Friday, June 25, 2010


(Edith Piaf, 1951, courtesy J.B. Assieu Albertini)

In Memory Of Edith Piaf

“I regret nothing,” she sang.
It was her anthem.
It is not mine,
Though there are days
when I could truly say the same.
How I view the past
Depends on where I’m standing
When I dare to think of it.

Most of the people
her voice has touched – decades
after her death –
don’t speak her language. She had
a throb that pierces
every culture’s armor.
“I don’t speak French,”
A young girl told me once,
“but I get every word she said”.

I don’t know the details
Of all that she didn’t regret, but I think
I’ve made a good guess. Many faces
I can barely picture now
Manage to haunt me
Nonetheless, at least
From where I stand today.
But I don’t regret
What songs I’ve carved
From that.

Let those who hear
Fill in their own
Echoes of faces.

-- © 2010 by Jack Veasey

(All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced or duplicated in any way without the author's written permission.)

Thursday, June 17, 2010


(Illustration by J. Lockwood Kipling, 1895)

At first, they thought
It was a raccoon
Rooting through their trash,
Leaving a mess
On the back porch.

But one night, Lizzy
Got a look at him.
After she switched on the light,
He was gone in a second.
She never saw a person
Move so fast.
Though it was fall
And cold, the boy
Was naked, but
She barely saw his body.

For that instant, her eyes
Got locked with his:
Wide, green, wild, and full of –
Was it fear? His face
Was framed in crazy hair
That stuck out on all sides
And had leaves in it,
And lice too, she would have bet.
Then he was a blur,
Shooting off toward the trees.

She’d been half asleep
And headed back to bed.
She’d sleep no more that night,
Though there would be
No more disturbances to hear.
How old was he, she wondered.
It had left her, not afraid,
But more unsettled,
Her old view of life disrupted
By this unpredicted possibility.

She woke up her Charlie.
He called the police.
They went out back
With flashlights, poked around.
One stepped in human dung
Wiped on dry leaves.
The other said they’d had a similar report
About a week ago – a woman
Down the block – and she’d
Been able to describe him.
He didn’t sound like any
Missing children from the area.
Liz shuddered, picturing a tribe
Of missing children
Living hidden in the woods,
Something like Lord Of The Flies.

But she felt sure
That this boy wasn’t missing;
He’d been lost since birth.
His parents were not
Looking for him.
She felt sure
There were no words
For what he’d been through.

She wondered whether she
Should leave food on the back porch,
Keep the kid
From messing up their trash –
Well, OK, keep the kid
From starving. She flashed briefly on him
Catching birds for food,
Dismissed the image quickly
Lest it clarify too much.

As far as they knew, he never
Tried their house again. But from that night on,
She would keep the cat inside.

-- © 2010 by Jack Veasey

(All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced or duplicated in any way without the author's written permission.)

Friday, June 11, 2010


(Public domain photo from US Fish and Wildlife Service)

(from an exercise by Marilyn Tenenoff)

I stand before my enemies,
Anointed in eye shadow.
I never did like purple,
But I chose it
Because it is the color of confession.
I confess I am what these hunters
Would aim for
With their blunt arrows of fear,
Seeking to kill
The hidden qualities
I mirror, when I paint myself
For love, and not
For war.

The rabbit’s eyes are on the side
To warn him
Of what’s creeping up on him,
To give him lots of time
To flee. I am
As gentle
And as fragile,
But I look straight on
At what comes after me.
There will always come a momentary
Meeting of the eyes,
So I can haunt these predators
After they chase me,
Wound me,
Even if they kill me,

I am the wild spirit
Shot down and falling like stars
In their midst,
In this country
They say they have tamed.

-- © 2010 by Jack Veasey

(All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced or duplicated in any way without the author's written permission.)

Sunday, June 6, 2010


(Public domain photo courtesy

For Ron

You ran outside
To dance
Under the cloudburst,
Get yourself
Tempt the lightning.

You peeled up your T-shirt,
Pulled out the waist
of your jogging pants,
Both front and back,
To catch as much rain as you could, then
Struck a goofy ballet pose.
And you kept
Looking back at us, grinning
To please
A dry but bemused audience
Behind the store front window.

“You know, he does
No drugs or alcohol,”
Your former girlfriend said,
“He just gets like this

I laughed, dismissed
The strike of
Inner lightning
Waking up the dancer
Long asleep in me,
Whose wounds no longer let him
Run out in the rain.

--© 2010 by Jack Veasey

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


For Stacy, whose name is not Tracy.

Last week, I got up to read –
A bounce from your poem –
And mentioned you
By the wrong name.
You corrected me

I don’t know
Why my mind
Won’t wrap itself
Around your name.
I’d even asked
Another friend about it
Earlier that night.
He gave me
The right name. But
The wrong name
Popped out of my mouth.

Meanwhile, people
Were waiting
For my reading.
I tried
To introduce my poem,
While you commented angrily
On everything I said.
I cut off eye contact with you;
I met the eyes of the crowd.
You got up and left
Before the poem
Started. Later,
Yet another friend
Would tell me
You did not leave
In a huff, but I found that
Hard to believe.

I’ve known you
For awhile, talked with you
Often, and should
Have known better.
But I’d been embarrassed
That I couldn’t grasp
Your name, never
Admitted it to you. I kept
Asking others about it,
But it just wouldn’t stick in my mind.
I should have just written it down;
I don’t know why I never did.

And now
The secret is exposed,
Having been blurted out
In the worst possible way,
In public even -- to embarrass you
As well as me. Worse
Than calling someone the wrong name
In bed; there’s not even
A third party involved
To mix things up!

OK, there’s a problem
With my memory, a glitch
I hope is not a glimpse
Of worse to come (my mother
Died with Alzheimer’s.)

But what I did
Was not deliberate.
Perhaps the way you handled it
Was also not a choice –
Sudden anger
Sometimes overrides
The will.

I will do what I can –
Apologize to you.

I only hope
That I remember to.

-- © 2010 by Jack Veasey

All rights reserved. This work may not be reproduced or duplicated in any way without the author's written permission.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


In case anybody's been wondering, I haven't been updating my blogs because I had no internet connection for over a week. I'm back on now; things should be back to normal (for me, at least) in a couple of days. Sorry to disappear like that.