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Monthly Archives: January 2021

The Spot Where the Crack Was

One dim December afternoon
all tuckered, sore, and spent,
returned to my warm sleeping room
and begged my mind to quit its gloom
to smoke and bath, I went

unwrapped my little green cigar
and lie inside the tub
the bath ran hot, with the door ajar
saw my stray hairs, near and far,
yet, cleaner than the Club

a trance-like state came over me,
the water boiled me red–
the pungent smoke curled wild and free,
my mind found its serenity,
and sweat poured off my head

then a sight so strange appeared
a hairy thing crawled in the door
this event must sound absurd
slinkily entered, blood to curd
it slid across the floor

I jumped, then bumped my woozy head
in startled, shocked surprise,
I stared upon the thing in dread
wished it smashed, entirely dead
thus, vanished from my eyes

but fixing me, with a cunning gaze
it spoke in squeaky tones
‘Dear Sir, why does your mind amaze,
to glare at me through this thick haze,
as if I were unknown?’

‘is it because I own these feet
about ten-thousand plus?
or, that you fear what I excrete,
may enter into what you eat
that fills you with disgust?’

Never have I spoken back
to a ‘thing’ so arrogant,
but crunch and flush, my routine act–
instead, I came to interact
with this nightmarish ant

‘You’d better hide under the rug
in places quite concealed,
for if I come out of this tub
I’ll mash you like a common bug
which seems to suit your kind.’

replying with a cautious voice
the wormy thing said, ‘Wait!’
think before you make your choice
for will not cause you to rejoice
to show your inner state.’

You seem to be all filled with hate
unaware of your own vileness,
since you are human, you think you’re great
you came into this world late–
so you’re really not “Your Highness”‘

at this, I side looked to the john
at the brush behind the tank,
and as this thing went on and on
I planned how I could waste this spawn
for thought it far too frank

Suspecting that I meant it harm
but continued its diatribe,
and mocked me sore without alarm,
and I admit, I felt its charm,
my shame I couldn’t hide

I interjected, calm and cool
to get a word in edgewise
‘You think that I’m a stupid fool,
and that I’ve never been to school?
you’re only here to chastise!’

It stopped right then and said no more
because I whacked it with the brush,
its body-parts lie on the floor
its slights no longer could ignore,
so I did it in a rush

it left a spot stained in the tile
reminds me day and night
that even if a thing is vile,
and my esteem, it does defile–
don’t quash it when it’s right!

*

Limericist, 2007

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2021 in Poetry

 

First Lesson

Traumatic experiences are always present-tense to us. I am writing my earliest childhood memories as they happened to me 60 years ago:

He lumbers up the stairs and smacks the door. “Are you home?” he roars. Mom sign-languages me not to make a peep. She pretends that she wants him to go away. Through the door, he hears her snicker and tries to force his way in, bawling his protests of being kept out.

I’m only three, but I help my mother hold the door closed, terrified. She pretends she wants to keep him out, but her smile is a fishy giveaway. She slurs her words and smells like what she’s drinking. The loud man comes in after banging and cursing. He smells just like her, a combination of cigarettes and drinks.

The man likes big-time wrestling and sits staring at a black-and-white TV in the smoke-hazy room. On it, big fat bodies are slapping each other. Brown bottles with cigarette butts litter the dingy room. In a stairwell with itching eyes, a 3-year-old boy watches.

Later, alone in my crib, I wait for someone to act like my mother. I wallow in a day-old mess, soaked and cold. A coke bottle with a rubber nipple stuck on it next to me.

Next scene, mom with thick reddish hair sits across a glossy table with her face in her hands, sobbing and repeating, “I don’t want to give you up.” She turns to me and begs, “Please always take care of your little brother.” I hear her but forbid her words. My mind argues, “You can’t do this. You are not leaving. I don’t accept this. This can’t stand.”

Next, my brother and I are in a vast open dormitory-style room lined with cribs. I mark the one that’s my brother’s and watch it like a security guard. I am protective since our mother hasn’t returned yet. Likewise, I fear they may try and take away my brother too.

Above my bed, a square hatch is on the ceiling. It looks like a little door above my head. The other kids tell me that the boogeyman lives up there and will come down to eat me when I sleep. I am not planning to sleep ever again anyway.

All night, I tried my hardest to always watch my brother’s crib and the little door above. But waking in the morning only to discover my brother is gone. Enduring incredible frustration and fear, I am panicking.

Not only that, but I run around in circles asking everyone if they know where my little brother is. I am taken to a fat man behind a desk who tries to cool me down. He offers me candy and toys if I only stop my fussing. He says I don’t have a brother anymore, and I have to get used to the idea. I become louder and more tearful, shouting, “NO, no, no!” Toys and candy are nothing to me. I WANT MY BROTHER NOW!

Forlorn and miserable, I’m led back to the playroom. A boy named Jimmy tinkles on a metal firetruck while I watch. He says my little brother won’t ever be coming back. He continues, “Once they take them, they never come back.” I cannot accept this. Overwhelmed with grief, I blackout. I was told later that I was taken to the emergency room.

To my relief, my brother returns. I had crashed so entirely that they feared for my life. There were no two ways about it. My brother and I would stay together.

Next scene, our adoption agent, Mrs. Robinson, tells me that some friendly people want to be our new parents. I’m still convinced my real mother is going to pick us up. Furthermore, my mind tells me that I shouldn’t be in this situation. I already have a mom.

The day comes, Mrs. Robinson takes me to the bathroom and dunks my head in a sink full of hot water. She’s anything but gentle. I fight her off. Business-like, she teaches that I must make an excellent impression on our possible new parents. She rubs my ears red, noting how filthy I am. My brother isn’t with us because only I can talk articulately. I also can understand him, but no one else can. Mrs. Robinson drives me to a big red house with a lake. She tells me to go up to the giant front door and knock. I’m scared, but follow orders.

A beautiful blond-haired lady with a warm smile greets me, inviting me in. We sit at a wooden table in a dim room. She uses several telephone books to get my face higher than the table. She is pleasant and expresses surprise at how well we can talk together. I am her “little gentleman caller.”

I don’t remember what we discussed, but I sure liked talking to her. She asked if I wanted some coffee. Then she asked if I knew what coffee was. “Yes.” I fibbed. I did not want to miss out on whatever she was offering. She put warm milk with lots of sugar in a cup with a dribble of coffee. The problem is, I am lactose intolerant.

In a very few minutes, my eyes open wide with that urge. I shout, “I have to shit!” Shocked, she thought it hilarious. She asks, “What did you say?” I repeat myself. I warn her that if you don’t get me to a toilet right away, I will shit myself. She leads me to the bathroom. She asks me how I learned the word shit.

Her question puzzles me. She tells me that the word shit is a bad word. I misunderstand because, to me, a bad word means the wrong meaning. I argue, “shit is the word and I have to shit now.” She explains that “unintelligent people” use that word. If I want to be polite and intelligent, I say, “BM.” I insist that the word shit is the correct word.

She replies patiently, “It’s okay. I thought you were an intelligent and polite boy. But I could be mistaken.” So, to impress her, I repeat, “BM, BM, BM, I have to go BM.” In this way, I experienced my first lesson from my beautiful mother-to-be.

*

Limericist, 2008/2021

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2021 in About Me, Memoir

 

Assu&me

I should not assume to know your pain
but I have.
Foolish is the thoughtless brain,
speaking with a selfish aim.
I hurt and harm again.

Disconnectedness, your hiding place
but I prod.
Encroachment twists an angry face.
Annoyance shows a lack of grace.
We both demand our space.

Communication, a two-way street,
so listen first.
Maybe eye to eye can meet.
Dialogue with no conceit,
or wrangle and repeat.

Assumptions are the cause of strife.
Let them go.
Don’t feed your right to fight.
It’s the way to get you knifed
self-sabotaged by spite.

*

Limericist, 2021

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2021 in Poetry

 

Fly Pie

There was once a dizzy lizard
salamander of some fame
he would squiggle in the water,
he could wriggle in the rain.

His name was Jimmy Giggle
and was silly without shame
he loved to dance and jiggle;
playing every lizard game.

Jimmy slithered through the swamp
to meet a bullfrog on a pad
whose name was Billy Croaker
other frogs just say he’s mad.

They both boogied in the water,
and woogied on the land
the lizard and the bullfrog;
even jumped upon the sand.

Jimmy was so silly,
and Billy leaped so high
then landed on his lily pad
and ate a piece of pie.

*

Limericist, 2007

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2021 in Poetry

 

Moonlit Muse

Resting free beneath the moon,
a gnarled wood-sprite muse
draws strength from those deep lunar wells
its thoughts itself imbues.

The river under drifts and sings
its flow with gazed delight,
the circle of created things
all bask in lunar-light.

The trees, the flowers, the sky, the moon
all joined with mystic haze,
and this, the ancient forest tune
is what its soul obeys.

*

Limericist, 2007

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2021 in Poetry

 

All Wound Up

candles hypnotize
lustful eyes
lures to chains
sucks & drains

drink energy
drop boundary
she consumes
subject assumes

words fall short
pleasures to report
gave all away
but had to pay

spellbound
web wound
struggle to free
possess me

love to spend
love to depend
at expense
to dispense

do not squirm
or anger burn
again to sting
on a string

venomed veins
benumbed brains
loves her mate
all she ate

to the last bite
frozen fright
8-eyed
delight

*

Limericist, 2008

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2021 in Poetry

 

Earth Child’s Prayer

Earth Child’s Prayer

Great Spirit, you fill all earth and sky with your presence.
We are your offspring, whom you produced for yourself.
You are Mother and Father to us.
We are only happy when we know ourselves to be your dear children here on earth.
You are being thanked, more and more, by those who have eyes to perceive and ears to understand.
Let your greatness enlighten the eyes of your people.
Let your children regard you, even as the eagle obeys the wind so it can ride the heavens.

Allow us a prosperous hunt today, so we may have sufficient supply for our children, old ones, and dogs.
Look on us with a Mother’s pity, because like obstinate children, we all err. We will also extend your compassion to all other fellow creatures.
Deter us from risking harmful trails, for we depend on you as our wise guide.
You are our friend to shield us from the rattlesnake, the bear, and the warrior.
We do not accuse these of the wicked spirits that misuse their bodies to injure us.
Set us free from the influence of their evil mischief.

Great Spirit, though we may not comprehend why many things happen, we know you are in loving control of everything we encounter. We, your earth children, put our full confidence in you, and thank you now. Amen

*

Limericist, 2007/2021

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2021 in Poetry

 

A Crossroad Day

a crossroad day
arrives with a soliloquy of
whys


sweat drenches the bed
an overhead fan is moving
very slowly (flies are hopping a ride)
i watch it be useless
it hums hypnotic

tears run sideways to the ears
i smell bad to myself
nose itches filled with disgusting
black boogers from sooty smog
a cacophony day and night
from please-honk-okay vehicles
blaring laaree gari & motor-ricks
traveling some 40-odd kilometers
from the airport to Ramat Hotel
clingy sounds and smells
follow into the room
and onto the bed
unwelcome


jet-lag & bleary-eyed
lying in bed and watching a fan
in Mumbai near Grant Rd train station
there to speak at a college
but feeling useless and empty
beat-up from family issues
numb from paddle-wheel
conversations
self-pity throat-sobs convulse
but hear an almost audible voice and
know it from some distant long-ago life
and realize a lost child is speaking up
to prevent self-destructing
by a reality-check
saying

there is only one
you & i
must live with
on this earth
here and now
and it is me
myself
and i
so why should you shame
your undivorceable life partner?
you are your own traveling companion
from this moment to your last breath
and possibly beyond
so why waste the journey
trying to change what you cannot?
never
never
never
never
side with anyone against yourself
no more from now until my last breath
vow to honor, respect, and love
me, myself, and i
from this now to every other
as the very best way
to honor my source

the other dress-up self scoffs
arguing chanting
its familiar diatribe began
it is all gone
you loser
repeat gone
you flunky
pronounce it & say it
certify yourself a failure
wrong to the root

hearing the familiar mantra
then noticing
a legion demon-voice
mimicking mine in a thousand others
that crossroad day
the next moment budded like a spring day
from hearing my forever-young child
its word is here now
and always nearer than my breath

knowing now with fresh self-respecting eyes
a father
mother
sons
daughters
relatives
no matter how I try to hold them close
crying pushing
and shoving is futile
for these cannot be anything else
then what they already are
non-negotiable facts

awake now
must use the bathroom
almost would rather piddle the bed
resisting the strange fishy commode
but finally
venture to tinkle in its hole
do not know how long i lay in that putrid bed
lost track of time — it may have been days
I feel a new adventure beginning
living with myself on my terms
with my child at one with source
from now on determined
to cultivate the experience
of being
my own best friend

from that crossroad day
the child wants to soar through
former shadows up and out
making them into new playthings
for everything is a chance to allow
the constant romance
it can seem like a long way off
to reach a crossroad day
the junction can be found
where the pain is seen as only pain
and nothing more
not someone or your self

Never allow yourself
to be taken hostage
by the story of
another but also
release everyone
you may be
holding captive
to yours

ignore the parroting mimic
those false dress-up selves
who would steal your voice
and your very life
then you will discover
your child is always waiting
to come out
to play

the giggle of a child resurfaced
lying on a wet stinky bed near a train station
on a crossroad day

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2021 in About Me, Essays, Memoir, Poetry

 

The Heart of a Tree

Eyes green, flecked with orange, reflect the cornfields we once walked. Hand in hand, on a September evening, we walked for miles. We stopped beneath a lonely tree, the only witness of our forbidden kiss.

Her skin and hair, the forest’s fresh fragrance,
& the stateliness of the oak, her rustic beauty.
Her weather-lined face was beautiful beyond words.

She was every season: Autumn’s moon, Winter’s snuggle, Spring’s dance, Summer’s sexy siestas.

A Cherokee maiden, we met between the White River forks by the Brown County forest. We took off our shoes, but I was a tenderfoot. She often went barefoot, so we giggled together about her “Fred Flintstone feet,” while frolicking in the golden fall leaves, lip-locked.

Her dream was to have her own garden with one who would honor and share the fruit of her flowering heart.
Did you ever find your flower bed? I hoped, one day, to be your co-gardener,
but life happened
and then death.

There’s a tree atop Squaw Rock Hill. I climb to see the inscription on it
and sigh.

,

Limericist, 2009/2021

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2021 in Poetry

 

On The Loose

Just hang-in a little bit longer.
Enjoy personal freedom. Be
you. But is this allowed?

No, cutter outlawed.

Yeah, hear these creatures too?
Worship pain. Love to fillet. You
know the creeps. Love to cut down,
correct, and “critique,” one-up,
pontificate.

They shave away, paring off
quivering flesh, gloating,
noses turned up. Pretend
they’re your BFF.

When they’re done (and here’s the test) you
feel like a floater in the bowl.

But I’d fly away. No prone posturing
inviting their knife.
I’m not their sub. I won’t take it.
Instead, choose to cut
their noose’s taut knot, & be YOU
on the loose.

Limericist, 2021

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2021 in Poetry