Gary Lehmann - Author

Author's Publications and Upcoming Appearances

Friday, August 08, 2008

Some New Poems

War of Words

Gary Lehmann

We invade Iraq unilaterally.
We disgrace Iraq politically.
We wreck Iraq economically.
We stack Iraq democratically.
We rumble Iraq systematically.
We ruin peace constitutionally.

we lack the knack to exit Iraq

The Trouble With Kids Today

Gary Lehmann

The Strokes family lived in a kind of heaven for decades
supported by breaking into houses and stealing appliances.
The trick was moderation. Break in. Steal appliances. Period.
They’d walk right by a Picasso to pick up a nice toaster oven.

Then they’d rush off to a truck stop on the highway where
a waiting appliance dealer gave them a few bucks for a frigidaire.
Before the homeowner got back from work, the goods were
gone -- headed out for parts unknown -- even by the Strokes.

It was a clean business. No big scores. Just nice steady income.
They never carried guns or burgled when anyone was home.
Some fool might get nervous and do something stupid.
Grandpa Strokes was quite strict about violence. No sense in it.

Of course, any rooky detective could tell a Strokes job immediately,
and they did catch members of the family from time to time.
But what do you get for stealing a refrigerator -- 90 days?
No hard time and your job is waiting for you when you get out.

The deputies at the jail treated the Strokes family like their family,
like regular customers, and the Strokes family returned the favor.
Every Thanksgiving, there’d be some Strokes in stir, so they brought
turkey dinners to the jail with extra plates piled high for the guards.

What’s the harm in that in the season of family togetherness?
But the dream fell apart for the gang after Grandpa Strokes died.
The kids started taking diamond rings, trophies and season tickets.
Pretty soon it was the penitentiary for the Strokes clan.

Really, the story of the Strokes family is the story of America.
They had a good thing precisely because they kept it simple.
When the kids took over, they got greedy. Grandpa Strokes knew.
Steal in moderation. Best to do business the All-American Way.

At Home with the Family

Gary Lehmann

Somewhere in the wilds of upstate New York,
Joel Kopp lives with his children,

the Radiator Kid, Scrapasaurus and
Iron Minnie, the Queen of the Junkyard.

Tractor and mower parts combine with shovels
and radiators to create fantasy creations.

What else is there to do with broken axes
and shovel blades, kettles, rakes and hoes?

In his private moments, Joel talks with his animals
and let’s them play in the yard.

"I come across something,” Joel explains,
“and I can see it as the beginning of a certain creature.”

“It grows from there." Just like that!
The Arbus Twins, Big Face, Shelly the snail.

There’s whimsy in his fancy,
a mischevous twinkle in his eye.

Half the fun is in naming each one.
Joel is one happy man.

Beach Photographer

Gary Lehmann

The sand skitters with heat.
Little to do but bake until

a beach photographer sets up his gear
marrying photoed faces with crazy backgrounds.

The sweet young girl gets a cowgirl outfit.
The sunburned lawyer finds a Charles Atlas body.

Four teen friends see themselves doing the Hula.
The bearded man shows up on a wanted poster.

There’s some psychology in this game
bringing the inner and outer character together.

How we judge faces. One tiny hint.
How we shape lives. A world of assumptions.

The Stumble at the Gate

Gary Lehmann

Even a horse race isn’t a horse race
if you can comprehend the imponderables.

There’s the horse, the jockey, the track,
the trainer, the weather, and the post position.

Grasp all these and the game is yours,
The whole racing world is yours to command.

Trouble is, while you think you’re in control,
the imponderables ponder on despite you.

The best horse stumbles at the gate.
The clouds open up wetting your dry horse.

Life is like a horserace all right. Only it’s the
imponderables that are racing and you’re the purse.

Eminently Victorian

Gary Lehmann

When the homosexual writer, Lytton Strachey,
took up with the virgin painter, Dora Carrington,
they created an oddly mismatched couple.

He was all sticks and stones; she all fur.
They were totally incompatible sexually.
He chased boys; she painted but did not show.

Carrington was afraid of sex, hid away in her art,
but Lytton’s docility brought out her protective nature.
She painted his rooms like the Garden of Eden.

He wrote Eminent Victorians throwing
conventional biography a new, personal twist.
She eventually had a few casual affairs of her own.

But she always cared most for her Lytton.
Eventually, she married a returning war veteran,
and all three lived together in a cottage in Wiltshire.

The painter pursued the writer who rejected her;
The writer pursued the soldier who rejected him;
The soldier pursued the painter who rejected him.

On the surface, they got along swimmingly,
each reinforced the other in this queer harmony,
but beneath that, they knew it couldn’t last.

Strachey died of undiagnosed stomach cancer.
Carrington followed taking her own life with a shotgun.
The soldier wandered off into the mist between the wars.


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