Donny Duke's Poetry Page

by Donny Duke

I was riding my bike on the sandy road along the high fence of the small airport near my house, right as a trainer plane was taking off, and thinking about how our fantasies always have other people in them even when they're about getting away from everyone. We're either showing off or telling off. We can't get away from one another, something so basic we hardly notice it: how social we are.

I had half a mind to give up writing poetry and the attempt to get other people to read it, but I can't do that, even though I've lost faith in both my ability as a poet to pen a poem and the public's ability to appreciate or even recognize honest to God poetry. I can't do it because the poems won't stop coming and you're just everywhere I turn, all over my spaces, and what can I do but give you a poem or two?

You Gotta Hear
Young People,
You Gotta Hear

You people are the fine point of my pen.
You know pretty well
What you are:
The sharpened pencil
Of everybody’s hope for change.
I’m a
(You guys know)
Student of yourn.

I’m prayin’ for somethin’:
Any voice
(One minute),
Pink flower
(Another minute),
That can bear witness.

“Would if I screw it up?”
“I cannot do it.”
“I know what I saw.”
“What good is that?”
The most profound change:
Hey everybody this is New Earth.

Grandiose my turn,
And bees steal the honey,
But there’s more goin’ on here than angels talk about.
I give you a tray:
For the love of God pray.
Halleluiah, amen.

A Elegy
(For Peggy Abbott, my mom: born October 31, 1941, died March 13, 2011)

A torn threshold.
Caught on the sharp mysteries parting life and death.
It happens every spool.
Finish homework.
Winging it.
My boat may differ.
Beliefs in order to
Negotiate curtain call.
When you’ve been torn asunder.
Mom you have been cast aground on strange soil.
Liberty’s not your taxi ride.
What can I say regarding plan?
Existence is a wide breach.
Tell me you’re lost again in a fable.
My muse lingers on meaning.
Sort it out,
The iceberg.
All those personal issues remain aship.
They have teeth and growl.
Titanic they loom.
Can you grasp life without them?
We are not here our bodies made.
This is now dirt in your senses.
It’s beckoning Time.
Not for the dead was the body created.
Other moorings now call tide.
Can I align you with the unknown?
Where can I direct you beyond the starry night,
And the snowfall,
And the sprawl of Earth in temple with the sun?
Mother I’ve just pointed your pilgrim feet.
These images let them.
A star will come over and join you,
A good companion guide.
It’s what the dead hear when they rise –
The voice of eternity talking through windows.
I clover this honey.
Are you rapt to hear it?

The city of origin is the city of destination.
Are you hearin’ me Peggy?
Is that rough shore?
The eyes are all out to lunch.
It’s not somethin’ you look at until you can see it.
Whisper sleep.
Goddamn a foundling is our birth
Cast aside on the road to hell.
It’s eternity we look at.
Is that the surprise?
It’s larger seas
Swept outside of Time.
Can you gauge after the mile?
A miracle we are in waiting.
So many lifetimes slow the show,
Each an episode forever burning,
So hard to unmantle.
All you’ve heard of spirituality and quest
Is this simple disrobe.
Death has its languish here –
An interlude to found our shore.
Like sleep it reminds us of the deeps.
What then is existence a ghost?
That’s not the dream.
More for waiting waits
The mountain
For its summit to reach heaven
Than for its destination to arrive.
For this business the stars were made –
A traveler’s tale.
No end no beginning
How it all ends where it began.
Do you see the mountain pass?
It’s a gateway hush.
Molded in silence,
Ineffable secrecy,
A tremendous step outside the hours
Will lead you on lightning’s road.
I love surprises don’t you?
Now get some sleep.


1) I got carried away
Over the top of my head
A moment’s seeing.
So surprised.

2) Humanity double-seeing:
I see you in the same eyes as me.
Not based on exams.

3) I’m a decorated war hero –
The Guerrilla Wars
Fought inside of ourselves all human long.
My poetry my medallions.

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