Yellow Brick Road

A Journal by Don Gerz

"Ruminating" by Don Gerz

Biting your nails at two in the morning,
you worry whether you have done
the right things or whether you have failed
to do what you should have done
or whether you have acted selflessly or selfishly
or whether you have said and done
all you could have said and done
when you had the power
to nurture all the good within those
you love and those you despise.

Those you despise need love too,
and all you think and do and don’t think and don’t do
comes back to you at two in the morning,
a mound of
nails at your feet like dread and failures
mocking and bullying you against a wall
you put up years ago with my help.

And you think you have failed.
And you think you are not good.
And you think about giving up.

As you turn from the bully of your failures,
you fall asleep at three
and awake at seven
to fight yourself with the love of those
who will never give up on you.

I loved you when you didn’t need love,
and now I love you when you despise me.

Take love where you find it,
especially mine.

When you allow me to love you,
you will walk through the bully at the wall
and find you did as well as you could
when others gave in to the fear
that awakes us at two in the morning.

"Coalesced World" by Don Gerz

At the coffee shop
this morning,
I heard from a man
who writes a weekly
Internet column about
wireless communication:

“It’s just my world.
That’s the way it is,
and that’s the way
it has always been.
I just do what I do in my world,
and others just do
what they do in their worlds.
All I do is what
I can and want to do.
It’s just my world,
and that’s what I do in it.”

I had to laugh inside
where no laughter escapes
so that others from
any given world might
catch me smirking.

I’m not laughing at them;
I’m laughing at all of us
because all of us try in vain
to keep things
that seem to belong
in one world
from intruding into others,
and, ultimately, into THE world.

Dividing the world
into multiple ones
never works because
all worlds ultimately
collide and reform the world
out of trillions of droplets
that coalesce into that sea
where we must either
sink or swim as one.

"Compassion" by Don Gerz
Prometheus Unbound

It weighs on you, compresses your body
into the salt of tears you can no longer cry,
into the bloody wars you have already
fought and lost and won, and won and lost,

out of where you have struggled against
and still and always will struggle against,
compressing you into the depression and defeat
against which you have lost and won,

and which you are fated to fight against
and lose and win against every moment,
asking for no compassion or understanding
because understanding and compassion
do you no good in fighting against a fate
no one can understand
because it makes no sense,
and it will never make sense

as your friend compresses you
into the fractal elements
of redundant tears
when she implies
you don't have enough of it,
enough compassion

and that all will be well
when you empathize a bit more
with your fellow humans
as though you have never cared
for anyone but yourself

while she blames others for problems
spun out of the karma woven
from the threads of choices
over a lifetime.

One thing you can count on is
it's all your fault.

"Raids on the Inarticulate: Artifacts of an Experience" by Don Gerz

(Written Between 1984-'95: Sixty-Eight Pages)
Reflections, Observations, and Realizations on the Vocation of Humans

"The Red Souvenir Hat"

Newly Self-Published All Prose Work (26-Pages)

The Red Souvenir Hat: On Poetry, the Imagination,
and Recovered Metaphors


Hard Copies of Poetry, Academic Writing, and Incidental Prose
After 50-years of writing poetry, essays, academic papers, and incidental pieces, I've printed out everything and counted the pages: over 500 manuscript sheets in 15-binders!

The binders are on the top shelf in my office in case the children and grandchildren want to read some of the works after I've slipped this mortal coil.

Online Portfolio:

Spring 2018 in Marietta, Georgia

Son and Daughter-in-Law's Wedding! Paul and Ellen! March 31, 2018!

"On Not Picking Up" by Don Gerz

I’m sorry
I haven’t been able
to pick up lately.

Bad timing.

Keep trying.

In the doctor’s office.
In traffic.
With someone I can’t remember anymore.
With the builders.
On the landline with marketers who have such a deal.

With the electrician.
With the siding people.
With the window people.
With the contractor.
With a sub-contractor.

Bad timing because
I want you all to myself…

not with the cardiologist,
not with his nurse,
not with the physician’s assistant,
not with the nurse practitioner,
not with the marketing pest on the landline with such a deal.

I want to be with you…

not with
the traffic,
the builders,
the window people,
the electrician,
and the other this and that’s
always in the way…
always between you and me.

Bad timing.

Keep trying.

I will pick up when I can.
I promise.

I want you all to myself.

"Failed Fixes" by Don Gerz

I had been looking forward
to fixing the driveway for months.


Buy waterproof concrete glue,
remove all the chips,
place them in sequence,
clean each chip meticulously,
brush the entire area until
it’s free of dirt and other debris,
glue each piece into place,
fitting each together seamlessly
like pieces
in a jigsaw puzzle.

But glue got all over my hands,
the pieces did not fit smoothly,
and after awhile,
they did not fit at all.

Pieces of pieces were missing,
and those lost fragments
made all the difference
in the world.

Lost fragments always make
all the difference in the world.


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