Category Archives: Poetry

Inspiration Poem by John

Here is another poem of John Cooper’s that I think any artist can relate to on some level.

INSPIRATION X

A woman lay upon my bed.
Her eyes were nightfall’s blue.
Her skin was bright, her hair was red;
a lust of light ran through my head.
“You called,” she said. I whispered, “Who –”
when suddenly the Bitter Dead
rode furiously through.
With pounding hoofs and wings outspread,
swarming in the room they flew.
A stillness filled me. It stank of dread.
“We didn’t come for you,” they said.
“We came for Inspiration.”

Inspiration tried to run;
they snared her just the same:
for well before your life’s begun,
death’s ragged web is neatly spun.
I marveled as they caught her frame —
her skin the fire of morning sun,
her lithe attire: auroral flame.
Dead authors turned in unison.
To me their gazes came —
“All great works have long been done,
so read for reading’s sake,” said one.
“Don’t look for Inspiration.”

“Her unborn lyrics make me smother,”
a poet sniffed the air.
“Everybody and his brother
writes poetry,” declared another,
and brushed against her hair.
And from her hair he sucked a song
that lingered there like silent prayer,
but now was swallowed: a buried gong.
He smiled — “Our lady’s fair!
Her hair is long; her skin is warm.
Let’s analyze her hidden form.”
And they stripped my Inspiration.

Her ripped dress fell about her feet;
her lingerie tore like paper.
She stood in silent, dismal defeat,
ashamed of hell’s resentful elite.
Starved artists started to caper:
“She’s much better than we expected!”
“Our eyes cannot escape her!”
“She’s too perfect to be respected!”
And they all commenced to rape her.
“Moneytalks! Lickerites!” Babbled more,
“Inspiration is a painter’s whore!”
They took my Inspiration.

Nasty they grew, and coarse they were;
each monster had his way.
When they were through, she didn’t stir.
And this was the last I saw of her:
unconscious on a horse she lay.
At last, the sated Bitter Dead
mounted up and bade good-day —
“Thanks for your Inspiration,” they said,
“and before we fly away:
we laid your bitch but never paid,
so here’s another as a trade.”
And they gave me Desperation.

Poor Inspiration. I barely met her.
And so, to aid my shock,
with Desperation I wrote her a letter.
But it hasn’t made me feel much better.
With Desperation I sit and rock,
lost in thought and sipping beer.
I stare at space and watch the clock,
and contemplate what still is here:
a hopeless case of writer’s block,
a bottle of beer, a messed up bed,
a hatred for the Bitter Dead,
and a lack of Inspiration.

He’s Poet and Ya Know It

On one of my old blogs I used to put song lyrics and quotes and poetry.  I also wrote poetry, but they were mostly very informal compositions.  My point being, that I like poetry.  So I was pretty happy last week when Will and I managed to make it out to Zu Coffee (which had FANTASTIC baked goods, BTW) where our friend and Greenbelt resident John Cooper was a featured poet for that evening’s readings.  Evidently a number of the New Deal Cafe poetry crowd was reading there as well.  I didn’t know any of the others, though one was a very funny guy.  I forget his name, but if I can figure it out I will try and point you to him in a future post.

John read a number of poems, I’m not sure how many but I’d guess it at about eight.  Of the ones I heard, three really stood out.  I found The Ring to be both a very good poem AND sexy, which is why I am sharing that one with you first.  With John’s permission, of course.

JohnCooperReading
Photo by Gina Mai Denn

JohnPoem_TheRing

For Lovers

I wrote this on a blog back in February 2007.

It’s all romantic and mushy, so if you aren’t into that kind of thing then skip it.  Also, it’s old and not my best writing, but it’s special to me.  So I’m sharing it with all the lovers out there who hold hands and walk the winding paths of Greenbelt.

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In Greenbelt

I want to walk with you
on a balmy night like this
once again in Greenbelt
after we’ve made love

together, on the narrow paths
that wind between the apartments
and sometimes I walk ahead a little
then turn around to look at your face
partially illuminated by happy stars
and a sad moon

I kiss you softly
and your warm mouth melts into mine
with love and intent of things to come
you smile at your good fortune and embrace me
then whisper into my ear all of the things you want
the distant and more immediate desires on your mind
and my pulse quickens to hear these things
and I will dream of them later

Onward we walk
trees watching like ancient and wise sentries
and cautious birds flit away upon our approach
the scent of leaves and ferns and honeysuckle follow us

Minutes passing, did you know I could feel them
so  dreamy and slow
like floating
like falling

and it’s nights like this one
so mild and clear
that remind me of Greenbelt
and the love that grew there
in rich soil along the little paths
that wind through the town

hand in hand we walk
observing the statues
speaking of architecture
peppering the conversation with dreams about the future
and you point out the park where your children used to play
and we smile and laugh at the good memories

nothing was off limits
no secrets were between us
our hearts just naked
open and waking
and so unafraid in those moments
the energy flowed freely
our love grew exponentially
each good thing built upon the next

I confess my guilty feelings
As I had a dozen times before
We talk about my family
And you smile at all of our joys
Never jealous
Never wanting anything but my happiness

Past the old theater

And the little café
We walk along the sidewalk
On our way back from where we came
To your apartment
Nestled in the trees
The trees watched our love grow
In Greenbelt