Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Of Pain and Ecstasy: Collected Poems (samples of free verse and blank verse)

Central Park

Flowers bloom next to rusting Pepsi cans,
Watered by the spit of cocaine dealers,
And the semen and vaginal fluid,
Of hot lovers groping under blankets,
Under stars dimly blinking through thick smog.

Nightly haven for muggers, rapists, fiends,  
Whose every breath profanes the species they,  
So poorly represent, turning Plato’s,  
Featherless bipeds, to dead plucked chickens,  
Soul-less, pointless wastes of protoplasm.  

Abomination-- not in itself but,  
For the use it’s put to: a bone for dogs,  
Who’ve never tasted steak, and are gleeful,  
To feast upon the scraps of fetid meat,  
Clinging to well-gnawed bones that they are fed.  

Central Park, the bone we are to chew while,  
Smiling complacently at skyscrapers,  
Daily rising where wild flowers might have grown,  
Our humanity proportionally,  
Shrinking inversely to their daily rise.  

If I seem narrow minded and unkind,
Or blind to the beauty of Central Park,
It is because I’ve stood on virgin ground,
In summer, fall, winter and early spring,
And cannot bring myself to love a whore.

The Subway

I stand alone in the dark Fulton Street subway station,  
Breathing in the urine-scented air,  
Breathing out clouds of steam,  
A subway train rushes along,  
Not stopping,  
Biting at my eardrums,  
With the painful percussion,  
Of thousands of people,  
Silently screaming,  

I don’t want to see,
     I don’t want to see,
          I don’t want to see,

The air fanned by each subway car,  
Rushes against me,  
Pushes the ozone and the smell of burnt brake linings,  
Into my nostrils,  
Along with the air,  
Sucked through the iron gratings,  
Along miles of Brooklyn sidewalks,  
Carrying the odor of a prostitute’s festering sores,  
And the cries of a hungry, fatherless child in dirty diapers,  
And the hoarse moaning of a city councilman mentoring a young intern,  
And the cheap perfume of a fourteen year-old runaway,  
Turning $20 tricks in an alley,  
Smelling of stale Chinese food and wet dogs,  
And . . .  

I don’t want to see,
     I don’t want to see,
           I don’t want to see,

. . . the smell of spoiled cabbage soup,  
And the rancid remains of a hotdog buried in sourkraut,  
And putrid lilies lying in a gutter,  
All assaulting me, forcing me backwards,  
Until my back presses against,  
The grimy once-white tiles,  
That coldly burn their graffiti on my spine:  

God is dead,
Bake a kike,
Whitey sucks,
Kill the niggers,

I don’t want to see,  
     I don’t want to see,
           I don’t want to see,

The train finally passes,  
Its lights receding into the dank,  
Dark tunnel beyond the platform,  
The screeches and screams slowly die out,  
Their echoes sucking behind them,  
The smell,  
Of my,  

The Gospel (Revisited)

god is dead  
he died of a bad review in The New York Times  
that accused him of being
a fascist  
and a prude  

he is being replaced by a new  
non-sectarian trinity  
Me Myself and I
all of whom are  
to kill god  
and say  
god is dead  
god dead is  
dead is god  
is god dead  

I think I have heard somebody suggest  
(and therefore I have)  
that the Department of Health is soon to issue  
new and improved  
free of charge    
to every adult 
man and woman  
sitting in front  
of his/her  
TV/Smart Phone/Computer  
waiting for  

On My Poetry

I am a child playing with finger-paints,  
plopping blobs of multi-colored paint,  
which runs and clumps onto the canvas,  
making my attempts,  
to depict what I see and feel,  
into murky shadows of a world too crudely rendered.  

Incomprehensible swirls,  
of my chubby little hands,  
with mindless tenacity,  
to paint,  
blurry, evanescent, unrecognizable details,  
as senseless as the death throes,  
of a writhing salamander,  
half drowned in a paint can by a sadistic child,  
and thrown onto a canvas,  
to create art,  
through the stains of its death throes,  

A child,  
in a middle-aged body,  
staining with artless hands,  
unrecognizable forms,  
in a pointless effort,  
to render,  
some meaning,  
on the canvas,  
of his life.  

On Pointless Introspection

I am an ostrich, hiding deep within myself,  
My head submerged in murky moods,  
Screaming in a vacuum.  

No, not a vacuum, but a sound-proof room,  
With walls of ten-foot stone,  
A fortress,  
Clammy, cold and, dimly lit,  
That admits no sound,  
But the monotonous percussion,  
Of a heart that knows the one eternal truth:

We are born dying,  
And every breath that we take,  
Every beat of our heart,  
Brings us one step closer,  
To the grave.  

It is easy to forget a world exists outside,  
My diminutive cell when my teeth chatter,  
Not from the absence of warmth,  
But from the absence of meaning.  

Perspective, perspective, perspective,  
Echoes through my fruitless cell.  

I am a foolish,  
Ugly bird,  
Cowardly bird,  
But needlessly.  

I heard a song today, a soothing melody,  
Sung by an angel dressed in woman's clothes;  
Oh, sing again, dear love, I had  
Almost forgotten your sweet voice!  


In troubled times I've called your name,  
My love, and clung to it as does a child,  
To the belief in Santa,  
Or the sightless, to the hope of light;  

It is for me,  
The visionary dream,  
That drives perseverance, 
And decries despair;  

It is the hope of wretched souls,  
In purgatory awaiting,  
The seemingly forgotten promise,  
Of their eventual release.  

When my stale words confuse, confine,  
Confound my mind, and images converge  
Into the swirling blur of madness,  
I call your name.  

Then hopelessness recedes,  
As does an incorporeal nightmare,  
Slowly fading, leaving behind only sweat-soaked sheets,  
Yielding to the purifying rays of the dawn’s rising sun.  

A simple word, your name, but to me, a powerful amulet,  
Which pierces the darkness and melts away,  
The deformed forms that haunt and taunt my darkest days,  
And fills them with all on earth that heals and renews.  

A simple word which simply is my all, a synonym for sincere,  
Unpretentious love that seldom asks yet freely gives,  
That does not question, but simply knows,  
That does not quickly burn, but always, and forever, warms.  

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