Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
Nat Lipstadt Aug 7
I live on a small (25 sq. mile) island, accessible only by ferry.


“For we are dear to the immortal gods,
Living here, in the sea that rolls forever,
Distant from other lands and other men”

—Homer, the Odyssey (translated by Robert Fitzgerald)

                                                    ­  <>

sea air inoculates the slowing breath-taking ferried voyager,
our landed cares felled, fall into a wake, trailing, sunk & submerged,
a ferry’s ramp contact-clangs, belling a “Here, Here!” alters our mien,
the softening airy enveloping, fragrantly, a greeting of immortal gods

no matter that we can vision-easy the neighboring isles, with
their trafficked-light busyness, the to and fro of mainland life,
bustle necessity of hustle, our riveted river moat cancels out
imposing surround sounds, our untucked flavor, floating free

wafting perfume of quiet inlet, creek and harbour, touch us safely,
alternating currents of gentle breeze, stiffer sailing winds, gusts,
bending us, these reminders, we humans too, creatures of elementals,
water, sun, forest, sand, animals, singular upon co-hosted menagerie

the brackish water, where fresh + marine waters mix, live + die,
reflecting our pooling diversity, so few of us born here, yet so many,
adopt and adapt the isle’s peculiarities, endearing all without any
distinction, we blessed together by Immortal Gods to shelter together,

by, from, the seas that roll us into one peaceful island, nearly, dearly


Shell Beach,
Shelter Island
August 2021
Ha ha on me.   eye still have a full head, of laughing hair...

eye am vain like you, and though advancing steadily with daily doses of aging, and since I am titanicaly nearer my God than thee, i.e. the finish line...end of days...whatever...having a nice head of hair is a happy happenstance for nothing "ages" an immature person faster than a lack or absence of hair....

some say it is all genetic....could be...but my theory is different...I laugh at myself all the foolish words, my creasing vices, my dastardly prejudices, are absurd in extremis...and am in possession of a willingness to be the **** of my own humor to bring creased smiles in others's to the fore...

though serious, I don't  take myself seriously...and this self disrespect means I laugh at my own pomposity, posterior and peculiarly peculiar peculiarities.

So I laugh a lot as I am one of those idiots who reflects on the state of himself and goes, eye eye eye!

the laughing releases a dosed vial of special testosterone which makes my hair grow and since I fully expect much sorrow and to be living homeless, on the streets, in my end of days, the fact that I will have a full head of hair as I go down into my grave makes me laugh which releases....

ha ha on me
Nat Lipstadt Jul 29
she/her has no master, only a mastery;
she, comes compulsing, a physical pounding,
a throbbing impervious resistant to logic or medicine,
which is the so very ever, the peculiar throbbing
of a principled particular “present participle,”

write of compulsing is her mocking suggestion.

a presence, punishing urging, pas de choix, obey,
submission; write freely but not free, compose or
decompose; is there a difference, no, not, and so ordered,
demand surrendered, how? how? this taking and giving,
can a single act dichotomy be so fulfilling and so emptying?


wake daily to water canvas, the waves, dabs of paint
protruding, irritating. provoking yet presented silenced,
repetitiously calming, motioned framed within the
white edged sand, the bound-surround of the living painting.

eyes alight, eyes delight, this daily emergence unto
a tapestry devoid of human interference suggests
a differentiating reality; now I understand the how of a
world’s imperfections constituting, tooting its own perfectionism.

this is not lake water; no single flat stone skipping nor
a concentric rippling to a slow death; this is seaward-
bound, an oceans subservient tributary, contributory,
a river, bay, sound - precursors to a vast atlantic infinity.

this is metaphor; this a still life of the perpetuation metamorphosis.


the muse exhales; as do I subsequently; what difference?
none, she replies to herself, tween painting artist and
verbalizing poet, the un-still life creation, always, always,
different, the essence of diversity in a singularity sameness


7:13 AM Thu Jul 29
S. I. Sound
when you are given the choice of no choice,
you write again and again of the same vision,
the same view that presents upon awakening.
Nat Lipstadt Jul 25
A mirror will suffice, no doubt.
The high furrowed forehead,
The heavy-lidded Asian eyes,
The long-lobed Indian ears.
Brown skin beginning to spot,
Of an age to bore and be bored.
I turn away, knowing too well
My face, my expression
For all seasons, my half-smile.

Birds flit about the feeder,
The dog days wane, and I
Observe the jitters of leaves
And the pallor of the ice-blue beyond.
I read to find inspiration. I write
To restore candor to the mind.
There are raindrops on the window,
And a peregrine wind gusts on the grass.
I think of my old red flannel shirt,
The one I threw away in July.
I would like to pat the warm belly of a
Beagle or the hand of a handsome woman.
I look ahead to cheese and wine,
And a bit of Bach, perhaps,
Or Schumann on the bow of Yo-Yo Ma.

I see the mountains as I saw them
When my heart was young.
But were they not a deeper blue,
shimmering under the fluency of skies
Radiant with crystal light? Across the way
The yellow land lies out, and standing stones
Form distant islands in the field of time.
here is a stillness on this perfect world,
And I am content to settle in its hold.
I turn inward on a wall of books.
They are old friends, even those that
Have dislodged my dreams. One by one
They have shaped the thing I am.

These are the days that swarm
Into the shadows of legend. I ponder.
And when the image on the glass
Is refracted into the prisms of the past
I shall remember: my parents speaking
Quietly in a warm familiar room, and
I bend to redeem an errant, broken doll.
My little daughter, her eyes brimming
With love, beholds the ember of my soul.
There is the rattle of a teacup, and
At the window and among the vines,
The whir of a hummingbird’s wings.
In the blue evening, in another room,
There is the faint laughter of ghosts,
And in a tarnished silver frame, the
likeness of a boy who bears my name.
A Benign Self-Portrait
N. Scott Momaday - 1934-

suggested to me by M. Gebbie to be shared
Combinations, badly put
Assume dimension, found afoot,
The very stuff of human kind's
Ability to see ... whilst blind.

For instance, take the last four years
Where insanity drove dulcet fears,
Keelhauling reason's rationale
Beyond the realm, beyond the pale.

Consider this, Sir, if you will,
Fascination's trough of swill
Where every man beneath the sun,
Under the pillow, keeps a gun?

Intriguing how, across the globe,
Despite sophistication's robe,
Pandemic rages forth, unchecked,
To foolishness's disrespect.

Futility of righteous flame
In seeking absolution's claim
By whispering in hallowed ear
Thy Catholic sins in shades of fear.

East / West drowning in distrust,
Wall Street terrified of bust,
California's deep disdain
Of climate change's promised flame.

Some you win, some you lose
Wisdom depicts those who choose
Sink or swim, the game decrees,
Observing mankind on his knees.

Combinations, badly put
Assume dimension, found afoot,
The very stuff of human kind's
Ability to see ... when blind.

Foxglove, Taranaki NZ
12 July 2021
In every day, in every way, with the Holy Grail within his grasp regardless of how little or how much he possesses, man, in his utter,  futile blindness, chases his tail in the pursuit of the more, the bigger or the better!
Nat Lipstadt Jul 18
Dear Nat,
come back to bed!

walk my hallways,
then upon my shoulder sleep,
rest in my nooks
soft, well worn, cosy crannies,
let your face go slack,
get back jack,
to where you always belong

I know too well
what ails thee,
and know no answers easy,
found walking around
an old creaky house's
groaning discordant concordance
of mystery sounds

do come back to bed!
I'll call you babe,
kiss those temples
rock 'n rolling,
soothing  them with
adagio classics from
the 1950's

I'll think of something
just back, bed bunk with me
your roommate of sole
****** sunset years

let you write poems on my tummy,
gurgling with the pleasure of
skin and words tender entwining,
just come back to bed,
pillow deep, fund the sleep
you desperate need,
from my countenance and body,
yours, no needy for asking,
just take what you're needing,
be my man,
be my child,
and come back to bed,
my still crazy man
after all these years,
before leaving me
sleepy smiling,
from a job well done

Nat Lipstadt Jul 18
But their idols are silver and gold, made by human hands. They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see. They have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but cannot smell. They have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but cannot walk, nor can they utter a sound with their throats. Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.”

Who knows? Who knew?
Marched, dragged, ordered, bottom line, taken,
to the synagogue was I abducted, every Sabbath;
on the Festivals, this Psalm recited, catching the
child’s eye, the words symmetry, the conceptual
contained, struck and stuck, and seven fingered
decades, he stumbles once again upon it, this time
in his file of poems yet unwrit,
aging along with the poet,
for almost the last five years.

the prayer book, black covered, thumbed well worn,
by father-supplied, periodically page number is whispered,
my childlike eyes gravitate to the English translation,
though Hebrew versed too, the English verses whip my attention,
the concept of the Lords invisibility, a super power in my mind,
early taught by storied Abraham’s idol smashing,
and the futility of idolatry,
since invisible God is everywhere

these days of memes and trolls,
idol worshiping grows strong,
the fast thirst to recognize, admire,
to worship;
plaster, alabaster, clay, marble,
even gold & silver

pay them no mind,
trained early on to covet only
what we cannot see,
sources of the pieces within of the divine surreal
that perfect our flawed shapeliness,
the electric human touch,
the simple kindest gesture,
the tender embrace,
the ineffable softness of child’s cheek
an old man’s childish innocence,
the love of all carved-by-hand woodwork
for beauty only,
the artistry of good, mastery of emotion,
all to perfect your vision to witness
what only the heart can envision

You do not understand the contrast contradictory?

You will.



Silver and gold
Won't buy back the beat of a heart grown cold
I gotta go
Find out something only dead men know

                                                        ­                                                                 ­                        <>

Said the shepherd boy
To the mighty king
Do you know what I know?
In you palace wall mighty king
Do you know what I know?
A child, a child
Shivers in the cold
Let us bring him
Silver and gold
Let us bring him
Silver and gold
Let us bring him
Silver and gold
Do you know what I know/
So you see what I see?
Do you hear what I hear?

poem conceived on December 2016
in New York City;
completed July 2021,
Shelter Island, NY.
Next page