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Early Winter-Russ Wright
The wind is as wild
as an untamed pony.
Its chill passes through
like a ghost that whispers
through the barren trees.
Clouds cluster and turn dark
against a fading blue sky.
Small specks of snow are barely
visible as they touch the
frozen grass of the meadow.
A path narrows and passes
into the edge of the woods.
A few leaves dangle from brittle
branches that hold the nests of twigs
swaying to the rhythm of the wind.
Near a creek, a narrow rutted road
climbs a steep hill bounded by
birch and a few maple sapplings.
Below, the meadow is visible now
white from the fast falling snow.
Soon the white will permeate the
woods and silence the sounds that
linger in the early evening air.
Dark will creep on its hands and
knees as it slowly steals the day.
Evaluation-Paul Max Payton
Let me, in the matter
of dusky aspect,
Offer entreaty for the raven-tressed one.
Recounting charms of her gracile manner,
In each regard, I tarry, stilled in awe.
Now, attend praise of
the lady's Talents.
She is brimful of youth and eager potential.
Engineering courses fresh in her blood.
Verily, witness industry in her novice labors.
Cultivated, she has bountiful promise.
I say engage her, seeing in her cerebral clay
Knowledge from Time's hard-won tutelage
This Should Have Been
A Self-Help Book-Paul Nachbar
This should have been a self-help book, in which case
I would be doing a social good and (maybe) make a lot of money
And not feel like a shnook
But alas this is no self-help book.
This should have been an action movie, in which case
I would thrill a lot of people, (maybe) make a lot of money,
And get out of my hovel where there isn't any, honey-
But alas this is no action movie.
This should have been a true confession, in which case
I would keep you guessing at my psychological undressing
And even get your sacred blessing -as I make a lot of money-
But alas this is no true confession.
This should have been a fine analysis, in which case
I would note our sores and calluses, make (maybe) a lot of money
And write of diplomats or phalluses
But alas this is no fine analysis.
You will ask yourself 'what is it' or else 'what signifies this mess?'
I mumble that its anybody's guess and add-
When intuition is running somewhat hot-
'We know of what things are when we know what they are not.'
Had a bad fortune
Tried to live
Quite in reverse;
So poor young thing
Became a King
Until he found
He'd lived his curse.
Had a bad fortune
Which made him
He didn't know
Just what to do
But married Mom
And murdered Dad.
Put out his eyes
And lived in filth
Beyond all care
Till came he
And combed the lice
Out of his hair.
Was much like you
And much like me
Beyond a doubt
If you would will
Your offspring power
Then just ignore
Or toss them out.
Was very sad
Because not like
The average peasant:
Such are the schemes
Behind most power-
They rarely are
So live your
Large or small;
Who knows if it
Is best to be
Or really not
To be at all?
Some Friends-Paul Nachbar
Most of real life's on the TV
Nothing happens in the town
Bachelors plus or minus forty
Let their expectations down;
One will watch the Star Trek reruns
Two prefers his evening news
Three invests his meager spare funds
Four is happy with his booze.
Five will be a workaholic
Married to his craft or art
Six is nearly always caustic
After his dreams fell apart.
Marriage was a risky option
Half the time it didn't work
You could have been the brilliant surgeon
But mostly ended up as clerk.
Demons are forever tempting
Angels are most always cruel
We still occasionally attempting
Work or Faith or Change or School.
We are somewhat on the margins
Awed by others' great success:
Shall we conquer distant mountains
Or reveal the private mess?
Somewhere, elsewhere, life is happy
Somewhere else it is just dark
In between is mediocre
Like a small suburban park.
Shall we now play chess or Scrabble
Sit together on a bench?
Learn a new computer system
Or polish unused college French?
Shall we join the local health club
Or get an artificial tan
Meditate or have a massage..
Vast is the providence of Man.
Youth was spent in slaying dragons
Now we mainly co-exist
Still somewhat the nervous braggarts
Of some conquest from a list.
Think of all the endless options
Let us praise the status quo
Alas, that is, well, somewhat better
Than the places one might go.
All the deities are trampled
Led us lead our private lives
Made up of equal parts illusion
Lust, small truths and cherished lies.
Total health seems most immoral
Sickness is a partial curse
Alas, the frequent in-between states..
Of course, it could be much much worse!
Jokes permit the soul's survival
And the touch of lovers' hands
We are friends but once were rivals
Now we count the new gray strands.
We have shared Flaubert and Goethe
This alone was something good
Could it be culture's revival
In our spread-out neighborhood?
What is next I do not fathom
Though I hazard a small guess:
We shall make something half solid
From this vast, confusing mess.
Cotton-picking in the Swamp-El Viejo
The pull of the canvas strap cuts
sharply into the flesh of the left shoulder.
The flesh of the fingers is tender,
and rough, and discoloured grey.
The softness of the cotton lint belies
the harshness of the labour, and
the uncompromising marketplace of sweat.
Seen from a distance of forty years,
the vision is almost ethereal.
The sharp pain dulled by time,
the salty sweat less bilious.
Only surfacing is the hope of better times,
and white fields, and abundant rain in
The bad sifts through, and only the good is
Only the good remains impaled in my
like a welcomed cloudburst's prelude to a
mad rush for shelter.
Stark cold words strewn
over a page
Do not make the author
a seer or sage.
Absorb and review and collect
but never, never,
My words but compare and
contrast and describe
mean acts and objects
and absurd lullabies.
They tell of adventure and tone
and of hue;
and leaving spaces for filling
by readers like you.
Rachmaninov in the Afternoon-Greg
I sit, spellbound—the louds and softs resonating
Inside me, as if being taken on a journey,
The journey you had in mind
When you penned the composition—
A journey into the deeper aspects
Of your being..
What joy and pain
Are these the emotions of
A struggling artist?
A prophetic genius of
Sound and silence?
I’m carried along, willingly,
On this caravan of sound—
Do not stop; continue to feed me
With your thoughts and I will
Be transformed into someone
be proud to call your confidant.