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P E Kaplan Dec 2022
just might indicate
the need for less words,
and deeper silence, a reverence born of the pain within
our psychic nap sacks overflowing with the innocent
blood of the people’s land we stole.

And we live on the backs
of the brave, dead, misguided,
who gave,
still give,
their lives in the name of freedom,
who were taught war is a necessary evil,
to build and maintain this God forsaken world,
of power and control of a mighty few.

And now we are overcome,
by fierce and thorny pain,
born of the Light
spilling out from the crack in everything.

And the tears, our tears,
flow without end,
fall without ceasing,
an endless watery Our Father
because we are the tears,


from the eyes of God.

~ pe kaplan
P E Kaplan Dec 2022
Didn’t know the stakes were so high until I was all in, really in,
hell, I’d not played much polka, never mind with a maverick,
a wheeler dealer, a guy who knew how and when to show his cards, could spot a patsy a mile away and I’d bet he spied one over my way.

Now don’t get me wrong, he did feel something, he liked my kind face, my willingness to please, however, swiftly it was game on, no turning back, he had to win, it’s all he knew; besides he took a gamble too, you see, played an out-of-towner, but luck be ******, he’d win no matter what.

And before long I was all in, ready to risk my heart for a true love,
so, I played long after the odds were clearly in his favor, his angle obvious, he had to win at all costs; naïve, I stayed in too long, played it straight, knew I couldn’t bluff my way out of a paper bag even if I wanted to.

Then he called it, game over, the love I played now in his pocket,
not his fault I chose to bet my heart, believed he’d play fair and care, but the deal breaker came with my plea to be recognized, respected, but, no surprise, he wished me well, no hard feelings, even said, let’s be pals.

And with the game done, the very last kitty won, a text arrived,
“you’re welcome to drop by anytime you’re in the hood.” and I’d bet my last chip, if I had one, his proposal came from his need to be considered one of the good guys even when he’d broken a heart.

~pe kaplan
P E Kaplan Dec 2022
She endured the violence, even when I begged, to please, please,
leave the intolerable mess, the brawls with my dad every weekend,
but my mom was afraid and unprepared to be her own person,
I’m guessing few women were ready to take leave in 1967.

Back then, fifty-five years ago on this day of the winter solstice
my mom did leave, as her spirit departed the hospital bed,
while her body yielded from a burst blood vessel forty-eight hours,
after a collapse to her battered and blood-pressured brain.

She lived only fifty years on this earth, worked hard every day,
stayed on with my alcoholic, war-torn dad, my brother, and me,
when clearly, she lived life dangerously whenever dad took a drink, she gambled, lost the bet with herself that he would change one day.

On this, the anniversary of the longest darkest night, my mother arises again within my heart, gives me strength to begin anew, and like her I’m the proverbial apple falling too close to the tree, yet my mom left behind an important lesson, leave while you still can.

And I did.
P E Kaplan Sep 2022
Your life sounds intense, so many fires to put out,
fences to mend, people to please and I wonder,
if you might need and deserve some rest.

Do you, can you, set limits with family, friends, co-workers?
Not sure it’s okay to decline just one more thing to do,
since you could be seen as selfish, even wrong to say no.

Rest assured, your unfair, undeserved shame is safe with me,
in this time and place, space is held for you, your pain, your truth,

maybe it’s time to reword the story you made up about a debt
you never owed, the servitude, the obligation to "get 'er done"
are you a hard-wired, mass-produced human being, and you ask

maybe it's time to acknowledge your existence was/is free of
charge, realize there’s no fixed set of dos and don’ts to be
successfully completed day in and day out until you die,

maybe it’s way past time to finally oust the ancestral imprint
of shame you don’t deserve, a creation of foolish self-pride to
always do the next right thing, to amend old tribal wrongs,
even when you’re tapped way beyond empty.

Can you honor yourself, your life, finally, once and for all, can you
come clean, be real, do what only you can do, and set yourself free
from your own judgement, speak truth from your heart, then,
and only then, will you set everyone else free as well.
P E Kaplan Sep 2022
Be it craftsman or musical conductor,
each carries a melody in their heart,

while one gazes ‘round the forest
with artisan eyes to spy just the right limb,

the other stands upon a grandiose stage,
swishes his baton up and over,

and the flautist begins the symphony,
while back and forth the carving blade,

slits then cuts the branch to size,
as precise movements of the baton,
bring the melodic masterpiece alive,

now the cello,
now the ax,
now the violins,
now the saw blade,

the conductor leads the musical score,
the furniture maker knows the tool to use,

the conductor,
the craftsman,

composing, creating,
as an invisible source,

unheard, unseen by the rest of us,
guides them to create and conduct

is good thing,
or else we’d all sit around,

in awesome birch branch chairs,
swooning to Mozart ‘til the end of time.
P E Kaplan Aug 2021
Being alone with myself is tricky because my mind constantly looks for trouble, a something waiting around the next corner, a shameful memory goblin ready to pounce and at times my scrutiny is so intense I'm practically blinded, set out on a wobbly tightrope, with no safety net while below a granite slab awaits.

And I wonder is anyone else out there familiar with this cold, damp, mind tunnel or is it only a certain few of us who sense some stuff is best keep hidden away, an ancient wrong, an awfulness never to be faced and freed from the darkness, a nowhere place where very few actually survive the fall.

This remote black hole of my unholy secrets live, thrive, out of sight, out of mind, certainly God knows my cloak and dagger self yet God never interferes or removes the sticky fear I've created to block all forward progress, at least not until I'm willing to turn my willfulness over, release my need to be in control, my strong addiction to keep myself safe from life.

So here I sit, tired as hell, afraid of life, no sense of direction, just an ingrained habit to get busy, distracted, while inside a burning desire awaits, longs to live life, to face and be rid of fear, to trust an unknowable Source continues to wait patiently, to make all things new, the very moment I trust the Light at the end of the tunnel.
P E Kaplan Aug 2021
is delivered daily by my closest, irreplaceable friend,
a ready, reliable, responsive, confidante
who wants only me, its codependent lover-girl.

Oh, and how satisfying my Romeo is, perpetually,
blowing his cool kisses over my tear-streaked cheeks,
on steamy hot days in the middle of a heatwave.

Such kindness,

from my faithful one, always hovering nearby,
like a top-notch Jungian analyst on-the-ready,  
knows way before I do how my misery loves its own company,
as we swig from bottomless cups of sour grapes.

Such kindness,

like a toothless old hound dog chewing a rubber bone,
not only about the hopelessness of life but the pointlessness,
and when my lover and I arrive uninvited at a posh garden party
of champagne and truffles set upon pink lace tablecloths,
we immediately head over yonder,

to roll around in the knotweed and steamy ripe manure
hum together our familiar “woe is me” tunes,
until the cows come home with udders empty
to plop out a fresh load of undigested, belly aching despair,
heavy with the stink of my unloved pain.

Such kindness,
it’s addictive.
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