we should have known by his halo of ill
luck . . . another dave. he and june kissing
over shots and taking shots at each other
between beer chasers and the next song playing
on yella dove’s new jukebox, all cd
and mostly seedy — such mélange of rock
ballads heavy with big hair and faggoty
guys in earrings and retro-future fits
of mtv fashion . . . and june just off
her meds after her twelve-round bout with
eddie and cocaine; that poor dave hadn’t
a geisha’s chance in a baptist judgement day
and none of us decent enough to warn
a piteous stranger of scorpion stings . . .
david m pitchford
3 August 2013
days like these my tongue sticks to my cheek and teeth
hiding from every banal word, every clichéd
thought, every remonstrance against a stingy
universe overheated with summer
and stifled with ubiquitous stupid
doing, done, potential and realized . . .
but then some unuttered thought springs forward
begging audience and expression, not
a great thought, deep or philosophical,
but a thought as real as moonlight on water —
something true if simple in its beauty,
and my heart surges, eyes alight with stars,
hand reaches for stylus as my voice frees
itself from clenched silence to say and sing.
how often we fail to attain selfish
aims–ego-driven aspirations high
and mighty aggrandizement built toward
satisfaction of self and bragging rights,
something to trump neighbors and friends, inspire
envy and covetousness . . . because I
(always uppercase) I want to do, be known
renowned, famous, extraordinary . . . for *me*
but for the greater – greater good, higher
purpose, or the charitable cause – for these
things individuals can rise and attain,
usually in syncope with others
and much cooperation of peer groups –
build pyramids, temples, and walk on the moon.
overwhelming, this desire to throw myself
headlong into some romance that glistens
like stars reflected from gently lapping pools
under dim moonlight and the haze of night.
her cerulean eyes speak of Gemini
dreams filled with traditional homemaking
to the beat of a little drummer boy
before the Child’s manger temple, angels
serenading the world with good will and peace
on earth . . . but suddenly I’m running headlong
into the desert to find the lion
roaring in streets of fire whence temptation
accusation and damnation pounded
on pulpits in joyless Beethoven beat.
it’s all candlelight against infinite
darkness deadfall into oblivion . . .
a kiss in gethsemane’s back alley
one betrayal on the way to martyrdom
roman lash across the shoulders salted
venom rubbed to wound the wounded insult
to injury all in the name of wasted
passion sinking like blood into time’s sands.
yet who can refuse the next breath of life
given its mysterious alternative
terrifying in the face of aspirations
dreams and longings and gloried ambitions
even the love of the moment of sunshine
or the joy of drenching in a soft spring rain . . .
you’re a putz, you know that? she tells him crossly.
pining over the-one-that-got-away!
what, you were trawling and she was clumsy
enough to catch herself up in your net?
she’s a woman who made a choice, dimwit!
take your lumps and go on your way, romeo;
loves are won, love is lost, love comes and goes
like tides and seasons — tough it out, another
one is right behind this one. forget that
one-in-a-million bullshit, boy, because
every one is unique — you know, one in all,
sole particular in infinity.
just like you and everyone else. open
your eyes, breathe deep, step up, go on living.
well, they can’t all be the best day of your life
she told me. why not? today is the only
day. zen teaches. only now. so, what if
now is a bag of suck? what to do with that?
not to beat the drums of pessimism,
baby, but it’s cloudy with a chance of rain
and we’re looking bleached as flour from staying
inside all winter — working nights ain’t helpin,
comes a time you have to be responsible
and take your mood in your own teeth, bite down hard
and make that bitch bleed optimism as though
it were ambrosia, which it kinda is,
and smile against the shitstorms life tosses
against your windows, knowing shit grows roses.
your hands in my hair is salve enough
to stop the world awhile. our mornings
run to afternoon and together
means more than sunlight and april showers
to these may flowers we shoot on hikes
along the stream flowing toward the elkhorn
river with its willows weeping — what
is it these willows know? — but your hands
in my hair still the doubts, ill omens
haunting from experience and past
days, loves lost, abandonments, life’s soft
parade taking separate streets away
from dreams toward something . . . but you and I,
have our exemption from fate herself.