but aren't they all random?



A Pocketful of Poesy was a Poem-a-Day(-on-Average) Blog* up until the great derail of 2013. The impossibly-high standard of quality proved impractical to keep up, without a book deal. But don't take my word for it: click RANDOM and judge for yourself! And feel free to offer your critique.
*based on poem rate for calendar years 2009-2012. Also, kidding about the book deal.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dracula Meets Yoda at the Speech Pathologist's

...

I may need to come back to this
later. The concept itself is too
intimidating,
and I'm only halfway through
the dish I'm making
to bring to the potluck costume party.

it still counts as a poem,
though. It still counts as a
very sucky poem.

"Counts as a poem, it does"

Poor Morbid Mort

Morbid Mort was a downcast sort,
a ghost always groaning and moaning his pains
"You think taxes are bad? Try death sometime!
You feel trapped at your job?
Look at these freakin' chains!"

but nobody listened to Morbid Mort
so he kept on dragging himself after life
and such as it was, he didn't much mind: "At least
I'm not stuck in heaven
with that damn ex-wife!"

best behavior

the damage done
is not the little things
you say and do
to creep me out

no none of that
is wrong at all
no nothing crosses
any line, no nothing there
would raise a doubt
from any of the things
you say or do

(now)

you're on your best behavior, now.
and nothing there to worry about

without the many,
many, many, times
and lines you crossed
before

you're on your best behavior, now:
each harmless way
you turn a word,
or push a point
or push for more
or twist an insult,
bash and cut
or faux-accuse
(or is it real?)

it's not these careful, harmless things
that you do now,
that make me feel
a bit creeped out.

It's just what they remind me of:
just who you are,
and how you work
how you react, and
what you're capable of.

and there's nothing wrong
with any of that
it wouldn't bother anyone
except perhaps, someone who's seen
the worst you have

the damage done

Friday, October 30, 2009

increasingly longingly

I'm on one of my increasingly long walks
after one of our increasingly wrong talks
and as the distance increases
between me and home
I realize that I've never been there,
not once

no,

I've never been home. It sounds
like such a wonderful place

just about fine

your little smirk
is perfect in memory
and growing more perfect each day
but my memory
is going on without me
to find a new way

so I've stepped to the side
- the future, the past -
I need to let them fight it out for now
I need to take back what I thought was yours
and sit myself down for a spell

hey, it's getting kind of nice around here without you
to think after years, and years, and years
it's just about time for my life to be mine
and it's getting kind of nice
to feel just about fine

when I first met you,
well I had you wrong
from the start I knew, but I didn't mind
and now my memory
is going on without me
to have a good time

so I've stepped to the side
- the future, the past -
I need to let them fight it out for now
I need to take back what I thought was yours
and sit myself down for a spell

you know it's kind of nice around here without you
to think after years, and years, and years
it's just about time for my life to be mine
and it's getting kind of nice
to feel just about fine

I'd love to say, I'll always treasure those years
with you by my side, but the truth is, dear
it's a treasure I keep in a storage trunk
because where I live,
they won't recycle that junk

it's just about time for my life to be mine
it's just about time for my life to be mine
and it's getting kind of nice
to feel just about fine
and it's getting kind of nice
around here
without you

lined up by eye

a young woman bursting with vigor
she writes beautiful poems
her hard eye examines
the world she distracts from its tasks
as she looks to expand her collection
of facts,
and attitudes,
and figures of speech
which she keeps within reach
of her hard
and sharp assortment
of nigh-identical tools
metal and edged,
with which only she can carefully choose
to trim off the parts of the world
she can use

Thursday, October 29, 2009

the age of enlightenment

The stars were hung on iron wires
cold - the light they shed was cold
the moon glid past, a blue balloon
the mountains - giants turned to stone
the world was made of myth, you know
of solid fire, water, rock,
suspended in midair upon
a vast celestial turtle's back
or something of the kind, at least.

Into this world, we both were born
- oh, all the myths had changed by then!
but we've made some to call our own.

experimental poem

an experimental poem,
if irreproducible,
is of no use whatsoever
to science

so set your words up clear
don't ask what we're trying to prove here,
pal
we must leave preconceptions, well
behind us

lay out your tests, with strong controls
let theories be predictable
but don't massage and flatter facts
let all the chips fall where they will
yes, let the truth destroy your goal
take detailed notes as hopes dash down
the question wasn't really asked
unless the answer made you frown

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

do you want to hear...?

do you want to hear
the song I was going
to write, just before you called?

it's the best song ever
I was going to write!
and you called me up just
at the moment I like

when the juices all flow
and the words fly straight
out in lines that rhyme
up down sideways

and the melody plays
with the tart, charged chords
and the middle-8 comes
out of nowhere, floors

you, the listener - but
when you did not call

well I couldn't bring myself
to compose at all

trial and error

I don't know how to make this work
I'm man enough to say it, dear
I've tried to figure out the trick
do I just jiggle this thing here?

or push the other thing back there
or twist this part, or twiddle those
I'd really hate to break something!
I guess I'll keep on trying, though

It doesn't seem all that complex
if this plugs in - now where's the juice?
Is that the switch? or this bit here?
I think it's stuck. Well, what's the use!

Let's get some teamwork on the job!
Could you help hold that piece right there?
I think I can work this part loose -
hey, there it goes! Look out! Stand clear!

Will all this shaking hurt or help?
Now, wait - that sure did not sound right!
Wait, there we are! - yeah, that's the stuff!
How easy was that? Wow!

Good night.

For My Next Poem,

For my next poem, I'll
be without a net
I will not re-type,
revise, regret,
or otherwise edit
one single line!
once I hit return,
that's my final rhyme
or near-rhyme, off-
rhyme - fine with those!
I would not turn up my nose
on all such tricks I take my tips
from Adam of the Counting Crows
Elvis, circus, Jesus - it's just
easier to find right words
if you don't sweat perfectionists
who tell you that your rhymes aren't good.

all kinds of questions

I get all kinds of questions
people wanting to know this
that
the other thing

I tell them "look"
"seek within, for your answers"
or "seek elsewhere," at least

'cause I ain't saying shit

spade

the spade cuts down and in,
and pushes through defenseless loam
it severs worms and webs of roots
and scrapes against smooth stones

the earth is made of past
it piles up unevenly
it makes great mountains over acts
too horrible to see

it piles mounds and hills above
each person's secret shame
but you and I were nothing wrong
I'm standing in a plain

with dry grass rustling hip-high,
my spade works in and down
I unearth things, a tarnished ring
an envelope, a portrait's frown

I breathe in earth's exhaling sigh
uncover sign and trace of us
but nothing more - there's nothing left
no locked-box treasure, sealed with rust

the past has swallowed all we were
and left just spreading roots and worms
the earth below broods rich and brown
the earth above
turns

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

the ballad of Chicken Dismal

Chicken Dismal slouched around
not trying to convince a soul
the sky's not falling anyhow
he said to Henny Penny, "Oh

if you knew only what I've seen
with my own eyes, and what I've heard
with my own ears, you'd pack it in
it's pointless to go on, dear bird,"

and Henny - sympathetic fowl,
she always was - tried to console
but 'twas no use, and soon enough
she too was deep in doubt and dole.

Then Ducky Lucky waddled up,
with smiling bill, and ducktail pert -
"What's with you silly chicks?" he quacked
but soon he saw their grievous hurt

"There's no point to it all," they cried,
"no reason, purpose, meaning, sense..."
"You've only fooled yourself," said Chicken
Dismal: "Ducky, don't be dense!"

When Goosey Loosey ambled by,
- well, like the others, she fell in
when Turkey Lurkey wobbled up
it all proved quite too much for him.

A line of birds slouched down the dell
- so Chicken Dismal led his flocks,
into a cool and empty den
they silent, sat - awaiting Fox.

"What's up, cool breeze?"

"What's up, Cool Breeze?"
- that's how they call.
"Cool Breeze" she is,
to one and all.
The history, how
she nicked that name,
has passed past circles
out of frame.
As life strayed by,
friends drifted on
her handle stuck
by glue unknown.
Does she recall
what made that name?
Her cool smile hides
a secret shame!

a pittance for profiteroles

a pittance for profiteroles
the best and finest in the land
I wash them down with mineral spritz
with heart as full as mouth and hands
to cram my gnashing maw with sweets
from dawn to noon to evening
I gravely graze on dainty treats
fine pastries, cakes and pies they bring
to me in slow procession grand,
variety in long supply!
I rarely see the same again
so fond adieu, with belch and sigh
- except for my profiteroles
those are my favorite special bliss
they keep them coming right along
I wash them down with mineral spritz
and shout for more, with powdered mouth
they'll never lack for business now
since I discovered their delights
I'm here from dawn to noon to night.
and if you wait for some delayed
comeuppance to come down on me,
I fear I must needs disappoint
no moral wrecks my sweet story
each day I spend here gorging on
I grow more healthy and robust
and all my fortunes, friends and loves
improve in worth, and faith, and trust.

Monday, October 26, 2009

strange taste in us

you and I have such weird taste
in who with whom we've chosen to be
in what we each appreciate
- the queer peculiarities

we have the strangest taste in us
that's no critique - it's oddly apt
we're so much luckier than most
to fit so close, where we're mismatched

A book-burner, I do confess it

My passion for all that I read is such
that I burn through each page
with the light-running touch
of voracious eyes, consuming gaze
by the time I turn each,
it's been set ablaze
by a slow-building heat
a reaction stirred
by a piercing glare
that lays bare each word,
as each line flushes hot
as each paragraph curls
and it smokes, and it blacks
and the flames unfurl
tongues of red licking up,
as my eyes lick through, to
the next page in front
conflagration pursues
I race not to escape!
but to quench, and to slake
all heedless of flames
I have set in my wake
I race through to the end
in an all-consumed lust
and my bookcase holds
covers, and ashes,
and dust

an early start on monday

that's right
I woke up at 5 a.m.
without the alarm going off
I wouldn't have

but there's an awful lot left
to get done, by the time
everyone gets in
and I'm counting on me

we're all in good hands

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I wanted to be the first

I wanted to be the first
to point out, to say out loud
all the things that tease the edge
of what we're talking about, but
I am equally in doubt, that I'm alone
in that sense. And in every other
sense as well, but that's no
defense

Love

Listen, there's only one thing
about me
that I need to tell you, that
you need to know, and that's
love
Love is the steer by which I
shine my white sails in the night
ghosting across those smooth waters
love is the hard oar
I dip into my rippling wake
to steady and direct my course
love is the faith and the compass
that gets me through, when the waves rise
riding right up around, about to come crashing down
and I start hot-dogging my boat around like a mogul run
hollerin' YEE-HAW a lot, to chase the terrors off
then when I break through to smooth waters
and make toward the dim distant light
at the end of your dock
love is the fait and the accompli
it was won before I started off
we were one, before we even counted
to make sure
and now, I'm just gliding forward
through
love
into
love
into
shore

Saturday, October 24, 2009

alas for whatever that was

under the old ways, young men
were sent to learn wisdom
at the feet of the masters
Now, they rush in among
the bulrushes, brutally clubbing
as they bull through to flush wisdom
upwards, where it can be caught in nets,
collected in jostling, squawking bustles
and sold at a price from open market
kiosks that crowd the square. These
young men are paid, for what they do
But what was the cost?

finish

dissolving chaos line by line
by form and structure, undermine
with sudden switch and deft reverse
no pattern fits how we immerse
each deep into the other, soaked
do I dissolve? like liquid oak
combined with wine, we two are
one, our time to take our time
has come

Friday, October 23, 2009

so try hard

I had a very fall down and I
got some perspective from the ground and I
can't shake the distance
from one inch up
from down
there's some interesting dirt
when your face is sucking hurt
from the air
so close to fire
close to water
close to earth
fire - nerves / water - eyes
well, then - use it to rise
it's an elemental urge
to defeat what you are
you are clumsy, weak,
stupid, gullible and bizarre
that's a tough combination to beat
so try hard

I've got the soul of a poet

I've got the soul of a poet
but unfortunately, I sold it
and it's been gone a long while, now
I could probably buy it back
if I ever felt the lack
- the going rate's gone way down

Thursday, October 22, 2009

the accidental dog

followed me home
can I keep him mom?
go ask your dad
son, that's a bitch:
can't you tell the diff?
and knocked up, too
by the looks of it
can I keep her dad?
I will promise to be
good and faithful, commit
train her to obey,
to roll over and sit
I'll feed her twice a day
and clean up what she shits

well okay, son
you can start with that one

brooding autumn apples

a block the size of texas, and
the chip cracked off and fell
so far, it hit like a thunderclap
crushed the orchard under flat
and scattered apples far from trees
that begat them

within the seeds
breeds a slow-growing vengeance
that first must moulder and sink into earth
to split its case and shoot forth tendril curls
that harden into roots, to scrape and claw
and infiltrate, gnaw, and
someday

crack

even a block that size

can fall

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

an infinite line

an infinite line
has been drawn in the sand
with the head of a pin
can we see where we stand?
can we number the grains,
so precisely displaced?
before incoming waves
wipe away our disgrace

Does God laugh at his own jokes?

If God doesn't laugh,
then I'm afraid most
of his humor is going to be wasted
on us

it goes over our heads
it's so infinitely dry
and the universe keeps a straight face
as we die

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

no more precious pledge

no more precious pledge exists
than when two lovers stand and kiss
before the world they've gathered in
to witness as their lives begin.

for no more precious thing than love
exists within the world of man
and woman - there is only one
world now: the two of you,

Amen.

feelin' kinda poemy

feelin' kinda poemy
about life
about looking around
seeing what sticks to the eyes
taking it in inside
and sorting it out, or not

what comes out of my mouth
isn't sense, but sound
and it sounds like the world
like space spreading out
filled with birds
and nerves
and the highway, loud,
softened muffled by distance
but still - surround

like surf, it calls
but with no even rhythm
not like waves playing with
and over salt-kissed sand
soaked dark, clay-grey
in a wide swooping ribbon
lapped by cool caress
renewed twice every day

farther up, sun-blessed
sand parched, dry crust
the beach pines for a wave,
with a love-starved sigh

'til the storm comes in
there will be no relief
from this beautiful day
not a cloud in the sky

feelin' kinda poemy

feelin' kinda poemy
about the world
as if the sun was shining
and the truth could be heard
as if the big essentials
fundamentally vast,
that everyone relates to
could be fit in a glass
well hit me with another
I'll be drinking it down
my sorrows are so buoyant
there's no way they could drown
I'm happy just considering
this glimpse I received
the world looks shimmer perfect
as I get up to leave

Monday, October 19, 2009

Miss Sonya Shine and her Cloudy Day Outfit

her umbrella was made of steam
so the warmed rain fell right through
her raincoat was made of english fog
her panties were made of dew
her lacy blouse was window-frost
her skirt was composed of mist
she went out in the storm
in clothes like that!

then she blew it away, with a kiss

Sunday, October 18, 2009

the look unshared

your look is made of stone, but I won't turn
I stand meeting stone with water flow
to freeze into ice and crack you through

we used to be made of air, but now we've turned
into sterner stuff, and fell to earth
we learned what we thought it was worth was worth

our trust was rewarded with too much truth
we know to the millionth degree, we're through
our pet names have all turned sarcastic, love
there's nothing convincing to be convinced of
and neither of us left to be convinced

my look is made of pain, but you won't flinch

you know which one is wrong, of us
you're looking at him, baby-fuss
my face is catching fire, but it won't burn

your look is made of stone, but I won't turn

because it is there

I wish I was on top of that mountain right now
the sun's coming up and I don't see how
I can endure another minute of darkness down here
I want to be high as the sky grows clear
to pale silver to gold and then finally, blue
but if I was up there - wouldn't help in the least
the sun still would be blocked by the next range back
and the one after that, from my West to your East

Saturday, October 17, 2009

blue yonder

like
a bird flying off
getting lost in the sky
on the way to
the ground
I forgot
how
high

follow your dream!

follow your dream
follow it!
it went that away, you
can still catch it
if you run!
it was wearing a tiara,
and a lioncloth
and chasing grimly after
something

it could have been money
or integrity
I don't know
precisely, what
it was chasing
and I get those two
confused, myself.

What do you mean,
you don't know either?
It's you're dream isn't it?
Oh, you say you've never seen
your dream

well,
shoot.
Maybe don't follow it,
then?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

next (not) up

next (not) up
tough luck
but - what
don't (stop)
sharp cut
short top
side front
hard want
(snap) freeze
cut hand
can't bleed
set stitch
thread feed
eye through
pull plead
stick

free

my eyes, darling

You hold my eyes in your
hand. Now cradling them against
each other, now jostling them
bouncily. We need us, but neither you
nor I can say why.

The distance between us is exquisite.

Who will be the first to cross? I know
that in my heart, there is
a secret chamber, that pumps
not blood

but secrets. And you are on the lips
of every one. Every secret I have
is yours

- either yours to have, or a secret
about you. Your love of me is a bribe, but
it's not enough to get me my eyes back. This

poem is going nowhere right. And you
- are on the lips of everyone. And I hang
my head in judgment, a self-tied noose

tightening about my self-tied neck,
while you sit astride the horse that will pull
away my footstool, and jostle bouncily.

I need perspective on what I have
to offer you. In this situation, it seems to me
that I am the one holding all the cards.

But you've got my eyes. You've got my eyes, darling.

What's up with that.

The Road Not

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I -

I burned that fucker down!

and that

- has made all the difference

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Please Enjoy My Wrath

What if God's just goth,

and thinks that suffering's fun
and cool??

Perhaps the world
is blessings raining down
in God's eyes,

perhaps
we're meant to look up and moan
in gratitude

Monday, October 12, 2009

your cute sweet you

your cute sweet you
to hold and kiss
is what I crave

is what I want
by my sweet side
to misbehave

or set a fine
example, as
you choose or wish

such hits you've scored
I'm not the kind
to call amiss

Sunday, October 11, 2009

the view from inside

everyone on earth looks
worse from inside
and we all think we have
something awful to hide
you see eyes filled with love,
- think "if only they knew"
but if only you saw
what they do see of you

the view from inside
is the worst in the house
all you see is your flaws
and your needs and your doubts
you can see the whole stage,
but you can't see yourself
can't see how people see you
and why people love

so you think it's a lie
what the world sees in you
since you see the inside
and you know that's what's true
you compare your inside
to the people you see,
and come off so much worse

in our eyes, so do we

Saturday, October 10, 2009

what memory weighs

as we stretch our lives out
scrape ourselves over dry life
like butter over toast
with a too-dull knife
more and more we find
we can't live in the past,
but that's where our life is

where our thoughts go, fast
just the second after think -
thought goes falling back behind
and accumulates pull
on what's left in the mind
thoughts of everything at all
ever felt, ever seen, ever touched
or just imagined, or
some state in-between

and all the weight of it
pulls

we lean forward, pushing slow
as our memory pulls back
as the weight behind us grows
so we struggle, keeping pace
until the pull becomes
too much

until we, too
fall
back into past, and
life scrapes on

no fuss

Friday, October 09, 2009

really rather vicious

I have some really rather
vicious things to say to you
all planned and parceled out
exact hard words, exactly true
there's pleasure in precisely
measuring such joyless mirth
but no point in me telling you.
It's more than you are worth

Thursday, October 08, 2009

cloudshadow

a brightening cloud with sun behind
its white thinning out to brilliant shine
its shadow ghosts over this endless field
I'm standing in waiting, to be revealed

toy tiny knives

toy tiny knives
go in and out
my heart beats
every bit
as strong
the little slits
stay closed
so far
the outside's
thick enough
for now
the outside's
thickened up
with scars
the beat's kept
steady
oh so long
the pain's not
much
to talk about
what can I say?
except for "ow"

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Men Who Write Long Poems

Men who write
long poems
work, refine
composing beat
and rhyme
and fitting rhythms
into lines
for stanzas
stretching
out in time

they choose
a topic worthy of
a deeper treatment,
one in which
the metaphors
they work
can work,
cohesively like
couplings fit

they stretch out
long discursive reams
the engine
of their poem pulls on
no signs
of running out of steam
they shovel coal
from dawn to dawn

the train is
stretching
miles behind
they latch
and link on cars,
and cars,
but up ahead,
a tunnel looms
we're plunging in!
and all is dark

as some impenetrable point is made

for hours, the words and rhymes run black.

They like their poems long and hard.

Perhaps they're compensating for
some lack?

For Going Forward

There's less wrong than I thought
and just about the same amount
of right. We need to keep it
measured out. We need to keep it
just about right here, to keep it all
about a balance, strike it right
like this, and keep it just about
this good, for going forward.
Understood?

Monday, October 05, 2009

Always Been Abandoned?

Why have I always been abandoned,
by anyone who ever loved me?
Oh wait that's right, I haven't been.
So sorry, everybody!
So sorry - no, I didn't mean
to so impugn you so!
You've all been oh so good to me,
I know, I know, I know

Friday, October 02, 2009

astrolonauts

with every fate that hangs
the balance pulls straight down to you
the strings run up and down
and we can't see what they're tied to
all puppeteer conspiracists
theorists of destiny,
our skyward eyes search heaven
for what it will make us be
we scrawl on charts, the stars to scry
or read in scriptures dark designs
we think we spy the shape of fate
our shadows guide the moves we make
we know what happens had to be
we're almost right, but wrong so far
we've got the spyglass wrong-way-round:
the choice was only ever ours,
we are not ruled by distant spheres,
they don't pull strings for you, my dear
the choice was only always ours -
we hold the strings that pull the stars

I was the ghost

I was the ghost
who's been haunting my house
I invited you over
then you found out
I've got nothing to hold
you can see through my clothes
to the still-beating blood
that grows steadily cold
as it runs out of pulse
after weeks, maybe months
since you broke what I was
so invulnerable
once

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Hey, Yourself!

This sad song is already fine, and I
could never let her out
of my heart.

I am not afraid, and I know
I was made
to go out and get her
to go out and get her

Because she's in me already
Under my second skin
Where the pain gets in
and stays

And the world's lying way back there
Where I let it drop
So cool, as it melts
away

Yeah I can start
Yes, I'll begin
I'm not waiting, it's just I can't do anything

until we all finish singing
"Nah Nah Nah"

one easy feat

I am one indecently talented beast
and it's easy to me
get a little length in my leash and
suddenly, wheee! I think
I can run the whole block
and mark any spot
that smells like it needs
some me
to remember it by

and I
hunch my back and leave
piles of steam and heat
wherever I please
and bark orders to all
to back off, and beware!

then the leash snaps taut
and the choke chain grabs, and holds
and I'm caught, and slink home
so what

I don't care

clear to the horizon

I have lived a lie
on an island of white
in a sea of gray
under a black sky

and I see all shades
but I aim straight through
for not near, nor true enough,
but true

in this lie I've lived,
true is easy to see
and easy to choose
and it seems plain to me
I am just about due

for a rescue, please
date for sex,
marry for love,
divorce for hate,
and die too late.

the reverse of having learned from your mistakes

I see more
from my heart,
than from my eyes.
And how I feel
is far more real
than how things are.
And that is far from smart,
but it's gotten me this far.
And it is far from easy,
but I will not change my mind.

There are a million ways to love,
but I only know one: mine.
And mine is to love only you.

You teach me how - but you don't seem
to see how deep, and sharp, and clean
and quick it cuts, our time well-spent
I don't mind much - we're different

If we were not, it wouldn't be
the same.

Ahem.

But things are romantic;
I do not romanticize.
And you are ideal
- not idealized.

And I live in my heart,
which is far from wise.
And this is far from perfect,

but it's a start.