"SHOES & ROSES" by Stephen P. Shoemaker Jr.

Born in 1937, on George Washington's birthday in Washington D. C. Steve should have been a patriot instead of an artist. The Shoe, as he is known by his friends, studied at the University of Illinois majoring in philosophy & literature. He now lives in Redondo Beach, California. Roses are his very favorite flower and the subject of many poems. Thus ... "Roses and Shoes" became the title!

These poems are submitted for your pleasure.

Collection of memories
From a mind not quite here
And yet not there...

I write of memories. I feel the need to recall those moments I so intensely devoured As they happened...
created of love I was born a dove and roasted in someone's mind until I was crisp and brown and ready for death and I was placed upon a table while a knife cut my breast and the little girl wants white meat but the father says no yet she gets her way anyway as does the little boy who wants a drumstick and I am gone so their leave takes them on a walk and they pass a hotdog stand where I am forgotten as they have one which they like better anyway
Dear Mr. Sun... If I could paint you Without going blind I would have done the next best thing to love. If I could capture your brightness For just one moment I would say to the world, "I have done the next best thing on earth." But, like love, I can only see your face And feel your warmth And dread your leave. But, unlike love, I know you will return...
Ode To Mozart When Wolfgang wrote, His music cried. When I cry, My poetry flows. Like a tear on my cheek, The pen runs across the page. Characters link into words. Words link into phrases. Phrases link into thoughts. Thoughts of love Made into a symphony!
I saw a sign tonight. Tonight I saw a vision. Magic, in the City of Hollywood Where stars are imbedded in the streets Instead of the heavens. Stars in concrete . . . Feelings in asphalt. I saw a sign . . . I saw a sign Moving in my head Like a sharp knife. I saw a sign tonight. Signs formed with hands Created by a girl Reading poetry to the deaf And . . . to me!
Halloween What is this? What is going on? I haven't seen you for a year. The real you ... I mean. Tonight must be Halloween! Time to take off your masks And come out as the real you. Strip your ego . . . Elevate your alter ego . . . Unleash your inner ego . . . Let it all hang out. Be yourself for one night. Be what you want to be . . . Could be . . . Would be . . . Should be . . . Let it all hang out. Life is a trick! Death is a treat! Don't play games tonight . . . Tonight of all nights . . . be yourself Let it all hang out. . . !
To be alone and wake up alone Wanting you Is hard to tell, The feeling is so near... It's something like, "I'm going to jump into the river dear:" So then I get up and walk Before I am drowned In the river of tears Which never flow. So then I get up and talk My way across the street And into a rose. Which I will soon bring home to you. And you will put me Upon your breast, And each flow of life That pulses in my stem Will say, "I love you."
"Respect my love and treat it with care," And I will not for long be there. Strike out at my love as you would At an all consuming force, And treat my love as a venture unknown. I want violence in love . . . I want my mind torn with hopes and fears And twisted within the bonds of knowing. Heaven is not approached without apprehension, And the love I seek can only be known By venturing to where I've never been . . . And, once found, Can only be remembered as somewhere I've been And would like to pass through again.
I have grown, Knowing you. and I grow With knowing That what we gave to each other Was meant as a gift, Not a loan Or something to be returned. But, the love I gave is yours to keep, To store and someday try on for size... Like you would a dress that you once wore. Our love will always be beautiful . . . And a beautiful love, Like a dress, Can be trimmed and altered To fit again, Or hemmed and pressed And passed on to someone else.
I am no longer a child Playing with love like a toy. My love Is something I can give Without possession, Or fear of loss. What difference if it is misunderstood, Or mistreated, Or dropped, Or just placed away for another day. What I have to share Only grows with giving, And what I have once shared, I will give again . . .
Jealousy should not invade a love such as ours; Love should endure for what is. A moonlit evening Is not a summer day, Nor is a snow covered meadow An ocean bay. Jealousy should not invade the time of love With hopes of things that might... Or thoughts of that which could have... Love is enjoyed as love, And the things that might Should wait for another day.
I walked barefoot through the sand today, Hand in hand with myself, I walked down the beach. With a stick I drew a picture in the moist sand, A picture of love, waiting to be washed to sea.
Alone at night... a dove in flight Flew into my mind and kissed my soul, Leaving an image of you. I whispered softly..."I love you my dear," And when I awoke you were not near. To be aware is a step toward where? To see, to touch, to feel, to need, To kiss a soul, to implant a seed Alone at night... a dove in flight Flew into my heart and spoke to my mind, Telling me of what is true. Of things as they were, of love and care Of thoughts that grow out of deep despair. From the deepest spring flows the purest water. Yet, when tumbled amongst the feet of the earth, It oft times fails to achieve its' worth. Alone at night...a dove in flight Flew into my soul and kissed my heart, Opening a part of me that is new. In that brief second a love was born Which touched the night and caressed the morn' So tightly I held to my new found world, I saw, I touched, I felt the need To give my soul, to water the seed. Very alone and quiet at night, I cowered, shied and wept with fright, Searching for the answer to "I". When the hand of the moon Touched me softly with a warm ray of light. With quiet affection it warmed my mind, Gently stroking my soul Softening what is "I."
The sun and the moon are lovers you see, Protecting the world from a fool like me. While I discover life The sun rises to caress the moon While she, full of hope, receives the warmth, And together they, with kindness say, "Gently. . . go gently" "You" and "I."
Life is today . . . Flavored with the spice of tomorrow, Love is the moment . . . Enjoying what is neither was nor will be, God is the question . . . Not what will be nor what might have been, Beauty is seeing what is . . . Not what was or what might be.
It's a beautiful feeling, a new one my dear, To love life so fully, to have it so near. When the sun lights the sky with ringlets of gold, And the clouds burst brightly, strong and bold. I need your love in the morning, More than any other moment or any other time. To wake up knowing the warmth After spending a night holding you tight In my mind, turning the ringlets of gold Into your hair, like the swirls in the sea. I need your warmth in the morning, As much as I need to kiss the life Which wakes the misty sleeper from the dreams Of things so old, of thoughts so bold That I would take forever to give you love. To tell you I hope, to show what I see. It's a beautiful feeling, a new one my dear, To stand with hope that knows not a peer. To know understanding without being told, As the sky fills with brightness, to feel and to hold.
A rose with petals soft Like the parts of you where kisses land. A rose with fragrance sweet Like the smell of you where love nestles. A rose with thorns so sharp Like words from your mouth Which speak not of love. A rose so bright and red Like your life which bursts from within.
A gift I bring... Alone In a golden case... Alone Like myself... Alone Given from me, The thoughts of you that I remember...
Yesterday. . . I decided to write a book of poems for you. Yesterday . . . I felt a book of poems would be a nice present. Today. . . I decided to give myself to you for Christmas, Today. . . I feel myself in a book of poems is a nice gift.
Life sat one night Looking through me Unto you Seeing only the sweet curves Of one who sat Staring through to God. It happened slowly As she saw me. We know more than the other two And I could see That we would have a life-God by morning And the other two would sleep together Having people...
There it is... The candle rests Where it has been for some time. It seems a crime That I should cast no light into this life... For each love-light that brightens my waxed-life Is put out by the cold wet wick of my mind. Then one night A flame did light and dry my sole. For just one evening it did burn, Flickering slightly, With wonderment and doubt, Casting its' twitching light... But now the way is dark. For once more The warm breath came from a sweet mouth, Without thought or knowing, And blew out the light with leaving...
It was cool and dark; The wind was cool, The night was dark, When the sand and the sea Met once more for an evening of bliss, For a night of hope. A hope that from their union Might come a star, Implanted in a star. The sea with hands outstretched Crept upon the sand with hands outstretched. The body of the sea combined with thee, The body of the sand united with me, To create a star within a star. Time was not and the child was born, As the sea caressed infinity, As the sand formed the infinite. It was cool and dark; The wind was cool, The night was dark, When the sand and the sea Met once more for an evening of bliss And conceived the heavens.
It came meekly... Likely enough too late... Like all things, too slowly... Softly it walked Tipping toes between trees That wept over water where she had gone. Silently it caressed With sweet thoughts The cold image of my mind. Until... Before me... Rippling slightly... Her hand beckoned... She was alive As I was dying. My body filled with water As my mind filled with hope...
A face I see And were I the type I would drive knife Through the pool blue eyes which laugh Saying, "It is not here..." Yet, I am not one to torture myself By splitting happiness With a blade of loneliness Nor are they the eyes, The nose, The lips, Nor the soft sweet slit Turning night into more than cool darkness. No... They are paint Tinted with the wild brush of my thoughts...
I went to bed one night And thought of how a star would feel Falling alone through space. Straight, fast and faster Until the instant that it would burst. Could something, someone, somehow Reach out and slow the falling star Before its' light is gone? And then there came, Softly across the sand, a kitten. She walked ... back and forth, Stopped, and walked again. Quietly I began to hum As she moved Back and forth Against my leg. She looked, blinked her eyes And I, without a blink, Felt a hand reach out and grasp my soul. I picked her up and smoothed her fur, As she began to purr. The room was dark when we got home, My kitten and I. Yet, not so dark, Not nearly so dark as coming home alone. I put her down, She sniffed, looked, felt, And I knelt down and poured some milk. I was in bed when she was finished. I watched her leap And felt the warmth nestle by my head. I smoothed her fur. I heard her purr. I purred for I was happy. When I awoke my kitten was gone And now I sit alone. It is getting darker And each night passes With a fresh bowl of milk. Could something, somehow, someone Reach out and slow this falling life Before its' light is gone?
White hair - tan legs, White you like - and black. Like God and the Devil against the earth. Could love take off The white and the black, The God and the Devil, And leave for me What was And is Under the hurt And hate And hurried cover Thrown over life like a spread on a bed...?
If monkeys had ears like tails, Or we had tails like monkeys, The life could be told simply as, "Heads have it . . . " Or as, "It has heads like the two I saw . . . Or seen..." Like all else. But why have long protrusions That we name Love. Or short intrusions That we name God. Why not simple things that we can feel Or smell Or hear Or queer Instead of odd things We know nothing about . . ?
I remember an evening, An evening my dear, When we curled up So close and so near. It was foreign in ways In ways so fine, To be held so close And consider you mine. For only a moment, A moment of need, I held you and kissed you And planted a seed. The rug was not soft, Nor was the room warm. Yet, being with you I could weather a storm. Your hair was so fine, So soft and alive. Your self was so moist On you I could thrive. On the floor where we lay In that room near the sea. It was us there to feel, To know, and to be. I long for an evening, Like we had, my dear. When again we curl up So close and so near.
a man a woman ... a woman and another woman sit beside and sip their drinks with legs crossed she with he and she ... and she the latter the former and the other two alone at night sipping what they sip she thinks and she ... and she that he would like to be with she ... she ... she yet they and we know that he is but one and she ... and she ... and she are three
If making love could be more beautiful Than feeling your tears upon my breast, Or knowing your arms as they hold me close. Then, my darling... Let me feel the love I only know in dreams. Let me know what I have only thought Could be experienced by angels.

Copyright 1997 by Stephen P. Shoemaker Jr.

All rights reserved without limitation. Under copyright laws, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in, or introduced into a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or in any means, without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.

Return to South Bay Poets