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 nothing, not even a name
Unknown, unknowable, mysterious

Just a few years from now
I will die with nothing, leaving a fistful of warm 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, 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 bright 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 are lost
And dreams that are shattered

Sometimes it seems like those twelve bars
Will tear me apart, take my life
And yet they bring with them the message
Of man’s capacity to suffer and to 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, violent 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 kind of wanton betrayal
Shattered it into a million sharp shards of indifference

Here lie the ruins
Of a once loving, caring marriage
Wonder what act of careless indiscretion
Ignited it into a raging flame of distrust

Here lie the ruins
Of a once happy, productive life
Wonder what slow, quotidian erosion
Razed it into a vast wasteland of self-loathing