Be*

Be idealistic
So you’ll know where you want to go

Be sagacious
So you’ll know why you want to go there

Be clear-eyed
So your destination stays in your sight

Be inventive
So you’ll discover new ways to get there

Be tenacious
So your failures won’t ever stop you

Be grateful
So you won’t get angry along the way

Be disciplined
So your progress will be constant

Be patient
So the road blocks will not frustrate you

Be sympathetic
So everyone else will walk along with you

Be compassionate
So others will help you in your time of need

Be honest
So you see your successes and failures clearly

Be truthful
So your words are always respected by others

Be frugal
So you will take from this Earth only what you need

Be magnanimous
So all your achievements come through service

Be humble
So you will only see what is ahead of you

Be enlightened
So your path will stay lit even in the darkest hour

Abyss*

Is it my madness
That helps me see the truth
Or is it the truth
That drives me mad

Is it my melancholy
That helps me feel the world’s anguish
Or is it the world’s anguish
That makes me melancholy

Is it my loneliness
That makes me a stranger in a crowd
Or is it this crowd of strangers
That makes me feel lonely

Is it my selfishness
That forces you to be unkind to me
Or is it your being unkind
That makes me so selfish

Is it my lack of imagination
That makes me feel exhausted
Or is it my exhaustion 
That prevents me from imagining

Are my feet so tired
From walking endlessly
Or have I stood in one place so long
That my feet can walk no more

Is it the vast empty sky
That stares into the abyss of my eyes
Or is it my dried up, empty eyes
That stare into the sky’s vast
Abyss

Let Go

I let go of everything
Just to see what’s left
I thought the loss of it all
Would leave me sad, bereft

I let go of my ambition
And my focus on the mission
It was causing much detrition
It was clouding my vision

I let go of my greed
Gave up craving what I didn’t need
To my amazement it freed
My mind from its selfish creed

I let go of my pride
That turned my Jekyll to Hyde
And decided to abide
As a realist, clear-eyed

I let go of my vanity
A source of much inanity
And embraced my humanity
To find my path to sanity

I let go of my lust
A fire that could combust
And lead to much distrust
Causing actions most unjust

I let go of all that I owned
Born alone, I shall die alone
The joy of possession I’ve known
Pales when I see how I’ve grown

I let go of everything
I answered an inner call
Nothing belongs to me anymore
Yet I belong to it all

I Remember

All of a sudden
The morsel sticks in my throat
And I remember
The delights you packed for me
When I went away to school

In a mere instant
The piece of fabric I hold
Takes on a strange new sheen
And I remember
It was your favorite color

For no reason at all
The melody on the radio
Brings me a smile or a tear
And I remember
It was your special song

Without a warning
The book I sit and read
Makes me fall into a reverie
And I remember
It was your best-loved novel
***

I am a grown man now
Responsible for my own actions
I was once an angry young rebel
And I remember 
You apologized for my truancy 

I have all I’ve ever wanted
And money to buy what I don’t
Back then we had so little
And I remember
You scrimped just to spoil me

I look back upon
This life that you gave me
I almost frittered it away
And I remember 
You taught me how to live and why
***

Life after you
Is like walking 
On a lonely beach
Where waves of grief 
Wash over my feet

They bring with them
Pretty little conch shells 
Of your memories
For me to collect
And treasure
Forever

Make It Stop

Every morning I wake up and face a new day
The first thing I do is kneel down and pray
Tell me how to make it stop

I see young children locked in a cage
My heart is overcome with rage
Tell me how to make it stop

Bystanders getting killed by thugs
Who want us all to buy their drugs
Tell me how to make it stop

Rich men who already have all they need
Still grab more with obscene greed
Tell me how to make it stop

Cowards send their sons and daughters
To fight their wars and get slaughtered
Tell me how to make it stop

Driven from their homes for taking a stand
Refugees exiled in their own homeland
Tell me how to make it stop

Another school shooting - I hear their screams
Innocents are dying - they haunt my dreams
Tell me how to make it stop

Parents grieving for their loved ones
Our politicians want still more guns
Tell me how to make it stop

Global warming has seared our souls
Yet our leaders want us to burn more coal
Tell me how to make it stop

Lies from the left, hatred from the right
We’re all stuck in the middle of this fight
Tell me how to make it stop

Racism, sexism, ageism, casteism
All that’s missing is simple humanism
Tell me how to make it stop

God, if you are really up there
And if you even pretend to care
Tell me how to make it stop

Apathy*

I’ve lost the desire for desires
I’ve lost the want for wants
I’ve lost the need for needs
All I’ve left is an apathy that daunts

I don’t wish for wishes
I feel neither hunger nor thirst
I don’t fancy any fancies
All I’ve left is an apathy that’s cursed

I don’t aspire for aspirations
I don’t yearn for yearnings
I don’t long for longings
All I’ve left is an apathy that’s burning

I don’t crave any cravings
I don’t ache for any aches
I don’t hanker after hankerings
All I’ve left is an apathy - hard to take

I am not inclined to have an inclination
I am not itching to have an itch
I prefer to not have a preference
All I’ve left is an apathy - deep as a ditch

I am oh so bored of being bored
I need an urge, a yen, a lust
I need an impulse, an appetite, a fervor
I need me a mission - not just a “can” but a “must”

A Poet’s Credo

We take our own pain
And turn it into poesy
To provide pure pleasure to you
It’s what we poets do

We endure a thousand 
Heartbreaks and survive 
To sing a song of love for you
It’s what we poets do

We collect the tears 
We have shed for years
To quench the thirst for verse in you
It’s what we poets do

We suppress the laments
Of our troubled souls
To croon a sweet melody for you
It’s what we poets do

We rise from the throes
Of our deep despair
So we can repair your spirit for you
It’s what we poets do

We plumb the depths
Of our unquiet minds
To pen a paean of peace for you
It’s what we poets do

We stitch together
A patchwork quilt of words
To bring a carol of compassion to you
It’s what we poets do

We observe the mundane
But swing on a higher plane
To entertain and also enlighten you
It’s what we poets do