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ROGER HUMES - Page 2

Lebanon and beyond The Swan I am not
A Poet of Many Colours Ulysses Isle of the Numb
Something Wicked Internal Exile Tell Me to Which
tonight When I breathe The kindness of once strangers
Who are you There is no room Too often I have listened
Brutal honesty is the knife I stand still by the window
Her body moves through the city
Return to Page 1 . Go to The Shaman's Hat









Lebanon and beyond

Purchased on my tongue
I hesitate these words lest
you might answer or then again
not of what you found
inside his sentences
while the dead struggled
along the paths
to the quiet mountains
as you contemplated
what was laid bare
in the unopened letter
postmarked simply
Café Beirut: Lebanon and beyond.







The Swan

Take not now lightly this illumination
Touching across your path
Where fingers shadow
Warm beams dancing
Among dust motes,
Each a different thought,
Tchaikovsky ballet,
Layer upon layer stacked
To the heavens of your mind,
Soaring with the stars,
Diving with the comets.

Held tightly packed close to your heart
Throughout eons of awareness
You fling them to the winds of desire,
Heedless of consequence, a quiet smile
Melting the thorn encrusted walls
That far too long held you
Within hesitation's prison.

Lips word dance song
While from the windowsill,
Arms folded neatly, leaning
Against the warmth of the glass,
You survey far distant hills and valleys,
Tucked in momentary pastoral splendor,
Calling forth a radiant thrill
Echoing off life’s landscape.

Encased in the warmth and delight
Of new found wings,
You unfold, embrace flight
Along the horizon of possibilities
You always pondered if possible
But never dared to offer surrender
Unto such luxury until now.







I am not

I am not the poem
- I am the bones ground to dust
under the heels of mad fairy tales;
I am not the painting
- I am the plague scathed across a savage land
weeping desolate in the unlit alleyway;
I am not the song
- I am the wail of the last wind
lost beneath the sands of mislaid hope;

I kissed you good-bye
before I let go,
I kissed you good-bye
before the coffin closed
I kissed you good-bye
discovering death is so cold.

I am not the story
- I am Tamerlane’s ride across Asia
ending civilization before it began;
I am not the sculpture
- I am the leper who arrived after Jesus left
with only an empty wine flask left to comfort him.
I am not the art
- I am what remains when reality
reminds us we die as alone as we are born.







A Poet of Many Colours

Come now lay down on me
While Egypt clothes you against my skin
In the chill hush of the night
Where before the desert of your thoughts
You wrap me warm around you,
Heedless of the bloodstains
Of the Lamb on the coat and above the doorway,
Lain as justification for exile
Within these legendary days of plagues and emancipation.

No name dances for us now
Among the tortured tongues of Babel,
Save for the muse that strikes the rock
To spring forth the water of your soul
Where beside the burning bush
You turn back the knife
As I lay upon the altar watching the seeds
Of our thoughts populate the stars of a sky
That mocks the buried walls of Jericho
Stricken by the mute trumpets of my words.

The music of your voice
Brings forth memories of that civilization
When before the Land of Milk and Honey
We turn back to Egypt where I call you,
Parting the Red Sea of my days,
Before I journey lone through the desert,
Crying out your name in a wilderness
Where little makes sense
Save for the words you send me
As a gift enwrapped in a wisdom
That could rebuild the Temple
Before this lifetime of ours returns
To the sand from whence we came.







Ulysses

The ivy's hands do climb and fall
In tangled webs and lost laments
Across the hoary breath of the wall
Before me portrayed in its bent
Telling me what is gone and past
Is lost long to flickering fates.
Candle extinguished by time's wind,
My vision clouded furrowed fades
Into these icy sentiments
That numb my feet and fingers,
Yearning for a comrade's welcome home,
Yet here I pause and do linger.
I pull clothes neat when I arrive
In early hour before the gate,
No longer a king or a warrior
But one is forced to wait.

Wherefore you go?
Asked at the gateman's keep
Where shadows cling to the breath
And night cuts in ribbons that are deep.
Wherefore go you now?
A voiced hesitation sets
All on guard who watch
As alone I stand
Lost in the recollections
Of blood dripped upon the sand,
Lain in patterns of the spider
Whose prey falls fast to sleep.
For who among them could recall
The journeys of Ulysses.

Why tell them of the terror and trials
That tore my comrades from my grip
While transfixed I now stare
At the water's eroding drip
Beneath the ivy of the wall
That mocks how my strength was spent
When with youth and daring
I rode the oceans east and west,
Only to learn bitter truth
Lay within those seas of regret.
My lips locked tight cannot say
What is lost is seldom regained,
My hand clinched till pale of blood
From a past that cannot be reclaimed.

So I still my tongue
Before the gateman's youthful face.
Let his lessons his own be learned,
He would not listen anyway.
I shall search the pitted streets
For to find a familiar hand
Who can remember me from back when
All seemed within our command.
We shall reminisce over a round
Of the brash jungles of our youth,
When all was branded clear and certain
By those who assumed to know the truth.
Within my wrinkles they understand
All turns to lies before it flees
To hide before ivy 's hand and hoary wall
In these tales of Ulysses.







Isle of the Numb

Upon this ancient isle of the mind, where in the end
When the die is cast we all come to reside,
Around the campfires of the heart and soul
Where voices drone on with the old stories
That have been told and will always be told
Beneath the cold pale lie of the moon:
What moves us at these tortured moments
When breath and momentum are all that remain
Before the waves of eternity wash
The footprints of our existence from the shores of life?

Moments are all that are trapped between the edge
Of rationalization and acceptance,
Moments that attempt to deny the turning hands of the clock
Or to admit, in those least guarded of instants,
When all is stripped bare
And there is no way or place to hide
From the leveling of expectations,
Behind thought where no thought exists,
That at the very core, the innermost of cores,
We are all so utterly afraid.

For all we have are words,
Those most ancient of symbols
Which attempt inadequately to explain
What it is that separates us
From the world in which we live
And from whom what we truly are:
Nasty small beasts that cannot admit
To the packs in which they run
Or the sounds of their own voices
As they bay for blood beneath the wandering night stars.

Words, the harbinger of all we are,
Or who we are suppose to be, as we dress them
In the swaddling clothes of deceit
And lay them orphaned upon the doorstep
Of any with sympathy or who are fool enough
To heed their siren call.

Words, which the poets and authors dress as peacocks
To strut in the shining flash of their glory
When they lay them upon the page
And say perhaps this is a snippet, a mere snippet,
Of what a moment could be, a moment should be,
If only honesty could let one release
And to admit in end we are ever so limited
By our inadequate understanding
Of what we do perceive and how we may utter it
In some way that appears to be almost real.

Words, which the historians use to connect the dots
And to brace us quietly for the understanding
That in the rush of all that enters us
At any given second, any given time, we are so unable
To comprehend such said events
In partiality, let alone approach totality,
How possibly could we have the conceit
To say we know what has happened in the past?

Words, which the scientists of the mind
Shake as a rattle for their voodoo
To give the correct names to the daemons
That haunt what we are
With their justifications to blame
Our chemistry, our society, our mother,
Especially our mother, so that in the end
When blame is painted above our doors
We can proudly proclaim our innocence
And say that we are the children who should be spared.

Words, which the politicians bandy about as a mural
That they paint in black and white before they wash
The canvas of existence with the blood, the lost red blood,
Of the young and the innocent so that they may pocket
The thirty pieces of silver that tell them
That their actions are whole and fair and just
While they divide the world along invisible lines
That add to the comfort of the distraction
From the inevitable conclusion that the old must all die some day
No matter how large their accumulated armory of power and wealth.

Words, which the pious kneel and pray before
With the burnt offerings of their lives
While they present themselves with succor for their holiness
When they grovel as the Whores of Babylon before those in power
And in return for the justification they bring to the table
They are offered a seat at the left hand of the Golden Calf
But are left in the end with sleep that is so troubled
By the fiery hand of doom written upon the walls of their consciousness.

We are left to listen to the mermaid, she who is alone
Among the hollow notes of her flute,
Her face turned toward the sea,
The lost mystery of the bones and the waves,
From which she came
And to which she may nevermore return.

We are left with mere dreams or perhaps uneasy visions,
Buried so deep within the well of our souls,
Filled with the tears of anguish and denial,
Stripped naked, a carcass consumed and covered
With the flies and maggots of disillusionment,
Distracted only by the convenience of the moment
Where perhaps we can hide behind
These sounds, these symbols,
Where perhaps we can lie in wait
For the other victims who dare
To threaten the boundaries
We create around the wound we do call life.

For what can threaten such a wound,
What can wind so deep, strike so quickly
That occasionally we are forced
To awaken from the slumber of our delusion
To realize a world, a life, spins madly outside,
Outside our touch and our control,
And we are merely shadows
Walking through the twilight of the garden
Of our own existence?

For what can prick such the balloon of ego,
Drive us in panic to become aware
From that instant, that one solitary instant,
Beneath the illusion, beyond the fear,
Outside the gasping of perspired air,
Outside the grasping of the sweat dampened palms,
That we are not genteel, that all in the end returns in the end
Down to blood in a world that is built upon blood,
Torn from the veins and hearts of countless generations,
Within the past and continued to this day,
Behind the walls of the lives
Where finally perhaps the only difference
Between any of us is the accident of where we were born?

At birth we are led gently by the hand to the top of the cliff of life
Where our breath bates before the beauty of a world
That fades off into the horizon in front of our eyes,
An instant before the gravity of the awareness
Of time and isolation begins to drag us down
Step by step for the rest of our lives,
Where perhaps for the only time within our existence
We do know peace, save for the solace created
By the lifelong process of yearning for death,
An instant that is serene and hushed and golden,
Until those who do nurture us, place the boot
To our backside and echo the magic words passed
From one generation to the next:

Fly, you are on your own...

And within that instant we become aware
Of how truly alone we are
As we watch the earth below slowly, ever so slowly
Until inevitability and gravity assume full control
Within the headlong rush of familiarity,
Grow in more detail before our vision,
And in the panic finally we realize
The time offered for us to grow used to such isolation,
To grow accustomed to the blinding freefall,
Is terribly long and cruel and sad

And in the end far, far too short.







Something Wicked

The last we heard of the circus,
According to rumor, it was
Flying east, following
The path of the sun
In a reckless aphasiac wet dream,
The froth of rectitude
Dripping from its mouth.

The spastic clown ringmaster,
Still addicted to the terse mockery
Of single syllable thought,
Denied all collusion
In the matter, although he did admit
The data offered on the handbills
Was perhaps at minimum overstated.

The steroid freak strongman at his side
Nodded in agreement, drinking
A glass of unsweetened lemonade
While his lips never moved
As the ringmaster spoke
Far from the underside of truth.

A new location had been chosen
For the show to open
A new season, one admittedly
Not the one most would choose;
However the message it would send
To the other traveling shows
Would become very apparent.

The plan was to rake in as much cash
As possible before anyone noticed
The rather tacky shabbiness
Of the overly patched tents
Or the foul aroma that pervaded
The ringmaster's oratory and reasoning.

Meanwhile, few if any were aware
That the hurdy-gurdy man had turned
His face to the south, his hands washed
Of the entire mess, a new song
Upon his lips greeting a morning
Where the circus was no longer in town.







Internal Exile

When they finished with you
They came for me,
Hiding behind the trash bin
Of my cowardice, cowering
In the fear I wear as a second skin.

Denial is my natural state,
My native land, home country
Where in the passport of my life is stamped
The words Internal Exile, the process by which
I pledge allegiance to the Nation of Me.

I close the document, edges tattered
With the years of misuse, eyes avoiding
The picture staring blank, devoid
Of hope, just above the line for the signature
Where I forged your name.







Tell Me to Which

Tell me to which
Your heart turns:
Sun or moon;
Tell me to which
Your thoughts sail:
Evening or noon;
Tell me to which
Your desire longs:
January or June;
Tell me to which
Your time bides:
Too late or too soon?







tonight

tonight
I am made
of finest
cut crystal
and I stand
the loci
where all the
poems pour
in light through
me before
they prism
and then turn
to one voice

quiet,
whisper
loudly and
I shall shatter
beneath
your weeping
fingers
of lust







When I breathe

When I breathe
your song is my lungs,
when my heart beats
your smile follows my dreams,
when I write all the words
that are ever known to humanity
reduce to be you.







The kindness of once strangers

When the final words are said
and door is quietly closed
do I hear you softly weeping
or perhaps sharpening your vengeance

or perhaps both.







Who are you

Who are you
who comes to my doorstep
offering freedom from want,
freedom from need, freedom
from desire, and slavery
to devotion?







There is no room

There is no room
for sweet words
when the sky is full
of gray tears
and the earth is sown
with the salt of remorse.







Too often I have listened

Too often I have listened
to the song of the nightingale
stir within my heart
only to later watch
the silhouette of her wing
fly off into the sunset
of another unfilled promise.







Brutal honesty is the knife

Brutal honesty is the knife
we must wield:
if our cut is deep
then others will recognize
our blood as their own.







I stand still by the window

I stand still by the window,
although I know you will not come,
with my mind far away
upon the Sea of Sorrows
where the dreams of forever crumble
into the dust of today.

I draw then the curtain
to block the sounds of the happy throng
who move now below,
and I know that wherever I shall journey
my cut-heart will remember always your smile
before we journeyed separately
into the Garden of the Lost Hearts…







Her body moves through the city

Her body moves through the city,
the sleek legs inviting from under
the short skirt still turn the eyes
of many men, with a brisk walk
that speaks of the understatement
that is the hallmark of her life.

Her thoughts move toward
the desert evening and her heart longs
for the heat and the passion
of those other days when she was
young and her skin burned and ached
for his touch just as now she yearns
for the moment of those memories
to race through them both again…

…her musing is interrupted by the thought
of a voice so far away…

but it is all so complicated

and what is, is all that shall ever be…

some nights only fatalism and acceptance
can hold back the tears of such emotions…




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