Twenty Love Poems: 19

We had the sun on the run for a time
but today he’s nearly caught up with us
just hard-on hearing now all my whats
what randy birds of prey coxy claptrap
peck pecking at your resealed window
I didn’t hear shut nor your breathing
whispers rain after a long hot summer
husky hairs rubbing between fingers
an avian hymn to a lost limb a bird
building a nest in the old oak crotch.

Not what to put in but what to leave
out diaper pins before disposables
green canvas chairs on a tan lawn
Mozart and dogs singing on moonlit
nights across the lake venial sins
misdemeanors of youth parking
tickets not wounds but urge itches
a scratch wanting a few stitches
a weekend pass from the place
of thunder so far away and quiet.

Twenty Love Poems: 17

How do I love thee? Let’s not count the ways and days.
To the bottom of the blue ocean where the octopus lies
in purple wait to perpetuate the mythical form below.
The soul’s something to do with it – what I don’t know.
Actually, now I think about it, things don’t divide evenly,
and days after days pass like the beach tides loose over
the rocky pools, sandbars now seen now drowned deep.
That’s how love is: under water, how the starfish spreads
wings, and how the sea anemones attach and attract
moist quiet almost silent prey. Not to be flippant, but
to lie in wait seems unengaged in this era of existential
pandering, but I don’t know of what use passion when
the tide goes out and all my bugs exposed. Men strive
for one thing, and that’s not right while you go for free
or broke time after time, for romance beats the mundane.
Consider the saints who crazy with love sacrifice all even
their love for something abstract we can never count on.
Carry on, my love, blitz me with your supine indifference.

Twenty Love Poems: 16

Shall I compare thee to a foggy day
Thou art not a forecaster’s point
You were ambiguous and I inchoate
Rough boys asked to light their joint
Heaven neither had eyes for us
The floor of his gaze too hot to strut
But barefoot kids we built our truss
While blue nuns in unison sang tut-tut
So random freely did you move in
With me your sworn enmity
And together we lived in green sin
In the hollow of the forbidden tree
And there we drew first breaths
Deaf to our own noisy passing.

Twenty Love Poems: 15

Now the East Wind in the dark
pools the sadness of fish firs
following one another in trills
nature an opaque amber
lamppost in the old town
lighting the tavern door.

The Tangerine Tiki Lounge
filled with refinery workers
stained men hearing whistles
without comment or pokes
they understand the lack
of likes and mean teases.

They are silent and still
the wives kneeling pewed
palm readers in crushed
pork pie hats or doily
napkins held in place
with black bobby pins.

But not hatted enough
to protect against love
awake the night long
moonlight floods back
yards creeping across
the neighbor walls.

Into the pearl surf foam
of salt and fat kitchen
back doors garbage cans
neon fog noir cigarette
smoke pile of alley puke
seagulls peck and lap.

A tiny tinny radio plays
oldies the men no longer
hear the women tap
their feet to the beat
the smells of rubbers
oils gases tubes smokes.

Over the steam plant a jet
cruises up Vista del Mar
an Olds convertible
sirens stop at Local Liquor
red lights from a balcony
above Vapor Trails.

Near railroad tracks and water
trains no longer carried people
truth made poor copy goods
confused sounds operas oranges
sugar beets in open cars north
to the old cold country.

Twenty Love Poems: 14

In the garden of love they’ll find
two hearts in the compost pile
yours and mine entwined in trust
tattered threads of truce
and an ancient calloused shell
from which slip cynical slugs
of smug self-satisfaction.

Good tho to hear from you
proud of your retirement
package that left you free to
travel world round and round
dressed in tutu and tulle
we can’t stop for death here
the corrosive calls of life

cloned days drown even your
braggart arguments snobbish
burlesque lycanthropy under
the moon’s smog we must
move on ahead of the wolf
not of metaphor but the one
in our own backyard garden.

Twenty Love Poems: 13

Love so embarrassing
so cliche so cornball
until we learn to wear
circus clown makeup
to weather the stares.

One happier skips wow
the other sad trips ough
one now the other trade
places slouched hopped
funny honey and lonely.

Only the sophisticated
survive the scour of war
hot and cold sweets
sweat and sour clowns
look back give and take.

The fool fools around
plays the fool joins
the idiomatic circus
come to town edge
to collect the shunned.

Under the big top
in love’s pitched tent
fools dress in windbags
ride wobbly surfboards
hang ten on highwires

address the audience
the folly of a crowd
give the schmucks
their head amid
claps and laughs.

Twenty Love Poems: 12

at sunset suddenly dawns on us
we might toss our favorite images
into moon river and lucky old sun
is so lonesome he could cry

peacocks strut round the curves
of Sunset Strip up on iridescent
displays of monolithic cardboard
billboards crackling in summer

1968 and I’m late to the summer
of love on the Peace Truck radio
from the beach cities up to your
place in Los Feliz not to make

love or blow a number and go see
2001: A Space Odyssey at Pacific
or to protest a war or hear Johnny
Rivers at the Whiskey but to visit

the Children’s Hospital on Sunset
at sunset the shifts changing
the night coming on like a drug
a dire psychedelic experience

but nothing expands in fact
we shrink into a dim distant
past when our own singularities
merge to form a celestial duo

of one we don’t know what
happened before that nor
what comes next we have
one memory and each other

shivering great balls of grief
we drive up to the park
walk around the observatory
the city of wilderness below

ostrich features of orange
gold drift across the basin
and I whisper I will turn
stones into bread for you

Twenty Love Poems: 11

Let’s form this simple
poke a dimple or two
in the smile of love.
Too little time for fun
with rhyme on the run.
The poet cries foul
with love on trial.
There is no mystery here
insignificant our dress
when we walk we dance.
This is an old message
we often forget all the good
tales tell it in song and rhyme.
We can hum it to ourselves
anytime we wish happiness.

Twenty Love Poems: 10

Love is a game of chess breast
to breast breathlessly waiting
but let none dare the first move.

Love loathes nothing
the abominable one
amorously insatiable.

No score on the board
Eros wants more
Dear if you please.

I am love sick ill from
love’s lovelornnesses
I’m sick of love.

The love handles worn
patina cracked I fall
stutter and stumble.

Love is cancelled same
as sadness we make
mad mistakes.

Opposing love is not
hate but hopelessness
a soul without a home.

The hidden crawl
of the creeping snake
whose cynical mistrust

calls our love padded
under a green cloth
of jealousy and meanness.

Love that hides fear
looks askance occupied
with its own beloved soul.

Our 50 year love affair
love in a moat nest
seasonal lights o’ love.

The individual soul’s
chi-chi outlandish
dress and mess.

In the muddle of the night
the Bishop rides his Stallion
to the Castle to warn the King

the Queen has run off
with a Pawn en passant
we saw it on social media.

The King blows his top
between the legs of his
own marble statue.

Love wants less and less
outlasts the selfishnesses
of its landlord Charity.

The soul is a piece
of a whole love able
to forgive as we fall

fall to a winter of love across
from one another each to each
loath to make the first move.

Twenty Love Poems: 3

One hears the old saw men
want only one thing but
if one may want a thing one
might as well want more
than one than one of that
thing men want but one
and more of that one over
and over again once more.

Then too why all this business
of all the eggs in one basket
when one’s father realized
two are living together sans
anyone’s blessing two alone
remarked with the old saw
why buy the cow why when
one’s getting the milk free.

And what did he wonder
about his cow apparently
now on the open market
and he calls his girl a cow
as if one could afford
to buy one a whole cow
comes sans dowry
save existential wave.

Love is a many splintered
thing like the tiny wood
jackstraw one can’t get
out with a fine tweezer
that sliver of sharp glass
entirely incapacitates
one’s grip on life and love
and the cow moos like a saw.

Twenty Love Poems: 2

Naught poems songs songs dissed
wasted in world wretch dump sites
wholly eager cancel kind and mean
our love we know all and naught
me about you and you about me
morning leaves pissed in vanity
night returns to dark forgiveness
love couplets posted to ice box
posted to dead letter mail office
stamped return sender unknown
stamped cancelled and crushed
love warred over sanguine trail
of pearls to despair pitched off
the heights of Machu Picchu.

What can be against nature
that is from nature? Contra
children living on
the dark side of the moon
exiles from gardens of peace
and happiness or adult fear
detrimental reliance survive
mistakenness sugared
a teenage kind of love
lasting an hour or a day
or two or over fifty years
got us out of the house
swapping pink bubblegum
and juicy spit and mizzled
lips mist moist the ocean
nearby pulling and tugging
as we hugged hold and told
naught not even ourselves.

Now we are old well older
very than we were of course
this is nature and natural
that you should finally
pull away ebb and pretend
to hide in age but in your
face I see still the teen
the freckled cheeks salt
blue eyes yellow hair
now silver and beautiful
and how you tousle
your hands and arms
and get mad I’m not
listening but how can I
storm surf in my ears
we have survived swam
many difficult years
of daft granfalloonery
holding each to each
our holy karasses.

Cat’s Cradle built 1963
and we had not yet
quite met but the net
was cast and what
could we do but swim
together toward a new life
me you and your cats.