Love, for Love’s Sake

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Photo by Charlie Hang on Unsplash

Love, for Love’s Sake

I have loved romantically
while being oblivious to its depths,
confined to the surface,
grasping at facades of
who I wanted to be
and who I wanted to
completely consume me,
growing mystified by
its brittleness
and inevitable indigestion.

I have loved, by sticking my head
inside an alligator’s mouth on a dare.

I have loved the greener grass
and the path untraveled
until detours revealed illusory scope
and textures tricking optics
into grasping curves
bent into ripened shapes
by light’s deception; I have loved
but a figment of her living ghost.

I have loved an imagination
and watched it slain by her reality.

I have loved deep
into the core elements of another
swiftly and inexplicably,
with the instant shock
of total immersion into
freezing waters,
slowing until bonds arrest us
in an exquisite insanity,
tricking the brain
into seeing love and attachment
as one and the same,
which renders all into ashes.

I have loved at first sight
and it seared my retinas.

I have loved
despite my best efforts not to love,
which, in essence, means that I have failed
at both loving and not loving
nearly simultaneously.

I believe therefore
we call it “falling in love”,
for no sane person
would willingly choose
this brand of nonsense,
steering directly into it
as one who wishes to be warm
plots a course directly into the sun.

I have loved over time against my will
and it was wonderfully traumatic.

I’ve flipped
the game
on its head
countless times;

each time,
my game piece
lands inside
the gator’s mouth.

I now love, knowing
its tremendous highs and incalculable lows,
the capricious nature of reciprocation
and whimsically fickle access to action
to fully experience and share,
fully aware that I wield little power
over the gambit,
only my position on the board
of an ultimately unsolvable game.

I now love with a full heart, knowing
that though I often experience bliss
and wield love to lift her
to fleeting triumphs with me,
ultimately I can never win,
and even as we run out of moves,
as we retire or surrender to fate
and, inevitably, as we
begin to lose each other,
the game will continue.

I now love,
not as a matter of choice or dare,
not with purpose nor design on winning;

I now love without purpose
because I see little purpose in not loving,
and also, aimless, purposeless love
is just love for love’s sake.

I now love that I love.
***

Shared at Poets United Poetry Pantry #442.

Kinship with Saplings

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Image by author

Kinship with Saplings

Yūgen is said to mean “a profound, mysterious sense of the beauty of the universe… and the sad beauty of human suffering”.

Yūgen suggests that beyond what can be said but is not an allusion to another world. It is about this world, this experience. -source, Word of the Day: Yūgen (幽玄) from Just Think of It by David R. Woolley.

1.
The seed yielded to gravity,
falling to rest upon the good earth,
breaking its protective shell,
becoming primordial seedling,

stretching tendrils into the soft soil,
rooting as probe and anchor;
shooting upward in trunk, branching,

dividing, multiplying,
uncoiling in fractals
incomprehensible to what birthed it,

unfurling green leaves to capture the sun,
collaborating with wind
to compose meditative melodies
reminding all within earshot to breathe,

relinquishing oxygen
as a liberating reminder that
speaking to define this phenomenon

is unnecessary

nor does it necessarily
improve upon the silent
newborn rustle.

2.
I’ve never been content
or comfortable in our world,
never knowing my place
within it.

And so,
just as with writing my thoughts,
I’ve never had my voice ring forth
with a declarative

“Aha! I am now a poet!”

or “It’s all clear to me now!
I am an author of fiction!”

or “People laugh at my jokes,
therefore I am a humorist!”

When closing upon
defining my place in the universe,
it slips from my grasp;
I remain unmoored.

My voice crystallizes
lost among the icy mist,
dispersing as yūgen, and perhaps
that is as it should be.

For, though I have no idea
who I will become tomorrow,
today, I am a tree.
***

Originally published on Medium as Kinship with Saplings.

Special thanks for my good friend Tre for providing the seed to this poem.

Cicada Shell

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Image by author

Cicada Shell

Age makes me forgetful
and fudge-brained, I dread to say
or perhaps, greater advancements
and enchantments are at play

it only just occurred to me
a week into February
that this month highlights my history

cultural, personal,
and other mysteries

and yet I haven’t needed relicts
of my own humanity
as touchstones for skin-tone

I know I’m alive when she arrives
and our tactile forcefields interact

mysteriously melting presently
into history like a scribe’s ink
sinking into paper, as we seep

boring deeply into each other’s
borders and core,
thus is our union recorded,
soaked, and sodden

heartened, I held her tight
with all my heart and might,
firm hand, and soft as cotton

our pleasure’s-way
made the pressure-play
of looming Valentine’s Day
all but forgotten

after that, our anniversary will come
and go with a similar lack of fanfare
casually cast aside like sloppy rhyme
in the middle of middling poetry

she will spend our grand day
in Boston seeing a child’s play
for a weekend excursion with friends

as I continue sketching meaning
within uncommon Seattle snow
as it trends towards commonality

there will be a continent between us
and I cannot recall us ever being closer
nor a moment I have felt apart from her

perhaps age makes me forgetful, or
maybe pre-fossiled brain is less fussy and
savvy enough to cast aside frivolities
as a cicada sheds its shell to prosper

I just know it is unnatural
to fret over what feels elemental

we breathe and laugh freely
like nature casually
coursing through us
***

On Service and Serving

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Photo by Ding LU on Unsplash

On Service and Serving

What a
bizarre perverse
spectacle we must be
to anyone with the gift of
vision.

Contorting our delusions
to fit absurd collective
narrative illusions.

Your happiness is
worthless
to me
and yet

I weigh my worth upon you saying
that you are pleased by my efforts
to bring happiness directly
to your seat with a smile in my voice

fit to claw your eyes out
to minimize eyestrain.

As I strain,

monks go door to door
with empty bowl in hand and
it is filled more often
than not.

If it be a sin
to covet a neighbor’s empty bowl
then I am the foulest
most wretched creature living

if one could subscribe
to the false illusion that
somehow this is life.

But I lie while lying;
it is his heart I covet most.

I would reach into him and
feast right upon it,
right there in his face,
sitting upright, cross-legged

upon the dusty,
nutrient-starved earth, and he
quietly, peacefully

would mourn the fact that
he only had the one
heart to offer,

withholding nothing.

I don’t even count them
as withholds anymore,
for they are nothing to behold;

I place the holy magic beans
inside the divine tabernacle
and watch random gods of diversion
snatch them all away like a

school of piranha
picking clean the bones of my
counterfeit coffers.

Thus, am I served.

It would be cute
to call it being
eaten alive,

but that would play to
the illusion that the beans,
the tabernacle
and my convent with the gods
ever existed and that

somehow,
this is living.

Oh, what a bizarre spectacle I must be
to anyone with the true gift of sight.

But I am ready.

Ready to leave it all behind,
take a leap into the absence of lore,
and see for myself
what this living business is all about.

Perhaps
the best part of
my yet-to-be-told tale
will be when I ended service
and served.

My story begins on the last page.
***

(Video is only loosely related to the poem. I only included it because I really loved the movie, and it makes me feel better about things in my life that kinda suck right now.)

Written for dVerse Poetics: The Art of Confession in Poetry, hosted by  anmol(alias HA).

Spicy Teriyaki Nights

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Photo by Marc Szeglat on Unsplash

Spicy Teriyaki Nights

We feasted
solely upon each other
and spicy chicken teriyaki
from the restaurant
a half-block from our
carnal harbor.

Failing to define us,
we acquiesced,
indulging until sated.

Unfortunately,
you filled yourself with me,
leaving me half-starved.

I still miss you,
but despise teriyaki.
***

Written for dVerse Quadrille Monday prompt, hosted by Lillian, where the safe word is “harbor”.

Did I type “safe word”? My bad. I meant that the word “harbor” had to be included in the 44-word poem.

(But you can use it as a safe word if you like. I won’t judge! I’m not qualified to judge anyway. *wink*)

A Fragile Song

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Photo by Seth Macey on Unsplash

A Fragile Song

Echoes of my dream-defined visions declare war,
starbursts strike scores,
both friend and foe,
but what for?

The home that I called my base came unmoored;
willow that I know,
now embers in day-glow.

I know the sparrow that lived here,
I defended her,
but now her expended song
tends my fear.

With a voice too delicate to vibrate,
she lends me the will and might to migrate:

“Not everything ends badly,
that is conjecture.
Though everything ends
at least from our perspective.

“We can’t make amends
with cosmic architecture,
but we can begin
to live within.”

Echoes of my mother’s laugh
ring long after her last breath.

Father’s lectures resonate
beyond his untimely fate.

I derive no meaning
from their unbeating hearts,
eyes bleared from tears when
lingering on their departs.

Words left unsaid will remain unspoken,
except in dreams, with the visions unwoven.

I’ve chosen to fixate on the song of that bird
whose weakness conflated
a strength that reverbed:

“Not everything ends badly;
that’s a fiction.
Though everything ends;
sadly, it’s our restriction.

“We can’t make amends
with our cell’s afflictions,
but we can begin
to live within.

She and I loved
with conviction and convection.
Our fronts clashed in wind-slashed storms,
with no direction.

We blew ourselves apart,
parting with bitter sorrow.
Despite our worser parts,
there still came a tomorrow.

We now know the science of us, but too late
to rewind and find some solace in our fate,

but wait and listen to the sparrow
as her frail song pierces our marrow:

“Not everything ends badly,
though everything ends.
We can’t make amends
with past lovers and friends,

but we can extend
our hands and transcend
beginnings and endings
as we live within.”
***

Fate of Heaven

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Photo by Meireles Neto on Unsplash

Fate of Heaven

Waking up to us
was always the worst,
wasn’t it?

Surely you felt the same
rolling over and seeing
my displeasure at a
brand new day, didn’t you?

Do you have any idea
how many poems
I’ve written about you
only to have to file them away,

snuffing-out their wicked truths
like so many birthed stars
that ate through their fair
share of hydrogen

long before Ra set
the table for you and me
to ignore our own nature?

Can you fathom how every kiss shared
will be compared to the caramel of your lips
nibbling mine in our candlelit shame
of being exactly who we are

exactly where we wanted to be,
exactly beneath the weight of
who we wanted pressed into our flesh
exactly the way we needed?

Do you also wish to shake
the morning gate of heaven
to its foundation for fating us
a taste of what could be,

only to allow our respective free will
to choose to loosen our firm midnight grip
on respective flesh before the black sky
blushed soft purple with promise of new day

separating me from you
as earth from firmament,

forming boundaries everywhere
instead of simply being
happily entangled in
undefined twilight?

On some level, I know
you were just as selfish,
just as grateful for those broad,
quiet charcoal strokes

shared in faint starlight,
silently sucking our
pigment from sundown,

but no matter our
moon-soaked efforts,
morning always comes,
doesn’t it?
***

Shared at dVerse OpenLinkNight #229. Other poets have shared their poems here.

A Duet the Wind Called Fleeting

A Duet the Wind Called Fleeting

If you don’t raise your voice
no one will hear you sing
losing the gift of choice,
we wait for what squalls bring

Did you cross my mind, love?
Or did I dream our bliss?
Your voice fades with your kiss
Ruby dreams from foxglove

Tearful visions fall, blurred
smeared what’s left of your song
seasons blended and slurred
where our voices belonged

Could you hear my song too?
Was I brassy? Off-key?
Hope you remember me
as currents convey you.
***

Aretha Franklin’s death is weighing heavy on my mind this morning. I immediately thought of both this soulful Aretha original and the slick Mos Def sample. I was happy to see that YouTube had a mashup of the two.  Listening to it got me thinking in terms of Shakespearean-level star-crossed lovers missed connections, and whatnot and so-forth. It’s funny how the brain works sometimes. 

R.I.P. Aretha Franklin

Solemn Solstice

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Photo by Anish Nair on Unsplash

Solemn Solstice

The sun lingers longest today.

The weather-guessers were wrong
about the heat wave.

In fact, there was light precipitation.

Preferring the rain, I am relieved.

I don’t even know why I wrote
“precipitation” instead of “rain”.

I’m no meteorologist.

I guess the unscheduled rainfall
wasn’t up to my lofty standards.

It was a halfhearted rainfall,
followed by an indifferent sunbreak.

Felt more like angel’s spit
than the weeping we’ve earned
for this crapsack existence.

My hemisphere turned
fully into the true glare
of sunlight, and everywhere I turn,
I glare at two shadows
of the Four Noble Truths.

I see only suffering and
man’s indifference to it.

I see children crying in pain,
fear, hunger, and terror;
if they’re lucky, they’ll just receive
the mercy of ignorance
in the form of being ignored,
or perhaps they’ll only languish
as the butt of cruel jokes
they’re mostly ignorant to.

I see indignant adults
viciously targeting them
for exploitation
or other vile indignities.

I see servers and protectors
silencing them permanently
in brass precipitation
because that’s the way
it’s always been and apparently,
that’s the way it needs to be.

The days grow shorter now.

It is the nature of our earth’s tilt
in reference to our position on it
as we continue our
inevitable journey around the sun.

Our share of daylight
will gradually be transferred
to our antipodean brothers and sisters,
in the way it’s always been.

We are powerless to stop
this natural phenomenon.

I am relieved.
***