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Daniel Armstrong
Poems

About the Poet
Daniel Abbott Armstrong is a second generation Southern Californian or three-quarter Illinoisan, depending on how you slice the genealogical pie. Go back far enough and he's just another Heinz 57, but basically he's 50 percent 'cellist and 50 percent journeyman electrician. The youngest of seven, Armstrong has written and read poetry since childhood.

Due to a general lack of innate filing skills/what-have-you, his oldest surviving work dates to the eleventh grade, when he scribbled some surfer poetry in the margins of his math book. He moved to Maryland from California in 2000.

Apparently, the move east has been good for Daniel as he's written somewhere in the neighborhood of 900+ poems since his arrival.

Stylistically, he's been compared to Blake, Silverstein, Carroll, Service, Nash and McGonagall. He's been published in Poet's Ink; Fledgling Rag; The TMP Irregular; Rubber Side Down: The Anthology of Biker Poetry; Event Horizon; The Hanover Evening Sun; The Frederick News Post, and various other media outlets.

He lives in Frederick, Md. with his girlfriend, his too-wise-for-his-years adolescent son, his cat Eeyore and his motorcycle. Daniel can be found every Wednesday night, hosting the Dreamers Poetry Series in Frederick as he has done for the last seven years.

Lascaux

The writing is on the wall...
With dirty, ochre fingers, black soot
Crocus yellows, and white wax,
I smear my woes, my dreams, my story,
Onto the granite canvas of time.

Bison, horses, buffalo run,
Run off my fingertips
Into a forever story of running.
Run solo, run with the herd,
Neither toward, nor from.
Run in dreams... finger dreams.
My own dreams of running free,
Free from hungry thought.

By firelight,
My oily fingers caress
Stone walls of home, so
That my grandchildren's
Grandchildren may learn
Of the herd and the hunt,
And my dreams.

I tell of my dreams
With soiled fingers -
That they may learn
To tell their stories
With their own oily hands.

-2009

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~

The Wrong Poem

I'm sorry.
In my haste to get here
Rushing around at the last minute
It seems I've brought
The wrong poem.
See I had this poem
That really would have worked
Right now.
Especially after that last reader...
You know the one I mean
It's that poem that I do
The very utterance of which
Changes the course of rivers,
Increases glacial density,
And heals the ozone layer
But I've brought the wrong poem
You know it well
The one about clowns, monkeys
And surly banana peels.
But now I don't want to read it.
I want to read that other poem
The words of which enlighten
Our otherwise dull and hollow politicians
Brings progress to congress
And balances the budget.
It's that poem where I reach out
And caress the oyster
Of your soul
And heal its pearls
It's that poem where I dig into
the silt of my own heart
and sift through the
roots and the mud
of me
until I reveal
my own lost diamonds
that sparkle brightly

it's that poem that cures cancer
frees all would-be slaves
and reconnects the telepathy
Yeah, if you had gotten to hear
That poem of mine
It would have
Paid off your credit cards
Cleared up your skin
And then brought you to climax
(the women and the men)
But, you see,
I brought the wrong poem,
If I'd brought that other poem
That makes men cry
And women forgive
Brings peace and harmony
To all the continents
And archipelagos
Creates nirvana in samsara...
We all could've broken bread
Together, without fighting
About how light or dark
It should be toasted.

But I didn't bring that poem,
I brought this poem,
The wrong poem.

Yet if this poem made you take a breath
And cry,
Or laugh,
Or smile,
Or just pause,
Then I can live with that.

Because, even though
It's the wrong poem,
There must be a little something
Right with it
After all.

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~

Mama's Alright.

I am a large man
Six foot three
Two hundred
And twenty-five pounds
Yet all it takes is
A hangnail to
Bring me down
Sometimes it's the little
Things, the details that
Fill up the big spaces
Of our vacuums.
I don't know
Seems like
When I'm walking
Anyplace, people
May think I
Walk funny
Because
Maybe I have
An old hip injury
Or something
When in reality
I'm fine.
I'm just trying
Not to step
On the
Cracks.

~

~ Daniel Armstrong
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