Miscellaneous Poems

– A Solipsist’s Sanatorium –

I wish my mind were driftwood washed ashore
and thrown back again to the waves before

some old master craftsman’s hands have a chance
to give me solid form: then I would dance

seaward amidst flotsam and foam, my heft
still gorged with water, swollen, like a breath

breathed deep and held to feel oneself expand
broad as the sky, and as sifting as sand.

Perhaps just once I’ll serve as perch for some
wandering bird of reason — a daft sun

with its great thoughts and its intents to mend . . .
then where daylight bleeds to dreams greet my end,

eventually thrashed and rotted by brine:
I think slow disintegration would feel fine.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

– My Idiot Friend Eats a Citrus Seed –

Incredibly he feels no enmity
towards us, I think, nor towards the little flask
which counseled eating dirt. And though (strange task)
we all did thoroughly approve, to see
him gulping down a seed with solemn glee
and swear to tend it within — like in a cask
beneath a drain a sapling sprouts — unmasked
unease: to think a man could house a tree . . .

Oof, but the fact of it (ah!) what a sight
when the first soft leaflets began to bud
from sprigs in the ears, extending to the light.
And I’ll admit, the scent on calm May nights
enchanted me: I loved his mix of limpid
green leaf, the orange, the bloom of lucid white.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

– The Perfect Shape –

I am a great big red rubber ball
bounced back and forth
at the behest of children’s hands.

My spherical form spins
mockingly, and I am bruised
against the unforgiving global earth.

I say the self is like a balloon
popped by the softest pin thrust.

I say the soul is a drop that
rings out across mirror-still water.

If you would create a certain center
you must have confusion on the circumference:

Laugh, and shore yourself up

Weep, and shore yourself up

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

– A Syllogism –

Sadness is a swift eddy that never
departs from the rock its waters pound against;
though life is not so difficult as that.

I observe an eddy is a hollow center
around which spinning water gathers;
because nature requires a vacancy
in the midst of great activity.

If I remove the rock the eddy disappears
again into the river’s impersonal flow:
thus goes the sadness, as everything else must go.

So this is what observation tells me:
I am a swift current who shall never
abandon the rock that creates me –
meaning I shall always be a little sad.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

– Before a Night Out –

You told me, “Wait. Go have a smoke,
or take a book outside.” So I,
reclining happily on the grass,

composed a tasteless little joke
about a stalk that burst. The sky
blushed clouddark ashamed at such crass.

Apologizing, I invoked
my innocence; but stopped, for I
watched you undressing through the glass.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

– Innisfree Revisited –

We have a little home now, beside a plot of woods
where students drink and flick their butts, go traipsing through our yard
and nothing like dim trees for concealing grim falsehoods:
coals inside fire and outside charred.

For us, we have our four walls to hide a speck of filth.
An open window stirs the dust, the blue ash in the tray,
and blearied flies buzzing round a field of jugs halffilled
with wine, where they shall doubtless stay.

The television’s broke now, but I don’t mind the hiss;
in fact the static helps me sleep, in dreams waves rush the shore.
The whole thing’s sunk real deep love, give me a drowning kiss
so gasping — spent — I’ll still want more.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

– Sunspots –

The pears and apples in the bowl are bruised;
there limps a spider with a damaged leg;
for breakfast I thought I would cook an egg
which broke in my hands and its fluid oozed.

The lily on the sill, I heard it sigh
and wilt and drop its desiccated blooms.
You make me uneasy, like when desert fumes
distort horizons — severe suns: your eyes.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

– Propitiation –

Your red Venetian charm
that roseleaf vase
which sat so many years in honored place —
I fear I’ve done it harm.

What does this symbolize?
Nothing, I swear
at least nothing some flourpaste can’t repair —
You have such pretty eyes!

5 Responses to “Miscellaneous Poems”

  1. My Idiot Friend Eats a Citrus Seed
    Ahahaha I inspired that!

  2. These are magnificent poems, Peter. It’s somewhat out of fashion to use rhyme, but you do it so easily without evidence of force or imposing silly rhythms. And the content is rich and interesting. I especially admire A Solipsist’s Sanatorium!

  3. I’ve been counseling younger poets (no grins here) not to use rhyme so much as prosody, because, rather than working at it, they have better things to do than try to make a proper scheme.

    You, Peter, (and do pardon the comparison to the juvenile) rhyme so I may not even see it if I weren’t looking. I still swear this is free verse with accidental happenings in the internals, because I’ve not seen such a thing successfully accomplished since I read some Plath.

    The Idiot Friend is my favorite, likely due to the parenthetic (strange task) which surprised me from nowhere and drove the poem forward.

    Enough back petting, though, else it’ll seem I’m in awe when I’m really just impressed. Maybe my ears are amazed while Voodoo sits here thinking about the weather…

  4. “Before a Night Out” and “Sunspots” are particularly delightful. Light and dark — you do all the colours of the rainbow, don’t you? Wonderful. thanks for the read.

  5. Whether in a bowl or not, all pears and apples are bruised. They smell better that way. Peaches are more fragrant than roses if you leave them alone. But who wants to do that?

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