Friday, March 31, 2006

Poem On My Birthday
for William Shakespeare

truth is like water: like sea water,
like river water, like weeping

want to undo a virgin like I’d undo a mosquito
upon my arm, full of my blood, with a swift slap

was Hemingway’s shooting himself the same gun,
out of which his novels came, the same truth
he tried to express upon the page

like an inevitable needle prescribed to take,
having to go before a firing squad

bullets going into you, going through you,
to face and to accept

tough enough for whatever painful penetration
cure requires

got fired, he said, for sleeping in a Bahamian flag
on guard before a government official’s house
on a windy January night

his red stripes, insufficient to keep him warm,
he wrapped a flag about himself and fell asleep

he was found like a larva asleep in a cocoon
aroused, red-handed and was sent home

a poem a wall we build, assembling sound shapes
with these we connect, we skin our drums

how often, upon my ear you've whispered
over this instrument, over the years

© Obediah Michael Smith, 2006

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Observers of the world are we
We watch, we listen, we think,
we process, we analyze, we write...
you create images that connect --
in poems that delight --
in poems that surprise --
drawing images in your word paintings...

In response to what you've written:

Words To Lift To Place
for Peggy & Arthur

a poem a wall we build, assembling sound shapes

with these we connect, we skin out drums

how often, upon my ear you've whispered
over this instrument, over the years

© Obediah Michael Smith, 2006
10:39 p.m. 30/march/06
Brent Malone
for Marissa

her father is not her own, our father too

not only politicians have fathered the nation,
artists have too

at my mother’s funeral, young people I did not know,
I’d never seen before, washed in tears

my eyes were dry

ashamed as well as baffled over these bereaved

I thought my mother’s death, my family’s loss
some others were as shaken as I was, some more

what tie had they which her death unraveled
falling like ribbons, falling like rain

her father is not her own, our father too

not only politicians have fathered the nation,
artists have too

© Obediah Michael Smith, 2006
4:09 p.m. 24/march/06
apple in my belly
dwells and dwells
swells and swells
we shall overcome
come over to my house

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

for Sibyl

“Sibyl,” two syllables I cherish

I have a dish of colourful marbles

Henry Higgins filled Eliza Doolittle’s mouth
with marbles and instructed her to say:

“With blackest moss, the flower-pots
were thickly crusted, one and all”

spitting them into her hand,
she confessed, wide-eyed, “I swallowed one!”

“Don’t worry,” said Higgins, “I have plenty more!”

and on and on, repeating words
with her mouth full of marbles
until she’d perfected every syllable
of every word she uttered

to these Higgins added an evening gown and jewelry
and she was mistaken by one and all for a princess
when just weeks before she was but a flower girl
in So Ho Square dropping h’s everywhere
like withered petals

© Obediah Michael smith, 2006
4:37 p.m. 22/march/06

I could have eaten her pussy like ice cream
I could have eaten ice cream out of her pussy

but I held way back, wanting her to keep her mind in tact

wanting mine in tact to give back to God,
to go back to God with

her pussy, as pretty, as well made as any cone
our minds as fragile

© Obediah Michael Smith, 2005
10:07 a.m. 19/june/05
With Something To Discuss

all mine, no part of me dedicated to
or given over, or owed to an employer

since I’m all mine, all my own, since I own me,
I knock myself out, making and remaking poems
refashioning, reshaping

in pursuit of my own and those of others,
I knock myself out, knock myself silly

knocking on doors, behind which, I suspect
poems might be hiding or assuming I smell one,
sense one, requiring recovering, revealing

I scratch like my dog, Dash used to
when he wanted to force a rat out of hiding
to, without mercy, kill it: in his teeth, shaking it

allowed to drop only when lifeless
until it was, grinning with disgust, with delight

© Obediah Michael Smith, 2006
2:31 a.m. 29/march/06

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


I want to make love to you - would you step aside,
not stand in the way - would you let me

is there a sliding door to push aside to get inside
somewhere to hide out of this world

men with machine guns, in black suits,
in black car, dispatched by Al Capone
unable to see me, to find me, will pass right by

with me safe inside, even from the coming
summer sun, even from the falling rain

© Obediah Michael Smith, 2005
11:10 a.m. 02/may/05
When Poets Meet
of Robert E. Johnson

with the rats running
with them, for sustenance, struggling

from his left ear, pieces missing, lost in battle

left arm also, broken in battle,
off-white cast about it

with the rats running,
with them for sustenance struggling

low, no place, nearly no place for love remaining

wretchedness, so little dignity knowing
so little esteem sustaining

something somehow though, sustains a poet,
strained, broken, without a token of love

air and life alone left
must lift himself, step by step
until the water tower’s reached and climbed
until he can see the harbor
and the evening sun

© Obediah Michael Smith, 1991
9:25 p.m. 24/june/91

Saturday, March 18, 2006

it's no less an achievement
for a sperm cell to become a human being
than for a human being to go to heaven

so very many perish
whenever one is saved
I'd give her all the stamps
I'm awarded at the food store
along with my stiff penis,
my great, big hard-on
one gift, complementing, supplementing the other

what's of little worth, of little weight
along with what's life, not at all light
myself and her together
stuck like sugar crystals, cooking

stamps she sticks in booklets
food stores provide, which, when full,
she uses to shop with

when full of me,
she groans, “Oh, God!”
she moans, "Obi, do it to me!"

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

She Sails or She Shipwrecks
a response in verse for M.N.W.

the muses and me,
nine of them, one of me,
the muses and God, the company I keep

how could you, to show your appreciation,
with music, bludgeon your customers, your passengers
just as well use a club

when they’re all inside, when the doors are closed
let them have it, blows upon the head, upon the nose
until bloody

what they get for support shown, for patronage

this is what their money buys,
endless supply of hits in the face,
hits from below, from on high

in the cathedral, during mass, Even Song,
at a wedding, at a funeral, organ music, like perfume,
fills the church up to its high ceiling,
bathe the people in pews, present to worship

this planet, more and more,
like a warship we were traveling on, sailing on,

spinning, turning without end

will all life on it, end up down the drain,
the dream, down the drain

more and more,
with my tongue alone,
able to shove open shut doors

line of verse must lift weights
when insufficiently muscular
or who writes them down, puts them on paper

this pen in my fist is a weight to lift
unprepared to put it down

it’s my ammunition, it’s my movie camera
its weight to me, familiar to me, second-nature to me

pass what pass out through me, what pass into me

with shovel, with grub-hoe, with pick-ax,
a farmer, a gardener plants and grows

a grove, an orchard,
fruit trees, heavy down, it’s harvest time

the mangrove swamp, with trees with roots
above the ground to brace them up

der pendulum must swing
all the way north den all the way south

like der tongue of a bell, otherwise no meaning, no sound

each second must be used up
before the following second drips,
drops into existence

army of ants

for what event are they on the move, on the march
in such numbers

what in ant history being commemorated,
along my bathroom wall

my house, but they’re unaware of this
their path, something, somewhere they possess

they connect by their numbers, sheer multitude

river of black ants across white wall
wish I knew what event this was/this is

uninvited, though this ceremony, celebration,
happy or sad occasion, occurring in my abode

had I insecticide spray, I’d decide
what could and what could not take place

tens-of-thousands in procession, I’d annihilate

I recall the chosen, crossing the Red Sea
it parted for them

exodus from Egypt was not to be thwarted,
was not to be aborted

how ant-like we humans are
in comparison with who created the universe

at times we’re saved, at times we’re sifted

her smile, bigger than she is, prettier than she is

as if competing with her as two sisters might
her smile so big, is so very bright

are such pretty white, perfect white teeth
numbered among the 206 bones contained in her body

her smile is without flaw, her teeth without gap

she is very delicately made

on the stage/in my arms, the distance crossed
in her white dress, her small ripe breasts

why does she shake so

she trembles when she comes to the edge of her world,
of what is reality for her, refusing to cross, to go forth

she’s delicately made, her bones protrude,
her elbows, about her wrists, her pelvis bones,
her ankle bones

in spite of this she’s pretty as can be

maybe she has too much sugar for me,
too much fat or too much grease
TCBY is said to be fat-free

growing up, the things I would eat/could eat

O Henry, Kit Kat, Ritz,
sausage, Potted Meat, Weenies,
bacon, cheese

how very long I’ve not had a meal of eggs,
a bowl of oat meal

the sunsets, sunrises we’ve slept through
spectacular light shows

we age anyway, day by day

eventually full of days, full of nights
we turn grey rather than full of the colors of sunrise,
of sunset

those moments of glorious silhouettes
lights in the background, from instant to instant changing

in the foreground, the black leaves of trees,
the patterns of these

the distance, the difference,
between heaven and here, heaven and earth

the distance between
the sun, the moon, the earth

budding leaves, budding wings

when will what we write be able to fly
take leave of earth at will and alight

until this is achieved, the audience will leave
before the curtain comes down
before the mouth of our would-be poet

she knows not how to aim at art,
she misses therefore, fails to hit it

what does she target, what is her target

Zen in the Art of Archery might help, might assist,
once she’s receptive

I know a man who writes, who refuses to read
he says his fear is other writers’ influence

is this excuse, is he too lazy to engage in the labor
craft of writing requires

writer needs vocabulary, hers is very tiny
as well as very weak

from insufficient reading, insufficiently strong

unable to wrestle, to put into place,
stubborn words, stubborn verse, stubborn lines
rejecting her authority

choosing to have their own way, their own say,
undermining constantly
what she attempts to make words say

tongue in the bell bangs back and forth
for the story to be told

all the way forth and all the way back
until the bell is black and blue
and gold

give her my footsteps to step in, to walk in
until she has her own steps, her own story
to step in, to tell

her own spell to cast, her own words to spell

Ryan’s daughter and the professor, on a stretch of beach
their steps washed by waves

© Obediah Michael Smith, 2006
Is Love Always Bleeding
for H.T.

are you missing something, are you missing someone, as I am
stitch in time to save nine

often fear I’ve missed that stitch sometime ago,
often fear I’ve become undone
often fear I’m beyond repair, too far gone for love and care

fierce talent though, would not shut off, assures me of worth
overflows and overflows as a fountain does

am I unable to fascinate no one, I’d wonder

poems spouting from ballpoint pens like fountain pens
from my palm like blood from St. Francis, from Christ
stigmata or verse or worse

vase of flowers to shove into, to shove through these holes in Christ,
to offer for love

would you have them, accept them, accept me this Lent
on my knees for your hand

© Obediah Michael Smith, 2006

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Arms Around You
for Ebony

God, Almighty, girl!
what are you doing in the whirl, in the world

in this circle, this cycle,
in this circle going round

in this twirl of things, this whirl of pain

as if here to bring ease
with a hug and a smile

at least for a while

© Obediah Michael Smith, 2005
2:05 p.m. 29/april/05
what if you have good hair and a bad head
Out of High School Enter Heaven
for I.G.

come up here upon this ledge, I‘d give you a hand
look about, see how much further out
the horizon is

© Obediah Michael Smith, 2006
4:44 p.m. 10/march/06

Saturday, March 04, 2006

you don’t get it back

balls you hit to them
don’t get hit back
“You can pick my apples any time!”
said she

Joni Mitchell, in a song,
wants some sunshine on her apple tree
plane flying like a kite
with no strings attached

passengers on the plane
have a train to catch
Prayer Warriors

they know how to get the electricity going
start the electricity flowing
from heaven above

© Obediah Michael Smith, 2005
Twice Sweet

our relationship, a two-way street, a two-way sweet
sweet twice, twice sweet

her birthday cake, my thick slice, so delicious,
I forked it down

though, on my birthday, there was no cake to cut,
no cake to give her, I owe her piece

© Obediah Michael Smith, 2005
Bar Maid
of Shanel

slim for him, for Jim

upper body skinny, in a man's formal shirt
her hips protrude in her black skirt

lovely, fleshy, strong legs
longed for legs like these,
for someone dark, pretty

inexpensive as beer in a bar in the early morning

artificial nails on the hands of a queen,
needing nothing false or altered

priceless as she is, as she appears
like tide washing beach continually

nothing cheap about what is washed up
what the tide leaves

© Obediah Michael Smith, 2000
1:49 p.m. 26/march/00