POEM: A Certain Madness

there’s a certain madness
running through this world
times of tiding gladness
lightning bolts are hurled

discombobulation
in the soul of state
riding tides of nation
as we’re dodging fate

singing songs of nowhere
drumming beats of now
stumbling down the upstairs
counting whys and hows

subcutaneous drum beat
sinking to the bone
sitting in the fire seat
deflecting all the stones

so many without sin
or so they seem to feel
tossing stones on whim
sharpening their steel

Crazy Wisdom Sonnet

one can’t get to that sacred place direct
one must pass through a station called CRAZY
your mind and that wild line don’t intersect
and the path between is dim and hazy
you’ll find there is no you, you can detect
as you flicker in and out, mind-phasing
til on the far side emerges perfect
a mind that fires bright and remains blazing

beware he who values his sanity
above the wisdom of this space-less place
flashing sane is just a passing vanity
but madness brings a timeless kind of grace

It’s venturing through the dark that steals will,
but venturing through the dark steels the will

POEM: Half a Hundred Hungers

1.) nose hunger happens when you leave the building in the predawn hours and the scent of bacon or baking bread cinches against the stomach

2.) hunger of social convention is when one eats a slice of granny’s pumpkin pie because one can’t be rude, even though one just scarfed down a burrito moments before

3.) the desperate hunger of the lanky kid I once saw in a cafeteria snatching waste food off strangers’ trays as they moved down the tray return conveyor to be washed

4.) eye hunger upon seeing the foodie’s perfect plate: clean, geometric, and heeding the proper balance of white space — though only vaguely looking like food

5.) the savage hunger of bared teeth seen in North Korean villagers when the famine got so bad that people’s bodies self-cannibalized the fatty tissue of their lips

6.) dilemma hunger in which one must decide whether to feed the body or some impulse beyond reason

7.) hunger for affection: a drive to feel loved sometimes expressed through the presentation of cookies and cake

8.) hunger for attention: a drive to be noticed sometimes expressed by how many grapes one can fit in one’s mouth

9.) hunger gone automatic is observed when one’s hand puts a candy  in one’s mouth before one’s conscious mind is even aware one has done so

10.) hunger for oblivion: when one east the poison, knowing it will kick one into the abyss

11.) hunger for comfort is seen when one craves any familiar food

12.) hunger for the exotic is seen when one craves anything but the familiar

13.) sexual hunger is displayed by one who looms over his food, lustily partaking of it while loosing himself in waves of euphoric pleasure

14.) jealous hunger: when one loves a food so much that one suffers pangs of envy upon seeing someone else order it

15.) over-the-hump hunger is the phase of fasting during which one no longer believes one will “literally, die of hunger,” but during which there remains a vague and persistent hunger of which one can be readily distracted

16.) sensational hunger: when a hunger becomes a mere sensation, devoid of value assignment

17.) stupid hunger is experience when the brain says, “no more thinking until I know that blood glucose is rising”

18.) hulking hunger occurs when low blood sugar sends one into furious rants about inane topics such as wallpaper patterns and the sales tax on a pack of chewing gum

19.) empathetic hunger is experienced when you see someone who looks like he is starving, even though you are fully fed

20.) ice cream hunger typically takes place when one is stuffed, but when one is confident that there are voids and crannies in one’s food pile into which the ice cream can melt, and that, furthermore, the cold, creamy goodness will somehow lubricate one’s digestive track to provide a discernible benefit

21.) mineral deficiency hunger: when you see a salt block out for cows or deer and think, “wonder if it’d be alright if I got up on that?” Eww! But seriously, it’s when you’re jonesing for a bag of chips

22.) calculated hunger: when one isn’t hungry but concludes that one should be hungry based on the when and what of ones most recent meal

23.) travel hunger is when you aren’t hungry but you know a sandwich on your budget airline will give you ptomaine and that by the time you get to the hotel you’ll have shifted into hulking hunger [18] — it’s generally a rationalization for having a brownie from the Costa Coffee

24.) breaking bad hunger is the point at which one is so hungry one will resort to thievery

25.)  requited hunger is the rare hunger for foods, such as crocodile, that can be equally hungry for one

There are so many hungers I don’t think I’ve ever known:

thick hungers  [26]

thin hungers [27]

wanton hunger [28] (full disclosure: I’ve had wonton hunger [29], which is a hunger for little Chinese dumplings)

wishful hunger [30]

troublesome hunger [31]

burdensome hunger [32]

wild-eyed hunger [33]

intransigent hunger [34]

there are the unnameable [35] and unknowable [36] hungers that I don’t know whether I’ve experienced and can’t have had, respectively

and there’s dead hunger [37] that I’ve definitely not experienced

there are others that I’ve known:

sweet hunger [38]

sweet and sour hunger [39]

umami hunger [40] but not edamame hunger [41]

42.) forgetful hunger occurs when one was too busy — or distracted — to eat

43.) time contraction hunger is a desire to eat lunch not because one needs calories, but rather because one really wants the workday to be at least half over

44.) homicidal hunger: like “breaking bad hunger” [24] this is the point at which one would murder someone for a french fry

45.) first date hunger happens after one eats that salad designed to create a good impression only to find one is still starving

46.) six-second hunger occurs when you are so hungry that you consider the five-second rule null and void and will eat food off the floor no matter how long it takes you to pick it up

47.) pizza hungry is when you are only hungry for one food — pizza — and will opt not to eat if only other foods are available

48.) “Man vs. Food” hungry: this is not what it might seem. It’s when one is so hungry that one could still eat after having watched an episode of this show — a show which usually shines an ugly light on hedonistic culinary impulses

49.) pet food hungry is the level of hunger sufficient to make one willing to eat pet food

50.) physiological hunger: the urge one has to eat in order to supply calories and nutrients to one’s body

POEM: Avian Game Theory

a murder of crows harasses a hawk,

out to steal the meal that wriggles in its talons.

the hawk giving its all to fighting crow will lose its squirming prey.

no crow is match for a hawk,

but no hawk is match for the murder,

and so all birds go hungry.

POEM: Engines of Desolation

That stubble, once a forest full of trees,

now rides the hills down to the turd brown sea.

I’d heard the drumming coming from the banks.

An army of axe men formed into ranks.

Firing up engines of desolation,

scarring the earth in ragged ablation.

And down the river, those drums went silent.

Modern man wondered where the tribes all went.

 

In ancient temples they’d preached mysteries.

Lost to the burning of the histories,

by purists who’d gathered in mankind’s flanks

to massacre all of the mainstream cranks.

 

And they sang their songs of faith and nation

to the tune of engines of desolation.

Five Farm Haiku

gleaming steel
plow blade turns the dirt, but
dirt taxes the blade

 

a weed pulled
in due time, beats one hundred
plucked too late

 

stalk stubble,
the haggard mourning face
of the field

 

mile high crazy quilt
viewed by climbing passengers,
brooding nature’s mood

 

when light is short,
but field days are marathon
harvest gloom

5 Haiku on Emptiness

white space,
where readers’ eyes go to
rewrite stories


when thoughts cease,
senseless pictures form;
minds abhor stillness


Plato’s pupil knew:
“nature abhors a vacuum,”
if not much else


the fog wall,
flush with the land’s end,
invites guesses


endless dunes,
stretching far as eyes can see
yet never the same

Nepal Haiku

birthing Buddha,
distant looming mountains
breed wisdom

 

glassy lake,
mirroring boat hulls,
a world below?

 

standing aside
as beam-totting porters
pass us on the trail

 

tea-house quarters
cozy and quaint lodging,
’til snoring starts

 

cool air in face,
trudging up — oblivious
to cloud-freed snowcap

 

glacier gone,
scoured trench, gouged in earth —
maybe next year

 

monkey overlook,
from sacred stupa to
the human warren

 

5 Haiku on Silence


harsh silence,
lost beats steal word’s
authenticity

 

silent snows
seen through crossed muntins,
drifting eerily

 

fog resting on
Coconut Grove’s soil until
chased by dawn’s din

 

ridge rows,
in waning shades of gray
end in white void

 

creek burbles
hushed to unheard drips
from icicles

POEM: Pillar Rock

enshrouded in cloud,

a Chinese painting transplanted to India,

gnarled evergreens grow from cracked granite

like the bonsai that twists into a broad bloom of foliage,

i’d have thought the great white space, simple shapes, and gorgeous deformity

wouldn’t appeal to the Indian mindset —

so taken with vibrancy and fullness,

and yet crowds throng round,

staring in wonder,

ensnared by the same scene as

Shen Zhou when he painted, “Poet on a Mountaintop”

or

Fan Kuan as he painted, “Travelers Among Mountains and Streams,”

like two lovers fixated on one moon.