Posts in the ‘poetry’ category
02  Nov
poem: trash


i’m pretty well-cultured
i like films which are indie
subtitled movies
even in hindi
classics of cinema
filled with erudite chatter
serious subjects
and challenging matter

i’ve seen most of rohmer
bergman, fellini
hitchcock, truffaut
and some pasolini

but then my good taste
will die in a flash
and i actively search
for films that are trash

togas and sandals
rude horror schlock
brit twit comedians
weepers i mock
monsters and gories
commercial crap
sticky sweet stories
oozing with sap

i love the ballet
the symphony thrills
i’m highly impressed
by checkov’s deft skills
i seek out shakespeare
wherever i can

then high-art ideals
will suddenly crash
and that’s when i go
straight for the trash

boulevard comedies
drag queens who pose
soap opera tackiness
and big glitzy shows
even the latest commercialized smash
sometimes i really crave trash

i keep excellent company
authors and thinkers
at the top of their game
doctors, attorneys
who’ve earned quite a name
for their work
for their minds
i seek out fine artists
and creative kinds
i dig conversation
that’s heady and brash
but sometimes i’d rather talk trash

with hookers and addicts
nutcases and bums
all of the kooks
with which this city hums
the outcasts
the losers
whose bets were too rash
here’s to the pleasure
of all kinds of trash

posted by bill on November 2, 2011, at 2:33 pm | filed under news, poetry | no comments »



so many people
are doing better than me
raking in money
and favors
and honey
reaping awards
and acclaim
winning each round
of the game}
that we play
lauded and laureled
wherever they go
why that’s not me
i don’t know

i’m at least as smart
if not smarter by half
i’m told i have heart
and can make people laugh
but i don’t get the plaudits
that go to the favored
by birth or genetics
or connections they’re given
on silver plate platters
as their limos are driven
to red carpet galas
where they’re celebrated
for work
which in truth
they have just delegated

but so many people
are doing much worse
and look at my progress
as unfair
or perverse
they think
they deserve
more unreserved glee
and can’t understand
how i can be
where i am
in the order of pecking
when at the least
we should be neck and necking

i’m ahead
at least in their eyes
leading them to despise
my meager achievements
building resentment
over minor bereavements
and imagined injustice

i guess that no matter
whoever you are
or whatever you do
someone will always
do better than you
while lots of others
will be faring much worse
and they will curse you
under their breath
while you
with the warmness
of lady macbeth
rail against those
who please
some great rewarder
and seem to be higher
in life’s pecking order

posted by bill on September 30, 2011, at 4:13 pm | filed under news, poetry | no comments »

01  Sep
poem: narim


not every project gets finished … this is from one which didn't … janet hood and i started writing a piece about 9/11 in the form of our show "elegies for angels, punks and raging queens" — free verse monologues from the perspective of characters who died and songs from the point of view of the living … this is one of the monologues and i post it to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11 … we were in rome when it happened, at the start of a two-week trip to italy, our first … strange to experience it at that distance, but it was certainly an instant conversation opener with any americans we encountered, and lots of other people too …



i love america

my parents
brought me here from pakistan
when i was a boy
for a vacation 
and that trip was like
being transported 
to a magical kingdom

and i don’t mean disneyworld
though of course we went there

didn’t care for that
too fake
too unconnected to reality
to include “world” in its name

but new york city
that was the magic kingdom

standing on the observation deck
of the world trade center
was like standing on top of the world
where i wanted to live

so i came back
after years of studying at home
american college
and graduate school

the day i was hired
by a company at the w.t.c.
was maybe the happiest of my life

i thanked allah
for his blessings
prayed to mecca
kept the faith

that fateful day in my office
on the ninety-sixth floor
i looked up from my desk
and saw the plane
hit somewhere down below

i tried to go out and down
but the elevators and stairs were blocked
and other exit doors were locked

i hung out a window
which exploded in the blast
waving my jacket
waiting for rescue
until at last
the fire became too unforgiving
at my back
i said good-bye to living
and dived into the black morass
of smoke which billowed from below

my descent felt slow
as i flew
into the waiting arms
of the city which i loved

and now i want to know
why my brothers in allah
would do this to me
and all the others?

i always kept my balance
between two worlds
the home of my past
the god of my fathers
the world of my dreams

and even as i fell
i was heard to yell
“praise to allah
i love america”


posted by bill on September 1, 2011, at 2:38 pm | filed under news, poetry | no comments »

02  Aug
poem: while we can
several friends have mentioned that they miss "poem of the month," so i'm going to make a concerted effort to bring that feature back …  bruce and i celebrated our 32nd anniversary last month and the 2nd anniversary of our marriage in connecticut (finally new york would allow us to marry here!) … so in honor of that here's a poem for august
while we can
yes, my love
let’s do it all
while we can
explore exotic locales
while we still have the stamina
to get to them
then recover
from the jet lag
and various bodily and mental assaults
of modern travel
while we can
still afford to
do that relatively inexpensively
fly coach
and deal with the discomfort
haul our luggage
on public transport
and up the stairs
of less than luxury hotels
then run
to museums
from after breakfast
to collapsing after
after dinner drinks
from all we’ve done that day
while we can
still maneuver our aging bodies through
the unfamiliarities
of different cultures
through crowded markets
and carnivals
digest the cuisine
adapt to odd customs
and hours
climb stairs and hills
do all the walking
sight-seeing requires
pamper ourselves
only from the occasional whim
instead of necessity
while we can
still summon the cells
of cognition
to retain
some fleeting memories
of all we’ve done
and seen
so that in our dotage
and penury
we’ll have some hazy glimpses
of past glory
to see us through
our sedentary years
yes, my love
let’s do it all
while we can
while we still can

posted by bill on August 2, 2011, at 8:29 am | filed under news, poetry | 1 comment »

happy new year … for me, one of the cultural highlights of 2010 was the youtube campaign started by dan savage and his partner terry called “it gets better” … the impetus was the sad suicides of gay youth … i haven’t done a video yet, but growing up in cowboy country prompted the following poem …

it gets so much better

hard to comprehend
i know
when you’re being bullied
by neanderthals
in school halls
who unleash
their insecurities
through cruelty
and intimidation
because you’re somehow different

it gets better
easy to say
from the perspective of distance
and years

when i think back
to the fears unleashed
by crude boys
threatening to hurt
or even kill me
because i wasn’t a jock
was effeminate
and easy to mock
i appreciate that terror
is impossible to see beyond

the profound dread
of threatened attack
with no physical prowess
or inclination
to fight back
even the prospective injury
not as frightening
as the thought
”i am not like the others
never will be
and it shows
i am marked
and everyone knows”

but somehow you survive
(not all of us though
and that is why
we try to show
it does
yes it does get better)

you move on to other places
“i can start anew
reinvent myself as someone who
will not accrue
the animosity
i’ve become accustomed to”

it isn’t true
you can not escape
your nature
your essence
your inherent effervescence

but if you’re lucky
or persistent
you’ll find others
to your unique
and special charms
and some who
are quite a lot like you
surprise, surprise
with a story
that belies
their current joie de vivre
whose camaraderie
gives you reprieve
from the horrors
of your youth
and leads you to embrace the truth
it does get better

and best of all
know you can find
someone fun
and of like mind
with whom to share
the starry night
the daily fare
the minor slight
the major share
of happiness
so overdue

oh yes
it does get better
for the likes
of you

posted by bill on December 27, 2010, at 9:56 am | filed under news, poetry | no comments »