Steak

In youth,

I’d take my steak

Well done only,

Extra dead, I’d say.

Now, older,

having been taught,

Palette educated years ago,

I’ll take my steak

Rare only,

Extra moo, I say

Raw if I could,

I say with a smile,

The tang of iron upon the tongue.

Swallow down fibrous chunks

of bloody muscle

barely chewed.

Wash down all reproach

With the tinny taste

Of blood.

No Art

     This was written after I completed a five mile hike and then picked up 
     a volume of Elizabeth Bishop's poetry to enjoy once again on a sunny
     afternoon.  My answer to Bishop's poem, One Art.

 In this thing called losing,
 Bishop said we become masters
 And that losing isn’t a disaster.
  
 No, Not a disaster.
 Losing socks and such stuff.
 I’ve lost earrings, bracelets,
 Expensive ones too, didn’t care
 Beyond maybe a minute or two.
  
 And no pain beyond a stab of nostalgia
 Did I have upon saying goodbye 
 To three houses and two cities.
  
 And yes, it was no disaster
 To bury my mother, 
 A father who really wasn’t,
 The man who really was,
 First one brother, then the other,
 Then lastly, a wife.
 With each, my body and soul
 Savaged by a hurricane, catastrophic, yes.
 But no, no disaster.
  
 Except perhaps, yes, I’ll admit, 
 A tiny bit of soul eroded 
 From the waves of each hurricane
 Breaking over me as I buried each.
 And nothing, nothing did I master.
  
 Except, maybe this—
 I did not look for them
 Since they were gone,
 Emptied of this earth.
  
 Now, there is you and
 I look for you
 In everything I do--
 Every sunset
 Every sunrise
 Every in between time.
  
 I look for you in strangers,
 In cars I pass along the street.
 I look for you at festivals,
 In films I see.
 I look for you in places,
 In the sky of Ruidoso,
 In bars,
 In restaurants,
 In the eyes of strangers, 
 I look for you.
  
 I look for you in all this.
 And in this thing
 Called losing, 
 In which I am well-schooled,
 As are we all, 
 I have tried to make an art,
 To make an art of all this loss.
  
 Yes, this may be no real disaster,
 But Bishop lied.
 There is no art in losing,
 No art at all,
 That I can find to master.
   

Reading You

 I read 
 Every word, every sentence 
 of you;
 I memorized paragraphs 
 Of you.
 I found warmth
 In the chapters
 Of you;
 My lips whispered the words
 Of you 
 As if they read sacred incantations.
 My fingers tenderly turned each page
 Of you,
 Missing you upon turning to your last.
 But finding joy 
 Upon turning once more
 To your first page,
 Reading you,
 Discovering you,
 All over and over again.
   

Leaves

 What will be found 
 When all the words
 Needed are spoken
 Without broken tongues,
 Lisping fear filled air?
  
 What then? When,
 Soaked in sweat of honest prayer 
 After all the raking of words,
 Piled as autumn leaves 
 Between our feet, 
 We stand facing each other.
 What then?
 Bag the leaves,
 Clear away the broken stems 
 Between us?
 Or leave them piled
 To swirl up
 Around and between us,
 Ever present?
  
 But what would be the point
 Of letting words fall then?
 Surely nature, left to its devices, would
 Clear the pile away 
 In its own time and way.
 Then we would know a spring,
 Feeling the blood stir,
 Moving within our veins. 

Words in the Electronic Ages

  
 What we know of words upon a page
 Read, learned over again until sated
 In the richness found.
  
 Then turn to the electronic blue haze
 Where even words resonate, echoing fade.
  
 For the sweetest lies, a believer craves.
 Then scrolling over plastic flowers dancing,  
 The words of a lover’s refrain found
 Written once too often 
 In wooing others
 On the same blank cards
 With pictures of bears.
  
 The words like 
 Cheap plated jewelry’s shine 
 Turn black in the bitterness
 On the day some thought 
 Something pure, pristine was born.
  
 Then, finally, is it known the words
 Of the poetic, the romantic
 Are but rhetoric and lies
 Written and said  
 More than once
 But promised
 For one.
 
 The gravity, the gravity
 A black hole.