The Frogs

Writing and poetry
From the 1990's

by Richard Van Ingram

The moon has come and gone many times
Since the new pills arrived,
And with them a constant knocking
At all doors by day and night.
In the dark or sun I find a host
Of ill-formed frogs in ill-fitting armor,
Each croaking his own raspy song
Till my ears are filled with the sound
Of an idiot's calliope
That will not stop.
And this poisonous noise has infected
My voice so that when I write
There emerge only stupid rhymes,
Rhymes I did not summon,
Like the plague of frogs outside my house.
Off in the distance, in the dark,
Sometimes I see white fire shooting
From windows and chimneys,
Fire like the plume of a cavalier's hat,
And in my moron's singsong poetry I wonder
Who has succumbed to the demons' spell?
This while listening to the rattle at my door.

Virtual Intoxication

I am in love with the woman from the Sprint commercials.
Sitting on my porch with the odor of damp dog
Dense in the air, I hold my hand in the fashion
I once employed to manipulate cigarettes -
Another loss inspired by adulthood's appearance.
Punctuating sentences with my fingers,
I debate the tax code with some invisible foe,
Memory of a voice once heard on the radio.
But I am in love with that woman
on the Sprint commercials.
Dinner is crusting over on the table
While I watch the golden corona of the sun go down
Behind the mountain across from my place,
And the sky goes clad in royal colors,
And the spruces wave lazily in the breath of spring.
Sitting there on my porch, I recalled the faces
Of the few women I have known
With my cigarette hands and realize
That their presence is no more a possibility now
Than the return of tobacco to my lips.
And then there is that woman from
the Sprint commercials.
Is it her husky voice, her shape, her hair,
her frank eyes?
Is it all mere image and lie created
To sucker someone like me, alone
On the porch as night unfolds,
Talking to strangers that aren't even there?
Sprint will have to live with my love, then,
Because I have no cash to buy their favors
And I have no one I wish to call.
She is the embodiment of a corporation
And should not be someone to hold my attention,
But I am paralyzed by her
For 30 seconds at a time.
So I am sitting on the porch with the television dead,
Amusing myself with misery
So that I will not see her pleasant face
And hear her smoky voice.
I am haunted by enough images, I think.


My words have proven themselves
The barbed-wire on the perimeter
Again. She was caught there
By the trap I laid to catch
Those covetous of my secret
Heart. Am I a prize for some
Merciful girl all flush with clean
Love and burdened with lilies?
What does she know of my
Severity, the inhospitable nature
Of my soul, its inability
To offer home for passion's
Profuse blooms?
So I have driven her away
With nothing more than nouns
And verbs and all grammar's
Arsenal. Words are the enemy
Of desire, bitter words bearing
Glimpses of a surrogate Hell
And its metal poppies.


she is cowboy boot stilted high in the saddle
tracker's eyes for every item out of place in the scene
director issuing commands by proxy
we are accidental dust in the path of her rolling destiny
we are the sad lust for her red stockings
we are what sleeps on the back shelves of her refrigerator
calculating, she sets the chaotic city aright
by merely walking its streets
a distraction to the self-important she dines
with the mighty in their skyscraper restaurants
but leaves the kings begging outside her apartment door
hardhearted darling mistress - all love-making is an echo
of her own tune, nothing else comes through
the Hendrix distortion of her participation in the divine
and we are the richer for her terrifying presence
we are blessed for her oppressive presence
we are favored by the wound of her absence
do you not recognize a muse when you see her?

Dreaming of Courtney Love

Her guitar floats like a relic of evening,
A thing condensed from youth's
Frustrations; its voice is the sorrow
Of her eyes in solitude when
Her hand moves across the paper,
Tattooing it eternally with memories.

She speaks to me
In low tones, hymns to pain
Swimming in my room
On incense waves.
She sprawls, rough goddess,
Across my leather couch,
Her every motion a tenebrous
Poetry designed to echo
In hollow hearts.

She speaks, but my memory cannot
Grasp and hold what she offers.
Her words are tendrils of smoke
On the air, something to be inhaled
Or be swallowed by more than held.
The guitar's scream cuts through
Miles of sleep with its floodlight
Intensity, a generation's wounded hearts
Illuminated by the strobe light flash;
Her fingers work the strings as
An artist works pen across the paper,
Drawing beautiful misery with lines.

Forgive my idolatrous glances
For I am dreaming . I am dreaming
What the music asks of me
And you are the question.

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