Category Archives: poetry

Astrology

Summer is ten thousand days long

Then one morning

Without warning

It’s cold

And the stars wink at you

But Venus always stares

And the word for ‘sky’ and ‘metal’ are the same

And she left, but you’ve long forgotten her name

But really there never was a ‘she’

Just young fantasy

Of what the future might be

But you’re old

And the stars smirk down at you

But bloodshot Mars only stares

And the vast open sky is made of metal

What else could hold up something so large up there?

Every night you dream of Persia

With fragrant grove

And airborn song

Every night you want to stay

But you wake up

And it’s gone

Every night you’re back In Persia

Where flooded zigurats

House elegant gongs

And the Chinvat bridge spans the cavern

It doesn’t seem

So very long

And the stars are laughing at you

But you can dare Saturn to blink

And the endless sky is made of metal

That realization makes you think:

“I want to stand on top of it.”

ORIGINAL POEM: “We had your Birthday Party Yesterday”

We had your birthday party
At the place you used to go
Everybody had a good time
Though of course you didn’t show

So sad you couldn’t make it
It was hard not to frown
But the stories we told about you
Made it harder to be down

And then I went home alone
And of course you were not there
And of course i woke up alone
Where are you? Then I remember where

The first night without you
Really wasn’t that bad
I was so exhausted
I was numb rather than sad

But that first morning
I woke and you weren’t here
And I wonder, then remembered
And I was nothing but tears

Sometimes i forget for a few minutes
That you’re gone
I’ll ask if you want to go to the store
And the silence reminds me i’m alone

I buy a lot less groceries now
And there’s less laundry to do
But I’m still not really used to that
And I still cry for you

But we had your birthday party
Because we thought you’d want us to
And we only talked about the good stuff
Because what else was there to do?

Your ashes and pictures are on the shelf
Sometimes I hide them from my view
Our house has become a mausoleum
And oh God, Gene, I’m lost without you

But we had your birthday party…

 

 

[this was written from the perspective of my mom]

A short poem about how you’re not Matt Helm

Late to bed and late to rise
Won’t make you wealthy, but it might make you wise
When you gave in to her sighs
Then you woke and she’s gone

You danced and heard her sing
You begged and promised anything
Wake to find she took everything
Yeah it’s gone, yeah it’s all gone

What was the harm in a little sin
Then she slipped you a mickey finn
You can still feel your head swim
And your pride is gone,

Yeah, man, it’s all gone

Monday comes, your wife is back from her biz
Cover it up, cuz you like like a wiz
Then she asks where the checkbook is
But it’s gone

And soon you’re alone

You ain’t Matt Helm
No, you aint’ Matt Helm
Brother, you ain’t Matt Helm
You’re not even Tony Rome

Melanoma

The day you get the call
You expected it, so you’re not alarmed
Then they tell you it’s not nothing.
You’re ore stunned than scared
But you pop a xanax just to be safe
Because you know the fear is coming
They assure you it’s not dangerous…*yet*
Then they schedule emergency surgery
For that very afternoon
“Yet” being a very short time, apparently.
You walk to the bedroom
You punch the door
You don’t need to,
You just feel you should do something like that

The day you get the call
You decide not to think of Mark
Who died of the same thing
Or possibly some similar but lesser thing
You’re bad with details.
You’ve blocked a lot of that out.
You think, “Well the hell with my diet,”
And go out for an unhealthy breakfast
You’re a stress eater
Your life is never anything but stress
You had a couple good days
Now this.
Screw it, I’m having the steak biscuit
With no eggs, but three cokes

The day you get the call
You get reassurance.
“Your doctor is good.
They caught it early.
They’re taking it seriously.
There are treatments for this
The odds are 90% in your favor
There are treatments
A friend’s had it for fourteen years
And is doing fine.
You’ve always been lucky
They caught it *Before* it got serious
And God is with you”
“I hope so,” I say,
“But I’ve really done a lot of stuff to anger Him,
If I’m honest.”

The day you get the call
You think how little you’ve got
To show for 49 years
And how little you’ve done
“I’ve been to Disney World a few times,”
“And you went to England,” the wife says
And I wrote seven books, I think
Which no one will ever read
And you care for your wife and Kid
Both of whom would be left
High and dry and devastated
By your death
Your kid is special needs
He can’t function without you
And you think unkind things
About your mother
And again reflect on whether or not
Those kinds of things anger God.”
They probably do.

The day you get the call
You think about the logistics
Of picking your kid up from school
And lying to him to keep him calm
Then dragging your way across town
To the doctor
Where they’ll whittle away on you
And flip the coin
Hopefully saving your life
But maybe not.
Either way you won’t know
Until pathology comes in
And until that hapens
You just sit and watch the count down
Which, if you’re honest
Is all you’ve ever really done
For forty-nine years.
So since it’s your only skill
You watch it count down some more

On the day you get the call