Getting & spending are lesser evils now
we have pandemic & pandemonium
caused by war and no real peace, even on Bali,
known for pacific waters and gorgeous daughters
in rebellion against the rule of tides,
and Putin’s war grinds inexorably
westward making our bemused leaders
quake and send psychic tsunamis to calm
citizens clamoring for shelter
from the Inevitable: the hero dies once,
and the coward every time a car honks.
The red wheelbarrow and the yellow submarine
are obsolete; no Wasteland relics remain,
but stiff winter-clothed corpses line the lane.
For My Sister, Janet Marie
You died over two years ago
in October, Jan, two years younger
than me. You hated me
for being older and, you thought,
favored by our parents, though
I thought they were careful
to lavish love equally on the two
of us and not favor either one…
more careful than a few
of our teachers, the ones
who made snide comparisons
between us when you succeeded
me one year later. So you set your own
artistic path and were the first
poet in the family, though different
from me as rhyme from free verse.
I seemed to have girlfriends galore,
while you resented that I never
fixed you up, but you had plenty of dates
from Eastchester and then ran off with one
and supported him in L.A. till he
ran off with your “best” friend, leaving
you to fend for yourself till you had a break
down and flew back east to Mom & Dad.
Now I celebrate your life and death
as different as one from two.
Every day at dawning, I think
of you fondly, forget your hate
for me, wish you well as usual,
recall us as kids frolicking in the rain,
dressed in bathing suits, and daring
the lightning god to strike us down.
George Held, an eleven-time Pushcart nominee, has written or edited 22 poetry books on subjects as varied as war, love, art, and nature in forms such as the haiku, cinquain, triolet, sonnet, villanelle, and sestina. His most recently published poems appear in Blue Unicorn, Better than Starbucks, First Literary Review—East, Neuro Logical (Ireland), and Unlikely Stories.