Saturday, April 30, 2011


So many clues…
The eagerness or caution of your steps
The shadow of your parry when I feint
The angle of your blade as
You prepare offense

Still, I struggle to detect the theme
Fill in the blanks
Fumbling with possibilities that
Seem to fit, but later prove
Just one letter off

You cleverly disguise the import of your acts
Throwing me
Misleading hints,
False leads,
Puns and misdirections

Surrounded by the residue of failed attempts,
Disparate answers that won’t integrate
I mutter curses as I
Regroup, reformulate my thoughts
Grope for another phrase

As I reset the score and start again, the lesson’s clear
Never write your strategy in ink
Earnestly try to make erasable mistakes

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Closed Line

So many things I can’t control
Your speed, your
Laser-guided point
My paltry set of skills

I can at least
Set this one factor constant
Nail it to the wall:
My quarter four is closed
Shuttered, barred and inaccessible
Don’t even think
Of trying to assault that line

Except, of course
You do
Because that’s where you end
By force of habit
Preference and practice
You’re so very sure at the last moment
I will waiver, flinch and
Open up a little bit
A crack, enough that slender blade
Slips through

Except, of course
I don’t
And so your weapon meets a
Solid line of steel
In effect, you’re parrying yourself
And I need just riposte
Supreme efficiency
(Damn funny, too)

A lesson here to take into the world
Sometimes all you need is sovereign confidence in one sure thing

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Sometimes success proceeds from
Mere determination
Rather than from practice, skill or luck

Single minded focus
Stubborn fixation, blind persistence
At times, improbably, pays off

Think of your attack: met by well-timed parry
Prudence dictates drawing back but
What gorgeous surprise if you bull through!

It works, a little bit, in life as well
Naïve optimism, dogged perseverance
Never letting “no” dictate a halt

Therefore I’m not eager to renounce
My confidence, my ego (if you will)
Extravagant in its ambitions

I know deep down I’m brave I’m strong I’m
Capable of plowing through brick walls
I should embrace these native attributes

Instead, too often
Ambushed by uncertainty, stained by fear
I freeze, immobilized by doubt

At such times I need to break
The stasis of distrust

Impervious defense will sometimes yield to
Forcing of the blade

Monday, April 4, 2011


iChing fortune: “You have become too friendly with your inner demons. It's time to take them out one by one”

I know my inner demons
Perhaps a bit too well
Familiarity has bred…
No, not contempt
But resignation

They’ve scratched themselves a cozy nest
Claiming the best room in the house
Inured me to the
Raucous parties that disrupt my sleep
Pilfered my stash of
Small essential things
(Toothpaste, bandages and soap,
Contentment, self-respect)
Dodged the basic chore of
Taking out the trash

When bored, they entertain themselves by
Poking through my closets
Hauling out embarrassments I’d
Stashed deep in the back, intending to discard

Examine ancient photos, scrapbooks, yearbooks
Laugh hysterically at images
Documenting slow and painful growth
Youthful experiments
--and note I haven’t changed

These uninvited guests have long o’er-stayed their time
Trashed the house
Devalued property
Pissed off the housemates who endure my moods
Why don’t I just insist that
They decamp?
Heave their sorry asses out
Into the night?

It may be I secretly believe that
They hold valid title to the space they’ve claimed

I need an advocate to serve them notice
Terminate their stay
A champion with utter faith that I deserve
My peace, my solitude
A little bit of healthy self-regard

I’d post a notice for this opening
Trusting to receive (in this economy) an avalanche of applications
Even for a job as odd as this

Except, alas deep down I recognize
I have to conquer my own doubt
I’m the one who let the demons in and
Only I can boot them out