p o e m s   by   s e t h
1997-1998
.

 

aloof

she moves like a cat
full of shyness
full of fear
sadness
of untold depths
reflects in her eyes
that look quickly away
from my offered smile
i will never know her
i will never hold her
but maybe someday
she'll shed her
tired
worn out
skin of sorrow
and maybe someday
she'll smile back
at someone luckier
than
me

~

 

chain

we think
we're so special
we think we are
at the very top 
of the 
food chain

but
the mosquito
that just bit my leg
disagrees

she says
the food chain is a circle
and every creature
is part of that circle
and no one is exempt
from the laws
(or the wrath)
of nature

and
as i quickly end her life
with a swat of my hand
i'm inclined
to agree

~

 

pension

get in good
a government job

so
in twenty
or thirty years
when your soul has dried up
from boredom and neglect
you can collect
one hell of a pension check
during your years
of hindsight
and
regret

~

 

illusion

we are
perfectly engineered
dna replicating
containers

organic chariots
for the
almighty genes

we are
their puppets
they are our creators

imperfect
selfish
alive

we
choose a mate
so they may breed

we exist
so
they
may survive

~

 

manhattan fading

out of the city
finally
i take my shoes off

tired toes caress soft grass
fallen orange leaves
as autumn approaches

eyes adjust
to clouds and trees
unfettered by concrete
and steel

ears find
crickets and wind
uninterrupted by honking horns

a tiny insect lands on my arm
and
i'm not sure which of us
is more surprised
that
iím here

~

 

the sewers look the same

after
so many years
shedding childhood

i return briefly
to the small town
that shaped a young boy
so long ago

an old man
solemnly raking leaves
in the strong fall breeze
i have been here often
in my dreams

leaves fade slowly to brown

i can relate
wandering aimlessly
down sidewalks of my youth
distant memories of a forgotten life
swept away by eternal breeze
infinite decay

only the sewers look the same

(perhaps a bit smaller)

there's where Skeeter
buried a praying mantis
while it was still alive

there's where i
would sit alone at recess
watching the silly games
wanting to play

i look around
and they are gone
grass grows up to boarded windows
some trees are bigger
some trees are gone
quality of light
somehow faded

a futile game of what-ifs
retracing a childís footsteps
blindly glimpsing ancient fears
clumsy memories of innocence lost
as it starts to rain
time to go home
this
isnít home

~

 

hollow

tonight
it hit me
for the first time
in a long time

overwhelming loneliness
despair
sorrow beyond tears

i feel nothing
but alone
i feel nothing
but sadness
i
feel
nothing

~

 

a tree in winter

sitting
alone in the forest
watching a tree breathe
the planet's breath

deliberate
imperceptible
alive

leaves fall
from majestic barren branches
no heartbeat no breath
no life

if
i could
watch her
brave winter storms
without complaint

if
i could watch her
bending to the arctic wind
then i could watch her
bloom again

but
it is
not to be

a still
small voice
barely heard above the din
beckons me
back
to the land of palm trees
and movie stars

i
find myself
boarding a plane
destination points west

taking my seat
on the wing of the mighty chariot
thoughts turn to impending winter
false
destiny

~

 

35,000 feet over toronto

i can still taste you
on my skin
i can still smell you
on my clothes

i wonder
how things would have been
if i could have loved you
i wonder how things would be
if i had stayed

i look down
at the earth below
and
i wonder

~

 

potential

when i was a little boy
i heard alot
about my potential

i wasn't living up to it
i wasn't trying hard enough
i could do so much more

now that i am older
trying to do something with my life
all i hear is

no

you can't do that
don't set your sights so high
don't be so ambitious
don't try so hard

why
did everyone
have to change
just when i needed them

~

 

a billion neurons behind the curtain pulling levers

my brain
has the thought
that it is a collection of cells
working together
to ensure survival of the body

just another organ
just another part
of me

sometimes it thinks it's king
sometimes it thinks it's god
but it's only me
every thought
every emotion
every tear
every fear
everything is real

just don't look behind the curtain

~

 

something to tide us over until somebody figures out cold fusion

if we keep spending
half of our budget on defense
instead of
teaching our children
healing our sick
feeding our hungry

we will come to the point
in the not too distant future
where there is nothing left to defend

this is our country

we have to take it back
from the military industrial complex
we have to take it back from the oil companies
we have to take it back from a government out of control

they are the true enemies of freedom
not madmen across the water
human beings

they have families
they brush their teeth
they blink

they own corporations
they buy politicians
they control the planet

they see no profit in a balanced society

this
mindset
must
change

towards a civilization
where innovation benefits society
where energy sources are non-polluting
no longer a burden to our planet

a spiritual people
in balance with our world
at peace with
ourselves

~

 

a new censorship

politically correct blinders
handcuffing and gagging
free expression

only the narrowest truths are allowed
through the veil of lies
and smiles

nothing offensive
nothing honest

morally sanctioned speech
read from a script

don't think
for yourself

read from the script

don't think
for
your
self

~

 

  infinite question

i live
in this universe
in this galaxy
in this solar system
on this planet
in this hemisphere
on this continent
in this country
in this state
in this county
in this city
in this neighborhood
on this street
in this house
in this room
in this body
systems of organs
made of cells
deciding what i will type next
each cell a servant
to the DNA
mighty molecule
made of atoms
who couldn't care less
sculpted from electrons
protons and neutrons 
which are
made of quarks
and who knows what else
and what the hell
are quarks
made of
?

(strings perhaps, but what are the strings made of?)

~

 

forfeiting the game

the
decision to write
came upon me slowly
stealthily

playing gently with my mind

until one day
i decided i wasn't going to be a grocery clerk any more
so i quit my job
i filed bankruptcy
i dropped out of college

i locked myself in a room
with marijuana and miles davis
to peel back the layers
so many layers
for all to see

closing in
on the mysteries of the universe
the secret mind of god

writing it down

so
maybe
somehow
someone will understand
maybe even
you

~

 

cul-de-sac

communication took
a wrong turn somewhere

language
is supposed to express emotion
not repress it

after millions of years
developing crude syllables into complex language
we spend our lives
engulfed in a landscape of mass neurosis
blindly groping at each other
lost
in the deafening boom
technological evolution in a world unbalanced
where the scariest monster of all
is
truth

~

 

subway

she gets on
sits down at the other end of the car
our eyes meet
i quickly look away

she moves closer

why 
does she 
keep staring at me
she is so beautiful
she could have anyone she wants
why is she staring at me

in the commotion of the next stop
she ends up sitting just two seats away
reading "the fountainhead"
which i haven't gotten around to yet
but a friend says it's an amazing book
so i should say something to this incredible creature
who wants my attention

but
shyness wins again
it sits between us for a few miles
and forever

the doors open
people rush out
i make my escape
to the 
concrete
world above

~

 

shreds of myself

emotion
pours out of me
onto the page

a blizzard wind
through a bare forest at night

i try hopelessly to suppress
these fears
tearing through me

leaving shreds of what's left

skin crawling
itching
burning
i scratch in vain
i drink more
smoke more
type more
coaxing the monsters
out through my fingertips
exposing them for all to see

this person
staring back from the mirror
hiding behind these words
struggling desperately
against the
eternal question

who
am
i

 

~

 

 

seth's room