Frustration in

Frustration in wide hospital corridors resonates into
night like a slow taut walk past large exit signs that
show us the way to damp humid streets; like a sorrowful
pain electrically shot from our hearts to our knees;
like a tenderness and neuropathy in tired scorched
feet; like a love that fails because my lover is
sick again and I can’t really help her and she

would wordlessly leave me as I scurry
to catch up with her, find her a car and
send her off on her way home without me
to nag her about treatment as she’s
convinced that I’m judging her, don’t
really know her and won’t let her be
We don’t choose who to love except
that we kind of do—love echoes us

As we feel the ancient moonlight and
I do what I can to make it not hurt so
in this marred world of caustic polarities,
where our creative acts choose, make, discard
and keep and our being is the result of the
conditions under which we live because we aren’t
and there are no universal beings; and because
nature applies to us without regard to our welfare,

I would celebrate the authenticity of play
in this anguished churn of turmoil and possibility
however inadequate my wishes always play
I am sometimes so sure of my vision and then I
think—my passions are strong, my understanding
is feeble and pride’s my intoxication
The truth’s a whole with no parts and all of my
carefully wrought order will, of course, dissipate

She’s not beautiful because she pleases
She pleases because she’s beautiful
There are many who are smarter than me
but not in a way that matters to me
The suicidal Mr. Bourdain went one
time for that show of his to Mississippi
and saw one backwater city after another
where he sampled greasy gravy laden southern

food and said everywhere “This is so good,
so good” All I could see was each stink-hole city
with its fat laden southern food that looks like slop
Of the jury in Alabama that wrongly convicted
the Scottsboro boys in the thirties the defense
attorney wrote “If you ever saw those creatures,
those bigots whose mouths are slits
in their faces, whose eyes popped out

like frogs, whose chins dripped with
tobacco juice, bewhiskered and
filthy, you would not have to ask
how they could do it” That’s still an
embedded rot in this fucked-up
country that even today gives us
the current Republican party and
its disgusting stink of a president

Personal beauty is a trifle compared
to the essence; “gusto” requires good
taste and should imbue everything
we care for and everything we do
We begin as children by believing
everything grown-ups say; credulity
gives way to caution; “Are you
untrustworthy, unreliable and selfish?”

A friend of mine started a career (as it turned
out a short career) as a college philosophy professor
Unfortunately, he was tasked with teaching
a bunch of brute idiot jocks one of whom said angrily
(while pounding his fist in his hand) “You know
prof, I could really use a C in this course” which was
not my friend’s vision or hope for teaching as
he so struggled to master Kierkegaard and Nietzsche

Skepticism might be good or else
it may paralyze especially when we see
how wretchedly old age etches itself
upon our faces, undermines our gusto and
turns to havoc our grand, pristine essence
Long before life here something from space smashed
into and scathed our earth, cut into a big chunk of it,
hurtled it into space, and made of it the moon

You are my punishment, my devotion, my other
I’m now 26 years older than my father was
(he was a philosophy professor, by the way)
when leukemia killed him so I should think
of him now as the younger man—but I don’t
I continue to age as my gears still smoke
I can’t see them but I feel them—
my life’s gears still gyrate and smoke



-September 8, 2018-