Laureate

Leighton | Icarus and Daedalus | 1869

Leighton | Icarus and Daedalus | 1869

Since the last poem was itty-bitty, and I missed a day or two posting (if it’s three please don’t tell me), here’s one more for tonight. This one actually rhymes! It’s dedicated to the man outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan in December, 2001, who informed me I’d missed my calling as a poet and helped re-start my journey in writing. I forgive you, sir. 😉

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Laureate

Have you seen this poet write?

It’s a ghastly, tortuous sight

If poets are made of ashes and sweat

Already he should be a laureate

He devours the endless words of masters

Those fond of black, and blue and alabaster

Fingertips as calloused painfully

As his heart rends itself not to be

A collector of candle stubs

And pencil nubs; late at night he rubs

His eyes until they’re red and bleary

He’s seldom rested, often weary

And like some solitary animal nested

Introspective and invested

In what is real inside his mind

(What he makes he thinks he finds)

Like Icarus he soars too high

Comes crashing down the sky

Onto his bed for hours prone

A heap of flesh, sinew and bone

Human again, but before long

Nothing can drown out the siren song

That must again puppet his limbs

And compel from him inspired hymns

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©2013 Jason Anderson

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Death March

There’s something I’ve been dealing with lately about which I can think of one hundred reasons to keep my mouth shut, and only two to speak up: because I need to, and because someone, somewhere might need me too. I’m amazed how difficult it is sometimes to honor those two reasons, even though often when I take the risk someone responds: “me too.”

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Death March

Me too.

When I confide, finally

With great trepidation –

What will he think?

That I’m broken?

Damaged goods?

Will she think I’m tainted?

Marked?

Will they stay or go? –

So often comes the answer

I’m least expecting:

Me too.

Me too.

My God, who are all these people

Beating us,

Raping us

Leaving us by the roadside

Of silent death

Listening to the passing footfalls

Of comrades

Lovers

Brothers and sisters

Mortal enemies

And friends?

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©2013 Jason Anderson

Protests, Paper Hearts and Fireflies

Newport RI fireworks, July 4, 2004

Photo: author

This isn’t quite as somber as the past few — sorry, it kind of slipped out. I don’t know if it’s my best, but I think it’s my favorite so far. I don’t have kids, but if I ever do I’ll make sure they know this. And wear hats and gloves in the winter.

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Protests, Paper Hearts and Fireflies

Playing on a snowy evening with stars in your hair

And a half-moon strung from the tip of your nose

Ever in motion, a grace for all seasons

In January a radical, protesting hats and scarves and demanding the fall of snow

Giving your hearts in February, a ritual you perform with more earnestness than understanding

Embattled like a general in March, making the most of melting resources

Smiling when I tell you the April songbirds returned just to laugh at your jokes

A May basket-case, so full of summery anticipation you can’t decide what to do first

A June jitterbug, so full of summery freedom you can’t decide what to do next

Benevolent in July, pardoning her fireflies after they’re tried

In August seeking cool refuge in pools, and books, and other floating worlds

Mourning the end of the world each September, and

Peering over a pencil eraser in the aftermath, at summer’s October tears on the window

Peeling November’s noreast leaves from your bright face

And gorging on December, that double cheeseburger, that ice cream sundae of a month

That finales in fireworks(!), then dissolves once more to protests, paper hearts and fireflies.

How many more cycles? No one can tell, nor what they’ll bring

I’ve had thirty-one more than you, and this is my wisdom, the sum:

You are always in motion, but in all seasons grace

Bundle up in the cold ones, jump in puddles in the wet ones

And remember the singing birds laugh just for you.

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©2013 Jason Anderson

November

A lone red leaf at the end of autumn

Photo: author

I don’t know what’s gotten into me. I’m posting another poem today. When will the madness end?

Maybe tomorrow…

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November

There was nothing I could do

He slipped away like a childhood summer

And left me cold

I wore flashy layers of guilt

And shame I’d stolen

To cover the pain —

Not mine any more

Than he was

Or you are

(Or I am)

I wore them proudly

Until the thaw

No one ever came

To claim them

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©2013 Jason Anderson

Tripwire

Why do little poems sleep all day and start clamoring for attention the minute my head hits the pillow?

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Tripwire

There’s no trap door, no tripwire

no snare waiting to be sprung.

You can step where you will and I will

not react

immediately.

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©2013 Jason Anderson

The Three Last Poems of Winter

1.

How easy it is to miss a life

Counting and counting my own small pile of days

Like a child hoards pieces of candy

Reluctant to consume one

And have less.

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2.

We are, like the winds, born

In the tiniest disturbance of matter

And when we end where do we go?

We go where the winds end

When they die.

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3.

Darkest isn’t black but shades of periwinkle and twilight

When lights that could be on are off and almost but not all is quiet

Dark is an unplugged Christmas tree, or a part-burnt candle unlit

Or when the power’s out and you throw a light switch

Eyes dead: that’s as dark as anything can get.

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©2013 Jason Anderson

Rest between the rains

Light rain on Canada Pond, RI USA

Photo: author

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Sometimes, after midnight and before dawn

The horizon blanks and I can see everything

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Sometimes, in the rest between the rains

The world pauses and I can hear everything

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Sometimes, on a pillow of skin and coarse hair

A heartbeat beckons and I can feel everything

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Sometimes, as winter wood burns wet

Smoke sears, acrid, and I can smell everything

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Never have I tasted enough, and I never will.

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©2013 Jason Anderson