READ MY LIPS POEM

Here in the American Midwest, waking up to sub-zero lows the past few mornings reminded me of a poem I wrote one January more than two dozen frozen winters ago, titled WINTERDREAM….so I dug the poem out of cold storage, blew the snow (or was it dust?) off it, and re-read it for the first time in some time. As I did, it dawned on me that, although published before (both in paper journals and online), perhaps it could stand one more exposure. Then, near poem’s end, I re-came upon the word “lips”….and that settled it (reference the last two sentences of my last post, LIPS SERVICE). Here, then, one last time, is….

WINTERDREAM

Suppose a homeless man
found a tattered hat,
abandoned, like himself,
to the elements….
and in that tattered hat,
tucked inside the band,
a winning lottery ticket
could transform his life;

but first, he must see it –
and then, seeing it,
not toss it to the wind,
as life had tossed him.
Let us further suppose
the deadline to claim
its prize came at midnight
of that very day.

That night, in winter’s turn,
the man had a dream
that he could live his life
starting all over again,
knowing as much at birth
as he knew this moment,
so that all the choices
and hidden chances
of wasted turning points
lay exhumed ahead….

but the thought made him
cringe: regret was a fire
that gave pain without heat.
He awoke in cold sweat
to the taste of blown snow
on the cracks of his lips,
and pulled down the brim
of yesterday’s fortune.
What luck to have found
a buffer against fate.

 

 

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TO SEE OR NOT TO SEE, THAT IS THE QUESTION*

To see or not to see, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to look past
The slings and arrows of outrageous tweets
And excuse the lies and insults of our imperial Don,
So long as such doth advance our noble cause
And lead us back to the glory of righteous times,
Devoutly to be wish’d. Ay, there’s the rub:
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’opressor’s wrong, the proud man’s contumely,
The pangs of dispriz’d love, the law’s delay,
The insolence of office, and the unworthy spurns,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus devil-deals doth make cowards of us all
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
Lie paraded, bare and exposed for all but us to see.

*with appreciation, but no apologies, to Shakespeare

 

 

 

TIME FLIES

It is said that “Time flies when you’re having fun.” As for me, time flies when you can’t believe a certain young woman and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary this fall, and next year on June 23, the oldest of our two daughters (Big One and Little One) will celebrate(?) her 50th birthday. How is it possible that one day the young woman and I got married, and the next thing we know, our girls are older than my oldest clothes (though not by much). Time and fun fly when ‘hangers-on’ in the closet look the same as decades ago….but the reflection in the mirror looks like Methuselah’s grandfather. 😦

The moral of the story?

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.

Then be not coy, but use your time
And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
You may forever tarry.

–Robert Herrick (from his poem TO THE VIRGINS, TO MAKE MUCH OF TIME, 1648)

In other words, take the advice of legendary songwriter Irving Berlin (1888-1989) and….

Oh….I almost forgot: Happy 49th Birthday, Big One!

 

 

LIAR, LIAR, RANTS ON FIRE

One of my readers, who is obviously a glutton for punishment, recently expressed disappointment that I haven’t posted more of my poems lately. At the risk of triggering that old axiom BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR, I thank her for having inspired me to address the deficiency thusly:

DECEIT DON’T STAND

As the twig is bent,
so grows the tree.
As the die is cast,
so shall it be.

If these be true,
why is it wise:
The Donald gets a pass
when he tells those lies?

Of course, I should also thank the President, without whose daily rants my inspiration for this poem would doubtless lie dormant. And now for a word from the truly wise about lies:

Carlyle said, “A lie cannot live”; it shows he did not know how to tell them. –Mark Twain

A man comes to believe in the end the lies he tells about himself to himself. –George Bernard Shaw

I admire liars, but surely not liars so clumsy they cannot fool even themselves. –H. L. Mencken

Pretending that you believe a lie is also a lie. –Arthur Schnitzler

If at first you’re not believed, lie, lie again. –Evan Esar

Not sure why the video is black. Maybe because the lies it laments aren’t white ones. But the sound is clear, and the voice shines through the darkness.

 

 

 

THE WAGES OF SIN TAX

Pardon the intrusion —
I don’t mean to pry —
But the deficit’s soaring;
The figures don’t lie.

Uncle Sam’s in a pickle —
Needs money like mad —
So he sent me to tell you
You must pay to be bad.

He’s taxed income and outgo
And capital gains;
Now, an excise on excess
Is all that remains.

Uncle wants to be fair —
No sin taxes he’ll seek
‘less you go making love
More than one time a week.

I’m installing surveillance
To monitor your behavior.
Lusting under covers won’t save you —
I’ll hear your cries to the Father of your Savior.

But please don’t take this personal —
It’s my job to listen and view it.
Hey, you know what they say:
Someone’s got to do it.

So….