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Selected Poems of Steven Curtis Lance

Displaying Poems 1701 thru 1725 of 2767 Poems

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Apr 18, 2007, 6:48 pm


Possibility

Today dawned on me as an epiphany
The universe is starting to make sense
A thing-in-itself in the present tense
Which now seems to be feeling less tense to me

Seeing it as open and not hollow
I will simply keep going and follow
Its open road to where I am meant to be
As a present from the present today

Which is itself the present anyway
A present pregnant with possibility

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Apr 17, 2007, 6:22 am


For Matt Fisher

a sonnet in solidarity

The works of my hands will never endure
The words of my mouth are even less sure
Because my disease is one with no cure

So all I can do is share it with you
Just you and me and our mortality

And damn it here I am smoking again
Trying to burn off existential pain
I guess but what a mess we both are in!

So baby maybe I just choose to sin
A little to stay whole and save my soul

Brother in dusk down here waiting for dawn
Homeboy in heartbreak as we reach for hope
Hang on with me for awhile as we grope
For some light until our darkness is gone

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Apr 12, 2007, 8:05 pm


Shy Little Love Song

I have survived things I thought no one could live through
Had crazier misadventures than anyone
I never could have made it this far without you
But what we got through has made us two more like one
At least to me and I hope you feel like this too
So on a new day when I feel new life begun
I take a leap of faith and believe that you do

I sit with the homeless and hear with empathy
(Since that is all I have to give them anyway)
The tales they tell which might as well be about me
And I thank God and you I made it to this day
More or less intact booze drug and tobacco free
(After Easter I threw those last cigars away)

Love opens these once tight-shut eyes so I can see
To dare to take a further leap of faith and say
Held close within your heart is where I want to be
Just as I have held you close within mine always
Come build with me a home of solidarity
To keep us warm with love and laughter all our days

This is from my heart: I hope you feel like this too
I take a leap of faith and believe that you do

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Apr 11, 2007, 6:13 pm


Circus Train

In our awkward puzzling position
Life on earth can seem a circus but
Remains never without its reward
Try to enjoy it no matter what
As the temporary condition
Which it manifestly is and must
Be before we return to the dust

Until then our circus train chugs toward
The summit of our humanity
Where whatever our idea might be
Of that which is to come after this
Awkward puzzling position we know
To one we know not where we might go

Through trial to transcendental bliss
Or maybe just an end to it all
Whatever follows when petals fall
But never neglect the here and now
This moment itself for its own sake
And try to have fun with it somehow

Because never having died before
Life on earth becomes an act of faith
A very good chance for us to take
And who could ask for anything more
Than to live well and laugh last at death?

Life on earth can seem a circus but
Personally I believe and trust
That you and I are much more than dust
But if to the dust we must return
Let us live and love and laugh and learn

Try to enjoy it no matter what

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Apr 9, 2007, 10:19 pm


Exacta

I grew up out at the track with my mother
Checking out the horses and helping her choose
Getting an education like no other
While learning about all the ways you can lose

But I never saw her so happy as when
She hit an exacta and understood then
Why all those people with their broken-down cars
Left broken-down lives back home to reach for stars

Because once in a while the magic would come
And an angel would kiss some broken-down bum
To bless him with martinis and long cigars
Long as the odds which once in a while we beat
Snatching victory from the jaws of defeat
We held our tickets until all hope was gone

But I found the fountains in the infield lawn
And filled my pockets with wet quarters for her
From superstitious winners who never were
Finding more money than my mother most days
Finding one of the more dependable ways
To come home a winner those sunny Sundays

I grew up out at the track with my mother
Checking out the horses and helping her choose
Getting an education like no other
While learning about all the ways you can lose

The odds were so long yet at the end she beat
Cold death to snatch life from the jaws of defeat
Now as I place a wet quarter on her grave
I know she won and offer my life to her
I place my bet for another soul to save
For me and for those winners who never were

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Apr 9, 2007, 4:08 am


Easter Before I Go

No one wants to die and neither do I
But when your time is coming you just know
So I spent this Easter wondering why
Waiting for stars watching the cars which go
Around and around all seemingly bound
For happy destinations far away
From where I sat with the homeless out in
The hub of the wheel of my town today

The stars never came the flickering flame
Of my cheap lighter lighting cheap cigars
Became the vigil light of lonely night
Which came as a relief beyond the grief
Of seeing happy families like these
Making their fuss who looked askance at us
The people like me with no family

Just a few broken friends with burnt-out ends
Of smokes and bitter jokes about our lives
And where we have been and what we have seen
Of who we were once with children and wives

Only the lonely would know what we mean
Here in this in-between of life and death
Where some say we are punished for our sin
My homeless friends with vodka on their breath
No booze for me just the insanity
Of cars without stars and some cheap cigars
A kind fellow-wanderer shared with me

No one wants to die and neither do I
But when your time is coming you just know
So I spent this Easter wondering why
With friends of mine out here before I go

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Apr 7, 2007, 9:33 pm


Surprised

If I ever had anything to lose
I probably would have lost it by now
If I was once given the chance to choose
I might well have made the wrong choice somehow
Sure made my share of mistakes anyway
Forgotten now (don't mind doesn't matter)
I just look back and laugh at this late hour
Having developed a taste for surprise

I never really had much of a say
Not being one of the ones with the power
Just picked up such crumbs as fate might allow
Went hungry as the fat cats got fatter
Did what I thought was my best every day
Picked up a few tricks between there and here
Learned the great lesson that life while not fair
Is full of surprise for curious eyes

It surprises me to be anywhere
After years of seemingly meaningless
Ins and outs and ups and downs and sideways
Adventures so I can handle I guess
Such phantasmagoric frolicsome days
As I might endure as I know for sure
Mortality's a disease with no cure
Except to let go: to let go of fear

I just look back and laugh at this late hour
Surprised to be one of the ones with the power

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Apr 3, 2007, 6:32 pm


Etude: Thirteen by Thirteen

thirteen lines of thirteen syllables

He turned out like his father as his mother had feared
Made the same mistake and thought it best to go to sea
Out of sight and out of mind seemed a good place to be
So rounding the corner of the world he disappeared
But once around the corner he saw it was in vain
To go since what goes around just comes around again

No matter how far we flee we can never be free
Of the wheel of the real of the turning of the pain
Of the burning of the learning of the suffering
Of rounding the corner of the world to disappear
To go all the way around to be found right back here
Where we started and departed from once long ago

Yet until we go around the wheel how can we know?

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Apr 3, 2007, 2:59 am


The Thing I Like Best About You

I seem to think of the right thing to say
About a week later or maybe two
You always know what I mean anyway
This is the thing I like best about you

I lost my money I misplaced my mind
And trouble haunts and hunts me everywhere
The road is hard for those who walk it blind
Like me as I go without knowing where

But I like you and I think you like me
I might be wrong I know but I think so
I know everybody needs somebody
For a little company as they go

So never mind the meaning of it all
And what the hell we might as well just be
A couple of autumn leaves as we fall
Twisting in the wind but elegantly

Or eloquently if we wait a week
Or two but then we never need to speak
Because we know what we mean anyway
This is the thing I like best about you

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Apr 2, 2007, 12:33 am


The Gift We Keep

I search the eyes of a homeless man and see
A reflection deeper than any mirror
I understand I am him and he is me
His eyes are mine as the truth becomes clearer
That something beyond the solidarity
Of human beings who meet on the street is
Happening and understood implicitly

His present is my future and my past his
I see all eyes are searching ultimately
And that these eyes of ours have found each other

Why life has brought us here only life can say
But I his younger he my older brother
Are brothers like tomorrow and yesterday
Of which neither day exists so only now
We sit together and understand somehow
What will be will be but our humanity
Is the gift we keep which none can take away

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Mar 29, 2007, 10:12 pm


Orphan

Left disappointed by theology
Left unsatisfied by biology
Left empty-handed by philosophy
In a seemingly random universe
In a bad situation getting worse
Apart from cant and rant to search the sky
I live in fear as an orphan down here

Not the best man but surely not the worst
Not important certainly not the first
Nor last to sink under this rising sea
Left here to die without quite knowing why
Left alone to wonder until I do
Left on the brink not knowing what to think
I turn back to childhood when I knew you

God if you are there please would you show me
If we could have a future you and I?

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Mar 28, 2007, 7:44 am


Rather Like Rhymes

Wandering wondering nickels and dimes
Jingling in my pocket rather like rhymes
About dreams which never came true (not yet)
The people on the sidewalk smile at me

I smile right back at everyone I see
Smiling makes it easier to forget
The abject absurdity of it all
And to be content to be poor and small

I shaved off my whiskers I cut my hair
Got all cleaned up walked down to Plaza Square
Where everybody was nice to me there
They told me they liked my new clean-cut look
And they might also like to buy a book

Well if they do of books I have plenty
Sonnets fourteen hundred four and twenty
Then these poems with no numbers at all
By someone content to be poor and small
Wandering wondering nickels and dimes
Jingling in my pocket rather like rhymes

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Mar 26, 2007, 9:18 pm


The Mirror and the Window

As much as we need to remember
We also need to forget
Or else in the chill of November
Things are unforgotten yet
Things which weigh upon us heavily

Unforgiven unforgotten
Things ferment and end up rotten
Such is the burden of memory
To trap us in the mirror
Poisoning both heart and history

Forgetting brings things clearer
Forgiveness is the window
To let in the light below
So that in the end at last we see
This is the freedom of clarity

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Mar 24, 2007, 1:03 am


Broken Veterans

Broken veterans camp on this park lawn
My brothers in inscrutability
Although the sun shines their minds have long gone
Dark since they bore the brunt of destiny

They came home from where they were sent but there
Something was lost which can never be found
Again so they sleep homeless on the ground

Since they never really came home at all

They died to the world and what they fought for
Got confused as they watched their comrades fall
And if you ask them you will hear them say
Only those who were there understand war

Here they are yet they are so far away
That one despairs of ever breaking through
Except by some change from me and from you

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Mar 23, 2007, 12:24 am


Two for One: Bagel and Coffee

I. Bagel

Gnawing a toasted bagel pensively
While worrying about the calories
I just wonder what will become of me
But then I decide that bagels like these
Whatever else they do taste heavenly
And so I commit to eat all of it
Since it bears no butter and no cream cheese

What will become of me is I will be
As for what else becomes let it become
Because I have seen the worst anyway
OK by me as long as I have some
Change for a bagel on a sunny day
And should life go from bad to worse to worst
At least I know I will not be the first

II. Coffee

Those drugs which make people nervous
Hold no fascination for me
They offer a doubtful service
Though offered stimulatingly

I know you know which drugs I mean
Of which I only use caffeine
Because it just comes with my tea
Or the coffee of this morning
At Starbucks down on Plaza Square

Of coffee I need no warning
Since I can only have it there
If someone slips me refill change
Or they wink me a cup for free

I would feel rushed and rather strange
Snorting white powder up my nose
And yet they do it heaven knows
Led by the nose headlong to doom
Far from where the poetry grows

Zoom!

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Mar 21, 2007, 9:38 pm


The Meaning of It

At the end and that is where I feel like I am now
Living through such trials as to challenge my belief
That which really matters is to have a friend somehow
And should people shout at me and treat me cruelly
Which they do as you know more than I want to admit
How good it is to know someone with insight to see
Whatever good there might be left and left inside me
And I think that this just might be the meaning of it

Though brokenhearted now and broken in any case
The very best medicine is that familiar face
Of one who does not judge except to say I am fine
With all my faults and failings reflecting that divine
Acceptance found so seldom in this our human race
The only medicine which ever gives me relief
I have never understood where we are racing to
Careening as I do between depression and grief

But I am just thankful to be racing next to you
Wherever we are going I can get there I know
You tell me life is worth it all and you show me why
Blue sky above with you beside and good earth below
Whatever happens next and no matter what we do
As we tiptoe through this minefield of sorrows and scares
With your help I see the earth bloom I see the sky shine
And after all become convinced that somebody cares

Right up to my last breath I will live until I die
Never mind the hour of that last breath nor count the days
We never know when we must go our days are unknown
Life is lived all the sweeter on the brink of always
One thing I know for sure is that I am not alone
How good it is to know someone with insight to see
Whatever good there might be left and left inside me
And I think that this just might be the meaning of it

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Mar 19, 2007, 2:18 pm


Curious Canyons

thank you Franziska

Today I find myself relieved to see
I am not alone in the universe
Somebody here likes to visit with me
Just the way I am for better or worse
Baggage and all my dancing in haunted
Houses all my sea stones answered at last
Hope for the present if not for the past

I guess this is all I ever wanted
Waiting for love to come patiently when
I needed it most but not until then
Wondering if my doing might be done
But you see life remains and I agree
Thank you Franziska for being the one
To remind me how things are meant to be

In these curious canyons of the mind
Together we can wonder about things
Get big ideas about leaving behind
Those nightmare things which the night watchman sings
Our real friends seem impossible to find
Because they were never lost anyway
Thank you Franziska thank you for today

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Mar 18, 2007, 4:53 am


Under the Moon by the Railroad Track

They tell me we live and learn but
I am uncertain what they mean
It only seems like we earn what
Little we know of destiny
By simple serendipity
Yet in a random universe
It could always be a lot worse
And very often it has been

We grit our teeth we face the pain
The moon wears neither smile nor frown
We fall but we get up again
To rise so high that up is down
Then weep but weep away the stain
And what we see of destiny
Will be enough for you and me
In this the only game in town

Earth to ashes and dust to flame
It only seems like we earn what
They tell me we live and learn but
Humanity is not to blame
The vanity the grief the shame
The ultimate futility
In this the only game in town
Remain but leave them let them be

We will always have stormy weather
Just keep walking and never look back
If you want we can walk together
Under the moon by the railroad track
I look at the moon and see her smile
She whispers "love" and "never look back"
And night is bright at least for awhile
Under the moon by the railroad track

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Mar 17, 2007, 10:02 am


Nirvana

for my friend Bernard Betts

Drinking tea in the middle of the night
Enjoying it and being thankful for
Simple things like not always being right
Having just what I have no less no more
Which might seem less than I need but my sight
Has been disappointed by death and war
And is not what it used to be these days

When waiting eyes look up to realize
Nothing yet everything is as it was
One batch is born as another one dies
The effect unrelated to the cause
Then waiting eyes weep but are thankful for
Simple things like not needing to be right
Needing nothing at all no less no more

Here on the ledge overlooking always
Drinking tea in the middle of the night

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Mar 17, 2007, 1:50 am


Thump-Thump-Thump

He swings a tail like an orangutang
Knows it too as with a how-do-you-do
My cat Fred enters the room with a bang
Bearing the butt of an orangutang

Or if you need to drop off that last "g"
Should he seem more orangutan to you
He swings like an orangutan to me
And whether tang or tan we can agree
That I have my own pet orangutan
At least the hindmost portion anyway
And you could pet my orangutan too
Indeed he would be petted night and day

Though I am an inconsequential man
My cat wields a tail to mow us all down
An orangutangular terrorist
Hitting greens with a scythe of reddish brown
He could cut the grass or harvest the hay
And the government has him on their list

A machine of perpetual motion
A rattlesnake protruding from his rump
A tail to inspire appendage-envy
He is a weapon of mass destruction
And how the other cats wish they could find
The courage to be as brazen as he
If only a pleasant interruption
From rather more effete felinity

Ten years we have shared a fond devotion
In fact he is coming to see me now
Orangutang tail bringing up the rear
Simian yet so impressive somehow
So nice to have an orangutang here
Slapping me softly with a thump-thump-thump

They can bump and grind until they go blind
For want of this tail they are doomed to fail
To bump the way Freddie Noodles can bump
Slapping them silly with a thump-thump-thump

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Mar 15, 2007, 9:38 pm


Like a Kiss

To bend with the winds of change as they blow
Before the winds blow us into the rocks
Is how we survive as those my age know
Stay true to your truth and never be fake
And though you will bend you will never break

To laugh at our more ridiculous trends
To be able to laugh at me and you
To do good work to have a few good friends
To know how fortune keeps turning around
Up on the summit then down on the ground

Fresh every day and all of it very
Much like a journey and temporary
A sense of humor like a key unlocks
The puzzle of this world so make it fun
And please be kind since humankind is one

The nations rise and go to war and fall
The dogs of war bark and sometimes bite too
We sweep up the detritus of them all
Until death comes to sweep us too away
I thank all of you for sharing this day

This is the only world we ever had
And love is more real than cash bonds or stocks
So bend or break and laugh or else go mad
And when it gets too tough remember this
What seems like a curse can be like a kiss

To bend with the winds of change as they blow
And not pay too much attention to clocks
Is how we survive as those my age know
Stay true to your truth and never be fake
And though you will bend you will never break

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Mar 15, 2007, 2:25 am


Fast Cars and Slow-Walking Men

On this second day of my newfound health
Having at last hacked my way through the flu
I remain outdoors and observe by stealth
The comings and goings of those who do
More driving around than anyone need
Most at that surge-ahead-fall-behind speed
Of impatience punctuated by rage
Where underneath the rage it seems like fear

Automotive battle or pilgrimage?

Pedestrians have to be careful here
Man-on-the-street pedestrian am I
A little slow in the crosswalk maybe
But grateful under this graceful spring sky
I hope we get where we were going to
All of us fast cars and slow-walking men
All going the same way ultimately
And then when all of our dreams have come true

I will look forward to seeing you then

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Mar 14, 2007, 2:35 am


At Last

At last I have recovered from the flu
And am out enjoying a flu-free day
At least for today thank God and thank you
Until another virus comes my way

Spring has already sprung here where I live
Sprung all the way to summer so they say
Where a bright blue sky seems pleased to forgive
My sentence of sickness from a hard fall
And a winter I would rather forget

Days like today seem to justify all
The randomness and the absurdity
Of problems too big and of hope too small
The problems look smaller today to me
As hope in spite of everything looks up

Although all I have is this poetry
Life leaves some shiny pennies in my cup
Apparently I am not finished yet
At least for today thank God and thank you

At last I have recovered from the flu

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Mar 13, 2007, 7:07 pm


Blood

As I once scrubbed the blood from this floor
Here where my broken mother once fell
Now I scrub it from the walls and door
Of our holy home bled red by hell

This is not blood from a Parkinson's fall
But the poisoned blood of denizens all
Of darkness who should never have been here
Bringing stains of nethermost nightmares near

Some sadomasochistic fantasy
Played out here which cannot make sense to me
Because I never fell that far not yet
A bitter lesson I will not forget

Brokenhearted I scrub this room to let
Another crazy couple come destroy
The only safe place I knew as a boy
Now soiled with the blood of a guilty curse

Just when I thought things could never get worse

The broken window is repaired now
I did my best to fix the broken door
The new window shade is on its way
But this is enough there will be no more

I am thinking of selling today

But then all I could do is pay my debts
And live and die a stranger with regrets
That I was the one to let it all go
Driven from home by the scum of the earth

My mother is free while I trapped here below
Am left now to wonder what life is worth
When worse than I could imagine has come true
I will not forget what they did to you

Home of my heart and my mother's memory
Those who defiled you will not rest easily
They will taste the sharp bitterness of regret
As surely as I remember my mother

So turn around scum see it is none other
Than me representing the family

I come to collect a debt of respect

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Mar 11, 2007, 8:47 pm


Rise

Gravity sucks and the whole world falls
What is of earth to earth is drawn down
What I want to do is leap these walls
And fly in the sky over my town
To soar through the night in the moonlight

In his world he could never be himself
So he surrendering to family
Lived as a dusty knick-knack on a shelf
Not any sort of life as all could see
Except for him but he could not be free

Or is it that he would not be? The fear
Of disappointing and shattering things
Which are there to be shattered always brings
That sense of ultimate futility
Which fashioned his politely modest mask
Pleasing his parents but proving to be
Ultimately unworthy of his task

And so he shot himself one day and died
Buying the gun from a scary stranger
Who saved his soul by ending the danger
Of being understood for who he was
His parents and clients and pastor sighed
But out at Fairlawn it was nice because
His dusty knick-knack friends all came and cried

Gravity sucks and the whole world falls
What is of earth to earth is drawn down
What I want to do is leap these walls
And fly in the sky over my town
To soar through the night in the moonlight

I am of earth but also of sky
One my left hand the other my right
So to spend half my time in the sky
Is both my birthright and my delight
The same thing is just as true for you

We have to rise whatever we do

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII











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