Tuesday, December 8, 2015

"best of" poems of the day 12.08.15

Today is the 35th anniversary of John Lennon's death. Not to be profound or anything, but with the way this world is we could probably use a guy like Lennon around now. Because I'm more morbid than celebratory I always try to write a poem about Lennon on this day, as opposed to October 9th when he was born, when he would've turned 75 this year. So today I offer a smattering of those poems, some going as far back as a decade. please, as always, excuse the bad writing.

Also....you may see more of these "best of" days cropping up. Am knee deep in fiction writing and time for the poems hasn't been there lately. And, as evidenced, when one shows up they've been rather wondering and lackluster. So while I will still post a poem a day some may be oldies but goodies.


john lennon

25 years ago i learned about death.
i was groggy
it was morning in a kitchen,
one i barely remember now.
on my mother’s knee
we listened to the broadcast,
moribund jockeys inter-spliced
with your songs & the sad laments
of people from around the world.
folks were already talking about
your legacy, john
& like all good people
they’ve been shitting on it for
a quarter of a century so far.

in kindergarten i had a band
it wasn’t much, but there were 4 of us
sometimes there were 3 because the drummer
needed a nap.
we played all the old beatles songs,
air guitar & lip syncing to my mother’s LPs
on a beat-up fisher price turntable the school owned.
the nun would gather around the girls
& they swooned & i understood the attraction
to all the sound & madness.
but that day we gave no show & the nun
let me keep the radio on to hear more news.
such sadness & loss was so hard to comprehend.
later our band quit playing
ringo slept
george moved away & paul changed schools.
i was you, john
but you were dead
so i choose to be myself & i haven’t looked back
until today.


we are alive

i hear the morning people
talking outside of my window
the morning people with their cigarettes
and coffee

and they are alive
and we are alive

even if there is nothing in our guts at the moment
even if we are caught in meetings
in horrible jobs with no hope
in debt because it takes so much money
just to pretend to be average

we are still alive

as the cold wind blows and the rain moves in
as the months and seasons change again
waiting for the economy to rebound
waiting for politics to work
waiting for religion to die

waiting in vain

we are alive
and they are alive

the news will always be bad
the world will never get it right
humanity has had it wrong from the start
and mahler will never rise
john lennon will stay mortally wounded
in our minds

but they are alive somehow
and we are alive too

you are alive reading this
or just sitting there watching the hours die
in a polite fashion

alive if for no reason at all
then to rise and hope do it all over again.

around this time of year (what remains)

around this time of year
the joy of the season sets in for some
the melancholy for others
you, you just wish that night
could’ve been dramatically different
the five bullets out of that fat fuck’s gun
missing their mark
the aorta in tact
lennon whisked away unharmed
as the police wrestled that
demented freak to the ground
kicking away the piece
and the salinger
until they hit the sewers
and gurgled into the hudson
so then there’d be no candle vigils
no sing-a-longs to fill the void
no mosaics in verdant rounds
no thirty years of this
just more music and madness and art
and for a world still trying to get
the message right
who would think something as simple
as peace and love
would be so hard to come by?
because what we have instead of him
is humanity like a shell
hope and change as greasy as snake oil
and wars raging on
droughts and floods as common
as dime store combs
millionaires dancing the tax break jig
as people starve
cholera in haiti
and general bullshit seeping out
of everywhere else

but what remains
is the spark
a chance
the chance that by dumb luck
we’ll one day get it right

and let no death
no matter how great or small
ever be dealt in vain again.


the day after john lennon died

the day after
john lennon died
thirty years after
john lennon died
we are walking briskly
down 75th street
the wind off the estuary
smacking us in the face
one ear bud in your ear
one ear bud in mine
a little drunk
a little happy
singing instant karma
in the glow of christmas lights
hung outside the warm
homes of neighbors
we don’t want to know
we are children gone
just a little bit gray
free from the bar
free from religion
free from america
free to sing in the quiet street
as loud as we never are
and as i turn to take in
that large tree
the one dressed in purple
and red lights
the one that illuminates
the whole block
i think nothing is wrong
if only for a moment
nothing is wrong in this world.


john lennon pub

the john lennon pub
is around the corner
from the john lennon wall in prague
it’s full of tourists and ex-pats
who’ve just got done flashing peace signs
for their cameras
i like john lennon
so therefore i like the john lennon pub
even though they’ve mostly played
ringo songs so far
i’ve even found my nook
which is important to me in a bar
somewhere semi-private where the wife and i
can sit over three or four beers
with lennon and beatles photos surrounding us
and talk about how pretty prague is
i don’t really mind the americans sitting in the pub
the ones talking about
what geniuses beyoncé and kanye are
as beatles’ songs play
the three girls who keep trying to explain
to the czech bartender what hard cider is
because they don’t have to differentiate between the two here
or how when happy x-mas (war is over) comes on
they all have to sing it
and talk about how much they love christmas
how they wish they were in prague at christmastime
i think maybe it would
be nice to have a john lennon pub in america
a break from the sports bars and dives
we don’t do that kind of stuff for artists
in the good old u.s. of a
set up graffiti walls or pubs to remember them by
we keep fbi files on them
or they live in obscurity
as lesser talents get called geniuses
we ban their songs on the radio in times of war
and if they still get too loud
rock the boat too much
we send out one of our lunatics
in the guise of a hardcore fan
to pose for a picture with them
only hours before putting four bullets
right in their back.                                                         05.13.15

OKAY....here's a new one:

average standard garden variety
christmas poem  that came too soon

bukowski  always wondered
where the christmas music was in july
when people were hot and suffering
where was that joy?
in here they have the music going
almost three weeks before the holiday
i’m tired of it already
all i want for christmas
is to shoot mariah carey to the moon
step on michael buble’s windpipe
be glad that sinatra isn’t around to sing this tripe
every time i turn it down they turn it back up
like the same game we play here
with the heater on a fifty-five degree december day
i wonder about the people
who like christmas music this much
what black hole do they have in the pit of their stomach
that this horrible shit fills?
i can’t think about christmas music with war going on
i can’t think about christmas music with terrorism
how can you shop for anyone
when it’s sixty degrees outside and the stores are like an oven?
i can’t walk around with
simply having a wonderful christmastime
stuck in my head and still call myself a man
i want us all to safely slide into january
i’d like to take this radio and throw it out the window
but i really need this job
and the people they are moving and shaking in their seats
they really need this christmas music
the karen carpenters and whitney houstons warbling
seven swans a swimming in a sea of avarice and commerce
i need john lennon to come on
and set them all straight
john lennon who’s been gone for thirty-five years
would he even understand this senseless world
where people get murdered by the dozens
and those of us lucky to be alive
mouth rudolph the red-nosed reindeer in our sets
hoping the guy sitting next to them
isn’t the one who’s finally going to go mad
and blow up the bloody block in bright reds and greens.                                                                                                                                                                                    

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