"In The Next Room"
"What These Poems Are About - The Poet Speaks "
Through poetic thoughts
Three hundred and sixty five to be exact
Comes record of a man preparing,
For tomorrow, and the day that follows,
Into the next, and last.
The words are structured simply
And they are not. They assess
That which was, is, and to be.
For a poet, they chronicle a life
Lived and unfolding
All being into one,
For time eternal, unchanged
In that which changes constantly
The nature of the universe revealed
To humanity from which it has been concealed.
They are of "being here"
Going to "being there"
And that which has given rise
To whatever may be
Beyond a mortal guise.
Their revelation is knowing,
Someone is "In The Next Room" when, in fact,
The room is empty,
Has always been empty,
And will continue to be so for the foreseeable future.
One: In The Next Room is a book of poetry containing the reoccurring themes passing through one man's life as he progresses toward his death. These reflections are no different than those that have been similarly recorded in numerous ways since the beginning of time. Where In The Next Room differs dramatically, however, is it revisits all the great thoughts and quagmires of history from the perspective of a 21st Century man entering the much anticipated 'next millennium.' The infinite mortal concerns of life, of death, of forward and not, and the lesser but still important ones dealing with sex, money and creation (whether propagation or artistic), as seen by this writer, have not changed over the centuries. Nor, from this poet's simple but ever-so-truthful perspective, will they in the foreseeable future. In the most basic of terms, In The Next Room places value on the great advances of technology (and therefore, mortal man's enhanced thought). But its poetic contents also address they will not bring man any closer to a comprehension of his 'being here.' With the acceptance of this foreboding knowledge, at least by 20th Century standards, In The Next Room offers the eternal understanding that will move all men forward, into the 21st Century.
Though it is man's nature to search his soul, to find reason in an irrational world, In the Next Room reveals, once and for all, the really big questions will never have answers. With this revelation, perhaps more easily grasped with an Eastern frame of mind rather than one steeped in Western thought, this poetic journal brings to the fold the offering of a very special peace. Upon completion, the reader will rest easier in that which is momentarily his, a nirvana in the here and now, and, in that which is anticipated for tomorrow.
The affirmation of this understanding did not come easy. Only after my double whammy from AIDS and cancer (as addressed in Life Without A Map), did I seek an understanding of 'what next?' With the ending of my life imminent and becoming ever more persistent, then did I leave go of my 'live life now' mentality to think about the future. Before death won its battle for my 'being here,' my combativeness sought an individual understanding of what death's spoils were to be. Though I know well all things change, constantly and forever, and one day there will be a cure for most all ailments, In The Next Room acknowledges a much greater truth - nothing of mortal significance changes, ever. This is the nature of man defined for the 21st Century, and beyond!
Two: The poems following reflect three levels of thought:
LWOAM: those continuing to deal with my Life Without A Map.
ITNR: those dealing with my progression to life with a map, In The Next Room
P/S: those dealing with a more personal and/or physical aspect of my 'being here.'
I have identified each poem as to the level under which it should be interpreted.
Three: In The Next Room was completed at my winter home in Naples, Florida. "The Quarry" is a house that is not particularly to my taste, at least to the degree "More Acres" is (where most of Life Without A Map was written). Nevertheless, it has the required amenities - heated pool, living areas opening into gardens and terrace, grounds large enough for the dogs to have their run, and, it is located within easy walking distance of the Gulf Shore. Most importantly, it has a comfortable room i nto which I am able to retreat, to close behind me a door, and to leave on the other side all possible intrusion into my life. It is here, at four in the morning, my mind, wide-awake and wandering, I venture away from that which mortally binds me to that which does not. It is this 18 x 38-foot, earthly space that allows me to venture into the far reaches of the universe.
It has become my launching pad, and, from which I 'do' travel! Having survived several years of near-death prognosis,' I believe one of the reasons additional time has been miraculously given to me is to do just that. My first forty-five years of life allowed me the opportunity to physically traverse many places foreign to most men . Now, with a weakened body in tow, the mind has taken my wanderlust under its wings, and has become a much more thoughtful and adventuresome traveler. It takes me on journies I never would have taken when my physical being was in its prime. I have left behind me my life without a map and acknowledge all that might await me In The Next Room. A Germanic sense of order and my astrological Tauruan desire for 'live to the hilt' have brought me back into the fold of life with a map. Fate has allowed me this next adventure is to continue, albeit at a different level, the unique journey I started on May 9, 1946. The route I am traveling has not been taken before, at least not in the exact same way, by any man. It draws upon all that precedes the 21st Century as I, the man, the poet, the traveler of the universe enter the same. It is now my desire to share with you my journey, and the map I have used to guide my way.
So evolves In The Next Room.
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