Poems


hidden wires

when i was born a girl 
i looked into my father's eyes 
and saw what i thought were tears of joy 
but now i know 
there was also a hint of disappointment in them too

still, i thought life was great 
and at first i did not understand 
why they gave me so much freedom 
or why my brothers had to study hard, 
their spirits tamed and moulded 
into lonely bonsais of success

but it was soon i saw the hidden wires 
that shaped my own destiny 
dragging me along the road 
from dolla house dreams to name brand schools 
where girls becoming women learn 
the princess poses that they'll need 
to lure a seed to womb

in childhood i was free, unlike my brothers 
but now, there i was in offices 
pouring tea for men whose suits 
were the leaves of the lonely bonsais 
that my brothers too had become

like the dreams of our husbands 
now chained to desks and whiskey nights 
the dreams we had were not our own 
and our real life dollhouses are now 
so cold, so empty

--1997

two songs written on a mountain

night falls 
and caterpillar rain 
sings in the darkness 
above me 
beneath me the ground swells up in sweet fatique 
and sighs 
a song drifts off asleep and dies 
the branches now must bear the weight of birddreams

the sun is shy 
at first 
faint in the sky 
then louder it lights uo the meadows of flowers 
where butterflies fly 
and get drunk

--1974, Harriman State Park, New York

Untitled

not even the swiftly sinking stinking filing order of uncle sam stuff dreams are made of corporate men nor corpse machines can transplant this exiled tree into the red, white and blue arm of sanity

1974

winterbound

let love linger while it may 
then die so gently 
like a great grey seagul 
here today and later gone 
to where its wingdreams are reborn

love seldom sings forever 
but only now and then 
and sometime ages pass 
before its whirling winds return 
to catch us in their dizzy grasp

like leaves that linger through the night 
of autums come 
and summers going father south 
so our souls are winter bound 
to sleep apart and then perhaps 
unite again one day

lifeturning 
like sunlight surely 
is a certainty that mends our wounds 
and drains the old blood from our dreams 
to our our new ones better wings


1974

who?

who- 
in this hide yourself 
be silent sea of blank stare faces 
captives of the 9 to 5 
and 6 days sold to 6 nights' numbing- 
will be the one?

will it be you? 
.....then who?

who- 
who has ever wearied of feelings leashed to inlaid smiles 
that even wives and hsubands in love's heat half mustered 
can't remove- 
will be the first to laugh off cue 
and let the game come second for a change?

who- 
in this sea unrippled 
will dare be first- 
i ask because 
i know it cannot yet be me

--1981

poem written on a train geneve and lucerne

as frieght trains in the night go by 
so our lives like chains 
grow long 
and not so simple as we'd like 
them to 
the last car rememering not the first 
nor caboose brakeman, engineer

but as the names of passing makes of 
dogfood, cars and napalm bombs 
pass like camera shutter clicks 
before our child eyes 
so we live and then forget 
the moments fleeing by

we stand at dawn 
like children for the whistle listening 
left then breathless by the mass of rolling boxcars 
we soon loose count 
and left there stunned 
we watch the last one passing

--1974

leaving

with our throats made sore 
by tears pushed back 
our sadness shining in the wetness of our eyes 
we stand 
and sense the coming of the going 
and the end of a rainbow

here where we hold a moment heavy in our breasts 
we hope against all odds the train will not leave 
it leaves 
washed down the tracks by our tears 
its groaning coaches downing our weeping

and in the mirror of our parting 
we say goodbye to yesterday's stranger 
and catch a glimpse of something 
stronger 
sweeter 
greater 
than the whiskies that we'll drink to forget 
forget that in one aging moment we could cry 
and that in that moment we could feel 
and that in that moment 
we were alive

--Norway, 1975

the living end


baby boy child just hit baby girl child 
but mama will not intervene 
mama is too busy making mellow dreams frim corncob 
and papa will not heal the hurt 
for papa does not know he's papa 
where he's parked in one dark corner 
taking in a drop of sunshine

perhaps george washinton 
upside down on a dayglo wall 
will speak the words to soothe the wounds 
and lead the children from their pain 
to some safer, softer game

--1967

ceasefire

ceasefire

twenty gum chewing heros stood grouped in a circle 
and pointing the bulging eyes of their cameras 
toward the mass of death before them 
hurriedly cocked the shutters 
as if to catch a lingering last breath 
before death closed in to silence the struggle in the eyes 
and spoil the shots for the folks back home

--written at the close of the Vietnam war


© Arenson Paul 2016