REMEMBRANCES OF ICONIC CHICAGO

I remember old, green copper and concrete lighthouses,

Green algae seaweed patched concrete water level lighthouse bases,

Water-worn wooden posts standing at angles in front of them

We floated past on the Chicago River tour boat that afternoon

They render in my mind more than

 

the iconic Chicago skyline,

the angular, massive, stainless-steel Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park,

the Aquarium,

The Sears Building we went up in to the observation floor,

The Green Mill Speakeasy where Al Capone used to hang,

 

As does the folk art that covered the walls on all three floors in The House of Blues

A shrine, it seemed

I remember one set depicts images of folk shot with bullet holes, bleeding

Every folk in the paintings shot, in that African-American artwork’s neighborhood

I remember the second-floor stage with nine world religions symbols across and above it

Symbols captured in language in the central iconic image above the stage

 

UNITY IN DIVERSITY

ALL ARE ONE

 

The burning heart on the ground-floor stage curtain

Iconography like the Catholic Sacred Heart

(Yes, I remember, too, the disappointing blues band there in iconic Chicago)

Taking home rather the impression of a visit to a shrine

 

As does a black man at Buddy Guy’s who remembered me from The House of Blues last night

Joined us at our table tonight, with funny jibes, japes, and jabs

While his wife smiled and shook her head sometimes

 

As does the personal appearance of Mayor Lori Lightfoot on the 4th of July

At an outdoor concert in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park early evening

Seeing her more memorable than the event itself

And now in Canada we see Mayor Lori Lightfoot on TV and smile at each other

 

(Maybe the free Picasso “Untitled” in Daley Plaza)—Carol liked it perhaps the best

 

Of course, I remember the patient, eager, hour’s wait to get into the Art Institute of Chicago

Paying extra for a special exhibit I now forget

Waiting in line to just view certain paintings:

“Arrival of the Normandy Train, Gare Saint-Lazare,” by Monet

“American Gothic”

And me being the only one in a whole exhibit room of early Christian art

(Part of me is glad that the proximity of religion

Hasn’t let Christian art be considered art in the same sense as Monet’s Impressionism)

 

Carol and I talk about what we remember

We talk about the trip

Things that meant, what Chicago meant

Chicago meant

EVOCATIVE NOMINATIVES

Sky mountains waterfalls ocean depths

Snowflakes white earth rivers frozen lakes

Leaves in the air fallen on the sodden ground enveloped by the season

Raindrops vaporescent oceans downpours clouds

Mist meadows fog sky rainbows

Faces mobs friends the human race

Love a God above devotion heaven sky and earth

KEY WEST: NIGHT CRUISE

The sun had left to darkness the reflecting sea

And the sunset gave the night to you and me

That we watched from the harbor,

The masts’ rigging weaving an arbor

Of love.  The night yielded up silhouettes I cared no longer to see

While I gazed on you in the harbor glow.  Some moments suffice for eternity

 

EXPLANATORY NOTE: Dear visitors to my site: Your each visit means so much to me, and when you “like” one of my posts it makes my evening (I usually post late at night, my time).  You may have noticed a recent flurry of posts–sometimes even two a day.  This is not a sprint of new creation.  I am revising some old(er) poems with an aim of assembling a collection to send out for publication.  To no small degree, I weigh the response my poems get from the internet to gauge whether I will include them in my collection.  In general, when I get a favorable response from the net, I, too, prefer the given poem, personally.  So I think the net is an accurate metric to consider when I make my final determination about whether to include or scrap a poem from the ultimate collection.  So thank you each and every one for taking the time to visit this site.  Your visits and even more, your feedback, are so much appreciated!  Sorry if lately I’ve been sending a plethora of scribblings into your inboxes.

THE WHOLE WORLD SHOUTS, “YES!”

I passed the greater passage of my time alone

Sometimes I stood against the world and I felt fine

At other times, a peaceful solitude I’ve known

But all I was and all I did was only mine

 

Now my life is our life!  You are with me!  We two!

Your presence dances in my work, effort, ambition

New purpose that I never knew devolves from you

All for you, for us, is now my inspiration

 

With you my life is blessed

With you is happiness

With you I want the best

With you the whole world shouts, “YES!”

 

Now my world, my universe, is doubly joyous

Now I am we

And joy or grief for me is joy or grief for us

Solo so long, we two is all I ever want to be

OUR LOVE FOR EACH OTHER IS TRUE

For both of us it’s been a trying year

My new med change, you lost your old career

I felt drowning in manic passion

You seemed overwhelmed with stress and fear

We stayed together despite desperation

We struggled but remained in relation

 

In hard times and in good times we still date

Regardless of the trouble on our plate

You are my support; I support you

As we accept—in fact, embrace—our fate

Our love runs deep through all that we go through

In ease, in strain, in everything we do

 

And now it seems we’re coming through our trials

Our grimaces are yielding into smiles

The psychic storm we both drove through is ceasing

Having churned through tempestuous miles

Our difficulty finally is easing

And pleasure in each other still is pleasing

TOGETHERNESS MAKES ALL THE DIFFERENCE

With you with me, I can handle anything

It feels sometimes as if the world is at me

Frustrations, failures, attacks enemies bring

In all, your holding me holds me steady

 

As Tristan and Isolde lived on love’s bliss

Our Love Grotto blesses every place and date

The outside world which whirls outside our kiss

Our love and deeds receive and penetrate

 

And when I err—I do—and stray awry

You call me back and straighten my direction

In all the flowering arts I love to try

When weakness saps, you fire my motivation

 

In life what matters most to me is us

We are salvation among change and sin

An anchor when seas turn tempestuous

I became we; then did my life begin

 

It is a holy gift to love and care

The world, too often, is indifference

We are the answer to each other’s prayer

Togetherness makes all the difference

LEONARDO’S SONNETS PART II

In fact, brain synapses configure

New pathways forming in gray matter

Thought processes and capacities for

New comprehension’s creation

Creativity

Reading a new work viewing

A new art form or revisiting such as

The Mona Lisa

LINES WRITTEN IN DEJECTION, NEAR NAPLES

Fugue V from Well-Tempered Clavier

And in the new generation, creation, art work

Writing a sonnet

A whole new brain is born

Any least aspect changes the whole

Recasts the mold fashioning

Consciousness

Any new experience and learning

Love

Repentance

The Rig Veda

Makes a new capability to make

And so, the sonnets of Leonardo

Indeed conspire in the painting of

The Mona Lisa

OKOS

OKOS

 

Okos,” my grandmother used to call me in Hungarian

When I was young and trying to sound profound

“I see what you’re trying to do; you’re trying to sound smart,”

My writing coach told me much later in grad school,

“Sometimes you carry if off brilliantly.”

A couple people even thought me a genius, though I.Q. tests have not validated the presumption

“I think that is a low reading; they have better tests, now,” my psychologist said

And I wondered why make a test if you don’t trust the results

Me, skeptical of the whole notion of genius

I.Q.

And now the degrees I carry certify me smart

And I don’t have to try

 

It’s easy to impress when to go for the intellect

It’s so measurable, quantifiable, easy to see

It’s all so easy

Witness the admiration our social structure bestows upon the smart

You’ll endear yourself to any mother by saying her child is smart

It’s all so easy

I had a hard time explaining to a man deprived of education

That knowing a lot isn’t intelligence; that you can be smart without school

 

Wisdom is a fine acquisition

Deep insights devolve from learning, coupled with reflection

As naturally as an ancient tree grows summer fruit from spring blossoms in due season

And learning can be acquired by anyone through application and motivation

The ambiguous ambition to be okos

Not necessarily smart

 

The wash and impression of intelligence drowns out

The song of simple goodness

What of kind, caring, good-nature, nicety?

What of love?

“Now I’m among dumb, nice people

“Instead of cruel intelligent people,”

A Yale grad told me at a church convention

I don’t know why brilliant academicians want to be so cutting

Why they don’t want to be kind, caring, good-natured, nice guys

What of soul? Of Blues?

And Miles Davis Freddy Freeloader

Lives in the same world as Bach fugues

And people love Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata and Fur Elise more

Than his mighty 3rd Symphony

And I love Bist Du Bei Mir,

Written for his wife, as much as

Bach’s Great G-Minor Fantasy and Fugue

 

And what of savage Nietzsche?

What of aristocracy’s progeny and their will to power?

Cutting comments twisted from intellectual cleverness

As if slave morality gives birth to

“sympathy, the kind, helping hand, the warm heart, patience, humility, and friendliness”

As if the good must be

“the safe man: he is good natured, easily deceived, perhaps a little stupid, un bonhomme

Yes, un bonhomme—a good man

No.  It does not all come down to Nietzsche.  and in this Nietzsche is dead wrong

Though he describes so well the desiderata I advocate and so desire to be and become

“Nice guys finish last,” they used to say

And I’ll finish last if that’s the necessary legacy of being

Nice

I don’t know what the Hungarian word is

YOU ARE

You are a firm foundation; you are the earth

Grounding the mistic effervescent misting effusions empyreal emanations volcanic endeavors

Cathedralic manifestations in which this life is built

The mists that a meadow flower-field breathes

The flighty clouds that condense in floating skies

Arising from oceanic bedrock by creative days’ energetic fire

Testing the receptiveness of a sea of otherness boundless around me

You receive me always.  Listen, lift up, light up life

When those clouds amass dark and impend disaster

Then you say, “There is no disaster.”

 

I’ve gotten along alone a long time

Time and times and half a time

As have you, too—in this our separate lives shared

But as I am alone in my generative doings’ aspirations

Being Self

You are always with the alone self generative

 

Gratitude

I forget sometimes

What all is gifted me, indeed, all I have

And it’s a lot

(Though most would call my circumstances straightened)

The greatest gift a Gracious Creator has endowed me

And you give daily, through the years, in the moment

Of your own volition to me

Carol, I thank you

AMBITION’S AMBIGUITY IN AGE

I’m not sure I know

 

How to about whether I can

Assert this point’s possible ambiguity

 

Things upon aging looking back

 

Ambitions to attain a name

Good job be important get ahead all the way to the top

 

Mystical experiences recast matters

 

I recall the litany I told the cabbie

Of failed attainments I felt entitled to by cheated life

 

Myself a failure disappointment and life half done things undone

 

Is it mysticism?  Workplace satisfaction?  Found love?

Olding?  That fuels my contentment

 

The whole question of ambition

 

Where’d that come from?!  How widespread in humanity

Nascent?  Acquired?  Self-imposed?  My grandmother?

 

My recasting of what I thought were failed attainments

 

In my age I realize that Swedenborg’s values were inscribed in maturity

For maturity?  And where would the world be without ambition in the younger

 

In my mind I distill a modicum of peak importances

 

And my failed ambitions fade into a fractured joke

And in my age I now understand Swedenborg’s values as mine

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