Friday, October 31, 2008



Just an Old Poet

My poems have meters

And frequently have rhymes.

I hope you’ll forgive this
Old poet
Yet learning new times.

In the City of Change

You will find me reading this at the bottom of the post. 

Literature of life was learned on trains.
Poetry to the beat of the rail seam,
In the trickle of rain,
The rising steam rhythms from summer heat;
Crackles of ice off long cold station gutters under strains
From winter snow piled deep upon the roof.
These teaching me all the beauty and pain nature sows
From which reap pleasure and vice.

In my life of change in a time of change
The streets were colorful as flowers bloomed.
Posters swirled and glowed while
New music boomed with meaning, with cause. Cool,
But laced with care, Accepting all the people in full rage
Against the bloody pool of war and hate.
And I struggled to paint upon the page each hero
And each fool I met while there.

In the park in the dark passing shadows
Change with the changing hour and the seasons.
In ragged second store dress,
Stocking runs, bell-bottom denim, dour
Pea Jacket blue. The men who love men; Druggies on their prowls;
Hippie girls with flowers in their tresses;
Poets and writers and actors and pals adding to
The bowers where my words grew.

Changes came into the city of change.
The nightlife shifted streets. Head shops went dark.
Psychedelic posters dimmed to new art.
As Hippies came from Beats, they went to Goths.
Rittenhouse square is where now old men range.
They occupy the seats and sing no songs.
So though I trod old walks and find them strange, Memory’s
Glow entreats their tales like moths

That I attempt to change back to butterflies.

Please scroll down and turn off my music player if you choose to watch the video.

Poet Emerging

Sitting serene by the shore
Lapping over grains of words.
Sifting through the syllables,
Chipping out the pick of shells,

Which lain end-to-end
Which held ear-to-ear

And which reflected upon
Reveal ripples and currents
In the depths of the ocean

A Short History of Coffee and Poetry and Thoughts of J.M.

Back in the whenever somewhere

            In the sometime I grew up there,
            If you wanted a coffee, to the diner you’d go.
            You’d sit at a counter along a narrow row.
            Into a crockery cup they’d softly pour the joe.
            Or into paper cups in paper bags that’d tear

From the spills and splashes of the brown brew.
            They might serve beans and potpie stew,
            But there was no poetry.

In the shadow of Willie Penn’s city hall tower,
            When I was a long-hair, yelling peace and flower-power,
            Sitting nights in dim, dingy coffee shops

Pretending espresso was not bitter slop,
            There’d fall a hush when all would shut their mouth,
And in air smelling of smoke thick and sour,

           You’d amble to a two-foot stage, and rail
            About injustice and pain and those who fail
            To acknowledge poetry.

            Now in seasons warm or seasons cold,
            In the curt time I am growing old,
            When we seek the juice of the coffee bean
            We seek the malls and that neon beam
            Of the bookstore wonders to which we stream,
            Where for four bucks the coffee’s sold.

            And in what moments we can glean,
Between the chugs of the cappuccino machine,
We still read our poetry.

Thanks to Ava and Poetry Palace and I have nominated Old raven.

On Rhyme in Poetry


In our discussion group we deduced how some distrusted rhymes.
                        But I consider it a crime to excise rhyme from all lines.
                                                It isn’t that
                                                I reject
                                                Insight from
                                                Unrhymed verse.

                                                It is that
                                                I expect
                                                Delight from
                                                All lines first.

                                    Poetry is a pleasure palace of purity and pearl,
                                    A repository of risky phrase and repetition,
                                    A handsome home for honest homily, and the Holy Grail
                                    Of quests for meditative quality and soulful question,
                                    Down ancient alleyway of metaphor and allusion,
                                    Or avenue of allegory and alliteration.

                                    It is freedom

                                                            To       be     free.

                                    It’s this and that    and me      and you           and who
                                    Enjoys expression of the emotion
                                    Within that seethes and stirs and soars our soul.

                                    It should be said either plain or fancy,
                                    Whether in verse as blank as a brick wall
                                    Or as elaborate as a lace lattice

                                    Without fear on part of reader or of poet
For fear is the death of art and we all know it.

Black Mountain


Photo is of Black Mountain College, Asheville, NC 1933-1957

            Up on Black Mountain again
I am

            All I have is
 Bleak and
Barren rock
                                                            And rough crags.

            Any second
                        Might step off a ledge


Float with the sky, the clouds, the bird, the plane, the superman



Here I am                                                                                                                        Lost

                                    Up on Black Mountain again.


Half & Half

A Sestina

My name is Bobbi Cork and I
Was a Half-and-Half long ago
When the sideshow had its heyday.
I stood upon a tiny stage
Selling post cards and if you would
Pay one more dime I’d show you both.

Chang and Eng Bunker, I knew them both.
Created by God not like I.
Wishing all their life that they would
Be free, but together they’d go
From circus to museum stage
One-in-one until their dying day.

Even sadder back in my day
Were the Toccis Twin boys, who both
Stood on one set of legs on stage.
They did not live long, unlike I,
Who lived to see freaks come and go.
You claim you wouldn’t look. You would.

If we couldn’t display what would
We do to live back in the day?
Where do you think a freak could go?
To poorhouse or graveyard or both.
Locked away out of sight? Not I.
Give me the freedom of the stage.

Sell a ticket to the tent stage.
I will show the rubes what I would
For the dimes that I earn when I
Tell them “you won’t forget this day!
Behind this curtain I’ll show you both.
Don’t miss that sight before you go!”

One more thin dime to have a go
At seeing more than shown on stage.
I’m the Half-and-Half and have both.
I know you think that this life would
Grow wearisome day after day,
But you are not the same as I.

So here stay I after you go.
Freak of my day, free on the stage.
Would you like both? I bet you would!

Songs of Brotherhood

A Ballade

On a seventeen seventy-six night
Paul Revere saddled his horse and did ride
To warn his mates of coming British might
This was at great risk to career and hide
Still he showed courage as the warning he cried.
He offered up his life and all he could
But not gentry born, he was pushed aside.
Another rousing song of brotherhood.

Sing one more uplifting spirited song,
Back it with drums and the waving of flags,
Then get a rope and tie knots tight and strong.
Start the truck and see if it holds and drags
The dark man into pieces, bits and rags.
And just so we are not misunderstood,
Let us go beat and brutalize some fags.
Another rousing song of brotherhood.

Are you my brothers sitting here tonight
Sharing the poet muse’s mysteries?
We’re different in more than weight and height;
In sex, skin and family histories.
Don’t you think all of our varieties
Are why through time it’s the artists who stood
Against the prejudice of tyrannies?
Another rousing song of brotherhood.

Some would use brotherhood as excuse to fight
The rainbow for the storm cloud if they could.
To dim the blend of color that creates light.
Another rousing song of brotherhood.

Boy Bands

A Cinquain

The Back Street Boys
Little girl candy toys
Of synchronized monotony
They stink.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Back to School

A pantoum

It is the end of August,
When children return to school
And we long for noisome lust
As the autumn days grow cool.

When children return to school,
There is time for us once more,
As the autumn days grow cool.
To steal afternoon amour.

There is time for us once more,
With passions full violence,
To steal afternoon amour.
With no restraint or silence.

With passions full violence,
We still wait and stew and foam.
With no restraint or silence,
Our grown children still are home.

We still wait and stew and foam.
It is the end of August,
Our grown children still are home.
And we long for noisome lust

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


A Ghazal

Small amber embers bloom in smoky swirls, some ling-
ering in the air. I travel on a smoke ring.

Trickery and slight-of-hand transport me like moonbeam.
Through a charmed mystery I travel. On a smoke ring,

So wispy thin and tenuous beneath my feet,
Directed by magic I travel on. A smoke ring

Of enchantment has embraced my fantasy,
In chimeratic seas I travel. On a smoke ring,

A gray puff of phantasmagoric artifice,
Can this truly be I? Travel on a smoke ring

Can be but sorcery, illusion or deception.
It’s a wicked witchcraft I travel on. A smoke ring

Conjuring potent prestidigitation has charmed
L. E. the Old Goat, and I travel on a smoke ring.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

A Night in Kitchen Stadium

A Triolet

If memory serves me right,
I summoned forth the Iron Chef.
Squid’s the ingredient tonight,
If memory serves me right.
Sauce from the suckers and he might
Make ice cream from the ink that’s left,
If memory serves me right.
I summoned forth the Iron Chef.

Illustration: Still from the original "Iron Chef" TV Show

Monday, October 27, 2008

Saucery Seduction

A villanelle

A simple soft fusion can add season and spice.
Like a vegetable garden garnered on the side,
Where a tangy cream sauce is surprisingly nice.

Perhaps enhanced by a fine heady wine in ice
To convince that covert recipes should be tried.
A little soft fusion can add season and spice.

Risqué flavors add zest to our risotto rice.
Enthused together with imagination our guide,
Where a tangy cream sauce is surprisingly nice.

To relish tasting freshly plucked fruit is no vice.
One gets tired of raisins, prunes and figs that have dried.
A little soft fusion can add season and spice.

Enjoy this aromatic dish and don’t think twice.
Cascade it cross your salad and give it a ride
Where a tangy cream sauce is surprisingly nice.

Doesn’t that saucy recipe really entice
You to savor, to taste, to saturate, imbibe.
A little soft fusion can add season and spice.
Where a tangy cream sauce is surprisingly nice.

Photo from

Saturday, October 25, 2008



I am the last to criticize a fellow
Traveler up this dangerous slope of art;
Last to call for censorship, to burn a book
But sometimes when I wend through the renderings
Of the modern art museum I feel as gypped
As the emperor in his new birthday suit.
I stand dumbfounded at a six-foot canvas
Totally awash in thick black tempera.
Except for three tan splotches at the bottom,
Which for all intent and purpose appears that
The artist set the painting down wet upon
A piece of butcher paper that left a stain.

The little information plate along side
Says the painting’s moniker is “Untitled”.
I think, Well, the artist did not know what the
Hell it was either, but then the Plate explains
The artist’s enchantment with the bull ring and
Black is the power of the bulls on the sand.

A modern poem:

Do you sense the power of the fighting bulls?
Do you not see them snorting as they saunter
Into the ring to face the matador’s sword?
Do you feel the hoof scratch at the arena
Sand as the bull sets its feet for final charge?
My poem is not untitled. I call it BULL!

Friday, October 24, 2008



We went to the Art Gallery
To the exhibit:   “American Realism”.

Four                                    walls                                    of                                     recognition
Seascapes,                        landscapes,                         still life                         and nude.

We were early to the pursuit
And entered with a crowd of anxious lovers
To view in admiration
Seascapes,               landscapes,   still life                             and nude.

All eyes went every where.

Far wall            and centered             one lone nude
Finely detailed as a colored photograph

     A woman of distinction

Watched us view seascapes,                                                not the nude.

All eyes were over there.

We moved, crowded clumsy clusters
Along washes and waves of watercolor,
So full of inspiration.
Seascapes, landscapes, still life,                                                             the nude.
All eyes were over there.
Absorbing all and every detail

Of bird and boat and bolt of lightening flash.
Absorbed, in anticipation,
Seascapes, landscapes, still life,                                                             the nude.

With arms down,            breasts disrobed            and legs audacious
She sat posed in dedication
Beyond landscapes, still life,                                                            the nude.
All eyes were over there

The sea behind; the land before.

Glancing,             we gazed at candied fruit,
Candlesticks, chrysanthemums, and glazed glass.
It gripped our admiration;
Seascapes, Landscapes, Still Life

                                                            And Nude.
Our eyes were cautious here. So much to see, so little time. We cannot linger if we were to see more. Quick through the door to                        

     To study in safety the nude.

Our eyes were back in there.