Modern Poet


20 November 2022



The ghost of you still enchants
The ancient ruins of my soul.
I cannot stop this,
I cannot help this,
This that has us faltering
Has become our deformity.
It is an ever thinning slice of good.

I am uncollected liquid sorrow.
Today's mystery's unsolved tomorrow
As love decays from clay to dust,
Dust which rose to smoke the sun.
I heave with agony for us.
Between tremors of consciousness,
A ripple of genuine angst,
A monument of unchanged things,
At last we've become a timing tragedy.
Yet in my befuddled mind
Comes to ripen your smile.
What we believe no longer matters
Until sacred valor pushes to a head
And with some cosmic luck
We might instead
For just a spell rely on happiness.

Keith Leparulo

Debris Field

Kicking around the kitchen trash
and dragging a cigarette,
you're exhausted with yourself.

It's been so long since
first love raptured you.

Entangled in each other's arms
you drifted together above the skyline,
toe-tipping skyscrapers  
with a big, fat cantaloupe smile
plastered across your juicy face.

Someone you passed in produce today
said it was good to see you 
as they remarked about your gain of weight.

I don't sleep like a secret anymore.

The window above the kitchen sink
captures good sunlight in the morning.

Sometimes I stare out that window
and I think about an old bus 
I saw deep in the woods upstate.
I think about where it's been
and who was on it.

I took one last turn from nowhere
to recall the words I once learned,
to the words of ersatz and schadenfreude,
to the words of ersatz and schadenfreude.

Keith Leparulo

Closer to the Struggle

By God lament the times good men go down
Departing from this world before they should,
Moments shy receiving their Earthly crown.

Orphans a' downing, you weary flight's found,
Landing, time to roost in this neighborhood.
By God lament the times good men go down.

The moribund heart hollers with no sound.
Reality's always misunderstood.
Why can we not receive our Earthly crown?

Why are we always love where death is found?
Will you take yourself away if you could?
By God lament the times good me go down.

Wither shins can turn us no more around.
Take up His battered Cross of splintered wood.
Indeed, He receives His Heavenly crown.

Now at my behest hold this hallow ground.
They come no less for blood by brotherhood.
By God lament the times we all go down
All ways shy to receive our Earthly crown.

Keith Leparulo

Digs a Criminal Hole

Since we moved here one appliance after
Another hampers us.  I never stopped
To think that the kitchen sink could back up
Like it did after my wife's last soi disant
Dinner party: meatloaf, her specialty.

I feel their ridicule now as they
Take their educated selves back home.
I think of this as I clear the table,
As I lose myself in speculation.
He's judged the wall-to-wall in the bathroom.
She's aghast the hostess displayed her Chia
Pet prominently near the Amway products.

That meatloaf was only the spark, her mouth
That she couldn't seem to shut damaged deep.
Wherefore methinks near by she skulks now?
I don't know what the hell she's thinking
Flapping away as though I listen.
Rather I employ a stock rotation of
Interjections and words like, "Wow! Really? 
No kidding! and Huh."  But now this damn
Kitchen sink has backed up her way to the
Overspill line.  And just in time I fixed
The problem with the help of a plunger
And a snake slithering inside the trap
While the other trap ran at the same time.

I wish I could be blunt and forthcoming
Sooner. That is no option. Daydreaming
Around her is, and that is good for her.
The drain gurgled, percolated, and choked 
And why not?  Since this cursed domicile
Festooned with her garbage in decorum
Drains my pockets of every single penny.
I should have stopped this before it started.
My Turkey Tornado would've been the bull's eye.
But now her blatherskite finds a backdoor inside
My head and I'm powerless to stop it.

The lukewarm permeating soap water
Gently coaxed apart the meatloaf into
Pieces leaving behind soggy sponges
You can't fetch a rat to eat. In the middle
Of the sink a whirling vortex formed. 
I saw the greasy water being sucked
Away until the silvery bottom
Shone through.  Silverware became uncovered
Like stranded shells after the tide creeps out
Behind the ocean. I found peculiar
Shiny convex shovels beside little
Yet straight inflexible silver clam rakes.

Caught between transitions, lodged perfectly
In that aging vertical steel throat, I
Found a knife.  I saw it sticking down her
Like a tongue depressor, gagging the back, 
Of her throat, enticing her to vomit.

Her constant prattle provoked me
To a critical time, and I wondered
How am I with this meatloaf making woman?

I dripped with pruned fingers until I heard
The last of the sink drain.  It sounded like
The guttural gasping of someone whose
Reddening face twists above ten fingers
And the swollen pipeline of their blue jugular.

Keith Leparulo

Destroyer Class

God gave in so we could impress ourselves
Not unlike other kids out there dating
Ethereal in perfect love and health
With nothing but us at all relating.
Before I blubber I have this to show
When I recall us in that summer field,
Making you limp shone by your afterglow.
Oh! How we ignored reason for appeal.

Because we didn't know the cost of dreaming,
Because you had to be on your back screaming,
I lumber through town in our car going
To fetch some provisions at your behest.
Stolen away by women, legs flowing,
I recall diapers so going to town is best.

Keith Leparulo


Ahead the road unfolds like a ribbon.
Some cruise while others haul.
Those who still drive use this time to think.
Should good thoughts arrive between points A and B,
Then it's learned why a thing is a thing the way it is.

Don't let it slip unbeknownst
The road may not yield this privilege.
Beware this sign of falter
For madness arrives when sense making goes out the window.
Nothing matters after going flat this way.
Nothing here furnishes you with a reason
Needed to make an understanding possible.

Unhappy when said the road is not your friend
You become aware that nothing bothers to confront you
Beside the statement of passing small towns at dusk
Before vanishing inside some black horizon
Below a moon that only seems to be following you.

Keith Leparulo


Cooled by the presence of night
And heated by the soul of the day
The skin of the desert floor in her unstoppable way
Opened up her diamond shaped pours
And breathed me into a point
Only to stretch me out again.
I was deliriously delivered, yellow and withered.
I was slick with something.

I remember looking down on myself.
Under a waxing gibbous. My body was pruned.
I was dark and dried like beef
As I writhed around on the surface of a mustard landscape.

My new vision took me beyond her typical forms,
The fleeting oasis, the tireless camel.
Sometimes I go down and shift with the plates.
I carve up a ridge and see a layered cake of compressed time.
I scratch my dreams in her sand.

Cooled by the presence of night
And heated by the soul of the day
I remain leathered.
Just remember when it's your time.
Take only what you need
And know when it's time to let go
So when you heave with pain
On the alter of Earth
You will remember how I left my voice
In the shrill of a hawk.

Keith Leparulo

A Beginning

The broken heart so old and tired
Ticks hypnotically heavy.
It defies awakening anew.

After first love jilted you
You had to kidnap a friend
Who strove to keep up 
With your streetscape march.
Your embittered rant ran on block after block.

Milkshakes and french fries remedy
That stupid gift of a broken heart.

Perhaps you would prefer facing the ocean
Alone under a sunset sky. As you sit
Your toes dig in the sand,
And you rest your chin on your knees.

So many have come before you.

He made you ennui resonate in college--
The full professor, long tenured.
He admonished your classmates, too,
From fucking around with it, idiom and cliche.

Swapping out pronouns like partners
Requires a fine surgical touch.

It is I who am the one awkwardly existing for not-
Not being afraid to seek love. Again.
That bravado belongs to those who
Hang it out there;
To they who deign, a rarefied breed
Born to be better than you,
Or the kind who are foolish for giving
Just to give, ipso facto.

I ran the numbers. Few among them
Dwell in moribund tribes.

At the very least, you feel and fell to know
Satisfaction-in shakes hands firmly
With sorrow going-out.

So simple that I have no conceit.
Because I do not feel or care,
Because I cannot feel or care.

I am supposed to swallow little yellow pills
That will fix me.

Tacit decorum even prohibits
My coming to you with this.
I have no reason.
You lose a limb in battle?
How about a baby to leukemia?

Yet here I am.  Nobody asked.
They never do.

How much less than regular I am
Takes an astronomer and a shit load of pills.

I am, in fact, currently living,
But that is only a technicality.

An End

Keith Leparulo

My grandmother wrote this poem for her son, Roger.

Lines to Roger from you Loving Mother

My well-beloved son,
yours is the Beatnik class;
the mores you embrace
are pointed shoes that will surpass
the shoes of your confrere;
anathema, all else but wavy duck-tailed hair.
The pants a shiny black -- your coat of mail
their incrusted dirt;
the complement, an also shiny, black, metallic-threaded shirt.
You "make out" now; it supersedes "to flirt."
To you a girl is not a girl -- she's "cool,"
or else she's just a "skirt."

We were Gibralter-bred:
Ruled by old maxims, spanked . . . (pre-astronaut)
Now suddenly why do our nerves go taut
at sight of uncut, unwashed, spongy, fungus beard.
And why should we crawl in a pigeonhole called "weird?"

Supposedly, we made the world a better spot to live
We learned inexorably it is not far better to receive than give,
But at this point I've had far more than I can stand
And so before I grasp the cat-o'-nine-tails in my hand,
you'd better learn a few sane, timeless rules to mind,
or, unprogressively, I'll belt your big, fat, bare behind



Post a Comment