My Poems


Last night my dreams were full of yellow

& I accomplished much:

a comprehensive marketing plan

the brand was me

& the palette: a distinctive yellow

which no one not even Van Gogh

had ever used before

With this first original barrage of ads

I had become irresistible

A staple of consumer consciousness

Fixed & necessary as Big Bird

or Chiquita Banana

& today–wouldn’t you know it–

today I have nothing to show for it

Have you had nights like that?

Nights when you moved mountains

spoke great thoughts

defeated epic foes

to arrive at a plateau so high

even your dreaming self

must take a break

& lie down in a bliss

only possible after true greatness

& there I lay the spent hero

on a glowing yellow field of glory

some conquered plain of golden corn

stalks rattling in a breeze

knowing victory was mine

& on that yellow plain

I got the worst Charlie horse of my life

woke my terrified wife

to twitch & squirm & curse

like a tweety boy & beg her

to knead the knot in my leg

Knead it Woman!

The devil corkscrew

that wrenched me

from my field of honor

to this pathetic pallet of unrest

O vicious night!

O tainted brain!

O cruel master of my dreams!

Give me back my yellow


The world is atremble

A hoarse rumble shakes

the cold neighborhood

by the back of the neck

declaring the end of things

(blue skies green ground

dancing leaves)

In Michigan this

is what we have

instead of earthquakes

this winter shudder

this big blow before

the charge

the unfriendly skies

teeming grey & white

trash cans rolling

down the street

enjoying their only freedom

before it all ends

& they are dumped

back into the corners

of dark garages

& all heaven breaks

loose with everything

we could have put off forever


I was walking through the usual day

thinking about all the poetry I could be writing

thinking very beautiful thoughts

thoughts full of knowing sighs

that all my favorite poetry

& usually mine is about

poems you may not understand

the first time you encounter them

or the fifth But isn’t life rather

like that? I still recall the first & last

time I opened a book on calculus

the history of an alien civilization

had dropped onto my lap

I scanned I recognized nothing

& I closed the book thinking

maybe this is how skyscrapers are built

maybe this put men on the moon

but what has that to do with me

& my walks & my beautiful thoughts

which no one understands?

& I sighed as I often do & walked

into the usual day looking for the next poem.

Poem to a friend turning 50

A year is but a bagatelle

A decade trifle more

A span of time accumulates

As waves upon a shore

So seamless & redundant

That we do not see it pass

Each moment after moment

& each seems like the last

For a century’s a roundabout

Of galaxies & dust

& half of that is nothing

But the very sum of us

–Patrick O’leary


One Response

  1. i love this poem i sent it to my sister she loves your poem:” nobody knows it but me”

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