Sacrifice

Elton John

It’s a human sign
When things go wrong
When the scent of her lingers
And temptation’s strong

Into the boundary
Of each married man
Sweet deceit comes calling
And negativity lands

Cold, cold heart
Hard done by you
Some things look better, baby
Just passing through

And it’s no sacrifice
Just a simple word
It’s two hearts living
In two separate worlds
But it’s no sacrifice
No sacrifice
It’s no sacrifice at all

Mutual misunderstanding
After the fact
Sensitivity builds a prison
In the final act

We lose direction
No stone unturned
No tears to damn you
When jealousy burns

Cold, cold heart
Hard done by you
Some things look better, baby
Just passing through

And it’s no sacrifice
Just a simple word
It’s two hearts living
In two separate worlds
But it’s no sacrifice
No sacrifice
It’s no sacrifice at all

Cold, cold heart
Hard done by you
Some things look better, baby
Just passing through

And it’s no sacrifice
Just a simple word
It’s two hearts living
In two separate worlds
But it’s no sacrifice
No sacrifice
It’s no sacrifice at all

No sacrifice at all
No sacrifice at all
No sacrifice at all
No sacrifice at all

Crowded in Bars


Sit in a crowded bar.

Hear the roar of intelligible volume.

Music bass beats disrupting cardiac rhyme.

Shouts, whispers and laugher, all a boom.

Fist bumps and swaying good cheer.

Love and loneliness conflate, swill in beer glass

Bottoms, oh where can I feel this good again?

And why the price to pay bankrupts me.

Write in a thumping pub.

Stool side bar lined drinkers and snackers,

I buzz along the page, noting the din, 

An elf pit padding by, no a child.

A child? 

Bar strip invisible barriers to the dining room,

No walls, balloons, kids and family, clinking wine

Glasses and frosted mugs, steins, clicks, smiles, shouts

Above the music, lyrics swallowed in the mêlée of 

Motion and shoveled appetizers and gin, hospitality

And bused trays of bitten bits, refuse, waste, prolifligate

Posterity to posh sea and salt surroundings, spirits and

Song and gathering grand mirrored cheer, happiness

In a thin stemmed crystal–and you, out there somewhere

Celebrating your birth, the wonder of survival,

without me, alone with all of your friends

And family, a beer or so inside your belly, thinking of us,

Being with them, and both alone in our own movies.
————————————————–

Food’s here–finally.
 
And so it is, writing in a bar.
Biting at words.
 
Buzzed.
Sculpin IPA on tap.
 
Broke.
Payday a week away.
 
Fed.
Summer squash in fall, I had to.
 
And
No more, no reason.
 
Ready to say,
Write:
 
“I’ve been out this Friday night.”
 
Every day’s sameness.
 
Writing at my desk,
The confines of my chested blues.
 
Like a cliché gone staler.
Need.to.Reinvent.
 
But after just one. More.
 

Pub: pixabay

Ten–and 21–for today.


Working my way through the day 15 and 10 minutes at a time, I set the timer. It’s one of those days when sleep filled me, made me hopeful upon awakening, even after a pee trip and return to sleep, rare in itself (the going back to sleep part). An excited brain with a deadline is like a toad on crack. Reigning it in hard today.
 
I also drank a bit last night–a Stone on draft at happy hour. P and I went to dinner before the concert. His Christmas 2015 present finally arrived in a college stadium 80 miles from home–Twenty One Pilots, his favorite band these days. Or one of them. Having tapped into his on again off again creative piano playing and composing mojo lately, he was particularly ready to enjoy the show. And he did, dancing the night away.
 
I, on the other hand (not as familiar with the band), was glad to have had the beer and mushroom flatbread before the show, washed down with a cool glass of water out on that breezy terrace to the immaculate, tinged-with-class-and-hipness restaurant. A compromised restaurant between haute cuisine and bistro fare, I was satiated. The cool beer and water helped when the stadium filled with hopping, singing, dancing, screaming and hugging mostly-younger-than-I fans turned stifling.
 
Two young women standing/swaying in front of me in the row ahead turned to me like they would to an older adult, like their mom’s or grandma’s friend, and mouthed the question with slightly furrowed brows, “Do you have water?” My slow shaking head side to side, the response, they sadly looked away. I was holding up well for two reasons: beer and water chaser before the show, and sitting down while the crowd stood. It’s called conservation, like the camel-hood I procured decades ago.
 
That’s right security dude checking us for contraband at the stadium entrance, who asked me sarcastically, which song was my favorite of this 20-something band, I’m old–and savvy. And, while you were busy busting my chops, I was smiling and smuggling by.
 

Image: Twenty one Pilots/mtv

Ten Minutes: An Affirmation

I am neither my title, 

surname, 

job 

or 

thick toes. 

I am a traveler 

into the sheaves of human margins, 

turning the book inside out 

and rewriting the musical notes 

to sing the paper strings. 

I am a digger 

in ancient French tongues,

salt and euphony, 

and a forgiver of rhymes, 

slight 

and fever. 

My daily question mark half circles 

to dot the when of things, 

bring them face to my own blind eyes, 

up close like cilia sensors: 

steam, 

pallor 

and frankincense. 

Our skin aflame 

scented musk and cream,

I mean, 

as if all of us 

walked to the holy house, 

succumbed to the chewy silence, 

perched on velvet crushed cushions 

with our mouths circled 

and vibrating 

in the register 

of C(osmos).

   
Image: cosmos via Flickr 

Not all children are poets

Not at all children are poets, but some are.

I remember my four-year old saying, with gravelly complaint and

consternation as we rounded the last lap of tract homes from the 

neighborhood park, “It feels like there’s an elephant in my shoe.”

Those days, I was not a poet myself, so I simply took off her shoe

to see what was the matter, what was in there, a rock or a sock?

Neither of those could possibly be the size or weight of an elephant

but I skipped right over the poetry and assumed the play out of it:

She just meant that something was slowing down her gait, some

obstruction that was making her walk like an elephant, and that

full explanation did not even articulate in my mind, just swallowed

up in the patching up holes and problems, as parents are wont to do.

 

And then those hours of “Mother Goose” nursery rhymes that 

pleased and placated my tiny joy-riding song and wordsters who

pleaded, “Again” after we’d go through the entire night’s rhymes read

before bed time, and all I could think was, “What does this mean, 

‘hickory dickory dock’, mice, clocks and ‘Little Jack Horner’s plum’, 

dishes eloping with spoons and cracked “Humpty” eggs that garnered

so much respect that all the king’s horses and men came to its aid?”

My mind drifted as I sang-sung the words that were impossible to

read plainly, prosaically–meter forced down the reader’s tongue and 

bones–through history, fairy tales and folktales, lore of

cultures and small pockets of rural societies past when these words, 

rules and references made sense, all the while losing the music that 

kept my poetettes lulled to the opiate rhythms of story-song silliness.

 

Only when I noticed their wobbling knees and fatty little fingers 

opening and closing like metronomes to music I forgot to hear, the

pulse of primal iambs that beat like limbic hearts, laughter-ful, wordless 

sense, even while my lips, breath, voice, tongue and ears decoded and 

reproduced the text just as it was meant to be read–filled with 

drama, pause, whole notes and half notes, lento and allegro, 

ha-ha! loud and sh-sh soft as we three piggies word-danced, they

with their poet souls and me with my mimed mastery of lines.

Atonality


We perform in atonal times, no guiding key.

Some allude to a world dystopian, technocratic oligarchs

And corporate heroes, when truth, politics and religion

Are pronounced (often spat) in acerbic yet nostalgic terms.

Truth? Irrelevant. 

Never a believer in absolutes, the relativity of all things

Now lapsed into the arbitrariness of myth or reality,

Falsehoods or evidence, justice or gamesmanship, 

I crave a concrete proven fact’s acknowledgement, 

A shared given or universal ‘yes ‘ we all nod to.

Power is what it has always been about, long plodding 

Or devastatingly explosively quick and slaughtering.

The one constant.

I’ve read that if we stop talking about race, patriarchy 

And binaries, they will disappear. 

No arbitrary superiority shall be pre-ordained.

Our children’s children will not know these prejudices.

But silence can also deafen the voice we hear

Inside ourselves, to assure us–even in the face of fools and fakery–

That we know the difference.

 
Credit: gillespiemusic.com

The Heart of Empathy Speaks


I fell in love with foreign languages from before I could speak,

From Mother Goose nursery rhymes chanted to childhood,

Singing me through my days in silly lilting jibberish tolling tales–

Mesmerizing wispy wild figures sticking thumbs in plum pies

Or eating mystical morsels named curds and whey on a tuffet.

Then in college, I pined for the secret to unlock the hearts of 

Spanish, French and Russian poets, painters and culture magicians.

I cracked the code to some, forming strained lipped sounds,

Writing winsome words in chipped or open gullet accents  or

Symbols to sounds unmade, unimagined and click ticklish

until I could not remember my own tongue.

But after college, language tore at me, ripped me up

And left me dull, licit and languishing in legal triangles,

Endless geometry of angles, degrees and lines.

The law sandpapered language across imagination’s landscape,

Smoothed my edges in deeper, rounder archetypal paths, pregnancy, 

Until I lost Octavio Paz’s meter sanded out in childrearing recipes

Swapped with Guatemalan nannies.

Pellucid sentences peeled off like shredded wallpaper skin,

Their luster gone with a youthful jaunt, hop, gleam and trigger,

Flashed in skipping stones, falling in love and hopping fences

Round speedways, parks and wood clearings where music moved 

Us, loins and feet to primal noun-less, soundless speech, 

Just to see,  get a glimpse at lip-sung words beyond the barriers, 

Risking liberty and future, impelled by lusty mischief and rush.

Back then, I had to hear them sung in tune-ful missives keyed only to me.

And now, the remaining hash of come and gone, bright and dark, transforms

Acidic intestinal stew to sorcerer’s clairvoyant elixir: my gut tells me.

Among the clamorous hate-filled speeches and cautious creeds non-offending,

Blasted in soldiered lies and political stomps, and on uncivil, anti-social media,

The gurgle steels me listen to us, be your pain, own my heated core as if it were 

The world’s sole lingual ignition; the ravenous merging urge to swallow me up,

The kind you write in erotic type and imagery possessing, owning my pulse–

These are mere smoke signals, the wink-less language of I know you as I am.  

In the aftermath of lived language, word dross, let us, you and me, tutor empathy,

The Esperanza of human kindness,  re-remembered swish and slosh in thickish silent

 womb–connected to another’s rhymes and rhythms, as the song. 

 

A Cello Rests

 
 

A cello rests in a room, its neck snugged to the corner, 

nearly facing the wall in neglect as if ashamed, 

calumny’s dust. 

Never her fault, I never loved enough, not until late, too late.

I played for spans.

A public school music teacher examining my third grade hands declared, 

“You have long fingers; you’ll play the cello.”

And pronouncement became performance.

I practiced and played: solo, ensemble and orchestra.

Competitions endured at the lust of a failed cello teacher and complicit parents

yielded no more than a B plus plus, merely a red ribbon.

But I scored Romberg’s cello sonata into my fingers for life.

And the taste, a hint of burning desire–first conquest, then mastery.

Until the mid-70s teen culture enwrapped me in smokey rock concerts and pubs,

boys and weed.

And the cello lay low in my childhood home ’til California stole me.

She plays me time to time, decade to decade since then,

testing my resolve and desire, the want-it factor.

She breaks my every attempt, every dream of recapture,

having long ago mastered me.

 

credit: clker.com