The Cravin’

(with apologies to Edgar Allan Poe)

Once upon a midnight boring, while her husband lay there snoring,
Quite fatigued from rugged work-a-day, as many husbands are;
While he lay there nice and cozy, chubby cheeks all warm and rosy,
In the middle of his doze, he was awakened by her jar…
And a smack upon his forehead did accompany that jar,
As she told him, “Chocolate bar.”

Ah, distinctly I recall, it was October and the fall, it
Was ridiculous to stall it, but the store was pretty far…
So he told her, “Wait till morning,” with a smile these words adorning,
Then she shot a look of warning, saying, “You don’t want to spar.
With a woman who needs chocolate, you are not prepared to spar.”
She repeated, “Chocolate bar.”

And the silken sheets he lay on and his jammies made of rayon
Made him think, “Well, I’ll just play on what her great desires are.”
So he said, “Forget the candy. I can make you feel just dandy.”
…But a flower vase was handy. She said, “This may leave a scar.
If I break this on your head, I think it just may leave a scar.
Now, my husband, chocolate bar.”

And with this, he clearly fretted. She said, “You men just don’t get it!
Chocolate’s better! There. I said it. For that matter, so’s ER!
Chocolate ecstasy lasts longer! The effect is somewhat stronger.
Think you beat that? Well, you’re wrong, or you’ve been dreaming. Get the car.
I may let you have your fun when you get back. Now, get the car.
I must have my chocolate bar.”

“But there’s ice cream in the kitchen! We’ve got cookies! Quit your pitchin’
Fits! I know you’re tummy’s itchin’, but I don’t feel up to par!
I’ll bring chocolate home tomorrow.” Then she bowed her head in sorrow,
Said, “I guess the store’s too far. Okay. I guess the store’s too far.
Like your love for me is just too weak… I guess the store’s too far.
You don’t love me. Chocolate bar.”

Then he knew the talk had ended. He thought, “This thing won’t be mended
Till I get this fool her splendid chocolate. Women! They’re bizarre!
All the week I’m workin’, slavin’, takin’ trash out and behavin’–
Then she gets this stupid cravin’–and I lose my R&R!
For some stupid piece of chocolate I must lose my R&R!”
She just murmured, “Chocolate bar.”

So her husband learned his lesson. Now he knows you don’t be messin’
With a woman who’s obsessin’–if you want to be her star.
Skip the poetry and flowers. Don’t waste precious days and hours
Using all your meager powers writing lyrics for guitar…
No, she doesn’t want your body or sweet songs from your guitar.
Just give woman chocolate bar.

My Bliss

My bliss is not an arrow shot
to soar some distant span,
or some great tree whose roots extend
through realms of Earth and Man.
My earthbound bliss defies itself
and creeps into the breach,
its own fruition stultified,
bizarrely out of reach.

My bliss would not infect you with
the sickness in its cells.
Some days it wakes and sniffs itself–
and frowns at what it smells;
and though it keeps its spirits up
(as well they need abide),
some telling something in the eyes
belies the pain inside.

My bliss was bought at great expense;
its value should be great.
It touts its worth incessantly–
now other things must wait.
I view the thing as gilded gold,
then set my view aright;
for none should trust the things they see
when teardrops cloud their sight.

My bliss was long in coming
and I view the thing askance!
…For who’d foresee the need to give
the pain of joy a chance?!
Such things we deem inviolate
while avid on their trail,
and never guess some different face
could dwell beneath the veil.

I cannot give my bliss a home
or bid the thing adieu.
Intruder and invited, it
rings false yet somehow true.
Is bliss impure no bliss at all?
Of this I am aware:
My bliss remains an earthbound thing
until it’s bliss to share.

Where’s the Poem?

It’s not in the horizon that impedes
perception as I take my evening stroll.
I see it in that single ray that bleeds
through dying light–like tears can soak the soul.
It doesn’t live in merry nuptial fare,
or birth, or death, or other thieves of heart.
Each poet’s looked and found no fodder there–
Just standard themes to make exploited art.
It isn’t in some still life or a scape…
not in the forms we see. The interstice
contains it. It’s the axis of the shape.
The nexus gone to script. The hub of this.
Life’s rudiments inform the lines we write;
The poem hovers just beneath our sight.

Avowed in Full

A retreat from your spirit would render me weak
With an atrophy’s clutch on my soul.
It would dampen my passion, and leave me oblique,
Lacking purpose or aim or control.
My dysfunction would hide–but to some it would reek
Like a mouse rotting dead in its hole.

I have ached, in this newness, for that which I crave.
I am starved for the food of our time.
And I count on the memories (those I could save)
To supplant my mundane with sublime.
All my soul rides the crest of a thundering wave
In the wake of a love in its prime.

Do not think me in exodus (how can you not?),
Though I do not sustain you in this.
I will not view as futile the battles we’ve fought,
Although something is sadly amiss,
For the strength of this love leaves my soul overwrought
As I pine for the truth of your kiss.

To withdraw from your spirit would leave me adrift,
Cast about on a raft of despair.
Would I pray to my God, have Him grant me a gift,
Then forget as it waits for me there?
In the midst of the pain I have gone for my lift,
Found I’ve always had spirit to share.

If a weakness has led me away from your side,
It has not placed me out of your reach.
By our spirit I’m led–‘twixt its wings I still ride–
And I’m open to what it would teach.
But I pray for that day when it won’t be denied
And our love washes up on the beach.

So I write to assure you I cannot forget…
That I would not withdraw from our place.
I have pain, I have sadness–but never regret–
None of us would I seek to erase.
And I dream of me tight in the weave of our net
With your spirit held fast to my face.

Tones of Green

I wonder at the nuance of the trees
behind the pool. A uniform quartet–
except in shade. A visual to whet
perception’s appetite. So God decrees
that verdant mood emerge this way in these
(a light green, olive, lush, and darker yet).
Sometimes perspective slips, and I forget
to recognize the beauty in degrees.
The blatant variations often clash
and blind awareness. Likeness is the key;
it fills the palette. Though it may be true
that counter colors make the loudest splash,
there’s muted sound in similarity:
the underrated eloquence of hue.

Grandma’s Will

She talked of it unmoved, which made me think
infirmity and age had built rapport
with some late guest. A stain had marred her floor.
I sat there waiting vainly for the stink
upon her words, a fool upon the brink
pf counterfeit denial. Grandma bore
my cross demeanor. How could she ignore–?
I looked up just in time to catch a wink,
Then found my little stain again. She said,
“Pat gave me that damn vacuum. It goes back
to her!” I breathed, “Uh-huh,” below my breath.
She whispered, “If you hear me, nod your head.
…Just sittin’ there like some potato sack!”
I sighed, sat up. We squared away her death.

Desmodus Rotundus

Three nights had brought no sustenance. He slept
unsated now in rafters far from where
his colony was roosting. Though he’d kept
a vigil for the scent of sanguine air,
no bovine-borne libation could be found
where he had flown. He flapped a white-tipped wing
and waived his rest in favor of a sound
that comforted: a roaring, rushing spring
to follow back to roost. At dusk he fled
to habitat and gaped his maw for food.
A sated bat coughed up the blood she’d fed
upon into his mouth and thus renewed
the starving mammal’s life. And so it goes.
Remarkable how far the bloodline flows.

I Must Miss You Again

I must miss you again as the stars light my way
Through the loneliest paths of the night,
As my quest for your spirit at dusk of each day
Leaves me wistful, in mind of the plight
Of the heartsick explorer who brooks love’s delay
While his fantasies beg to take flight.

I am he. He who eyes through the lens of his mind
A relentless review of the past–
Like an invalid creature all kept and confined
To his hospital bed and his cast
With his dreams as his only companion…the kind
Whose intensity fades much too fast.

‘Tho the orb that illumes us who labor below
Offers warming relief in the main,
I have places inside where its heat does not go,
Places arid and barren and plain;
You must radiate heat to melt fast through my snow.
You must water my roots with your rain.

Yes, I move as I should and arrange my affairs
As society shows us we must…
And I’m clothed in the garb that civility wears
…That we’ve all been conditioned to trust…
But my fabric is threadbare and easily tears…
And it blows off my shoulders like dust.

I must miss you again as the stars disappear
In the earliest blush of the dawn,
Like the you of my dreams ever lingering near
For my yearnings to fasten upon…
Till I open my eyes on my pain and my fear
And discover my dream–and you–gone.

My Chaos (my comfort)

I like to keep my chaos in its niche.
My comfort zone is everything I know.
But sometimes I’m not certain which is which.

I have the need to scratch some phantom itch
for order. Even when the maelstroms blow,
I like to keep my chaos in its niche.

When mired in despair as black as pitch,
I’ve craved the flood, and sought the tranquil flow…
but sometimes I’m not certain which is which.

At times I’ve tried to get the two to switch,
but how can I upset the status quo?
I like to keep my chaos in its niche.

My chaos and my comfort should enrich
my life–I need the both of them to grow,
but sometimes I’m not certain which is which.

Not much in life goes off without a hitch.
I’ll welcome comfort anywhere, although
I like to keep my chaos in its niche.
But sometimes I’m not certain. Which is which?

I Am Searching for a Doctor

I am searching for a doctor who is very hard to find.
He does not relieve arthritis or give vision to the blind.
He will not deliver babies or reset a fractured bone,
And he won’t get rid of back pain or remove your kidney stone.

I don’t want a dermatologist who’s trained to study skin,
Or a dentist who will tell me just what shape my teeth are in.
No, I need a special doctor–and of that I’m very sure.
There’s a sickness of another sort that I want him to cure.

I am searching for a doctor who will let all cripples be.
But he’ll treat the folks around them and he’ll give them strength to see
That the arms and legs don’t make the man–and those who search will find
That the value of a person’s in his heart and in his mind.

I am searching for a doctor who won’t bother those with AIDS,
As they suffer with their sicknesses and march in their parades.
He will treat the folks who hate them and destroy their will to live;
And he’ll show them love’s compassion as he teaches them to give.

I am searching for a doctor who will let the old be old.
And he’ll say to those who try to fit them in a younger mold:
“There is nothing wrong with aging, for the wrinkles on a face
Can suggest a deep maturity, reflect a timeless grace.”

I am searching for a doctor who will let all bodies rest.
Not take inches off your abdomen or add them to your chest…
He will make all those who see you look beyond your “fleshly scar,”
Then the beauty people see will be the beauty that you are.

I am searching for a doctor every person can become,
Though it’s difficult for many and improbable for some.
Let’s prescribe ourselves compassion and some tolerance to start…
Though the doctor heals the body, only God can heal the heart.

Mom in My Day

When I open my eyes on the newness of morn,
I imagine myself in my past,
With the mother I love, in the place I was born,
Where the role of my future was cast;
And I’m glad for my present–yet still I’m forlorn
For a love that is holding me fast.

Love my mother. I rise, and the mirror reflects
A face filled with the love of your eyes.
My ablutions–symbolic in many respects
Of the cleansing your caring supplies.
And I ready myself for this day, and the next,
With your spirit to silence my cries.

Need my mother. In transport, I sing me a song
That you sang me when I was a boy.
And I wistfully pine and I fervently long
For the verses that you would employ
To expel all my sadness and make my heart strong
With good cheer and affection and joy.

Am my mother. I work with an ethic you taught
Me. The standards I keep are your own.
And I succor myself with the comforting thought
That my bloom comes from seeds you have sown,
And the passion you filled me with always runs hot,
And I love you for how I have grown.

Miss my mother. I sigh at the end of my day,
Though my service was solid and true,
For I crave your communion while making my way
To a place where I�m just “making do”;
For where Mother is, Home is, I know, and I pray
For the blessings of home, and for you.

Oh, my mother. At bedtime you stay on my mind
As I drift on an ocean of sleep,
For I rest in your ken with my soul realigned
With a love that is constant and deep;
That’s the love of a son for his mother, designed
By a Lord who gave all for His sheep.

Second Sight

The blind man showed me how to see.
He told me, friend, forget your eyes.
He moved me and enlightened me.
He said sight lives when vision dies.

He told me, friend, forget your eyes.
Find shade and form in smells and sounds.
He said sight lives when vision dies.
Then senses grow by leaps and bounds.

Find shade and form in smells and sounds.
We learn and feel with heart and hand.
Then senses grow by leaps and bounds.
I soon began to understand.

We learn and feel with heart and hand.
The eyes see but the shape of things.
I soon began to understand
What wisdom true perception brings.

The eyes see but the shape of things.
He moved me and enlightened me.
What wisdom true perception brings!
The blind man showed me how to see.

There Will Always Be Those

I have never been one who diverged from the crowd
In a manner that made me walk tearful and proud
Through intolerant hordes as they heaped their disdain
In the path of a person who marched through his pain.

Yet I know there are those who must tread through the vale
In the knowledge that spittle will muddy their trail.
There will always be those to whom truth is a lie,
Or some misshapen runt to ignore and deny.

I have never had secrets I couldn’t reveal
For fear people would vitiate what was most real
To me. But I know some who must suffer the bile
Of ignorant masses who live to defile.

I think if my nature compelled me to choose
Between me and acceptance–the latter would lose;
For I know–and have known–there will always be those
Who see Truth as their leader–and go where it goes.

They are those who will offer their help and their hand
To the ones whom the many have censured and banned
For their difference, their truth. For the truth in disguise
Is a guide who would lead you with unopened eyes.

There will always be those who condemn and abjure
That which only is truth as unclean and impure.
But, with courage, come out. Come as someone who knows
We are those for your truth–we will always be those.