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Selected Poems of Steven Curtis Lance

Displaying Poems 1801 thru 1825 of 2858 Poems

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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








Mar 11, 2007, 1:39 am


Electric Freefall

Fever is singing in my ears tonight
Tomorrow I hope it might go away
If I don't matter and it doesn't mind
I wish tomorrow could have been today
But time only flies until it is chased
I fear catching it and leaving behind
All of these blue stars and this blue moonlight
Which leaves me wondering if I should say
Let fever sing without unseemly haste

I choke down aspirins doing my best
To live because I have no time to waste
If life is what I am supposed to do
Since I seem to have a knack for the now
You might miss me and I know I'd miss you
Having done this much I could do the rest
Should mortality and the flu allow
But I just get so sick of getting sick
I want to develop immunity
Getting well seems an existential trick
Of our illusion of impunity
Since no one escapes from this place alive

Here where when one flu takes its leave of me
It's only so the next one can arrive
In some unhealthful continuity
Where run-amok TVs squawk down the hall
Looking for me with their sickly blue light
Burbling broadcasting electric freefall
Like fever singing in my ears tonight
A night it looks now I might leave behind
If I don't matter and it doesn't mind

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Mar 9, 2007, 8:53 am


Volunteers in Waste Places

Nobody plants them nobody but God
And they could not be planted better than
They are as they grow though you might not see
Where they are blooming as fast as they can
In so-called waste places broken and odd
Which they turn into paradises of
Beauty where ugliness gives up to love
Where brokenness is kissed by harmony

These are the flowers we call volunteers
They fruit and seed and are scattered to be
Sown in the shadows and watered with tears
Yet bloom bold even heroic somehow
Like angels who dance where devils have trod
We always need them but especially now
That so little else and so few are free
I understand you friends: be strong stand tall

Bloom through our darkness point us toward the light
You just might be the ones to save us all
Brighten our brief day before our long night
In so-called waste places broken and odd
Which you turn into paradises of
Beauty where ugliness gives up to love
Like angels who dance where devils have trod
Nobody plants you nobody but God

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Mar 8, 2007, 5:46 am


Still Way Too Tough to Die

Our 1958 Packard was pink
And long of fin with an underbite chin
It looked rather like a big shark I think
A big fish in any pond it was in
(Where sharks are allowed to be pink) something
Long of fin and of tooth enough to bring
Astonishment to the cars we passed by
A pink sort of shock without suffering
When our big pink Packard took off to fly

But then they only saw it from the rear
Fins unfurled and dual exhausts throbbing
Since Grandpa liked to punch the "passing gear"
He was good with knobs and at hobnobbing

MCAS Yuma was where we had
"Factory air" and we needed it bad
Not in the Packard but in the new car
Where I beat the heat in the huge backseat
It was like a walk-in freezer back there
My Grandpa drove it smoking a cigar
A big fish in any pond anywhere
His dream car that '65 Chrysler I
Still drive today still way too tough to die

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Mar 6, 2007, 8:23 pm


Redeeming the Time

My hair has grown beyond the collars of
Those autumn winter jackets I so love
But this has now come just in time for spring
When jackets are only worn at evening
Or at morning but I am asleep then
And I wear my jackets no matter when

Sweet spring come breathe on me and let me live
As those who will leave a mark on their art
To as I have been given freely give
Enough to change the world or just my heart

I have no money for a haircut now
Nor food nor dental care nor anything
But stumble starving as handouts allow
As one more than ready to see the spring

As the spring sun rises I might rise too
Finding myself in a forgiving clime
And maybe we all could just start anew
Redeeming ourselves redeeming the time

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Mar 5, 2007, 10:35 pm


To Us

Nobody wants existential despair
Nobody goes looking for misery
But the trouble is it is always there
I never sought it but it sure found me

It lurks within the shadows everywhere
It stalks the unsuspecting wanderer
Who walks too far out on the thinning ice
All the philosophers who never were
It claims for itself and never thinks twice
Of such details as the him or the her
In fact it never really thinks at all
Leaving that to us when at last we fall

Wrestling with the angel I guess I lost
Waiting on the Lord I am waiting still
I paid as much as I could but it cost
More than I have more than I ever will

Unlike my loved ones who followed before
Leading me to believe I could find peace
I gave up everything but it cost more
Than I could ever have to find release
From this fragmenting fear which shreds my soul
And draws me deeper into this black hole
To sink fully conscious under these chill
Seas of broken minds and dreams great and small

Nobody wants existential despair
None seeks to swallow such a bitter pill
But the trouble is it is always there
Inside of us never thinking at all

Leaving that to us when at last we fall

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Mar 5, 2007, 1:52 pm


Drifting

I feel myself drifting slowly away
Far from the safe shallows of sanity
Nocturnal agony poisons the day
Dawning my death knell in a minor key

I wish I knew and I wish I could say
What catastrophe is coming for me
But I feel it advancing just the same

I hear its heavy footfalls in the night
The chilling wind is whispering my name
The squatting clouds have blotted out the light
The dark descends to cover me with shame

The waters all around me dank and deep
Are rising now and rocking me to sleep
With lullabies of bitterness and blame

What catastrophe is coming for me
I wish I knew and I wish I could say
Far from the safe shallows of sanity
I feel myself drifting slowly away

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Mar 3, 2007, 6:49 pm


Come Turn the Key

When time and space and distance loss and gain
Present themselves simultaneously
When differing paths meet to cross again
Having carried us here separately
Converge to a point neither first nor last
With the future almost touching the past

The most plausible possibility
For this pinwheel of pleasure paired with pain
Is that this is the now reminding you
To remind me to remind you to be
Here in the moment and not turn away

Not even a moment is guaranteed
Let alone an hour never mind a day
Yet this moment alone is all we need
Where we are alone with nothing to say
Out of the reach of the hands of the clock
There are no words for such things anyway

Come turn the key as we open the lock
Although unable to go back to when
Such things mattered they will not matter then
Because there will be no then anymore
When then becomes now in the anyhow

Anything is possible in the now
Come turn the key as we open the door

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Mar 2, 2007, 5:44 pm


Little Big Boy!

Thirty years old and going nowhere fast
I know because I have been there before
If this is your chance it might be your last
Inflated by our worship now to soar

But I am an unbeliever in you:
I think you are an enormous baby

If you have a dream it might not come true
Can you keep your trophy lover? Maybe
But I think she might be part of the crew
Of a ship which never sails anywhere
Fortunately you are too vain to care

Just call your mother and she will explain
Or better she could tell you over lunch
(For which she pays of course) about how pain
Could make you more thoughtful in what you do
And what Ecstasy has done to your brain

Little Big Boy! Mommy loves you a bunch!
She just wants you to be happy at last!

But baby you are living in the past

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII








Mar 1, 2007, 9:32 pm


Visual Reality

Cud-chewing on her exit line
She had an inspiration:
Show righteous indignation!

She decided that would be fine
That whatever she said was not
The point of it but rather what
And how effective the effect

Correct just as one might expect
In visual reality
A ray of hope for the elect
Who having eyes use them to see
Her exit line although banal
Effect-effective after all

But we who wonder with our words
Would like our words to matter
Appreciated like the birds
As pleasant background chatter
One hopes and at the very least
A word be heard in season when
We all have lost our reason then

Cud-chewing on my exit line
I have an inspiration:
Show peaceful resignation

+Steven Curtis Lance



Copyright MMVII











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