What’s In A Name

Oh girl I miss you so much
and I remember when I
called you baby, and
we cuddled beyond
the lust, but

I must say the words
have changed and I
don’t know what
women want to be
called

Oh my dear
intimate friend,
I love you by
any name, and
tell me if
you will greet me
at the crossroads
where I will sing
like the creature of
our dreams in the
fire of the unnamed passion

but I am not a dragon,
baby

This

So you will not bring me my praise
my light, my love, my will to live,
and I am sullen.

I can not rise to find
my refuge, my fortress
because I hear not
my encouragement
my praise

I fear I am nothing,
I am invisible

My courage disappears
because I am nothing

And it is an agony that
I talk to myself

I’ve heard this before.

Reading In The Circle Square


Oh please let me read
before the acrobats arrive
to drive me batty
claim my turf
near the museum
or in Central Park

Crowds gather to
see the somersaults
and the gray makeup statue people —
a statue that moves; what
is the thrill?

So I say in my false bass
to carry my voice for three blocks
echoing off buildings:

“Carp not the day, but
kiss the past good-bye,
consume the meats of glory
while salad days are over,
green envy of youth begins,
and I say unto you:

friends, toilmen, bumpkins
lend me your eyes to spy;
I have come to bury Caesar salad
not to praise tyrants as Caesar
fishy and salty like an anchovy

See me praise the dance
on the graves of the grave,
and praise the praise
brought to ceremonials

Cheer me
and I shall be cheered,
for no one can tell me
what the sound is
of one tear clapping
in a thunder kiss
applauding the future”

The Vandals and the Visigoths
the hoodlums of heckler youth shout,
“Shut up Shakespeare creep”
(I translate from the key of F)

But I see her of sultry look
turning to pull me into her
like a force field
to tear me from this
mob of barbarians
into her poetic world of fantasy, and
yes, I’d be her Romeo

I turn to her and read:
“I woke up to my
longing for you; coffee
bit my dream
I stirred your cream

If I dress to seek you
will I know where
passion gallivants

You haunt me with
your many haunts. I
feel a phantom kiss
and miss the bliss from
flesh and ardor, belief bones
troubles massaged in a love whisper,
soothing music
melodic compassion

I am out to find you
driven like the mating birds;
walking, I hear the coos
but let them fly unknowing
for I have a gift for us:
wait ’til you
see me smile
everywhere I know you”

I fold down my sign
pack up
walk to her
wanting to ravish

She says,
what do you really do

—- Douglas Gilbert

Selfie

Because she knows
my arms are shorter than
the river is wide or is
longing in turmoil

she shipped me a selfie stick
across the Amazon divide

but I’d like to decide
we’d race with dueling sticks
at three paces, and run
a hush to photo finish

Somebody Else

You must not wake me
when I’m dreaming of you
frozen in time

I remember you better
the way you never were

I could love you in a dream
if only you would be for real

I sleepwalk in nightmares
tired of life tripping me

If I open my eyes, I hope
you’ll be gone with a sandman
who has begun to sand the roads

Come Cry With Me

If this be the day
of shelter, I am joy;
come.

If you are here
with me in spirit
do not be so subtle
’cause I will believe
and listen to whispers
in the wisps of dreams

Oh yes,
come tomorrow
in the light

I have waited forever.
Be with me and
I will love you so.

I have a kiss for you.
Come get it.

I will be kind to spirits.
All I ever wanted was
a picnic with you.

I promise no rain will fall
on us much more than
to hide tears, because
I want you to know
you are joy, and I
have a sandwich
to sandwich us
to be tasty

We will spread out
on the meadow, and
if there be rain
we will run inside
and laugh
as the giggles pour on the roof
and you show me heaven.

On Being Cheerful

Some creamy ice
though cold and white
has no cherry on top
but only stones below, although
its photo is nice, its
clouds majestic, this mountain

Down and cold just below its top
the mountain piques me, takes
me down without a flag, an
inglorious retreat from ledge of death
no prize for frost; I
fall on shattered icicles cutting
crystalline loneliness, an
avalanche without prayer; I

haven’t reached any peak, for
never in the valley without song
were cheerleaders
ever real in off-time chants
a game without purpose
within a pompon face
a Kabuki without soul in
made up role
rolling seasons of bland
blandished like

roly-poly trophies
for pudgy spirits
unrisen dough
rolled to be crusty
never wrapped around
fruitful filling,
never in the valley where all were
drab stand-offs off-putting
waiting to putt on dull greens
show off
send random climbers
to their deaths
for amusement, gossip, and
news about brave fools
up a mountain without a fog horn
or paddle from an ark

Alone and down
I walk away from
ledges of death
to icicles that
shatter like glass
cut many ways

Rose colored blooms of blood blossom
thorny questions, because

Positive spin
had made me nauseous
dizzy

peppered in pep-talk, I had
sneezed ideas as common as pollen,
few flowers to share

cold
I descend now

Alone
I won’t mind
a glass of wine, and
death without
another winter, but

my orchard remains. I
reach for one
last summer.
Barks.

Does someone come?
I am afraid

Origami

To find a present,
not just anything
goes for these for
whom appearance
requires a
chic gift, wrapped
in pleading paper
like a teenager in
peer uniform

Too much money for
wrapping paper, but
I found a gift
I might buy if
I could skip lunch
again, this time
wrapping up death
unless someone can
teach me origami, and
crumpled up love
for those thrown away

No, I will send no gifts
only open the mystery packages
that I found under the snow
in the forest
by the dead
homeless man
clinging to a teddy bear and a bible

Flakes in April 2

Many hunt for you to capture.
I hunt for you to love us.

It snows whenever you leave me. With sunshine
you melt me every time you come. You

always leave me
in a storm and in a whisper. I could
know you in the mountains
splash with you the stream, if only
I’d find you swimming free.

Do tears freeze on your face
when leaving for mountain exile?

Next time you come to hide,
let us be rivers and
and meet in the ocean
where there is no snow.

On Being Done

I’m pretty much done
though still rare or raw

Too old
too poor
too ugly

not much to grill, and
it doesn’t seem like
I’m cooking at all

there isn’t anyone
who would listen to my
je ne sais quoi

yeah I know
I keep repeating myself —
I only know a few
silly phrases
and I suppose,
make-believe charm, but

really I think maybe
if I were given a magic wand
I’d use it responsibly
to seem human just for you

Please tell me that
what I feel is right:

You are magical
with barbecue sauce, and

I’m not such a bad chef, because
my onions are sautéed with love