The Bohemian Experiment

Posts Tagged ‘Poetry’

Night Sea

Posted by beckert10 on August 4, 2010

I travel winding, country highways
past estates sheltered by trees
until at last I’ve gone far enough east and am met
by a view of the cold Atlantic.

I stand on a beach with
thick, coarse sand.
The sea appears as
shimmering blue stretching as
far as the eye can see,
meeting the sky and becoming an indistinguishable
smudge of air and water.

The waves crash against the shoreline which
stretches on to points north and south.
The salty, fishy smell of low tide is in the air,
accompanied by shrieking gulls and
other swooping sea birds.

As darkness sets in the water becomes
harder to make out but
is still unmistakable.
A steady sea breeze
sweeps my hair to the side and balances out the
humid night air.

The tide moves in,
gains strength as the moon exerts its
pull and forces it
back toward the shore
as if each successive wave is an attempt
to swallow up the land
only to be turned way and
followed again by another
and another
and another.

The foamy, white crest of the waves
stands out in the darkness,
can be seen racing in from
both the left and the right,
steadily collapsing like a
stack of falling dominoes.

The sea is loud,
making it difficult to hear my companion’s words
so we decide not to talk at all.
We’re content to hear only the steady break of the waves that
have not stopped for all of mankind’s history,
are a symbol of something outside of our world,
something bigger.
The waves are a clue to forces we don’t fully understand
yet never cease to find solace in.
It is steadiness that makes the ocean so relaxing,
knowing that each wave that breaks will
be followed by another
and another
and another
If only the rhythm of our own lives were so simple.

Staring out at the dark sea is proof that there are
things beyond human knowledge.
Here is something hopelessly
vast
like outer space
right here on earth.
And yet,
all the things that make it so awesome
and us so insignificant in comparison
do not feel like a reason to despair, but
to delight.

The ocean is terrifying at night.
It is a black, writhing body with no borders,
only icy depths full of nothing
and everything
as if my greatest fears are contained in every rising swell.

I strip naked and proceed,
through force of will, into the frigid blackness.
The whole ocean moves.
Swells rise up before me like dark phantoms
gaining shape and size as they close in.

Only now can I understand the size of the sea.
The light tricks one into thinking they can accurately
imagine the size of things
while darkness allows no safe illusions.

A swell is about to break over me. I
close my eyes and dive head first into it,
open my eyes underwater and see nothing, only
hear the deep, bass of the surf around me.
The world is a dull roar in my head.
I go limp and close my eyes, look up and see the
white light of a crescent moon,
a single streak dancing on the writhing surface of the sea.
My naked body is carried by the motion of the waves,
a piece of driftwood in the tides of time
I am a babe in the womb,
floating peacefully in the amniotic salinity.

I give in to the night sea,
to the forces that control it.
Let them drown me,
sweep me out to sea.
Let them have their way with me.
For I know sooner or later,
they will do so anyway.

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The Earthling

Posted by beckert10 on July 14, 2010

Beware those of faith. They are
the greatest of all disbelievers,
for they reject the dogma of man,
of life on Earth.
While their gospels promise salvation, they
smack of desperation,
nihilism;
are but guilt
for being part of
those woes they condemn.

If I’m not inspired
it’s because I’ve been living, have
no time for idle thoughts,
idle feelings.

Let the possessed ones
rule over their lonesome empires of hubris!
Give me chipped teeth and creased skin!
Open sores and mangled limbs!
Broken bones and battle scars!
For I am in a fierce contest,
not to win the hand of some fickle, illusory maiden
but with this life.

Let me crawl along the ground,
a frantic, scavenging beast
fighting to stay alive,
rather than spend another second in some
substratum of the mind.

Give me one minute with a real man!
rather than an eternity with a charlatan
whose subtle panhandling tries to
convince me of my inferiority.

Give me streets that stretch on and on!
Crossed with cursed bodies,
broken-down, rotted hulks of humanity,
deluded atavisms howling at the moon,
streets where widows scream and
bleary-eyed men stagger towards clarity, where
a lost soul is a known quantity
and a conviction is another campaign promise.

Let there be light!
From the haunts that mark man’s sad searches for pleasure:
Murky bars
Throbbing bawdyhouses
Bulging parlors
Oozing dancehalls

Bring forth darkness!
The shadows hide my shortcomings.
I am a man of Earth
who is neither proud nor ashamed.
Such ideas mean nothing to mortals.

There is only the wind in my face
The ground beneath my feet
The spoils of short-lived victories
strewn about me.
The barbarians are at the gate
and I find it assuring.

Those men
who think they need saving
are the loneliest souls of all,
heads craned upwards,
looking for a messiah to crash down amongst us,
meanwhile missing my hand
extended in brotherhood.

Men of Earth can always
look down,
scrape a friend off the pavement,
swing haymakers at those
cheap agents of ego
and connect often enough to resist
elitism posing as Belief.

Posted in Poems | Tagged: , , , | 8 Comments »

Man Who Sold the World

Posted by beckert10 on June 23, 2010

I met the man who sold the world.
He’s very poor;
has terrible posture.

I asked him why he did it.
Well, my fine sir, he replied,
wouldn’t you have done the same?

Posted in Poems | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Smoke Break

Posted by beckert10 on June 9, 2010

Workers
spill out onto the streets;
the working undead,
squinting at the brightness,
sucking down cigarettes,
promptly returning to
partitioned sarcophaguses.

Meanwhile,
children sit embalmed in lectures,
note-taking,
waiting for the bell,
working towards the day,
having a smoke break will be
the highlight of their morning.

Posted in Poems | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

An Accidental Yesterday

Posted by beckert10 on May 6, 2010

One of those days when
I’m not sure
whether to feel good or bad
about my life.

Yesterday,
rocketing through vernal splendor
on my bicycle,
I felt so alive,
my joy untouchable,
indestructible.
All of the little plans I’d made for myself
seemed perfect,
even Godly.
King Midas with the wind in his face

Today,
seemingly hung-over from mania,
I set back out along the same route
hoping to rekindle that blissful
invulnerability.
Retracing my steps, I
found only restlessness,
like a junkie chasing a particularly clairvoyant high,
one of those rare moments
when life cannot touch us;
we exist outside.

But this night,
I was very much inside,
very much a sentient being
No more playing God.
My life seemed neither good nor bad,
important nor unimportant.
I sat very still in a spot, as if by
remaining motionless I would
become invisible,
forgotten.
I watched the sun disappear and
darkness set in.

Men pedaled by furiously, teeth gritted,
fighting the pain, or
perhaps issuing it a challenge.
Walkers sauntered past
wrapped in the coolness of the night.

I was bound to my spot by indifference,
caring less to try something else than to
ride the feeling out.
I’d chosen my mooring, a place where
couples dressed for dinner walked hand-in-hand,
joggers breathed self-loathing out through their mouths,
pigeons picked at the scraps of a crumbling empire,
old folks looked at things with more fear than fascination
and small children looked at things with more fascination than fear.

Fixed and stoic I remained among
so much nocturnal flotsam
not knowing at the time
I was hoping to
recapture the glory of a day gone by,
that I wasn’t restless, but desperate,
afraid that my joy had nothing whatsoever to do with myself
and everything to do
with chance.

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Three Stages of Man

Posted by beckert10 on April 30, 2010

A little boy wakes up
lies in bed
wipes sleep from his eyes
stumbles into the living room
Mom prepares breakfast
he eats
lies on the couch
watches TV
plays inside
and outside
pulls the dog’s tail
Mom lays out his clothes
combs his hair
Ride in the car
mom makes lunch
cuts off the crust
wipes his face coarsely
with a wet sponge
he makes a face
pulls away
Dad comes come
watch him barbeque
dinner
sunset
bath
pajamas laid out
one piece with feet
playtime with Dad
snack
prayers with Mom
tucked in
kiss goodnight
I love you
Darkness
sleep comes quickly

A young man wakes up
alarm screeching
pours a bowl of cereal
half asleep
crunching echoes in his groggy head
shower
pick out an outfit hastily
competing with mom and dad for the bathroom
kiss on the cheek from mom
love you
have a good day
pack your own lunch
same every day
crust still on
Dad drives you to the bus stop
talk radio
awkward silence
running late
bus ride down back roads
picking up disappointed faces
last bit of freedom before the bell rings
rings
burned out teachers
waiting for summer vacation
kids alike
turning the pages of outdated textbooks
thinking of playing
of freedom
of pretty girls in the back of the class
of passing grades
should I get braces
walking between classes
seeing the same faces
in the cafeteria
seeing the same faces
miss being a kid
bell rings
almost freedom
but first practice
kicking a ball around
bald man blowing a whistle
reliving dreams of aborted stardom
whistle blows
freedom
bus ride home down back roads
Mom’s car waiting
how was your day
good
same
home
Dad comes home
looks tired
looks old
dinner
homework
TV
snack
bed
alarm

A man wakes up
alarm wailing
Headache
he lies for minutes
wants to sleep
weary
guilted into rising
coffee
cigarettes
newspaper
shower
clean, pressed suit
uniform
sleek sedan parked outside
so weary
good day for fishing
for sleeping
talk radio
traffic
cigarettes
should quit smoking
destruction of the self
to save the self
office
Johnson has a new car
jealous
fake smiles from coworkers
stale air
smells like paper and air freshener
staring at a screen
phone calls
bad jokes
weak coffee
meeting
good day for fishing
for sleeping
deadlines
smoking
greasy lunch
stomach ache
maybe an ulcer
no bell
miss schooldays
stay late
might get ahead
probably won’t
sun is down
good night for fishing
weary
sleek sedan still parked outside
deserve it
home
stiff drink
another
another
cigarettes
predictable sitcoms
leftover pasta
miss mom’s cooking
one more drink
destruction of the self
to save the self
so weary
late night news
tomorrow’s weather
good day for fishing
bed
sleep
alarm
headache

Posted in Poems | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Attempted Eavesdrop

Posted by beckert10 on April 8, 2010

The two women to my left
chatting over coffee,
eyes flashing seriousness,
mouths’ secret Mona-Lisa smiles,
could very well be a
photograph in a museum,
to which a patron might think,
“I like it,”
without really knowing why.

Posted in Poems | Tagged: , | 6 Comments »

Town Crier

Posted by beckert10 on March 24, 2010

Blue-sky afternoon
creates just the right look
with the lines of the historic buildings
the melting snow.
See the smartly dressed townspeople
park their shiny imports
one big, happy family
with white, straight teeth
overcoats and leather shoes
Here is nature at its finest
creatures at one with their environment
blending in seamlessly
among the neat brick work
and prosperous-looking store fronts,
contemplating which restaurant
will provide them with sterile courtesy
menus with clever meal titles.
They walk deservingly down Norman Rockwell streets
the meaning of social contract crystallizing
with each step under the warm sun.
A morning like this is a right,
or rather,
consolation for
something given up by
their younger selves.
It is interrupted, however,
by a bearded, skeletal man
eyes glazed
staggering down a window-shopping alley
spraying vomit.

Posted in Poems | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

The Photo

Posted by beckert10 on February 24, 2010

Hidden away in an antique shop
among old milk bottles and rocking chairs
I find a tin type photo
of a handsome, dapper man
with a mustache and cigar.
His eyes mock me,
say that
someday, I too will be just
an old photo
surrounded by
lunch pails and washboards.

Posted in Poems | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

How a Poet Spends Christmas

Posted by beckert10 on December 29, 2009

Passing Charles Simic’s house
on December 24th,
I have a vision of how the
poet spends Christmas:
His head a hornet’s nest of mad thoughts;
his form
Iridescent: radiating
deep, eerie blues
around firelight.
The touch of wine glasses is
a siren’s wail
luring him into
obscene introspection
about family and tradition.
He catches his reflection
in a blue/green ball,
distorted,
surrounded by aqueous faces,
Strangers, truly!
He excuses himself to the balcony
to be alone,
considering all a man really needs
is space.
One world is ablaze behind him, another unfolding before,
Formless, cold and opaque.
Standing there,
he composes this poem.

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