Poems by a younger self

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic
Poems found in an old manila folder that still possess energy

Submitted: May 19, 2017

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Submitted: May 19, 2017



I have signed up and seen the world


I love these boxer shorts

even when they are dirty

with the smudges of normal life

in the house I share with my wife,

six cats and two dogs.

We prefer animals to people.


They are standard issue,

stamped U.S. Navy, faded

to blurred letters after

so many hot water bleachings,

the white cotton standard

procedure, to kill lice.


I died below deck wearing only these shorts,

and my love is for their existence.

Not for life after being pulled

back, although cherished,

but for the white cotton

that held my waist when I crossed.

--Cal Massey




The problem with the landscapers

at Headquarters is they know

only one kind of beauty.

No, the problem lies with the executives.

For many months there used to be

these grass-like lillies

planted out front.

From each lily clump arose

flowerless seed pods:

little toughs;

ridged, leathery, oblong bulbs,

bobbing on wind on tall sturdy stems,

which upon cracking revealed

baby juicy tiny seeds

packed in hundreds,

breathless armies

huddled inside.

In the letting go of its newborn,

the bulb begins to die,

mottling with brown and wrinkling,

graceful pigment, plant wisdom,

acknowledging the future belongs to the seeds.

The grass blades, too, tip brown,

and purple flowers disappear,

having done their job,

hosting butterflies and bees

for weeks of alfresco, vaginal dining.

This small grouping of grass-like lilies,

amidst the madly colorful others,

was unself-conscious progress,

the beauty of what occurs.

Executives like flowers.

As do most.

Flowers are striking and famous

and loud with joy.

Never tall,



--Cal Massey


Society of trees


I've known men looking nearly the same:

defeated limbs, shrunken skin,

a crouch of upright thinness,

remembering wanting eloquent days.


Along the coast the forest swoons,

a herding defense against Atlantic wind,

our house inside; trees of ambition

commingle to build a fierce woven roof.


Below, the stunted, shadowed, wither.

If they had grown this way, years ago, perhaps,

but no; their limbs snap almost politely,

soft crashes in our property's night.


Venus di Milos left standing in leaves,

whole but for arms and life;

canopy civilization protects

those it kills, fine dead trees, not dust as yet.

--Cal Massey




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