western;

She had an attic and Beatles records

13JUL21

Love Letters

 

I've been rummaging through old boxes

Sifting through memories and rediscovering

Parts of my life I barely remember even existed

And then I came upon the stack of your love letters

So, I dusted off an old chair and sat in the dank of

My basement on that rainy summer's day, the din

Of raindrops dancing on the window provided a

Melancholy soundtrack as I began reading

One by one I gently removed each letter as if

They were historical documents stored in a

Museum vault for centuries; bestowing a

Gentle touch upon the yellowing paper 

 

The recollection of their contents was

Like hearing a song you hadn't heard in

Forty years but still remembered every lyric;

Love and happiness in each melodic sentiment

12JUL21

Time Travel

 

It's easy to transform my thoughts

Creating moments from lost moments

In time; but that only brings back subtle

Recollections from lives I lived so long ago

I sat in a place yesterday, nondescript and

Uninspiring, observing the street outside

Thinking I could be in this other place

And how completely different it was

It could have been a similar place,

A similar street, similar surroundings,

People, smells, light; but it wasn't and it

Never could be because those days are gone

But what if I returned to that place, could I not

Relive or recreate or even begin again where

I left off all those years ago in one seamless,

Linear transition of space, time and energy

11JUL21

The Patissier

 

I am beginning to encounter delight

In doing nothing and taking pleasure

In silence and learning to see equally as

Well in the darkness as in the light of day

I spend quite a bit of my time daydreaming

About cream-filled cakes, airy pastries and

Soft cookies; it's not so much the sweetness

I desire, but all of their delectable memories

And I can stare out of the window all day

Looking at nothing and everything while

Enjoying the birds, trees, leaves and sky;

I revel in the secret language of the clouds

But the days always end in the same doleful

Loneliness; my mind unsettled and disquieted

By unstoppable images and recollections of

Days that would be better left unremembered

10JUL21

Turning Pages

 

I'm grateful for all I've had;

The life I've lived, experiences,

People who have come and gone,

My family, friends, fellows and foes

But there comes a time when the page

Turns and the story ends, when the

Book must be closed and returned

To its place on the bookshelf

And there it stays collecting

Dust, its pages begin to yellow

And the words lose their meaning;

Poetry languishes and the ink fades away

There is little else to say, to feel or desire;

When the train arrives at the station

All that remains is to get off and

Revel in the world around you

09JUL21

Syncopation

 

Marching to the beat

Of a different drum

The only one who

Replied to my ad

Rainy winter night

In Scottsdale, I met

Her at the front gate

In a red pick-up truck

I played a few songs

On my Hamer and

She said I found

My drummer

You had only

Started playing

Drums to impress a

Girl you had a crush on

08JUL21

Attachment to the Bad Object

 

I suppose we're all bound

Sooner or later to manifest

The dysfunctions of our youth

Giving form to the internalized

Seeing tears streaming from her

Eyes and hearing the sadness in

Her voice is both unbearable

 And utterly heartbreaking

And in the season of my

Discontent I am reminded how

The summer always seems to bring

Bad tidings and a desire for departure

But we tend to cling to the nearest thing

Whether it brings pleasure or pain

Guilt or grace or the unforgiving

Misfortune of attachment 

07JUL21

Another Vera Langdon Dream

 

It's been nearly ten years

Since I first dreamed about

Vera Langdon, an American

Actress that never really existed

She was a contract player at one

Of the big Hollywood studios but her

Untimely death at a young age robbed

The world of her beauty and immense talent

She always materializes while I'm sitting at a

Soda fountain counter in some delicatessen

in Los Angeles; I'm sipping on a chocolate

Malt while she walks by and smiles at me

The dreams are short and insignificant

But she always looks the same in a

Simple beige dress and her hair

Done up just like Jane Powell

06JUL21

Your Name (In the Wind)

 

I keep hearing your name in the wind

I stop to listen ever so attentively

Trying (in vain) to convince 

Myself it's only a dream

 

But I know better; that it's

An apparition, a haunting like

You said it would be the day we

Met at that sidewalk café in Valencia

You told me it could never work, that

You were sick and would never

Be well; the ladies at the next

Table told you to tell me so

And there were the flies,

The gray pigeons and the

Voices that became a part of

What we were never to become

05JUL21

For Want of a Better Word

 

So much about that day remains a blur

I can hardly remember the drive down

To Alicante that warm Sunday morning

More than a dozen long summers ago

I wasn't certain I'd remember how to get

To your parent's house but I did recall the

Train tracks and once I crossed them, the

Memory of destination had firmly returned

I sat in my car out front of your house for

More than a hour, not knowing whether I

Should just ring the doorbell or call first;

I sat and waited and waited some more

But there would be no last goodbyes as

My phone finally rang and the voice at

The other end was long gone and farther

Away than I could have ever imagined

04JUL21

Independence

 

There is always a price to pay for freedom

Some have given their lives, others have

Sold their souls to liberate themselves

From oppression and hardship

But there is a certain bondage

That one can not flee; afflictions of

The spirit, damnation of the mind that

Overrun the senses and cripple our being

We are free to the bounds of our existence

Captive within the walls of our fears

Paralyzed by nightmares and the

Relentless bane of darkness

To witness resilience in the

Human condition in times of strife

Is to celebrate the best of who we are

Soaring to the heights of eagles and beyond  

03JUL21

The Re-Awakening

I was starting to lose hope

In myself and the world

Around me; but the

Cycles of rebirth

Are not limited

Only to the spring

When leaves renew

And rains cleanse the

Remains of the winter;

And like a swelling

Wave that rushes

The shore, I have

Experienced this

Re-awakening of my

Senses by the breath

Of some magical life form

02JUL21

The Untethering

There is Italy;

Rome and Naples

Sprawling countrysides

Sun and the Amalfi Coast

So many ports of call await

Misty cool northern Spain

The southern mountains

And endless plains

It's not that I long

For adventure; those

Days are far removed

But ingrained deep within

What I most desire is to free

Myself from the relentless

Torment of my current

State of reality 

01JUL21

Our Daily Bread

Sliced white bread

Soft white buns

Flour tortillas
Croissants

 

Cookies

Candy bars

Chocolate cakes

Fruit and custard pies

 

Pancakes and waffles

Cinnamon rolls

Frozen pizza

Turnovers

 

We give

Thanks for our

Daily bread that

Is slowly killing us