2, maybe 3 poems

2, maybe 3 poems, depending on how you see the first two, which are maybe one.  The last (I say ‘last’ so I don’t have to get into a 2 v. 3 controversy) just (I word I’m currently fond of) fell onto the keyboard when I was actually hoping to go in another direction altogether.  Right now that other direction escapes me.

Should you enjoy these, please let me know.  If you don’t, I’m ready to hear that too.

Be well!



POEMS 8/10/07

Workday’s End

Biking home

across the narrow, pedestrian bridge path

through slow, dense, honking traffic

up and down a hill to the bike path along the river–

this cool, quiet place

right now beyond time.



Pedaling home along the river

The rush and substance of my day’s work

dissolve into the warm breeze and thoughts of you.


Last night, waking periodically

from the irregular agonies

climbing up and down a pain column

extending from jaw to solar plexus

yet reassured

by a reputable authority

after scientifically verifiable testing

that my heart was not at all involved,

this occurred to me with a crystal clarity so rare as to be truly noteworthy:

(Hear me now!) The Difference (note the perhaps extravagant use of the capital D!) is really simple and for that matter bipolar:

that the things of this material world pass more quickly as they are used more frequently. They wear down. They wear out. They are, in two words, used up.

The things of this idea world, however gain strength with use.  The more often we think them the stronger they become.

But now, in the gray, overcast quiet light of midday,

(meditation over, email checked, Bobbie out at a movie, the cats both littered and fed) I’m not so sure. The stronger an idea becomes through repetition the more– and I hesitate (but not really) to use this word–

the more real it becomes.

And the more it’s repeated into acceptability

[Trusting authorities was once a novel idea]

the more susceptible to challenge,

to attack, to diminishment,

to dumbing down, acceptance


Beyond even make-believe

All the way back to non-existence.

Although, it occurs to me just now

Non-existence may only be

where things hang out

waiting to be discovered…

.     .     .

.     .     .

.      .     .

(25 years ago I had to smoke reefer

to think this way.)

Published in: on August 10, 2007 at 5:05 pm  Comments (2)  
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It continues…

OK, so in some ways I’m less like I used to be: more accepting of who I am, less eager to be who somebody else might want me to be, less eager to be who I might want me to be.  Not too long ago I wouldn’t have published the writing below, feeling it was “too” something-or-other, definitely not cool enough, definitely not in keeping with the self image I’d constructed and cherished.

Anyhow, Mike and Jenny, mentioned below, are my step son and his wife, uncle and aunt to our new grandsons, Christopher and Benjamin.  NuNu is a grandmother to the boys.

All my writing reflects all l’ve read, so please don’t be surprized at things sounding familiar.  The poem about my poetry echos Ryokan, a Japanese zen monk and my current favorite poet.

Softly these come to me

not as ideas or feelings

but more like the breeze that moves the leaves

this sunny morning after coffee

in Mike & Jenny’s yard.:

Butterflies never fly off course.

Happiness is an abstraction…

And (#2 being true) so is despair.

* * *



all else

is imagination or labeling.

* * *

For this moment I understand

my poetry doesn’t have to be good

or original

or even poetry.

What a relief!

* * *

Sitting alone

In NuNu’s backyard

Just where shadow meets sunlight

Surrounded by movement

Fragrance and sound

Wind thru the trees and

The love of family.

* * *

How can you not be angry at that which angers you?

Try this: Imagine twin boys at age 2

bright as a brilliant summer morning

running helter-skelter through a big green back yard

Yelling to unseen crows

and being understood.

* * *

A fly lands on my right leg.

My left foot brushes it away.

My face smiles.

No fly-no smile.

Thanks, God.

* * *

That part of me

that thinks I’m special,

that part of me is itself specialbecause that part of me knowsdeep down beyond any bit of doubt:

I am not special.

Sitting, reading, walking

feeling, thinking, wishing


When you cut me, I bleed.

No more than that.

* * *

Like the ocean to a fish

Like the wind to a bird

So God is to us

and so, too, is love.

Published in: on July 14, 2007 at 2:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Maybe the end of it.

The concussion thing is finally running thin.  Physical therapy has me walking without wobbling, no mysterious pains in the chest and I think I can go back to sandwiches on rolls–no longer depending on the thinness of bread–and not experience jaw ache.  Periods of depression and anger are also back to pre-concussion frequency levels, and I’m not saying as many outright stupid things as during the last 6 weeks.  And, yes (sigh), I’m working and riding the bike.

Thanks to all who wrote in concern.  There is a “comments” tab at the end of this entry.  Should you want to comment and want it accessable to others beside me, feel free to use it.  So much of what I’ve received privately really deserved to be shared, but, as always, it’s your choice.

Here are some poems that appeared during the recovery period.


Life so rich

so joyful,

pain and anger

sadness so deep:

why do I still

look for clues

in words?

* * *

Smooth and easy

this post-concussion world

Depression, my friend and teacher

wears a flowered summer dress

and smiles softly.

* * *

Why do I hurry?

Like spring or midnight or even death

I cannot be late.

* * *

This great time of healing continues

family, friends, work, the train

strange body, strange mind

even depression smells of love.

Yesterday the richness of rain

of work, friendship and strangers–

even a sandwich I’d never tasted before.

This morning my first ever drug dream.

* * *

Plastic teeth and lenses

metal stents and aches wherever,

too many memories to recall

and grandchildren!

Still old age avoids me.

* * *

Wherever I am

it’s me.

My curiosity

my discomfort

my lust

my peace

my foolishness

my anger

my taste in shirts

in music

in companions

my list of accomplishments

my list of regrets

my transience.

But sometimes

in my quiet

I disappear

Then (and only then)

I emerge.

* * *

When I take off my clothes

you see my body

When I drop my bullshit

you see my self.

Naked each night

I nestle in the arms of my beloved

No longer me

But us.

* * *

How do I escape this me

I’ve so carefully, completely constructed?

How do I free myself

from my very own (so real, so true)

beliefs, wants and fears?

This grace, this blessing

It only happens without my wish or my work

An instant beyond awareness

Known only in retrospect–

Otherwise it would-again-be just me.

* * *

In meditation (sometimes)

I give up being me (sort of,

for a minute, kind of)

to observe me.

Sometimes it works.

* * *


Published in: on June 14, 2007 at 10:42 am  Leave a Comment  
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Some more poems

Multi-colored leaves

brown and swirl to waiting earth.

Next autumn begins.

   *   *   *

Today, sick at home

I read, drink tea and write this.

Desires rise and die.

   *   *   *

Wind (whoosh!) thru the pines,

ahead a mountain stream

gurgles around slippery snow-capped rocks.

Ecstatic in new snowshoes

I stumble along this white unknown trail.

   *   *   *

Streets alive!

dazzling neon reflections

in puddles and gutter runoff.

Once more

I must see Chinatown

at magic hour in winter rain.

   *   *   *

Waves of wet traffic

rise from the asphalt ocean

seven floors below.

   *   *   *

A brief blast of taxi horns

chases away errant thought.

For an instant

I sit empty–

filled with the sound

of the world.

   *   *   *

Forsaking the highway

for roads with names,

the journey becomes

our destination.

How sad when it ends.

Yet how good to arrive.

   *   *   *

Published in: on January 28, 2007 at 7:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ed Rothkowitz & Eddie Lebron

As March turned into April last Spring two major contributors to my life passed on.  I offer these poems to their memory.

Remembering Ed Rothkowitz

Eddie came

Eddie did

Eddie’s gone.

Eddie was always Eddie

with those he loved.

With others

he was whatever

he thought

would work.

In either case

He was Eddie–

You’d know him


Remembering Eddie Lebron

A journeyman someone called him

Doing what must be done

to continue along his path.

Unafraid to cry

Utterly himself

Not unlike a saint.

Once I asked him

and he told me:

“Richie, I don’t know.

I do what I do.”

Published in: on November 30, 2006 at 5:58 pm  Comments (3)  
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A Bunch of Poems

Sleepless in a chair

I glance at our bed:

Pale light on the pillow

on your sleeping face.

Not a poem.  Not a dream.

I hear your winter breathing

and close my book.

*   *   *


When his wagon became

trapped in deep Russian snow,

the wood-gatherer, my grandfather

cut loose his horse

and came to America.

Why do I think of this now?

*   *   *


A car alarm wails.

I pray for the thief’s swift success.

*   *   *


Close up

the tall beautiful woman

at the far end of the car

is a boy.

*   *   *


I look ahead

the hill is steep.

I look behind

the valley’s deep.

I look straight down

the road is flat.

*   *   *

Saturday night outside my window:

shouts, squeals, honks, laughter–

the raucous roar and splatter of life.

There is no noise.

*   *   *


In all his wandering, meditation

and joyful drunkenness

playing ball with the children

visiting the ladies

Ryokan, great hermit poet Zen monk child-at-heart

never got to imagine himself

sitting in an eighth floor apartment

in new York City!

Hissing waves of traffic

rising and falling slowly–

this cold March morning rain.

*   *   *

One brief horn honk

thru the cool morning rain

reveals the world.

*   *   *

Enjoy your writing

While you write–

Tomorrow your critic

May overthrow your muse.

*   *   *


Today a client sat with me

eyes swollen in tears

refusing to speak

of his dead young son

lest that death become

real for him.

Thirty-nine years have passed

since you left this floating world.

Where have those four decades gone?

*   *   *

Do I like meditation, you ask.

No…no, I don’t like it

nor do I dislike it.

What, you then ask

do I get from it?

Nothing I can

put my finger on.

*   *   *

A patch of sunlight

a window’s shadow

moves off my leg

an across the bare wood floor.

Now long ago

friends and I

would pass warm aftenoons

in the timelessness

of shared wine.

Where are they now?

Do they live?

Do they remember?

(Not all that long before my friend Ed Rothkowitz passed I sent him this poem.  He replied, “Here, yes and yes.”)

*   *   *

When my father died

Spring flowers died

and all shades of Summer green

became the same.

Air was airless

the brilliant sun blinding.

*   *   *

Sadhu                                                                                                                                                       One of tens of thousands                                                                                                                                               Just like you and me–                                                                                                                                                               Really.

Published in: on November 14, 2006 at 11:17 pm  Leave a Comment