Poem: Eyeball (circa 2001)


I wrote this back in 2001, just a year after graduating with a degree in Futures Studies (now called Foresight) from UH. Posting here because my brother wanted to use it and I couldn’t find it here. Since this is the “place for my stuff,” at least digitally.

Reading this after 18 years or so, it’s held up pretty well. Which I am not sure is a good thing.

I’m tired.
I’ve been cutting back on McLattes.
I’m saving up to turn off my shoes.
I saw some last week —
shoes that were just plain shoes.
They didn’t track where you go
and then beam ads up at you.
No motor oil ads while pumping gas
No cookie ads in front of the dairy case.
They’re expensive ’cause they’re not subsidized.
So I’m economizing to pay for something
That people are used to getting for free.
My friends think I’m nuts.
All these constant commercials,
they don’t bother my friends.
Just like wallpaper.
They say they can tune them out.
I should be so lucky.
They drive me crazy.
But it’s my fault —
I made them my job.
I’m an “Eyeball”.
Sounded like a good idea at the time —
just walk around and look at stuff.
When I see a logo or a commercial spot,
this chip at the base of my skull
lets the good folks at Nielsen
know my reaction before even I do.
This kind of information
is very valuable, they say.
Here’s your check.
I figured it’d give me more time to write.
But somehow I can’t concentrate.
I can’t write more than a paragraph at a time.
I get these uncanny urges to drop my work
And flip through a magazine.
I never order magazines but they come to me anyway.
I’m never sure when, or if, I’m off the clock.
I can’t tell what else I’m giving them.
Like, last week I had this “naked in public” dream,
and my landlady gave me an amused once-over look
the next morning.
Gave me the creeps.
I try not to dream if I can help it.
I saved for months to buy one blank wall in my apartment.
It’s in my bedroom opposite my bed.
No logo lamps, no meme marqees, no active windows.
The wall wasn’t subsidized, so my rent went up.
But it was worth it.
I sit and stare at that wall
like it were some kind of holy shrine.
It is holy to me, I guess.
One day I’ll be able to pay my own rent
And put what I want on all my walls.
For now I’ll just take refuge in this one blank spot.
But if I sit at the end of my bed and stare long enough,
say, more than half an hour, there’s this thing
Not a voice, not a thought, not an image.
Faintly, but clearly, it whispers
“Get to work.”
— Cody Clark, 2001

Poem: we are not hens’ eggs

We are not hens’ eggs, or bananas, or clothespins,

to be counted off by the dozen.

Down to the last detail we are all different.

Everyone has his own fingerprints.

Recognize and rejoice in that endless variety.

The white light of the divine purpose streams down from heaven

to be broken up by these human prisms

into all the colors of the rainbow.

Take your own color in the pattern

and be just that.

— Charles R. Brown

Poem: Save Your Knees For Dancin’

I wrote this for my Mom and Dad’s 50th anniversary party last week. Thought I’d post it here with the rest of them.

For 50 years of marriage mom and dad tilled the soil.

They never struck paydirt, never found gold nor oil,

but instead they raised a family, with its troubles and joys,

full of friends, love, and laughter, and two very grateful boys.


The boys grew to be men and took wives of their own

and so appreciated the wisdom their parents had sown:

Keep learning, love a lot, take care to listen.

Take time out to play, but never play “Christian.”

Nope, if you’re gonna play, use your noggin. Try to win.

Keep each other sharp. You’ll have more fun in the end.

Stay together, hang tough. It’s not for sissies, this life.

And if you want to be happy, you better listen to your wife.

Every problem can be solved if you think and work together

Create opportunities to make memories you’ll treasure.

Work hard but set aside time for romancin’

Save your money, save your health, and save your knees for dancin’


Poem: murmurs and glimpses of eternity


I’ve not been a big fan of Archibald MacLeish, but I stumbled across this poem and found it encouraging. A balm for these hectic times.

Not to be conquered by these headlong days,
But to stand free: to keep the mind at brood
On life’s deep meaning, nature’s altitude
Of loveliness, and time’s mysterious ways;
At every thought and deed to clear the haze
Out of our eyes, considering only this,
What man, what life, what love, what beauty is,
This is to live, and win the final praise.
Though strifes, ill fortune, and harsh human need
Beat down the soul, at moments blind and dumb
With agony; yet, patience–there shall come
Many great voices from life’s outer sea,
Hours of strange triumph, and, when few men heed,
Murmurs and glimpses of eternity.

For me, poetry is one of those “great voices from life’s outer sea” from which come “murmurs and glimpses of eternity.”

And I found a pretty neat new (to me) poetry site — Poetry Genius.

Poem: Indulgence

Tonight I somehow had the luxury of having time to read some, write some, in silence. No TV, relatively few demands from he outside world. With three kids at home this is a rare thing indeed!

So I had time to add some lines to a few that came to me on my drive home tonight:

Tonight I request the pleasure of your presence. And nothing else.

Not your considerable charms. Not the entertainments of your smile.

Just the You of you. Here with me.

To do Nothing In Particular. To be blessed and idle.

(How indulgent! How extravagant! How deliciously deviant

would be a night of nothing shared with you!)

No silence is awkward if it is welcome.

It is not Boredom if you don’t call it so.

Every empty space need not be filled.

With me on one side and with you on the other,

Such blessed space is all I need.

Poem: The Preferable Fire

Found something I wrote a year ago that I forgot. I wonder how many pieces of myself I’ve left out there, unremembered and uncataloged. Anyway it’s a piece of poetry I’m almost not too embarrassed to share:

I can offer you only my life.

Having been with you longer than not

My life is as much yours as it was ever mine.

I have nothing else to offer, nothing

that is not made cheaper by saying that I own it.

My love for you is a friction between the man I am

and the one I am becoming for you.

Love demands friction, which

sparks the glow of my better nature.

St. Augustine says a man’s heart can never truly rest;

he cannot escape relentless desire.

So if indeed my soul must burn,

Yours is the preferable fire.
— Cody Clark, 2011

Why A Rebuilt Transmission Makes A Great Valentine

So with an ominous whine the transmission in our family van is demanding a prince’s ransom. The lumpy couch and our other household squeaky wheels will have to wait.

Thirteen hundred dollars. Reason enough to contemplate what we’re buying.

That total mystery of metal, that complex cylinder propelled us to so many places. A scrum of gears that coaxed so much forward motion out of what would have been fruitless rotation. Our progress came from an intricate gnashing — gritting, if you will — of teeth.

Transmitting motion. Your foot to the pedal — to the pistons — to the axle — to the wheels — to the road — again to our feet, safely at our destinations. Forward.

Onward. To family adventures and Sunday dinners. To emergency rooms and romantic getaways. Even out of the paths of hurricanes. Forward. Onward. Together.

So when what moves us forward wears down, I reckon we owe ourselves thirteen hundred dollars to rebuild it. If the fluid gets low and our teeth wear against each other in a grating clash, can we do anything but scrape out the metal shavings and set some sturdy new gears?

Because when we mesh, we move. Unless we clutch each other, we’re just spinning in place.

I promise to always rebuild the transmission. I promise to spend whatever it takes to get us moving again. I desperately love the feeling of moving forward with you, side by side, to wherever love sends us.

So, at least for me, a rebuilt transmission does quite nicely as a Valentine.

Reckless Poem

I love Mary Oliver. Got this from Poetry 180.

Reckless Poem

Today again I am hardly myself.
It happens over and over.
It is heaven-sent.

It flows through me
like the blue wave.
Green leaves – you may believe this or not –
have once or twice
emerged from the tips of my fingers

deep in the woods,
in the reckless seizure of spring.

Though, of course, I also know that other song,
the sweet passion of one-ness.

Just yesterday I watched an ant crossing a path, through the
tumbled pine needles she toiled.
And I thought: she will never live another life but this one.
And I thought: if she lives her life with all her strength
is she not wonderful and wise?
And I continued this up the miraculous pyramid of everything
until I came to myself.

And still, even in these northern woods, on these hills of sand,
I have flown from the other window of myself
to become white heron, blue whale,
red fox, hedgehog.
Oh, sometimes already my body has felt like the body of a flower!
Sometimes already my heart is a red parrot, perched
among strange, dark trees, flapping and screaming.

by Mary Oliver From Five Points Volume 6, No.3 2002

Poem: The Real Work

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.

— Wendell Berry
Wendell Berry is one of my all-time favorite poets. This is a little gem of his I just now discovered. As it happens, this applies to where I am at work right now. Kind of at a crossroads between projects. Just when I am feeling a little lost Poetry comes to the rescue.

Looking for Zita Marie

One of my favorite poets ever was one I remember from back in the early days of the internet when Usenet was abuzz and poets cliqued, critiqued, and flamed each other on a discussion group called rec.arts.poems. My fave was a scientist/poet called Zita Marie Evensen. I loved her poems. Anyone who could conjur the phrase “bitchin’ heuristics” and weave quantum physics into love poetry was alright by me.

What little internet archeology I had time for did not turn up recent traces of Zita Marie Evensen. I was hoping to find her chapbook on some small press site or a blog of her post-Usenet adventures somewhere in the ether. Instead I found evidence that she might have gotten scorched in the flame wars that eventually burned down most of Usenet. Maybe she went on to write more poetry. Maybe she shares it only with a certain lover. Maybe she jots it in the margins of her day planner as she strolls about the halls of (what? academia? a hospital? a secret weapons facility?) wherever it is she weaves poetry, love, and science into the cloth of her society.

I figure I’ll just scoop her poetry out of the cold archives of rec.arts.poems and place it here on the windowsill of my new blog. If only to give it some light. Maybe I’ll get lucky and she’ll send me a “cease and desist” letter asking me to return her poems back to digital obscurity. And I would comply, provided I could have her book in my poetry collection.

please forgive me for i have sinned

please forgive me for i have sinned
my last confession was a timeless while ago

i blithely sang songs to the stars
and thought the melody so sweet
not knowing it’d fall back as rain
and waken dreamers from their sleep

i fashioned a nosegay out of  words
seeing that i have nothing to give
but as i walked back to myself
i crushed the petals with my feet

i held the seasons of your mind
keep  summer-spring forevermore
looking out in space and time
you heard frosted windows break

i gave my poems for you to read
like one red rose   a simple gift
how could i know
how could i know


zita maria evensen
c1993 aug 28

and one more…

i am one rainbow someone

that’s who i am
i see no borders
i am a crossword genome
of cosmic stardust and
the elemental woman

i am very selfish
with my laughters and my pains
you have no right  no right
to see my marble box
of calico agates and black stones
– i refuse to scream
or cry or go to
wide-web confessions

instead  i will tease you
to laughter   paint you
merry-teary words
teach you bitchin’ heuristics
of love and loving
and dance with stars
at mind-warp speed

i am a rainbow someone
who knows  who knows
i own my hurt
and you have no right
to share them

but silently ever
so silently
i will make sure
you understand

(c) 1 juni 1994