Ten Hells and Counting

featured in the poetry forum September 15, 2013  :: 0 comments

I once thought the sages of the East were all-knowing.
Touring Ho Chi Minh City, ersatz Saigon,
motorbikes, smog, borrowed helmet too small.
Pagoda dedicated to the Emperor of Jade,
supreme Taoist deity,
other gods, gilded, protect the
generals who defeated
the Green Dragon and White Tiger.
In the hall of Ten Hells,
elaborately carved wooden panels depict torments,
hapless human figures contorted and
convoluted in creative ways,
chained, devoured, trampled.
Devotees and tourists stuffed in tighter
than a full pack of Pall Malls,
air heavy with the pungent smoke of burning joss.
Only ten? I think, taking deep breaths,
wiping away sweat, suppressing the urge to
do a little trampling of my own. Only ten?

editors note:

Any number is possible; why not 20? Or, how ’bout none? Make it up hot or heavenly and believe, believe, believe… – mh

Gods and Demons

featured in the poetry forum December 11, 2011  :: 0 comments

Dionysus, god of wine,
old and comfortable friend.
I dream of Aphrodite,
goddess of love, beauty, desire,
all my dreams, all my hopes,
unrequited.
In the pantheon of demons,
the emptiness at the heart
of human existence is
Zeus, king of gods, ruler of Olympus.
Next comes boredom, Ares,
god of war, violence, and
the self-destructive turmoil in
so many of our souls.
On a mission to find antidote,
Zeus too exalted,
too distant to hear my appeal.
My quest is for relief,
real, lasting, meaningful.
Damn,
that eliminates all my favorites,
beer, Scotch, wine,
casual sex,
movies, Internet.
Many souls, many solutions.
Mine, I begin to see,
is here, right now,
on this page, Aphrodite’s approval
irrelevant.

editors note:

Trash your idols, deify your vices – absolve yourself with a few verses. Just a few words… peace will come – mh

My Favorite Places

October 17, 2011  :: 0 comments

It’s the empty spaces
my soul craves,
sand-blown desert,
wind-swept glacier,
marshy tundra,
no people
no trees
no cars
no roads
no trails,
and most goddamn definitely
no cell phones,
places
where simplicity
expects nothing,
and the void without
soothes the void within.
Elsewhere,
teeming life
befuddles and confuses
and cares too much
about itself
to notice
other beings
or
that other emptiness,
the one
right here,
right now.

editors note:

We are a lonely planet; filling our emptiness with noise and activity to hold back the void. – mh