Monday, January 7, 2013

8 Poems by Mike Foldes

Glass and Steel or Balsa Wood

Glass and steel or balsa wood.
Why is what we are not more important
than what we are? Would you sooner
lay down on slick cobblestones
in the alley of a North Sea city
than see your future run over by time,
the way ours has been? If it’s a forever
thing standing between us,
garden statues and stone temples,
then let the hanging moss grow
and tangled vines cover us, the way
tears of happiness caress a lover’s cheek.
I would rather book passage on a ghost ship
and watch from the ocean’s fog as you leave
your impressions by making something of yourself,
than slip below penciled-in horizons
drawn by another’s slender hand, blind
to what color wrings from a rising sun.

The Ice Bully

The train stopped on the tracks at the end of the street
about four in the afternoon, when the short days
were already drawing down curtains.
We crawled under rusted couplings to the frozen pond
lit fires, played hockey, then hobbled home
on frozen feet in midday darkness for supper.

A half century later steel wheels still rattle windows,
cattails wag in the swamp, some of the same
houses remain, but kids no longer skate there
the way they used to, preferring instead smooth ice
under pressurized domes without snow to clear,
where there’s not a chance in hell of falling through.

One thing’s the same, though, the ice bully
with his hand out, saying, “Sure, you can play,
you little turd, but it’s going to cost you.”

Good Company

Sometimes she sleeps without clothes
Next to me on the warm bed
One knee drawn up slightly
Head turned away on the pillow
All white sheets bright in morning light
Just out of easy reach, but there

Nonetheless, while from another room
A stranger’s eyes follow movement
Of sun from horizon to moon
Anticipating events in a sequence
Of natural selection taking place
On the fourth dimensional stage

Where lovers once toe-danced
On seashells and starfish
To the roll of oblivious waves.

the spontaneous combustion of friendly fire

a million friends on the social pages
but you wake up each morning alone,
and on Saturday there still is no one
with a van at the curb with coffee
in hand to help you move your shit
from one 5th floor walkup to another.

sisters, brothers, cousins, friends -- these
days the extended family is limited
only by what it is being called upon
to do: praise, critique, jump on the bandwagon;
it’s  a crap shoot who really cares
what happens to you, one day to the next.

complex words proliferate online,
but explanations are much simpler than that.
one doesn’t really need  an Oxford vocabulary
or Roget’s, to explain what we were better off
without -- before computers, typewriters, papyrus …
or even the legendary stone tablets of Moses.

the spontaneous combustion of friendly fire
was all they needed to sing and dance about.

The Art of Dennis Hopper
July 16, 2010

I see Dennis Hopper’s art collection is scheduled for auction at Christie’s.
I wonder if anyone dressed in blue velvet will ride in on a Harley,
and if she does, will she also wear a clear plastic mask hooked up
to a canister of nitrous oxide slung over her shoulder, and will she also have
a bandolier of poppers to snap under the noses of climaxing bidders?
Dennis, old man, you were indeed the bad boy, you and James,
and Sal and Peter and Jack. Will there ever be another your equal
for suburban anarchist youths to model themselves after – even as they
like you, becoming aging hipsters?  One by one the old guard
is replaced by the new, but not all will be survivors, as were you,
to finally find yourself hawking sound Ameriprise investments 
to similarly aging peers, an irony sharp enough to cut through Rothko,
Rivers, Rauschenberg and other radical contemporaries you lived with
in your head and on your walls. So, Hopper’s collection is up for grabs.
That’s what happens, you know, the great works, the enduring ones,
just go shuffling about, house to house, room to room, wall to wall
at the will of the money changers. But at this stage of the game,
where hangs the art of Dennis Hopper’s not in the living room,
but in room for living -- and not to be traded off for anything.

gospel of poetry

friend john preached
the gospel of poetry is love;
long as the poem dwelt 
on beauty, forget the rest.
he didn’t know poetry
is a distance runner
racing time with blood
in her eyes;
that over and done are blurs
in a phosphorus flash;
(or) when to shred
the psychic distance
between maker and plough.
(or) how to suspend
false resistance.
he didn’t know in this world
beauty rides a black horse,
carries a whip, and the sweat
in the small of her back
does not taste the same
to everyone.

A Cerebral Desire To Wed Infinity

Pluck the guitar from street side.
Play chords to stretch the imagination,
Play an endless scale.

The locus of concern is an estuary
Feeding the river at a point downstream.
Never been dead before. Same as alive.

The body bleeds out
on starched white sheets;
Sticky in the morning. Same as Love.

Do they exist because you are here?
Or do you exist because they are there?
A cerebral desire to wed infinity

Materializes while shaving.
Tissues do no one any good.

black beauty and poetry

old friend so and so preached
the gospel of poetry is love love love
long as the poem dwelt in the realm
of beauty, forget about the rest.
in this world beauty rides a black horse,
carries a whip, and the sweat
in the small of her back
does not taste the same to everyone.

Mike Foldes is founder and managing editor of, the online magazine
of art, information and entertainment. A collaboration of artists, writers, photographers,
poets, travelers and interested others, is an eclectic collection of material
with a global audience in mind. His recent book, Sleeping Dogs: A true story of the
Lindbergh baby kidnapping, was published by Split Oak Press, Ithaca, NY, in April
2012.  Foldes makes his living as a sales engineer specializing in medical electronics.
Among his favorite jobs was tending bar at the Poetry Society headquarters in Earl's
Court Square, London, England, in the early '70s, where he acquired a taste for warm
Guinness while drinking with Dodie Farr, a distant cousin of the queen, and Neil
Gaydos, a musician friend from upstate New York who he ran into on Portobello

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