Sunday, December 6, 2009

Let The Clown Finish The Act

If I loved you any more, if I loved you anymore
I would care about the dark circles under your eyes

and the shame to your father
for destroying his strong family name

commending your violence, on cut-and-run day
I resigned as your deus ex machina

replacing your economics of deceit
and the lack of topography in your voice

with gate-crashing reminiscent of the Tracy Awards
a most acceptable anesthetic of choice

far removed from the days when I would cry alone
aware that if I were your addiction

you would have known
right where to find me.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The History of Us

"I call ‘stranger'" as a seating assignment
tells a lot about the passenger on the bus

you had no idea that at that very moment
that you were a whisper caught and released into the wind

another degree of separation cut from a slice of social
strata grinding in tectonically skewed nonalignment

whatever God watches over the powerful brought
you into the conversation as an example of raw beauty

a cleansing November rain, a pure oboe phrase
a scaffold out of the underworld

of that one day among the bocage when strangers
dissolved into a discourse of porch dancing.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Man In The Volvo Singing Opera Music

While the rest of us waited at the corner
for the traffic light to turn green

each in our own way
buffering sounds
of yelling hotdog vendors
layers of cab horns
reggae music blasting from the suit shop

a solitary man sits in his car
with windows rolled up
in a cocoon of cigarette smoke
opera music filling his atmosphere
him singing along
insulated for these brief moments
from a world that commands his every move

I glance from the side and notice that he is
the doorman from my building

when I return home that evening
he is smiling as he opens the door for me
as he always has, only
now I know the reason why.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Breakfast With Nine Black Alps

Drop what’s in your hands
the bones you’ve collected have details you didn’t anticipate

“prison doors sound like wedding bells
as you ask for change at the wishing well.”

what moral compass
who the patient zero

of fireworks and discovering Auschwitz for the first time
shivering under a bridge in a cold rain
this is a portrait of your finest hour

framed by a chilly November morning
as the sun breaks through the Youngstown fog

while a lady wearing trash bags as shoes is seen reading
letters written the previous night under the glow of a streetlamp.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Dress Rehearsal

In my most private moments
I write scenes which show that I am
no better than those who came before

past muffled gunshots
crowds applaud the caged canary singing
tone deaf to those who would rewrite my chorus

the orange palette of an Ohio autumn
each leaf a smile of mathematical inconsistency
commanding and decisive

an integration of time and dance
of genuine good offices
with a cover intended for others

I watch leaves paint a park bench
falling on stilts of unequal height.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Exchanger Of Souls

Deep inside my storefront cemetery
you scribble your last
will upon my walls

I then grab your most prized possession…
pocketing it

knowing that your soul
won't need it much longer.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Muddiness Of Right And Wrong

Where Thomas Bayes alive today he would surely

suggest that you chose to forget the effects of time

making your money off the evening news

living life as a self-maimed short straw

under a tree shaded by empty souls

I stand breathless with good posture

not necessarily requiring your grief to move on

but when I talked with God he had nothing to say to me, either.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Her Name Is What It Means

You will never age for me, choice lines
written by some then unknown playwright
or were they sung by Frank Sinatra, Ole Blue Eyes

a fitting parallel in a veiled world of parallels
like how wing nuts brought my father home
the same way it supports your love of art

were I not a man of propriety I should want
to fall in love with those eyes, strip you from the need
of using shyness and polite mystery as brinksmanship

if confessing histories are to be worn as passports
then mine has hundreds of more pages to be stamped, looking first
for a place in the sun adrift from our forced market economy.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

How You Treat Black Men And Children

With bodies floating face down
The Colonel must be proud of how
you treat Black men and children

while you pile stones for the fortress
you sadly have yet to notice that
the winds changed direction months ago

frankly, I’m not surprised
I hear it’s hard to smell scorched embers
when they burn so close to your own nose and throat

but that shouldn’t stop you from
continuing your quest to rid
the world of the thinking and compassionate

on this first year anniversary of my death
I salute your ability to survive
despite your own coat remaining constantly ablaze

and, when the Black men and children
do eventually find you floating face down
I am sure they will know exactly what to do.

© 2004 Dan Kasten

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Slow Blood Red Death

You listen with a mental clipboard
Not writing prescriptions
For my ego may be too fragile.

Our future a shattered vase
It’s shards having ripped open my hands
Bleeding puddles
Running into the sewer
Assimilating with the underworld
Where all of this belongs anyway.

You continue to listen.
At what point will you recognize
What slow blood red death sounds like?

© 2003 Dan Kasten