Another City Poem

The Women In the Hotel in X’ian (first draft)

Gluttony and lust equal BEST SINS EVER!

One night at the hotel in Xi’an
are 12 Americans all men
And no one else in the city
hails from foreign hells
And at least a thousand prostitutes
line the hallways and they stand
outside the doors……..

they will not let them in, they vow,
……..refrains like Sam-I-am fill hotel hall
……..Oh,………I should not toss her joss at all.
……..I will not have my wang in Yang,
……..I cannot slip my dong in Wong,
……..I dare not do her there or here
…………….My wife will learn, I know I fear,
…………………….I can‘t get sucked in my own room
Alas, And also Aids is in the Air, Oh Doom!!

But the evening slows, and in the setting sun,
……..the rush is on to the ATM………

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A Blues For Molly

Here is a poem which is posted elsewhere, but never seems to attract attention, so here it is.

A Blues for Molly

Oh, sing this to Molly, she deserved her sadness today,
her grades were a wreck and her Irish dog ran away.

Her scores were so low, she called her mama and cried,
Oh, Molly’s so blue for she’s lost her dog and her pride.

She dreamed of kisses at midnight and dances before dawn,
her studies forgotten, and now her schoolin’ is gone.
Cry blues to yo’r mama, but baby your schoolin’ is gone.
Cry blues to yo’r mama, but baby your schoolin’ is gone.

Molly studied too little, and played her way after sundown,
She ran too late, as she raved and painted the town.

Slept in on Sundays, and Mondays and Saturdays, too.
A young girl, a fun girl, caught cryin’ in daylight so blue.

She dreamed of kisses at midnight and dances before dawn,
Her studies forgotten, and now her schoolin’ is gone.
Cry blues to yo’r mama, but baby your schoolin’ is gone.
Cry blues to yo’r mama, but baby your schoolin’ is gone.

Oh sing this to Molly, she done bad in her test to her shame.
She must find some work cause she hasn’t a dime to her name.

Oh Molly’s a beauty, her kisses are hot like a sinner in hell,
But this time she’s for it, she’s ringing her very own bell.

She dreamed of kisses at midnight and dances before dawn,
Her studies forgotten, and now her schoolin’ is gone.
Cry blues to yo’r mama, but baby your schoolin’ is gone.
Cry blues to yo’r mama, but baby your schoolin’ is gone.

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A short one for Jenna, who loves the arthropods…


A Blue-Tailed Dragon

Arthropods, Oh My!

Damselflys and blue-tailed dragons lift
on lacy currents, drift passed
sweet flowers, summer colors
where hope behind the lens evokes
Jenna’s breathy joy!

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For my friend the writer, and for everyone else who needs a little encouragement on the dark days.


hmmm, suppose,
that the true heroes of this world are not
the flashy super-gender types, or the bravest warriors,
or even the punchiest starlets.
Perhaps, the real heroes of this world
(the one we all agree is real),
the ones we admire, and remember,
the ones we think on in the bad times
these heroes are the people who …

awake every day and feed their children …
climb out of their dreams and trudge off to duty …
stand in the rain and sunshine and boring busstops
everyday to earn the treasure that will school the nextgen,
will house the progeny of those few sweet moments …

And you are doing that, and inspiring, too,
the watchers of your life
Are you desperate to hear
you are the hero of your babies stories…
Breathing in is not enough,
today everyone wishes to gift and stroke
and gratify your egolife?

Oh, Darlin, without your kind this would be
a drab and uncreative world.
Keep breathin’ in girl,
your life could get to be weighty and grey someday again,
but right now we’re cheerin’ hard
to read your lovely thoughts tomorrow.

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Writing more lately, surprising even myself, and testing rhymes

Walking in the old ‘Hood.

Today i walked in the park
just a lark, I strolled past old places
remembering faces and dreams
— my childish schemes
seem petty now, but how
deeply then we lived desire
longings were fire in the heart
back at the start — of our dramas.

Rolling on nostalgic streets
watching magic fleets of memory go by
thinking of when we tried to fly
away in rhymes and wordy dreams
past school times and first chances
breaks as soft as memory seems
to rosy ages all enhanced…

Today i thought
of the confined designs
our parent’s taught
— loving rhymes and moral stories
troubles made for younger worries
for times of writing lines
upon our souls
and so like moles
mama hides in the middle caves
of the raves and rants we think
belong to us alone, Oh No, not so
we turn the page and rage
and later in our age, we drink.

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A day spent talking and writing

So, here’s a new one, a draft, and a sem-final version, after meeting a woman and falling madly, passionately, and helplessly into her wonderful life…

you are so sweet, i can imagine you taste like ice cream
and your skin, swept so white and thick with vanilla and cherry
that i must lick it off slowly, deeply, your very own taste of sugar
shattering the expectations of my tongue and heart

ohhhh, you are sooo shy smiles, feelings that are real and have colors
bravely intimate with a first word, smile, talk, a showy meeting
your face so muchly a spring of your selfness, fountains of you
springing, rounding my quiet, embraced in your ego’s weave
this could only be heaven…

When last did someone, anyone, such a one say here, look at me
see pretty, see my own choices on soft skin, designs of life
expressings of skin, thought, color, see my world on my dermis
here, you said, in clear eyed welcome, see my world happy

The feminine curves of your beauty ballooning past my face as color leaps
your skin flowing from nape to hip, an ankh you say, ink blurs to passion
oh frabjous day, sweet smiles and arabesques of hands

wondering i want your ego, your great fire of self hugging my listening
those swift and birdlike hands flying airily into conversations
magic, does the air define your movement, or your hands themselves
create the shapes of air where your voice paints colors deftly…

i would charm your socks away, to be the sprig and leaf upon a space
a moment or years where butterflies rest

a sec of sugar taste, of clear eyed happiness and rounded colors
smiles tempting our ears to listen more intently
skin so clear and art understood with ink and metal linings
your voice and face have tied my memory with ice cream softness,
your dancing fingertips sweeping desire in artful colors

so many lines, so many words, a shattering of birds…

I am cutting out the rewrite, this is standing on legs made well and sturdy.

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Thinking again of the boys of war

Today they brought someone home from Iraq, and his unit mustered at the Veteran’s cemetery here, and I saw them from the window of the train as it went from the Veteran’s hospital toward my home. And I thought of many things, especially of the costs of war, of stuipidity, and young men and how we felt when we fought it. Here is a little prose about that.

I find it terribly absurd to think that all my memories are real, especially those dealing with the times of war. I can remember when I would put on a heavy combat ruck and move through the most dense jungle on earth, cautiously and with much labor, traveling with young men like myself, moving less than a kilometer a day in search of ways to kill other young men. Daily, we would move against this oppression of infinite hardship, killing and destroying, being killed and destroyed in turn. Endless weeks of vicious boredom marked by a minutes horrible agony. How we joked of the ways we could suffer, and loved one another with a mean affection and a deadly touch.

Soldiers and fighting men we were, all from the ancient ages of 18 to 23, except the platoon sergeant, he was old, almost 30, and the Captain only a year younger. We had seen more violent death on our walks in this country club than most cops could claim; and in the third world squalor of the villages, more disease than most doctors even imagined. We had illiterate privates who could diagnose malaria, plague, polio, and 3 or 4 malnutrition diseases.

It came down to whatever we could handle, all the late hours of hanging out in our own skulls, strolling carelessly to the sounds of hidden memory. Denying whatever might cost. Most of the books deal with coping, with being able to handle life, belief, ability and desire. I thought in terms of revenge.

Once, we celebrated Ho Chi Minh‘s birthday. And then, he won.

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An older poem

Here is one from a few years ago, about an Okinawa that is no longer the same (everywhere changes). But when I first lived there, fishing boats still slid down the tides, and the rural kids (yes, there were a few), had the greatest beach parties in the tropical nights. Here is a picture of some of that.


Alongside a wet sand beach
sea snakes swarmed for days
and high school kids got drunk
on plum wine
around weekend seashore campfires.

Learned something there,
eight hundred miles from China,
about fishing, while walking,
staring across the East China Sea
under a purple setting sun
again and again.

Felt twelve generations of humanity
push little fishing boats
further out to sea; knew
the ache of fishing before the boats
are home; met the widows
of one more generation lost
to some hungering tide.

Somehow understood my petty efforts,
chasing Bass and Walleye,
would not feed an entire people
but are welcome
along with firelit wine.

Walking is an easy teacher at cliff edges,
in tide pools, Sake Bars,
shaking off salt spray and tiredness,
things which arise
from watching
twelve generations of tide
washing humanity.

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Hello and Spring was not early this weathered year.

Every year there is another crisis in the family, and the prairie seems to envelope all in a great horizon of either hope or despair, and sometimes both at once. Here there have been some warm happenings, and a possible early spring with a crisis of the family thrown in. I could not write for a week and even now I am slow about it.

But we have also had the warmest weather, least snow, and mildest winter here in the north country. Except that yesterday we felt snow, and tonight the greatest storm in over ten years threatens to immobilize us. Or, perhaps it is all hyperbole form the weather forecasters, seeking their own particular brand of adrenaline.

Here are some thoughts on that. Any suggestions as to how this first draft could be made better are deeply appreciated.

Global Warming

Global warming strikes our great white north this year
confusing the living, plants, pets, and shut-ins alike,
now cold, now sun, now rain, now ice, now mud.

Tonight we watch the way of snow upon the earth
we smelled it in the air yesterday, stealing sky colors.
Now, it comes swirling with wind, like wedding skirts.

The brown dead grasses have withered more in mild air
no heat, not frozen, sunlight low on the southern porch
there is no green, no growth, no chances yet, for spring.

Tiny high-tailed sparrows flit from food to food
with the redbirds, the gray tits, and foundling squirrels,
dashing to warmth in holes, nests, and warrens dear.

Spring will not rise for moons this far from tropic seas
winter, like jealous sisters, grabs her chance flinging
desperate storms, deep snows and frigid kisses.

The rat without a shadow sleeps dreams of ignorance
and we prepare for snowy onslaught, men even speak
of ideal storms upon the prairie: laugh, we live here.

Childhood days of thirty and forty and fifty below
3 meters of snow and more to sled or pull the dogs
Now a mild winter, warm, lacking ice and we are soft.

A foot, a yard, a meter more of white stuff, not falling
flung horizontally in winds that could shave your face
blizzards in the yard, rabbits cower, we by the fire, sip.

Will the power die? Can the early plants survive?
Who knows, who cares, we live in this and every year
greens spring forth, and hockey games are played.

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A translation

Here I have tried my shaking hands at a translation, my first that I trust so far. I translated the poem, not the individual words or the Daoist, Buddhist, Confucianist allusions, which do not fit into English poetry. I kept a little rhythm, and the rhymes because the original does, and left the speaking voices ambiguous. Please let me know what you think.

王维. – 杂诗三首 – 赏析

Wang Wei: Three poems together; an appreciation.



On the side of the wide river along a road
Up from the nearby wharf our home awaits.
On water from southern cities many boats
ply the daily mail: to all but our own gates?



Kind Sir, from my home town you’ve come
Our news, you ought to know, please tell
Of the winter plums planted by the window
When leaving, did you see them budding well?



In cool air the plums have blossomed once again
In songs of spring the young birds start to coo
Our grass grows deep and greener, my heart fears
These plants may cross our threshold before you.

Posted in Chinese Poetry, Poetry, Wang Wei | 2 Comments

Spice Poems, First Round

As mentioned below, here are a few little verses concerning spices, which I hope are fun and nicely packaged, with a little poetic license taken, and some allusions to the kitchens included. Please enjoy, and leave any comments you like.

Spice Poems (First Draft)

Salt – humble crystal magic, preserves life
softens heat, melts ice and mmm, defines
taste, and a pinch in the kitchen.

Pepper – black and tiny spheres to grind upon
our dressing, eggs, just anything too bland,
what needs a little counter point; aha, a sneeze!

Garlic – pleated rows of bulbs for plucking
and then for stripping clothes from cloves
finally bringing pungent sharpness into life.

Ginger – here are candied jells, mixed with sweets,
but Oh! across the water it’s pounded into Kimchi,
baked in Chinese lemon fishes, sliced for pickles in Japan.

Tarragon – for making Bearnaise and Tartare
from French, le dragon herb lives ever in wine
to spice and surprise our quickie soups.

Basil – rich green leaves for Pesto, or to stop
boring the tongue with tomato sauces boiled;
basil gives the garlic strength and texture.

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So, I don’t believe in the “prose poem”

But I recently just went off and wrote at breakneck speed about being a lover of words, and below is what i came up with. Perhaps we can make it into a short Edda or a long lament, or perhaps just a modern soliloquy. Here:

It is that I am loving words and eating the tarts at the afternoon teahouse of sentential gluttony. It is rapture on the face language, and English rises out of the fields, stands taller than three canopies of forest among her western rivals, and I will munch the sensibilities of language until i am capable of Shakespearean rhapsody even while asleep.

I do not want the politics and the purpose. What I need is the expression and beauty, and deeply, the showing of humanity as human. Not as dogma, not as that thing which is politically right or judicious; but as that thing which is humanly felt, born of care and love and longing. Expressed not efficiently or out of correct purpose, but expressed cleanly out of beauty and spoken with a lovers touch.

Once, with a group of students in China, there were questions and discussions and revolutionary analyses of Wang Wei, and it all came crashing into nothing when a child mentioned as a sideline, the open facts of linguistic dishevelment, that if you translate this pictograph as empty, then you do not understand zen. Can you see the literate crash into the wall of communist philology tempered by the craft of Confucius, Buddha, the generals, and now the use of English? We lost, surely, enlightenment when we borrowed from the Saxons, poles, germans, french, romans, and everyone except the asiatic thinkers.

But even without it we can still enjoy, adore, appreciate, be entertained, be pleased, cotton to, delight in, dig daddy O, dote on, drink in, and up, eat up, fancy, flip for, flip over, groove on, have fun, love, luxuriate in, pleasure in, rejoice in, relish, revel in, savor, savvy, step out, take to, wallow in and lust after words, bon mots, the fine and pleasant adventure of searching for a plot in Webster’s or the OED.

God, we need to love it muchly if we make our way with words.

Onward, onward and upward, build the edifice of sentences, paragraph, verse, and even creative ESL plaints form over the water. Ever wonder why the greatest cathedrals of English are all isolated by water from the threat of linguistic encroachment (England, Canada and the US, Australia)? They are creating the parable of the word, and extending the basis of poetic strength. Cheer them on and move to new heights yourselves, LOVERS OF WORDS!!!!!

For those of you who wish to participate, the forum is at:

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