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Nat Lipstadt Dec 2020
*But wrestle I do nonetheless,
                                    for the pleasure of this (non?) soluble
                problem that both creates
    queries & quenches
                             simultaneously, so I break off this
                             thinnest wafer to share with you,
          offering this notional


mine own words return, Halloween hauntingly,
every event adds layering failure to comprehend
and the frustrated anger dissipates into a thousand
Oct 25 2020 Manhattan
Nat Lipstadt Dec 2020
just before never...

my last performance,
the words came original
and easy, unlike all its
predecessors; someone
drew me a map of my
life and times, cities,
countries, and roads
well travelled and a few,
not too. Mountains, each with
a woman’s name, who carried
care, until she couldn’t, didn’t, and
time’s weathering returned us
individually into hillocks, and then
rain eroded us back into old soil.

the broad highways and back roads,
always snaking away, fork-forcing
directional choices, usually taking the
wrong way, the easy and safe one,
and how I have come to hate those
words: easy and safe, for they
are the pill combo that leaves you
for dead, dulling the questioning
one inquires of oneself, late, reluctantly.

But there is always the unexpected.

Today I saw a sunset on the Hudson
River with a humpback whale blowing,
running beside a river ferry, plowing the
waters back and forth tween two states.

Lived by this river for s e v e n t y years,
and have seen the whales in many places,
but here, in my city, in the river of my youth,

and I got the sign, message received, there
are still sights and poems to behold, arms to
embrace, youngers to guide if they’ll permit it.

so this title, these two,
just before,
this day, poem, came to remind me, the
days map remains unfinished, there are lands
and voyages and poems still awaiting drawing,
and it is tomorrow, and just before tomorrow, that
recording insistent demands, and a map is just a
moment in time, until just before...never

5:28 AM Thu Dec 10
2020 (a year deserving
of its own line and ending)

Manhattan, between two rivers.
Nat Lipstadt Dec 2020
These are the endless days of endlessness
These are the days, when time is just present
There is a disbelieved past, a future unimaginable
Here is the only now, a permanent-present-tensing-participle

Faces smiling semi-graciously present, desperately seeking coaxing
The winter dark, living room occasional lit by one, mostly TV glow
Radiance lives inside only, but well remembered songs cause
Cry outs for who, the what, the needed, we’ve forcibly memorized

Observing winter’s river from kitchen window, it’s colored
*****-dusk-blue, like my eyes, add overlaying images of sparkles
But my magic not powerful, my love can’t see them
My bag-o-tricks can’t bring her sunshine, 2020 sorcerer’s gold

These are the days of endless dancing alone,
Longest walk from bed to kitchen, worn the weary wood shiny
True romancing still abounds, but so well hid, 99% invisible
Even when you ask without asking to be held oh-so-tight

These are the days, riverside, when slow flowing waters offer
No hinting of faraway treasures to be someday discovered
The magician vain struggles to find loving tricks to unlock
Her loving grace, her water-to-wine breathing demeanor*

These are the days, that forever need remembering, saving
No savoring, the absence of joyous everyone, everywhere
These are the days of absence+abstinence that lasted forever
You've got to hold them in your forever heart, lest we forget
5:00 ~ 7:00 AM Tues Dec 8 2020
By the East River
  Dec 2020 Nat Lipstadt
Stephen E Yocum
Returning from the grocery store,
my only trip out in weeks,
I passed by our small town's
High School, all pandemic
deserted and shuttered now.

Slowing, I stopped my car,
taken by momentary joyfulness,
out there in bright blue Band
uniform on the football field,
a single drummer marched
all alone,

Her enthusiastic snare drum  
echoing out stirring, lonely
rhythmic staccato sounds.

This solitary stalwart drummer
practicing in the rain, rehearsing
skillful steps and robust drum
beats, until she gets the call.

Remaining ever ready when
normalcy reluctantly comes rolling
back around. Where marching bands
and football players once again tread
upon this ground.
Hope lives within us all,
this dire time too shall pass.
Nat Lipstadt Dec 2020
~for those who can’t sleep, and know why~

you say “how much is too far?” and I think yes, more scars,
a man surveys a lifetime of errors and cowardice,
my soles, scarred from nite-walking new york city sidewalks,
days of haven’t slept in years, weakness is my prejudice,
tally sums-ups as no forgiveness, the pavement paying is a
continuum of  paying on, there is no atonement for wasted life,
the concrete cracks wedded to my body, stepped on each one

marvel at the disastrous disappointment that I’ve engineered,
how creative in disguising a life of accumulated self bruising,
applaud my season’s greeting card, 2020, me meeting me,
in a laptop I am contained, global boundaries thus defined,
crumpled coffee cups, emptied wine glass, zoom loops of repetition,
still I wonder why, every day, how, so many missteps, wondering
not at the lackluster will that carried me;  every minute sorrowful

so much hidden begs for revelation, murdered souls, theft, jealousy,
but the punishment is brutal; a conscientious conscience continually
punishes my blackened hours and there is no retrieval, retrial,
just a grounded plot with neither headstone and grass,
for I’m marked by no marker, and the wounds inflicted are my
afflicted leavings, my bones+soul confined, and the hallelujah
word excised from my vocabulary, forbidden me, justifiably so


Mr. Tambourine Man
Song by Bob Dylan

“Though I know that evening's empire has returned into sand
Vanished from my hand
Left me blindly here to stand, but still not sleeping
My weariness amazes me,
I'm branded on my feet
I have no one to meet
And the ancient empty street's too dead for dreaming...

And take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time
Far past the frozen leaves
The haunted frightened trees
Out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky
With one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea
Circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate
Driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow”
4:32 AM Sat Dec 5 2020
Nat Lipstadt Dec 2020
~dedicated to the old poets here~

the addictive pairing of certain words, a line,
a lyric, slap-snapping you to full attention,
unfailing decades of instant recognition,
an adrenaline + caffeine shot that powers

a chance, a tensile injection that causes

the lips to commence a new choreography,
the fingers to tap, a jumbled, hurried, embattled
disorderly mess that regenerates, reformulates,
concords into agreement, a harmonic consistency

a geometry of many differing angles that equate

a hard physical, a soft mentality in a singled work,
coexisting in a sacred state of singed confluence,
though imperfect, satisfies mathematical boundaries
of a random outpouring, crowning the stripe inspiring

the spark that finally satisfyingly silences an ignited

filament a-glowing for years, that holy happens
to cross your antennae, fulfilling the need to honor,
the sacred geometry of chance, the honor to need,
the joy of saying, at last, this unwritten debt, paid!

(1) a favorite of many years, a lyric from “The Shape of My Heart” by Sting

(2) Dec 3 2020 2:53pm  NYC
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