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for christina valdez

A long time ago,
In a world put away,
When youth was the order
And night was the day,
There was a young girl
That I knew by her smile
And a way she could place
My affections on trial.

Each day we’d walk
To a cozy spot near
And while away hours
In a dark atmosphere.
She excited my senses
And tangibly touched
The inner mechanics
Of the secrets I clutched.

Her charms were assorted,
Was laughter’s delight
And I easily melted
In the heat of her light.
She offered her body
But another’s was mine –
Temptation took Adam
But I stuck with the wine.

Translucent her spirit
As she orbits my time
Through years that have passed
In these lines I have rhymed.
I frequently wonder
What’s come of this girl,
In memory she’s kept
Like an oyster’s sweet pearl.

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Mobile Home

People have apartments,
Condos at the shore;
Homes up on a hilltop,
On streets in Baltimore;
I live in mobile housing,
A home without a bed;
I’m self-contained and living
Alone inside my head.

I speak with voices captive,
That only I can hear,
That dwell within the recess
Behind the inner ear.
The ever-present presence
Of ghost and wraith alike
I’m never lost from comfort
From those that I dislike.

I travel where I’m thinking,
No planes or cars or trains;
No passport is required
And no confining chains.
I live in mobile housing,
A home without a bed;
I’m self-contained and living
Alone inside my head.

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See the little arrow?
The little tiny dot?
The sea of black and blue
The little bitty spot?

The foreground is a spaceship,
And Saturn’s golden rings;
The dot the earth and home to
The mightiest of kings.

The conqueror and conquered,
The wealthy and the pawn,
And every petty grievance
That mankind ever spawned.

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Three frolicking fingers serrated
By strings that musically muse;
Resulting in calloused contusion
From hours of six-string abuse.

Well known that the artist must suffer,
Tormented producing his craft;
But the artist’s suspicion would never
Suspect he’d need fingers to graft.

His anguish should stem from the ether,
By a soul and a spirit that ache
Not waylaid by cavernous fingers
Left in the suffering’s wake.

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She’s falling in love and I fear
Very soon she’ll then disappear;
In pursuit of the passion
Biologically fashioned,
For genetically she’s engineered.

Unexpected her company’s been.
Unsolicited we’ve become friends.
But decades apart,
In both mind and heart,
From beginning an unlikely blend.

From the banks of the river that serve
As an outpost from which I observe
As the current she rides
Carries her from my side,
Forever in memory’s preserve.

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It Should Be Easy

Two months ago
A schoolhouse burned down
Where the Amish kids go,
Learn syntax and nouns.

Now it’s rebuilt
And ready to go –
The kids will return,
Their lunchbox in tow.

If the same thing occurred
In the public domain,
Years would go by
And budgets would strain.

Surveyors and lawyers
And ten engineers –
Architect planners
And twelve financiers.

Taxes would rise
And meetings convene;
Decades might pass
‘Til a building was seen.

While the Amish just gather
And the work is begun –
Collectively factor
To get the job done.

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Marineland 1987


In Rancho Palos Verdes
Marineland once was king –
A million folks would visit
Through winter from the spring.

More lab than entertainment,
Where injured sea life went
For medical attention,
Well-being to augment.

Long before the Sea Worlds
And Disney parks would grow;
Before you felt the whales
Were tortured for a show,

I stood upon the stage there
When asked if I’d permit
A killer whale meeting,
Of course I would commit.

As Corky swam up to me,
He rolled onto his side
And offered up a flipper,
A thrill I must confide.

My hand grew ever smaller
When placed upon his limb –
My significance diminished,
My substance start to dim.

The universe grew bigger,
My place within it small;
Drawn into perspective,
Rearranged my sense of all.

Financially it suffered,
It sold a time or two
To studios of cartoons
And a grocery chain revue.

Then one day it shuttered,
Corky and his mate
Were shipped to San Diego
At night within a crate.

Everyone was fired,
They boarded every door;
A statue they called Bubbles,
Marineland’s troubadour,

Dismantled into storage,
A sentinel no more;
And the business of the whales
To disrepute would soar.

But Rancho Palos Verdes
Has tried throughout the years
To recommission Bubbles,
Somewhere on their piers;

In honor of her history,
The nature of the work
The city once had hosted
And in their memories lurk.

Thirty years since passing
Now Bubbles has returned
To stand outside in tribute
To all that was adjourned.

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Everybody’s different,
Everyone’s the same;
Perhaps a contradiction,
Improbable the claim.

Through the time’s reflective prism,
The fundamental hue
Of every person passing
Is quite the same as you.

Twenty, forty, sixty,
It matters not a whit;
Underneath the pretense,
A larger mold we fit.

Social graces vary,
The secret and exposed;
The proper and improper,
Leave nature unopposed.

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The Self Important Man

The self-important man
Is heading for a ledge
Where lesser men will join him
As they slip off the edge.

In freefall to tomorrow
And equal in their worth,
He’ll join the countless others
Who briefly stopped by earth.

His self-important presence
In darkness will exhaust;
A footnote on some tombstone,
A memory to be lost.

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Climate Cabal

They’re applauding themselves,
They’re saving us all
From the pending disaster
That’s casting a pall
All over the planet,
The misfortune in store –
Especially for those
Who live near a shore.

If you’re of the belief
That they’re on the right course
You’re sharing the triumph
Of political force.
But I cannot recall
If this leader’s cabal
Applauded themselves
For the climate’s downfall.

Asleep at the wheel
As the planet’s demise
Was fashioned and shaped
By these fellows so wise?
There’s more than meets eye
When the powerful meet
Leading their sheep
With rhetorical bleats.

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