“Do You Know Here?” by Stephen Kalinich

"Stevie" Photo by Bill Duke

Do you know here?
Do you know there?
Do you know
any place
or anywhere?
Do you even care
about the fate of mankind
will you just let it all unwind
without lifting a hand
is your life just a witnessing
Have you experienced that moment
when all of the universe comes together
on the head of a pin
or in your drive way.
when you get out of the car
and lightning hits you
revelation awakening
nothing will ever be the same
for now you know
what no book or religion can tell you
and you know
those who know
observe
but do not talk .
It comes with the certainty
after that mini infinitesimal second
you can control
the Universe but if you switch intent
to self
you lapse
into forgetfulness
and that is man’s present state
on this planet
except for the few.

Stephen Kalinich

Photo by Bill Duke

© 2010

Congratulations to Bill Duke on receiving Director’s Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award!

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“POEM TO THE WORLD”

When lovers
on the brink
of
finding out
Recline on
fat illusions
of
their words
And utter platitudes
-instead of shouts
Forget
tender silences
they’ve shared
And all confession’s
awkwardness they’ve dared
Like
children peeking softly from their doubts,
There comes a time
of
darkness and despair
When moments seem
like hours under weights
Regret and fear
like
garbage fills the air
And lips of fondest memories
turn to hate.

When lovers
on the brink
of
coming near
forget
the
body’s swelled
and
aching cries
And
substitute excuses for their tears,
Something soft
and silent in them dies.
And
that, perhaps, is why there are old men
On benches
all alone
in city parks
And
bony-fingered spinsters with hard sad eyes
Knitting things for babies in the dark
And
maybe why we’re lonely
in
the spring

When
all the earth her fat thighs open wide
To show us all her pretty under-things
And
laughingly invites us to her side
To
kiss away the differences we’ve known
With the
tenderness
and
wisdom of her groans
Yet

We
lie beside each other
in despair
While
our bodies
make love
–in
the air.

Bill Duke

All Rights Reserved

© 2009

“HOMELESS” by Bill Duke

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Nobody ever really cares
that
a bird has wings
as long as it flies
as
long as it dips
and swoops
and sings
Nobody really cares

Nobody ever really cares
whether
a
flower grows
as long
as it doesn’t
develop a nose
as long
as
a rose
is
a rose
is
a rose
that
throws us kisses
when
a
soft breeze blows
Nobody really cares

Nobody seems to really care
about the other’s pain
for we
must laugh
and dance
and sing
and not remind us
of
anything
that resembles fears
that
we’ve
secretly tried to cover
by
pretending
to be
devoted lovers
of
everything
except
ourselves
just
bridges
made
of
oyster shells
so
when
the bridge collapses
and
you fall
and
break
on
velvet blue concrete
you thought
was
a lake
just
chalk it up
as
another mistake
because
nobody
really
cares

Bill Duke

All Rights Reserved

© 2010

“The Picture” by Bill Duke

WHEN GEORGE WASHINGTON WAS BORN
THEY HAD A PARTY
CHOPPED DOWN A CHERRY TREE
DID ALL OTHER KINDS OF GOOD STUFF
BUT WHEN I CAME ALONG
MY OWN MOTHER DIDN’T KNOW I WAS HERE
SHE WAS ASLEEP
SO I HAD TO COME IN BY MYSELF
SURE, NOBODY PROMISED ME A ROSE GARDEN
BUT, I JUST WANTED AT LEAST A SEED TO GROW
SOMEPLACE THAT SAID
“HEY, HERE I AM, AND I WAS PLANTED BY WHAT’S HIS NAME.”
WHEN MY FATHER DIED
HE LOOKED IN MY FACE LIKE A SPARROW
HE MOVED ME SO MUCH
BUT
MY BOYS WERE THERE
AND I WAS TOO PROUD TO CRY
BUT
I KEPT HIS PICTURE UPON WHICH HE HAD WRITTEN
A FEW WORDS JUST BEFORE HE PASSED
HAD TUCKED IT INSIDE MY SHIRT
AND WHEN HE CLOSED HIS EYES,
MY MOTHER CAME INTO THE ROOM CRYING
MY SISTER THREW UP
I
WENT INTO THE BATHROOM
AND CLOSED THE DOOR
TOOK THE PICTURE OUT AND LOOKED ON THE BACK
AND IT SAID, “BOY, I LOVE YOU AND YOUR SISTER
I NEVER LOVED YOUR MOMMA
I NEVER LOVED MUCH ELSE IN MY WHOLE LIFE
BUT I LOVE YOU.”
TEARS TOOK ME
I TURNED ON THE FAUCETS SO MY UNCLES WOULDN’T HEAR ME
BUT I THINK THEY KNEW BECAUSE
WHEN I CAME OUT
UNCLE ALBERT PUT HIS ARMS AROUND ME
AND HE HELD ME SO TIGHT
THAT I THOUGHT
I WOULD NEVER LET HIM GO.

BILL DUKE

All Rights Reserved

© 2009

“IN THE DARK” by Bill Duke

Bill Duke

IN THE DARK
WHERE LONELINESS WAITS AND LICKS OUR FACE
WHERE REGRET AND FEAR HAUNT THE SPACE
OF OUR GOD GIVEN GRACE
IN THE DARK OF OUR DESPAIR
WHERE LIFE NO LONGER PLAYS IT FAIR
AND WE WANT TO GIVE UP AND NO LONGER CARE
HE IS THERE
WHEN FRIENDS AND FOE RESEMBLE THE SAME
AND WE LOOK IN THE MIRROR AND FORGET OUR NAME
AND MONEY DON’T SEEM TO CHANGE THE GAME
OF THE SHAMEFUL PRICE WE PAY FOR FAME
OUR CHILDRENS EYES FILL WITH THE STINCH OF RAGE
AND CLAW CLAW CLAW AT THEIR GOLDEN CAGE
EVEN IN THEIRE HAUNTING STARE
HE IS THERE
IN THE DARK
NO NOT THE STILL STILL NIGHT
OF DISTANT STARS AND PALE MOONLIGHT
WHERE SCHEMS OF DREAMERS DOTH TAKE FLIGHT
NOT NEAR THE BEAUTY OF THE CRICKETS SONG
WHERE WE LIE DOWN BUT NOT TOO LONG
FOR FEAR THE DEER THAT DRINK FROM LAKES
WONT FORGIVE US OUR MISTAKES
FOR WE ARE WHY THE EARTHS HEART ACHES
BUT
IN THE DARK
WHERE THE GRISSEL TEARS
WHERE ALL FALLS FROM US EVEN OUR HAIR
AND EVEN WHO ONCE WAS STANDING THERE
AND OH YES YES WE MAY NOT CARE
BUT HE IS THERE
WE FEAR SURRENDER TO THE TOUCH
OF ALL THAT MAKE US FEEL TOO MUCH
WE EAT LOW CARB CHOCOLATE CAKES
AND REALLY PONDER WHAT IT TAKES
TO LIFT THE WEIGHT OF BONES THAT BREAK
FROM THE SMILES WE HAVE TO FAKE
SO WE TRY TO FLEE THE DEPTH OF CARE
BUT HOPE THAT WE FIT IN SOMEWHERE
SEARCHING FOR THE SOULS REPAIR
HE IS THERE
IN THE DARK
YOU LOOK AT ME AND ASK FOR PROOF
THE NAILS OF FACT
THE GLUE THAT SOOTHES QUESTIONS OF THE MIND
YOU SAY MY LOGICS TOO ALOOF
IT MIGHT UNWIND
IN THE PAST TO YOU OLD FAITH HAS BEEN UNKIND
AND IF YOU TRUST AGAIN CAN YOU EXPECT TO FIND
THE PATH
THE WAY
THE FILLING IN OF THINGS
A PIECE PAPER PROMISING YOULL GET YOUR WINGS
OR IS THIS JUST ANOTHER PRETTY COUNTERFIT
AND IF YOU DIE AGAIN WILL YOU GET OVER IT
AND WHO THE HELL AM I TO SAVE THE DAY
I COME IN ON THE GODDAM MILKY WAY
AND WHERE IS THIS ALL LEADING TO ANYWAY
THE LADY NEXT DOOR TOLD US YOU WERE GAY
SPEAK UP OR WE SERVE YOU ON A TRAY
AND HOW THE HELL YOU KNOW SOMEBODIES THERE
HOW THE HELL WE KNOW YOU EVEN CARE
AND YES WE DARE
TO DARE YOU IF YOU DARE
IN THE DARK
WHERE I LOOK BACK AT YOU
I NO LONGER KNOW WHAT WE SHOULD DO
I NEVER SAID I HAD A PLACE TO PARK
I SIMPLY KNOW THAT LIFE IS NOT A LARK
AND WHEN THIS LONELY LIFE RUNS OUT OF SPARKS
DON’T YOU FEEL WE MUST MOVE PAST OUR FEARS
AND ISNT IT THE PROOF OF THINGS THAT BROUGHT US HERE
I STAND INSIDE MYSELF THE SAME AS YOU
AS YOU CAN TELL IM NOT SO VERY SMART
IM NOT EQUIPPED TO TELL YOU WHAT IS TRUE
SO I’M SIMPLY SPEAKING FROM MY HEART
IN THE DARK
I REACH FROM LOSS AND PAIN
OUT TO YOU WITH NOTHING MORE TO GAIN
THAT IN THE HOPE THAT YOU MAY UNDERSTAND
THAT ALL I HAVE TO GIVE FITS IN MY HAND
BILL DUKE

“Men Like Me” poem by Bill Duke

All Rights Reserved

© 2009

“ROSCOE’S DREAMS” by Bill Duke

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ROSCOE LAID IN BED WITH HIS SHOES ON
LOOKING FOR SOMETHING NEW TO THINK ABOUT
HIS WOMAN LEFT HIM SIX WEEKS AGO
AND SINCE THAT TIME
THE EMPTINESS OF THE HOUSE
BARED UPON HIS PASSIONS
OH, HE WAS NOT A LOSER
COULDN’T TAKE THE SMILE FROM HIS FACE
COULDN’T TAKE THE WHISKEY BREATH AWAY
COULDN’T DO ANYTHING HE DIDN’T WANT YOU TO DO TO HIM NOHOW
BUT
HE WAS IN PAIN

LYING THERE
WITH HER PICTURE IN HIS HAND
NEVER KNEW
LOVE COULD HURT SO
NEVER KNEW
LOVE EVEN EXISTED
PAST
THE SCREECH OF BEDSPRINGS
AND SWEAT SOAKING THROUGH
SHEETS
TO MATTRESS FOAM

SHE’S GONE
SHE’S GONE
ONLY HER SCENT ON THINGS
RUNNING HIS FINGER ACROSS HER PICTURE
HER TOO FULL LIPS
AND UP TO THE SHAMPOO SCENT
OF HER OILED HAIR
HE TURNS HER FACE
TOWARD THE LIGHT
THAT SHINES
THRU ALL HIS SEAMS
FALLING INTO DARKNESS ROSCOE DREAMS

BILL DUKE

“Men Like Me” by Bill Duke

All Rights Reserved

© 2009

“AND GOD WORE SHADES” by Bill Duke

Bill Duke

CLAUDE COLLUUMMBBUUSS
CAME AGAIN
TODAY
AND
EVERYONE
RAN
TO GET
THEIR
SPEARS
AND
SHIELDS
MOTHERS
TOOK BABIES
FROM BASKETS
CHILDREN
RAN TO HUTS
FOR RAZORS
ALLLLLL SHEEP
WERE
HEARDED DOWN THE HILL
AND
THERE WAS NO
WELCOME TO OUR LAND
NO
WELCOME HAND
NO ONE
TALKED OF EVEN TRADES
BLOOD
WAS
POURED FROM PITCHERS
AND
GODS
WORE SHADES

Bill Duke

All Rights Reserved

© 2009

“Going Out” by Bill Duke

Bill Duke

Going out with
nothing
Is the same as
staying in
You never meet
anybody
And you don’t know
where you’ve been
Going out with nothing
to give or understand
Is the same as
talking to yourself
or
shaking your own hand
People need to feel each other
giving up themselves
to the
day to day experience of
breaking out of shells
and
reaching thru the silence
to
soothe each others pain
with
wordless conversations
and
risking loss and
gain
Going out with nothing
fools no one but yourself
because everybody’s
listening
waiting
for You
to share your wealth
but
to hear a soul that’s bankrupt
in words that are not felt
to remember nothing that’s been said
is like
dead men talking
to the dead
The only things worth saying
are the things we
feel
and whether they are wrong or right
is not the question
not tonight
When darkness covers everything
Even answers poets bring
But
Going out with nothing
is the same as staying in
You never meet anybody
And
you don’t know
where
you’ve been.

Bill Duke

All Rights Reserved

© 2009