Autumn

Autumn’s chill on the river.

A softening of sunlight;

Summer’s warmth and

Brightness fade.

 

Live in autumn —

Play out your hand

with the cards you’ve been dealt.

 

Fewer moves to make,

Fewer pieces to play with.

Make each move more deliberate.

Make time for love.

 

Do it well.

There may not be another round.

 

And, this morning on the river —

Forget about the one that got away.

 

August 7, 2020

 

For the Friends of John Lewis An Independent’s Tribute

(Revised version by Nancy Hanks)

I’m starting to enjoy Gayle King’s drab commentary about how she feels about every CBS news story

I laugh out loud at the Progressive commercials about un-becoming your parents

I am horrified/don’t care about the latest gun shooting in my neighborhood

I look up words like soucient and bereft

What’s happening to me?

 

My friends and I write poems to each other.

We are still living and touching and feeling.

We are not saying goodbye to John Lewis.

We are not building icons.

We are not praising the past.

My friends and I write poems to each other

And continue the fight for voting rights.

That’s our tribute to our friend John Lewis.

For the Friends of John Lewis

(Here’s a timely new poem by my friend Nancy Hanks)

I’m starting to enjoy Gayle King’s drab commentary about how she feels about every CBS news story

I laugh out loud at the Progressive commercials about un-becoming your parents

I don’t care about the latest gun shooting in my neighborhood

I look up words like soucient and bereft

What’s happening to me?

 

My friends and I write poems to each other.

We are still living and touching and feeling.

We are not saying goodbye to John Lewis.

We are not building icons.

We are not praising the past.

My friends and I write poems to each other

And continue the fight for voting rights.

That’s our tribute to our friend John Lewis.

Better Bored than Dead

The virus has us locked down

And locked up.

The evening news and

the morning paper

bombard us with statistics

that are impossible to follow.

 

They’re punctuated by interviews

With victims — 

Fellow travelers on our wounded planet.

Scenes of protest and violence

take us from boredom to hope to panic.

 

We wear our masks

And wash our hands,

We hope for a vaccine

and fear new dangers it may pose.

 

We’re an adaptable species.

Can we live with this 

Virus determined new normal?

Is there a path to development,

Even if we can’t make it out?

 

July 30, 2020

 

A Poem for the Day

(Here’s one by my friend Gwen Mandell)

Negotiating one’s way through a pandemic can surely make one mad,

Not any madder than any other day, though the lines separating days seem blurred and madness seems commodified.

On a search for what seems logical at a particular moment,

Kind of an exploration into space-time

Where your sense of connection can only be corroborated by experience and experience is not so reliable.

Trying to rely on others for clarity,

Clarity surely seems to be a luxury these days, as do connections with others.

One can imagine that someone who has never gone through a pandemic might have no idea where this might lead – Can we paint a mural of this moment?

Where are those boundaries which tell us where to go?

I had a pleasant day though.

Walking among my fellow mad mates,

Doing a dance of continuity – trying to make our mark.

Sickness, hopelessness and despair in the air, attempt to choke us, but we are still breathing.

Masked figures at sidewalk cafes,

the streets slightly bustling amid a small crowd of passersby.

Poor and middle class alike, we tug at our masks as we decide our next move.

Big picture offers an array of possibilities, none secure, but

worth the price of entertainment.

I drew a line in the sand which led me to a cacophonous melody of emotion.

It was just another day, hardly historical.

But doesn’t significant transformation  require a step into history?

Can we negotiate the ride?

Perform a collective sigh which allows us to play with madness?

Need to get beyond experience.  My hope is in the masses, lost though we might be.  Hopefully on a road somewhere.

CONFLICT

At the close of the civil war, with a union victory in sight, Lincoln spoke these words:

“Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

This time of pandemic, protest and violence

is a further accounting

of the terrible legacy of slavery.

I support Black Lives Matter

And I fear America is unravelling.

Can we defund the police when 

Crime and violence are on the rise?

Is the murder of George Floyd 

A product of our compromise? 

We don’t choose the time;

There is no guarantee.

We must move forward

Without certainty.

July 12, 2020

WHAT’S COOKING?

(Nancy Hanks wrote this poem for me. I named it)

 

We live in a world of blame and guilt and bad decisions and regret.

A constitutional world of slavery and compromise and regret

And blame and guilt and bad decisions.

 

What if we just stopped it?

Just stop it.

 

Stop killing black people.

Let’s create a new world for all people.

 

America, I have had my problems with you

But I don’t hate you.

 

America, we are conflicted. We were born in conflict.

I WELCOME the conflict! Joyously!

 

Bring on your European marauders, your rapists, your slave traders, your buggers.

Bring on your genteel Virginia gentlemen with their compromises, their use of slaves and women.

Bring on the Ku Klux Klan.

Bring on the compromise of generations of poor people who cannot speak out unless we as a people speak out.

Bring on the marginalized.

Bring on the liberals who are no where to be found and haven’t been for generations and are choking in their voice

Bring on the Democrats, bring on the Republicans. Bring on the partisan cabal in America.

Bring on the unorganized, the poor, the marginalized, the oddly privileged, the rich, the stupid, the categorized, the WTF ever

 

We can create a dialogue in our country. We can.

 

No one can tell an oppressed people how to resist.

 

Stop killing black people.

Let’s create a new world for all people.

 

What if we just stopped it.

Just stop it.

 

June 2020

 

Cape

Down by the docks in Hyannis

An ancient crossroads

Beckons us.

Bounded by floats —

ferries, tugs and fishing boats.

 

A window, a gateway;

A continent’s shelf.

The wind and sea 

Wash over self.

 

June 23, 2020

 

View from My Terrace     

(by my friend David Belmont)

6.21.20

She’s a rock and roll singer and a true dead ringer
For something like you ain’t never seen

                                                Robbie Robertson, 1970

trump got punk’d
by tik tok teens

uncle andy’s
road show closed
to rave reviews

no one wants it
to reopen

all manner of
wheeled devices
scurry thru the streets

pedestrians
dodge them
their faces
at half mask

fireworks
on aural display
all night long

their debris
hits our now closed
first floor windows

dave chappelle does
27 spot on minutes
about 8 minutes
and 46 seconds

i share his love
for the young
protestors

creating the most
democratic moment
in the history
of the world

black lives matter
marching with
lgbtq

fred newman’s
demonstration dream
comes to life

our activity
is a drop
in the ocean

because the ocean
showed up

time for a swim

it’s father’s day

my father
would have loved this

https://davidbelmontwriter.wordpress.com

I Can’t Breathe

(This dramatic poem by Caroline Donnola speaks to the tragic state of our world.)

I can’t breathe.
I can’t breathe.
I can’t breathe.
For months it was
patients of all ages
from all walks of life
who couldn’t breathe
because the coronavirus
devoured their lungs.
One hundred thousand Americans
Dead from this disease
because they couldn’t breathe.
How ironic
now that the survivors try
to return to living
it’s George Floyd
who couldn’t breathe.
One black man—
one more black man—
George Floyd couldn’t breathe.
For eight minutes
a knee on his neck.
For eight minutes
the bystanders pleaded.
For eight minutes
George Floyd begged.
How do you write a poem
about this kind of murder?
In iambic pentameter
it goes something like this:
I CAN not BREATHE
I CAN not BREATHE
I CAN’T.

First torment
then suffocation
then you are no more.