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24.9k · Jun 2015
Classical Smile
Mike Essig Jun 2015
Your lips
slightly parted;

pure smile
of ancient Greece
seen on endless
broken statues.

Smile of sun
and knowledge.

Smile of Artemis
and Athena.

Smile that smiles
in the endless
moment.

Eternal
feminine
smile of
the mysteries.
  ~mce
RLA
21.6k · Apr 2015
Time Isn't Money
Mike Essig Apr 2015
Time isn't money;

time is your soul
bleeding out
onto your socks.

Money is just
an inferior brand
of toilet paper.

Use it for
what it is worth,
  ~mce
18.8k · May 2015
Your Eyes
Mike Essig May 2015
Pale green fire
that consumes me.

Your gaze
reduces me to ashes.

Most
marvelous
burning.

   ~mce
oh, my!
14.5k · Apr 2015
Time Passing
Mike Essig Apr 2015
Years ago,
I was ambitious;
now it
is clear
nothing will
happen.
   ~mce
Homage poem.
14.5k · Apr 2015
This Woman
Mike Essig Apr 2015
This woman
never looks
at the camera,
always into
the camera;
just as
this woman
looks directly
into my heart;
this woman
with her
sweet and fierce
Tiger eyes.
This woman
is something new
in an old world.
This woman.**
   ~mce
Just about says it all.
13.4k · Oct 2015
Divine Generosity
Mike Essig Oct 2015
god made stars
for starving poets

when they look up
they forget
how hungry they are

    ~mce
12.5k · Jun 2015
The Ballad Of Whiskey And Meth
Mike Essig Jun 2015
let me tell you my friend
about whiskey and ****
a demonic combo
that can lead you to death

whiskey and ****
make you think you are strong
make you feel invincible
you can do no wrong

whiskey and ****
forget all the rules
they were made for weaklings
cowards and fools

whiskey and ****
make night into day
until one is the other
and you lose your way

whiskey and ****
make you anxious for strife
you load your pistols
you sharpen your knife

Whiskey and ****
they cost me my wife
they cost me my children
they cost me a life

whiskey and ****
attract the law
and into it's clutches
you will certainly fall

so that's my story
of whiskey and ****
leave them alone
or prepare for death
Just to show someone I don't have to punctuate everything.  :)
12.5k · May 2015
Suffering
Mike Essig May 2015
Suffering
is the landscape
of life.

Hope is
the sustenance
of life.

To avoid suffering
is to avoid life.

Love yourself.

Love other's
even though
they don't
deserve it.

Be gentle
with yourself,
even when utterly
fatigued and
victimized.

Make you life
a poem that
you create
and hold it
close to your
heart.

The best
you can do
is all you can do.

  ~mce
12.4k · Apr 2015
Poetry And Sex
Mike Essig Apr 2015
Poetry,
like ***,
momentarily
destroys
the misery
of the world.
  ~mce
But neither last.
12.2k · Jun 2015
Reality: Short Definition
Mike Essig Jun 2015
Just the brain
telling tales
we are helpless
to resist.

  ~mce
Mike Essig Apr 2015
~ short ode to PTSD

Though capable of rage,
I am harmless enough
except when cornered.

If you decide
to visit my life,
just be sure
we always sit
in a circle.
   - mce
10.1k · Apr 2015
Money
Mike Essig Apr 2015
Wallace Stevens
once wrote
that money
is a kind of poetry;
he did not say
that it is good poetry.
- mce
9.2k · Apr 2015
Doors
Mike Essig Apr 2015
The doors
of the world
are surprisingly
open unless
you lock them
yourself.

   ~mce
Homage.
8.5k · Dec 2016
Message In A Bottle
Mike Essig Dec 2016
on poetry*

A poem is only a mouthful of air
until it is read.
Imagine it. Craft it carefully
from your heart's flesh.
Seal it in a bottle
of clear, pure words.
Set it adrift on
the ocean of time,
life's restless surge,
until a few congruous spirits
pluck it from the sea-wrack
and recognize a message
that illuminates their souls.
Readers find writers;
never the opposite.
7.8k · Apr 2015
A Moment's Decision
Mike Essig Apr 2015
Sometimes
the dice
simply cry out
to be rolled:
pass them bones
over, God;
baby needs
a new pair
of shoes.

_ mce
7.8k · Apr 2015
Sunday Morning Adventure
Mike Essig Apr 2015
Birdsong and Mozart,
perfect morning music.
Wake to it; wake with it.
The uncertain night has fled.
Sunshine floods my living room.
Sunshine and possibilities;
Birdsong and Mozart.
Anything might lie ahead.

I will take this day
into my arms
like a sleepy lover;
I will embrace her
and walk into whatever
she may bring,
enveloped in
birdsong and Mozart,
together.

~mce
7.4k · Apr 2015
You Are Not A Gadget
Mike Essig Apr 2015
Please keep in mind
what Jaron Lanier said:

You Are Not A Gadget.

Anything you own,
hardware or software,
that you can't explain
and is smarter than you
makes you
less of a human.

I prefer to be a human;
I hope you do as well.

mce
Technology: glory and disaster.
7.3k · May 2015
Cherry Blossom Festival
Mike Essig May 2015
Let your body
be a
cherry tree
in spring,

its petals
falling slowly
to cover me

completely.

   ~mce
7.0k · Apr 2015
Fucking New Phone: A Lament
Mike Essig Apr 2015
My ancient cell phone died.
Had to replace it with a smart-phone.
Samsung Galaxy. No Choice.

Smart-phone my ***;
nothing but a hassle
since I got it.

Phones should
make phone calls.

I don't want the weather
in Ukraine.

I don't want people
texting me.

(What the hell is texting?
***, LOL. IMHO.)

Don't want to play games
or listen to music.

Sure as hell don't want
to watch movies.

What kind of *****
watches movies on a phone?

Ned Ludd where are you?

Call me if your phone works.

We need to make some plans.
   ~mce
I really hate this phone. I think it is possessed. And it hates me back. ***** up the simplest tasks. Argh!
6.7k · May 2015
LAWRENCE FERLINGHETTI
Mike Essig May 2015
I Am Waiting**

I am waiting for my case to come up  
and I am waiting
for a rebirth of wonder
and I am waiting for someone
to really discover America
and wail
and I am waiting  
for the discovery
of a new symbolic western frontier  
and I am waiting  
for the American Eagle
to really spread its wings
and straighten up and fly right
and I am waiting
for the Age of Anxiety
to drop dead
and I am waiting
for the war to be fought
which will make the world safe
for anarchy
and I am waiting
for the final withering away
of all governments
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Second Coming  
and I am waiting
for a religious revival
to sweep thru the state of Arizona  
and I am waiting
for the Grapes of Wrath to be stored  
and I am waiting
for them to prove
that God is really American
and I am waiting
to see God on television
piped onto church altars
if only they can find  
the right channel  
to tune in on
and I am waiting
for the Last Supper to be served again
with a strange new appetizer
and I am perpetually awaiting
a rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for my number to be called
and I am waiting
for the Salvation Army to take over
and I am waiting
for the meek to be blessed
and inherit the earth  
without taxes
and I am waiting
for forests and animals
to reclaim the earth as theirs
and I am waiting
for a way to be devised
to destroy all nationalisms
without killing anybody
and I am waiting
for linnets and planets to fall like rain
and I am waiting for lovers and weepers
to lie down together again
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the Great Divide to be crossed  
and I am anxiously waiting
for the secret of eternal life to be discovered  
by an obscure general practitioner
and I am waiting
for the storms of life
to be over
and I am waiting
to set sail for happiness
and I am waiting
for a reconstructed Mayflower
to reach America
with its picture story and tv rights
sold in advance to the natives
and I am waiting
for the lost music to sound again
in the Lost Continent
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting for the day
that maketh all things clear
and I am awaiting retribution
for what America did  
to Tom Sawyer  
and I am waiting
for Alice in Wonderland
to retransmit to me
her total dream of innocence
and I am waiting
for Childe Roland to come
to the final darkest tower
and I am waiting  
for Aphrodite
to grow live arms
at a final disarmament conference
in a new rebirth of wonder

I am waiting
to get some intimations
of immortality
by recollecting my early childhood
and I am waiting
for the green mornings to come again  
youth’s dumb green fields come back again
and I am waiting
for some strains of unpremeditated art
to shake my typewriter
and I am waiting to write
the great indelible poem
and I am waiting
for the last long careless rapture
and I am perpetually waiting
for the fleeing lovers on the Grecian Urn  
to catch each other up at last
and embrace
and I am awaiting  
perpetually and forever
a renaissance of wonder
6.4k · Apr 2015
Windows
Mike Essig Apr 2015
She dreams out
of windows
because she needs to live
in both worlds:
within and without,
alone and together,
past and future:
all right now.
   ~mce
6.3k · Apr 2015
New Haircut
Mike Essig Apr 2015
Got it buzzed
back to GI days.

A quarter inch
all over, I said
to the dubious barber.

It took some
getting used to
when passing
mirrors.

But now I love it!

I call it
my Monk's haircut.

No maintenance.

Wake up, perfect;
Swim, perfect;
Stroll about
in hurricane,
perfect.

Now I love
to feel
the wind
in my hair
that is
no longer
there.
   ~mce
Grew a beard, too. You wouldn't want to take me home to meet Mom. :)
5.9k · Apr 2015
Casual Sex
Mike Essig Apr 2015
Nothing
wrong with it.

Everybody
wants it.

The young
deserve it.

Only, after a point,
you realize that
you don't need it
and that taking
what you don't need,
can interfere
with getting what
you do need.

And that, as the
old, but true,
cliche points out,
makes for
a whole new
ball game.
- mce
5.8k · Apr 2015
Grace
Mike Essig Apr 2015
The grace of losing
self-importance
is the simple question
"who cares."
5.8k · Apr 2015
Poverty At Sixty
Mike Essig Apr 2015
This was just published so it is copyright 2015 by Holy Cow Press ~ mce**

Poverty is the fence around your life. Poverty wakes you up at 4 AM only to whisper meaningless slogans in your ear. It is the school of Piranha nibbling at the back of your brain. It is two hours waiting in the anteroom of despair for $22 worth of food stamps and being glad to be there. It is changing your phone number frequently because bill collectors are such boring conversationalists. It is the empty space your heels used to fill. It is letting your hair grow long and scraggly and your grizzled beard sprout because you know that although you sleep in rented rooms tonight, the street is not far off, and you want to fit in when you arrive. Poverty scalds the lint from your pockets. It is your private Treblinka within which you rage but are crushed. It is desperate prayers against dental catastrophes, blown tires, surprises of any sort. Poverty is when everything you own is frayed including your nerves from sleepless moments spent trying to solve the equation that will make X number of dollars cover X + ? number of bills, knowing that such math would defeat Newton or Einstein. Poverty is eying the cat's kibble imagining that with a bit of sugar and a splash of milk it might be fine and then eyeballing the cat himself thinking of protein of last resort and trying not to measure him against the microwave door. You ration your cigarettes; whiskey is a fading memory. Passing a diner on the street, you catch a whiff  of burgers too expensive to consider and experience a Pavlovian  moment. Poverty is trying to keep your head up and then remembering you pawned your neck. Poverty is watching the needle eat your last few gallons of gas. Poverty is the archeology of despair. It portends the death of irony. There is nothing ironic about a car with 217,000 miles and no insurance on it. Facts are facts in the world of poverty. Poverty is the last quarter reclaimed from beneath the cushions. It is too much time and not enough quarters. It is the specious logic of the self-righteous proclaiming that you deserve to be poor because you are, which in Amerika passes for wisdom. Poverty makes each day like the next because nothing does not vary. It is who you are and where you are going, although you won't get far. It is the life you lead inside the fence. It is the sum of what you lack. It just is.
   - mce
My most recently published work, by the folks who pronounced me dead.
5.7k · Apr 2015
Trying To Clean The Shack
Mike Essig Apr 2015
I'm no good at this
and my cabin doesn't help.

Decades of dirt and grime,
a decaying outhouse,
cobwebs and insects,
windows nearly opaque:
Cabin, you are lovely,
but you are filthy.

I am in urgent need
of a French maid
(uniform optional)
or maybe just
a compassionate
and tidy friend.

Or, probably, I'll just continue
not to look too closely.

Ah, the bachelor's life!
  - mce
TN poem. And yes, I am this messy.
5.4k · Apr 2015
Adulthood
Mike Essig Apr 2015
"A man must cast
his own shadow."
You learn this early enough
or you never grow up.
Homage to UKL.
5.3k · Apr 2015
Weird People
Mike Essig Apr 2015
Poets:
the only people
on earth
who stay awake
all night
writing poems
about insomnia.
Mike Essig Apr 2015
Pirates
are fun
to bed,
but woe
to wed.
  - mce
Argh, matey...
4.5k · Apr 2015
Persistence
Mike Essig Apr 2015
Persist.
We are made
to persist,
to complete
the whole tour.
That is how
we find out
who we are.
   ~mce
Homage poem.
4.4k · Apr 2015
Grace Abounding
Mike Essig Apr 2015
The Five Precepts
of Buddhism are:

Non-violence
Honesty
Fairness
Moderation
Sobriety

Not one of them
I haven't ****** up.

But hope lives
in the spinning Wheel;

many more chances
to get them right.

I call that Grace.

~mce
4.3k · Apr 2015
The Future
Mike Essig Apr 2015
I'd like to believe
that it will be better
than the past,
but as the they
used to say
in the teachers'
lounges
when I taught
high school:

There Is No Bottom.

mce
Although I wish you young'ens well, I am sadly skeptical.
4.2k · Apr 2015
Diane Wakowski
Mike Essig Apr 2015
Blue Monday**
BY DIANE WAKOSKI
Blue of the heaps of beads poured into her *******  
and clacking together in her elbows;
blue of the silk
that covers lily-town at night;
blue of her teeth
that bite cold toast
and shatter on the streets;
blue of the dyed flower petals with gold stamens  
hanging like tongues
over the fence of her dress
at the opera/opals clasped under her lips
and the moon breaking over her head a
gush of blood-red lizards.

Blue Monday. Monday at 3:00 and
Monday at 5. Monday at 7:30 and
Monday at 10:00. Monday passed under the rippling  
California fountain. Monday alone
a shark in the cold blue waters.

                     You are dead: wound round like a paisley shawl.  
                     I cannot shake you out of the sheets. Your name  
                     is still wedged in every corner of the sofa.

                     Monday is the first of the week,  
                     and I think of you all week.  
                     I beg Monday not to come  
                     so that I will not think of you  
                     all week.

You paint my body blue. On the balcony
in the softy muddy night, you paint me
with bat wings and the crystal
the crystal  
the crystal
the crystal in your arm cuts away
the night, folds back ebony whale skin  
and my face, the blue of new rifles,  
and my neck, the blue of Egypt,  
and my *******, the blue of sand,  
and my arms, bass-blue,
and my stomach, arsenic;

there is electricity dripping from me like cream;
there is love dripping from me I cannot use—like acacia or  
jacaranda—fallen blue and gold flowers, crushed into the street.

                         Love passed me in a blue business suit
                         and fedora.
                         His glass cane, hollow and filled with
                         sharks and whales ...  
                         He wore black
                         patent leather shoes
                         and had a mustache. His hair was so black
                         it was almost blue.

                         “Love,” I said.
                         “I beg your pardon,” he said.  
                         “Mr. Love,” I said.
                         “I beg your pardon,” he said.

                         So I saw there was no use bothering him on the street

                         Love passed me on the street in a blue  
                         business suit. He was a banker  
                         I could tell.

So blue trains rush by in my sleep.  
Blue herons fly overhead.
Blue paint cracks in my
arteries and sends titanium
floating into my bones.  
Blue liquid pours down
my poisoned throat and blue veins
rip open my breast. Blue daggers tip
and are juggled on my palms.
Blue death lives in my fingernails.

If I could sing one last song
with water bubbling through my lips
I would sing with my throat torn open,
the blue jugular spouting that black shadow pulse,  
and on my lips
I would balance volcanic rock
emptied out of my veins. At last
my children strained out
of my body. At last my blood
solidified and tumbling into the ocean.
It is blue.  
It is blue.  
It is blue.
3.9k · Apr 2015
Tattoos
Mike Essig Apr 2015
Though not
from the generation
of tattoos,
I think
I would
love to kiss
all of yours.
  ~mce
Are you even allowed to get a tattoo at 63? There's probably an age limit.
3.9k · Apr 2015
Survivor's Guilt
Mike Essig Apr 2015
Woken by nightmares
of falling choppers,
into another day.

They died like soldiers,
but I, in between,
here must stay.

Until the darkness
comes, when again,
I will fall away.
Call it a short Ode to PTSD.
3.9k · Apr 2015
Accidental Treasure Hunt
Mike Essig Apr 2015
I admit
that I pillaged
your Facebook page
for more
of your pictures.

Forgive me.

I couldn't
help myself.

Not doing so
would have been
like walking
on a beach
covered with
sparkling gems
and not bending
to pick them up.

Forgive me.

I am too much
of a pirate
to pass up
such treasure.
   ~mce
Should have asked permission. Oops.
3.8k · Apr 2015
Why This Pirate Life
Mike Essig Apr 2015
Because
I don't want
ever again to be
a businessman
stuck at a desk,
selling ****
to morons.

I'd rather be
Han Shan,
cold and hungry,
uncertain,
but joyous,

writing poems
to the void
on cave walls,

laughing at vanity,
chuckling
at attachment,

wandering the woods
like a happy ghost
riantly doing real work,

struggling
up one mountain,
down the next.

No path; no plan,
but never lost.
  - mce
TN poem. Again the pirate. That was my metaphor for me. Now, just an old monk. Everything changes.
3.8k · Apr 2015
The Good Citizen Poem
Mike Essig Apr 2015
The man of deeds who lacks the word
is simple, stupid and absurd.
He works and struggles all the day
for nothing more than mindless pay.
He loves the rich and thinks them smart
for gaining through their lack of heart.
He loves his boundaries; worships rules;
considers those who break them fools.
His mind is closed; his world is small;
he has no words to think at all.
His conversation tends to stink
because he never learned to think.
His only drive is buying more;
he's little but a Hoople *****.
He does and does and that's enough,
if he can just keep buying stuff.
He never questions what he's told;
he's just a thing that's bought and sold.
And when it is his time to die;
he'll lack the words to wonder why.
- mce
Hoople - an unthinking person, from the series Deadwood. I love the sound of it.
3.6k · May 2015
Night Sky
Mike Essig May 2015
Sky of black satin,
stars of white lace,
delicate lingerie
caressing the
voluptuous body
of the newly risen
full moon.
3.6k · Apr 2015
The Malaria Poem
Mike Essig Apr 2015
Thanks again America.
Long ago, you sent me to war
prepared to shed my blood.
I was lucky, mine was spared.
But some hitchhikers came home with me:
tiny, wriggling, tropical parasites.
They love my aging body.
They are true like ******.
They cannot leave me till I die.
Occasionally, they decide to dance.
No doubt, they enjoy themselves.
All they cost me is fever
and appetite,
sleep and peace of mind.
After all these decades,
you still want my blood,
but now you are content
to trouble it inside my veins.
Thanks Again America.
3.4k · Apr 2015
Aphorism
Mike Essig Apr 2015
The ultimate arrogance:
believing you can live a life
without consequences.
- mce
3.3k · Apr 2015
Whiskey Koan
Mike Essig Apr 2015
Am I drinking
the whiskey
or is the whiskey
drinking me?
Hmm...
- mce
nowadays, neither.
3.2k · Apr 2015
The Need For Speed
Mike Essig Apr 2015
~ for W L Winters

Never *******
a buffalo,
a grizzly,
a moose,
or an
ex-wife.

If you do,
run
as fast and far
as you
possibly
can.

   mce~
Mike Essig Apr 2015
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes made of ticky tacky,
Little boxes on the hillside,
Little boxes all the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses
All went to the university,
Where they were put in boxes
And they came out all the same,
And there's doctors and lawyers,
And business executives,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.

And they all play on the golf course
And drink their martinis dry,
And they all have pretty children
And the children go to school,
And the children go to summer camp
And then to the university,
Where they are put in boxes
And they come out all the same.

And the boys go into business
And marry and raise a family
In boxes made of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
There's a green one and a pink one
And a blue one and a yellow one,
And they're all made out of ticky tacky
And they all look just the same.
Sad.
3.1k · Apr 2015
Refugee For Love
Mike Essig Apr 2015
"every heart, every heart, to love must come, but like a refugee."*


Be wary, little, pretty one:
If you wander too far for love,
you may lose your citizenship
in the country of your own life.
Be sure of the direction you take.
Leave yourself a trail of breadcrumbs.
You may need to find your way back
to the safety of your own sanctuary.
The world already has too many refugees.
You do not want to become one more.
   ~mce
3.0k · May 2015
Being Loneliness
Mike Essig May 2015
We must all
live with a
full measure
of loneliness.

That is
inescapable.

We must never
destroy ourselves
with futile
attempts to escape
this loneliness.

Sit with it.
Accept it.

That will only
make it sweeter
when it ends.

  ~mce
2.9k · Apr 2015
Solstice
Mike Essig Apr 2015
On this shortest day,
the dark has risen,
a black cloak
covers creation.
The light,
reduced to spark,
awaits its time.
The earth turns,
the trees remember,
the flowers,
in imagination,
dare to hope
and blossom.
On this shortest day
the darkness falters.
Smoldering embers
flare again.
Soon, the world
will turn once more
from cold to warmth.
The light of the east
will not be denied.
Death, rebirth, new life.
On this shortest day,
darkness defeated.
  - mce
2.8k · May 2015
Promise
Mike Essig May 2015
I will find my way to you.
We will meet and decide.
If we decide it is good,
I will take you into my arms
and hold you like a butterfly,
not to crush or to own you;
just to let you know I am there
and that I am yours to enjoy;
to possess and be possessed
for as long as we both desire.
No chains, no tortured promises
extracted under duress
and regretted later.
Just taking time, our time.
for as long as that lasts.

  ~mce
2.8k · Apr 2015
Cool And Smooth
Mike Essig Apr 2015
Just found my
honest to god
vintage 1963
James Dean Ray Bans
in the garden where
I must have
dropped them
last summer.

Even as an old man
they make me feel
like Steve McQueen.

Now I can pretend
to be cool and smooth
again; but I doubt
my Lady will be fooled.
   ~mce
James Dean, Steve McQueen: dated references, but what would you expect?
2.8k · Apr 2015
Responsibility
Mike Essig Apr 2015
thirsty pages
gasping
for ink

a Muse
shriven
to whispers

the whiteness
off the Whale
unmarked

a privacy
of sadness
and desire

a dumbfounded world
demanding
a departed
Logos

mostly
disappointed.

   mce
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