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operating at a loss

I How long have I been doing this Throwing my time & money Into a hole Filling up notebooks Mining overheard conversation For lines Squeezing the sponge Of my wine soaked Mind Into the bucket Of poetry And now here we are Gulping down the Lead tainted water Like Romans Romans Forced to eat Wooden fruit To amuse a mad Emperor Isn´t it time To call it all off When you are Operating at a Loss II A stone mason With busted knuckles Spends his whole Working life Carving gargoyles For a cathedral He will never live To see At least he leaves A legacy All my work My words Are destined For the trash When I am gone It´s enough to Make a saint Spit III After dark I drink The cheapest wine & peck away at my Own samizdat Without the terror Of a midnight knock Beaten bloody & led Off in cuffs The opposite now Is true The underground Has been pulled To the surface Like some flat fish Luminous from The depths & left to flap Helpless On the deck Only of Temporary Interest Later kicked Overboard So as not to be Sickened By the stench While ashore Whole zones Invaded The natives Driven out While the rich Spread like Kudzu Culture choked Overwhelmed Overrun & when all they see Is Cash value They never count The cost Because you & I Can´t go on Forever Operating at a Loss IV Do not mistake My anger for bitterness My silence for apathy Each one of us carries A manifesto Some call only for Politeness Others contain Outrageous demands There will maybe Come a time When everything you Cannot gather In your arms Will be lost In the fire In the flood What then What then No gates to Hide behind You stumble Blinking into The common Light & will try to Pass yourself off In that cock-crow Dawn Oh, what will you Deny In order to Survive Every beggar Keeps a secret List Of averted eyes Of cold night scorn Look what he is Guarding now Fresh in his Watchman´s Uniform The vast store Of the poor Man´s toil Your golden key Will no longer Fit that lock You turn now To those Distant hills Unsteadily V After enough wine A part of me says Face it we are on A sinking ship & there is no time To grow gills or wings So why not Splash around Half the passengers Are drunk & downing Ketchup from the Bottle Now the galley Has Been picked Clean The other half Hester Prynne Botherers Sour & tearless Teetotal to a man Have gathered on The upper deck Trying to outstare The sun Later in the polar Darkness The stars Holes in the Blanket of night Changing and Unchanging The consolation Of constellations The vast amoral Cosmos In wordless beauty I find the only True and lasting Peace VI Well now here´s The truth It´s Wednesday night (no prayer meeting) & I want to have This thing This poem Off & out of me By the weekend Time to start Moving VII A few words about my Working methods Starting aged 45 I planned to write A dozen or so poems A month For five years Printing & folding & Stapling each book At night Sending some out Others gifted to Friends I carry them around My own Johnny Appleseed Fueled by coffee & 68c Cartons of supermarket Wine Like Dr. Bannister I broke my own 4 minute Mile & here at the close of The 4th year Am writing this last long Poem no.60 In the plaza café Bugged by flies I look up now & again To watch old men Shuffle by VIII From the Wholly Communion That technicolored Dream dawn To the Vrillion Transmission Cutting into the Early evening news With an alien Warning The underground Was real And populated Back then & now when Almost all Thoughts are Spoken & known What is there Left to stumble upon? Connelly´s Pram in the hall Grounds some In airport fog The grind The slow hill Of work Wears the rest Of us down Some look for Credit in the Straight world A sugar daddy A ride on the ever Turning carousel Atop a dead eyed Painted horse Some go crazy Gut shot in Crow fields Like poor Van Gogh Worn down And sick Of operating At a loss IX And now the clouds Are coming to eat My house The windowsill Committee Has Gathered In chorus they Sing ´fat boy, fat boy Put down your Pencil & come Outside´ & hearing them I do.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2017




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