Good Writing Is Like Sex
March 25, 2011
Meditations of the Angels
April 2, 2011

Inspired by John Berryman, whose Dream Songs launched me into a literary tirade some years ago, I have since warmed to the idea of “vignettes” of poetry. Combining the gravity and artfulness of biblical proverbs with modern import and contemporary images, I have assembled these clips of life as I see it. My only advice to those reading would be to keep an open mind; “war,” for example, need not only entail guns and missiles. I am as interested in metaphor and symbolism as I am a literal understanding of life’s interrelated experiences. There is no telling what these will conjure in you.

I

The journal,
dog-eared and weeping with ink,
said it best:
I have written more good things than bad.

II

Crucibles arouse me
At uneven times.
For there would be
Otherwise, milk and honey.

III

Set your agency back
Against the port of your
Urgency; let sail tiremes
Of Truth and tall.

IV

I go to the bathroom
Like a solider to the front:
Armed to the teeth,
Weak in the knees.

V

These red hairs cannot part
With gel; and I wonder
The better part of days
Will suffer because.

VI

Ma’ams on Mondays
Stirring approbations from
Behind a Macintosh:
Get to getting in this life.

VII

I’ve upset the happy drunk
Within me; I am the saddest
Sorry sober to have walked
From Sunday.

VIII

My empty nest is empty.
Jesus said: Don’t worry.
I said, abrupt with toothpaste:
You made me human.

IX

Courting is for love alone.
I can’t imagine loving death
Or courting secretaries
of state.

X

Onward, ho! I’ve read him:
Tennyson with saber-teeth.
Why not ride to mountain sides?
And avoid valleys of death.

XI

I woke today with feeling
In my gums and half a rib.
The surest feeling comes from
Bedtime with a mug of gin.

XII

Computers tell my lies
More efficiently than cursive.
No wonder I own more computers
Than integrity.

XIII

Trust in the Lord
And you will still be a sad
Bunch of nothing at
Best.

XIV

Have I told you I died today?
Turn off society and listen:
There’s more to me than
Abs and what-ifs.

XV

It would be devilish
To wander so long as 40
Minutes without a call
To mother.

XVI

I can write like Joyce today.
But I’ll never speak like Jones.
Nobody reads a Joyce today.
We’d all make love to Jones.

XVII

Vices and virtues like hands
On a clock; one gives you
Minutes, another hours.
Neither one is time.

XVIII

I’d wallow for me,
But I wouldn’t lift a nail.
I’d rant through Christmas
Saying no more than things.

XIX

To give is human, to take
Divine; I’ll saddle up my
Conscience for a
Compliment.

XX

Ending things is not
A gift; perfection
Blisters skin like too
Much sun.

XXI

I have to go away.
But I can never quite
Escape, except
For wine.

XXII

Some people drink
Like fish out of water,
Conflicted. Coffee is the
Executor of my will.

XXIII

I clutch at filth
As though a purse;
It carries my wealth
And Chapstick.

XXIV

Push against the door
That says, “Pull.”
Shame it into being
Wrong.

XXV

I remember Christ like
Yesterday, but don’t
Recall my five-year-old
Colic.

XXVI

Streets were made and
Trampled on, but
Oceans born and
I cannot fish.

XXVII

Know thyself naked,
After cheeseburgers,
Before a one-way
Mirror.

XXVIII

If I am the standard,
The clarion call:
Bake cookies for Christmas
And pray with a whip.

XXIX

Sooner than suns
Setting, larger than moons
Are the drops of
Your guilt.

XXX

I would string a
Stringed instrument to
Songs and to psalms
If they sang.

XXXI

Shame covers me like
Grandmother’s quilts:
Red with a complice,
Over my member.

XXXII

If I were sex we’d be
Stunned and not
Studded, any more
Than Black Beauty.

XXXIII

We relish Fitzgerald with
Wet dreams and Scotch;
Salinger forgives us
Our breathing.

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