Love, Hate and Stopping Points in Between

[These poems date from 1970 through the end of the ‘80s and explore the ups, downs, depressions and elations of personal relationships we categorize grossly as love and hate; it is actually far more complicated than that, as can be seen from the euphoric and bitter works below. Seems that I remain often wed to rhyme, clearly a 19th century affectation; but the rhyme creates a controlled mood that can express peace in pace, or sardonic reference to peace when really what is happening is war – or worse. As to the blank verse, freedom from rhyme permits stream of emotion much closer to how we experience emotion ab initio, in its unanalyzed initial iteration. In all events, never apologize for what you write; worst that can be said of it is that it is bad poetry, and as to that judgment – who is to say?]


You are my song of love,
Cadenza in the sky.
You are the birth of Spring,
A new-born virgin’s cry.
You are the moon at dusk
Along the silent seas.
You are the breeze at dawn
That frolics in the trees.
You are the voice of life
That rises from the light.
You are the first-seen star
Across the spreading night.
You are my symphony,
Sonatas of the soul.
Flarings of the cymbals,
Drums that dare to roll.
You are the rhythm beat,
The how and where and why.
You are my song of love,
Cadenzas in the sky.


across a night that knows no shadows
getting on towards morning
she came to me.


I lay claim to you
And own you.
You are mine.
I refuse to be denied.
Well, you know it, and I know it,
And it’s time they knew it
Lest they trespass my domain
And learn to rue it.


I love you when you smile.
I love you when you move.
So if you put my heart on trial
I don’t know what you’ll prove.
I’m willing to stand still
To wait while you decide
And when you’ve had your fill
I’m willing to abide.
I ask you just one thing:
I ask that you be kind.
Whatever news you bring
Be gentle on my mind.

Make Up Your Mind

Either you love me or you don’t.
Make up your mind.
I am a busy man.
Today I must sign a contract,
Sell a building,
Dine a bureaucrat
Or two,
And talk the whole thing over.
So answer me: do you love me?
If you need more time—let’s see…
I can give you another appointment
Tomorrow after three.

I Love You in Four Short Lines

I love you (in four short lines)!
It’s towards you my heart inclines.
With your life my life entwines.
See! One line left in rhymes.

I Love You in a Greater Number of Lines

There was a moment
Soft as gentle memory
Warm as glowing fire
Slightly tangled in dawning but
As stars burned deep onto the night—
And then singing
Humming/purring and unfurling,
Releasing flowers and moist perfumes.
There was a moment
And it was you.

I Don’t Know

I cannot make love to you when you speak.
Our very words are the anguish that they wreak.

You will not let me love you with your skin.
When I reach out you will not let me in.

My poems only soften for a while.
Your fears well up, the ultimate denial.

There isn’t any sense to what I do—
I really don’t know how I can love you.

Love is Confusing

By the way … can we get together Tuesday night?

No, I don’t think so. I think that I have to skip next week.


May I ask why?


My husband … When I got home the other night he didn’t even want to talk to me. He didn’t – couldn’t even talk to me. He didn’t even look at me. After about a half an hour, he started – talking naturally, but even then …. And I couldn’t even look at him … not that I didn’t want to — I was just so … ashamed.

[Long Pause]

I’m sorry.

It’s not your problem. I’m not asking you to do anything about it.

I know — I’m not saying it because I’m guilty about it. I just feel badly for you.

[Quietly] – Thank you.

You know, I react to this on a couple of levels. The first is, generally, I’m very sorry that you’re going through this. The second I almost hesitate to say. It’s on the — functional level. We talked – identified ways….

I know –

… where we could be together without being so regular, predictable.

I know, I thought about that. But, well …

You don’t have to tick off a checklist ….

They’re just not good, for me.

[Long Pause]

I’m sorry, I know this is not the best time for you.

Miss Lilly: How’d I get mixed up with a shoe salesman from New Jersey who thinks that he’s a cowboy?

Running Water: Don’t you know what Bronco Billy’s Wild West Show means? It means you can be anything you want to be.

Laura in the Morning

What then is the promise
Of Laura in the morning,
Hung at edge of dawning
On the ledge of waking day?
An early, grumbling rising,
A hoarse, mellow surprising,
Then – galvanized unwinding
As she coils and spurts away.

And then, in work’s unsettling
There is a drive and brash expression,
As her energy’s compression
Escapes into the fray.
A middling, roiling fusion
Of an entire world’s confusion
Cannot cut illusion
Or cause the mind to stray.

In evening’s shallow shadows
There is still a pulse that’s beating;
‘Though the hours may be fleeting
There is still a will to stay.
And as coyness comes uncovered,
As she learns the word “beloved,”
And is shocked not to be smothered
By the ebb and flow of play ….

At last it’s time for sleeping
And the restless search for calmness,
And she curls and twists in warmness
“neath the cover that must fray.
And at her last inch of waking,
Reaching out with foot and taking –
It’s an effort that’s worth making
Or – at least – that’s what she’ll pray.

It’s So Nice

It’s so nice that I don’t love her anymore.
I don’t even care that she showed me the door,
That her anger even now eats at my core –
See, I don’t even love her any more.

It’s just as she had told me at the time.
A relief to be freed of all that slime.
I don’t have to strain to smile, or laugh or rhyme;
Don’t have to act sincere all the time.

You may think it’s really hard to live my life,
But I simply do my job and love my wife,
And take refuge in the absence of the strife
That used to mark the tensions of my life.

My life is so sublimely set and yet
I have a single quelling sad regret.

If I’m happier than anyone you’ve met
Why do I believe I love her yet?

Interior and Exterior Geography

You are projected like a map
As if you could be put upon a grid.
All that flows across my charts
From you, in need, is laid out and clear.
But I am lost.

The body signals passion –
The arms reserve.
The eyes may flash with wit
And then, again, with fear.
I am confused.

The mind sends clear constructions
Of overlaying functions,
Analyses as straight and true as light.
It cuts across the darkness of your night.
But I am blind.

And then the heart.
Where is the map that understands its turns?
What road is there
Thru its chambered pain?
I am bemused.

Latitudes and longitudes of you:
How do I ever know what’s true?
It’s a study for which there is no school;
A discipline that marks the student: Fool.



Stand in the rain
Dreaming my dreams
Listening for you.

Stare at the clouds
Suspecting my schemes
Rejecting what’s true.

Pass by at dusk
Missing our marks
Hearts all askew.

Dare not to speak
Drifting in place
And again anew.

Cry in the night
seeing your face
Listening for you.

I Miss You

I miss you
When the dawn
is false against the sky
and the mist steams in the hollows
effervescing into warmer air.
And in the morning
As the softening winds
Mingle in the sunlight
Promising the day.
When the sun is high
And I bask in heat and sweat
And see your face
Float within the space before my eyes.
And in the night—
The night of fog and fear,
The capstone of the pain,
The end of the possible.
When fog drifts across the moon
In ghostly shrouds
And spreads the pale light
Like dust across your mind,
When fancy grabs the heart
And melds memory to mush,
When proof is given
That nothing possible is real,
When sleep threatens—
The final total dark,
Assuring failure for all dreams,
And when I cannot touch.
When every wish is gone
And I am left with myself
And I don’t like what I see
And know the view won’t change.
When wrenching empty nights
Emphasize the loss,
Prove permanence of pain—
And show no hint of hope
I miss you.

I Don’t Love Her Anymore

Once I loved a woman
Who thanked me
For poems and soft hair.

Well, the poems may sound stilted
In the morning,
And as for hair,
It just falls out.

All that’s left, I guess
Is the memory

Of a distant love.

It’s not hard, you know –
You focus on the now of it,
Spend your effort on the how of it,
And time goes by.

Made a few bucks,
Did a few deals,
Had some fun
Almost in spite of myself.

Ought to get easier;
Walk it off, in the woods,
Skimming rocks across the stream
And watching the geese fly South.

Back in the City,
Into the flow,
Busy as hell
On purpose.

That’s the end of it –
End of the story
Easy to understand,
Easy to survive.

All you do
(Take it from me)
Is just go straight ahead,
Don’t look back,
Just don’t think at all.
Living out my life may be a bore
But it’s nice that I don’t love her anymore.

Floating Gliding Burning

Floating in Fog
Skim on the marsh
With the birds
At dawn.

Gliding in light
Come with the sun
At its breaking.

Burning in day
Dripping our wax
Into the brightening.

I You
Rising Flowing
Just for a
And then
We You (I?)
Are (am?) gone.

Whispering to wind
Is heard?
We you I
Dream ing
And sailing …..