Montage of Poems*


Forced Ceremonies
I have shared my life with others,
and like breaking the bread
and wine, it is ritual
as only these things can be.

bitter metal
a door slamming
a bell tolling
a flooded wheatfield
a turned shoulder

Great-Grandmother Preskitt,
blind, dying alone,
in a little room,
in a nursing home,
while I swam in YWCA pools,
busy being alive and young.

Oklahoma K. O.
Smitten by the robber
or the robber's smile,
I’d most likely
turn the other cheek.
Like hell I would.
Small bruises to the brain.
An accumulation
of years
of being hit,
And hitting back.



Santiago’s Vision

Sea-colored eyes
Dream lions at dusk,
Pry a hundred fathoms deep,
Where purple marlin feed.

Under the moon,
La Mar undisguised
Dances naked
For his cheerful,
Undefeated eyes.
Sad Notes from the Middle Ages
Last night
They had a superduper TV show
All about the Sixties.
My youth has become History:
Golden Oldies
Peace signs,
Causes no one cares about,
Funny-looking pictures
In the last chapter.

Tie-dyed t-shirts,
Leather chokers,
Hand-painted clogs,
Clothing was a STATEMENT of belief
And now finds itself
Mildewing in Good Will stores.
Double-knit slacks,
Dacron blouses,
Wash-and-Wear polyester,
And sensible shoes,
Sooner or later,
Everyone sells out.


Beowulf or Grendel, which is which?
Evil or good, savior or witch,
Prison or key, lady or bitch?
One and One is always One . . .
Diamonds and coal, shadow and sun,
Part and whole, done and undone.
Which is which? Why bother to ask?
Canvas to paint AND wine to cask,
Faith to saint AND persona to mask.

Beowulf or Grendel, what's in a name?
Victor and Victim are one and the same...
Yes and no, puzzle and piece,
Stop and go, man and beast.
Need a clue? Can’t you see?
You is You; I is Me.

The Uses and Abuses of Ambiguity
Trying to say impossible things,
and I remember
that words are not enough,
are impossibly inadequate,
flimsy stuffing for feelings,
another form of disguise.

Watch me.
My actions don't tell lies.
If one obnoxious person
is an obnox,
are two obnoxious people,
obnoxes or obnoxen?
don't know enough
to know
what you don’t need
to know.

*With apologies to Mondrian