Welcome to the Web site of renowned author Norman Stewart. Norman is a widely published poet under his own and psydonyms.
I sent this poem that I wrote for Mike to him in the mid eighties.
Crisis Still (A Message to Michael)
I haven't felt a good thing in too long a time
Been hiding from most of my life. Baby me just couldn't develop
A suitable taste for disgust. I opened my eyes to a spank on the butt,
Have been fighting pain with diminishing wonder ever since then.
The terrible smells: the Brussels sprouts, the creamed onions and peppers,
The sex, the lakes I watched turning to sludge, the New Jersey air
At night when no one was supposed to notice, all these things and more
Forced me, sensitive me, to search for filters, like tobacco and brain death,
Perfumed love on those teenage afternoons, and evenings of mathematics.
I lost a hundred lovers, maybe more, loved and lost
A wife, had more jobs and chances than one man deserves, but,
Morbid menace to my sanity, I knew they all were the dirty way down.
I tore my flesh, broke my heart, suffered to pay for my delight
At the prospect of heaven, somewhere out there, waiting for me.
So, what prelude is this? Yes, we both sought the most direct path
Between here and heaven, wished to learn as much as we could on the way.
We are apart at our own discretion, so volatile were our lives together,
But was it really wrong to live so free in the presence of evil?
I feel the cancer eating away, smell something like dead dog
Wafting in on the summer air, look out my window to watch
My pets lying in the shell dust road, waiting as they wait
For the occasional car, with nothing to do but become a shaded memory.
It's not quite the same for me, not while there's still one righteous man
Or one who tries to be. I'm torn between answers.
Conquer fear with fear? I clasp my hands. What can I do?
What prelude is this? What offspring's offered? Is destruction or relief
Foreshadowed? A planned worse, by comparison, or the best way things can
With suicide smoldering undrenched within me, I still am ferocious and free.
Was I lucky to be a storybook child? Musty, humid, closed in
Living and burglar bars on every window make me wonder.
Is all human dignity finally lost? With California wine
To pass the time, I dream of green eyed, black haired lady lovers
Who, still undaunted by their own beauty, refuse to treat me like a cur.
I growl at the filet mignon and drink myself silly, no past silly.
I know the resignation that comes from chains too strong
But Macdonald doesn't rule my world. Metal wobbles when freedom
Calls but it does not bend by my strength alone-- there’s the
Crux. I'm still alone. Regretful hindsight is a deceptive delusion,
So I look ahead. What prelude is this? If there is still a chance
For change, if immutability has not clamped shut the iron vices
Of certainty, if we're still human, we defy definition. No one knows
What makes us go. There still is mystery and in misunderstanding there's
Struggling to not grasp this situation, I am intimidated
By the prospect of a different truth as my hormonal disruption fades.
I was a ravenous stranger, rolling strangers, made fast female friends
The objects of my desire, forced them to be alien and detached entities.
In an alphabetical entourage of infant members, I took my place
So that girls becoming women could falsely determine what evil lurks
In the mythical minds of the mythical men that we so desperately tried
To be. They wave their mythology at me now and try to drown me
In an ocean of false form and structure-- And I'm the one they blame
When things like love turn dank and dark and dreams begin to fail them.
The shades are shut so it's safe to smile. I smile at my discretions.
What, after all, is purity of the masses but a blindness of the few; a brain
Blockage, a brain blockade to keep the ocean safe? I believed
In man's good nature. I still do. What about you?
Lindsey died because she knew the truth about "you" and "I".
We killed her long before the needle kissed her;
She had no choice but to exist or not. Pulse first she ran
To death and, ravenous for delusion, we're pacified by her hunger
But we may indeed be the new dying breed. We see the signs of our faltering
Importance. The past is gone. The destroyer, the darkness, the iniquity
We lived man's history in scraps of books and pieces of poetry
And it's a new world already. In this paranoia city you gotta
Get a gun or get dead. With blade in boot, I practice martial art.
Chances are that very soon the gears won't turn, metal will corrode,
And knives, well honed, will stick into the burly beast that feeds on fear.
We carry tears of sulfuric acid beside the front seat of our Cadilacs,
Cry when someone tries to hurt us. Honor's some sort of secret affair
To you, silly hero, so you sigh, “It was an affair to remember."
But my intuition knows your deeper secrets. I listen to your changing
Rhythms. As you shut your mouth most of the time, you go quietly
Insane-- “What was she lacking, so close to my side?" Computers
Keep us classified. So I flash a defiant gesture skyward and speak
In a subdued fashion. A free floating fish is swept ashore
And we, a part of that same burly beast, consume and reinvent her.
With our half closed eyes and apathy we remember-- she was brave and free.
Her breathless test was our proof, her rotting bones our legacy.
So, we scratch at the air and nothing else, smile half smiles,
Live on the edge of the grey matter, and become less benevolent
With age but believe otherwise. Our idols left us masterless and we
Consume their memories with fever fervor; Our taste-buds teach us disgust.
As rekindled love carries us along, we spread the nausea thinner,
Find solace in a terrible world of short circuit sickness and dreams.
A Harvard man flew a Phantom over a jungle playground, dropping bombs
On peasants for super sonic fun: He creates demons to amuse himself,
Collects trinkets to buy his way out of the monster's path. Old women
Burned like embers in the night-- so what if the world didn't feel the fire.
It's all just a meager maladjustment in this cement speckled wilderness.
Dawn has almost covered this land of cultured greenery, but
An opiated enemy on a tropical night died in a charging pile, a rehearsal
For instant replay. I was drinking screwdrivers then. Now, I'm a martini
What did you do tonight? Give away your love? The lusty advances of
Foul smelling souls, acting out obscenity over the subway noise, drove me
From civilized madness, from trying to capture company, from this land
of concrete and cultured green, to the silence of my country home,
To fake and flounder, fool around and flop about, steal away
With my sweeter memories and find some pretty words.
Lindsey died along the way. She forgot it's all in how you play.
It was a wicked dose that killed her: the rat that got the rat that got
The rat. You play the odds. You win, you lose-- So how could I care?
I really don't know. In with a slap on the butt and out with a boot in the
I have no knack for apathy or closed eyed sneers. I know that regretful
Is but a deceptive delusion to make the sunrise magnificent and red
But the Phantom man teaches silence now. A new game keeps him thrilled.
What, I wonder, could be more secret and sacred than murder for fun?
What did he hear above the engine's hum? A dog howling from chains too
In this crazy world of master and slave I forget what art is, am crisp
And crusty in the mirror. But still I can't get over the madness. I'm
Here, still in the mirror, with nothing but accounts to recall, in the dying
Embers of the night; I still don't know what to do. Do you? We're grown,
At least by all legal reckoning, but I can't bring myself to do what I must.
What was it that transpired when we were young? What was going on?
Was Lindsey right to die so soon? Is the Phantom man,
In his high position of power, more correct because of being there?
Are we just dogs chained to the same sad foundation, allowed,
Sometimes, to lay in the middle of the road, waiting for a car to crush us?
Was the spattering blood of televised martyrdom worth
A thirty second spot? Were the outlandish styles of our youth
So timely and persuasive that even we got lost in them?
The perforated edges of our saran wrapped lives give great meaning
To no one but me, and hope and intimations of true love so I
Can toy with what could be clarity if I wished for a further deception,
An easier way to justify my journey toward an ending.
What prelude is this? I'm still alive here but fear we're dying
At different speeds, Michael; I can't imagine a world without you.
RIP old friend
Content copyright . Norman Clark Stewart Jr. All rights reserved.