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POETIC FLIGHTS 2

Page 24

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Poems about love and humanity are listed on the index of poems

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poems about death
In the transforming light,
When endings come to mind,
With sober passion,
I drink the seagull
Circling overhead,
The symphonic surf,
The sky breaking open
Its ripe golden egg
Spilling on my skin,
An ointment
For my aching bones;

So much I've learned,
Yet almost nothing
I've come to deeply know,
Floating hypnotically
On the brilliant surface
Of this constant flux;

Call it selfishness, or
The musings of a fool--
But it piques me
To think
Long after my molecules
Have changed address,
Dispossessed of eyes and ears,
All traces of my existence
Gone,
These same waves still
Coming
To the shore;

Yes, it irks me to think
That others will still be
Here
When I'm not,
To smell the morning dew,
Grab hold of love,
Hear Hamlet
Soliloquizing
On existential choice,
When I'm long past
That wistful dilemma--
Stripped of my voice;

On this narrow ledge
Of life recycling itself,
Sustained by a fortuitous star
Our future will
Unspool
In ways we can only guess:
Cures for deadly diseases,
Poverty vanquished,
Dinosaurs reborn,
A huge asteroid that
Nearly
Wipes us out,
Perhaps
Invaders from outer space,
A fourth world war--
I'd take the bloody risk,
I swear--

For after all,
Can anything be worse
Than no longer having
My own spot
Under the great blue dome
Of this spinning rock?

But if somehow we managed
To survive
Another millennium or two--
Then what?

Cyborgs
With high tech bodies
And holographic brains
That by today's standards
Would astound,
Yet even
With all that silicon
Grafted to our heads,
This world existing
Without us
Would still confound--
And
As our circuits neared
Endpoint,
We'd crane our necks
Toward at least
Another thousand years
And feel
A bit left out.



poems about humanity
Barely visible, almost forgotten, disowned
Her soft white flank much like new snow,
Eyes turned inward, sustained on starlight
Her deep slumber settled as the mountains,
Blackberries and roe in her ancient bones
The dreaming trout ice-locked in her belly,
Tomorrow lacking weight--
Time her timeless anchor--

When the right moment comes
Her ancient pulse adjusts
Her gold eye breaks out of weathered skin
Expunges the black frost,
Heavy-headed bees raft on the nectar wind
In her sap-flooded swirl
Virgin throats bursting
Brimming of life-blood
So much aimless lusting--

A lost world beneath the elevated soul.



poems about death
Just beyond our eyes and skin
Where thumping hearts
Have never been
Nothing grows or weakens
Nothing fades
Nothing ever falls apart

Nothing favored or opposed--
Change obsolete.

In that perfect unspoiled field
Just beyond our lips and ears

Something amiss--
But by then we'll never know
The faintest incidental twinge.


poems of struggle
Thus began my seed of thought,
Though its relevance will shift:

Is it not quite unbecoming
For us to righteously insist
That the frail
Be protected by the strong--
Does not our humanity owe everything
To the opposite of this loving notion?


As this string of inspired verse
Emerged from its psychic womb,
I was like a doting mother
With its newborn chick,
Yes, even in the poet's world
I realized with some guilt,
Successful adaptation--
Not unconditional love--
Is the quality most coveted:
Only the fittest of the bunch
Would outlive their human creator;

And so
I gave this scrawny little bundle
Of nouns and verbs
A father's hard, discerning look:
For starters, I concluded,
Lording over life and death,
The verb insist would have to go--
It had too much in connotation
Of a maniac waving a crutch--
It missed the mark, it sucked--

Demand I only briefly considered--
It was as unfit as the verb
I had just renounced--
I slashed it with my pen--

I obsessed until
Profess stumbled by,
But quickly that too I tossed into
Oblivion--

Proclaim--perhaps--perhaps not--
I ambivalently shoved it aside--

Entreat--
A whimpish ejaculation--
Deduce--ugh!--
Reeked of geometry--
I was cogitating
Like a glue-factory-destined
Horse--

Desperate for a decent verb,
I felt my standards crumble,
My faith too, alas--
I feared the worst:
This scruffy hatchling I had coaxed
Into the world
Would never pass the mustard--
And if it came to the crunch
I would eliminate
This weak-kneed thing.

Exclaim?--ridiculous--
Hysteria had no place
In what I was aiming for--
I needed a word uninvented--
Or a sledgehammer--
To break my clotted thinking--
And just then, for a moment,
I saw my horrid future:
Swinging from a noose--

Rule--order--dictate--declare?--
As I sank toward the bottom
Of the semantic pit,
I was badly in need
Of a powerful, mind-altering
Fix--

My progress utterly stalled,
Helpless and appalled,
Neither coffee nor alcohol
Doing the trick,
I more frantically clutched
My throbbing helmit
And like all word addicts
Unwilling to accept the truth,
Dug down deeper
Into the cerebral muck--

An hour passed--
Then two--
Then six--
I was a figurative fool
In search of a nugget:
Un mot extraordinaire--

Wait!

Proclaim--ordain--
Oddly, at three in the morning
I felt my nerves once again
Starting to spark at the tips,
I was verging on
A visionary fit--
(Though I had the sneaking suspicion
I had rejected
Junked, dumped
Discarded
Trashed these worthless lumps before)--

When hope was all but lost,
Like parched soil
Lovingly slavered with rain,
It came to me in a gush:
Decree!
Dammit yes! That was it!
How had I managed to overlook
This little black gem?

Is it not quite unbecoming
For us to righteously decree
That the frail ...



Alas, my elation was painfully brief--

Frail?--or should it be
Weak?

The lines had lost
Their zing--
My ugly little gosling had no future
Would never amount to anything,
My passion had fizzled
Under the elbow scraping
tedium
Of hammering out
Facsimiles of verse--

And so I did what had to be done--
I took a clean sheet of paper
And began another round
Of self-flagellation.

It's often been said
Honest labor has its own reward:
Yes, O loving muse,
Deep in the night
I knew I was done
When out loud I read my work
And mercifully
Not a word, a vowel, a comma
Stuck in my throat,
The frills, the skin, the fat
Had all been cut to the bone--

Here, tolerant reader, I offer
My finished snippet of verse:

I decree that
Every poet of worth
Be armed with sledgehammer
And scalpel,
Small tweezers
Blowtorch
First aid kit
And plenty of all-purpose
Glue--


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