Milton P. Ehrlich

Quality of the Day

To affect the quality of the day,
that is the highest of the Arts.

Henry Thoreau

The plaintive call of mourning doves
awakens you.

Pay attention,
feel the stirring in your loins,
even though it isn’t spring.

Set your senses on fire.

You swim out of the mindless torpor
of an estuary into the open sea,

ready to make something
out of nothing.

In the stillness of the moment,
without trying,
just effortless effort,

the day becomes
a work of art.


The Secret of Longevity Exposed

It’s not written in the stars
in an astrological fricassee

or your ancestor’s genes
or how much you laugh or cry
or how many hours you sleep
or glasses of water you drink
or if you eat more beans
and chew more slowly
or how you detoxify
at a Five Star colonic spa.

It won’t help
to have a dog or cat,
stay lean and not get fat.

If you no longer smoke
and watch less porn,
have a cervical smear
and breasts exposed,
or balls probed
it won’t make a difference.

All that matters
is if you treasure your breath.

Shallow breathing kills you fast.

But deep breathing,
with your clavicle up
and abdomen down,
gets your breath cleansed
with life-giving air,

and you enter the stillness
where God resides—

in the breath within the breath.


My Friend Jack Follows a Butterfly
And Almost Becomes Enlightened

The contours of stamens
stimulates a scent
between his toes.

Kundalini chakras open
at the fragrance
of a jacaranda rose.

A horny old goat,
he ogles massive hydrangeas,
and chases after
flowering rhododendrons,
as he proclaims,
like Gauguin:

I must have flowers,
always and always.

Breathing in the moment,
smiling like a Buddha,
he plans a ménage-a-trois:

a budding flower and caviar,
before leaving for the day after tomorrow.

His sizzling brain is now stilled.

Never good at living,
he proved to be better at dying.


About Milton P. Ehrlich

Milton P. Ehrlich, PhD., is a psychologist who has published numerous poems in periodicals such as the Wisconsin Review, Shofar Literary Journal, Off The Coast, Antigonish Review, Christian Science Monitor, Slipstream Magazine, Toronto Quarterly Review, Huffington Post, and The New York Times.

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