Poetic License: Reaching Out for the Courage to Speak My Truth

Poetic License: Reaching Out for the Courage to Speak My Truth

by Max Roytenberg

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Overview

Author Max Roytenberg's newest collection of verse, Poetic License, draws on his life experience of nearly eighty years of living, work, travel, death, losses, and triumphs in the public arena and in private life. In this new work, he sums up his perspective on life. He shares his views of our current world of the twenty-first century, identifying his hopes and fears and demanding the freedom to express his views, some of them not politically correct.

In works written over the last fifty years, in prose and in verse, he contemplates the extraordinary changes we are facing in nearly every aspect of the future we face, technology, faith, demographics, world governance, medicine, and relations between men, women, and nations. He calls us to account and to action in the face of prospects he feels many are not too happy about.

This collection presents both cries of protest and remedies, along with consultations and exhortations. Poetic License is not an offer of comfort, but rather an appeal to our courage.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781475928068
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 11/30/2012
Pages: 142
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.30(d)

Read an Excerpt

POETIC LICENSE

Reaching Out for the Courage to Speak My Truth
By MAX ROYTENBERG

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2012 Max Roytenberg
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4759-2806-8


Chapter One

What's it All About?

      Poetic License

    Words run from my fingertips
    like saliva from my mouth,
    drawn by the remembered taste
    of my living past.

    The waves of memory roll over
    reaches they have reached before,
    bringing the minutiae,
    some small rivulets of memory,
    recognized but forgotten,
    unappreciated,
    deserving this instant's rapt attention.

    I take poetic license
    to recreate my past,
    to cogitate, to renovate, to embellish-and
    yes-to excoriate
    those responsible for the evils that I see.

    Perhaps this new reality is the truth.


      Recitation of My Poetry

    I am asked to recite of my poetry.
    No bumpkin's blush be-paints my cheek,
    O! Travesty of modesty-
    i rather search for hearers-seek
    for those listeners to my artistry
    who rapt of eye, with taste sublime,
    proclaim "consummate mastery"
    at my control of rhythm, rhyme,
    deep thought and pleasant harmony.

    There might be those who raucous me condemn-with
    tight-lipped glance, my pretty wit declined-who,
    if but saw my cheeks incarnadined,
    would praise me highly and to all exclaim,
    "now lookee here! The fellow is quite awed,
    so grateful he!" Though i do not gape for fame,
    i play not for encouragement or prod.
    I must needs bow to popular acclaim.


      Ode To Eyes

    This is kind of an ode to eyes,
    pigs' eyes or pie size,
    any old kind of eye size-or
    color-if for me they "dies",
    if i am their prize
    and they "cries," all other guys they despise,
    seeing me the object of their enterprise.

    This is to the limpid gaze
    if, in their poems of Junes and Mays,
    i am the reason for their daze,
    sitting days and days finding words
    that do me praise,
    and on a pedestal do me raise,
    with such devotion my tiny faults could never faze,
    something you could almost call a craze.
    O! Happy days!

    This is a poem to eyes that roam
    that seek and seek-all places comb
    for sight of me-there at home
    they'll only be-losing all aplomb-
    full of expectancy at the thrill of me-
    eyes shining in the gloam-
    bells ringing in the dome-
    for them i write this poem.

    If, as i dream, they for me roam,
    with sonnets for me to fill a tome,
    there is no need the crowds to comb.
    I'll be waiting patiently at home.


      Funny You Should Say That!

    I love the silly things we say
    to pass the time of day.
    "Oh! Jesus!" We do say, not pray.
    Oops! What was it that we meant to say?
    "Hey! We dearly wish you'd really stay!"
    We burn inside to say-please fly away!
    We put our sweetest smiles on display-resplendent-our
    true feelings to not betray.

    What makes us hide our feelings so?
    We act politely for social flow,
    a thin veneer, so as not to show
    the feelings that we hide below,
    so we, in turn, won't feel the blow,
    when we are the "non grata" person at the show.
    We don't really believe it could ever thus be so
    seeing we are the proudest cock that ever did crow.

    We say "this dish is the best ever serv-ed me",
    no matter how plain it and insipid be.
    "How nice this room, design-ed artistry"-
    the colors and furnishings are sheer entropy.
    "Your child is amazing, how well-behav-ed is he."
    Spoiled rotten, best left tied and muzzled to a tree.
    "Your garden shows you are a dedicated devotee."
    We see bedraggled wisps of long-abandoned
    forestry.

    There is a devil in me that feeds on random
    mockery.
    The trick remains in how we deftly carry on our
    spree.
    The victim must forever totally unknowing be,
    feeding him, benighted, with illusions through
    which we'd rather he not see.
    He himself is led by self-deception which is his
    protective canopy,
    hiding from his consciousness his own soul's
    fragility
    that dares not, whatever the price, see things the
    way they really be,
    confronting in fact the frightening rigors of life's
    reality.


      These Three

    Wring me through the wringers of this existence
    'til I am a shell,
    sans love, sans hate, sans all of life.
    We are ground through the masses of men, knees
    in the dust,
    buffeted by blows 'til from this "mortal coil" we
    "shuffle off", "poor players".

    Was a flower to grow for every tear that's shed,
    this world would be an Eden.
    We are spiny balls of grief
    wrapped tightly in a husk shaped like a man.

    We are slivers of pain, clothed human.
    We are amoebae, pseudopodia cast off in all
    directions,
    searching for kindred souls to save us from
    ourselves.

    I am the ceaseless clash of molecules.
    Refine my soul until my joined parts have come
    apart.
    See my pure elements.
    See pain, loneliness and the tortures of impending
    death-
    the greatest of these is loneliness.


      My Rhyme

    I spin my words and make a rhyme,
    'tis a very simple task-
    but how to imbue the words i choose
    with meaning. To simply bask
    in the elegance of a versei
    s something i will constantly refuse-
    with messages in poetry terse
    the poet makes of time much better use.

    I can tell a tale without a rhyme,
    images glimpsed through shadows,
    wraiths weaving in and out of restive sleep,
    ghosts haunting our night hours,
    hidden fears that stalk our consciousness,
    fully masked from ourselves.
    The absent rhyme makes sharper
    the pain of daily breath.

    We gather comfort from our rhyming time.


      Dew Drop.

    A drop of dew trembles in the light,
    clinging to the branch of life, hesitating
    before the inevitable plunge
    into hard reality.

    We stand on the threshold of each living instant-mesmerized
    by the effervescent stream
    of life before us.
    We gaze sightless into our futures.

    Take pleasure in the ecstasy,
    the taste, the smell, the feel
    of each fleeting instant
    filling our lives, amazingly,
    with the potentiality for JOY.


      Shall We Have A Book Launch?

    Words and more words spin in my head,
    spiraling to no conclusion.
    Fingers claw at the keyboard,
    groping for meaning. We crave results-
    we are in the business of results-
    some rational reason for our being,
    not an enema of the mind
    to be wasted on the empty pages
    littering our onrushing dawns.

    I digest the mind's meanderings
    for that nugget of truth,
    rescuing treasure from the dross-so much dross-
    perhaps worthy of being an embellishment
    on the digested fibers of the magnificent trees
    that graced our lost horizons-
    that graced our inherited empty spaces.
    Do i offer only mental sewage prettified
    with fastidious pretension?
    Shall this work be worthy of our sacrifices?

    Shall we have a book launch?


      Sea Sing Song

    Today i am at sea.
    Leaden waters shimmer
    past the shoulders of the leviathan i am astride,
    casting a million billion photons into my eyes,
    forming images in my brain.

    The highlights rival the sparkles of the night sky.
    We rush forward
    as into the darkness of a womb
    that will give birth come morning
    to another expanse of ocean
    or a welcoming port.

    I am overcome by the vastness
    of the blinded face of darkness.
    I feel like an insect on a petrified sliver
    of life afloat on a rushing tide.
    Water, water everywhere,
    below and seemingly above
    in the endless sky.

    On this craft we are another wandering speck,
    existing in our own private universe.
    We carry on with no thought
    to our insignificance in the vastness
    that surrounds us.
    We are full of ourselves-so busy-
    a teeming ant-hill afloat,
    the sole manned planet spinning around the sun
    we greet eagerly each morning.
    We consume with abandon
    countless mounds of food.
    We are crowds
    of humans seeking eagerly for diversions
    on our many-tiered raft in this endless ocean.

    I am not proud of the song I am singing.

    Can i imagine some useful purpose
    for my being here?
    Can i provoke a sonata
    that will stir a heart, rouse a spirit,
    stimulate a new vision,
    so entrance my kind that I will tempt one
    to engage in a new beginning
    making my sibilant song significant?
    Or, will these just be sad singsong syllables
    sinking into the sound of the sea?


      Better Crushed Petal Cold

    Crush the petal, waiting, willing, wanting,
    burning, consuming agony – dying
    to enclose one instant's raging sweetness.

    Changing color in the sun, briefly,
    brown and withered, without scent,
    blazing cruel flame-cold.

    Better that way.
    Buddha's crushed petal
    without scent, snow cold – loveless.

    Better changeless eastern snows,
    faint blue cones in the distance.
    Better Buddha's withered woman,
    Himalayan wilderness, detached,
    no sun; no hurry; cold.
    Better.


      Flying Away

    We spend a lot of our time burrowing away
    into the new places we are in
    so we can feel more comfortable
    where we are strangers.

    Talk to a neighbor, show some interest,
    glimpse their lives, share some personal detail,
    buy a plant, mount a curtain,
    attend a community scene.
    Suddenly it is more comfortable-
    people greet you by name-
    you've arrived at your place.

    When you go away people ask
    when you are coming back?
    You have become imprinted on their lives
    in ways that make your presence
    important to them. They are jealous
    of the time you spend away.
    You have become part
    of their extended family circle.

    When i fly away now i know
    that it is, in some ways, an act of betrayal.
    Though unspoken, my new friends
    feel a secret hurt. I see it in their eyes.

    I am tearing at the fabric of their lives.
    They don't think of that when they do it to us,
    but they feel it when we do it to them.

    When we re-unite at that future time,
    we have some repairing to do.
    We have composed something
    valuable to the people around us.

    I realize that i am sometimes resentful
    when friends i value go away,
    denying me the pleasure of their presence.
    I ache for their piece of my life being there
    when i reach out for its essence.

    Do others feel the way i do?
    I know we take it for granted that
    those feelings are there
    when we think of family, siblings,
    children and others we are close to
    in living our family lives.

    The ultimate betrayal comes
    when the people we value die.
    We are shocked, stunned.
    We have lost the access we had counted on.
    We are sometimes angry.

    We must console ourselves with memories,
    one-way conversations.
    They fly away and leave us.
    They leave without asking for our permission.

    Sometimes when i leave
    i feel a secret satisfaction-
    Take that for not appreciating me
    as you should have!

    Do the dead who have retreated
    to their secret place feel that?


      Lost In Thought

    The miracle of being. the spark of life,
    phantom thoughts, fleeting,
    the incessant internal strife.

    When do these thoughts begin to exist?

    The electric thought sought,
    just electrons in the mist,
    'til clearly vocalized, impinged,
    transmitted to another's brain,
    or printed, organized on paper,
    on a computer, or verily in stain?

    Was it lost in the corridors of time,
    wisdom potentially advancing humankind,
    cruelly tossed, interred,
    buried with its human slime?

    Listen! There is quiet breathing.
    See! That person sitting there!
    Mayhap there a mind is seething,
    in that body,
    in that chair,
    knowing the questions we should pose,
    knowing the most important task to perform by far-
    or,
    if that is a jewel we already chose,
    answer what is the future of our star.

    Leave us space to ruminate
    we all need space to breathe,
    but fail not then to communicate
    the real treasure hiding underneath.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from POETIC LICENSE by MAX ROYTENBERG Copyright © 2012 by Max Roytenberg. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Title Page....................1
Preface....................2
Acknowledgements....................6
Dedication....................8
Contents....................9
Contents-Poetry....................10
Poetic License....................15
Recitation of My Poetry....................16
Ode To Eyes....................17
Funny You Should Say That....................19
These Three....................21
My Rhyme....................23
Dew Drop....................24
Shall We Have A Book Launch....................25
Sea Sing Song....................26
Better Crushed Petal Cold....................28
Flying Away....................29
Lost In Thought....................32
Existential Rewards....................35
Spectral Thoughts....................37
Incandescent....................38
Rhapsody....................40
Le Mot Juste....................41
Secrets....................42
Sounds And Noise....................44
Fish Story....................46
Breathing To Death....................48
Do I Repeat Myself?....................50
Poetry....................52
There's A Lady They Call The Gypsy....................53
Fire In The Hole....................55
Words Fail Me....................59
Apple Pie....................60
Strangers In An Irish Pub....................62
Bloody Nerve....................65
Happenstance....................67
The Poet's Secret....................69
Damn You!....................71
My Raining Days....................73
The Poet's Gift....................75
Music In Poetry....................78
Feeling The Free....................79
Island In The Sun....................81
Looking Ahead From Behind....................82
Being Smart....................83
Past Imperfect....................85
Pretense And Retribution....................87
La Danse Macabre....................88
In Memoriam....................90
The Promised Land....................93
The Sweep Of Bloody Times....................96
Telling Our Stories....................98
I Call For War!....................99
Ambiguity....................100
Attention Gentlemen!....................102
My Time is Your Time....................104
Consequences....................106
Midnight Perspectives....................109
Poetical Poetry....................110
Scintillating Rhythm....................111
Life's the Berries!....................112
On Reading My Poetry....................113
Let Me Tell You....................115
Death Creeps In....................116
A Visit With The French....................118
Awe-ful....................121
Sparks....................122
I Did Not Think....................124
Landing On Earth....................126
Lifted Up....................129
Have You Heard?....................130
Does It Matter?....................131
Listen To The News!....................132
Cleaning Up The Neighborhood....................133
Lines In Sight....................134
The Joke's on Us....................137
A Hopeful Note....................138
The Roar of Righteous Anger....................139

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