Monday, May 31, 2004

State Hospital

We have all of us, long since, died here.
And we are all so very dead, already dead and for so long.
But all the same I'll ask it anyway,
Could I have a cigarette please?
There are too many of us, all of us asking, and all of us at once
But could I have one please?
We were children once.
And some of us were happy.
Me they told me I was sick then, and it hurt.
But now what I want -- and it's all I want -- is a cigarette.
When you give me one I feel the whole meaning of life -
So I wish you'd lay one on me, and it'll be like you love me.
I've got a light - I just want a cigarette and it's all that I can handle.
But do you, does anyone, can you -- do you love me at all?
But I won't ask that.
I'm strange and I'm lost and you are nothing to me.
You go to Hell.
And I'll ask again,
Please give me one.

Copyright 2004 by Diana Strelow.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry 360 with permission of the author.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

National Portrait Gallery

The faces of the dead who live,
Forced in oaken frames, painted
Close in oil, washed with
Pale, correct temperas, follow
Across the room with eyes
Of surprising humanity.

In our colored thought, we see
Them in a daily life our own:
Digging for a dollar or
Forgetting a grocery list,
More than feeble saints, they say,
Is what consumed us. Made of flesh,
Now pigment, we too had our
Days of indolence and tincured
Anger: thought sex, ate love, had
Our children dearer than the earth,
And then were nothing. Were we
The chosen seed or did we dream?

Only these pictures stand with us
Between our lives and faceless dark.

Copyright 2004 by David King.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry 360 with permission of the author.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

The Other Side of the Slotted Spoon

We fed the poor and homeless there
Our stew and bread we went to share
A rosy glow it brought to faces
and spread some cheer around that place.
Then out on the street and down the way
and scattered around, the folks did stay,
in a parking lot stood a woman there
with shopping cart who lives nowhere.
Her countenance I recognize
that look of lost was in her eyes...
We sat her down upon a chair
and fed her stew ...two bowls - her share.
'Twas all we had left in the pot.
We dished it out, it hit the spot.
She showed up looking dazed and rough
we served it up, 'twas just enough...
The Master's hand was on that spoon
that fed the hungry by full of moon.
I felt a warmth from sharing thus
by twist of fate it could be us...
on other side of slotted spoon
standing in line by fullest moon
with blanket there and checkerboard
and hungry stare to ill afford
a home to stay and food to store
and yearn for comfort evermore.
Forever will the homeless be
an analyzing soul once said to me.
I think on this and draw a frown
forever's such a long time sound.
Yet what is their purpose there
to teach compassion and how to share
to show us all a contrast,
measure our blessings far more
rich to treasure.
Could it be so this is their role
so humble yet sometimes so bold
part of a plan we can't quite see
worked by the Master Deity...

Copyright 2004 by Phyllis Johnson.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry 360 with permission of the author.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Sailing the Lady Maryland

Our fathers did not live like us
Upon a vessel fixed by mind,
Decorum in their narrow eyes
The trading of a life for life,
Consuming of the tide
In all its intricate and swelling forms
A passion of flesh released.
Living close to nature, they
Knew no sin in killing,
But kept all life in living it.

We, of nature now so tamed,
And indolent on the living water
Take for play their outward form
Of motion, from wooden hulls
To the slap of bleaching sails,
Their faces, we hope, our own
Their hearts were something more
Both savage and content.

Copyright 2004 by David King.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry 360 with permission of the author.