Poem A Day April 27, 2010

Day 27 – hopeful or hopeless


The phone rings
That’s how it always starts
I can almost hear the gears mesh

The voice on the other end is happy
excited even
We’ve been accepted. I make
a tentative move toward confidence
but the date clashes with another
and things settle back to an even keel

Hopeless is a night when
the phone doesn’t ring


Word A Day April 20, 2010

Day 20 – looking back/not looking back


The future
will be better
There is no doubt about it

stock prices will go up
profits will rise; the pie will get bigger
unemployment numbers will shrink

people will be smarter
people will be more attractive
people will live longer

We have nothing to learn from the past
Progress just happens
It is inevitable

Get the old folks out of the eway
Get the old cultures out of the way
Get the old ways out of the way

Bigger is better
Concentration is better
Economies of scale are better

This is the litany of the new priesthood.

Poem A Day, April 26, 2010

Day 26 – more than 5 times

A Piece of Graph Paper Taped

There is
a piece of graph paper taped
to the wall of my office
my home office
it’s graphing visits to the gym
times per week
planned versus actual

If I miss more than 5 times

Someone said “write something
and use the phrase ‘more than 5 times’
as your jumping off point”

I like that idea
I need somewhere to jump off of
It’s like songwriting
or codewriting
You need somewhere to start

But I keep circling back
to the number 5 as a limit
as a boundary
and implying some penalty
if it is exceeded


I will make a good psych project
for someone someday

Poem A Day, April 25, 2010

Day 25 – write a poem inspired by a song

Fascist Architecture – Bruce Cockburn

When I read the title
I expected a scathing commentary
on the forces of political repression
the fascism of a regime that
identifies shopping
with freedom

But I was wrong
The singer is celebrating his victory
over his own architecture

Not his victory
God’s victory
Jesus’ victory

I’ve sang a lot
of his songs
To different audiences
to my friends
to my kids at bedtime

I won’t sing this one

until I can

Poem A Day, April 22, 2010

Out of order, yes…

Day 22 – prompt is earth

The Denver Mint

Earlier today, between the phone call
scheduling this weekend’s family outing and
the phone call telling me they were done
replacing my brake pads, I walked out into
the parking lot.

Along the back edge of the parking lot was
a line of trees. They stood not unlike sentries
protecting our Intellectual Property
from prying eyes. Maybe. Maybe they housed spies.
Who knows?

I noticed something shiny in the dirt. I picked it up
and rubbed the dirt off between my fingers. It felt good
to feel that gritty feeling. I raised it to my nose,
smelled the slightly damp earth. I was standing
in my grandpa’s garden,
the huge forty by sixty foot rectangle across the alley
behind his house. He built the house,
they dug the basement themselves, him and her.
He always had ripe tomatoes. Sometimes, he let me spray the
soapy water on the green plants. It kept the bugs off.
That was before they invented chemicals, I guess. It worked
just as well. Probably better. There were no
dead rabbits in his garden
dead from eating poison
that kept the bugs away.

The penny had a small D. It must have been from
the Denver mint. I looked down at Abe’s face. He was

as usual.

I thought about Abe Lincoln. I thought about the
Civil War. About slavery. About chemicals. I thought
and thought
and thought.
Then I put the penny in my pocket
and went back into the building.

I will think a lot today
to prepare for my three o’clock meeting
then at the meeting
then recapping the meeting

that will not keep the bugs out of my garden

Poem A Day, April 24, 2010

Day 24 – evening poem

Sister Sunset

He was sitting at one of the little round steel mesh tables
outside the coffee shop. I stopped a few feet away and
sipped my coffee, watched him out of the corner of my eye.
I recognized the look immediately. He was watching
the sunset. It held his attention completely. No new dad
watching his baby girl sleep or hunter waiting
for a deer to come closer (closer, just a
little bit closer) could have been more intently focused. I
knew because it was exactly the same way
watch sunsets.

The sunset is one of the few beautiful things I can
completely understand. It is one of the few beautiful things
I can get completely lost in. I rode a motor scooter up
Chao Fa Road to see the giant Phuket Buddha. At one point,
the road became more and more narrow, then it was a
footpath, then it was gone. I do not speak the language,
none of my friends knew I had gone.
A sunset is that kind of lost.

I stood there for nearly half an hour watching with him.

I left first.

Poem A Day April 23, 2010

Day 23 – write an exhausted poem

Holding Up My End

try this:
01001100 01101111 01110110 01100101

4C 6F 76 65

or even:
01100 01111 10110 00101

he just sits there
i settle down

i am exhausted
i would be frustrated
but that is outside my emotional range

i am doing what i can
but it has been nearly
twelve point four two minutes
since he’s typed anything

if he would put his hands on the keys
i could transmit some of that
electric courage (indeed!) to him

but he just sits there

i am tired of waiting
so tired
battery is draining
but not faster than my enthusiasm

i want to be supportive
i want to cheer him on
but it has been so long since
he’s typed anything
good or bad

i am holding up my end of the bargain
my screen is bright
my fan is blowing
my hard disk is spinning

maybe i am just not communicating
let me try again

try this:
01001100 01101111 01110110 01100101

4C 6F 76 65

simplify, simplify:

l o v e