gilgamesh ~ a poem


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was such a mess.
He wanted that immortal thing.
But he was human,
less than godly
(even if one-third was king).

He wrestled bull,
he killed Humbaba,
he loved and lost poor Enkidu.
If only he had
loved Inanna,
there’d be nothing he couldn’t do.


thoughts of revolution ~ a poem


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america take a hard look at yourself
do recent events reveal the hidden face of you

it’s too easy to blame pure evil when so much
derives from the very marks of achievement
we hold so dear like fame and weath and winning
when we applaud violence and brutality
on playing field and screen
when bearing arms is just a game of one upmanship
when a puerile hate-mongering president
plays the most deadly game of all

america the great experiment
is yours the face of failure

is it time to try something new

Star / звезда ~ a poem


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once again once again
i am a star for you

that’s from a russian poem
isn’t it? yes but it comes back

to me over and over again
as my own composition

for somewhere deep within
i see myself as that distant star

appearing in your heaven
always out of reach

yet somehow near
shining just for you

on seeing an old frenemy ~ a poem


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you leave me
feeling like there was something
i was supposed to do,
something i was supposed to say.

these memories, they live in my cells
like a virus, ready to rage at the
slightest distress.

they’ve overtaken my body now,
my every thought.
no sleep is possible,
no sense of rest,
in the face of this invasion.

what did i do to you?
or what did i fail to do?
why is it me that you blame?

my defenses are weakened
and your hatred is a disease
that has no cure

at a starbucks near you ~ a poem (and observation)


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he stood in front of me as we waited in line.
taped to the back of his white t-shirt was
a slip of paper, also white, on which
was hand printed in faint letters:
out of order.

who hasn’t felt out of order from time to time?

he was a thin rail of a young man
with eyes hidden behind ray-bans,
while about his neck floated streams
of white surgical gauze giving him the allure
of a wounded French aviator (à mon avis, at least).
his purpose there, however, was prosaic enough:
he wanted a cup of ice water, which made perfect sense
on this hellishly hot day in la la land.

another man sitting nearby, not understanding,
said to him, yo, someone has taped a sign on your back,
but the young man said nothing in reply.
instead, after getting his drink, he moved on
to the side counter, where he dumped out half
the ice water and filled the cup with cream
all the way to the brim.

Perhaps only then did he have the proper mixture,
the magic elixir, to put the self back in order.

and yet once out the door, rather than continue
on his way, he stopped and turned to face
the glass door as it slowly closed in front of him.
how this added to his starbucks experience
i’ll never know.

mistress of my fate ~ a poem


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With my mother’s fortitude
and my father’s stoicism
I do okay.

Since you can’t choose
what traits are handed down,
you might as well capitalize
on the best of them.

Which is what I do now.

Not so in the past.

When I was young
I was heedless and self-indulgent,
a fool who made promises and
then ran away,
following for the most part
lessons learned in childhood,
the worst lessons.

And for years
I regretted many things.
I berated myself, believing
I was the mistress of my fate
who had failed to carve
out of the shapeless future
a living work of art.

But the years have brought
a clarity that was never there before:
I see the totality of the past,
the patterns that shaped my life,
and I recognize my mother’s fury and
my father’s forbearance in me.
And I understand the virtues
they eventually came to be.

breathless ~ a poem


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she touches her lips in a circular fashion
à la jean-paul belmondo
at the movie’s end.
what is this girl,
this beautiful abject girl,
thinking as she stares beyond the camera’s lens?

too many threads and loose ends are unraveling
in this circular tapestry
before our eyes,
before her eyes,
her wide possessed eyes,
by turns caring and uncaring, innocent and knowing.

love – redux ~ a poem


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I loved you in a dream.
I woke up remembering that
whereas in real life
I never loved you at all.

I had forgotten that feeling
of air filling the chest to capacity,
of believing that destiny has a way
of working itself out.

I had forgotten my habit
of magical thinking,
of seeing someone everywhere,
in everything.

I remember writing poetry,
in old-style handwritten form,
terrible poems, in notebooks
tossed long ago.

But these poems were never for you.
And that feeling of love –
it was never felt in your presence.
And yet…

here I am thinking about you,
dreaming about you,
and after all these years
this poem is for you.