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April 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!

30APR21

Choices

Sometimes there are choices we’re not able to make 
Seeing the before and after photos of that fat slob with

The bloated belly in pop-up ads on Facebook; slim now

Thanks to a plant-based diet, squats and intermittent fasting

And it's easy to walk past the bakery window with all their

Pink-frosted cream-filled cakes, soft bread and brownies

Simple deduction in reasoning that apples and grapes

Are healthier nutritional choices than fries and pies

But the weakness and absolute lack of willpower

Which I possess have now become debilitating flaws

That middle-of-the-night cortisol rush that wakes me up

Sending me down for a bowl of GrapeNuts and oatmilk

I am the before picture and I'm always the before picture

The slob with the excess belly fat; the guy cringing with low

Back pain; the dolt with a stupid look on his face shrugging

His shoulders with question marks hovering around his head

29APR21

The Wretchedness of Pain

Awakened at five a.m. by the rain is the day’s first gift;

But the soothing, placid sounds quickly give way to the

Sullen reminder of sore chapped hands and that

Nagging something or other in my mouth

I'm pushing my body to its very limits;

With hardly any effort it frequently reminds

Me how fragile and vulnerable the human body

Can be; and perhaps there was a message in the rain

If only I could decipher its pitter-patter and windswept

Melody, the sudden splatter on the windows then

The slow decent down the pane of wet glass

Finally disappearing into the nothingness

I can bite my lip and blink my eyes, but

The reality of wind and rain and the frivolous

Mischief of the morning light has a sturdy hold on

My desire to triumph over the wretchedness of pain

28APR21

Intervention (Broken Things)

Things break; and sometimes they may be

Mended while other times they may be

Not; that is the simple philosophy of

Intervention and, at the same time

One of life's greatest conundrums

Whether or not we even ask ourselves

If that which has broken really needs to be

Mended at all; or if, perhaps, the broken thing

Is simply better off in its broken state; hearts for

Example; the broken heart when mended is

Able to love again, while the broken soul

Can never repossess its exuberance

So many broken things, broken lives

Broken people and broken dreams; if it

Were possible to mend them all, even if for a

Moment; I would gladly sell my soul for the deed

27APR21

Glasgow (1990)

My brother and I were strolling around

The Alhambra that hot afternoon when

Those young newlyweds from Scotland

Asked us if we could kindly recommend

A restaurant that would be open in the

Heat of the day; we told them we were

Heading to my friend Pepe's place and

They were welcome to come along and

Join us for a meal there; we mentioned

Our plans to drive around England and

They invited us to their parent's home in

Glasgow; we took them up on their kind

Offer; that's where I met Elise and where

We fell in love; at least until she wrote me

Some months later to tell me she had come

To perceive she was a lesbian; end of story

26APR21

Thinking It Over

I must have an extraordinarily small brain

As it seems only able to possess the same

Recurring thoughts and trivial information

This and that and the other; clusters of zip

Nothing that could be considered mindful

Or relevant or useful in my day-to-day life

Something akin to self-abuse or punishing

Myself for every obtusity and misalignment

How I loathe myself for thinking about you

Of all the people, places and things that I

Could be preoccupied about, it seems you

Are the one thing I can't get out of my head

The one person to whom I owe nothing and

Everything; whose life force is the fulcrum of

My very being, determination and purpose;

And a propensity for overthinking everything

25APR21

Vainglory

You have a distorted sense of

Masculinity; being a man is not

About brawn, not about facial hair

Or that over-compensating gasguzzler

It's not the money and even less about

How you actually came upon all that;

Worthiness can never be compared

To a plastic bag full of dirty cash

So, what is the true worth of

A man if not his integrity and

Intentions and his word of honor?

Nothing but smoke-filled delusions​

The despair behind your smile made me

Understand the reality of our human condition

And the vainglory concealing the man you were

Meant to be, but sadly never will be, in this lifetime

24APR21

Who Needs A King

I comprehend history

Its lessons, relevance

Merits and intricacies

But who needs a king

I appreciate the pomp

The pageantry and all;

Formalities and grace

But who needs a king

I've lived under these

Monarchies three, for

Nearly half of my life

Never needing a king

May they wane into the

Past; take their place in

The annals of antiquity

And in our recollection

23APR21

This Lovelorn​ Place

It's been eleven years since I arrived

In these neither, never, nether lands

And in all those years I've been

Trying to find out one thing

What makes us so different

How is it that we appear so alike

Though our character, values and

Worldview are so very contradictory

It has occurred to me it may be love;

Or should I say the lack of love

And by love I mean affection

Passion, zeal and empathy

You see it on the streets of

Spain and Italy; outward signs

Of tenderness that rarely, if ever,

Can be observed in this lovelorn place

22APR21

Secrets

I've never kept many secrets

I suppose when one lives an

Unremarkable life there isn't

Really any need for secrecy

But the secrets I do possess

(There are only an odd few)

You have somehow been a

Rather fixed co-conspirator

Which means I know your

Secrets too; the ones you

Revealed during our long

Telephone calls years ago

Your coffee breaks at work

(Not really drinking coffee)

But how you so quickly and

Adeptly quenched other thirsts

21APR21

Delicate Matters

Piecing together the intricate

Strands of my life; scrutinizing

Every loose end and fractured

Segment of misunderstanding

Asking questions to which no

Answers exist; parting tides on

Sandless beaches where only

Gulls and memories fly freely

Living these final exasperating

Moments when only the sound

Of your voice could save me

From the callousness of death

 

I wonder what the silence will

Sound like on the other side;

And if the colors I've imagined

Will be as vivid as I've dreamed

20APR21

Ending (Starting)

I feel the sun beaming down upon my face

And for a moment I'm carried away to

Another place and time; standing

Alone in a Spanish plaza

It's late winter, perhaps

Early spring; crisp and cold

I lean against an old brick wall

Taking the sun like the old men do

Or perhaps I'm up in the Alpujarra

Market day; the sounds of hens

And shopping trolley wheels;

Fruit vendors bellowing out

I've a longing for home

For sunshine and warmth

For the sea and new beginnings

And a yearning to be loved again

19APR21

Smoothing the Lines

It's hard to pinpoint what that taste in my mouth is

But it reminds of you and all those chocolate eclairs

We used to eat as kids; we'd run home nudging open

The bicycle room door and sit on the cold floor kissing

I never could have understood back then what those

Kisses meant; they were playfully soft and restrained

Not hot and steamy like those kisses we saw on TV

Or the wet lipsticky ones I would get from Irene

But time has a funny way of smoothing the lines

Making right from what was wrong; shining its

Shimmering light on the darkest chapters of

My life; forgiving what was unforgivable

Then morning broke in its silent dawn

Rays of sunlight blinding me as they

Encroached the rips in the shades

Everything gentle like your kisses

18APR21

Harsh Realities

I can't protect you from every

Dead bunny you'll encounter

Plastered to the road; the hurt

You'll endure at the expense

 

Of others; and there will be

Other hurts and heartbreak;

I could tell you about all I've

Endured, but it wouldn't help

To comfort you; only to rekindle

The anguish and misery I would

Like to never be reminded about;

Harsh realities better kept unsaid

 

We live in the cruelest and most

Bewildering of times; when what

We see before us is nothing less

Than our spiraling into madness

17APR21

Aquitania

It's been about a hundred years

Since you fled your birthplace

The only place you'd ever known

The one place you never spoke of

To have caught a glimpse of you

There in your home on a winter's

Night; at the table eating a meal

In your bed covered and sleeping

To see you in your everyday life

With your parents and siblings

What I wouldn't give to go back

In time and see all of those things

Your trek across Europe to Poland

And France; your passage aboard

John Brown's sailing ship; the voyage

Across the Atlantic on the Aquitania 

16APR21

From This to This

How did we get from this to this
From here to there; to that precious 
Newborn feeding at his mother’s breast;
The little boy bouncing on his daddy's knee

How do these babes in arms grow up to be

Monsters; Hitlers, Dahmers and McVeighs

Children frolicking in the meadow

Happy-go-lucky dreamers

To know that exact moment

In time; the very instant at which

The metamorphosis took place; when

Doom was sealed in the book of providence

All these menaces and merchants of death;

Wielding the power of mighty weapons

Taking more than lives, but the very

Soul and sustenance of humanity

15APR21

Cazale

Your eyes told truths

And lies; harbored courage

And a lighthearted melancholy;

You found sanctuary in the wings

Trying to imagine your childhood

Your mischief and playmates

The first time you stood

In the footlights

Or the time

You and Al met

Rehearsed and talked

Smoked and drank and lived

 

That final sullen year; dying

Acting, loving, living; Meryl at

Your side and those brave men who

Became better men having known you

 

14APR21

Alienation

Cracks in the ceiling

Fissures in the foundation

Creaky floors and squeaky doors

Windows broken and truths unspoken

Not a single moment free from contention

Nary a nicety nor good intention

An evil eye and forked tongue

Belittling insults often slung

The years have been cruel

Absent of change or renewal

Shifting blame and stirring up fear

Afraid to confront the image in the mirror

Alienation assails like winter's icy gales

Sleepless nights and useless fights 

Disillusioned and downtrodden

Longing and left in the lurch

13APR21

The April Lull

There is a small hidden corner of the spring

A metaphysical notion I call the April Lull

It's there, existing in a chasm between

Shadow and light; space and time

It is scented with budding branches

Moist as the dew-covered grass

Soft like crisp wispy breezes

Gentle as the sunlight

 

 A place where we exist as one

But alone in momentary

Bursts of stardust

And wonder

Reaching your innermost depths

In the cold stillness of night

Where darkness glows

In the April moon

12APR21

Objects in the Mirror

Objects in the mirror

Are closer than they appear

But you, for instance

Are farther in the distance

Like a grain of sand

Resting upon my hand

It falls to the ground

Never again to be found

And as you drift away

Drifting further every day

No voice to call your name

Bewildered just the same

The mist is slowly lifting

Like clouds it's only drifting

Disappearing into thin air

Without a thought or care

11APR21

The Siesta

The light reminds me of the bay

Awnings blotting out the afternoon sun

Gentle breezes skirting off the Mediterranean

The rattan couch inviting me to its comforting harbor

 

Sounds of children frolicking in the seaside pool

Tennis balls popping and slapping the net 

Sneakers swooshing on gritty clay

Women gossiping over coffee

Whiling the afternoon away

Veiled in a vespertine paradise

The sun setting as evening approaches

I awaken to silence and the euphoria of renewal

Days pass and light transforms shadows into night

My restlessness careening out with the tide

I am at peace, composed and serene

Eager to walk amongst the stars

10APR21

How (Do) I Sleep at Night

It begins with tucking myself in

Duvet underneath a bed spread

Bought on sale years ago at the V&D

Then folded down just at the top of my chest

Thin pillow folded in half opened at the back

Lying on my right side I tuck my arm into

The fold and settle in momentarily

Before unfolding and shifting

Pillow flat I roll to the left

Extending my arms into odd but 

Comfortable pretzel-like configurations

Roll back onto my left side, arm under pillow

Shifting from fetal position to straightened legs

Pondering the moment when sleep settles in

And if I will rise to see another new day

Drooling and dreaming the night away 

09APR21

The Yearling (For Emma)

It was a spontaneous decision

One made out of love and devotion

To fulfill the fancies of young girls' dreams

Placing in their arms the softness of their longings

Traveling by train up north that warm summer day

To Harlem then Alkmaar with an empty carrier

Totally aflutter with glee and excitement

Awaiting their first sight of her

Witnessing their sheer delight

Their curiosity and timid caution

I took in that moment with satisfaction

Knowing I had done something pure and good

On this day we rejoice in celebration of your life

We revel in the wonder of your first birthday

In the gift that is the happiness you bring

Touching our hearts, souls and lives

08APR21

Parenthood

Sometimes it’s just too damn hard to take
The worrying, fears and endless suffering 
Those frantic middle of the night episodes
Barfing, nightmares and misadventures 

Parenthood has been my greatest joy
At times, the deepest of sullen regrets
To ponder my children’s unknown future
In a world of uncertainty and disarray 

I will become but a long distant memory
Cloudy vignettes and syrupy recollections
Of what I cannot say nor wish to ponder
Their lives will go on for years without me

That, perhaps, is the most bitter sting of all

Knowing all that will surely come to pass

Year after year, decade after long decade

A vague reminiscence is all I will become

07APR21

Storybook

I slowly turn the pages of the storybook

Aware of the paper between my fingers

Smooth and clean and so pristinely white

The soft gentle flutter of every turned page

Line after line I read about your adventures

Journeys to places I've only dreamed to see

Drawings, poems, anecdotes and memories

A lifetime of remembrance printed and bound

Then I came upon the most remarkable thing

There on page forty-five, near the bottom left

It was a picture of me as a child in a sailor hat

I was sitting in a small rowboat in Miami Beach

I'd seen the photo hundreds of times as a boy

I taped it inside an old scrapbook dad gave me

But one day the photo had simply disappeared

Leaving only the yellowed tape aged by the years

06APR21

Sunswept

Crispy water sun-streaked wall shadows

Bathroom ceiling dribbling snowy brown

New neighbors still clanking and banging

Dust fairies floating in the early morning shine

I feel nothing in my aging body except comfort

No aches, pains, twinges, stiffness or strain

Though my mind seems tender and lucid

I fear it will soon recede into darkness

There are blockades beneath the water

Sunken ships and long-lost treasure troves

Palm tree dreams and barren windy coves

Sand and sea and living creatures submerged

It would be enough to love you for a single day

To say I have loved free from guilt and regret

And to feel your warm breath while I sleep

The tranquil life force that feeds my soul

05APR21

Saigon

Teethy smile and cheeky grin
A laidback calming serenity 
Your cat-like soft purry laugh
And a gently-soothing voice

I met you in Saigon in 1973

Or maybe it was all a dream

Changing the tires on a Jeep

Your uniform too big for you

I asked you for a cold drink

You pointed at that canteen

Without even glancing at it

Smiled, then looked away

I was sad hearing you'd died

Never even knew your name

But always remembered you

And your gesture of kindness

04APR21

Sleeping Through It All

I've been known to fall asleep

At the theatre, in the cinema

Or while watching television

As I like taking a little dreml

And living in Spain as long

As I did, my brain is ever so

Acclimated to the odd siesta

The delight of every delights

But it has occurred to me of

Late that perhaps I've been

Sleeping through it all; not

Fully awake in the moment

Living a life in the past tense

Sleeping to whittle away the

Panic and angst I've created

In my make-believe existence

03APR21

Minnie

I've been moved by a thousand songs

But none in the way yours moved me

Your breath and whistletine flourishes

The childlike purity of your inflections

I was 12 when Lovin' You came out

I'd turn off the car radio back then

Or switch to Lujack playing top 40

Not knowing then what I know now

Born in Chicago, Illinois just like me

Moved to Los Angeles just like I did

Pursued the dream of making music

Found the fame and fortune I didn't

La, la, la, la, la; la, la, la, la, la

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall

While you and Richard wrote that

Singing love: Maya, Maya, Maya

02APR21

Mister Prime Minister

I can't imagine what it would be like to

Walk in your shoes; or ride on your bike

Or sit in that round office overlooking the

Scenic pond where tourists take clichéd photos

I wonder how you sleep at night; the pandemic

Tax office scandals, being caught in a lie

Trying to form a coalition government

And just who does cut your hair?

I've always thought of you as

Being a dedicated civil servant

Loyal to the citizenry; committed to

Country, service and due process of law

Yet, there is something odd that piques my

Curiosity; some offbeat peculiarity

The ungainly disposition of an

Awkward teenage schoolboy

01APR21

29 Years On

I have very few recollections of that day

April 1st 1992 seems like a long time ago

I guess 29 years can be considered long ago

City Hall, 119 West Randolph on the lower level

The marriage was my idea, the date was as well

We talked about marriage and wanted to

But a good opportunity quickly arose

So swift action had to be taken

She needed her Green Card

To work at the children's hospital

They offered her the job of a lifetime

An offer much too good to let slip away

So, we stood before the judge on that day

Swore our vows and signed some papers

Called my mother from a payphone

Thought it was an April Fool's gag