by W. Mahlon Purdin
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LET'S HOPE THAT'S TRUE
Were you watching me?
Did you see my good?
Did you see my bad?
My intentions were
There for you also.
All that matters
In Heaven is intention.
Let's hope that's true.
-- Bill Purdin, 12307-5
Don't need you for conversation,
If that's what it's like.
Don't need you for love, if loving
Is like that.
Don't need you for dinner 'cause
I can cook too.
Don't need you for money,
It's not the cash, honey.
Won't miss you for broken rest
The heart of pain in my chest.
Won't miss you for never-ending
Who's better, who's bending.
Won't miss you at bedtime,
Or passion's pantomime.
Won't miss the ruined mornings
Won't miss the broken things.
Don't need you to do the dishes
Or smash and wreck simple wishes.
Don't need you for faith or prayer
Not that we've ever met there.
Don't need you for anything,
Except with you I take wing.
-- Bill Purdin, 12/19/07
The dark blood-like fear
The bright love-like lumens
Both lead to the truth
At the end of the burrow
We dig down
From the route of thought.
The root of thought.
Are we together like music
That rings through hearts
Like the toll of God?
Or are we alone like shadows
No one sees in the dark?
Standing at the end
There is the same trumpet again.
The same whisper again.
The same again.
Come to me.
Bill Purdin. 12/9/07
They were standing there, two trees
With branches winter bare like arms
Reaching out into a closet, or up into a cabinet
Perhaps like you reaching for something.
They were rooted there, trunks thick and knarled
Like two old warriors, resting but still ready.
One was bent slightly as though too many years
Of looking up had passed and now that posture
Was as though always that way.
In the air they seemed to touch each other
Without touching, branches close enough
But some space always between them.
But I was thinking of the roots, those entertwined
Fingers beneath the surface, where no one could see.
How many places did they touch there?
Were there roots so entangled that nothing
Could ever pry them apart? Were there still new feelers
Out reaching, looking around for something new?
Or had all of that stopped now, and all was going
Deeper and deeper and deeper?
Standing there, two trees.
-- Bill Purdin, 12/6/07
We can't remember our own birth,
And no one can imagine their own death.
(Hints at life eternal: no start, no stop.)
But we twist and bend in each moment
Like a hooked worm on the way.
No matter what you do or what you say
We know life goes without us,
But it stops us in confusion, that thought.
What's in our brains is all there is,
Or so it seems sometimes.
If I die alone in the forest
Do you die too?
There is an extremism in the world
That is daunting in its tiny view.
It seems the other way, I grant you.
People point the finger and
Say, "You did it, how could you?"
But what they mean is
Freedom doesn't mean you're free,
It means you're free but be me.
There's no freedom in condemning.
There's no freedom in judging.
There's no happiness in seething.
There's no faith in disgust.
And there's no love in leaving.
-- Bill Purdin, 12/2/07
Hope and fear are here.
They struggle like foes:
Fear always says "knows"
And hope sheds a tear.
-- Bill Purdin, 11/30/07
Is it good to think?
The mind does boggle.
Switch the off toggle.
The world won't blink.
-- Bill Purdin, 11/29/07
Emptiness is full:
The house is one thing
But the space inside:
-- Bill Purdin, 11/28/07
Will you spend a day,
Thoughts of Othello
And another way?
-- Bill Purdin 1127/07
Can you love something
And yet hold your tongue?
You no longer sing
But still you are young.
-- Bill Purdin, 11/27/07
When your mind wanders
To where does it go?
Or just all for show?
-- Bill Purdin, 11/26/07
All wishes came true,
No one would know you,
(Or know where you went).
-- Bill Purdin, 11/25/07
Truth, fast and easy,
For some rolls off trick
Tongues so breezy;
For others, not so quick.
-- Bill Purdin, 11/24/07
Live on ground you know,
Simple thoughts are best,
Goodness'll always show,
You can't pass every test.
-- Bill Purdin, 11/23/07
Water flows around all,
Water dissolves hard to soft,
Water seeks lowly places,
We, like water, in gratitude.
-- Bill Purdin, 11/22/07
Mother to us all,
You can hear it,
Watch a leaf fall.
-- Bill Purdin, 11/20/07
Taking sides is not God's way.
The beginning of good and bad.
Whatever saints or sinners say,
Each day is either happy or sad.
-- Bill Purdin, 11/19/07
PATCHED OVER HOLE
Woke up this morning with four hours
of sleep, resumed a vicious argument as
though not a second of rest had past as
though only another breath of anger
and frustration had gone by, the
vehemence continued unabated as
they say and the angry eyes still
pierced and punctured years of trying
and trying and trying. Then I listened
to Shakespeare and read Hamlet in
time to the eliptical machine as an
hour went by. Another hour
with people hitting the pause button
to say hello and hello. Where ya been,
Bill? Then another touch to the button
and back in Denmark with the
sensitive, complicated prince who
tried and tried and died. Leaving the
gym the first snow flittered in my
imagination and then, no, it was real.
A friend said yuck, but to me those
little drifting things of water and ice were
the harbingers of a deep welcomed
cold coming along like inevitability, a
tune I can't get out of my head. I drove
to a friend's house, well more than a
friend I admit, she is a deep, deep
friend, a love pure, a rare love ...
anyway I went to look at her driveway,
her new driveway. The gas company
had dug a hole in her new driveway,
something nice ruined perhaps, but
after all those years of the old worn
out crumbling driveway they couldn't
have dug that one up, no they had to
wait in the hiding place where all
those causes that wreck nice things
lurk, waiting for the moment to do
their passion-extinguishing, innervating
thing. I stared at the patched over hole.
The tarmac was cold now, little first
flakes landing like children laughing
and disappearing, dissolving into
reality of a life they thought was one
thing, floating along through the fresh
air, and was actually something else,
smashing into the bad patch job of
crunching forces that take hopes and
dig them up and patch them over ugly,
stealing the perfection. Watching them
land on the patched driveway, I noticed
the air was still fresh despite the death
by the thousands of the new first snow
dropping everywhere around me,
disappearing never to come again. I
took a picture of it. Who knows why?
Then I got back in my car and drove
home listening to "I don't know where
I'm a gonna go when the volcano
-- Bill Purdin, 11/19/07
Life's a well
That never runs dry.
We stand and stare
And wonder and sigh.
-- Bill Purdin, 11/17/07
Trust the trustworthy.
Trust the untrustworthy.
Don't take sides.
Stay in your center,
Where breezes blow through.
-- Bill Purdin, 11/15/07
If you empty your mind
It fills with goodness.
If you eliminate amibition
Your life fills with resolve.
If you lose all desire
Everything falls into place.
-- Bill Purdin, 11/15/07
Sometimes not doing
Sometimes not seeing
Sometimes not hearing
Sometime not teaching
But not loving
Is never loving.
-- Bill Purdin, 11/14/07
Aflame we see the shadows
That are cast by our desires.
In darkness we see clearly
What extinguished those fires.
-- Bill Purdin, 11/10/07
Have you ever stood in a dark doorway
Looking into the darkness?
You see only darkness and beyond that
Darkness within darkness.
Mystery arises. And you, mystified,
Imagine many things.
The doorway is a gateway
Perhaps to understanding.
-- Bill Purdin, 11/8/07
When we speak we always speak
Of things that cannot really be told.
If they could be, we would probably
Never speak of them.
Like lovers who never speak of love
Because they know its unspeakable ecstasy
Is only felt, can only be felt,
Otherwise it's not love;
We stumble amidst a garden.
We tip toe to not be oafish.
We watch because so clumsy
We easily knock things over.
We walk among truths
Quietly hoping that
We really can find a place
-- Bill Purdin, 11/6/07
MOMENT, WONDERFUL MOMENT
There are moments in life when
The worries go away,
Time running out goes away,
Doubts go away,
Friends come rushing in,
And happiness arrives
Like a rainbow only you can see.
They all see your smile, it's big;
They know what has happened,
They share in your happiness,
But that rainbow,
Its rich colors, its long soft bend,
Its beginning and its ending,
That, only you can see,
And more, only you
Know that the rainbow
Has a warmth too, and
That its glow is spreading
Around in your life
Starting in the moment --
Wonderful moment --
But continuing on and on.
One moment: a life enriched
From end to end ...
Forever and ever.
-- Bill Purdin, 11/5/07
Flying high in life's stratosphere --
It could be wealth, fame or even those other
Deep addictions of self satisfaction
And all those forty days and forty nights behind --
It may be still true that all the high-falutin' details
That enrapture are only puffed up images of what
We all cope with every day every night.
An article in The New York Times about lap dancing
Research discovered that the highest tips were paid
To ovulating women. The details were depressing really.
Without advance notification of course the men knew
The "status" of the women on their laps: whether they
Were on birth control or menstruating and it showed
In the generosity of the tipping that followed.
This is a mundane topic, seemingingly, I know, but
It may also be important way beyond the seamy-ness.
There is no way it can only apply to lap dances, you know.
What if in all things human all facts are known in this
Supremely subtle substrata of communication involving
All the "senses" and the mentalities hidden and known unknowingly?
What if we know what no one wants us to know and we all
Act as if nothing is known that we want unknown?
And everyone knows it. The secrets of human interaction,
Those layers upon layers that confound us -- the psychotherapist
Said "All your problems for all your life will always be people." --
And confuse us like hidden punctuation in sentences that we
Know we will have to read again and again to understand,
Are actually not secrets at all; they are the opposite of secrets;
Common knowledge so common that comment is unneccesary
To the point of being too well known, in a somatic way, visceral, really,
To even mention. If you do, people look at you with that
Middle-school "duh!" expression and then go right on
Acting as if what we all know is true is completely not true.
It's human nature, I suppose. Our emperor's clothes.
We hide things everyone sees in the camoflage of obvious.
Otherwise, metaphorically speaking,
Who would ever want a lap dance anyway?
-- Bill Purdin: 10/25/07
UNWINDING THE SNARLS
These are the Gordian Knots of life
Where everything is lost or gained.
They tie you up as nothing else
They come from within, are tied by expert hands
That know the way around you:
Where your secrets are, where your doubts are,
Where your strengths are and how to slash them
Into shreds by binding your good will with bad fear.
These are the intractable problems
Only the boldest of strokes can solve and shatter.
But we're not great Alexanders are we?
Enknotted, we are trussed up like victims
Impeded, deterred, stuck, and attached
Inexorably to whatever we dispise.
If we figure out one bight, there's another and another and another.
Sometimes the harder we struggle the tighter the grip.
Unwinding the snarls takes lifetimes and lifetimes and lifetimes
For some. Others are free in a second.
Here is the sword to make the cut:
Take hold with confidence,
Draw back with commitment
And swing with all your faith.
-- Bill Purdin: 10/23/07
DROPS IN A RAINFALL
Watch the world and wonder, after all,
There is nothing either good nor bad,
As the poet said. But was Shakespeare really aware in 1585
All that would ultimately be encompassed by his words?
Or was he an innocent in humanity's childhood,
Thinking that what was then would always be?
Read his plays and you will know.
We conjure our world like magicians; we are illusionists
Who turn warm love into hot lust;
We turn gentle longing into wars of vengence;
We turn arguments into baths of blood.
We kiss one another and back stab the best;
We machine gun cars and go home for rest.
It is now as it always has been; we sort through our sins,
And then build a world full of beauty and hope.
We judge harshly one another; and hope to be unjudged ourselves.
We do what we find annoying in others, and hide as though
It never happened.
We live in our will; our freedom is our world.
We run from our natures; and find happiness in each other.
Watch the world; it's a wonder after all. A waypoint in a journey;
Each torid, thrilling, memorable day, just drops in a rainfall.
The sun comes out and on and on we go.
What did you learn? What do you know?
--Bill Purdin: 10/10/07
A HEAP OF STICK AND STRINGS
There is, they say, a puppetmaster who lurks
Behind the stage and makes us do what we do
And do what we would never do, and
Makes sure we never do what we would do.
He keeps us on the threadmill of despair
And distrust and makes sure we're never really getting
Where we set out to go.
He wears a priest's robe, and he wears a lover's smile.
He wears a scholars hat and soldier's boots.
He helps us cross the street and then trips us into puddles.
He says he's our friend but the definition's not certain.
The sutures through which he pushes the strings
Seem like windows into higher planes and orbits,
And it feels good as the needle goes, and the pulling
Feels like us doing our will not some stranger's.
So, whatever we do, they say, wherever we are, there lurks
This puppetmaster, pulling and lifting and making us
Into fools of volition and levity, gravity temerity.
They say all of this or is it the puppetmaster who says it?
What if there is no puppetmaster and we are just aniticipating
What he would have us do if he were what we think?
What if we are puppetmasters all?
What if we could run and leave behind an imaginary heap
Of imaginary sticks and invisible strings
--Bill Purdin: 10/9/07
AND HOW RIGHT YOU ARE
We all want the sweet things of life.
Looking up and down, they're all around.
It makes your mouth water.
Still, those waters have lurking within them
Some fearful truths. Difficult to describe,
Until you lick and lick and lick a little too much.
They tell you ahead of time, those prophets,
Those seers, those healers, and those little children
Who learned it the hard way years and years ago.
The trail is never goes cold, so you can learn it all again
And again, over and over, until it finally sticks.
Decades go whipping past as you repeat your mistakes.
Sometimes life seems like a badly made animated gif,
That just repeats its jerky nonsense over until
There comes a day when you break away.
Freedom comes like an old man limping in a crosswalk,
You want to honk and say, "Move it!"
But time and time again, you learn that nothing really
Moves it, and in his own time, in your slow patience battle,
Only there will he finally make it to the curb.
You watch him, step by step, one foot then the other,
It seems an eternity to you. And how right you are.
--Bill Purdin: 10/8/07
People laugh at me for my adventurous nature. That I'm more than willing
To die for more or to risk everything for more. Adventure is life. Believe it.
To try things that you are not sure you can do: my definition of adventure.
Many live in a shopping cart in a store they know too well.
The isles are full of things that are right where they always are
And we choose and take things we always choose and take.
Familiarity breeds a craving for itself. For many but not all.
If I can come home a different way than I went, I do it.
If can try something new, I do it.
If I can imagine doing something I have never done, I long for it.
Doing the same thing over and over is hell to me.
I try to never make the same mistake twice.
I try to never say the same thing the same way twice.
I would much rather screw up something hard, than do something easy right.
I like to tell the hard truth rather than the easy lie.
I stare into the mirror and ask "Who are you anyway?"
I change everything all the time just to hone my skills in change.
I push everything I can as far as I can until it usually breaks.
But I spend a lot of time thinking, thinking, thinking.
And I cherish my loving relationships deeply,
Working hard, praying and giving all I can
To ensure that
They never, ever
Bill Purdin: 9/22/07
There is nothing like reflecting back on hard work that went well.
It's like stepping back and seeing the world as if should be.
Success comes not with drums of flourish, but with a settling in feeling
Like leaning back in a comfortable chair or watching a child grow.
Those ladders we climb have shaking rungs and shifting foundations,
And they only go so high. But there are goals so high no ladder can reach.
They are the goals of the heart. To make another happy. To give and give.
To forgive and forgive again and again. To champion truth.
Where is the ladder to climb up there? Oh, money. Not that's a rub,
As the poet said. It seems so easy piling up, but is it? The worst thing
That could happen is to have a lot of money. The more you have the worse it is.
The opposite of giving love. Money is perhaps the opposite of love.
Why do you want it? Love or money? There's no success in money.
But watch someone do something well that you taught them.
There's success in that? Watching their eyes burst with hard fought knowledge.
There's success in that? And when they ask you, "What can I do to repay you?"
Say, "Teach another as I have taught you."
Watch their eyes open even wider, as they look upon true success
Being revealed in front of them, over them, and
Bill Purdin: 9/21/07
Oh, these poems I write and write, though
I know you like them, reading secretly, thinking
I don't know you do, but I do know; well they are like
Something lurking in the unknowing cancer victim
Or a car crash I can't stop, or the words I know I shouldn't say
But that I say anyway. The urge inside me is in exhaustible,
Apparently. Five decades of poems piling up on my bookcases.
I still have every one, well except one, that is. I gave away an original
Once and the person said, "Is this the only copy?" Yes I said. He said,
"You shouldn't just give them away, you know." There's more where
That one came from. What does just one poem matter? I said.
But I can't remember what that poem was about. I know I wrote it for my
Brother but all the ensuing hatred and disinheriting, and complete
Loss of relationship, I would really like to know what that poem
Was about. It's the only one I've lost as it turns out. I had girlfriend who tediously
Made copies of all 10,000 peoms once for herself. I thought that was nice.
A backup before we even knew what backups were.
She loved me and left me but she was nice about it in her own way.
She left me but not my poems. I wonder where those are now? She
Thought she had them all but I've kept writing and now there are as
Many that she doesn't have, never will have, as there are that she copied.
Just goes to prove that all we ever do is take pictures or copies of things
That were, but no way to copy or picture things that will be, or even are.
Those things we must imagine or merely, shall we say, experience.
Some things are like that. So authentic or imaginery that the only possible
Way to know them is through living them or imagining them vividly,
That is a great definition of poetry
If poetry needed a definition.
But it doesn't.
It just needs
Bill Purdin: 9/20/07
He said, "Bring it on." And of course I did.
We tumbled and he fumbled, and we fell like rocks
And floated like butterflies, but not as moths in a chrysalis
But as in a battle to the last second, last moment, last breath.
Did I win? Did he lose? We'll never know
Because we really don't care.
I was aching and breathless and he
Walked back almost a mile.
Our lives were in serious danger and yet
Perhaps the danger wasn't what we were doing
Rather perhaps the danger was that we would not do
What we were doing.
Imagine where we turned away and our lives began to ebb
In apathy and apology, like so many.
Imagine that our battle never happened and all those things
That came with it -- in victory defeat, in defeat victory --
Imagine a world where we watched television until we fall
Asleep every night and wake up at 3 a.m. only to trundle off
To another place to sleep and wake up and off to work
And over and over and over and then...
Yesterday, tomorrow and again.
Where it all became the same with no definition, no defining moments
Only the long gray corridor to walk down with doors on both sides
All leading to the same room, that place where all you have to do
Is open one of them and there you are.
Bill Purdin: 9/19/07
She said, I don't have anything. I'm broke.
She's pretty. Sexy. Young. Smiles glisteringly.
But in her heart she has nothing. Nothing except
The worlds within her, those lies looking for the light
Through the opening at the end of a tunnel of her doubt.
She said once to me, "I too dumb to do that."
It's bothered me for months. Such low esteem with such
Promise waiting to be told and retold like the legend of
Nancy Hanks, or of so many waifs or widows or
Whores who wanted. Those legends, they are magificent
In their misleading tenor, their twisting times and sentences
That don't rhyme but definitely have rythme like those
Jungle drums on like a car at a traffic light with the base way down
And the volume way up. The heartbeat-like sound, muffled, is determined staccado stamp that means something important
But no one knows what or will tell if they do. But I left her
Sitting on the floor, wrapped in a tattered old comforter,
Hair still shining and when she smiled her small dark corner
Seem to alight as though a shadow had past and sunshine
Finally found it's way to the gray space around her. But only
For moment, then gone. For soon the lights would be turned
Off and she would be sitting there crossed-leg in the dark again.
It would get colder and colder and the night and its concommitants
Drifting in would cover everything. Perhaps she'll be still there in the morning,
Or maybe tonight everything will change and she will be happy.
Never to be seen again.
Isn't that the way it sometimes goes?
Bill Purdin: 9/18/07
A SNAKE GONE OLD
Everyone gets discouraged but not as much as these.
Their lives hang in the balance, and the scales are tipping.
It's the rush of life that tears them up that thrashes them
Like wheat on the threshing floor. They pound themselves.
It's not as if they were nothing, rather something; that's it.
They know not doing not by not doing, so they try so hard
And in their trying they becomes slaves of must win. Must.
How little these know of how things are: winning is a mist
That disappates like a lover's tongue teasing all night long
Then where? Where is it now? Oh, I remember, sure I do.
She had blonde hair and a soft smile, and her eyes dreamt
Of me, she said it over and over. I believed her every time.
I remember the first time and the last time but mostly
I remember remembering her now here in the threshing dust.
I remember her when I remembered her years ago and
It is still the same today. She's probably fat now and as old
As I, or older. Her lover's tongue rested now like a snake
Gone old or a hand that worked hard now tapping the table
To a rythme forgotten but remembered in the twitching skin
But still forgotten. I remembered her again today as I ate
A cheese omelet. And why was that? Just a memory gone into
The forgettery of things remembered but forgotten, like
Those discouraged ones who are left to find resolution,
Resolve, that is; resolve that they find at the bottom of life's
Barrel of rotten apples and sour grapes. Oh, that rich sauce
Down there of the drippings. How I would that it were an elixir
I could administer and they would find it soothing. Oh, that it could.
Still they sink lower into dispair. I say, "discouragement
Is the devil's favorite tool." They say, "No wonder," as they sit dustily
And perhaps sauce stained too. It all begins to look like blood and
Those old smoke and flames again where hearts are lost in last breaths
And last things that drifted by,disguised, and journeying into
Forgotten from moments sacredly, secretly honored and absolutely
Never, ever becoming what ineluctably they must become: just more
Fogotten things. No wonder they are a discouraged.
No wonder they Are sinking so slowly into abyss of lost ego, where actually things get Better. Now wonder they are so ... so ... well who wouldn't be;
Watching everything you know become exactly what you feared the
Most: their own obvious fallibility, their own fabulous, flangrant,
Bill Purdin: 9/17/07
Reach into the pockets of your mind
There may be some loose change there
Capital for buying a new idea or two.
Like lint it gathers and clumps
You may think it nasty and difficult
As you dig its fibers and lumps.
And there it is in the light of day
Something totally new to think
Something new to say.
Reach into the pockets of your mind
There may be some loose change there
Capital for buying a new idea or two.
9/6/07: Bill Purdin
DEAD FOR ALL THAT
They call I come.
And then they risk it all.
They say they're not afraid
But I see it, I smell it.
I touch them and they start.
When they breathe it's shallow
Like panting, but they try
Not to let it show.
They almost always screw it up
But some are perfect.
They go flying by, as days,
Or leaves falling at night
In the stiff breezes that blow
Off shore, across the sand,
The land to me. They fall
Like leaves of flaming color
But still, dead for all that.
--8/30/07 Bill Purdin
We make up the cares of the world.
We dream up our worrries.
We conjure up the holy terrors
And our eyes tear with fear.
We live in a world of peace
Where all is what we make it.
We live a world of whole
Except when we decide to break it.
Children dread what's under the bed
Because of the ways we've instilled
That what's not known is bad as hell
And hell's where it all began.
If you remember those moments of love
When others came first for sure
And you were heart-burning happy?
Relish that and you've got the cure.
8/23/07 -- Bill Purdin
It was a bad day
Everyone has them
But it was a really bad
Throwing away all progress,
Worse than the all-time worst,
No end until way too late day.
The morning was beautiful
But marred by all that preceded
The day before like a ducking
Soldier I watched for more
Stuff flying at me, viciously
Thrown as though
To kill me dead with no escape.
It was a bad day
Everyone has them
But for one who tries so hard
To dodge the ball of disaster
And keep on the way
To happy times
This was a one to remember day.
8/22/07 -- Bill Purdin
GAIN AND GAIN AGAIN
They say (I've heard it over and over again)
That loss (this is open to many definitions) is gain.
But loss is loss (it's gone, no?) so where's gaining losing stuff?
Ahhh ... that's the thing. Losing stuff is gain. But why'd you have it
In the first place? Didn't need it, didn't want it, like hell.
You had it (me too) because you really (I really) wanted it.
And there, now it's gone. So, in some ethereal way we are cleaner now,
Less encumbered with matter's abstractions, affairs of artefacts
As it were. But the damn thing's gone, and I thought I needed it.
The feeling of material entanglement is just a foreboding of decline
And ownership waning, since, after all, what can we own?
This loss (defined diversely to say the least) is freeing really
Since if you lose what you love you are free, right?
Free of happy times you really liked, and free of what ...?
Free to be starting again, perhaps better (as they say, "third time lucky.")
But passing through dispair of seeing it go, this loss and gain,
The only good time is when time passes and we begin to forget it ever happened.
Is that the gain loss brings? Forgetting it ever happened, etch-a-sketch-like?
Turn those knobs and shake things around and the tableau renews.
And then here we are building again, only to lose again. And "gain" again
Those wonderful feelings of swishing away the reality we knew for some
New grit in the saddle, or pebble in the shoe. That could be it:
We gain new pain. Life lived is full of that. It has to be, they say.
(I've heard it over and over again.)
-- 8/9/7 Bill Purdin
Do Something Else
Here today's where the battle's fought.
Your best days should never be tomorrow.
The world of when and if's a world of sorrow
Where dreams're made of should and could and ought.
If you live in the world of when and if, there's no glory
For everything's either coming or gone or lost.
Life's filled with fear or dread or what's the cost.
You could be writing a whole new story.
If you're lost in when and ifs and might-of-been
Look at where your feet are standing
Think of where your thoughts are landing
Wiggle your toes, open your eyes, and tune-in.
8/4/07: Bill Purdin
Just A Day
They say. It's special perhaps.
But it's a day of living no doubt,
Of smiling and straightening things out
And achy come-upping dope slaps.
I felt. Something 'bout it, though.
As if it were a stone on the mile
Like an anticipated junction smile,
Not just another brow beating blow.
All those days gone going by
Struggles with everything wrong
Trying to sing a right song
Then, the sixty-year sigh.
Just a day and glad of one more.
There have been so many many before
Fewer to come: ripples to a nearer shore.
And then? On to evermore.
8/3/07: Bill Purdin
THE DOES MATTER
Wishing hard that I could tell you my truth
That it doesn't matter the visual
That it doesn't matter the not loved
That it doesn't matter the I'm alone
Wishing hard that I could take you in
Where all that matters the love feeling
Where all that matters the giving
Where all that matters the knowing
That we are not alone ever
That we love because love is
That being is about beauty
And forms and visuals are
Like flower petals all nestled
Closer in the beginning spreading
Only to bloom and glorifying
Each little looking closer and closer
Until there is our truth again
We are together what alone we can never be
In those places we hide and
Think we are alone.
It doesn't matter the I'm just me
The I'm horrible and ugly
The I wish I were like everyone else.
The we are all in this together is
The does matter.
7/19/07: Bill Purdin
The rhythm is intoxicating
The soft whispering voices
Seem to be calling in the distance
About freedom and flying on summer
Breezes that blow through our hair
And clothes as if to blur a reality
Than confines us and wants to define us
And then there is a pause in the music
And the world almost makes it back in again
But here come those loving mellifluous
Voices again, look into your heart my friend
And return to the rhythm that makes
Us lift off and see things from above
As if God were really within us pumping our veins
With beauty, grace and peace.
Indeed, it is a thirst-quenching draft.
Drink deeply. Life depends on it.
-- 7/11/07: Bill Purdin
The collective process is
For the group as a whole
To make a judgment.
And, honored even in the breach,
This idealized form is subject to
Unspoken motives and desires.
Democracy can succeed
Only if the idea exchange and motives
Emerge surrounded by reason
Not fear. That's America's plan
In a nutshell.
If misled by liars and bullies
Soon enough the process is retarded
By intimidation and more fear
And even our media ducks and covers
Displacing our planned process:
The rule of reason and getting to the truth
With something else: the rule of fear and
Who cares about the truth.
"The structure of the public forum"
Is a big issue in America.
A one way ... or a two way conversation?
-- 7/9/07: Bill Purdin
The poems I write are published, some of them,
On a poetic site for writing poets only.
It's a contemporary place full of swearing and expletives
And romances gone horribly bad, suicide attempts,
Broken dreams and sad stories that make you cry and cry
And look for hope in all the dispair.
You see and read it all there.
It's a privilege to me to be accepted as one,
And I've even won a degree of acclaim, if you can call it that.
I wrote a poem "We Were Boys Really," that is a top
Perfomer there. And people comment all the time on
My poems, posted irregularly which as all of my readers know
Is the best I can do.
I have posted 69 poems there and comments are common, but
Not on every one. Some have no comments, and seem
Wanting to me. How could someone read and not comment?
Did I draw no blood, no rush of anger, disgust, love or lust?
Perhaps it was so beautifully explanatory that no comment was needed.
Or, perhaps it was so badly couched that none was really possible.
Although all of the comments given are rich and interesting.
So what happened to the others?
Almost 10,000 readings of my 69 poems,
And still some are uncommented as though dismissed.
I read those poems over and over and wonder,
What should I have said? And then I wonder,
What did I say?
7/4/07 -- Bill Purdin
It was the Saturday before and
I spent it with a lot of young people
Pursuing their dream. I brought it up
Many times: What's up for Father's Day?
Almost every time a quizzical look,
Then an awkward laugh and then a sad story
About how "He won't mind," "He doesn't care,"
"Believe me, my Dad really doesn't think about it."
Imagine a man somewhere in your mind
Who every morning, noon, and night thinks of you.
Imagine a man somewhere in your heart who knows
When you were born life began for him.
Imagine a man, somewhere in your busy, busy day
Who has worked and suffered so you wouldn't have to.
Imagine a man somewhere deep in your deepest self
Who also had a Dad who didn't mind, didn't care, didn't think about it
And who resolved with your first breath to never, ever
Do that to you.
Imagine a man on Father's Day who knows
The best Father's Day is the day you live freely
Doing whatever you want.
Imagine that. And then remember,
He's thinking of you
6/17/07: Bill Purdin
He was ready, obviously.
He had studied hard and applied himself.
He looked the part, geared up, parachute on,
His eyes were gleaming.
On the flight to altitude, all went perfectly well.
He knew what to do, when to do it.
Two thumbs up, big smiles.
We said the obligatory: Are you ready to skydive?
Yes, I am, he shouted back over the engines' roar.
We moved into position, the door opened at 13,500 feet,
We began to climb out.
His eyes went dead. Lights out.
He was covered in sweat, cold clamy sweat.
He turned his head to me looking nowhere.
He whispered. I've changed my mind.
The ride back down was a long slow descent.
He was quiet and sort of whitening, wet, shrinking
Before my eyes. Wounded and wondering.
I hadn't seen this since Vietnam, when
People changed like animals in chameleon camouflage
From vibrant to vacant, from roudy to rancid.
When colors drained like toilets and people died inside
Still breathing but like a nude body losing heat on a cold day
I watched their souls drifting away.
He seemed so light and small as the plane landed that I felt
I could carry him easily to his car and tuck him in, saying
It's just another step on your way. His eyes unfocused
Looked in my direction. To where?
The dusty parking lot, grit underfoot, made soft noises
Like little unresisting grains of sand
Falling into a pointed pyramid
At the bottom of
6-11-07: Bill Purdin
It's robbery in the worst sense.
It's murder, too, though the blood
Rushes but doesn't fly.
It's gluttony because they want it all
And then still want more.
It's pride before destruction, of course,
But it hurts on its way down.
They know no bounds in their intemperance,
Their suffocating capture of inaction
As though it were action, God's rest.
They covet what they could have had themselves
But for their lack of faith,
And they anger when exposed
Like the rath of God, which is actually
They lust for themselves.
But joy comes in little packages
By the numbers untold. In every breath
In every look of the innocent eye.
In the little victories that build and build
As faith has its day, not in the stadiums of pomp,
But in the nooks and crannies of true living
Where nothing can be stolen or lost,
Where love and generosity rule unbounded,
Where kindness and temperance build grace,
And where the heart's true commands
Lead on the path of peace and joy.
The good you do is for others,
That's the secret. Not for you.
When they try to take your joy,
Remember, it's impossible to do.
5/31/07: Bill Purdin
She was my first, but died.
I never knew her, but they say
She knew me.
I ache for her, pine for her
And it gets worse as I get older.
She was my second; she died too,
But it took 95 years instead of 33.
I owe her a deep debt of gratitude
For all she taught me.
It was her gift of life.
She is my third, and lives full still.
I ache for her and am grateful to her.
She is a combination and unique.
Of all before, ever to come.
She is the one.
-- 5/15/07 Bill Purdin
SAD TO SAY
We all want candy.
Something to sweeten
But with every treat
There's a bitter bite
It rolls around
On our tongues
Clogs the airway.
For those highs
We must pay.
-- Bill Purdin 5/1/07
To you of such a beautiful soul,
In my eternal writings,
I always speak, as though,
Your purity, as a filter,
Will discern those hidden
Artifacts that clog
Me and stain my purposes
With diverting argument
And cause me to stop
To cry and hold my forehead
And think, "Why even try?"
Your innocence will strain
Them all out and you --
Only you -- will see
My gift of perseverence as
Something to admire
Despite the setbacks and
-- Bill Purdin 4/29/07
The twitch of a finger
The world explodes
The rich smell of gritty gun powder
Lingers for years and years.
Those moments of sudden action
Irrevocable and reverberating
Never cease to echo
Even in these quiet moments far away.
We are lost in ways hidden
In smells, and blank thoughts
In hesitations and withholdings
In the way we wake up on a rainy day.
When we say I love you,
There is still this deep down in there
Sense of who would ever
Really love me?
Of the two paths
The one I love is full of these uncertainties
Where we just don't know how
It will end.
-- 4/18/07: Bill Purdin
RISK AND WOUNDS
Death is an honor
When you think of all the
Great lives that have ended
Soldiers, scientists, statesmen,
Fathers, poets, heroes in
All walks of life and
They do it every day.
The tears wash away --
The moments of silence
When they might have spoken --
In their absence.
All the risks and wounds,
And the sacrifices, the jokes
The disappointments and
The way they really were.
We drag our feet and fight
That day, when in some ways
It proves that we were ever alive.
The memories and what people say.
4/12/07: Bill Purdin
There are only so many
You know, and they go
And go and go.
Like those grains of sand
Or your baby's hand
Or the seasons
It's a minute-to-minute
Life that goes by
In big decade chunks.
And here you are looking
Back on all those easy hours
Wasted in anger or in
Passions or in hard labor
When we should have savored
Them with slow-motion-like
Detailing and intensity.
But such is life
A river we cross
On a changling horse.
4/10/07: Bill Purdin
When I was a competitive swimmer --
And for most of my life I have been --
I noticed early on that my trepidations
Were only exceeded by my self-doubt.
Then, once in a race, the swimmer closest to me
Came into very sharp focus.
We were stroke for stoke, side by side.
Believe it or not I could feel his breath
And see his eyes. Remember, swimmers
Spend six hours a day in the water, working
Like fiends. So inevitably we grow comfortable
In our milieu of moving through liquid, like
Drivers texting, drinking, making up, cell phoning,
Mind-wandering through traffic, we swim
With complex awareness and the ability to
Actually disassociate from the stroking, stroking
And communicate with each other pretty clearly.
The look in his eyes told me that he was surprisingly struggling Harder than I was. Really struggling.
But swimmers' stamina is legend, so even in the throws
Of exhaustion, we continue to speed up:
It's our training. Almost to the death, really.
Anyway, I noticed all of this in his eyes and in the
Ferocity of his breathing, and off I went to win.
In the afterwards he was sheepish knowing
He had given his secret away. And, since then
I've seen it many, many times again and again
In everyone and everywhere.
When you are down and out, and can't go on,
Remember this little story.
All around you ... see those people who look like they
Are invincible, so confident, and better than you?
They are struggling, believe me. Sometimes they
Will beat you to the finish, and sometimes you will
Beat yourself. But remember they are just like you.
Just like you: breathing hard, eyes uncertain, struggling
To the end just like you.
Life, they say, is a game of inches:
The five inches between your ears.
The longest hardest race in the world is from
What you see to what you think.
4/8/07: Bill Purdin
Who did what to whom?
That's the history of the world
In a nutshell.
Did they do nice?
Did they do bad?
And, what and why is the difference?
Who's on top and why?
Who's on the bottom and why?
It's a hen fight to appear
All for what?
The grave and the eternal shadow
Cast in cemetery somewhere.
Here we stand,
Looking at the stone.
It casts a shadow at noon
At night it's dark and alone.
Oh, that the sun rises soon.
3/28/07 -- Bill Purdin
SHOULD AND SAD
Living in a house for a long, long time
Has some revelations that come
With those days and nights
Like finding out why a wall leaks
Or where a wire finally goes
And following things' means and ends
And all those scenes and all those friends.
In the day or in the night
You know every sound, every sight:
All the drips and creaks
All the chips and streaks.
It's more like your own body
You know it so well.
It has its good and it has its bad:
And its should and of course its sad.
3/17/07 - Bill Purdin
When I was young, I cared
But only about some things.
These days I care about everything
And enjoy everything.
When I was young I hated
Somethings and loved others.
Now I love everything and
Hate nothing and no one.
When I was young I worried
About how everyone was
Treating me and now I worry
How I'm treating everyone.
Even bending down to tie my shoe
I try to tie it well, and
Forgive the designer's misplanning,
And hope he kept learning and tried again.
3127-5: Bill Purdin
There were days when
I was so bored with everyday
Things that I thought
About killing myself.
In those days I thought
It was the world that
Was boring and the winds
Of love went soaring past.
I can remember the pressure
Of time passing and me
Doing nothing as though
A still photo in a movie.
Then I noticed something.
It fascinated me. And as I
Bent over to pick it up,
It blinked back at me.
3/8/07 -- Bill Purdin
NOT MINE, NOT MINE
"Just born" rhymes with "adorn"
And too many write that verse
On their children the same way
Some farmers' sheep are shorn.
I make a salad with juicy bok choy
And relish the crunchy crispy succulence
But never think of children as
A kind of jewelry accessory; a toy.
Even as we say, "I too was like that"
We recreate them in our own image
Defeating their adventure to blossum as they are;
Make them thin, or stupid, dancers or fat.
Why not let them be of their true design;
And we, just the watchers, not the owners?
And we, faithful parents, not patterns:
"You can." "You can." Not "mine." Not "mine."
2/26/07 -- Bill Purdin
Roses are red
Violets are blue
The tangled wires in the ceiling
Remind me of you.
Bill Purdin - 2/22/07
A Eulogy Poem
Last night I wrote my eulogy poem.
(Don't ask me why.)
Over the years I've been working on my funeral.
(For after I die.)
It takes planning to make these things nice.
(I have to try.)
The silence I see ahead is a void to fill.
(My last goodbye.)
It's as though I really want to be there.
(In my mind's eye.)
I've written my obit and keep it updated.
(I shorten it up, lie by lie.)
I have an in-depth resume, succintly compiled.
(I've never been shy.)
And I'm writing a little speech to be read.
(No dependability in the vox populi.)
I've specified everything except the exact time.
(I suppose, it's up to God on high.)
So when the time comes I should be ready.
(The world should end with a laugh, not a sigh.)
Bill Purdin - 2/19/07
She was looking at me with a whisper-thought
That went through me like an arrow.
Her hair was tossled like a bed to be smoothed
And her posture was not the day ready usual.
They say you don't really see beauty
Except in the aging of one you love.
I was watching her like a winged-in, branched hawk
Might watch a home in through a window
On a cold February day, with ice-frozen footprints
leading back and forth to a tilting, off square shed
Just over the tree line in the backyard.
I could see the warm hearth glowing in there,
I knew it was cozy there, safe there;
I heard her soft persuasion brushing over me
Like a downy breeze that ruffles feathers
Used to be soaring through the blue yonder winter sky
Feeling the bitter cold on my eyes but protected
Inside my little plume body.
"It's a long weekend," she said.
But I already knew.
Dreaming last night, a cat jumped out of the ceiling,
There were people creaking around the house,
I was starving to death,
I was in total love with a stranger
Who wanted to stay and found me handsome
And irresistible. There was a shopping cart
Full of things I didn't buy, my feet wouldn't
Run, and I kept thinking about hygene
But couldn't find a place to wash my hands.
It was hot and then cold. I was crying, then laughing.
They wanted to send me back to Vietnam,
And my Mom called me and we talked and talked.
I woke up late, this morning,
Refreshed and raring to go.
Bill Purdin, 2/1107
Well, we all know that love can make us blind.
But she had seen the world from far above.
Did she see the way that love can twist and wind,
And beat, and pound and push and shove?
In her viewings of the planet Earth
From pristine orbit high and yonder.
She didn't see that fool's love's not worth
All the bother, anguish, pain and ponder?
If love's true then all's so well 'tis said.
But when awry, it's hands grow tense with guile.
As though alive, it rises only from the dead
And falsely fakes the fun, the smile.
Now her head's covered 'neath a shroud
And none can see the beauty that was there.
Her hands are cuffed before the crowd
That applauded, and now sees her so, so bare.
Bill Purdin, 2/7/07
The birds wanton in the air.
The bears roam free and easy.
The flowers grow and grow and grow.
People struggle to know.
Bill Purdin, 2/4/07
WHICH WAY WAS I GOING AGAIN?
The battling of being better with being sane as always is a trip along an elephant road worn with so many years of soft feet padding towards a goal instinctive and imagined but only to be beaten down over and over as the years of migration bend and turn into just one long straight path that goes on and on forever. Did I really ever reach the destination or did I just walk back and forth like a caged animal? Which way was I going again? Forward or backward seem the same. There is a rise ahead perhaps at its crest I will see which way is best.
Bill Purdin, 2/1/07
It was just still there after four days.
It started as a joke, but not a funny one.
It hurt at first and then got better,
But I noticed it again the other day.
Like a death of a thousand cuts
We burn each other out, little by little,
Like a door hinge pulling on the frame
Every time, imbalanced and creaking.
At night all alone the winds of memory
Blow it back and forth, fanning the flame
And echoing in and out like a syringe
Pushing, burning my heart: a singe.
Bill Purdin, 1/29/07
The way to a person's heart is through the heart.
The connection of truth with loving thoughts
Is the recipe for all good things.
Truth and people should never part.
When you reach into another's mind
With gentleness and caring
The doors open and the walls come down.
Dark hearts those riches never find.
-- Bill Purdin 1/25/07
It was just a walk in the cold:
A January's counting day, ticking
Away a winter too warm like a bath
Cooling to tepid, and uninteresting,
Time to go. I was awash in well being, though,
For some reason I felt healthy like a boy
Staring into a toy store, with his Dad,
Tall and young, beside him.
There was a wind whispering
In the potato chip air, and I heard
Crunching like footsteps beside me.
There were other sounds as well:
I chose to hear them as animals
Out of sight, moving again, after
Being long thought extinct.
-- Bill Purdin, 1/19/07
What if you are alone now, because
In another life you wasted love, as if
It were the most plentious thing, and you
Were its goddess?
What if you thought it was all for you, and
You wantonly savaged others who approached?
What if now you are trapped in a body
That no one wants, because your previous
Blessings were wasted on you?
What if your doubt is just your conceit inverted
And now you must pay for your solipsism
With a hamlet-like anguish in solitude?
What if the lessons offered went unlearned?
What should you do?
What should you do?
A DAY TO TRULY REMEMBER
My plans today are daunting.
Get up at the latest at 6 a.m.
Put new numbers up over the front door.
Get my trailer ready for a dump run.
Make a dump run.
Finish preparing a hand-made frame for my daughter's birthday.
Finish a television commercial.
Continue inserting a new copyright and the internal menu of 1200 html pages.
Call E-trade about my new account.
Try out my new rollerblades.
Call my sister in Wales.
Plan a skydiving trip later this month.
Transmit new advertisements to The Boston Globe and other publications.
Continue to rewire the house by tracing and fixing the wiring on the basement ceiling.
Update my new book of poems "2005/2006" for binding.
Spend time with some young kids I love.
Investigate vehicle wrapping for a client.
Check out a new Chinese newspaper in Wuhan.
Watch MTV for at least an hour (got to keep up)
Read The New York Times cover-to-cover.
Fix the outdoor thermometer (again).
Buy the little cuppola for the shed and install the windvane I refurbished.
Spend time with my daughter.
Shop for dinner and cook it. (I love to cook.)
Exercise in the late afternoon with my wife.
Video with my video friends, email my email friends.
Make new friends, contact old friends.
Mount my two 30-inch screens to the wall with the new wall mounts I bought.
Put little wheels on my computer's floor mount.
Continue to write my novel, "The ScreenMasters."
Stay up until at least 11 p.m.
Read in bed for at least 30 minutes.
Eat right. Think right. Never look back.
Wouldn't that be something: a day to truly remember.
Well, I'm off to put up those numbers.
Poems 2006 | Poems 2005
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