Miss Mahala's Miscellanea



Hugh M. Lewis

copyright 1990




the way to my heart

is beneath my skin

and not down my throat

the way to my mind

is through my eyes

and not through my ears

the way to my spirit

is by my hands

and not up my nose

the path to my soul

is beneath my feet

and not above my head










This world has many places

and many faces

many shadows in the light

and many shades of the night

many blacks and whites

and many colors inbetween











please please

the professor please

if I may, if I might

say the proper word tonight

and pray to do

the pleasant proper thing

in order to please the professor

and fulfill the promise

of my own becoming

realize the principle of my progress

my paper is too long

my words too short

my hair is unkempt

my face unshaven

my wrinkled clothes hang

too loosely from my boney shoulders

my life transformed forever

in an unalphabetized bibliography

my opportunities flown out the open window

as I sit in my day-dreaming chair

in the invisible corner

the loud voice resonates

reverberates and reiterates

pausing, then repeating

a staccato sing-song rhapsody

ringing between my ears

sitting in utterless silence

pleased to raise my hand

to fit a word in edgewise








simple homespun

yesterday's wear

yesteryear's style

woven of plain yarn

our words are basic

our voices ring true


and clear









Building castles

of wet sand

waiting for the tide

to finally roll up

and wash the sand away









little fingers

feeling my face

playing in my plate

bending the pages of my book

little monkey hands

touching and turning everything

exploring the shapes of experience

experiencing the feeling of exploration










we come, we go

we to and fro

clockwork motion

secular devotion

daily passing

beneath the clouds and the trees

day and night

follow in endless movement











two sheep-skins for sale

one BA and one MA

eighty graduate semester credits for sale

will negotiate

all or in part

a brain for hire

or a body without a brain

an overeducated, underemployed

middle-aged white man for hire

will work to eat

an overactive head

with idle hands

a worthless academic worldview

ensconced in layers of body fat

enwrapped in years of paper

who will buy a brain

how much money for this mind

what demands are there

that a brand new

State of the art

Electronic Computer

would not suffice?








I am no longer me

but we have become three

not even just us two

only we three will do

you are in me

I am in both of you

we are all one another's

ground for meaning

and reason for being

separate parts

of a single existence

sharing common

sets of experience


split three ways



three times

we've grown inseparable together

entangled in one another's endless embrace

a single living organism

to split apart now

is to steal your heart

to stop your stomach

and to lose my mind









everyone talking

just to hear themselves talk

so many very impressive people

all so very interesting

so disinterested

too busy looking at themselves

to notice others seeing

merely reflections in the mirror

all so busy

just to be busy

making it, faking it

taking it

day and night and day

in endless repetition

a day-in day-out rhythm

framing our entire existence









Never time enough

within a day, in a week, in a year

to complete and begin everything again

never energy enough

no matter the project

to see everything

through to its end

so much started

and left two-thirds finished

no matter how small

no matter how large








tight rope walkers

always on the high wire

struggling to keep your balance

to keep from falling

over either side

acrobatic artists

with the skill

to walk the thin line

playing both sides of the arena

at the same time

your confidence wears thin

your day wears out

your high tension nerves of steel

your silent heart

suspended in midair animation

but a short breath away

from free flight

how long will it take?


We come to watch you

securely from our seats

we see your daring do

We gasp at your feats

signing in amazement

our hearts in total participation

so far above the pavement

we watch in anxious anticipation

for your next movement








Li'l alien being

you just dropped in upon us

from the strange tree of life

our fruit, your seed

a permanent visitor to our home

a passing intruder in our abode

leaving no stone unturned

no paper uncrumpled

like some wanton domestic infection

disrupting our small world



you are our lost youth

our forgotten fun

our freshness reawakened

our innocence perpetuated

and our guilt buried

deep beneath our skin








invisible people

see-through beings

transparent clothing

looking but not seeing

talking but not hearing

too busy with themselves

gazing and glancing

staring and laughing

eating and enjoying

buying and spending

cosmetic worlds

plastic faces

pretentious smiles

seasonal greetings










vanishing worlds

disappearing lives

lost realities

many parts and pieces

disintegrating into oblivion

a year, a day, an hour and a minute

an entire lifetime

played out

in a single instant

of momentous breath













too many fears

too many tears

too many years

and too many beers



my burnt out life

like a shapeless mound of wax

once a tall flaming candle

now my empty body












one part philosopher, two parts artist

and one-eighth social scientist


a pinch of salt and a heavy dose of reality

a petty writer in anonymous disguise

hiding behind his typewriter

with a made-up life of paper


a part-time teacher, and a full-time student

a has-been artist and a crude carpenter

without even wood to cut

with the only tools remaining


but a pair of rough empty hands










just become

just because

no need to know

nor to explain

or reason

why or how

just become

just because


let it be

let it go

feel free again

slowly spreading your wings

loosening your stiff joints

stretch the imaginary muscles

let it go

let it be









small truths always dwell

between the lines

of big Truth

obscured by the Black and White

of bold print and fancy type

meaning always flows

through the empty space

between the many pages

all numbered and in order









trying to find myself again

putting the pieces back together again

after another fall

just another humpty-dumpty

knocked off my feet



finding myself one more time

bits and pieces strewn about here and there

lost in little things scattered all about

looking for the important piece of the jigsaw puzzle

the keystone to make it fit all back together



this common cup of clay

has now become broken

its handle cracked

and the water's all but spilled out

lost into the sand of the road

slipping through my fingers

falling from my hands







I dropped a mirror from my hands

it just fell from my fingers

shattering upon the hard ground

into a thousand odd pieces

I picked up a jagged edge

and I could see the corner of my mouth

and the side of my nose









Jesus knocks upon the door

the door that opens upon the kingdom

Jesus name is heard all around

but his body and soul

have long been missing











Now it is only me

Now it is only we

No more anyone else

just us three

what we can do for ourselves

only what can be done for us










counting away many miles

marking off the many hours

passing by every stopping place

travelers we've become

without a final destination

without a permanent home

with only resting places















stealing little bits of time

from the conscience of the collective

no longer considered our own

who owns the time

so dictating our lives

who created the clock

turning our wheels

controlling our destiny

who possesses our past

writing our histories

for the future purposes

of our collective present











facing the darkness

armed with only a flickering candle

and a vanishing sense of color and clarity

no longer able to clearly focus

distinctly upon any object

formless imaginings evade capture

thoughts wandering like ghosts

lurking upon the margins of perception

invisible fears stalk the night

coming and going in the twilight












I begin again another journey

and round another corner

losing sight of all that's been left behind

trading old odds and worn-out ends

for the promise of new golden dreams

squandering time in the making

for the suggestion of El Dorado

growing old in the quest

for the fountain of youth

life blood bleeding through the hands and feet

turned to the sand and dust

of the perennial road










what have we become

when we no longer see the world

with the eye's of children

what have we become

when we no longer strive

to create the world

with children's play

what will we become

when we no longer imagine

with the dreams of children

when will we become reborn

with the innocence and ignorance of children

and the spontaneity to construct our world

in a fresh way











my time is not as valuable as yours

nor my life's calling as important

my name does not have the status

that your name carries in the world

it is so sad

that this difference and basic inequality

will always prevent us from knowing one another

and keep us always from appreciating what we've done

we will miss one another's calling

and perish forever without fulfilling our human contract












a simple, solitary soul

standing alone in the garden

a strong single figure

tending the long rows

an honest and sincere life

standing out in the fields

a hardworking soul

tilling the black soil

irrigating the green plants

mining the heart

for the kind of gold

that can't be bought

the kind of treasure

that can't be sold












a label that wont stick

and a like that wont leak

a life without license

and love without loss

all the lessons left

to be learned

all the lives to be forgotten

and all the leftover's going to waste

living without learning

and learning without living











lost spirits

and ghosts

lurking in the shadow

of half-open doorways

in unseen nooks and crannies

beneath unoccupied tables and desks

in unvisited corners

and rarely used closets

and empty, silent storms

seeking refuge in the shadows

cast by the lights

unseen in the reflections

staring through the closed windows

intently viewing the living world


kindred spirits

silent and sorrowful

invisible--hidden from the light of day

seeking protection from the winds

lurking in the darker, cooler spaces


a whole heritage of forgotten souls

begging to be remembered

a whole army of grave-yard vagabonds

trespassing in the everyday world of the living

a long march of misbegotten ghosts

a long trail of beleaguered ghosts

waiting to be remembered

hidden behind the screens of reality

vanquished by science

to a nether world of fantasy

carried upon the currents of cultural pathways

born by the forces of history's traditional winds

crying out to be remembered


exorcise the interior atmosphere

release the misbegotten souls

and bury the lost and lonely spirits

forever in a final peace

perform the proper propitiatory rites

burn a candle and some joss

light off some fire crackers

and make an offering of incense

and paper money

up in a wif of smoke

curling upward to the ceiling

out the open window

drifting outwards into the nighttime sky

forever vanishing in the winds of heaven's fate











I unlock the door

and slide open the window

of the stuffy little room

and the wind outside blows

carelessly across the desk

an odd pile of papers

blows to the floor

and a box of tea

falls off the window ledge

the smell of wood fire smoke

permeates the entire room

from out across distant green tree tops

and suburban roofs

distant church steeples

long lines of high-wires

and tall skyscrapers

made of glass glinting in the sunshine

another wave of wood burned smoke

enters the room

with the scent of uncaptured freedom












freedom found in small spaces

time defined by the sequential number of turned pages

a three dimensional would-be reality

squashed into a two-dimensional plane of paper existence

a plain, flat projection

a simple surface translation

of an infinite reality

my clock is a typewriter

the ticking time is the erratic clicking

of the keys of the alphabet

and the first tend digits of my hands

my life-time spew out

in an unsteady rhythm

in never ending strings

of black words on white paper

imprisoned in a large pile

of sheets of flat, plain paper










the department ghost

used to be only a part-time student

now only a full-time resident

lurking in the corridors unnoticed

hiding behind open doors

stealing quickly and quietly

into half-empty rooms

shy and retiring

face always half-hidden

between all the other faces

sitting always in the very back of the big lecture halls

always absent upon the roll calls

nobody remembers her name

or exactly what she looked like

how long she attended

or why she apparently dropped out

seldom speaking

when she does

no one listen or seems to hear

teachers never pay attention to her raised hand

amongst all the others

lurking about crowded rooms

stalking about deserted corridors

an undistinguishable, featureless face

personality lacking any defining characteristic

a once upon a time friend

everyone has forgotten about

making people feel faintly uncomfortable

in her unacknowledged presence

always glancing back over their shoulders

to see who was there

coming and going at the oddest

strangest moments

whispering the weirdest things

to beat the silence

putting funny thoughts

into people's heads

to fight off the interminable

class-time boredom

always day-dreaming

through a half open window

anonymous laughter echoing

around corners and down distant corridors

writing cryptic graffiti on the walls

of bathroom stalls

muffled voices behind closed heavy doors

passing through the thin silent walls

spreading secret words

like a malicious rumor

or the secrets of some social disease

waiting year upon year

to finally graduate

to be officially exorcised from her academic ritual

to move on to higher, more important places















in my dreams and in my memories

you were there before and after

strong and gallant like a wounded warrior

since journeying like a homeless wanderer

returning only once in a while

in the midst of an unforgettable dream

you visit me and talk to me so briefly

in know you are still half around in the world

looking for whatever it is you so sadly lost

I know you feel forever cheated

angry and avenging of life's basic unfairness

through the years we've grown apart

as you drift further and further away

we've both grown much older

though changing in different ways

down opposite pathways of wisdom

who is it that always accompanies you

upon your long sojourns

why do you always come and go on foot

along a forested mountain path

and why do you seek to injure the turtles

living in the mountain streams

what is it you seek to find

that will quiet once and for all

your wounded, hurting soul

you had such a strong and happy heart

and a generous, giving spirit

to be so suddenly stolen away

searching forever











bane of my life

big brother always knows best

doing as he's done

and not as he says

lay down now the heavy burden

quit the holly cross of our Father

and sit down to rest

beneath the cool shade of this big tree

you bother me like a big pest

and abuser of my past

now that life has come between us

and our paths have finally parted

the bridges between us

have all burned down

all the hate

in the name of love

all the troubled water

that's flowed

beneath our bridge of mutual selfishness


so sad I must still remain

that it could not have been another day

that we could not have done it all

in some better, lasting way














greeting another new year

at a half-open window

its cool night-time air

sobering against my reflected face

the distant horns and bangs

filling the quiet of the darkness

no big midnight celebrations

only the feint sadness

of another year gone by

and distant recollections

long since passed

recounting the last year

and recalling the past decade

trying to tie it all together

in some existence sense of order

wishing to learn by my many mistakes

de`jaŽ vue gently keeps me company

my only fireworks to celebrate with

far-off twinkling lights

and a few glimmering stars









Snug slug

sleeping beneath the rock

smug bug

swept beneath the rug













I must somehow

beat all the odds

against me

though the struggle

may break my back

and leave me crippled

to continue down my road












trying to find myself

in these small letters

trying to reconstruct

the meaning of my life

with a few thread-bare words

trying to recreate

a new sense of being

with but a few trite lines

how is it done

and how do we overcome

the ravages of life's vicissitudes

and finally beat back

the eroding forces of time













another baby

yet another Buddha baby

among a boom

of a billion and one new Buddha


what is your Kharma

and what will be your dharma

and who shall save you from

the suffering and misfortune

that will afflict all the others

what shall be your fate

what shall be the position

of your stars









Buddha baby

A baby beginning

Beginning new being

I wish I could teach you

Without another moment loss

Of the ten thousand and one lessons

You'll need to learn about

The many things I've had to learn the hard way

Without a father's guiding hand

I wish I could teach you the lessons

That cannot be taught

I wish I could tell the many tales

that cannot be told

I will hold you close into my arms

grip you firmly but gently with my hairy hands

and the warm unspoken silence shall be your teacher

I'm afraid these many lessons

you'll have to learn

all by yourself

with only the protection of my hands

to guide you along the way










watching the clock

counting the calendar

those unforgiving measures

of our lifetime spent

those unrelenting reminders

of our lifetime remaining

forgotten faces

framed upon the walls

hollow eyes and empty expressions

blank smiles

at some mysterious joke

moments frozen forever

spirits captured immemorially

permanent presence

of a lifetime's absence









upon distant clouds a mountaintop floats

where in my mind's eye

solace is to be found

in the solitude of its far-off reaches

and yet I reach out my hand

And find only the thin air

And I can imagine resting beneath its tall trees

In silent contemplation of grand vistas

But the sobering weight of reality

Falls back upon my shoulders

And I know the pathways is long and winding

And the climb arduous and risky










lost student

silently entering the room

unnoticed by any

unknown by all

sitting silently

in an empty desk

expressionless face

vacant eyes

I don't remember his name

or what he was wearing

or even what he looked like

except for his gaunt and haunting body








time enough to burn

energy to squander away

like precious money to waste

time to throw away

like opportunities blowing with the wind

hapless fate of a windy day









sitting upon a stone

beneath a tree

confused and disordered

at the corner of a cross-roads

and the signs point in different directions

uncertain of the way to turn

wanting to go to all the places

but cannot be everywhere at the same time

now that there is little time left

it seems imperative to make a choice

a final decision

about a single destination

to get somewhere

before the fall of night

to travel one way

is to leave behind all the others

there is no time for turning back

if a mistake's been made










why do you think

I've been burning the bridges behind me

never will it be like it once used to be

the past is always knocking upon the door

to open it is only to let in floating fragments

forgotten ghosts and memories lost forever

of the used to be and never again

of things once meant to be and many unalterable


now just forlorn bits and pieces of a mixed-up

jig-saw puzzle and meaningless mosaic

whose only edges are the unrealities

of birth and death

no longer anchored

upon firm ground












What is the future

and who will become our future?

What will make it all different

from the past

the used to be and what once was?

Who will gain the moment

and transcend the minute

becoming the person of the world

a life for all seasons?









well hidden

behind the woodwork

lining all the walls

unnoticed things

and unknown secrets

of the hanging grapevine

the muffled gossip

of the busy-bodies

assistant administrators

and administrative assistants

and their muzzled oaths of silence

acting as if their only true job

is to keep people like me from stealing their jobs

and to prevent us from gaining access

to their coiffures of tax treasures








denied a context

in which to work

deprived a situation

in which to be productive

denied a living

in which to have a life

denied a place

in which to have an identity

without opportunity

without a chance

to fulfill one's own life

stolen by a greedy few

who never have enough

prevented from trespassing

forbidden from the sacred places

from cultivating social graces

in quest of a full life










Last night

the storm blew through the open window

just above the head of my bed

and in my dream

my old fisherman friend

visited me

another time

once drowned in a fishing accident

saving the life of another friend

from the same tragic end

He came riding to me across the far-off land

Borne upon the whirling winds of the storm

I hugged him and asked him

where in the world he had been

all these years since we last parted

he seemed older and more lost

than the last time he visited

he did not seem to remember me well

instantly I awoke to his presence in my room

my eyes were wide awake with fright and awe

I could feel his shadowy existence close by

and then it thundered outside

and the room was dark and empty once again

and the wind blew hard and cold upon my face

as I looked out the window

and watched him part

riding away on the passing storm clouds

I have never seen him since.












suddenly awakened to the hubbub

from a deep sleep

the fantastic dreams have all vanished

a rude awakening to an adult-like world

dream-child of fantasy

forever forgotten













before the beginning

back of beyond

how to maintain the main objectives

of the maintenance of equilibrium

affecting the subtlety of the shortest sentence

available to the reader

and his or her intellectual enlightenment

and the audience and their enlargement

within the minimal structure of a single page

and with the time frame of a single reading

an unbroken span of attention









new year lights

twinkling in the midnight time

spreading out across the valley

images glancing off the glass

ghosts in shadow

nor more resolutions to be made

no more lessons to be learned

another year to be count down

another used up calendar to put away












black hole

beyond the twilight zone

from which there is no escaping

the vortex of silence and powerlessness

the relentless, invisible prison of the body and soul

being pulled forever inward

captured by the strong force

of its infinite social gravity

bound by its compelling powers

of fatal attraction

lost forever from its silent darkness

a final, fateful compulsion

from which no light emerges

or knowledge escapes


black hole

center-less center without any edge

balancing all reality

spiraling and swirling forever round

just beyond the window of reality

opening all out onto an existential plane of infinity

beyond the marginal edges of sensibility

the last line of final departure

from which there is not turning back

beyond which there is no returning


black hole

consuming all one's energies

sucking up all one's life

bending and breaking all one's time

routines and rituals all disintegrated

disappearing into empty void

vanishing into invisibility

and absolute anonymity














twilight zone

where all colors turn to gray

where black is white and white is black

where things never change with age

where there is no other future but the past

and the present remains without moment

living without feeling, feeling without joy

the day is active boredom and passive play

where other people seem so strange

and everything is eerie

eerie with a Halloween pale

the pale of a cold, dying fall

cold orange fires

falling from the trees


boughs of funeral pyres

embers glowing in the gray sullen skies

I feel uncomfortable in this twilight zone

I feel strange in the inbetween region

neither here nor there

nor anywhere












singing the same old tune again

its grown trite and worn out

no longer as convincing as before

it just doesn't pay all the bills

the sounds have a hollowness

the words carry an empty echo

bouncing in the walls of my skull

the feeling is missing fro the voice

and the look of determination

is absent from the face

tested to many times

and yet unproven

too many times failing

what is the difference

between disillusion and despair

there is no more home to run home to

time is wasting idly away

with nothing to show for one's efforts

but token remnants of tattered dreams

lost somewhere back along the trail


what kinds of things

can I tell you

to reassure you

of our future

to make you believe again

in the promise of our life



















chirping crickets

burping frogs

evening fireflies

beneath twilight stars

twinkling in clear warm skies

diving bats

cawing black birds

blue-jays, a beaver

and a huge hawk with a baby

bird caught in its cruel talons

chorus of cicadas

accompanying a lone mocking bird

a nocturnal rabbit

with a white cat

gurgling of the rain swollen stream

rustling of the many leaves

we look out our backyard window

and wonder at all

the new sights and sounds

of an older world

just beyond the clothes line

and all the high wires








bare bones basics

nothing but, something more

simple and clear

clean and concise

straight ahead

directly forward


cutting through

all the nonsense

the trivia

without a fuss

solid sense

without a facade

of academic


or intellectual











I've lost my breath

and don't know where to find it

invisible it is supposed to be

but of vital essence

my breath, I fear

fell somewhere near

upon some deaf and dumb ear

vanishing perhaps forever

in the ensuing emptiness

met only by a returning glance

and unerring silence

my mouth now moves

but no breath emits

without my breath

my soul is now doomed

to an early death

perhaps it was stolen

by some angry heart

or in a hot temper

by some heartless beast

now perhaps imprisoned

somewhere deep, dark and forgotten

I search high and low

wander far and wide

for that fountain of fresh air

to revitalize the lungs

and rekindle the vital spark of life

I shake up this empty bag of bones

with one last once

of pure 02 willpower

before a zombie I at last become

returned from the grave

during a nuclear eclipse

feeding off the flesh

of others










these lights that illuminate the path

they burn so brightly in my eyes

that my brain feels real pain

of some blind anguish

and my fingers that deftly move

hurry onward to their destination

page after page

day by day

these lights that hold back the darkness

and defeat the night

that is all about

casting away shadows

in my walking wake

in my waking walk

all through the nighttime I walk and plod

and trod the trails

though not really knowing ever

where I'm headed to

afraid of stopping

afraid of it raining

afraid of the coming cold

and the darkness threatening

and the hunger that soon

would be following

like a shadow

or a ghost









endless and boundless

walls and fences

closed doors and shut gates

protecting the premises of the people

keeping out the uncertainties of the night

with lights shinning through curtained

windows closed to the fright










sun falling over the hills

lengthening shadows of trees and buildings

beneath descending twilight

perspective stretching out

in an eerie hyperbolic projection

trees and things seeming to grow

in the creeping, surreal darkness

looming larger and larger

consuming in a world of shadow

eating the earth

as night falls over the valley











we have changed

we know not how or why

we simply know it

as we look into the mirror

and there it is

worn upon the face

the lines and angles

of our twisted age

the look of sad

wrinkled and serious eyes

the many scars

accumulated on the hands

through the years










giant so bold

creature so small

whose to draw the line around sentience

and limit feeling

when this earthworm whips and squirms about

in obvious pain

underfoot oblivious humans

suffering the sting of marauding ants

twilight sentience

enacting a final tragic finish

to life's primordial drama

being played out

upon a rain-soaked sidewalk


I return back by the same spot

half an hour later

and where once life played it lottery

the scene of unnoticed suffering

and some small struggle

now only many small ants

swarming over a twisted string

of decomposed matter











starting over from scratch

boiling back down to bare bones

the building blocks of this world

only the basic things remaining

those simply reducible elements

saving all the time that used to be wasted

in an empty jar of water

wasted on false fetishes

and hypocritical illusions














lone beast of the forest

stalking the many trails

lurking in the deepest thickets

dwelling along its entangled branches

seeking shelter in the many nooks

traveling along the edges

of the meadows and glades

always close by and yet always distant

hiding in the day

stalking by night

a haunted, hunted monster

you've become

followed by your own shadow

frightened by your fears

once just a lonely child

in simple play

now just a mysterious being

without a home

without a friend









I've ventured too deeply

into the wilderness

I've traveled the many pathways

and now am utterly lost

as darkness quickly descends

over the forest path

and the twilight dims

the distances between the many trees

diminishes and disappears

as their shadows grow and envelope

I am lost and can't find my way out again

so much for the reckless and impetuous bravery

of forlorn youth

who ventures headlong into the thicket

without studying well beforehand

the signs and markers

without the benefit

of a map or compass









ghost class meets after hours

in the empty room down at the end

of the long, quiet corridor

of the third floor

filling the room quietly to full capacity

with the wind blowing through half open windows

to listen to another lecture of strange things

normally not noticed

to discuss in quiet tones

the text of sacred lore

and secret knowledge

scrawled on the backs of seats

scribbled on the floor

arcane and archaic

for extracurricular credit

in a forgotten heaven

nothing to suggest its presence

no seating charts, no rosters, nor final grades to give

nothing except paper corners stapled to blank bulletin boards

nothing taped to the walls

except strange sentences and letters

half-erased from the blackboard

and desks and chairs

turned and pushed willy-nilly

all out of order












the final resting place

of so many very important persons

rest in peace

all my aristocratic friends

would-be pontificates

and forgotten academics

your only remembrance

some last remarks

or permanent cliche's

chiseled into cold, lifeless stone

and maybe an occasional flower or two







the stony, silent graveyard

covered over by weeds

an anonymous place

of old fashioned and forgotten names

kept hidden from the daily traffic

by a crumbling stone fence

sleeping silently

in sad remorse

dig another grave

put in the stiffening corpse

bury it over with freshly turned earth

lower the long box down

leave it to slowly rot

and to finally become forgot

history slowly molds away

eaten by the worms and insects

consumed by the bacteria

returned to the earth

from the earth

to once again fertilize the flower

that sits above

or maybe even a vegetable

to be eventually eaten









I live in fear of no other

Nor of any system

I live in fear only of myself

I walk a lonely path

between the day and the night

so many dwelling in the crowd

struggling selfishly for success

so few traveling the lonesome paths

of wisdom





















time spreads all the grains of sand

like the wind blowing to the far corners

of the round earth

turning all to stone

and then slowly turning it back again

into sand




now even my family

disperses with the winds of time

each going their different way

with little remaining

except memories




history blows with the wayward wind

covering over lost cities

under mounds of sand

forgotten civilizations

buried under the rubble of their own destruction

beneath the dust of erosion

in the windy wake

only its people's dispersion
















I cannot compete with anyone

or I will always lose against myself

Nor can I keep up with all the changes

nor can I hope to change any other

I cannot conquer our System

nor convince its owners of my standing in life

I cannot claim for myself other's respect

I can only console myself

In the few things I do reasonably well

neither asking very much

nor taking very much

without much to give

what must be the terms of our contracts

how much do our basic needs

have to be compromised

without becoming someone else's slave

or someone else's sacrifice

or yet one more anonymous victim

of a relentless system

whose only identity

is to be a number

on a form










building castles out of dreams

composed on notebook paper

a paper-thing two dimensional reality

sketched out with paper and pen

everyday a different design

creating spaces on canvas or in the mind

everyday a surrogate for a real castle

if only, if only

I could live in my dreams


























wall flower am I

plain and unadorned

sitting all alone

at the department ball


wall flower forever waiting

by the wall

for the final coming out

an unopened blossom


too plain, too shy

to be first chosen

not interesting enough

to be finally selected


smiling politely

hiding the tears

inside the corners

of my eyes


trying not to be embarrassed

not to hear the smug comments

not to notice the haughty ignorance

leaving early unmissed


never to return









distant afternoon storm clouds

evening gray skies

and silent lightening flashes

high up

midnight winds and rolling thunder

grumbling across the landscape

three a.m. flashes

and vertical sheets of rain

torrents splashing in the gutters

swelling the streams with muddy waters

morning showers and a day more of steady rain













I look outside my picture window

watching the unfolding cycle of the seasons

blue skies framing white clouds

green leaves glowing golden in the bright sunshine

falling like orange and red flames of fire

covering the dried-up earth

bare limbs

like uplifted, twisting hands and arms

reaching upward to grasp the gray skies

a white blanket of snow

laying over the entire landscape

ice crystals upon the glass

snow drifting and swirling across

a white background










push in my eyes

pinch my nose

stick your finger into my mouth

and your hand down my throat

pat me on my back

and hug me around my neck

pull me by my pant legs

occasionally kiss me on the lips

rub the bristles of my unshaven face

dump all my pencils and pens onto the floor

all about my feet

put a few back into the plastic cup

scribble on the paper I am reading

climb up into my lap

touch the keys of my typewriter

pull my books down off the shelf

while I am too busy with important things

turn, twist and tear the pages

reorganize my paperwork upon the floor

hide your bottle beneath my bed

and carry my other valuables into the bedroom

always reminding me

of your big love

in your little body

always testing my limits

and my patience

nothing is out of bounds

in your small world

testing my tolerance

by your daily frustrations

and my momentary exasperations

say bye-bye and close the bedroom door

wave and say "hi" to all the people passing by

tear down our world

and build it together again

in your own little growing world








in life there is no ending

in death there is no beginning

in the whole universe

there is only eternal changing

all stasis is brief

no matter how long lasting

our time on earth is short-lived

as the earth itself is ephemeral

only to be fully appreciated

in the passing

the importance of our time

must always be accepted

with humility

the old earth itself will someday disappear

and life it has borne must somewhere reappear

the whole universe itself

is not what it once was

or will eventually be

change is the basic principle of being

the fundamental law of experience

to deny its verity

is to deny our reality











the path I'm presently walking

turns this way and that

but the way I've been following

leads down a different path

this pathway is not the way

but that way is not the pathway

that remaining is the perfect path

but it is not the present way

for a brief moment

I thought I was mistaken

about what pathway I had chosen

but now I'm certain

and no longer worried

about finding the correct way

all ways eventually lead to the same place

only one is much farther the other more winding

back to where I am now standing










filling in the time

with so many pages

filling in the pages

with so much time

creating my own paper world

inbetween different realities

always stuck inbetween days and nights

always waiting inbetween pages

a queer compulsion I cannot overcome

counting off the pages on the calendar

piling up the days by my typewriter

when the process stops

the days will quit piling up

the pages will no longer be counted

and my reality will then be scattered

like so many loose papers

to the winds

like so many burnt ashes

like so many fallen leaves

blowing in the breeze













borderline being

of marginal meaning

strange creature of routine

one foot stuck in this world

the other in that

normal rituals always stuck

in liminal states

living caught between

inside and out

neither peering out

or looking in

a fragile glassy world

of translucent essence

frozen forever

in suspended animation

sad sister

how to help wake you up

from your waking slumber

and release you from the grips

of the drug-induced

state of permanent half-death

and premature dying

to give you back living

fully again








darling daughter

you've suddenly become

my first priority

and my ultimate responsibility

the first baby among

a billion and one newborns

in a shrinking adult world

that suddenly has no more room

time to forsake the petty

selfish ego

and false sense of pride

the earth that our generation

will leave to yours

will not be a happy one

in its climactic state of ending

we must slow the world down a little

and allow you more time to grow up

we must keep the earth

from shrinking so fast

and allow you the space to play within

we cannot undo what's been done already

we can only prevent it from happening again

we must give you a chance to become

a parent too

just like your Mommy and Daddy

better to become a little fish in a big sea

than to remain a big fish in a little bowl











tyrannus toddler

toddler tyrant

Tiny the terrible thing

how you've disrupted our household order

how you've interfered with our sense of organization

forcing us to give up our bad habits

how you've determined our schedules

limited our freedoms

dictated our responsibilities

from the throne of your almighty high chair

you hit us when we are bad

and throw things when you become mad

you do not need whips and chains

only a well timed temperamental tantrum

and a daily scream

you bound us to absolute servitude

by our bonds of love

and we've become to depend upon your happiness

and state of being

for our own sense of well-being

your separation is our deprivation

our happiness is your derivations

the chains of our discipline

are the bonds of your love










celestial Yankee

hyphenated-double identity

neither cheap Chinese

nor ugly American

part of neither world

member of either family

sharing both equally

first of a new world culture

first generation of a new race

beginning of a new age

switcher of ethnic profiles

dancer of ethnic categories

chameleon of ethnic labels and surveys

mixed up bundle of miscegenous genetic surprises

grab bag of cultural characteristics

your world will become different

than my own











my two little women

like daughter like mother

picking you up when you fall and scrape your knees

taking you both with me

wherever I may go

you surround me day and night

and engulf me in webs of love

sometimes arguing

eating, sleeping, singing, playing

day in and day out

no longer alone in the world

no longer lonely on a lonely planet








tiny little girl

once only a neonatal baby

now a tiny toddler

crawling across my face

invading my space

creeping into my time

growing in my life

consuming me

bit by bit

day by day

with naughty little hands

and tiny, twisting little fingers

I kiss your fat cheeks

and feel your soft smooth skin

and your fine hair

I smell the odors of your fresh body

I wonder who in the world

could have predicted you'd be such a big girl

instead of a little boy

and I can't imagine

what you would be like

before you were born

or after you were conceived