Ethereal Hoarder [Prose Poem]

Straight out of college, my first job involved strolling into the homes of strangers. This is when I learned about hoarding. Turns out, you don’t have to venture into many American homes before you stumble into a full-blown hoarder’s lair. I don’t mean a messy home. There’s no moderated middle for hoarders. If it’s not floor-to-ceiling chaos, you’re just a slob — not really a hoarder. [Oddly enough, “hoarder’ sounds less offensive than slob, but it’s worse… much worse.]

The occupant of the first hoarder-labyrinth I sidled into was an old lady who’d busted her hip slipping on a glossy magazine from an avalanche that had collapsed into the narrow, navigable canyons of her living room.

At the time, I couldn’t understand the impulse to hoard. I’ve never clung to used up material objects. For me, books are the closest thing to a precious, inanimate object, but they’re like soup bones — once one has sucked the marrow out of them, they just take up space and gather dust. [With precious few exceptions that are uniquely-shaped and -sized for a task like opening a beer bottle or clubbing an intruder.]

Still, if I’m to be honest, I’m an ethereal hoarder. All that page-extracted marrow is clogging up my mental attic. I don’t know that I even have narrow, navigable canyons at this point. Too often, it’s a soul-crushing slog to schlep one of the few fine pieces out from storage. It may sound like a good problem to have until one realizes that a lot of it is rubbish, rubble, and remnants — no more useful than the broken-hip lady’s twelve-year-old newspapers, twenty-three year old Good Housekeeping magazines, or eight-track tape polka music collection.

Czech Limerick

There was a writer from the Czech Republic
who only got a few of his works published.
But for bleak, bureaucratic crimes
he was way ahead of his times —
who knew we’d soon see people wantonly punished?

POEM: A Voiceless Birdie Told Me

Notions whispered into my mind — unheard.
They’re just hot-injected scraps of feeling.
I seek a source in floor, wall, and ceiling,
but I know that can only be absurd.

This is no exchange by grammar or words —
nothing is concealed or needs concealing.
Notions whispered into my mind — unheard.
They’re just hot-injected scraps of feeling —

like the voiceless notes of a little bird,
received without a chirp or any squealing.
Wounds don’t need to hear they should start healing.
The feeling ‘s clear even when the meaning ‘s blurred.

Notions whispered into my mind, unheard.

POEM: The Emperor’s New Clothes

Source: Ivo Kruusamägi via Wikipedia

It wasn’t the Emperor’s nudity
that so offended me.
It wasn’t what I saw, but rather
that which I could not see —
a skeptic’s sense of what was not,
what was, and what might be.

Anyone who knew their ignorance
could never be so fooled.
He’d say, “I know that I know not;
of that I needn’t be schooled,
but that man is plainly marching
so completely butt-a$$ nude.

It’s they who say, “I must look good.”
who become ego-ruled.
And can’t see the Emperor is
so very, clearly nude.

Zen Garden Haiku

I
evergreens,
twisted and bent
to gnarled beauty


II
arched bridge
forms a wide eye
with water’s mirror


III
the garden
designed, aligned, and kempt —
nature, but not


IV
peace-filled
by tranquil sights —
soul programmed


V
sitting on grass,
the rocky outcrop
turns island

POEM: Saved by the Breath [a Rondeau]

My mind curls up into a Breath
to wait out wild and weary thoughts
about who catches and who’s caught
and what is scarier than Death.

A toothless youth whacked-out on Meth —
all roads to hope come but to naught.
My mind curls up into a Breath
to wait out wild and weary thoughts
of men who went the way, Macbeth —
costly made, and yet cheaply bought —
iron-forged, but ambition wrought —
a shapeless agony of Death.

My mind curls up into a Breath.

POEM: Beauty

People prefer a face that can launch a thousand ships to one that can stop a clock. But did the clock-stopping face break the clockwork mechanism or halt the steady increase in entropy?

[Speaking of entropy, and it’s insistence on increase, a more disordered face reflects a more advanced state of progression, and yet that advancement isn’t honored.]

Back to the clock-stopping face. Breaking the brittle plastic gears of a mass-made clock is no great feat compared to ship-launching. But binding up the inexorable flow of the universe? That’s power.