But is it art?

Large, bold strokes
spray painted symbols, words
innocent and sinister hieroglyphs
and slogans in black and blue
on pulsating, animated canvas

Names, times, events, places
feelings and forgotten emotions

weathered, all

Some are ancient, indecipherable
some still hurt some never did
some are funny a few not at all

Many names are legible, a.k.a’s
various wry nom de plumes abound

gratuitous entries outnumbered by
the meaningful but misinterpreted
by others, Rosetta stones be damned

Emotional vandals. Heart graffiti.

Esoterically

“Et tu, Brute?” exudes more
raw panache than
“Eebbeda, eebbeda, eebeda –
that’s all, folks!”

Abject profundity, treasured
ironic historical declarations
notwithstanding, as a poet
and teacher of English
language arts and crafts
I am more keenly aware than
most; when departing premises,
punctuation trumps all.

“Portrait de Madonna; mère de mes fils, vendredi soir” (Madonna portrait; mother of my sons, Friday night)

After some ongoing, sad-eyed cajoling
you agreed to a Friday night date night
not of your choosing or comprehension
posing for nervous artist and sketch pad

you acquiesced to your best black pumps,
resolute: no clenching of rose in teeth –
concession gladly made by your love-struck
middle-aged, middle-class, modicum talent

Renoir with shaky charcoal pencil, prop
linen pad and still skeptical, self-consciously
reclining, propped-on-solitary-elbow model
in the candle-lit tableau before me surpasses

that of my very imaginative faux-artist’s
mind’s eye, having seen you as I have this way
a thousand times…but never quite like this

You are Louvre worthy; a study in pure form
glowing alabaster in flickering votive light minus
gilded frame, stay behind the velvet rope policy
shaky charcoal pencil strokes begin to quiver

across gray newsprint as this erotic charade
plays itself out, much as my artistic talent did
many years before the twenty I have known you
yet you graciously allow me this opportunity;

me – sans beret, palette; you, lacking not shoes
and all I can put on canvas is a stick figure
devoid of any of your revealing, inviting contours,
leaving all to the imagination, nothing to chance

Comfy

Certain memories are
a favorite pair of old slippers;
ragged, tattered, not much
to look at, but comfortable in
a way nothing new could be

once you plucked them from
the garbage; second thoughts?

hard to part, sometimes, with
a never-complaining old friend

then again, sometimes it’s best
to just let the dog chew ‘em up

Whether banes

You’ll never know
what might have been

you’ll never prove
what could have been

to loudly proclaim
what should have been

is the greatest of curses
self-inflicted by men

Dream sequence

Quiet evening on my couch
I fall asleep watching t.v.
dozing, I awaken from a dream
in which I was watching an old
console television from the 60’s
the picture was fuzzy, zigzagging,
jumping around, unwatchable; in
the remote-less era of my fantasy
I get up, go to the monolithic set,
turn real (silver plastic) knobs

play with the vertical hold
adjust the horizontal hold
alter the single antenna
making the show viewable
return to couch to watch
that’s when I wake up

To my left, oblivious to my snoozing,
my wife sits working on her laptop
the picture is crystal-clear, eminently
watchable prime-time as her tender
fingers glide swiftly across the sleek
keyboard; pinkies and ring fingers
deftly twitch and pound, punctuating

barely glancing my way, ‘You’re awake’
her only recognition as she continues
to type on obscurely engrossing work

sly scooting down the couch I grab her
right hand mid key-stroke, rub it gently
between my thumb and forefinger
as her other hand stops typing, lays at
rest, limp on the keyboard

I lean in to kiss her starting
to adjust my vertical hold
of her as we slowly slide down
onto the cushions and I adjust
my horizontal hold on her, deftly
place the laptop on the floor
readjust our horizontal hold as I
grope for the remote, find it,
quickly click the off-button
as our horizontal hold on each
other stops jumping around
the picture comes into much
sharper focus and it has nothing
at all to do with the television

Inheritance

Secrets punish.

Secrets aren’t kept,
they are stashed

like loot from
the robbery

People collect antiques
fondly save heirlooms
obsess over baseball cards
or Hummel figurines

Secrets are stashed,
hoarded

holding their value
like so many nuts in a
dead-tree nest of a
squirrel that ends up as
road kill

Secrets are not
coveted mementos
fought over inheritance
nor a legacy proudly
flaunted to impress

Secrets do not enrich,
age gracefully.
make whole
or mend fences

cannot be put in the box
with thrift shop rejects
from the attic

a rare time when etiquette
dictates looking a gift horse
in the mouth, staring
him down

Pilgrim

I am a spiritual man
I believe

stuff.

I have read a lot, lived
a bunch, experienced
much, seen and did

things

Other people of different
places, peoples, cultures
old ways and fresh ideas.
have always piqued
my curiosity

Ideas of life, concepts of

God, the/a hereafter,
meanings of life, purposes
for existing.

Questions, asked
repeatedly, differently
answers given
vaguely, with a shrug
howling in defiance

Sometimes, the answers
actually matched the
questions being asked or
the puzzle being challenged

Sometimes

Why, how, why, why, why?
Why, you say?

always, still more why.

‘How’ always finishing a
distant, disinterested second.

I am a spiritual man.
I believe

stuff.

Who believes

me?

2011 – 2012

2011

“Give it a sixty-
two, Dick. It had an odd beat;
could you dance to it?”

2012.1

promises proclaimed
vast improvements vowed
compliance deferred

2012.2

January’s hope
March’s actualities
December’s ‘oh-ohs’…