WHY CHOOSE A POEM?
Something in verse,
Multi-stanzaed or terse,
When prose just won’t do
To put forth the real you.
With rhyme or without
Use Caliope’s * clou
So your soul can take flight,
To others’ delight
My words in your voice,
My offering, your choice.
*Calliope is the Muse who presides over eloquence and epic poetry; so called from the ecstatic harmony of her voice. Hesiod and Ovid called her the "Chief of all Muses”.
“Poetry makes nothing happen, “ wrote W.H. Auden in his famous elegy on the death of the Irish poet, William Butler Yeats. And, indeed, the time when young men wooed women in rhythm and rhyme is long past, as is the habit of standing under a beloved’s window and serenading her with guitar and song. Nor do we have the contemporary equivalent of Alexander Pope, putting political commentary and social irony into widely circulated verse.
And yet I believe in the power of poetry, both to entertain and to move people deeply. For years I have written poems for friends on their birthdays and for other celebratory events. And I have written rap songs (borrowing beats from GarageBand) to express my opinions about politics, and especially sexual politics.
It feels like the right time to offer my services more broadly than at intimate gatherings and open mics. So I invite you consider having a poem, or even more than one, made to order. Celebrate a birthday, a wedding, an anniversary, a graduation, a bar mitzvah with something written just for the occasion and just for the person you wish to honor. I can also play Cyrano De Bergerac to your Christian de Neuvillette and write verses to help you win over your Roxane.
I am also available to help you compose wedding vows or the whole ceremony and, on a somewhat graver note (all puns intended) eulogies or your own obituary.
Finally, I can be part of the entertainment at whatever event you choose to organize, whatever kind of bash you want to throw. I can compose both poems and rap songs for guests on the spot so each leaves with a unique souvenir of that singular experience..
Silvie By The Sea
Silvie dreams of mermaids
and mermaids dream of her.
As she walks the shore they follow in the surf,
their bright hair gleaming in flashes of light above the waves.
When she comes home she brings the murmuring sea with her.
Dolphins and whales chorus in the garden
and Neptune sings in he ear.
She moves through the house with the generosity of water
And loves to the depths of ocean canyons.
She could have been a siren, singing sailors to their deaths on the rocky coasts of islands
But compassion tempered her beauty
And made of it a womb, not a sword.
She sings the song of birth, rebirth and transformation
and we, caught in her music, remember how to dance ourselves alive.
BRITTA IN THE GARDEN
Britta stands in her garden like Botticelli’s Flora,
A fantasy of flowers flowing from her lips.
She casually creates an empire of commerce,
a California goddess playing with the toys of the world.
Around her everything blossoms and ripens at her touch.
We come to wonder, to be included in the bounty, to celebrate her birth and what she brings forth.
Somehow we become the best of ourselves when we are with her.
What Love Hath Wrought - Vera Turns One
Vera appearing in our midst, a small and perfect miracle.
Vera peering over the top of the cat’s head
To grasp at life with fists and heart.
Vera, for whom the world had been waiting,
Although we did not know this until she arrived.
The triumph of passion without regret,
Of love without end.
Birthday Poem For Martin
I wanted to pluck for your birthday
the most beautiful poem
the language could grow.
But when I went to the garden of words,
it was gone.
I knew then that there would never be a poem
as radiant as your spirit,
as welcome as your flesh,
and that I would have to offer you instead
my newest silence.
I fall into your mouth like a drowning sailor,
seeking deeper seas of love.
I abandon life on the surface willingly,
Its colors are pale memories
of some one I no longer have to be.
Riding the waves of your body,
I relinquish the shore.
You are all I need to know
of comfort and of home.
Your probing wakens me,
and I stream out from my own center
like a lamp beneath the waves.
My singing is muffled,
but you feel it in the small, fine bones of your ear.
I have carved my words on your shoulder
with my teeth,
and the sensations of love
run through my fingers
My hips disappear into your hands,
bones melting and flesh dissolving into light.
I am all air beneath you
and yet I hold you up,
suspend you above me in a trance of longing
too insistent for pain.
There is no time to be anywhere but here,
and I relax at last in the knowledge,
not yet full of you,
not yet wholly come into myself,
but spinning towards a future of being
and everywhere at once.
You speak, and my heart slips between my legs and starts to beat.
“Uh-huh,” you say, “uh-huh,”
and your voice is in my blood, moving with the music of the night,
drawing me back into myself,
swaying with the rhythms of a dream, forgotten and foresworn,
full of summer’s heat in autumn.
Your words melt the stars above my head
as your fingers, later, will melt even the resistances I cannot see,
and I, full of gratitude and longing,
wash over you
and fill your mouth with love.
Fear grips me between the shoulder blades,
fighting with desire.
and in the struggle my soul screams in the electric air.
You hear me in your reverie
and try to call me home.
“Is this the price she pays for ecstasy?” you wonder,
weary from your own battles with the grinding past.
And with infinite patience you hold me,
pull me to myself against your chest.
I sink beneath the bone,
trying to swim down to the sea of passion
where all lessons are one.
Opening the cave of your being,
you show me air beneath the water
and brilliant flowers which we smell by touching.
Pieces of my body crack open, come apart,
and assemble themselves in the water-light.
My lungs remember how to breathe
and death by drowning slips into the shadows of a dream
as we go down together.
I could speak my mind with my eyes closed, and frequently do -
it is so soothing , this rustling of ideas.
It eases me out of my body, transfiguring pain,
making my head thick with comparisons,
squeezing the breath so no wind of anxiety blows through.
But you come, tapping at my window,
rapping on the floorboards,
thumping in the attic
and my skin jumps,
catching me by surprise,
pulsing towards you
with my foolish blood in hot pursuit.
The journeys of the mind spin far out beyond the galaxies,
and the universe is frozen in a thought,
but the body weeps at the cowardice of these adventures,
longs for the comfort of love,
and opens itself in secret.
You challenge my wanderings with a certain knowledge of my inner
more profound than my dreamiest imaginings of desire.
“Here,” you say, “just here,” and I am with you, in myself, and all over
Some Video Performances at The Marsh in San Francisco About Healing My Family's History