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David Belcher: Because You Offer Me Beauty
Part of the PoetryCircle Showcase series.
  • Bounce Light Off Me
    measure my span,
    describe my inner
    and my motion.

    I will read you
    in the same way.

    Wait, put your lined
    note book aside:

    we deviate
    and are never
    the same thing twice.

    But look again,
    again, again;

    this is the best
    people can do.

    and calculate,
    predict the next
    the next kindness.


    What? Said Hamlet
    The ghost of Hamlet's father said,
    'A ghost can never sleep,
    my armour rubs until I'm red
    and lamenting angels loudly weep.'
    But the royal castle guards
    did not hear and drew their swords,
    one mumbled something through his beard
    and then the ghost disappeared.

    'What?' Said Hamlet, once or twice,
    when his father's ghost returned.
    'Can you be a little more concise?
    Did you say in hellish fires you burned?'
    'No, no,' replied his father's ghost.
    'I said that Hell smells like burnt toast.
    And don't work yourself into a lather.
    I didn't say, AVENGE YOUR FATHER,
    'What?' Said Hamlet. 'Did you say MURDER?'

    Half deranged and drunk on ale
    Hamlet spun a woe-begotten tale,
    he scared his King and riled his queen,
    and then he killed a servant hid behind a screen--
    witches said this was foreseen
    but they could not intervene
    they had business in another story
    and so the ghost returned from purgatory.

    Only Hamlet saw his father's shade,
    only Hamlet heard the ghost's tirade.
    'What?' Said Hamlet as his dad departed.
    And that was when the trouble really started.
    Some boys it seems leave everybody broken-


    The Unequivocal Love Letter
    A scrap, a particle of paper,
    was all you had, I guess.

    At the top of your note
    you left space for a title,

    'An Unequivocal Love Letter.'

    You end with a marriage proposal;
    in between you cram a confession:
    line after line, layered like sediment,
    until their combined weight fossilized
    all serious sentiment.

    On the opposite side of your letter
    you left space for a reply; you got one
    but not the answer you wanted
    and it too left no room for doubt.

    I might have thrown away
    such an unequivocal rejection
    but you kept the letter and it was lost
    among a stack of photographs
    in a dusty shoebox.

    Was this
    the closest you ever came
    to love?


    Allen Ginsberg Told Me to Say This
    Trust reason, have faith in the goodness in people
    and accept there is more than one way
    to seek truth. RESIST
    loud book-thumpers and softly spoken salesmen
    who fly at you with sugar-coated whips, drive you
    left and right, you are not cattle;
    they are barking dogs, reciting
    the same narrow doctrine, over and over
    Bark! Bark! Until you forget
    there is more than one word in the dictionary.

    Truth has enemies, truth is the Hydra:
    it has more heads than painters can paint.
    Hercules was always the virulent monster,
    slick paragon, a whip-wielder and bully.
    Hercules cuts off heads, reduces truth to one head,
    his own, on which you place a crown
    because Hercules makes the world safe, comprehensible.
    But truth is not always safe or comprehensible.
    Trust reason.

    You are not Hercules
    and you are not Aphrodite, you are a myth maker.
    Aphrodite is a knife, Hercules is a knife,
    the barking dogs will circumcise you
    with that  knife: they covet every orifice.
    Our mouths and our guts and our genitals
    are agents of truth, they are heads sprouting
    from the meandering body of the Hydra, heads
    the knife wielders will censor
    if you let them.

    Be what you are--
    there is more than one word in the dictionary.
    Let the dogs bark, you are a myth maker.
    Trust what you are and let that faith
    be challenged, truth has many heads, you can
    lose a few, more will regrow in their place
    and faith can be renewed. Let the dogs bark
    and trust what you are.


    Night Song Written at Dawn
    Sing, softly sing, sing back the night.
    Still all ticking meditations.
    Before the early bird takes flight
    Sing, softly sing, sing back the night.
    Look! Spirits rise ready to fight,
    Mouths unlocked by exclamations—
    Sing, softly sing, sing back the night.
    Still all ticking meditations.


    Because You Offer Me Beauty
    I give you the platinum chains
    hanging from my neck and wrists,
    the silver rings from my fingers,
    the gold fillings from my teeth:
    I surrender my vanity.

    You offer me strength
    and I give up the copper from my liver,
    the iron from my blood and those atoms
    that assist the lightning that flashes
    along my nerves.

    And then you take
    the calcium from my bones and teeth
    because you are my smile
    and my backbone.
    You steal my oxygen because
    I do not need air while I have you.

    My carbon is yours
    and you fashion it into something hard
    and bright and clear and you wear it
    like an ornament.

    You give me what you promised
    until I can give you nothing more
    and then you leave me with those elements
    no living thing wants: arsenic and uranium
    which angry men use to destroy the world.


    Translucent skies, a coughed-up wet moon, a bloom
    of trembling suns and the silence that follows a long
    you overtaken by shadows; making your own light.
  • I’m generally a good dependable guy who lives a clean life. And I've decided to be a poet, why not? I've had lots of interests but poetry has come out on top. I've spent a stupid amount of time and energy learning to write and hope one day to be called a poet. It's healthy to have objectives in life. And if I wasn't writing I would more than likely be getting into trouble.
  1. LeRoy Candle Baker
    Allen Ginsberg is one of my favourite all-time poets.   His role in facilitating, growing, nurturing, cudgelling, cajoling and otherwise hammering the BEATknicks as a guru, improvisational speaker, shaman of strong sexual medicine poison of brain and inconvenient post-nuclear theatre was a holy righteous spectacle and a holy righteous spell
    David Belcher likes this.
  2. Rekha Ramani
    I liked "Night Song Written in Dawn". "Still all ticking meditations captured my heart". It means even meditation can be disturbing and wishes that they also could be stilled. Right?
    David Belcher likes this.
  3. Linda Benninghoff
    I really love the first poem, and the meditations on Ginsberg and Hamlet pointed out new things to me.
    David Belcher likes this.
  4. tiko lewis
    congrats, David!
  5. Michael Ashley
    Great work David!
  6. shadwell smith
    An excellent collection, David. The audio is beautifully delivered too. Kudos!
  7. Paul Brookes
    Deep, cogent, profound, heartfelt, witty, urbane. Enjoyed the marvellous interplay of ideas and sound, the music.
  8. TrishSaunders
    Your poems a great read, David.
  9. David Belcher
    Thank you Trish for putting this together. I know you said it was fun, but it was also time and work and I appreciate your interest.
    TrishSaunders likes this.
  10. Cheryl.Leverette
    How wonderful, David!  Congratulations.  Some of these poems I still remember very well.