Proper Care and Cleaning (of Voice)

timon-klauser-3MAmj1ZKSZA-unsplash

Photo by Timon Klauser on Unsplash

Proper Care and Cleaning (of Voice)

What if I unglossed our painting before it dried?

What if my tears smeared our indigo finish?

What if I painted midnight horizons into pastels?

What if each correction lightened and undefined?

What if each stroke unburdened texture of weight?

What if ink flowed from canvas to brush?

What if I dabbed brush into pigment to clean it?

What if our cleaner lines were gobbled-up by my pen?

What if I sketched our imperfect borders into nothing?

What if I created perfection; a blank slate?

What if I swallowed the wrong words instead?

What if I said the right thing and you stayed?
***

My final poem of the year, written for the final Real Toads prompt ever: PLAY IT AGAIN! with REAL TOADS, hosted by  Kerry O’Connor. I chose to write to Kerry’s LET’S FIND OUR POETIC VOICE prompt and then – as a tip of the hat – to erase, clean, or “un-write my voice”, as many of the wonderful prompts here directly contributed to my poetic voice growing and stretching in ways I never imagined possible.

Thank you to everyone at Real Toads – both the hosts and the contributors – for all of your efforts, encouragement, and support. I know this isn’t goodbye, so I’ll see you all out there next year.

Unhurried Winter Dawn

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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

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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.

Sixpence Finalities

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Photo by Ryan Parker on Unsplash

Sixpence Finalities

She lied, striking joy from our journal.
I bore false witness against myself ‘til she shattered.

I whispered to our synching pulses.
Here lives our melody; lyrics lost to history.

Betrayal smelled like him on her lips.
I blew kisses, burning our garden in foreign tongues.

She was of earth and time left behind.
I fold it as fabric, creased at where she and I met.

Displaced by ocean as decades blur,
we leave love notes as moon phases for blue stargazers.

The sky will fall, all voices silenced.
Her name transcends sound, as it is formed from cosmic breath.
***

Inspired by Real Toads May the fire in our hearts keep burning as though there is no end ~, hosted for the final time by the lovely, brilliant Sanaa Rizvi . I’m not gonna cry! I’m not gonna cry!

These six Landay (Couplets of nine and thirteen syllables) may be read as a single poem, but they were created as six separate poems about six separate subjects.

 

Pure Intimacy

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Image by aalmeidah from Pixabay

Pure Intimacy

“True intimacy is a state in which nothing exists between two people; no space, no inhibitions and no lies.” – Ranata Suzuki

Have you ever had pure intimacy?
Not to be confused with lingering,
humid summer passion,
it is timid, pallid winter sun
kissing ice crystals with fleeting beauty,
arriving at low angles on high latitudes,
vulnerable, rarely intense enough
to accompany morning tea,
breaking fast after breakfast as lovers
franticly throw open south-facing curtains
capturing as much tenuous warmth
as time and nature allows.

Ever leaned into a winter sunset?
It ignites frosty edges of clouds,
embracing with fiery shadows,
but then it is barely there,
gone in a ghostly cirrus whisper,
leaving Mercury in retrograde as lovers
shrouded in twilight wonder
if it ever existed at all.
***

Inspired by Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Sunday Writing Prompt “Intimacy”. Other poets contributed to this prompt here.

 

Not Like That, But Deeper Still

Pharos

Pharos ~ The Lighthouse
Kerry O’Connor
@skyloverpoetry

Not Like That, But Deeper Still

Your soul pierced the black,
guiding me to your shore;

to you, unmasked,
regardless of
jovial exterior;

your amiable patina,
outshined by
your inner light;

moonbeams divine
whitecap from ocean,
revealing your pain;

inside, you’re lonely like me;
we resonate without words;

wings spread,
I flew to you.

Love-at-first sight? Superficial,
unlike your beckoning lighthouse.
***

Pacifico

Pacifico ~ The Pacific Ocean Kerry O’Connor @skyloverpoetry

Inspired by Real Toads Art FLASH! / 55 in December, hosted by Kerry O’Connor.

Also shared at Poets United Pantry of Poetry and Prose #7.

The Art of Ghosting

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Photo by Jesse Bowser on Unsplash

The Art of Ghosting

It requires a deft feel of
space, atmosphere,
my place within it.

Shrinking is the easy part;
few notice my contortions
to accommodate.

Conversations flow in torrents;
my awkward trickle dries,
I silently observe.

By the time anyone pauses
to notice my absence,
I’m long gone.

Disappearing one’s self
from physical social functions
call for skill and patience.

Social media ghosting only requires
resolve to never logon again;
no one looks for you there.

Voiding verbal social contracts
with friends and loved ones
can be a bit trickier.

But total mastery of this art
necessitates majestic dexterity
and stately self-loathing.

It is mastered only when
you never leave your bed
no longer seeking connection,
and no one ever again seeks
comfort within your touch.

Ghosting is easy with practice,
but living with the aftermath,
not so much.

It’s doubtful you even noticed
that I left this poem.
***

Inspired by dVerse Poetics: Your Majesty, hosted by Gospel Isosceles. Other poets contributed to the prompt here.

We were supposed to implement some type of majestic vibe into this prompt, but as you can see, I predictably went the other way with it.

Missing, Presumed Lost

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By SpaceX – Falcon Heavy Demo Mission, CC0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=66235869

Missing, Presumed Lost

Floating behind me,
a sea of blue, an immense sphere
comprising all that I know,
adore and despise,
breathe and asphyxiate,
drink and drown.

Ahead, you glisten, in quiet peril
reflecting light, juxtaposed in endless black,
after reporting a problem, drifting away,
brave smile in your voice
unintelligible
at this growing distance.

“You’re too late,” you said,
while still in range,
the warmth in your voice
transcending the void,
inexplicably soothing
my chilly fingers
and frosty extremities.

“Oh shit,” I said,
profanely breaking protocol
as the aspect of you
slowly shrank to a point of light.

“I’m sorry,” I offered to the magnets
within the transmitter mic,
a vain effort to overrule
our physical plane.

“It’s ok,” you said tenderly,
reassuring neither of us,
us both ignoring the
depleting oxygen alarms.

“I’m on to my next waypoint.
We’ll have to rendezvous
at the next target window,”
you declare as if our time were not
fleeting, finite,
our fates fixed.

You disappeared beyond the thin blue line,
leaving me to contend with the enormity
of the pale blue light and
an hour of radio silence,
floating above our northern hemisphere,
tilting away, towards winter.

“You free?” your voice vibrated
into my anxious receiver
after a maddeningly long silence
as your glimmer emerged
from the far-side,
rising to rival Venus-glow
and moondust.

“Yes,” I replied quickly,
maneuvering towards a
rendezvous altitude.
“I’m listening. I’m here.”

Then everything went null,
no heat, no cold,
not even light or shadow or grey,
leaving us clasping onto nothing.
***

Shared at Poetry Pantry #496

Bound by Three Scientific Methods

Bound by Three Scientific Methods

1.
You are a commonplace being,
bound to one of many wandering orbs,
circling one of countless common
main-sequence stars

–  not unlike the twinkling sequins
pinned overhead to our night sky –

within one of a myriad of galaxies
among the observable universe,

and yet, despite our observations,

there is no evidence among the galaxies
of another galaxy like ours,
for among the trillions upon billions
upon trillions of doppelgangers

– give or take a few trillion,
for this poem is of art, not science,
and numbers that big hold little meaning
to an average poet’s brain –

there is no star like the one star
entrapping our world,
no world like our world,
and no one on that world
who makes me smile like you do.

2.
I wrote about how special you are,
trying to quantify and distill your
essential essence into

an incantation I could call on
to fortify my purgatory
with memories of you,

but my words were too remote,
too chilly, too clinical, and
may as well had been stillborn

as an incomprehensible dead language
when translated from my inner-voice
and gestated into our common tongue.

I click my tongue
in bemused disapproval
of the effort

while still retaining the ability
to smile at the universe, knowing
that its vastness contains a singular you,

a lone me, and a bond
unlike any within our reality.

I smile, knowing
that somewhere, sometime,
I have entered your thoughts

as you often rule mine,
and at that very moment,
I know that you smiled at the thought.

3.
Scientists estimate
that there are at least
one hundred billion galaxies
in our observable universe,

an unimaginable number
which is somehow far less than
my “trillions of billions” of galactic
scientific wild-ass guess,

but not nearly as poetic.

Somehow,
I guess my imagination
exceeds even the
observable universe

when trying to solve for
the commonplace, exquisite
variable of you.
***

Originally posted on Medium.