Can’t Change Who We Are

 
  
  I don’t really know you, just like 
  you never knew me. You assumed, 
  ever since once I opened my mouth, 
  and out came some impermanent impertinence, 
  as I spoke the thought of a moment.
  True, here and there I’ve expressed 
  myself embarrassingly in black and white, 
  that more enduring medium with which 
  I’ve abased myself.
  I can’t change who I am, though I can 
  always change my mind. If you 
  don’t believe that, then I guess 
  that’s proof perhaps you’ve 
  never changed, either. 
  That’s fine, though, I wouldn’t wish
  to change you. Well, maybe just 
  one opinion.
  I’m not…

The Boat



They’ve taken the sheets, now even the mattress,
 for fear he’ll use them, himself to smother.
 They wager if he’ll last three days, at best.
 “I feel for the bastard,” some guards mutter.
 
 “What if a European had done it,
 crossing Il Mare in so small a craft?”
 “I’ve got no sympathy. No, not one bit,”
 said the oldest guard. With a sneer he laughed.
 
 “Serves him right trying to sneak in that way.
 Caught a wave wrong. That boat flipped like a toy.”
 “Yeah, but should he such a penalty pay?
 Can always send him back, but not the boy.”
 
 The disconsolate prisoner agreed.
 Mehmet wanted to pay for his blunder.
 Guilty of negligence a court decreed.
 “Why couldn’t it have been me went under?”


I was asked to write a poem in medias res last week and couldn't come up with anything because...that's how it is these days. But I heard a story on the BBC this morning about a man who had the misfortune to have happen what occurs in my poem. The world has always been, at best, an unforgiving thing. And the sea might be its harshest child. 
 

Hello, You


 
 Hello, you, 
 the one who
 helped me see
 poetry
 in my life.
 Even the strife.
 
 I miss what
 you did, but
 now you’re gone,
 life moves on,
 even when
 comes the end.
 
 Memory,
 I and thee,
 together
 forever
 on this stage,
 a white page.
 
 Now I’m tired,
 uninspired.
 Lost the way,
 sad to say.
 So I go.
 Thank you….
                      Joe

Stitched-On Smile

There’s not much left for the black crows to steal,
 maybe enough for a mouse’s meal.
 I'm alone in this field, as if I’d died,
 unburied though, left to rot, crucified.
 
 But that’s my lot once harvest’s done.
 Still, surprised, I find out I’m the last one,
 the watcher left when corn’s mostly been stripped
 before Fall’s frost has nipped, Winter’s winds ripped. 
 
 I take great pride in how I stood my ground,
 chasing off intruders without sound.
 But by this time if you stopped by to ask
 you’d hear me sigh while I’m still at my task.
 
 There’s no rustle of crops upon the breeze,
 few birds left singing, just my silent "Please,
 could you stay with me and talk for a while?"
 I’m sad and lonely despite my stitched-on smile.
 
 Farmer’s got more important things to do now.
 Like feeding our corn to his stupid cow.
 Come, my true friends, we'll share the seasons’ rest -
 Crows, be my guest. Mice, nest warm in my chest.

Always a Question of Time(s)


I know I screwed up the last time,
 and the time before and before that.
 And I promised myself I’d never
 put you through a next time,
 replete with alarm bells and 
 more-than-more-than-likely, 
 go-to-hells, so I just sat.
 Now here I am between that last time
 and my time’s-running-out next.
 Which leaves me with only this time
 to say hello or goodbye to something 
 that never needed be so complex. 
 But you’re the only one
 who ever listened to my music, 
 and at least occasionally 
 grinned or cried at my verse.
 It'd be sweet to share some words
 again some time, but I’d likely only 
 turn things from bad to worse.
 

 

Life in the Ruins





 Lying here in the ruins 
 of a life wrecked 
 by this short-haired Samson 
 who never knew his own strength 
 when it came to raining 
 pain and debris upon those
 who shared it with me.
 So often I’ve been blinded 
 to reality by silly tendency 
 to be eye-wrapt by beauty 
 or a smile that was only a smile.
 Now all is weak remembrance, 
 only the out-of-focus recollection 
 of mirages in deserts 
 of hope and dream. How typical.
 In reaching for the Not-There,
 I topple the pillars 
 of the Always-Was.
 It sounds like bad poetry.