Sunday, January 31, 2010

Dark Beauty

All men strive for beauty through definition
As women strive for definition through their beauty;
In women’s forms and faces
Men see it and applaud it,

How lips that are not quite right
Must be reshaped and eyebrows
Vague or thickly pagan,
Must be smoothed and plucked,
Arrayed another way.

For whom do they perform
This ritual of realization,
Groping through the paint and powder
To recall a dream of youth that's lost?
Who has this turgid power?
And what, what the cost?

Come, my lovely,
And give definition to your grace;
Dispel the years and the toil and tears
And show me your young face.
Darling, dance your heart for me
In elegant curls and lace,
While I am drawn in gloom and storm,
The master of a sterner race.

Come play for me
And make the music sleek;
My tarnished voice must yet
Through mere human methods speak,
But your voice is clear and fair,
Rising to a pitch I cannot dare.

And God your fit and youngish skin!
Alive and soft and curved!
But I must figure the angles,
Plot the sins, find enemies to conquer
Even if among your auburn hairs.

You see, my heart is bare.
Where beauty must be sought so,
Threadbare kings will ever entice some
Naked innocent to dress and paint and preen,
Implore infected girls to mirror
What queens should never deem:

To forge a definition of,
To freeze in time a picture of,
To faint and feint an adoration of
Dear beauty, dire beauty, dark beauty,
For which I strive,
From which I fall.


4th draft: 10/22/02
©1984 Ronald C. Southern

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Animal Kingdom

He was as crazy as a rat,
And he mistook the feeling for love
As if the couplings of nature's beasts only—not ours—
Are set by heedless instinct. How exactly
These mental diagrams, these animal confusions
That foster our embraces in the cortex of desire,
Have made the world of difference that we imagine
Is never very clear to others.


Current draft: 03/08/03
©2003 Ronald C. Southern

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Man Of Heart Alone

To touch the stone again
Is my hope,
Yet keep both hands wrapped
Tight around the wheel

And see the way again
Yet feel both feet, though not heroic,
Set firmly as a statue
On the path

The way-of-the-world on-the-loose
Takes time to learn, takes time to teach.
Now I’ve grown wiser than my reach,
A man of heart alone.

Fear or courage,
Neither one much matters,
But only this nerve that drives us
Through the darkness and the marsh.

Not breath held back
Or blood stopped cold
But only hope's hooded falcon,
That with feathers flying everywhere
Takes a firm grasp of the world and itself with piercing talons.

Not the fury that swells the blood gone wild
Or the need in the cries of the child,
But only this relentless tearing,
As the soul-in-term declares either War or Love.

Suzanne, like a fledgling
I heed the hand that feeds me;
In the pleasures of knowing
Are markers that define our pride.

Our Passions are proud, and just, and shy, and they will
Waylay the best in us while we strive for balance—
For the world, make no error of the horror of it,
Will cut its own throat and without honor lie.


3rd draft: 09/08/01
4th draft: 01/27/10
©1980 Ronald C. Southern

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Plink, Plink, Plink!

Just going through various water tortures. That's all. But I HATE water!

Love Concealed

Out for a walk in a piney wood,
Annoyed with all of life,
I found an old burnt stump
Amid autumnal leaves.

Around the charred circumference
Where I’d kicked the leaves and straw away,
In deep bold letters carved long ago
By an angry hand were these words:

“Lay Hands On Me At Your Peril!
Abstain And Never Regret!“

Kicking my way slowly through the pine straw,
I thought, How Strange
That a nobody’s words
Could travel so far and anger me so!

I wondered, if he had known
How long his reach would be,
Might he have chosen other words
To scratch upon that tree?


3rd draft: 09/07/01
4th draft: 01/25/10
©1980 Ronald C. Southern

Friday, January 22, 2010

Thank You, America

If I believed in God, I’d suspect that God just used the people of Massachusetts to strike down the healthcare reform that democrats have been working on. Maybe they thought it was “in the bag”. God showed ‘em it wasn’t. It was His little joke.

I’m mad, though, because I’m one of those people who can’t currently get adequate health care and I’d have liked to see a change. I’m mad because I’d like to blame God, but I know it’s actually the fault of greedy, petulant, morally outraged, or just plain uninformed citizens all around the country. Everybody gets hot quick when they think somebody might get something they haven’t earned. I probably used to think the same way when I had a job that provided insurance, but I had the job when I was in good health. They don’t give any merit points for all the years I just worked and didn’t get sick. I thought I’d always be healthy and at least strong enough to stand up on my own, but that was a load of crap, wasn’t it? Thank you, America, you greedy fucking capitalist pig! I hope you roast in hell!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

You Snooze You Lose

Well, so much for any impatient waiting on that one. I may join the snooze myself.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A New Fat Poem (190 lines)

Here's a link to a brand-new poem about the universe that means a lot to me. It may be awful or it may be great, but it required a lot of work.

See it at BLEW AWAY.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

2100 Carrots?!

I think it's interesting how many of the "Next Blogs" are new and how many of the new bloggers are afraid to begin(or at least reticent about it). I've now posted nearly 2100 posts here and hardly any trees or pets have been sacrificed.

Ugh, that's a strange thought. What if the price of blog publication WAS a sacrifice? You'd have to go out and kill an animal (other than an insect) every time you had a new blog post ready? It might work out for a long time--after all, we do have a surfeit of pets on this planet. But I suspect that over 90% of us would lie and claim that we only killed fish! Even fish don't care about fish, that's how they always seem to me. Everything in the ocean wants to eat everything else, as far as I can tell. And they do it, too, any time the opportunity presents itself. No, wait, there are some vegetarians swimming around out there. Some of the whales, I think. I don't mind if they do or don't, though. Who in his right mind could dislike a whale? I could more easily get pissed off at a carrot or a potato. I don't even like the way that those creepy carrots look at me! Killing carrots might be kind of a kick, you know?


Born to get out,
Born to get out,
Life in the darkness
Lit by dark saloons and jailhouse lights,
Lady brightly waiting
To let the lights go out…


Current draft: 02/08/03

Thursday, January 14, 2010

World's Best Fun

Daily Blogs are a Bog

I suppose I've been "quiet" in some parts of my life lately. Most people are not going to miss me, and that's good because I don't need the grief, anyway. Old friends are just an email away, but they were slouches about writing, anyway, so they'll probably not even notice anything. My "live" friends don't notice my silence because they'd first have to shut the fuck up before there would be adequate silence for them to notice anything! I'll tell you, it sometimes just feels wonderful if you can pull back from things. I have been feeling good about my exodus from the Blogger advice blog. It now feels even better that I have been able to once again immerse myself in writing and revising poetry. THIS is what I was born to do. Even if I say so only because it's such fun and not always the world's best poetry. It's still the world's best fun, for me at least! And some of the poems ain't so bad, either!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

No One Can Hear You

In space, said the movie trailer,
No one can hear you scream.
Neither can they hear me whistle
While I write this wretched blog
Or exult while I relax and fart a happy tune
And you eat your Happy Meal and get fatter and fatter!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Thank You Note For G. Knaak

It's words like yours that make me feel
Like I do have some remnant of dignity,
Even if in arrears, even if just a semblance.
How much of my experience and resemblance
Gives me the appearance of heading the right way,
But my sensation is that I’m thinking
At a high rate of speed in reverse.
I’m thinking about all the wrong things that often
Leave me like any drunken pirate or primate—
Hearing ladies or music that’s not really there,
Writing Shakespeare’s sonnets and plays,
And toddling on gladly straight to hell.

Created on 12/31/2009 1:41 PM

Bug Me

You can bug me all you want,
But it won’t go far or gain much space.
I’m sorry not to be any better than you find me,
But I am that, and that’s no special case.

Created on 1/10/2010 2:49 PM

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Every Connection

[Those of you with sharp eyes and long memory may recognize this as a poem previously, even recently, published in this blog. In the past, I've just pasted new versions of a poem over the original. Just for fun, I'm leaving the originnal intact in it's original location. If you don't have much interest in "the process" of revising poetry, just don't read it.]

Every connection I intend
Fails at coming through.
I see failure here and falling behind,
Nor will they depart.
There can be no expectation of great success,
No way to anticipate my heart.
No way to learn the right or wrong address.

Each fork in the road is just another wrongful guess.
At every corner that I turn I see us at a dead end.
So suck it up and believe what you believe,
Which is nothing,
And let the other suckers go on by us;
They don’t have a worry that we’ll be
Famous for our sins or adored for our crimes.

They look relieved and relaxed
Even if that’s only how they look,
And I wish I could be that way—
Never feel spotlighted or trapped like a rat
By all their endless jabber while I invent
These cold false smiles to brush them off
At each wrong address and each dead end.

Created on 12/6/2009 5:37 PM
1st revision: 1/8/2010 8:20 PM

Friday, January 08, 2010


The ship Our Care is drifting,
And none can make her stay;
Men watch in helpless horror as the sea spits forth a storm
That drags and drowns and draws her bow away.

The fishing fleet that rushed to save her
Is foundered in the roil and must return,
Now the folk at God’s Word Tavern are overcome,
Disturbed by Satan’s strife and toil—one cannot look more.

The ship Our Care has drifted
As far as she can go without hope;
Down she goes before our eyes, beyond our ropes,
And no one here can throw a net or swim out after.

Each man’s tongue to mouth’s roof cleaves
As all about the visible wind roars
And from Old Jones’ Locker
There comes a mocking laughter.


Current draft: 1/5/2010
©1981 Ronald C. Southern

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


There is no deeper wound
Than one’s self-scorn;
Like arrows or the dagger’s blade,
Hate’s knife can cut both ways.


2nd draft: 1/5/2010
©1980 Ronald C. Southern

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


By time that swept us to this edge,
Consider movement, moment, place;
By what is strong in each of us,
Observe the weakness in each face.

By what was young in springtime,
Let winter be no worse than this:
That we are worn by hardness
And buried like the rest.


Current draft created on 2/8/2003 7:20 PM
©1980 Ronald C. Southern

Monday, January 04, 2010


Is it only that I’m a slouch and a slob,
Is that the problem?
I can’t suppose it’s very attractive any more,
If it ever was.
I lost weight and gained a cane,
But I lost confidence and with it
All my cool perspective, too.
Then, like you, my beauty, my looks also went.

Created on 12/30/2009 8:43 PM

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Keep At The Task

I've been working on some revisions lately of poems that previously appeared in this blog. This one is probably the least changed, but I still think it's a notable improvement.

It used to be the unmade bed or unhung clothes signified
Something, perhaps that I didn't much care
How things looked or how they were,
But now it's more that I do not have the strength
To keep at the task, to keep it up,
To clean it out or clear it away.

In my youth, good fellows like Bill or George might
Volunteer to rehang a door or mend a fence for a friend,
Or dig a needed ditch, or cook a deer or pig for the feast,
But that was seldom me. I just smoked and watched—
Because I was no-account, I suppose,
Not because I was so watchful.

I think I liked it better when I was just lazy or shiftless
Than now when I’m willing but
Can’t raise my arms high or bend my knees low
Or keep my feet moving fast and long enough
To defend myself or you against these greater
Outer-world diseases and despotic politicians.

Original: o4/23/2009
Current draft created on 12/25/2009 3:37 PM