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Electric Chair

for the Sun

Selected Short Poems

David Deubelbeiss
“My barn having burnt down
I could now see the moon.”

- Basho

© 2010 by I’m Press


Printed in the whole wide world

About the Author
David Deubelbeiss is a writer and
educator presently living in Seoul,
Korea. He has traveled around the
world, living in many countries
with his children, “books” . A
working man’s intellectual, he
espouses the philosophy of
“Live simply, simply live”.

About this book

This book contains a selection of my poetry
written over the past 30 + years. I won’t
begin here to outline the travels,
encounters and readings that have sparked
these poems. They are simply meant to
stand as a testimony to what has passed my
way. Further, as a description of my own
being and beliefs.

The poems more or less, are ordered

chronologically. You can see how I’ve
developed over time and also what has
remained. What lasts, is always what

I’ve often wondered what I’d write if I ever

had to preface my own book. Now that I
am doing it, I find that I don’t have much
to say. The poems stand on their own.
Though, as Valery so well said, “a poem is
never finished, merely abandoned”.

All I do have to say is about the title –

Electric Chair for the Sun. It is one of many
longer poems not included in this collection
but it represents the idea running through
most of my poetry, the idea that man is
himself unhinged – that modernity is
indeed a sickness.

I’m not suggesting that we give up hope for

a better world. I’m suggesting we’d better
listen closer and deeper to those voices in
the wilderness, those bearded poets in the
hills. We’d better listen to that lady in the
cattle car screaming, “Fire! Fire!”. For we
can pretend we are above it all in our riches
and finery – however history shows how
this kind of hubris ends in Birkenau,
Kolyma and Guantanamo.

I’m firmly convinced by my experiences,

that the need to “belong” is the deep cause
of our afflictions. It is both our hope and
our undoing. If we can somehow go be-
yond “belong”, as human beings – we will
bring about a better world. I’m not so con-
vinced we can avoid “belonging” and

expunge ourselves from creating the
“other” and a banality that knows no limits.
I’m not convinced but I remain filled with
enduring faith, for faith endures all.

I do hope we can pardon even the sun itself

and let “the light” shine.

In this book, you’ll encounter a variety of

poems. Some of delight and some of dis-
gust. Some of love, some of pain. Some
serious and some silly. Some highly per-
sonal and some distant and philosophic.
However, in all the poems, I hope you’ll
find a poet who tried to wake others up to
both the beautiful possibilities of life and
also the horrid injustices man can inflict
upon man.


My Blog:


Thanks to:

my dear family who suffered me gladly

all the friends that didn’t or did get in the

way, along the way.

all those who wake up and like Socrates of

old, think of “the good”

Grateful acknowledgement is made to:

Cover photo courtesy of Jason Lupi

Clip art from – with

special thanks to member OCAL

Food For Thought
Uncle Jacob
forty years kneading dough
after the war,
told me he had found only
two ways of making bread;
the slow bake of philosophy
the luxury of the rich or high minded,
for the rest, the quick snatch of wonder
between the long steady strokes
of the whip.

Then sternly,
his strong hand on my shoulder
He said,
"Son, always be
on the other end of the whip,
for there they eat not bread but cake.

Living is an affair
for those who turn on the ovens.

My Love Can Perform Miracles

I swear,
my love could silence
the hum of this hornet's next
with one sure swat
of her hallow hand.

I swear,
she could.
I have seen her do much more.
My world stops in her gaze.
The fire behind her eyes melting my chains.
My world hops to her ways.

I swear,
my love could break
the heart of mankind
with one simple smack
of her red, loaded lips.

She could
thought she never would
such are the miracles
my love can perform.

Love in the Age of Reason

You said that our love

should be honest as a bed.
Yes, that is what you said!

I said that our love

should be noisy as a bed,
Yes, that is what I said!

Now can our bed be both

full of honesty and of noise?
Yes, we said!
Such is the product of the difference
between girls and boys.

Esoteric Erotica

I study
your pendulous breasts
two suns buoyant
pointing to fertile orb below.

I enter
through vallied loins
both phallus and heart
magnetized by sensual expectancy.

I leave
through tangled limbs
quiet in relief
washed by the breath of life.

I study
your twisted reclining mass
wondering if,
Joseph Mengele would see the same.

Let’s Clean House

Don’t talk to me about love.

The shirts need to be picked up

from the cleaner’s .
The cat’s gotta be fed.
There’s the hairdresser’s and
the new 5 slice toaster.
And remember
tonight there is today’s Movie of the Week.

Love? Let’s have children.

Love? Let’s join a fitness club.
Love? Let’s look at our new sofa.
Love? Let’s make it twice a week at 5:15.
Love? I’m reading a book about it.

Don’t talk to me about love

when military spending is so low

when I gotta plan this winter’s getaway
when it’s raining outside,
when the neighbours just bought a new car
when the alarm clock’s just waiting to blow
it’s time to go.

Don’t talk to me about love.

Let’s clean house,

the Little’s are coming over……

Thanksgiving Day
I remember well
those bright dead days of autumn,
how my brother, the great white hunter
crushed the wee head of the partridge
he had winged.
Crushed it slow and rythmically
with the heel of his heavy boot.

How the farmer, ‘cross the road

filled the burlap sack
with sure and steady hand.
Filled it with a litter of pups
and flung it into the
cold clear water of the crick.

I remember
how my grandpa, at the dinner table
sucked and gummed his turkey
with intense joy and abandon.
The juices edging out the sides
of his eager, hungering mouth.

How my young friends and I

squatted over the chilled stiff fly
and with the delicate hands
of surgeons or lovers to be,
slowly one by one
pulled each leg out from under
its soft blue body.

I remember well
those cool receding days of autumn.
I remember so I give my thanks.
My thanks not a sacrifice
to a glaring Moloch
but only,
thanks that I am a man
and not anything else.

Poetry 101
She said it was
stupid meaningless empty
this poem.
That it did nothing for her —
no thing depends upon
a red wheel
glazed with rain

Yet, she aspired to greatness.

Cracking shells with her dull pen
she looked for the elusive pearl
to string around her slender neck.
She aspired to greatness
with an ungreat full mind.

And I two rows back

struck dumb

by her thick, reaching thighs

and the
vain pounding of her hard head,
tried to overlook her inconsistencies
thinking I might
see eternity in a grain of sand,
that I might
jump down from my high and firy cross.

But I could not,
the farmer in my green soul

that so much does depend upon

a red wheel
glazed with rain

That so much does depend upon

empty beauty
filled with insignificance.

God, Power and the Gun
God must have made the gun
that strong, heaven sending death stick.
I cannot see man, weak man
making such a perfect, infallible beast.
Sticks, stones, knives and rope
these are different,
they are not anonymous like a gun or god.

Not all the hymns, from all the lips

in all the churches the world over
will make me know different.
Faith, hope, charity, goodwill
these are godly things,
but so too is a gun.

I am sure that if god sits

on his throne high above,
he sits with a gun across his lap,
in fear of those below.
Those below with many guns
and many heavenly thoughts.

Somewhere inbetween
lies the truth
You said you’d never lie again.
But as you said it,
You were lying,
like the shadows
that settle across our bed
when sun descends.

Who to say right or wrong?

Our reality fragile
of our own making,
our world illusion
we prop up with lies we believe.

You said you’d never lie again.

But who I think
were you lying with, lying
like the dead sea creatures
washed ashore together
in black of night
to be discovered
when I walk the morning strong.

On the death of Milt Acorn
I never knew yah
but I can see
how a poem threw yah
from heart to mountain high.

You craggy bard,

how’d ya ever squeeze
through the devil’s fingers?
I can see you laughing ear to here
in the dead heat of the coffin.
But death can’t contain that grin
nor your words.
Let me say,
your poems still burn hard
and warm us these cool nights
we striking poets round the barrel.

Come here tonight I ask,

Come from your low mud-made nest.
Shout love! Shout love!
Open your wings and let
one who never knew yah,
know what its like to be a dead poet
and have a poem go
right straight through yah.

A Literary Autopsy
“Now, you all have the
vitals, Josef K., Male,
40, Eastern European.
Middle child, no de-
pendents, never
married. Profession:
insurance advocate.”

“So, getting down to work. The first thing

you notice immediately are the feet. Big,
too big – a duck out of water, clown’s feet,
must have been uncomfortable walking
through this world, on cobblestones espe-
cially. So too with all the extremitiies.
Notice the ears and how they are reaching
out to hear – almost to here! The hands. too
big for gloves. A murderer’s hands, always
in need of clutching each other for fear of
their fallen fate.”

“Now, let’s turn our attention to the eyes

which some say are the keyhole of the soul.
Dark, deep, moist, cavernous eyes. They
have the look of too little sleep, of an active
nether world, an always awakening dream.
Calculating eyes, always wanting some-
thing which the other is unable to give.
Long straight eye brows guard the inner
sanctum in a plain yet threatening way.”

“Then, there’s the nose. Typical mensch.
Built to oxygenate the brain. Solomon’s
sniffing snozze. Almost artificial, inhuman,
primitive, as if it were bought from the go-
lem’s maker along with the clown’s feet –
for a show, to beckon some hidden force,
then unceremoniously stuck on. A nose
that knows.”

“Lips. Thin, always dry. Unkissed. Not those

of a lover but one who wants to be loved.
An intellectual’s lips, well sealed to prevent
secrets from escaping too soon, allowing
ideas to be well digested.”

“Speaking of the digestive system, let’s now

focus on the torso. Truly a perfect ecto-
morph. Emasculated, a human squirrel full
of nervous energy, unsettledness. But of
the mind, not the body. The body wastes
away on the stem of the mind. Thin, wiry,
almost consumptive, the torso shows the
effects of a high calorie burning organism.
A man of immense hunger. A hunger artist.
And it is this, I believe to be the key here.
His digestive system is or should I say
“was”, in a constant state of work, reconsti-
tuting experience. Life did not offer this
man enough food to exist.”

“So, in a word, the cause of death: hunger.”
Perhaps he never found the food he liked –
a forerunner of a more modern and en-
demic (though less fatal) disease known as
nausea, a sickness of those who never seem
to arrive at port. Which brings us to the
next cadaver, a very interesting case. A
young man found on a train from Bouville
in the Gare de Montmartre in Paris. DOA,
dead on arrival. No apparent trauma
though …..”

From Where?
From where do all the guns come?
Do they fall from the sky
as the peasants beat the ground
with sticks in sympathy?

Do they rise from the soil

omnipotent cornstocks,
fed by the graves
of their glorious, immobile comrades?

Do they wash up on shore

fire breathing, knotched driftwood,
gifts from a leviathan
born of wide eyed prophesy?

From where does the ammunition come?

Does it rain down as if hail,
killing a few so others
may kill a few more?

Do these bullets spit from

the mouths of dictators,
white as mints,
fresh and deadly as ideology?

Do they grow in the spring
on hillsides like strawberries,
picked green
soon to turn red?

From where do these

ragged, hopeful, smiling people
get these
shiny, smooth, godless things?

I say,
instruments of destruction are a luxury ---
of those with little better to do.
They grow from the fat of the earth,
the minds
of those that don’t till it
of those least likely to taste the red wrath
of man’s reach for perfection.

Alone but Amidst

I am a monk held within

the hands of progress.
I am the solitaire
burned by the insanity
of the world’s intent.

I am a wanderer
with feet held firm
among life’s thorns,
never reaching my rose.
I am the individual
clothed by others worries,
dressed with others vices,
captive among sensual criminals.

I am the forgotten
melted into humanities’ heart,
the desires upon which I slipped.
I am the forlorn
torn by life’s inequitous lair.
Imprisoned by my sorid despair.

I am the silence
before the dawn of language,
speaking for those
tied by sound.
I am the nothing
giving birth to something.

I am the last
the protest amongst pride
the keeper of the world’s sanity,
the guardian of its vanity.
I am Elijah, I am hope.
May one day I rest.

I ask

Can we meet after the haze

when earth is fresh
with hope and passion,
when my love for you
need not be rationed?

Can we meet once the mist has cleared

and left a soft dew
with which to clean our soiled past,
so our merging souls come not apart
but may hold fast?

Can we meet once

rain clouds have past
once clear sky
has been cast,
by gods smiling,
giving fate?
Can we not wait –
the sun of our enduring hearts
has burnt away the fog of our troubles?

On Privacy
When they lop off my head
erase every god damned word

When they mop up all the blood

one thing will remain --
the fact I was heard.

The mind moves and nobody knows

this alone, salvation
a light goes on yet nothing shows.


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