An Undefined Drop in the Ocean

She’s a renowned philosophy professor
an Atheist by trade, but

we looked out at the stars
one night on the beach, and
it seemed an oceanic feeling

when she professed her love to me
in her way, and I did in mine

Waves of happiness
swept over us like a
shared Yikeness in the Sillyverse


Fleshing Out the Text

They were walking text-makers
and emoji hunters, but

the last neat text said
meet on Main Street.

Looking down
on opposite sides
they were crossing when
he got hit by a truck.

He was dying as
his circuit boards
splayed out of his body

She said aloud,
“You’re a robot?”

He said,
“Yes, aren’t you?”

She took out a pocket knife
cut open a vein, and
bled to death.
The Adventures of You

I told you not to go to the South Pole
because I don’t want you to freeze

But your freedom is dear to me
and you are so happy with adventure.

I want you to be
gleeful with a dog sled,
race with the wind.

I think the angels
will warm you, and
professor lover dear
I love your research
of life, of snow, and
of me.

I will tell your peers, that
they must publish your papers
in a Journal, just because

I say you are worthy
of truth, and
the data is glorious:

let them look, and
if they give you a prize

I will be ecstatic for you,
but as I gift you with me
I hope you’ll duck into
the cloak room at
the Noble Prize ceremony
and kiss me, because
I love your work
Throbbing In Crevices

Though there’s little food in Sugar Ditch
the rabbit hoped to hop from me
a foolish-stewing-hopeless creature,
who’d let luck go where
fecal creeks don’t drown
perfumed hope

Broken down in Sugar Ditch
waiting for a scholarship
I was wheeling like
lightning struck me down

The documentary camera came
just before a thunder wash,
saw the open sewer
that’s home to family shame

I pulled out my crying rag
time moaning sack of clothes
and the man heard me sing
while driving lightning roads

Honking horns daring me
to dream away from poverty,
I bent my trumpets to heaven’s ears

But no one told me
evil flies to me
every place I go, and
King Sorrow would reign
over sovereign hopes

I reached the skyscrapers
a tourist of bad timing
had to be the highest
place to see heaven
aside from you

After lightning struck this New York
I was lying under debris,
my quilted sorrow bristling
with cast off bricks

Mortar thoughts around me
being so damn mortal, I
could be thundered away
to the heavenly scene

But a steam pipe was hissing
while lifted stones flew away
like missiles whistling
choruses of dusty blues

Jaws of life jacking time
they slid my body out in time
let the building collapse on through

Thought I heard,
old Joplin singin’
more on Earth
will be slapping you
if you
dodge more bullets
from another fool

And when I sang right out
across the clapping crowds,
my best laid blues
went right to you,
New York girl
in a rabbit hat

Oh magical girl,
my new love,
you kissed the breeze
made illusions
fondle my wishes

Now I dream of you deeply:
my salvation laughing everywhere

To whinny, my dream horse gallops, your
giggling jiggling in my cortex,
cerebral fondness hunting for you
in pulsing fibers
embedded in desire
throbbing in crevices
of nerve-cell books,
passions hiding in no man’s nook.

You journey through my mind,
scampering mind dancer,
doing wild animal tangos. I embrace

your beauty in the hunt
to capture your essence;
my dogs sense your scent,
a presence so foxy,
they transcend all knowing
rockin’ and rollin’ in serotonin.

I have traveled into you–
touch me there
where thoughts are real
and lightning tingles fine:
hats off to
everlasting good times

When I awake to you
I am in heaven

“Back Door Poetry” (eBook)
    by Douglas Gilbert
       on Amazon











Walking in a Dream World

Avian Translation

I’ve always wanted to speak
to the smaller birds, so
I’ve done a lot of weird whistling

Sometimes a little birdie cocks her head
and tries to see if I’m a threat or a bird benevolent,
but I’m neither a mate nor predator, just
a conversationalist

So I whistle something which means
“give tomatoes to Owls, like Caesar.”

And she says, “Huh, what? And
for a Human you don’t look so bad
even though you have no feathers.
Why is it that you can’t fly?
It’s so easy.”

And I said, “Why is it that
you can’t speak and write novels.”

“Well, then,” it said, “have you written one lately?”

And I said, “Um, no…”

And it said in a way that I think it meant kindly that
I was a birdbrain.

Ode to Sloopy

Oh my neighborhood is blessed,
so sweet the streets, but yet
I mourn where you were,

where I saw you down the other road:
down and out town where I never
could seem to be for long
forlorn and never understanding
your faithful path; I watched

the caresses paved on
bumpy roads, your skips

on tangled streets, without
any proper signs but caution
and sorrow, and

I could have loved you
so easily if you were in
my class at school, and
my illegal notes would have said

I am not fulfilled with
just my toys. Joyce dear dream,
with the pony tail and smile,
could you play with silly me like
you’ve always loved me
on the streets of true love.

Sometimes I think
you’ve known me

But now that
I’ve grown
now that I moan

can I give you my map
to find me, though there’ve
been so many years?

There’s a song and I say Hello

Joyce babe, oh
you’ve known the song so
don’t fall off the mountain;
hang on to an edge,
hang on to a love to be
that should have been.

Oh baby I don’t know why
your Daddy put you down
and why you stayed with cockroaches
in your sorry part of town

Oh baby, can you cross the border,
and don’t be down,
’cause there’d be no disorder
if you’d wait for me on the corner,
only wait for me where
we would have loved the sky
on a street of love, and where
we could have walked forever, but
now I’ll call you a cab into heaven

’cause I know there’s a cliff
where everyone dis’s you

But baby don’t fall;
I’ve got the rockin’ gear
and the pinions of a mountain climb

I know you’re on a cliff, but
hang on

I will hoist you up to God, and
maybe He will share you with me

because I want to save you, and
my rescue ropes are of joy. We will

cross the border
and climb a better mountain
beyond outrageous stones
those devils throw

How can they know
your kind heart
if they’d be mocking birds.

Let me sing to you of
sweet rescue, because
don’t we both need to
climb to a heaven we need
so desperately

I think we are good
to hang on for love

because never would I
want you to be anywhere
but on my street if
you love me, or

even if you don’t.

Foamy Dream

There is an ocean at dawn
that skirts the night tides
crashing swirls and sea birds

There is a froth to morning dreams.

I’ve been staring at foam in my coffee
remembering the ocean starring in ending rain
a conjured dream of frothy us, stars
beneath an oceanic drink of dawn

It was
coffee boiling hot for
the exigency of a dream, and

when from the freezer I plunged
an ice berg scoop of ice cream in it
the titanic foam made giggle bubbles
that speak of the dream when
you laughed your dainty blessing,
so pretty your voice, your smile in
the swirl of your skirt like a current
or maybe I just imagine such formality
like the majestic blue of the ocean at sunrise
because you know I don’t mind your bikini too,
love the virtues of shallow laughter-water,
know that the splash and the play
do pull tides from the deep imagination

I can be hot
to be cool

and we sat on the white sand
under the silly white umbrella we had borrowed
not imagining rain on our white beach, where we thought
if only sunshine would be in the heart then joy rises

for sunrise at the beach is
a glistening foam
silver crests
deep blues
an orange glow
and ice cream foam

and I dream of you
with fireworks in the sky

maybe I imagine love
blue and foamy
silvery crested

[EDIT: Amazon changed the links]

Washing Poems

Washing Windows

She asked me why
window-washers wear harnesses

I said for their loved ones.

She giggled,
“I don’t love you.”

So I took it off,
pulled her out of the window
and we both fell to our deaths.

One of us went to Hell.
Why Did You Plant Flowers

Why did you not go
when I told you
the tanks are coming.

Why did you go
into the garden, when
I told you there are
never flowers.

I wanted to send you away
but I was too weak when
you wanted to stay with me

and I said hide, but
you wanted to plant.

Why did you not go
when I told you
the tanks are coming.

Why did you go
into the garden
where there is no rain

and a bomb
fell on you.
Rubble of You

You are so beautiful
with streaks of dirt
on your face, and
torn clothes.

Gorgeous are you
with matted hair
and blood, because

they’ve pulled you
from the rubble

and I heard you whisper
I love you

Sometimes when I go fishing
I catch fish. Last time
a lot.

decided to sell, so
I went to the fish market
to see how they do it.

He said, “How many pounds do you want?”
I said, “None. I’m selling not buying”
He said, “Stop fishing.”

I went to the market to sell books.
She said, “Go fishing.”
He said, “Go fly a kite.”

What am I supposed to do
with books on how to
fly a fish, and
fish a kite out of water
with a catfish and a hook?
Adopt A Martyr Lottery Machine

It’s in the Supermarket
between the frozen vegetables
and the fish monger concession

It takes credit cards or bills.
Many photos of women and children.

A charming photo
on my lottery card
the family I adopted

My adopted family on the news:
machine gunned to death; means
I won a prize: a million dollars. Now
I can afford sizable fresh fish.

Went across
from the vegetables
to buy a fish, and

showed the aproned man a copy
of my winning card. He

fell to the floor, flopping around
gasping for air, whispered
“My daughter, my daughter…
I told her not to join the revolution.”

I said,
how many pounds is the fish? He

didn’t answer so I shot him dead,
and several people had his card —
they all cheered because
some days are lucky
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

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

I descend now

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

my orchard remains. I
reach for one
last summer.

Does someone come?
I am afraid

Will I Sweat a Sweet Summer’s Day? (Archaic English)

Indeed I’d liken thee to a hot intemperate day.
Thy art work hangs on the wall by the bed:
in the heat and torrents of Summer’s bray
the painting warps ‘n tilts though glee outspreads

Though furies of heaven are too hot tempered to tame
And oft’ the sea would rush in with scorn,
a perfect day fickled with clouds it disclaims
a wispy willow tickled and teased forlornly

Though a Sonnet in thy bonnet hotter than the Sun
thy eternal fire of soul consumes thee not;
Thy burning bush fertility rite not done
Nor will death retrieve heat God wot:
One summer’s day none can tame
As there’d be forever my Dame.
       — Parody by Douglas Gilbert

[Thy reference: Sonnet 18, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?” — Shakespeare]

Adopt A Martyr Lottery Machine

It’s in the Supermarket
between the frozen vegetables
and the fish monger concession

It takes credit cards or bills.
Many photos of women and children.

A charming photo
on my lottery card
the family I adopted

My adopted family on the news:
machine gunned to death; means
I won a prize: a million dollars. Now
I can afford sizable fresh fish.

Went across
from the vegetables
to buy a fish, and

showed the aproned man a copy
of my winning card. He

fell to the floor, flopping around
gasping for air, whispered
“My daughter, my daughter…
I told her not to join the revolution.”

I said,
how many pounds is the fish? He

didn’t answer so I shot him dead,
and several people had his card —
they all cheered because
some days are lucky

Fish Watching Paint Dry

Far off and oddly near,
deformity inheres a storm, where
the sanguine slosh of war reigns

a bellicose rain with thunder claps
applause in one-sided prayer cheers,
a dear victory one day at least apt

Power on
power off
power who

Some fishy things are left standing
a shard of a city, a hope façade

Too long the fish have watched
the decrepit peeling walls
from their tank barely maintained, but

the turret tanks have left in retreat
and the rebels have won a day
with a song, a prayer, and a slog

Time to paint the walls for now cheery
those celebration colors on the cheeky walls
where the fishys don’t mind if I move them
now that the power is back on for a slosh

Though soaked in fish water and paint
I can brush victory colors on the wall, and
now finally take my long hot shower, soapy
in soothing melodrama upon the
skin of fantasy and the caress of peace, but

fish can not go back to the tropics
anymore than I could go to the North Pole
to mourn the memories frozen in agony

Where Is Damascus? (2012)

Damascenes can welcome
tourists of many shades,
many kinds of refuge for
adventurous palettes, a

taste of freedom perhaps for
foreign and countryside tourists

From many places
people seek refuge
or adventure in Damascus

Shelling in Idlib, Homs and Hama.
None of our business. People
seek refuge in Damascus. OK.

Shabiha intimidate those
neighborhoods now nearby.

Soon violence may come to
our narrow alleys
mingle among tourists
wrapping up a night wandering

Seems a friend is accused –
disappeared by glass fronts and by street stalls
where walk-by tourists are stalled along narrow ways
on Midan street, and eye the high towers of
baklawa and night-market syrups on
pistachio-and-walnut secrets wrapped in
phyllo dough wrappings and raptured night

Are we to be tourists too
who will mingle with darker nights,
pack up and wrap up the day
flee too when the last
of the grilled meat
oozes lamb scented oil

seeming no time for
sfouf cake, sesame cookies
or crumbly mamoul

going now without tea perhaps
making our way quietly
off the record, secular
and I’d deny I’d ever said that
religion is superstition. Say that

family were kind merchants
who made money honestly
obeyed the state of affairs

What are we to do
with the art works in our house?

Saying that perhaps
Damascenes never mention
chic addresses again
where honey-pistachio pastries
seemed to entice
a palette of fantasy tolerance
bought with elite education, where
no one could know

we were pet dogs
and happy to eat until
the countryside wolf
became a tourist

Cherry Pie

I remember
a cup of sugar
half a lemon
dark red cherries in
a crust of pain
crumbly falling into a
hellish oven fired
like she told me, 375

In search of peace, I
pray to forget the pain
remember a fragment
a recognizable fondness
without stains baked in

Because in blood
she’s gone, I’ve
dreamt of her
flying through the windshield
unsheathed grief a steel shard
poking in the night, bladed
blame stabbing me, I’ve

fallen asleep too much,
letting her wiggle back
into my bed with
screams driven
around the maple
red syrup on pancaked body
splayed from brave speeding guts
driving death too slowly for agony,
her nerves still alive
for howling pain
mourning for morning
in heaven, but

she waits in dreams
she’s gone
not far

I still look for her
charming me like
all the times we
drank together just
fooling around

Steer me to insomnia
and don’t tell me
I shou’n’t ‘ve been
driving around
fallen leaves of
growing blame

I am innocent though
I hear her cries as
I pull green leaves,
rake others,
a chore I take to stay awake, yet
mangled words I hear from
green veins turned red rustlers
stealing steel hearts to rust

I can’t drive this hell
away from the tree,
because she was smashed
in a pulp novel dream all real

Lord, I’ve dreamt of her
because she’s gone

Don’t let me listen to her songs
booming my soul sorry ways

Down the road to regrets remembered:
my friends who died in battle
like period clumps the size of Seattle,
because of these
I must eat pie and beer suds,
cherry filling that looks like blood,
the sting cherries like sudsy guts

I must rest
in a restaurant
slicing beef filet
like dicing shrapnel
from hell that beats
down fox hole hearts
in cherry rivers heat. These
pie marks stain the brain
though gaining ghosts
have no beef with me,
as I was brave then
to try to save them and me,
but I will desert dessert

Too sweet
a lie
that life
is like a pie
thrown out of a disco
by me
gin high on despair,
falling in snow, cutting my hands
on ice crystals, watching the

Angel of Death seized by her anti-muses
dancing her mocking prelude to
my own booming grief, death amused
by lean harvests of thought and lost jobs

I dream of her in song
because she’s gone

Because I will not sell
my boom box for food, away
from boom times
I’ll dance into sadness. Fresh batteries
will let me live. I will

dance north past the winter wheat
into the cold, to the arctic. If

not stolen in silence
my music soul will dance
me, murky joy forward
pumping bends thrusted
stamping, panting moans
spin tapping down the up
beating soul bursts
desperate to express a
tone of noise splashing. I will
not die laughing wet
when batteries are gone. I will
die dancing
an old Eskimo
parading on ice flows,
horns of mortality played
strings strummed, no
chords encore
chafing from chaff