A Poem Thread

Absolutely the final version. No dithering henceforth in that respect.
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Another clash? A cold defeat.
The victors flash
as they flee in retreat.

Come seek with us. You won't get lost.
So dangerous,
I say we're all star-crossed.

Moving again. Life iterates.
Grooming yes-men
at a different place.

Changing careers. Identical aims.
Meet the same peers
with alternative names.

Many circles. Ceaseless replay.
Rounding hurdles,
slowly sneaking away.

Raising tired tropes. Hiding the truth.
Much like the hoax
behind a curtained booth.

Break out the polls. Let's gauge the vote.
The public knows
that's a lion's fur coat.

A gourd head rode. The campaign trail.
His sawhorse crowed:
"Lots of pumpkin for sale!"

Commiserate. Just let Dot cross.
She can dance great
with the crew's straw boss.

Quick to depart? He leaves the rest.
A chopper's heart
is in his tin can chest.

Challenge the norm. Shake it askew.
Jinjur's bold swarm
surrounds a city view.

Will Tip return? Surgery's due.
It's Ozzie's little U-turn
from Pink to Blue.

Strange decorum. A body sprawled.
Schedule the postmortem,
Mister Baum was mauled.

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"How it is fickle, leaving one alone to wander

the halls of the skull with the fluorescents
softly flickering. It rests on the head

like a bird nest, woven of twigs and tinsel
and awkward as soon as one stops to look.
That pile of fallen leaves drifting from

the brain to the fingertip burned on the stove,

to the grooves in that man’s voice
as he coos to his dog, blowing into the leaves

of books with moonlit opossums
and Chevrolets easing down the roads
of one’s bones. And now it plucks a single

tulip from the pixelated blizzard: yet

itself is a swarm, a pulse with no
indigenous form, the brain’s lunar halo.

Our compacted galaxy, its constellations
trembling like flies caught in a spider web,
until we die, and then the flies

buzz away—while another accidental

coherence counts to three to pass the time
or notes the berries on the bittersweet vine

strewn in the spruces, red pebbles dropped
in the brain’s gray pool. How it folds itself
like a map to fit in a pocket, how it unfolds

a fraying map from the pocket of the day."
I Kiss The Feet Of Angels

A. D. Winans

"dark stormy night
fog creeping in
over the hills
raindrops falling
on the window
I see the faces of old friends
staring at me
ghosts from the past
freight trains steam ships
subway trains carrying their
cargo of death
Rimbaud the mad hatter
Lorca fed a meal of bullets
Kaufman black messiah
walking Bourbon street
eating a golden sardine
Micheline drinking with Kerouac
at the old Cedar Tavern
Jesus wiping the perspiration
from his forehead
the fog horn plays a symphony
inside my head
I hear the drums
I feel the Beat
I kiss the feet
of angels"
This poem acts as a metaphor - the diver exploring a past (the “wreck”) dealing with women’s oppression. I discovered it recently, looking for something else, and would like to explore more from this poet. Her work is considered “controversial,” perhaps for the time she wrote it. I just love the creative, allegorical aspect of this poem, as it tackles a complex topic.

Deep in the Wreck
by Adrienne Rich

First having read the book of myths,
and loaded the camera,
and checked the edge of the knife-blade,
I put on
the body-armor of black rubber
the absurd flippers
the grave and awkward mask.
I am having to do this
not like Cousteau with his
assiduous team
aboard the sun-flooded schooner
but here alone.

There is a ladder.
The ladder is always there
hanging innocently
close to the side of the schooner.
We know what it is for,
we who have used it.
it is a piece of maritime floss
some sundry equipment.

I go down.
Rung after rung and still
the oxygen immerses me
the blue light
the clear atoms
of our human air.
I go down.
My flippers cripple me,
I crawl like an insect down the ladder
and there is no one
to tell me when the ocean
will begin.

First the air is blue and then
it is bluer and then green and then
black I am blacking out and yet
my mask is powerful
it pumps my blood with power
the sea is another story
the sea is not a question of power
I have to learn alone
to turn my body without force
in the deep element.

And now: it is easy to forget
what I came for
among so many who have always
lived here
swaying their crenellated fans
between the reefs
and besides
you breathe differently down here.

I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail.
I stroke the beam of my lamp
slowly along the flank
of something more permanent
than fish or weed

the thing I came for:
the wreck and not the story of the wreck
the thing itself and not the myth
the drowned face always staring
toward the sun
the evidence of damage
worn by salt and away into this threadbare beauty
the ribs of the disaster
curving their assertion
among the tentative haunters.

This is the place.
And I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair
streams black, the merman in his armored body.
We circle silently
about the wreck
we dive into the hold.
I am she: I am he

whose drowned face sleeps with open eyes
whose breasts still bear the stress
whose silver, copper, vermeil cargo lies
obscurely inside barrels
half-wedged and left to rot
we are the half-destroyed instruments
that once held to a course
the water-eaten log
the fouled compass

We are, I am, you are
by cowardice or courage
the one who find our way
back to this scene
carrying a knife, a camera
a book of myths
in which
our names do not appear.
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I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;​
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.​
Aunt Jennifer's Tigers by Adrienne Rich

Aunt Jennifer's tigers prance across a screen,
Bright topaz denizens of a world of green.
They do not fear the men beneath the tree;
They pace in sleek chivalric certainty.

Aunt Jennifer's finger fluttering through her wool
Find even the ivory needle hard to pull.
The massive weight of Uncle's wedding band
Sits heavily upon Aunt Jennifer's hand.

When Aunt is dead, her terrified hands will lie
Still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by.
The tigers in the panel that she made
Will go on prancing, proud and unafraid.
Haiku by wegs

The silent patient
Not ready to share her pain
Guarded in her grief

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The Lovers
by Timothy Liu, 2014

I was always afraid
of the next card

the psychic would turn
over for us―
Forgive me​
for not knowing
how we were

every card in the deck.

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So Much Happiness​

Naomi Shihab Nye
1952 –

"It is difficult to know what to do with so much happiness.
With sadness there is something to rub against,
a wound to tend with lotion and cloth.
When the world falls in around you, you have pieces to pick up,
something to hold in your hands, like ticket stubs or change.

But happiness floats.
It doesn’t need you to hold it down.
It doesn’t need anything.
Happiness lands on the roof of the next house, singing,
and disappears when it wants to.
You are happy either way.
Even the fact that you once lived in a peaceful tree house
and now live over a quarry of noise and dust
cannot make you unhappy.

Everything has a life of its own,
it too could wake up filled with possibilities
of coffee cake and ripe peaches,
and love even the floor which needs to be swept,
the soiled linens and scratched records . . .

Since there is no place large enough
to contain so much happiness,
you shrug, you raise your hands, and it flows out of you
into everything you touch. You are not responsible.
You take no credit, as the night sky takes no credit
for the moon, but continues to hold it, and share it,
and in that way, be known."
Rather long song lyric. 2024 version.
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Stirring Tea

Outside the box there's inner intrigue.
Rude rustlings from an unavowed league.
Even your aide ducks disturbingly.
Pithy pointed knives are stirring tea.

Misdeeds exhumed by spelunking thought.
Pills prescribed and experts bought.
Wide-eyed weeks since truth was last sighted...
Glow seems dim. Are you being gaslighted?

You have become this stronghold's creature.
Haunting its halls, a phantom feature.
Access to the panoptic tower:
Seeing all, but deplumed of power.

That coiled, scaled rattling in your mind:
Was it an uplifting find?
Doubt is what this partnership invited...
Feel misled. Are you being gaslighted?

At sly angles their jagged jaws lurk.
Squeezing fate like tightening clockwork.
Calm your unease, the guests will arrive.
Leeching you pale until you're alive.

Was it dry wit that scored a titter?
Making them dicey, bitter?
A playhouse built by risks that collided...
Madness looms. Are you being gaslighted?

Behind this wall is the golden thief.
Shivering like slabs of butchered beef.
Where purloined promises hang in a row.
A primeval place you should not go.

Bundles of cryptic papers are spied.
Softly, slowly ratified.
Ornamental lies have been decided...
Smoke is thick. Are you being gaslighted?

Seaside, there crept a wriggly design.
Fattened on sweet spite and salty shore.
It curved through garden and prickly vine.
Setting a springe for the herbivore.

"You buy pity with your shrill conceits."
"Our goodwill veils no deceits."
Deep throughout what the sewer has guided...
What's that smell? Are you being gaslighted?

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Best Laid
by Maureen N. McLane, 2013

it's clear
the wind
won't let up
and a swim's out ―
what you planned
is scotched.
forget the calls,
errands at the mall ―
yr resolve's
as a clitoris.
how miraculous
the gratuitous ―
on a sea
of necessity
let's float
& call
that free

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The Spiraling Fall (2024 version)

At daybreak,
the wretched wake
to the horrors of their habitat.
Biscuits flat,
coffee dies,
eggs are foreign to the enterprise.
Yapping warmth, jokes conceal
a dollhouse more convincing than real.
So tumbled in a row,
jars of secrets have spilled.
When you're empty try to look fulfilled.

It's picked clean,
this field of war.
Yet dirtier than a floor unswept.
Robbed of green,
sown with gore.
Wry missiles too fast to intercept.
Vows revoked, flags unfurled.
Noisy geese winging above our world.
Dormancy at the step.
Exodus underway.
Nothing sleepless or guilty can stay.

Brooding in
a failed temple.
No conscience to burn on its altar.
Wins are thin,
losses simple.
Disenchant the son and the daughter.
Floating past broke stained-glass.
Discovering night's narcotic call.
Leave or lead strife in tow:
our raft for letting go...
Over the roaring, spiraling fall.

To a Friend Whose Work Has Come to Nothing
by W. B. Yeats, 1914

Now all the truth is out,
Be secret and take defeat
From any brazen throat,
For how can you compete,
Being honor bred, with one
Who were it proved he lies
Were neither shamed in his own
Nor in his neighbors' eyes;
Bred to a harder thing
Than Triumph, turn away
And like a laughing string
Whereon mad fingers play
Amid a place of stone,
Be secret and exult,
Because of all things known
That is most difficult.

"A verse repeating
A cool breeze,
Summer in the fields,
And the soul's courtyard
Vacant and sunlit...

Or, in winter, the snowy
Summits in the distance,
The fireside where we sit,
And a poem to tell all this...

The gods grant
Few pleasures beyond
These, which are nothing.
But they also grant
That we want no others."
-- Fernando Pessoa

Art: "Distant Thunder" by Andrew Wyeth

"Do you know the land where the lemon-trees grow,
In darkened leaves the gold-oranges glow,
A soft wind blows from the pure blue sky,
The myrtle stands mute, and the bay tree high?
Do you know it well?
It’s there I’d be gone,
To be there with you, O, my beloved one!

Do you know the house? It has columns and beams,
There are glittering rooms, the hallway gleams,
Are those figures of marble looking at me?
What have they done, child of misery?
Do you know it well?
It’s there I’d be gone,
To be there, with you, O my true guardian!

Do you know the clouded mountain mass?
The mule picks its way through the misted pass,
And dragons in caves raise their ancient brood,
And the cliffs are polished, smooth, by the flood;
Do you know it well?
It’s there I would be gone!
It’s there our way leads!
Father, we must go on!"

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