An April Pilgrimage

So who would think a cataclysmic change

Was coming just for them? I’m listening

To Joan Baez, remember her and when

She was the hottest thing around? And then

The bubble burst and Folk was out of date.

The other day I heard about the pros

Who rake in millions playing children’s games

And that, when all the adulation stops,

It only takes a couple years before

They find that all their money’s disappeared.

Who was it said, “Count no man happy who

Is still alive”? So where does that leave me?

Surrounded by my books and fruit trees should

I be content, be happy with my life,

Or should I worry everything could change;

Tomorrow find that yesterday is gone?

The pleasure is perverse in doing so;

And even though it’s April and I know

The land is dead while lilacs bloom, I choose

To follow eddieandbill. It is Spring

And marbles and piracy are more fun

Than worrying. Besides, I’ve weeds to pull.

By the Shores of Gitchee Gumee

Where is Gitchee Gumee to be found?

Atascadero and Azusa both

I’ve been to, know exactly where they’re at.

But Gitchee Gumee? I would have to ride

A broken bus into a phony land

To even hope to have a clue where it

Is at. I guess its shining water hides

A trap for the unwary. Possibly

Beneath the water lurks the very worst

You can imagine: Shining blue-green teeth

That click in time to samba music scream,

“The line! The line! The line! Is fine! It’s mine!”

 

But Longfellow is out of fashion now.

The tranquil lake he wrote about is gone.

Polluted water breeds the canker sores

That line imagination’s weeping eyes

With putrid exhalations. And the waves

That rippled gently on his quiet lake

Are now malevolent, chaotic chimes

That clunk a drunken clarion of noise

That nothing is, and anything can be

Whatever anybody says it is.

Batter Up

I never really learned to play the game

So I was benched, or so I benched myself.

It’s curious. You’d think that rules are rules.

You never figure that they never mean

Exactly what they say or that they change

Depending on the situation, time,

Or place. So others played the game and won

Or lost. They celebrated or complained

How they were cheated, treated badly, lost

Because of others’ faults and should have won.

I wonder, do the losers know the rules

Are evanescent? I assume the do,

But if they do why do they still complain?

 

Gadzooks

“Gadzooks! That likes me well. Pistachios!”

I number this among my favorite lines.

I know. I know it is ridiculous.

Gadzooks! It sounds like something you would find

In Shakespear in the middle of a scene

With plastic swords: “Gadzooks! You’ve marked me well.

It is a pleasure, sir, to fight with you.”

And while the plastic swords are clunking on,

The villain’s top concern is not the fight

But how to keep his mustache on his lip.

Imagine. Late at night. Deserted street.

A mugger comes. “Gadzooks” you holler out.

“Pistachios!” What craziness is this?

The guy would think you’re certifiable

And either laugh, or run away, or shoot

himself for picking such an one as you to rob.

“Gadzooks! That Likes me well, Pistachios!”

Has Austen, Twain, or Melville such a line

So able to be used at any time

In any situation? Well? Gadzooks!

Here There Be Monsters

Of course they are the ordinary kind

Of monsters. Not the kind that you would find

Beneath your bed. A horror film with one

Of these would gross about a hundred bucks

And only that if people came to see

It by mistake. Mosquitoes twenty feet

In length? Perhaps a quarter inch instead.

An army of marauding army ants

Each bigger than the army’s Sherman tank?

Unfortunately, no. A single ant

Is crawling randomly around the floor.

A little pressure from a finger tip

And he’d be gone. There are no vampires, ghosts,

Or werewolves here. The monsters that surround

Me are completely different. Don’t you see

Them? They are all around me, everywhere!

You needn’t use a microscope or steal

A magnifying glass from Sherlock Holmes.

You don’t believe me? All you have to do

Is look, and you will see them for yourself.

My Senior Years

My doctor said that I should get a dog.

“A Labrador retriever would be best,

but any dog that’s active will be fine.

Will keep you active. Walk it every day.”

 

I got a phone call just the other day,

A telemarketer who asked me if

I was a member of our local gym.

I said I wasn’t. “Would you like to join?

We have a special package just for you.

I’m sure you know that keeping active is

Important when you’re in your senior years.”

Just what the hell is that supposed to mean?

“My senior years!” You’re just a little girl,

and yes, I know you’ve been around

for your entire life, and you have reached

a quarter century and feel you’re old,

mature, sophisticated. And you are,

I guess, for twenty-five. I used to think

The same. My senior years! You haven’t got

A clue. My senior years. And what is that

Supposed to mean? “Oh let me help you, sir,

To walk across the street. I’m sure that you

Can’t make it on you own since you’re so old.”

 

I got a dog. She walks me every day.

I’ve Stolen All the World’s Bees

The honey locust’s blooming and the bees

Are out in force. This isn’t Innisfree.

I don’t live alone in this bee-loud glade.

They can’t be bothered with me underneath

Their tree. It’s harvest time for them. And me?

I guess it’s also harvest time for me.

I’m harvesting the pollen of the day.

It’s early Spring. A gentle sun is warm

And not oppressive like it is in June.

Calendulas have volunteered again

A ragged carpet yellow, orange, and red.

Zebrinas are a couple weeks away

And four o’clocks have barely started here,

But they’re on China time so what would you

Expect. They’ll open with the dawn and bloom

All day until the afternoon then close.

The accidental forest’s waking up.

It’s time to weed, and dig, and plant, and rest.

Stuck in the Doldrums

I haven’t anything to say today.

My mind’s a blank and empty vessel stuck

In a Sargasso Sea of thoughtless sludge.

The Doldrums. Isn’t that where Coleridge had put

The Ancient Mariner? Well where is he

When I could use him feeding me ideas?

I haven’t killed an albatross I guess

So I am stuck. There’s nothing left to say.

An oceanic desert’s all I see

Before me stretching to a lifeless cliff

At the horizon. But isn’t there supposed to be

Mirages in a desert? Where are all

The puppet masters pulling on the strings

Of dancing girls dressed in red and green

While Santa Claus is filling up his sack?

Why isn’t there a grand piano, pink

And purple, dancing to the wailing sounds

Of bagpipes? No. There’s nothing here at all.

I haven’t anything to say at all.

A Hole is Never Empty

An archeologist will tell you that

Disguising holes is just impossible.

The buildings and the cities disappear.

The walls and ceilings are the first to go

And even when the walls are built of stone

They soon are gone.  There’s nothing left of Troy

Or Ithaca except a poet’s words

And holes and trenches. Only they remain;

Mute testimony filled by sand and time.

A puzzle, all that’s left of people’s hopes,

And laughter, struggles, pain, desires, fears.

 

I have my own abandoned hole that I

Am slowly filling in. It was to be

A Scottish loch with Nessie hiding in

The reeds. And then I planned to have a pool

I could have stolen from the gardens of

Versailles. And then a quiet pool designed

For contemplation. A reflecting pool.

An aquaculture center filled with perch,

And trout, and salmon. Or a swimming hole

For acting like a kid on summer days.

A home for pirate ships. The Amazon

where enemies will disappear for good.

But soon it will be gone. If there’s a dig

A hundred or a thousand years from now,

The archeologists will simply find

A filled in hole and wonder why it’s there,

And what its purpose was. They will not find

The lost, forgotten, and abandoned dreams.

The Trap of Yesterday

There really isn’t any looking back.

The past is just a trap, an empty maw.

It doesn’t matter what has gone before.

The poem I had written yesterday?

I either think I’m Ozymandias

King of Kings, or that the work I’ve done

Is better than I’ll ever do again,

Or that it’s crap and everything is crap.

Flip forward to an empty page and write!

A celebration (Everyone was there!)

A mountain canyon and a waterfall

I hadn’t known existed. Hummingbirds.

The subject of my newest print. Despair!

It doesn’t matter if I fill the page

With garbage, nonsense, or the brilliant thoughts

Of genius. All that matters is I’ve filled

The page, and I’m not stuck in yesterday.