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POETRY OF CATHERINE ZOLTANPOETRY OF CATHERINE ZOLTAN

Aretha I love noise... The morning after
A Child's Treason Nothing left to say My mind's protection
Why this poem San Francisco A cheer for Joe
Tribute to Cavalier Puppies Everything's Different This Way
My mother Winning through time For Jessin '77
I've been in love I can want For Jamake
For Staten Island Art Man For My Sons Beautiful Lies
Eulogy for A Toxic Man








Aretha

(From My Journal, September, 2006)


I've been a fan of Aretha's since I was 11. Just saw my first concert, at the Pachango Casino Theatre. She's not old at all, 64 or 65. But she's quite obese and had to walk in little steps, lean on the piano as she sang, take a break in the middle of the concert, and finally, kick the piano player off the baby grand and play the piano herself while she sang so she could sit down.

She was wearing a caftan tent-like dress, very beautiful, dripping in diamonds, and a platinum blonde long hair wig with a flip at the bottom - very 70's look.

She must weigh over 400 pounds. I mean, she was a spectacle; quite beautiful and queenlike to see, let alone listen to.

Ske talked about food in between songs, and that made her somewhat human and I was grateful for that. I mean, she really has this presence of a pouty God.

The voice is a spiritual dynamic wonder.

Towards the end of the concert, she stopped in the middle of a song and whirled around and flammed on the drummer! "I'm not happy with the drummer! This is the last concert! Not your last minute! Wake up! NOW GIVE IT TO ME!"

The drummer jumped about two feet off his chair and the audience went down a bit in their seats, hoping that this wrath wasn't coming in their direction!

She did a few gospel numbers, Jesus Is My Friend and something else, but people were lifted from their seats and for 30 minutes nobody was sitting down.

That woman is still dangerous!

With the audience sitting there in the presence of a real God, hearts racing after she rocked the walls with that voice, she walks off stage. This strange withdraw with no announcement. I was wondering if she had a heart attack. The theatre was in complete mystery for 20 minutes. When everyone finally settled down, and it all got quiet, and people began to accept that she was gone for the night, she comes back to the stage in those tiny steps, picks up the microphone, and starts to sing that Bobby Darin song, "Beyond the Sea".

If my kids weren't there tears would have rolled down my cheeks. I've had dreams about her for the last two nights.

I reckon I can go to my grave knowing I've been sung to. What concert do you go to after that?







I love noise...

I love company too.
I love to know people
and animals
and that they're
moving around.
When I hear noise
I'm reassured.

I feel lost
when all is quiet.
When I hear noise
I feel I've been found.
It doesn't have to be loud.

Hearing is a gift
yet people cure it.
I love to hear.

I love to see.
I love dirty laundry,
black magic,
smoke and mirrors...
It's quite an enchanted forest
this earth.
I love its dangers, insanities,
sanities; the lies, the truths...

We cannot experience
our own compassion and genius
until being here
...or experience the victory of escape.

And if there's one hobby I'll never get over,
it's that of being trapped and able to get out.
(I know Houdini well.)

I don't want to leave.
I want to own Earth.
I know I will never lose my hearing
or my sight.

I love talking to you late in the night.
Thanks for listening.







The morning after

What a distance there can be
from reality to memory!

The morning from the night before
can hide the moon
behind a door.







A Child's Treason

We walk through sickness
and famine's vines.
We watch the children
disappear, taken away
by religion, war or wine.

We feel our men as they
turn their heads,
we feel the knife,
see our babies dead.

The children, our greatest
purpose for reason...
Nothing cuts deeper
than a child's treason.







Nothing left to say

I've had so much to tell you
but instead
have hid those thoughts and words
far right, beneath my head.

Ideas were little soldiers
marching off to war
and every time I let one out
the damage grew some more.

Why I kept an army
I will never know.
I am not a warrior,
or driven down like new snow.

I don't wish to linger
for another day.
I have nothing more to gain
within this redundant play.

Will you go on living
once I've gone away?
Will you stand there listening
when I've nothing more to say?







My mind's protection
(from a dream)

we walked, we talked.
with ease I followed
you beyond a cliff
stood in mid air

and suddenly to my
surprise a tower rose
before my eyes
to land inside

i looked down to see
you looking up
without a care, my guide
promising life

hung in mid air
there was magic
without discretion...
you rose above my
mind's protection







Why this poem

Why do I sit late into night
chanting words to anyone
who finds these lines
while my children snugly sleep?
I may be gone before I know
who finds my words upon a snow.
I don't know who I'm talking to
as I write these words to you.
I don't know who will read my mind
put into words I drop behind.

Each person has their own intentions
for their wordy poem inventions.
They write to cry, complain, invite,
teach, warm, and yes, incite.
I wonder, sitting here,
why I'm doing this.

It is my kiss.
I hold my secrets very close,
at times there is no one to tell.
Poets sing into a well.
Tonight I'm bothered with
a discovery I must reveal
with no listener upon the way.
I rush to leave these words behind,
you read them as they fell:

All that little children want
is someone they can tell.
All they want
is for you to listen well.







San Francisco

Mighty City
Mighty City
old, typical
yet so pretty

Neglect cannot hide
in front of sun
yet you have a home
for everyone

An orphanage
so large and grand
a place to sleep
but never stand

You could have been
on any planet
a rooming home
of massive granite

Every little thing
a sample
just a taste
of Adam's Apple







A cheer for Joe

Clouds are black,
the sun has set
and my phone is ringing --
neighbors can't forget
the music of a barking dog

The school is sad
as children chant
the "pledge allegience"
not understanding the words

Front page views point to why
a man killed his wife and
three children

I heard it was because
a mother-in-law moved in;
against the sadness
I have to grin

All the seriousness
and mess...
Where did you go
Joe DiMaggio?

You might have been
the last to know
that life can
be a game







Tribute to Cavalier

I know, you know,
you reached toward me
and I stepped over galaxies
to see your face again,
to breathe the wind
you breathe,
lie in surrender at your feet.

In deep hypnotic sleep you dreamed,
lions purring at your feet.
I lost that one, could not compete
or reach far enough;
even so, I felt complete
in your company.
We shared a page of music,
a secret truth.

I must let you go now.
I’ve lost what wasn't mine.
But I can't remember to forget --
this is my upset:
I can't remember to forget.







Parent Here

As parent here
I'm just a scout
who leads my flock
through ins and outs
of danger here,
survival there,
a passing on
of life to heir.

My sons they
know I step with
heed, a careful scout,
so deep my need
so great my love
of little ones.
I step with care
I walk with duty
they follow me
their trust complete
stepping right behind
my feet. I feel them at
my back, impatient
with my lack of speed
until freedom lures,

the greed of self-determined
speed they need
to make them whole, I
see them grow, I know
that need and they
are off as soon as
they disagree.
Then they are free
of me.
Milestone one complete.







Everything's Different This Way

I found a life
and had to grow
a little girl
that came to know
the city street and folk.

I chased the dragon
through the snow.

Three blind mice
billy goat gruff
the old aunt's snuff
the recipe book
the crime of look
the knitting hook,

William Blake
William Yeats
fractions, commutative math
the consequence of
my own wrath
I took a bath
and all was so.

A master stepped
inside my door
and said to me
"There's so much more
than agree to this,
listen to that;
you are not where you
think you're at."

He took my hand
and led me kindly,
a person here
who copied blindly.

And so we walked
to other roads
where people know
the distance wide,
the other side

and the space between the
truth and lies
grew ever narrower.

"Have mercy on
the ancestries
that sold you the
apparencies,"
he cautioned me:

"Looking from the
valley up, you are a leaf
inside a cup.
Looking from the
mountain down you
are a God without
a town."

All one does is
shift his view to
have the world
come out brand new.

I sit upon a cold wet cloud
and look upon my
funeral crowd.

What do I think,
what can I say?
...Just,
"Everything's different
this way."







Puppies

Oh the puppies!
Little miracles!
Disarming, even
robotic clericals!

Warm and fuzzy
hopping, forgiving
taking joy in
all of living.

The puppy breath
so reassuring...
that miracles
are still occurring.

Oh but when the night time comes
I dread to see those little ones!
Becoming little night time lurkers...
depositing in any corner.

If you look into the eyes,
you see the wolf that tends to hide,
when the sun is bright and warm
and the puppies hide from storms.

You know a dog will save your life
or rip your throat with teethy knives.
They take you in with little whimpers
then walk you in the New York winters.

I love those little darling things
when they whimper little sings...
They scare me in the black of night
with yellow eyes reflecting light.

Oh the things we tolerate
from little ones so like our mate.







My mother


I was looking through

Some time and space

And came upon

A subtle grace

A woman so

Completely feeling

Painting flowers

On a ceiling

I decided then

To make a trust:

Live once more

For both of us

I see now that

My words are frail

I only say that

I was right

To choose my

Mother one day light

I lived again for

Both of us

She led me to

A master's touch.







Winning through time


The men we fail to possess as lovers

come back to us later

when searching for mothers.







For Jessin '77

I don't mind
broken tracks I've left behind,
darkness I've persisted through
that got me here
to see this truth
in just one glance at you.

There's more to life
than meets your eyes,
a love that will never die.
Fairy tales do come true...
everything is new
in just one glance at you.

Lives I've lived,
deeds I've done,
causes I've lost and won,
all facets of my existence,
stars, moon and sun...
I understand it all
in just one glance at you.







I've been in love

Two times I've loved
within this life
another person
as a wife.
When I die
and move ahead
"I'll remember
two," I've said.

I will remember
and recognize
those two
in my future lives,
will love them still
I say, tomorrow as I did
today.

This world can take away
some things, but never
what I felt those days.

Some things are bigger
than the lies
that people weave
and publicize.
Love cannot be
reduced in size.

I'm still in love these days.







I can want

"What do you want"?
"What do you want"?
 
 
             What did you ask?
             What did you say?
             Oh that was before the terrible winds
             the angry seas, the open doors.
            
             That was before
             my desperate needs.
             Long before, my braveries. 
 
"What do you want"?
"What do you want"?
 
      
            Why can't you look?
            But don't tell me.
            That was before, a little girl.
            A woman trusting visitors.
            
            That was before...
            I'm on my knees.
            Don't ask again, please.
 
 
"What do you want"?
"What do you want"?
             
 
             Why do you ask
             this complex task
             of simple honesty?
 
             Can't you see I am
             busy now with great, important duty?
 
             I'm sitting on the desert floor
             and I want rain. I want rain.
 
             I can very well endure
             this wanting pain.







For Jamake

Blackbirds flying in the night.
Freedom from the wrong and right.

No risk, no weight, no crime in flight.

Blackbirds flying in the night
rich with time and space and sight.

Far beyond a reaching glove, that's love.

Blackbirds flying in the night
cannot write you poems tonight.
I don't envy them.

Love, Catherine







For Staten Island Art Man

Just Teasing You

Things change with the big picture.
We, once so brave and daring,
humble now with children

taxes, and profit sharing.
My duty now to be a fixture,
no longer pixie dust.

I feel some glee at
this equation, mixture
of one of me and one of you

so different now than either two
that ever came before the birth
I reached to understand some Earth...

It's good to see you my old friend,
perhaps we'll dance one day again.
But today I'm on a mission -

I'm rich with love and blind ambition.
If I suggest we're something new,
I'm just teasing you.







For My Sons

Come gather round me
darling sons.
Lay down your wheel
and rest your guns.
I have a story now to tell
to take your hearts
to other wells.

Once there was a
brilliant man.
He sang us songs
that made us stand.
He touched us with
a master plan.
He warned us of
the foreign lands.
He didn't know you best
though. That was me.
Now wash your hands
sit down to eat!







Beautiful Lies

We loved.
We lived.
As others cried
We laughed.
Why not say we suffered too
to climb so high?
We stepped then upon
the down-trodden and ugly,
not feeling very guilty.

"We're winners"!
We believed the
beautiful lies.

We used slaves
for our grand designs;
as they worked we destroyed
a better way, giving
others not much
to say, as homage was paid
to our beautiful lies.

We used our riches and privileged births
to make merry mirth
at the expense of those
less rich and wise ...
and have come back in other lives
to find blind mothers
who couldn't hear our cries,
only our beautiful lies.







Eulogy for A Toxic Man

We gather today...but
he was always dead.
Today, though, we feel the burden
has moved away from our heads.
We who came under
his black magic spell
visited darkness known
only as hell. He led us to find
ourselves bankrupt, crippled
or locked in a cell.

All of his victims,
young women and children,
lovers, ex-wives, mothers,
all suffered his treason.

He had ready a good reason
for everything he did.
He brought home a lawyer
who he introduced as a friend
to one wife, declaring:
"I'm in with a higher class
of people now and you don't fit in."

He presented himself
as a cheery Santa Clause
yet couldn't gift another
with simple applause.

He artfully escaped
being caught for his crimes.
His smile was brilliant,
he never did time.
His friends, there were maybe two,
recall him only
as a covert criminal.

If a person's wealth
is measured by friends,
He lived in poverty,
beginning to end.
He lured in his victims
with lines of deceit
then pulled the rugs out
from under their feet.
Those of us here now
are at last consoled
that his heart has stopped beating,
his body is cold.

We can breathe again --
The truth has been told.

But we will only move on
when we can forgive him.

 



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