written on bathroom walls.
Hippie beads, oodles
colorful acid pills
in dresser draws,
No Bibles or Sundays
that anyone remembers.
Toronto, Ontario 1972,
freedom school, free education.
Makes no sense,
when you’re high on a song
“American Woman” blasting
eardrums and police sirens come on.
(Note: Rochdale College was patterned after Summerhill School-Democratic “freedom school” in England founded in 1921 by Alexander Sutherland Neill with the belief that the school should be made to fit the child, rather than the other way around.)
I’m the poetry man, understand?
Dance, dance, dance to the crystals of night,
healing crystals detox nightmares, night tremors.
Death still comes in the shadow of grief,
hides beneath this blanket of time,
in the heat, in the cold.
Hold my hand on this journey
you won’t be the first, but
you may be the last.
You and I so many avenues,
ventures & turns, so many years together
one bad incident, violence, unexpected,
one punch, all lights dim out.
97, Coming to Terms & Goodbye
(An atheist faces his own death)
Wait until I have to say goodbye,
don’t rush; I’m a philosophical professor
facing my own death on my own time.
It takes longer to rise to kick the blankets back.
I take my pills with water and slowly lift
myself out of bed to the edge of my walker.
Living to age 97 is an experience I share
with my caretaker and so hard to accept.
It’s hard for youngsters who have not experienced
old age to know the psychology of pain
that you can’t put your socks on or pull
your own pants up without help anymore—
thank God for suspenders.
“At a certain point, there’s no reason
to be concerned about death, when you die,
no problem, there’s nothing.”
But why in my loneness, teeth stuck
in with denture glue, my daily pillbox complete,
and my wife, Leslie Josephine, gone for years,
why does it haunt me?
I can’t orchestrate, play Ph.D. anymore,
my song lyrics is running out, my personality
framed in a gentler state of mind.
I still think it necessary to figure out
the patterns of death; I just don’t know why.
“There must be something missing
from this argument; I wish I knew.
Don’t push me, please wait; soon
is enough to say goodbye.
My theater life, now shared, my last play,
coming to this final curtain, I give you
grace, “the king of swing,” the voice of
Benny Goodman is silent now,
an act of humanity passes, no applause.
*Dedicated to the memory of Herbert Fingarette, November 2, 2018 (aged 97).
Keyboard dancing, poet-writer,
old bold, ribbons are worn out,
type keys bent out of shape.
40 wpm, high school,
Smith Corona 220 electric ultimately
gave out, carrying case, lost key.
No typewriter repairman anymore.
It is this media, new age apps,
for internet dreams, forged nightmares,
nothing can go wrong, right?
Cagey, I prefer my Covid-19 shots
completed one at a time.
Unfinished poems can wait,
hang start-up like Jesus
ragged on that wooden cross,
revise a few lines at a time;
near the end, complete to finish.
I will touch my way out of this life;
as Elton John says,
“like a candle in the wind.”
I will be at my keyboard late at night
that moment I pass, my fingertips stop.