A Why Can’t I Poem

Another old poem that I had written while I was going to CSU. I think it’s time I started writing some new stuff. I’m curious to see how much my perspective has changed in the last 6 years.

Poetry
Poetry (Photo credit: V. H. Hammer)

A Why Can’t I Poem

By

Thomas Gonzalez

Why can’t I write a happy poem/ A happy go lucky poem/ I want to get up and dance poem/ A singing in the rain poem/ An everything is going to be alright poem/ Instead/ My mind spews dark/ Foreboding poems/ Brooding poems/ wrathful poems/ You let me down poems/ Got betrayed yet again poems/ I’m finally walking away poems/ What I wouldn’t do/ For a/ I want to have a family poem/ A future perfect poem/ I’ll be there for you poem/ Better yet/ You’ll be there for me poem/ A/ Look at me/ I’m smiling/ And not just to hide the pain poem/ An I believe in my self/ Poem/ The world is a better place poem/ Don’t cry dry your eye/ Here comes your mama/ With those two little guys poem/ It’s good to be alive poem/ But shit/ Who am I kidding/ Shit ain’t ever coming easy for me/ That’s my non-to-consequential destiny/ All I will ever conjure up are/ I don’t need you poems/ I don’t like me poems/ God have mercy on our souls poems/ I feel numb poems/ The good times are killing me poems/ There’s nothing left to say poems/ Damn/I think I’m done writing poems/

September 12

I wrote this poem in 2006, 5 years after the events of 9/11. On 9/12/2001 I tried to get as close to ground zero as was permitted at the time. I can’t remember how far south I got before I hit the police barricades; but I knew it was somewhere between West 4th and Canal street. There were hundred of us out there. We were all just standing around; I’m not sure why I was down there. Not sure anyone else knew why they were there either. I looked south and could see the giant plume of smoke that was coming from the where the Twin Towers stood just a day earlier. I remember there was this middle age Cuban gentleman standing next to me. He turned to me and said in Spanish, ‘You see all these white people thought we were the bad ones (meaning Latinos) but it was those fucking Arabs that they had to worry about all along”. It took me a second to register what the gentleman had said to me. I should have told him that this was neither the time nor the place for ignorant, racist, bullshit. But I didn’t say a word. I just nodded my head and went back to looking at the plume of smoke. A few minutes later a fire truck came through the police barricade that stopped us from getting any closer. The cherry red truck was blanketed with this pale soot. The folks around me began to clap and cheer the fire fighters as they drove by. But those first responders they were somewhere else. They never bothered to acknowledge us. They just looked straight ahead and drove passed us. 

There was a surreal element to that day. It has stayed with me all these years. Probably always will. That’s what inspired the poem below.

Landsat 7 image of Manhattan on September 12, ...
Landsat 7 image of Manhattan on September 12, 2001. The picture shows a smoke plume spreading over large portions of the city, from the World Trade Center attack. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

September 12

September 12th,

Somewhere between West 4th

And Canal.

We stood quietly,

Mourning.

Hundreds standing together

 in solitude.

Clinging in the wind,

Scent of charred rubber.

Police stood in sentry

Of the barricades.

Like holy men

Protecting a sacred sight.

In the distance

Smoke from underground inferno,

Rose to the Godless havens.

Blazes, intense, like the hatred that created it.

A fire engine,

Rushed out.

Its red luster

muted

 By fine pale soot,

 That now blanketed the globe.

Entombed within,

The emotionally drained corpses

Of still breathing men.

We stood in attention,

Giving respect,

Like folks once gave to funeral processions.

A pair of hands unconsciously clapped,

And then another,

And another.

Before it was all said and done,

We all cheered those men on.

With both pride,

And pity.

But they never acknowledged us.

They just rode on.

In silence.

The Good Days

Never blame any day in your life. Good days gi...
Never blame any day in your life. Good days give you happiness, bad days give you experience, and the worst days give you a lesson. (Photo credit: deeplifequotes)

The Good Days

By

Thomas Gonzalez

On good days

We trivialize the importance

Of the mundane

Life

Becomes nothing more

Than a series of interconnected tales

Lacking plot

Our wants dictated by celebrities

Our self-worth judged

By the value others place on us

Suffering is but

A matter of fact

Se la vie

They say

Life boiled down

To one comfortable cliché

But then a bad one hits

The status quo is changed

All that was senseless

Has meaning

The dots connect

Our finiteness becomes

All too real

We cling on to everyone

Cry for everyone

Mourn for everyone

Thoughts of

 Regrets

The

What should have

Could have

But wasn’t

Weigh us down

We plead to the almighty

To shelter us from evil

From ignorance

From ourselves

Yeah

When a bad one hits

We realize the significance of

A breath

When a bad one hits

We quietly pray

That a good one comes

And takes all this significance

Away

Possibilities

 

 

 

Love Love Love
Love Love Love (Photo credit: Gregory Jordan)

 

Possibilities

 

 

by

 

 

Thomas Gonzalez

 

 

 

 

Last Night

 

 

I caught the sight

 

 

Of you

 

 

Smiling timidly

 

 

Hand reached out

 

 

And held yours

 

 

Lips parted

 

 

 The words

 

 

I love you

 

 

Escaped

 

 

From the back of my throat

 

 

You Then

 

 

Caressed my prickly face

 

 

Leaned forward

 

 

And

 

 

 Pressed your soft

 

 

Sweet lips

 

 

Against mine

 

 

No disagreements

 

 

Strife dissolved

 

 

And no one else mattered

 

 

Just us

 

 

Alone

 

 

With a future

 

 

Filled with possibilities

 

 

Channel Surfing

I wrote Channel Surfing way back in 2005. The poem came to me after spending one late night channel surfing in my old apartment. I’m pretty sure I came across an old rerun of a show that used to come on Univision back in the day called Bienvenidos. It was a sketch comedy that featured voluptuous women and goofball actors. It definitely was no Masterpiece Theater but it sure made a whole lot of old Latino men quite happy. I then switched the channel over to CNN where they were showing footage of the Iraq War. I pulled out my writing pad and came up with what you see below.

Channel Surfing

The room is solitary

Engulfed in a dark haze

Of my own choosing.

I throw my limp body

Unto the uneven mattress

I reach over to pick up

The small plastic wand that will

Serve as my escape from my present state

The screen flickers to life

The image of an Amazonian woman with freckled chest

Is being played on Univision

She’s being harassed by two short stout men

With forced high pitch voices, in infantile costumes

Two more Amazons come into view

The tiny men ogle at their spotted breast

I guess Latin men

Enjoy their leopards with spots

The image shifts

A celebrity weeps

As she confesses about some

Long passed transgression done to her

The audience cries along with her

She is hailed as a hero

For going through what millions

Carry in silent shame

My eyes are transfixed

My mind sluggish

I press the rubber button

I’m transported again

A group of Arab men stand in line

They are gone

Only smoke, fire and dust remain

The next instant shows blood stains

On the ground

Footage like the panels of a comic book

It shows the beginning and the end of a sequence

But never the middle

Never the carnage

Orwell’s words echo in my mind

“If you want a picture of the future

Imagine a boot stomping on a human face-

Forever.”

I block out the thought

No thinking

Not now

Not in front of the box

Never in front of the box