Featured

Tracing that Long Path

Our lives pass like cherry blossoms,
snapped from hurried branch to ripened fruit.
We flit from first to fledged to finished,
put out to ash one hundred years an instant.
A truth we scarcely want to envision,
yet death and quantum mechanics will have it.

In human want and vanity we make
the cosmos roll into a ball and laugh,
as if our hundred was even a flash
to its endless procession of cold stars.
It’s like to ants a rose would bloom eternal.

Do not ask the cosmos or pyramids
of the atoms that went into their form,
or the rose of the ants that flit across its back:
for the pyramids would not even know
of sciences written in scales of man.

The seasons changing keys set fruit to fall
from mindful sagging branch to brutal dust
below. The ants divert their sacred path
to sweets divinely delivered on high,
like man attributing meaning to change.

Is it just we who contemplate the ants,
the Sagan starstuff, the music vast?

©JPV

Dad’s Shadow

On workdays he’d get up,
worn as the mattress’s springs,
and put on his dad face.
I’d sometimes see him through the cracks
lit around the door frame,
as if a shadow of himself was leaving
with each creak of the morning stairs.

He descended that way for years,
as did my mother with his parting kiss.
As kids we were just bikes,
video games, and splashing in the rain;
as kids we were just bikes,
go-carts, and the revving engines of boys,
as kids we were just bikes,
schoolwork, and the becoming of men,
but even then I could see him fade
off into the distance, a memory
of what was his before the kids
and the taking of coffee to wake.

The weekends were his,
or so the company had said.
There was always something that needed fixed,
and this was truly his:
the broken draws and banisters,
petering cars held by just his thread,
and the dead puller on the lawn mower
giving reason for a series of expletives.

For him it was worth it
all, for his kids were his reasons
and the only thing that made sense,
so he worked that job hard
even when they took his pension.

Life should not be the descending of stairs
or the omitting of yourself in bits,
or the bit by bit collapse of it
to life spent double-bent backwards for rent
or the pursuit of raising kids,
beat down to the most basic of its ends
the circular logic of life
lived for the time when you will get to live
and take that mythical vacation’s joy
and cease with all the fire within:
a moment to get to know your lil’ boys.

A Carpenter’s Tools

How many years ago
did the carpenter’s tools
become useless
to understand the world?

The hammer is as always
a tool of trauma and force;
the claw’s no better off
it leaves a hole behind,

and does wielding with care
make better the hammer?

We make metaphoric nails
and hammer to build up our lives,
but the carpenter now
is lacking
the tools and language of youth,
grown old the world is gray
and all the hammer’s truth
does not buy an atom
an escape from neutron
splitting the nucleus in two.

A hammer has no words to nail
to the fission of chain reacted
unstoppable hatred of men
who’d split the world to sink a boat.

If we turned it around,
the hammer turned to the claw,
what would it matter now?
A hammer can only build
or rebuild up the world
from the rubble of nukes.

Like the old white haired professor,
the square
is out of touch with the world;
things are no longer as simple
as the intersection of two
opposing and differing lines.
The square cannot stand up
to the truth, measured
in double helix gymnastics
performed sublime by the computer
and sculpture divine: expanding time
as seen through a new set of tools.

The old chalk line takes to the curves
and fails to be of any use,
when needing to mark straight the earth;
in the deflection of small bits
we loose to the ether the terms
agreed upon with the making of tools.

No amount of measuring will fix the tool,
and trying only delays the inevitable.

The Spoken Word Version of the Poem – A Carpenter’s Tools

Blacker Than Black

Reading the newspaper:
It said, new material blacker
than black, and I laughed
knowing we have always had that
blacker than murder color
just lurking under the covers
and below the thin veil of Vantablack,
the flesh at the whim of a man
fully lost in the nanotube’s
spiraling in helices from universe
open to the moment of death.

The Spoken Word Version of the Poem – Blacker Than Black

Habitual Bipedalism and Episodal Humanism

Ever since the first grass blades gathered
beneath the feet of wandering birch trees
those little leafs have made us leap and flee;
our hips an Eocene launch toward hazards,

exchanging the canopy for staggered
bunny steps and slow arise to knees,
back and the capture of huge feast with ease;
no longer were we tied to the scaffolds

or made to feather through the leafy boughs;
we instead learned to agree and to fight
over pieces of the grass covered ground
as the first beast to ever set its sight

on the cleaving of light where there should be none
and the reason to see through the brightest of sun.

The Spoken Word Version of the Poem – Habitual Bipedalism and Episodal Humanism

The Bluebird and the Apocalypse

There is an apocalypse in my chest,
and there is a bluebird beating its wings.

They both want to get out;
one sings and the other sleeps.

There is brimstone
and there is symphony
stretched out in the spaces between
gray matter and the bluebird’s bars.

There is song and there are ribs,
and if I cut a hole just big
enough, perhaps she will escape
before the fire of ten thousand dragons
has chance to lunge to cloven feet
and dash my musical friend
against the rocky coast of my ribs,

But, still, I do not cut,
I happen to like her in the cage.
I have given her all the things
that I could purchase:
some seed, some drink, a perch
from which to sing.
I do not know If she sings to me
or to keep the apocalypse at bay.

There is a bluebird holding back the waves,
and there is an apocalypse of flames
riding the synapse’s demand’s.

The Spoken Word Version of the Poem – The Bluebird and the Apocalypse

O’, Do Not Speak of the Soul

This magnificent rose,
many a millennium old,
with a magnetic north
and wholesome moral code,
with morbid blackness weighed
against a heart red high-minded
multifoliated celestial form
so tormented, yet, tranquil it is
as noble mention among men:
the fervent song of the people,
the mortal Blues of Motown sound,
the almighty seed of immortal lot,
and the seat of human immaterial parts.

Not in leaflets or amid the marching
of nuclear niore to be found,
nor in the movements of poetic beats,
nor the in junkies hesitation marks,
nor in the medic’s hands or bag
of livelier arts is it found.

Institutes and journals have looked
and settled on the truth,
that it is not a matter of the mark
missed by surgeon’s scalpel
or the teacher’s defining of youth,
but rather that the idea is obtuse.

Our myths morn it’s downfall and necrosis
in the most sad and uncertain of terms;
like heaven or the mortality of curtains
we speak with meaning but motion to something mired
in the old circular logic of metaphor,
but as symbol the soul’s a meteoric rock
materializing firm from above.

The Spoken Word version of the Poem – O’ Do Not Speak of the Soul

The Cynical Ones

“We are the hollow men…
We are the stuffed men… — T.S. Eliot

We are the cynical ones
with gluttonous mouths of ridicule,
whispering alone in darkened rooms—
our keyboards avoiding praise—
our heads all crammed with ads.

We are the cynical ones,
the lonely together,
the lonely when apart
distrusting human interest,
trusting only in interest made.

We are the cynical ones
with ridged behavior—
wooden imitations of nurses
faining bedside manner
as empty pockets
and coffers to the sick,
weary, and dying without beds.

Life without reason, work without passion,
anesthetized meaning, talent without action;

Those who still have their wits,
who’ve not been taken by the camera lens,
weep for children with plastic parents,
but only
as a cynical whim
of ridicule: Oh, poor them.

Facts we dare not face
in this plastic place,
with words that will not arrive—
with hands that do not reach.

There is no sympathy here—
no sign from hand or lip to feel:
no smile from a park bench,
no blanket for the storm,
no voice of kindness
saying, softly, come in
out of the cold—
no cup of cocoa, no warmth.

We will be no closer
in this plastic place,
but still we primp
and put on makeup
and dance in our made-up prison
as life is used up with adornments
like Iphones and Fit Bits,
to wash in lime the mind
as navigator’s eye
blinded to peripheral images.

Out of this,
amid the peripheral vision
an image of a bedraggled man,
to whom we offer no more
than a fading glance—
not smile, nor blanket, nor kindness’s cocoa.

We live in floating castles
and wear our dark glasses
in this pseudo kingdom,
this plastic paradise of poor,
this sad celebration of silicon,
and here these false images
are praised, worshiped,
and receive the coronation of a king
under the watchful eye of a pyramid.

It’s like this.
in the plastic kingdom,
orating from IPhones,
rejoicing ourselves as captains
with hands that cannot steer—
and our penance paid to empty pews.

Life is not here,
there is no joy here
in these hills of made-up stars,
in this broken picture,
this artificial mask of actuality.

London Bridge is falling down—
the children get up and dance in rings
around the roses with their pockets full;
London Bridge is falling down—
the people build it back up again,
and the children ring—a-round and all fall down.

They are now the cynical ones—

Between the meaning
and the solemn facts—
between the actions
and the hands,
the kingdom falls—For this is the glory forever

Between the dying
and already dead—
between the indifference
and lacking response,
the kingdom falls—This suffering is very long

Between the repulsion
and unspecified stiffs—
between the impotent
and the absence—
between the impediment
and the inflating,
the kingdom falls—For this is the glory forever

For you are—
death, life—
for you is death.

This is the life the world lives.
this is the life the world lives.
this is the life the world lives—
without a life but that of death.

O’ Liberty – An Acrostic Poem

Liberty’s wields her sword
in most imperceptible ways,
bearing you had her rewards
entitled to you from the praise,
rejoiced when tyranny escaped
then forgotten till bitter days,
yet unseen, would come to reshape
          our lives in new and terrible chains.

The Spoken Word Version of the Poem – O’ Liberty

Endless Weight

I have gone out into the snow,
braving the winter’s fiery cold,
and searched for rabbit high and low
when frosty mitts refused to hold.

Crouched here by the flickering fire,
with sustenance somehow in hand
and hope renewed as flesh desire,
I begin again to clutch at strands
of life’s little leaded moments,
in the weight of our laughs and cries
and in the wait for small rodents
to give a vestige to my life.

If I were to go back behind,
not to the quaint little cabin,
but backwards, opposite of time
would I then still begin again
the great forgetting I have found
as fire, rabbit, and freedom:
the simple things like self newfound,
or would it all go to tedium,
screaming cars, and booming days
filled up to the ears with the wait?

Dance in the Fire – A Villanelle

Do not let your spirit be leveled flat,
your laughter should rise with the coming sun,
laugh, cry, and dance in the embers of life.

Let old men bedraggle their minds with stats,
because your world is young and just begun.
Do not let your spirit be leveled flat.

Old men in their disheveled rages will chat,
the best of them will say, the world’s undone:
laugh, cry, and dance in the embers of life.

The worst will stand as pillars so fat
from flagellating their littlest pun.
Do not let your spirit be leveled flat.

Whoever is born, dies, and lives by that,
roar against the bald heads of men so dumb;
laugh, cry, and dance in the embers of life,

and you, my friend, might just not fall as flat
as these old grey men who look up to none.
Do not let your spirit be leveled flat;
laugh, cry, and dance in the embers of life.

%d bloggers like this: