Then, Again, When

Then, Again, When

Your smile seduced a second look
better reserved for the next crash scene.

The look in my eyes invited conversation
that connected our storms with the serene.

Our conversation skirted the margins of comfort
as hands touched forearms, drawing towards center.

Easy comfort leant us towards assumption;
discorded motives bade us to enter.

Obtuse assumption flies into misunderstanding;
you braced for pleasure, I thrusted for connection.

Ripened misunderstanding decouples you
and me from us; introspection from fixation.

As you are still not who I thought you were,
and I am no longer who you thought I was,

we were bound forever, merged at when
we were whatever we needed again.
***

2019 In Review

jude-beck-bvTtUo04Nmg-unsplash

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

2019 In Review

struggle
relentless, bitter
disquieting, dispiriting, disarming
dutiful, beautiful, wistful, wishful
beguiling, edifying, rejuvenating
merited, spiritual
respite
***

OK… this is my final final poem of the year. I forgot I wrote it. It is in the Diamante style. I encountered this form a few years ago, tried it once, but then promptly forgot it. I became reacquainted with it when I read a fellow writer over at Tao Talk, so I tried it again.

Happy New Year, everyone. Here’s hoping for more empathy and understanding in 2020.

Unhurried Winter Dawn

vincent-guth-a_iB3eX6CGY-unsplash

Photo by Vincent Guth on Unsplash

Unhurried Winter Dawn

Approaching winter solstice,
dawn is a selfish lover
refusing to yield our time –
stubborn purple shawl – to Sol’s
feeble glare; nature is still,
unsure of beginning as
humanity’s headlamps speed
through, splitting tapestry in
two in the name of progress,
civilization’s ego,
harsh budgetary deadlines,
missing blissful, seemingly
fickle metamorphic dance
of dew into mist into
diamond dust. The disturbance
is a series of ripples;
dawn creeps along on her own
terms, and I love her all the
more for it. I wait with her.

Some speed off into the day,
fixated on what comes next.
Others linger in the night,
trapped by fate no longer seen.
Stay here with us for a while.
Let your eyes adjust to her.
See how her shadow shimmers?
Unhurried, yet still fleeting.
Past problems hold no power.
Next year’s light won’t reach us yet,
but today’s sunrise soon will.
I wish you’d too embrace her,
in her splendid stubbornness.
Her wonders are apparent.
You need only to wait here,
and see her stir for yourself.
***

Inspired by Poets United Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Year’s End, hosted by Susan.

In Your Image

tumblr_da6cc275ce780771d80b711e465693a1_894cf1aa_1280

Image source: ESA / Hubble, R. Sahai and NASA

In Your Image

After erasure, starting anew,
I’d begin with you in permanent ink,
and perhaps myself next in shading-pencil,
or even a charcoal, perhaps not
quite that dark or indelible.

You see,
I don’t know
where I’m supposed to be,
but it never really matters
as long as you’re here
with me,
and not necessarily
here with me,
but somewhere
on this massive rock,
daring to exist without meaning,

exchanging meaningful vibrations,
we’d bubble, churn,
and ooze into anvil-clouds,
raining grey slivers onto sunsets.

Because I love you,
and that is true and fine
and completely permissible
even without my understanding;

I say the words, and I feel it,
even as I don’t know exactly
what it means; I mean I chose it,
but even had I not,
I’d have it all the same,
splitting my breastplate,
spitting into my denying eye
as the heart rushes to keep pace
with the words that won’t come,
claims that get caught out-of-sync
like an 80’s high-hat sharp-hit
where a 90’s boom-bap snare-kick
should land as planned.

Nothing went as planned;

I crave order and there is none
and that is perfectly fine
except when it isn’t;

I desire structure and superstructure
even as I chafe at the yoke
holding us together; holding us apart;

I’d shatter the firmament
for your fleeting smile;

with a snap of my fingers,
I’d snuff-out the sun
if it meant that my final moments
were sitting on a rapidly cooling
solitary park bench
next to you,
hips scarcely touching,
in tranquil silence.

I’d ruin the image,
saving your sketched outline;
my greatest work.

How can I possibly remake this world,
the next, or any other?

My own name,
now and beyond,
lacks structure or meaning
unless you write its narrative
with hands that shape its very context,

or unless you call upon it,
breathing its purpose
with your own lips;

which isn’t the same as saying
without you in my life, in some way,
I am nothing,
but it’s oddly similar to
The Commodores without Lionel Richie
in that I struggle to find the point.

But what I do know is this;
I’d begin with you
in permanent ink.
***

Inspired by dVerse Poetics: New Year – New World, hosted by Mish. Other poets contributed to this prompt here.

All Hallow’s Etiquette

neven-krcmarek-2Ni0lCRF9bw-unsplash

Photo by Neven Krcmarek on Unsplash

Hallow’s Etiquette

There is just nothing
remarkable about a
Hallow’s witching hour,

where absence of light and sound
pile upon one another

until the deprived
senses conjure demons, ghosts,
and apparitions of distress

manifested in the failures
of our memories, or
their perfectly successful manner

of projecting memories
of our failures back upon us
like a house of haunted mirrors.

That ghoul is not a ghoul;
it is an eye-floater
casting a shadow upon
your retina

that became entangled
with a stray set of neurons
where an unresolved
disagreement with

your long-dead beloved
continues to take up
residence; our evolved
pattern-recognition

makes us see their sunken cheeks
and disapproving glare, and
nothing more than that.

At the very least,
that is what I tell myself
to keep my heart from racing

and my unspoken words
from spilling into this dense,
uncaring,
unremarkable space
at this ungodly hour,

where no one replies
to my wailing demands for reason,
and for good reason,
as no one is here
to hear them.

But in the extremely
unlikely event
that I’m wrong about this,

all of these reasonable
observations,
which I’m mostly certain
is extremely improbable,

if they truly exist
between our realms,

my first thought would be
probably
that demons, ghosts, ghouls,
and all the like,

in addition to being
needlessly frightening,

in all these years of
ignoring my queries

they’re also extremely rude.
***

Inspired by All Hallow’s Eve and Poets United: Midweek Motif ~ A Million Years Howl When Voices Whisper Among The Trees, hosted by  Sanaa Rizvi.

Also shared at dVerse OLN: Casting a Spell, hosted by Linda Lee Lyberg.

The Real Truth (Or Why Nobody Asks Me to Deliver Toasts at Weddings or Family Feasts)

aron-visuals-BXOXnQ26B7o-unsplash

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

The Real Truth (Or Why Nobody Asks Me to Deliver Toasts at Weddings or Family Feasts)

And what
do any of you
know of Truth?

None of you would know it
not even if it rose in the east,
set in the west,

and pelted you with harmful UV rays
as you lean into his warmth,
grinning like a slow-cooked idiot.

Slowly he rises,
bringing light, warmth,
and terminal cancer,

the indifferent promise
of life and death.

We’ll sing in praise of the former
screening the latter
with sweetly scented chemicals
that lead to a sweeter-scented
terminal cancer.

Life, like the sun
which nourishes and imperils us,
is a massively limited,
egregiously finite
string of things that don’t matter,

and the only constant is
its inevitable return to the lifeless void;

this inevitability is not to be
praised nor condemned, for
to try is to embrace the lie,

not that it matters how infinity is received,
for it will be visited upon you inevitably
and nothing you leave behind,

not even progeny, not even monuments,
not even this truthful tribute will matter,
for none of it will outlast the inevitability.

Life is a lie, death is the Truth,
and I know of no one, good or evil,
who has faced this Truth
with grace and equanimity
who has ever lived to tell the tale.

Now stop wasting everyone’s time
and let us enjoy this bountiful harvest
grown in the light of Truth.
***

Written for Poets United Midweek Motif ~ Truth (in honor of Gandhi’s birthday), posted by Susan.

These Murky Eddies (A Five-Part Origin Story)

These Murky Eddies (A Five-Part Origin Story)

I.
I love,
I do,
perhaps not like you,

not in that
traditional
happily-forever-after way,

but perhaps
in other imprecise,
functionally dysfunctional
broken ways.

But perhaps
in many ways,
my broken ways work
in my knowing what it isn’t.

I can survey its limitations,
where the barrier of its outstretched
feathered wings fail to reach.

My love cannot care for your birthday,
but it cares deeply that you care.

My love won’t reach out
and embrace you, drenched,
saturated with sentiment,

but it will lash-out
to protect you
from all manner of harm.

My love is imperfect,
incomplete, and has been
ever since the day I fell
as a small child.

I was six when I fell,
losing balance some two score ago,
as some collateral damage
of a disintegrated heart.

II.
I was born
in medias res
of a toxic heart,
as many are,

upon opposing maelstroms,
learning to flow with the current,
anticipating its quirky grooves
and perilous nuances,

gliding along the lazy trickles,
bracing for the furious crashes,
holding my own within
fortune’s fickle ride until…

the only heart I knew split in two,
each side seeking dominion over the other,
but settling for oblivion,

the void
created by two beloved factions
consumed me
and I fell,

and fell, and fell,
and kept falling,
the only sound, the
mournful wailing of my own voice,

it too growing more distant,
falling away from me

along with the other senses of
belonging to something greater,

losing everything and
finding myself lost
at the bottom of an abyss.

III.
I was six years old
when momma went
rattling the kitchen silverware

for an adequate blade
to plunge into dad’s back,

ending years of emotional and
physical abuse by his hand.

I was six years old
when that knife pierced him
inches from his heart,

inches from his own demise.

Dad’s cousin was hysterical,
explaining to the medics
what my awful “bitch of a mom” did
to free herself from dad’s drug-fueled rager.

Though mortally wounded,
dad survived and recovered

enough to redeem some of his repugnant actions,
while bafflingly doubling down on others.

As for me; I was six then.
I am forty-six now, but
I know now that parts of me
never left the bottom of that abyss.

IV.
I love, I do,
but always in a broken,
displaced sense where
I never have to remove my velvet gloves.

My hands
hold nothing of weighted value
unless my beloved breathes value into
that space.

Images
reflected into my eyes
rarely move me

unless the images
are of others being moved
towards joy or sorrow.

I hear voices of my family calling,
but I only reply out of obligation.

I’ve smelled and tasted
gourmet Sunday dinners made in my honor,
and when an aunt asks me
if I’m glad I came home to them,

I smile and say yes, knowing that
they know I’m lying to keep the peace.

V.
I love, I do, but perhaps not like you,
or the guys on television who
get down on one knee,
proclaiming their love for all to see.

That kind of love dazzles in the sunlight,
and it would be nice if I could love like that.

But my love is born from toxins,
constructed from shards of self-hate,
twisted, entangled by the vast void
in such an oddly dysfunctional way

that when darkness comes for you,
as it inevitably comes for us all
regardless of where you are,
as I still tread these murky eddies

you will never be alone.
***

Originally shared on Medium.

Fractions

amanda-flavell-9XSLoMlVhYU-unsplash

Photo by Amanda Flavell on Unsplash

Fractions

Even now, forces battle for fractions
of light and dark, air and earth, truths and lies
the spoils, ripened treasures and abstractions
like oil, our foods, as humankind’s soul cries
split to the bone in factions
honed for overreactions

My soul’s not known for overreactions
compressing, sealing night into fractions
of morbid amusement, viewing factions
through porous veneers of their willful lies
unmoved by their biased cries
on currents of abstractions

Our sun will yield to night and abstractions
leaving the void and overreactions
light evening showers won’t drown-out the cries
of justice-seekers sliced into fractions
divided by clever lies
blinded factions fight factions

I welcome rain as night deceives factions
truth is our souls are merely abstractions
these lines dividing us all are sad lies
gains of few, fueled by overreactions
many fight over fractions
immune to his brother’s cries

I remain in-tune with my brother’s cries
but turn a deaf-ear to brother’s factions
I see us whole, and not just the fractions
bellies are filled by more than abstractions
stilled by overreactions
humanity’s fate still lies

I wonder which side will win through the lies
will we have our peace or feast on war-cries?
I still observe the overreactions
blackening hearts into soulless factions
they have killed for abstractions
weighing lives by the fractions

I wonder which lies will fell the factions
silencing the cries; soulless abstractions
overreactions leaving fractions.
***

Written for dVerse  Poetry Form: Sestina, hosted by Victoria C. Slotto. Other poets have contributed to this prompt here. The Sestina is an oily form, super-tricky to pull off, like Jello-wrestling a sexy, nude, female vampire who’s riding a velociraptor. Naturally, I had to give it a go (the poem, not the Jello-wrestling, though I’d probably be game for that too.)

Also sharing at Real Toads

stories, labels, and approvals (Collaboration with trE)

ToniMorrison

National Memorial for Peace and Justice, 2018, Montgomery, Alabama (photo: Michael Delli Carpini, CC BY-NC 2.0)

stories, labels, and approvals (Collaboration with trE)

not everything needs a story
it’s possible to want justice
without being seen as angry
and you’re damned right I’m angry
when our justice is perverted
time and again, and again
you fixate on the anger
spinning a yarn about
the irrational response
of us ungrateful thugs

the ones you want to
linger beneath the soles of your feet
will be the very ones who
you’ll beg to add more days
onto your life.
and when the Maker calls your number,
I will play bailiff,
executing all plans for your demise.
and the difference between you and I
will be that I had nothing
to do with it.

make your presence known in other ways.
show this world that there is
so much more to living than
constantly trying to flaunt your
privileges in my face
OR
belittling me every chance you get.
“when they go low, we go high,”
and it must feel like shit
watching angels scale the skies
while you reach into your pockets
for God-status and pull up lint instead

not everything needs a label
it’s possible to seek solitude
without being tagged as arrogant
I look inward for serenity
I demand airspace to be me
authentically free from the box
you cram to shove me in
I guess I’m arrogant enough
to exist in stout defiance
of your weights and measures

not everything needs approval
it’s possible to just want to breathe
without society constricting airflow
or to share life, laughter with a lover
without enraging a stranger lording
bizarre, anachronistic, dogmatic views
I wish to seek the warmth of the sun
free from fear of fatalistic reprisal
because I fit some unsavory description
or I love in a way that you don’t

and, I’ve watched you, watching me–
you want me to be this robotic
thing intent on following your lead:
no disputes, no disagreements, and
no opinion of my own,
and losing the biggest part of me
is not something I am willing to do.
this frustrates you . . .
it digs into places of your soul
that you aren’t willing to share and
I have fun witnessing your strength
dwindle to mere nothingness
since it feeds off hate.
***

This is a collaboration with my good friend trE. trE is an insightful and gifted writer. I highly recommend that you visit her blog, A Cornered Gurl.

Holy Shit! Hey Guys! HEY GUYS!!

Capture

Currently displayed on Tygpress.com. You guys did it!

Well damn! You guys actually did it! I’m impressed. I was going to take my ball and go home, but you folks with your outrage went at this entity with your cease-and-desist and your pitchforks, and they didn’t want any of that smoke!

I know most of you were just as pissed-off as I was, and I’m grateful that you acted on your own senses of justice instead of turtleing like I planed. I am the undeserved benefactor of your righteous actions, and I thank you all. This little guy is grateful that you collection of little guys didn’t take this lying down.

I honestly hope that this the last time I find myself writing about blog harvesting, but I suspect it won’t be. We’ll cross that bridge when it comes, but for now, let’s get back to our scheduled programming.