Jon Wesick hosts San Diego’s Gelato Poetry Series and is the author of the collection Words of Power, Dances of Freedom, and an editor of the San Diego Poetry Annual. He’s published over three hundred poems in journals such as the Atlanta Review, Pearl, and Slipstream. He’s also published almost a hundred short stories. One was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He holds a Ph.D. in physics and is a longtime student of Buddhism and the martial arts. One of his poems won second place in the 2007 African American Writers and Artists contest. Another had a link on the Car Talk website.
Some days are hard as glass
and not as clear. Days
when the knuckles of confidence
bloody themselves against granite doors
and the only bandage is a flimsy
cellophane of denial. Days
when equations take up torches and pitchforks
and the electronics is nothing but a box
of flashing lights and baffling parts.
When the odds are long
and the rewards meager,
When the bed is empty
and my date has a double chin,
When the novels don’t sell
and ten years of college is not enough,
When the economy serves
the bitter melon of rejection,
I reach for a pepper shaker
So many years now,
I’ve gotten used to the flavor.
My successes are not sweet. They tastes
of crowded airports, lonely hotel rooms,
and the blandness of routine.
Even if a pastry falls from the winners’ table,
my tongue detects a chemical aftertaste.
I step away from the banquet
and return to my self-imposed diet
During the day, I pay bills,
dust, and vacuum
to greet the future
Then to the meditation hall.
Stillness whiff of incense,
the anonymity of darkness
A lone candle paints the Buddha statue gold.
Mind obsesses as usual.
Plans, worries, a craving for black forest cake.
Maybe, just maybe
the internal narrator will hush.
shouts of joy fireworks
The year turns.
Sadness tinges the celebration.
as the rocket of mortality launches me into old age.
Fools threaten democracy. Progress is only a slogan.
The temple bell sounds.
I want my old year back