Midnight Metropole [Free Verse]

Trains are done running.

Shops are shuttered,
    except in the red-light districts
     where the neon circuits burn. 

Food carts are set up
    under streetlamps,
     sending out plumes of
     fried food & grilled meat aroma.

Plumes meant to catch drunken strollers
    looking for an affordable bad idea.

Tonight, the city accommodates all,
    finding a bad idea to 
     fit each price range.  

Whitman’s Eye [Free Verse]

Walt Whitman saw the world 
   with its ubiquitous beauty
     laid bare.

He saw it in dock workers
    & painted ladies &
    swimmers & walkers &
    Presidents & paupers. 

He saw it in every hue &
    sinew, and danced it into hymns.

Fool’s Wisdom [Free Verse]

license to speak
license to think.

the jester can say,
 apparently in jest,
 what he feels to be real,

and, if he does so with 
 sufficient linguistic dexterity
  to not be murdered by the monarch,

he has fool's wisdom. 

In Captivity [Free Verse]

bars at your back,

and their stripes
 permanently etched 
  into one's field of vision.

so much so, 
 that you feel they're 
  a ubiquitous feature
   of the world beyond. 

the cage should be a hated place,
 but one can grow to love the cage.

the cage is shelter.

the cage is delivery address
 for food & water disbursements.

the cage forms rollbars --
  like on a dune buggy --
   protection in the event 
    of a sudden & unexpected crash.

the cage offers one a range --
 narrow as it might be --
  of distances at which one's captor
   may be kept,

and, as long as the cage is shut,
 that gives one a delightful 
  illusion of control. 

what a hated place a cage should be,
 and yet how conflicted are the captives?

Elephantine March [Free Verse]

The herd is on the march.

They lumber with slow

The young achieve   
       playful swagger,
        but aren't allowed
         too wide of the line. 

I wonder whether they're
       going someplace good?

Love Locks [Free Verse]

Wandering through a new city,
 I come upon a bridge:
  its rails loaded with locks.
   They call them "love locks."

It gets me wondering how many locks
 long outlived the love they memorialized?

How many were lust locks --
 linked to the bridge before 
  the couple really knew each other's
   vexing peccadillos?

How many were like ill-advised back tattoos,
 a lover's name - someone one met in Vegas - 
    and whose name one wouldn't
       otherwise remember, 
     were it not inked across one's spine
        in a 120-point flame-festooned font?

Mongoose Crossing [Free Verse]

A mongoose crosses the road.
 My mind makes it Rikki Tikki Tavi.

Is there a cobra in the tall grass?
 Is this a heroic mongoose? 

The mongoose disappears from sight,
 and I'm left with no answers. 

Music Appreciation [Free Verse]

Not by hearing or listening,
     but by feeling the rhythm,
     body / mind resonating to it, 
     being effortlessly attuned to it:

That is how the music transports one --
            how it changes one's mind.