PAPER CUTS

Paper is at once both
the cruelest invention a writer
may have stumbled across
and also her salvation.

The blank page invites,
often demands the pen
and is unjudging, yet the poet
may change or delete
but the paper retains the original
and throws it back in his face.

The computer, many say,
changed all of that, backspace
or highlight and delete and
that mistake, misuse, misadventure
is gone forever, but
with a wrong keystroke
all you may have is a blank screen
and your words so well shaped,
thoughts perfectly expressed
can be lost in the ether.

Where did I put that pen?

EMERGENT

When I least expect it, one
may unfurl wings and lift
into a clouded sky searching
for the hidden sun, or

it may wander off, a child
momentarily free of parents
off to discover the real world, or

it may retreat back into
the pen, unwilling to be seen,
objecting to its misuse, or

it may sit in front of the TV
and watch soap operas
and game shows, not caring
what is on the screen, just
escaping from the damned page, or

it may sit still, be tucked away
and hope one day to be accepted
for all the world to see.

CHRISTMAS

It isn’t my first Christmas
although almost so, that
part of me hidden for half
a century, its twisted discovery
filling a hole that I never
knew existed, yet always knew.

This is the strangest Christmas,
a time of gathering, now
in isolation, only pixels
and prayers on a too flat screen,
and it is hard, in times
of want and suffering, to recall
why we celebrate this day.

A child was born, and now
countless others will be,
and it is only the children
that recall his message, and
truly understand peace.

MOVING PICTURE

Increasingly few can remember
the time when making a home movie
was an event unto itself,
when you didn’t strap the camera
to handlebars, helmet, dashboard or body,
but you hand-carried the damn thing
weighing a pound or two, you stuffed it
with film which you sent off to the lab
to have developed, hoping your story
would appear in the returning envelope.
You threaded the film onto the sprockets,
turned on the motor and lamp
and watched expectantly as images
always a bit under-or over-exposed
moved a bit jokingly across the screen.
There was nothing to upload, you knew
the image would fade over time, unless
the projector grew cranky or jammed
and you watched your memories
quite literally melt on the screen,
and the only numbers that mattered
weren’t megapixels and gigabytes but
millimeters, 8 for most, 16 for the wealthy.