power and conviction

how the mask of torment tears the pallid face apart
and refuses the sun to even lighten a fallen heart
is it crass to think the world an evil place
where war and famine extol the legacy of the human race
where clouds of pollution ravage what was once a holy land
i fail to see how anyone can follow such a mean command
such subtle fools the leaders of the world become
when they fall into the trap of power on their throne

there’s a price to pay for everything the sages say
i’m sure there is but how do you point towards the way
that leads to betterment rather than decay
it starts with purpose and conviction yet for some
the purpose more than the conviction comes undone
we plow ahead to our misfortune ever blindly on the run

kjg 1105am 14 nov 2014


i was late
for the appointment
quite on purpose
i might add
there were angels
in the alley
and a rabbit
in my hat

no one knew me
where saints gathered
it was something
of a deal
i mean really
what can happen
when i have no
soul to steal

bring me paper
bring me cotton
bring me bitter
wine to drink
i will always
be here waiting
on the brink

so forgive me
if i wander
off the muddy
beaten path
i will never
never ever
quite surrender
what i have

kjg 911am 12 nov 2014


waiting for what
for the end to come
remember barbara
in brest that day
the rain caught us
unexpected in a downpour
strangers meeting
randomly in a random street
that was a kind of waiting
waiting for the rain to stop
the war to end
we were all tired
two strangers huddled together
by happenchance
do you remember barbara
it was so long ago
so very far away
prevert wrote a poem about it
you were wearing a heavy shawl
and carrying a basket of baguettes
my raincoat was heavy from the rain
and the water dripped from my hat
you seemed a bit embarrassed
that a stranger should join you suddenly
and you let out a little gasp
do you remember barbara
i cannot forget
when the soldiers came
and just before they took you away
never to be seen again
you called to me
my name is barbara
remember me
they let me go because i was german
soon the rain stopped
and i went on my way
to a little bistro right around the corner
to meet a friend
did they take her
yes they took her
let’s eat
we leave for berlin tonight

kjg 439pm 14 nov 2014


the statutes of deliverance don’t move
they are solid forms like marble angels
in the vatican proud to be on display
only the devil can bring them to life

there is no such thing as understanding
there is only the interpretation
the simple fool will laugh at anything
the madman laughs at nothing

the presumption of innocence is not a fact
but a false accusation
the cup is passed from mouth to mouth

in the wild hemlock grows and is not poison
only laws can make it poison
and there is no substitution for deliverance

kjg 517pm 14 nov 2014

I can’t sleep

the merry-go-round makes me dizzy
the clowns are like wolverines
the messengers of destruction
flap their golden wings
the walls are flames of madness
dragons of effort reveal their shape
to the savage mind delivered
upon the altar or the stake
i do not tremble without endeavour
i know the future well
it is hollow and it strangles
what professes to be a path
past the graves of time’s repast
nightmares need no sleep to last

kjg 544am 6 nov 2014

Klaus J. Gerken is on Facebook. Contact him on kgerken@synapse.net and read latest poems in Ygdrasil – a Journal of the poetic Arts.

Poem Without A Title

An excerpt from my poem Poem Without A Title has been published in the Café Review 2014 Fall Issue:

Our Fall 2014 Issue is now available featuring poetry by Kristin Agudelo, Justen Ahren, Jayne Benjulian, Hamish Danks Brown, Jim Bishop, William Carpenter, Jack Collom, David Filer, Klaus Gerken, Carolyn Gelland, Marie Harris, Bruce Holsapple, Gary Lawless, Carl Little, Steve Luttrell, Mark Melnicove, Kendall Merriam, Wesley McNair, Justin Patrick Moore, Jessica Purdy, Joe Richey, Russ Sargent and Dana Wilde.

It also features artwork from Sebastian Matthews, Steven J. Priestley, Eero Ruuttila, and Charter Weeks and reviews by Bruce Spang, Kristen Stake and Kevin Sweeney.


Klaus J. Gerken is on Facebook
Contact him on kgerken@synapse.net and read latest poems in Ygdrasil – a Journal of the poetic Arts.

Interview, Paintings And A Poem

I have an interview, reproduction of some of my paintings and a poem in this excellent publication:


Klaus J. Gerken is on Facebook. Contact him on kgerken@synapse.net and read latest poems in Ygdrasil – a Journal of the poetic Arts.