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***
I'VE WRITTEN POEMS OFF AND ON SINCE A KID, MOSTLY DISCARDED, ALWAYS SPORADICALLY AND IN A WHITE HEAT WITH VERY LITTLE ALTERATION

I wish I'd kept more of my earlier ones so I could compare my outlook and mindset then with now, but it is fun to look back and at the ones I have kept because sometimes I can fall right back into that time while other times I feel as though certain lines were written by someone else.

Here is one I dashed away in one of those "white heat" moments - almost almost all of my poems are written in minutes as in a stream of consciousness.

It was the summer after Katrina when I was in the middle of the seemingly endless repairs and rebuilding of my roof which I'd begun in the Spring after the Hurricane:


Magic Man

What happens
When no one believes?
Where days are counted away
In numbers scratched
On freshly painted walls
By shaking hands
With but small regard
For style and grace and precision.
Who checks anyway within crumbled ancient halls?
Behind locked doors and drawn curtains
Where magic floats dormant
Before empty seats
And patter echoes ghostly in empty hallways
Punctuated only by the thumping rhythmic memory
Of a dusty worn and rusty bass drum?
Do magicians cease to be,
Or do they simply hide their capes
Inside creaky wooden chests
A cover for cold and broken hearts of stone?
Lovingly caressing a worn-out queen of hearts
Just one last time
Dry silent lips crack a painful smile
Then tighten.
Old habits are sometimes hard to kick.
A good act is always hard to follow.

It starts deep within
A cool white light
With shades drawn
And minds in flight
First a bit of darkness
Thick before the dawn
Visions of spirits
Dancing on the lawn
I get up sleepless still
And pay them a visit
In a past that grows ever more vivid
In a place always pleasant
Splashed with color
And laughter.
I believe in them you see,
And they in me.
How my heart leaps when
I hear their happy cries
See their wondrous eyes ... again.
"How did you do that?
Again! Again!"
The delight is always the same
The wonder and gasps of surprise.
Applause and appreciation
Are familiar friends of which
I never tire, and their faces too, though now
I see their numbers clearly,
And mine too, now so much more aware than before.
I wonder if it’d make a difference,
If everyone knew the day
And the hour
And the place.
It didn’t for me ... then, nor now,
And such is the reward for a life of no regrets
The balm for bruises yet unanswered,
But by sweet tears of joy mingled
With the breeze of a million loving touches.

Would it make any difference
If numbers were written in our eyes
And the day and the hour and the place?
But who gets that close to see
Anymore?
Time is a fleeting ally,
Where slight of hand
And crumpled hats
And varnished sticks
And handkerchiefs are better left for tears
And stone hearts in creaky chests.
I wonder.

July 21, 2006

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