All There Is

An instant ago
This moment was the future
Unknown, unknowable, mysterious 

An instant from now
This moment will be the past
Late, lamented, useless

But…is this moment all there is?

A billion years ago
This Earth was a speck of dust
Unknown, unknowable, mysterious

A billion years from now
This Earth will be a charred cinder
Late, lamented, useless

But…is this Earth all there is?

Three score years ago
I was born with not even a name
Unknown, unknowable, mysterious

Just a few years from now
I will die leaving a fistful of ash
Late, lamented, useless

But…is my life all there is?

Poetry Is…*

Poetry is a fervent prayer 
To the gods of inspiration
Poetry is an ardent appeal 
To the powers of imagination

Poetry is emotions that crawl 
Out of you and raise their heads
Poetry is piercing pain 
That wants to tear your heart to shreds

Poetry is the palpitation 
Of man’s agonizing existence
Poetry is the evidence 
Of man’s excruciating experience

Poetry is the plaintive wail 
Of the mind’s unmet expectations
Poetry is the towering crescendo 
Of the soul’s reverberations

Poetry is the passionate petition 
For alms - of the right word
Poetry is the midnight machinations 
Of the crazy and the absurd 

Poetry is the lotus flower 
That blooms in life’s murky morass
Poetry is the pretty picture 
The poet sees in his looking glass

Poetry is the portrait 
The poet paints with his potent quill
Poetry is the essence of life 
Which only the poet can distill 

Poetry is the playful whimsy 
That brings a smile to your face
Poetry is the magic spell 
That makes you forget time and space

Poetry is the silver moonlight 
That shines on us all
Poetry is the beautiful dream 
That does not wait for night to fall

Blues*

I love listening to the Blues
The guitar that whimpers with the pangs of heartache
Appears to want to swallow me whole sometimes
Yet other times it drenches me, douses me
Inundates me like a sudden summer shower
And puts out the flames that burn in my heart

The simple music of slaves and sharecroppers
From the cotton fields of the Deep South
No flights of fancy
No towering verses
No scintillating similes
No magnificent metaphors
Only the plaintive wails
Of hopes that were lost
And dreams that were shattered

Sometimes it seems like those twelve bars
Will tear me apart, take away my life
And yet they bring with them the message
Of man’s capacity to suffer and survive

Soon, my melancholy takes flight
Soon, the smile returns to my face
Soon, once again, I become what I am
A very lucky man

Ruins*

Here lie the ruins
Of a once great civilization
Wonder what vicious volcano shrouded it
Under its burning lava-filled ashes 

Here lie the ruins
Of a once vibrant community
Wonder what calamitous earthquake reduced it
To a lifeless heap of rubble

Here lie the ruins
Of a once magnificent ancient city
Wonder what great flood buried it
Under its black blanket of silt

Here lie the ruins
Of a once affectionate friendship
Wonder what wanton betrayal shattered it
Into a million sharp shards of indifference

Here lie the ruins
Of a once loving marriage
Wonder what careless indiscretion ignited it
Into a raging flame of distrust

Here lie the ruins
Of a once productive life
Wonder what quotidian erosion razed it
Into a vast wasteland of self-loathing