Category: Poem

WINNERS

A newly-wedded friend recently traveled to his bride’s out-of-town family christening, a conclave that he couldn’t have been dragged to in any of his pre-wedded years had the combination of free money and easy nubility been offered.  In other words, the guy had proven himself capable of compromise and emotional growth.

Another friend, on the other hand, remained stunted beneath a thick layer of emotional silt.  So when his girlfriend asked him to join her at a family wedding, he parried, “you don’t want me to go, you want who you want me to be to go.”

See, that’s how it works.  So there’s a lot to dredge up from that fetid moat of childhood angst when searching for the cause of our myriad maledictions, malfeasances, and misalignments.  Of course, speaking for myself, I’m now wearing orthotics, so I’ve got that alignment thing on the right track.

But it has become vogue, this cathartic hip-wade through the fetid pools of formative experience in search of any and all trauma – real and imagined – with which to absolve our adult transgressions and their teared-stained consequences.  Yeah, it can’t possibly be me, could it?  Had to be someone else who caused my gibbery-assed condition.  Why be master of my own domain – in the non-Seinfeldian sense – when I can put the blame on somebody else?

(“Cough, cough.  Mommy?  Daddy?  I can’t see you.  Are you there?  It’s dark.”)

This superego search for release has not only stirred up the indelicacies once interred beneath the open-air temple of free will but also caused a brackish light to be cast through our rectory of subsequent responsibility. (more…)

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MORNING RUNS

*

Those morning runs `cross fields of green,

Where the hills rolled high and low,

When the sun’s slant glazed with honeyed light,

and the dew was all aglow,

*

We’ leap the gilded gullies,

And laugh when splash we did,

Watch flaring birds in cursive flight,

‘fore answering a challenger’s bid.

*

Not just a surge or press of pace,

Gauntlets of heart and lung,

But the questions that once did fabulists ask,

Whether in rhyming tone or sung.

*

The ones that spoke of purpose,

Asking why, and when, and how,

Queries which had no finite truth,

But in whose lee there lied the Tao. (more…)

RACE DAY

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We’ve seen it through the full of our years,

from first steps to fully-engaged gears,

It rises from the need,

to engage with one’s speed,

challenges we might otherwise fear.

*

It’s the battle of will against limits,

the fatigue that makes the willing give way,

as exhalations that like anger grow stronger,

and fitness is drawn down and decays. (more…)

BECOMING THE FIRE

Photo by Dominic Ebenbichler/Reuters
Photo by Dominic Ebenbichler/Reuters

He ran as if the smell of savage musk had filled his flaring nostrils,

As eyes ablaze, he ripped the constant earth with greedy strides.

Ahead, ever-left bending lines traced his path,

Just as the distance, in its accumulation,

Traced ragged lines upon his brow.

Within his realm the muffled, rolling thunder of the crowd

But a nameless demon steed to ride

over the pitiless void,

While the finish stood like a painted harlot,

Luring him into the fields of desire and pain.

Still, on he pressed into the blooded pools of hope,

His courage staggered by doubt,

When an invisible stitching blade knifed into his side.

Yet the flashing spin of his heels rose once again,

And buff-chested with the dignity of an ermine-robed

Monarch, he cast his eye over the dominion he

Sought to rule once more.

Then off he strode, accepting, like a birthright,

The unsparing challenge of the sorcering alchemists behind,

Who, in their incantating rhythms, held the capacity

To turn gold to silver or silver to bronze.

Yet unpalsied by the fear that the clean sweet strides of victory can,

In an instant, turn to ruinous stumbles,

He glided away in fluid freedom,

Alone again where the wind was made.

And there, mounting the podium of broken wills,

He knew.

For he had become the fire.

END

BECAUSE WE RACED TOGETHER

Two For the Road

Because we raced together, in climes both bright and gray,

Often finding pleasure, embracing pain that way,

We never thought it curious, as the distance fell hard afoot,

Why words were so superfluous, in telling a truth that put,

Meaning to that effort, or cause to announce as such,

The act was all we needed, any more would’ve been too much.

*

For it was all there in the motion, simple, stripped, and bare,

“Do this,” we thought, in tandem, “and the rest we could forswear.”

For the mantra of our breathing, the rhythm of our pace,

Gave lyric enough in cadence, to ruddy out our face,

‘Twas the simplicity of our purpose, the goal almost epicene,

To surmount the lower regions, to extend away from the mean,

*

As no longer men or women, neither sinners nor were we saints,

We’d entered through the looking glass, beyond our form’s constraints,

Where exertion in kind for distance, brought horizons to our eyes,

Like the couple in the garden, ‘fore the serpent told his lies.

*

When all was still before us, and the skies so clear and clean,

That simple hope and virtue, could each, and both, be seen.

And yearning held its promise, that as youth we still regard,

As possible in the offing, that with age we tend discard.

*

Still, toward them we rushed in unison, eliciting with half-uttered sighs,

The concord in our choices, this redemption for our lives.

As we hoped to render through effort, some measure that lent control,

As if an ancient act or runic curse, could offset the relentless toll,

*

Of that staggering destination, that time that we all decry,

What Whitman called “wholesome relief, repose, content”,

Yes, the tender by and by.

*

When all would come to rest, at last, mortal coil free,

When the heavens welcome us home again, Stardust, you and me.

*

Thus no counterfeit joy deceived us, we knew there was a price to pay,

Yet with value in the recompense, we settled our debt each day.

Often with an interest earned, when our breathing so aligned,

Heartbeats overlapping, yours, my friend, and mine.

*

Oh, these journeys are rarely filled, it’s true,

whether over land or atop the roads,

With paths without encumbrances, that giants once bestrode.

Where vision is often clouded, as blood is shunted through,

To solipsistic purposes, which blind or obscure what’s true.

*

But there’s no shame is in thus exposing, the limits we each revealed,

There were larger forces working, that helped let down our shields.

And reward and consolation, though appearing, at times, at odds,

Emerged in the final counting, but whimsies of the gods.

*

Yes, there are other ways of exploring,

of reaching that ‘mortally intolerable truth’,

That while age may bear some wisdom,

our capacity’s in our youth.

*

Thus, what I know is that along that border,

Where time and miles convened,

We’d discovered a leveling universe, that allowed us both to glean,

That because we raced together, in climes both bright and gray,

We’d cut a path that made us laugh, as we held the old reaper at bay.

 End