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Peace Elements

Steve Toth

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Back to Peace Poets

Rose Rose Rose

FOR THE READER 9

Love cruises in an unmarked car
     offering rides to anyone 
     foolish enough to come
Love is the stranger
     your mother warned you
     not to talk to
You used to say I was the only one
     now you don't recognize me
without sniffing & tasting me first
     & still I want you

Look what the poem dragged in
     a lover whose love is gone
Fire season starts with your kiss
I can't wait for you
     to pronounce me dead
     to bury my face
in the pink red & gold
     of your body
You love me & I stay loved
You've ruined me for anyone else
     & still I want you

Love has so many lovers
     it makes me lonely
How can I ever endure
     opening my eyes in the morning
     & not seeing you?
While all the time you're keeping
     my nerves alive with pain
I know your love is ruthless
     & still I want you

How can I put my love into words 
     when I can't put 
     even a carrot into words?
If you saw yourself for a moment
     the way I see you
you'd fall madly in love with yourself
     & still I dare to tell you
Language is the creation of longing
     & still I want you

DolphWT DolphWT DolphWT

FOR THE READER 8

Sometimes I don't know
     whether someone is joking
     or being serious
At my grandfather's funeral
     as a boy I thought
my father had started laughing
     but he was really crying
I thought he was laughing
     because he had just remembered
what he'd explained to me about
     how nobody ever really dies
     but he didn't

Here's a little something
     I put together
would you mind bringing it
     to life for me?
The words have been looking 
     themselves up in a dictionary 
& can't believe their definitions
The silence of vision 
     & the blindness of sound
can work together all they want
     but only love can get 
     our eyes to meet like this

You light me up
     like a candle
     & leave me burning
To be with you
     is my one desire
Tell me
     am I still the nothing
that you don't have to hide?
You know how to reach me
     I'm wherever
     you think of me

Rose Rose Rose

FOR THE READER 7

I know I should be saying
     keep a poem in your heart
even if it isn't me
     but I can't lie to you
I'll answer to any name you call
I've been dreaming of you reading me
     ever since I was written
     & now it's coming true
Those other poems keep lighting up
     & going out like flashlights
     with weak batteries
I'll take you everywhere they go
     & then I'll take you higher

I'm no vampire
     I'm a plant that just naturally
     keeps turning to the sun in you
Naked poetry is when everyone hears
     what's on the tip of every tongue
I've stripped away every shred
     that doesn't live for you
I've left open all my windows
     so you can blow through me
I'll be your playground
Let your tide roll in on me
     Color me with your desire
I've invented different eyes
     to find new ways of seeing you
Your love is the only power
     that can lift me off this page

We take in oxygen
     & give off carbon dioxide
like anything does when it's on fire
I've ripped all the pages from my heart
     to keep the flames from going out
Now I see roses & thorns
     reduced to the same ashes
Where is Jesus to turn
     these words into wine?
I've written my best love poems
     all over your body
     with my tongue
What more can I do to keep you
     from being done with me now?

Rose Rose Rose

WILD FLOWER

I'm a wild flower baby
     I grow where I please
as brightly as I please
     for as long as I please
Can't no one make me
     do anything other
     than what I please

I'm a wild flower baby
     people come with their eyes
Come take a good look
I bless them with my wildness
     I nod my head in the wind
     & answer all their questions yes

Other people come with their hands
     & try to take me home
Oh but I'm a wild flower baby
     can't no one take me home
If you try to keep me I'll just die
     If I can't grow where you see me
     I'll grow where you're not looking

Watch out when you see me
     My colors make the wind swirl
My freedom gives the bee a buzz
     My laughter says the joke's on you
You may think you're fire proof
     but you're not playing with fire
     You're playing with me

Rose Rose Rose

I DON'T KNOW WHERE

My reality is an exploding dandelion 
     being blown away by children
laughing so hard they can hardly stand
On the night I was born
     my mother took one look
     at me & named me
after the martyr Stephen
     who got stoned
     in the Bible
O mother you've brought something 
     into this world to die
     I've been naked since I got here

Some people think that plants are dumb
     because they don't talk
or pushovers because they don't fight back
But those who have 
     watched plants growing long enough
have seen their battles to the death
     over sunlight & root space
     unfolding in slow motion
When I was young my teammates told me
     "You can either play your best
or you can play unhurt"
     Nowhere is home to me
     & I can't go there

When a porpoise in an aquarium 
     performs a desired behavior
its trainer blows a whistle & tosses it a fish
     so it will associate a blown whistle
     with receiving a reward
I've given up knowing what I'm doing
When I look into the mirror
     that you've made your face up with
I see mostly the things
     I refuse to see in myself
Come look deeply into these bottomless eyes
     I don't know where 
     but you take me there

Rose Rose Rose

WORKING ORDER

Something happened while I was 
     keeping myself entertained
Death broke in & gave me some idea
     of just how much I owe
on the time I borrowed when I was born
Time to work like nature does
     steady & undaunted
listening for the poems 
     nature wants written
I can try to keep a lid on what I say in public
     but I can't do a thing
about what love says with my mouth
Love is what can't be kept secret
     Love is what
     will have its say

We live on a planet of miracles
     & you say you're uninspired
Excuse me for a moment
     while I indulge my eyes
in some hitherto unseen beauty
Sow bugs can live up to three years
     That's a long time to be a sow bug
     but I'd rather be a sow bug than you
Who but you can withstand the surges of love
     that life sends to break on our rocks?
I keep myself in working order by working
I can't stop to worry
     about what makes your faint heart fainter
Love is what can't be denied
     Love is what
     takes your life

When I meet a friend
     I can't wait to ask
how are you working?
Because when you're working good
     it's pure life
When I listen to a love song
     I remove the name 
     the song is addressed to
& replace it with the word poetry
When I hear religious music
     I put poetry in
     wherever God appears
How long will the love you desire
     be anything other
     than the love you're getting?
Love is what doesn't get worn out
     Love is what
     pecks at your remains

When you tell me you've got
     something more important
     than work to be doing
I say don't bring that weak stuff in here
     or we'll see how high
     it bounces off your head
Is there anything more worthless
     than a love that isn't true?
When it comes to secret knowledge
     I don't suspect a thing
Love is what can't be hidden
     Love is what
     you don't survive

DolphWT DolphWT DolphWT

NATURE LOVER 2

As I listen to the north wind 
     pushing through the trees 
& puffing against the houses
     it sounds almost as if it's wailing
"Say good-bye to the death you thought 
     was a long ways off
     & would come like 
a pleasant dream in your sleep
     Say hello to the death
     that goes wherever you go
The one that has taken whole species" 
     That's what I'd be wailing
     if I was the north wind tonight
     
No matter how far I go into the forest 
     I never find myself alone
There's life in every form
     & all the forms keep changing
     so why not work together 
on something joyful?
If we shed too many tears
     stalactites might start forming
     in the corners of our eyes
But if like clouds through which 
     the sun is breaking
we let our personal weathers dissolve
     inspiration becomes a way of life 

The sun is always teaching us
     how to shed actual light
but we still seem to be left in the dark
We keep fooling with life
     everywhere we live
     everywhere our toxins reach
We can't talk our way out of silence
     Even planets & suns lose their lives
but we all have a wild streak
     we feel the urge to share
I see your mouth opening
     but the cry that emerges
     comes from the depths of the earth

Rose Rose Rose

LOVE POEM 6
       for Sheila

What kind of love
     can be put into words?
Not one as alive as ours is
But I offer these words
     to you anyway
because I love to hear
     your mad laughter
     because I'm mad about you

I want to be real
     for you to touch
I want to lick you
     at your own game
Your kiss is a rising sun
     breaking the dawn
     wide open

Loving you is like 
     being translated
     back into my original tongue
I become dust
     when you flash me a look
I do nothing to fight
     the fire that consumes me 

The sun has a way
     of opening flowers
& you have a way
     of opening hearts
     without breaking them
No one can set you any freer
     than you already are
     in my secret places

We're like love notes
     that have been torn open
     & read many times
We complete each other's circuits
My love is powered
     by nothing
     but you

DolphWT DolphWT DolphWT

WHAT LOVE ENDURES

What love endures
     we can put up with
Some people say that only
     a dead fish goes with the flow
Better to be a dead fish
     than to not trust life
     enough to live it
The only reasons for being born
     are to find love
     & lose our fears

We thought that getting carried
     away by love
would be a carefree
     & glamorous life
     Little did we know
What we once thought was valuable
     & what we once took for granted
     have changed places
Love doesn't want us to be the same
     Love isn't for the indifferent 

Not a day goes by
     that I don't want you
When I wake up 
     like a washed up fish
     stranded on the shore
I don't stop flopping
     until I'm back in your waters
If love is fire & shrewdness is smoke
     when love's flame comes alive
     our cunning floats away

Once we thought that love was
     like posing for a camera
We'd flash our lightning
     then walk off
     & leave them burning
If we got caught
     we could always talk with a limp
     & give lame excuses
but love sees through our words
     it tells us what we mean

Love outsmarts the ego every time
     It shows us the way to lose
     our fear of appearing ridiculous
We no longer ask where are you 
     taking us now
we just know that we keep going
The wind blows freely 
     through our cells
Love doesn't stop to feel sorry for us
     It just leads us on
     to the next crazy venture

Rose Rose Rose

VAPOR TRAIL

If there's nothing to say
     no one to say it
     & no one to say it to
How can I ask you to read me?
     But that's what I'm doing
Our bodies are mostly water
     with some minerals floating around
but if we don't take in air
     & keep our fires lit
we'll never know what living is
None of us needs 
     as much attention as we desire
     I want you to keep your light on me

Once we knew a dancer
     & when her troupe gave a performance
we went to watch
     sitting with her boyfriend
     When it was over he said
"Now ends the dance of the performers
     & begins the free style dance
     of the members of the audience"
When I get up in the morning
     there's a warm dent in the bed
     where I crashed last night
Without you 
     light is just another kind of darkness

How soon will you be ready
     to open your eyes & see 
that none of us knows what we're doing?
We're like lost planets
     wandering the emptiness of space
     looking for a sun to orbit
I've been following a vapor trail
     to your heart 
& I've been getting nowhere
     Without you 
     I'm a dead body

Rose Rose Rose

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