Category Archives: POEMS

ALLERGIC

He crept around the kitchen.
He crept behind the stairs.
He crept along the hallway.
He crept upon the chairs.

He lurked in every corner.
He lurked where he should not.
He lurked within the basement.
He lurked from spot to spot.

He skulked between the bedrooms.
He skulked where he could squeeze.
He skulked around the garden,
But the flowers made him sneeze!

SWEET SYLVIA

Come on over

Come a little closer

Kiss my lips and let me kiss you back

Let’s take our history and unpack

Open the doors we closed

We both deserve so much more

Your heart shaped in a life vest

Keeping our future abreast

Let’s go the rounds

Two becoming one as we settle down

ITALY

i

Cobbled streets have the burnished look of stone skulls
sinking like a necropolis of Ugolinos from centuries
of bewildered tourists stumped in the Eternal City, mulling
over which way to turn. Every ruin begets a selfie
like a Hollywood set directed to life then ditched
with each phone’s shutter click. Past the bronzed
facade of the Colosseum, ominous as a chipped gold tooth,
other crowds follow like apostles the voice of a guide, yawning
and carrying her flag aloft like a cross. Even here I look for
a history of myself. In the Musei Vaticani, I zoom close
to Art’s record: frescoes, sculptures, altarpieces, and war
with pilgrims for the best shot, studying the prose
of a guidebook to explain Exekias’s amphora,
the slave boy delivering clothes to a nude Pollux,
or why every Christ child craves the adoration of a
black Magus: shades frozen in a single hole.
The crumbling stone beneath our feet speaks to us;
even Rome’s dust possesses something of human
grandeur, the elegance of decay. I envy the triumph
that certain paintings give back my face, but Romanus
Pontifex
almost sealed my fate. Still, I’ve more hills to climb.
From every gift shop Papa waves at his blessed lambs.
ii

One evening someone will dream of Tuscany and see us
walking along a narrow country road past Relais
San Bruno, plum littered, beside the north-facing slopes
of vines like formations of green soldiers on their way
to nowhere, a stray dog trotting ahead like Hecuba
who halts and impatiently looks back, checking
our progress to San Biagio. If dreams are rumors,
we are sliding into the light of prayer, practicing
soliloquies of silence in our first year of marriage,
our astonishment punctuated by those cypresses
whose exclamations put a point to blessings. Offstage,
if that sleeper should change pose, and half undress
herself of sheets, let her shift not break cataclysmic
and lose sight of the stone-bright travertine walls,
nor the hills rolling soft as her body, these ancient brick
farmhouses, nor morning’s rustic tinkling call
of sheep bells, the honeyed fortress of this city whose blush
of red poppies in fields below collapses some tourist,
our dreamer, into the arms of her husband, crushed
by the view from Montepulciano, nor the way she holds his
hand against her chest lost in a pasture of tiny dwellings
whose faith repeats in campaniles that reach her deepest wells.
iii

That window at the Grand Hotel Palazzo in Livorno
framed the Tyrrhenian Sea like a white-bordered postcard
he placed gently on an imaginary wire rack below
other views accruing whose postmarks
he’d yet to stamp, so they swiveled in his mind
involuntarily and slowed with a squeak: perched angels
standing guard on the bridge of Sant’Angelo, the crenellated line
of cliffs above some coast, a shop owner waving farewell,
sweeping and aproned, roundabouts whose circles he never
completed, the half-erect heads of sunflowers like a cavalry
in training, all clichés of travel, even the waterfront terrazza
with its checkerboard squares. But not her pillowed beauty
still sunk in sleep, a soft coating of night sweat on her face,
her neck lengthening into a Modigliani. The arrowing flashes
of fallen stars he prayed upon were superfluous; their places
changed, but she, she would remain like the horizon whose light
increased, flooding their rented room. Dawn arrived, the shrieking
seagulls circled into view, next, a ferry, launched to fulfill its routes.
Flip this over, a scene scrawled in lines clear as Greek, stealthily
composed then slipped under his door like a hotel receipt.

DOCTOR MEYERS

No other man, unless it was Doc Hill,
Did more for people in this town than l.
And all the weak, the halt, the improvident
And those who could not pay flocked to me.
I was good-hearted, easy Doctor Meyers.
I was healthy, happy, in comfortable fortune,
Blest with a congenial mate, my children raised,
All wedded, doing well in the world.
And then one night, Minerva, the poetess,
Came to me in her trouble, crying.
I tried to help her out—she died—
They indicted me, the newspapers disgraced me,
My wife perished of a broken heart.
And pneumonia finished me.

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SONNET

The late Gracie Allen was a very lucid comedienne,
Especially in the way that lucid means shining and bright.
What her husband George Burns called her illogical logic
Made a halo around our syntax and ourselves as we laughed.

George Burns most often was her artful inconspicuous straight man.
He could move people about stage, construct skits and scenes, write and gather jokes. They were married as long as ordinary magic
Would allow, thirty-eight years, until Gracie Allen’s death.

In her fifties Gracie Allen developed a heart condition.
She would call George Burns when her heart felt funny and fluttered
He’d give her a pill and they’d hold each other till the palpitation
Stopped—just a few minutes, many times and pills. As magic fills. Then fulfilled must leave a space, one day Gracie Allen’s heart fluttered and hurt and stopped. George Burns said unbelievingly to the doctor,”But I still have some of the pills.”

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THE HORSE POISONER

No one knew why horses were dying — two from two farms over,
one in town, three at the poor farm (not in great shape,
anyway, so no
concern at first), then the mayor’s son’s pony,
then three stalls in a row
at the local sulky track. The vet sent blood to the State Police,
who sent it to Boston for “further analysis.”
Meanwhile, two more died.
One so old it was no surprise,
and another mistaken for a deer and shot.
Some people wanted to make a connection,
but the errant hunter was cousin to the sheriff
and was known as too dim to pull off
a string of horse poisonings.
There were no more suspicious deaths
in the county for two months. Then three, lying down
next to each other, seen first by my cousin Freddy
at dawn in the town square.
He delivered newspapers.
Horses rarely lie down flat
unless they’re sick, or dead.
Test results came back
from Boston and, Freddy said, also the Feds.
Inconclusive, though each necropsy
showed that the poison
was delivered with the aid of a carrot
or a sugar cube in a carrot.

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HARDCORE

Yeah. It’s only a matter
of environment if
I’m a genius.

A genius is
kohlrabi in a turnip in
kale in

cellophane
in the freezer.
In

files they descend on
the white skin and
converge in the corner’s

follicles.
The ants are illuminated.
Basta.

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SHIPS

I’m religious.
As religious as the wind or scissors.
It’s an ant,she’s religious, the flowers are red.
I don’t want to die. I don’t care if I die now.
I’m more religious than the dust in the desert.
The mouth of a child is round. My eyes are
syrup, dripping cold.
Sometimes I think I baked nettles, but
I didn’t. Sometimes I think I’m miserable,but
I’m not.
I’m religious.
I will throw a barrel in to the river.
If bees rushed into my face, I’d scratch
at them with my hand and would see
again.
I don’t get upset.
The soul presses like the crowds at the door.
When I die, oxen will graze the grass just like this.
Houses will glimmer just like this.
Translated from the Slovenian

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WHEN YOU LOVE SOMEONE

When you love someone so deep inside,
It seems like it’s so easy to hide.
You’ve loved him for so very long,
You would think he could do no wrong.

Every day you would hope and pray,
That he would always stay this way.
He treated you like you should be treated,
You thought your life was finally completed.

You thought your love was growing true,
And then one day it was all so blue.
He started putting you down and it hurt,
You thought all you were to him was dirt.

He started ignoring you and you wondered why,
All you wanted to do was curl up and die.
You thought your relationship would never end,
But that was all so fake and pretend.

One night he was so sweet to you,
You thought all those things were maybe untrue,
Two days later he was back the same,
You thought you were the one to blame.

He thought the relationship was getting too serious
And that you had become a little too curious.
By this time you knew it wouldn’t last,
All the nice things he said were in the past.

You thought that you would marry him some day,
But this time God wanted to get his way.
You wanted things back how they were before,
But you knew this couldn’t happen anymore.

It was a Saturday night about ten o’clock,
You heard the news and it wasn’t a shock.
You knew this was going to happen soon,
As you laid there and cried in the pale lit moon.

I’M I ALONE ?

I get a funny feeling,
it comes from deep inside.
I get all mad and angry,
wanting to go and hide.

My doctor calls it depression,
my dad says it’s just me.
But the thoughts and feelings,
no one will ever be able to see.

Some say I’m psycho,
some say I’m just weird.
It’s like I’m a different person,
and the old me just disappeared.

I get really edgy,
I want to commit suicide real bad.
Then I get a headache,
followed by feeling sad.

I wish I could get help,
I wish it would go away.
Maybe if I keep praying real hard,
it will some day.

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