Cosmic Shrug

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Photo by Emre Öztürk on Unsplash

Cosmic Shrug

I really can’t say,
but I feel it.

You too, right?

I feel it deep
within my truth,

where the luminous soul
attaches itself to
unremarkable marrow.

Can you do it?
Can you speak power to truth?

Or would you rather
claw at the vision until
your eyes bleed the lies
in rivers and streams in which
you flee to for quick comfort?

There’s no poem for it.
Not till now, anyway.

No pill or salve either,
unless you count
the ones that nullify it,

or the weed and brown liquor
that helps you forget

or briefly removes
the weight of remembering.

I want it as I want all things
eternally unobtainable;

end of the rainbow;
golden horizon;
promise of tomorrow;

comfort of being seen
and embraced by more than this.

I’ve mastered hide-n-seek
in ways where few bother
searching anymore,

though I’d still lie
and tell them I’m fine
had they not already
given up on asking.

But never you mind;
this is just another
melodramatic poem,

not an overwrought
cryptic cry for help.

I really am fine.
***

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

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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.

Proper Care and Cleaning (of Voice)

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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.

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.

Blackness, As Meditation

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Image by bella67 from Pixabay

Blackness, As Meditation

What can I tell you about being black?

I honestly haven’t the slightest idea.

Sure, whenever I complete a form
that’s nosey enough to ask,
I check the corresponding square,

but I’m just some random guy
born into a reddish-brown shell, and
there’s no option for human doing his best,
given the tattered incomplete playbook
passed down for generations.

Everything I learned about being black
I learned from others, from momma’s
early-warning games that life’s not fair,
the playing field isn’t level,
and the rules are different for folks
who look and sound like us; that the
difficulty settings are disproportionately

skewed; that there are folks who hate me
at first sight, before I could even begin
to hope to win them over
with a smile and a silly joke.

Being black can be tricky, but

what can I definitively
tell you about being black?

You’re better off asking one of my
blood relatives who are black and proud;

I don’t know if I’m not black enough
or not proud enough, but by all accounts,
and my admission, it’s probably both.

I’m amused by the idea of claiming pride
in something I had no control over;
it’s not like I achieved anything; it’s not
like I’m one of the best blacks like Barack
or Beyoncé or K-Dot; I’m just some dude
who popped out of his momma with
reddish-brown skin, a fear of
creepy-crawlies, and a love of words.

Being black can be bemusing, but what
can I honestly tell you about being black?

To be honest, I don’t think about it
very much these days, not unless
circumstances compel me to.

I’m certainly not doing it right,

just ask anybody with the
privilege of voicing opinion;

I don’t speak the language well enough
for anyone; if I’m confident, I’m too uppity;
if I’m insecure, I need to be saved
from my own ignorance; if I’m silent,
I’m one of the sneaky ones; if I’m loud,
I’m one of the angry ones; if I’m

actually angry, I’m a threat
that needs to be stopped by any means
that will most likely withstand
judicial scrutiny.

Being black can be maddening, but

what can I unequivocally
tell you about being black?

It would seem that I’m unqualified
to say for absolute certain.

My chest rises and falls to its own cadence.
I smile big smiles, laugh belly-laughs, and
dream dreams like any other common human.

Tears well in my eyes, and I weep
openly during sappy love stories,
or when a vigilante is acquitted

by his peers for murdering one of my peers.

(Granted, we’re all peers, but my neglecting
to use first-person singular possessive here
could be perceived as not black enough.
Refer to “being black can be tricky” above.)

I have irrational fears of spiders and zombies,
and a hyper-rational fear of meeting
the wrong policeman in a dark alley
after fitting the description.

You know the description;
it’s always the same description.

Being black can be terrifying.

But what can I fearlessly
tell you about being black?

It can be tricky, bemusing,
maddening, terrifying,
all these things at once,

and sometimes, when I’m alone,
staring at the stars above
on the blackest night,

as starlight takes eons to reach
where blackness has already been,
waiting indifferently for it,

it is an absence of all these things,

for when the cosmos
overpowers my brown eyes
with overwhelming proof
of my own individual insignificance,

that is when the truth speaks to me,
that being black is human,
and is but one of many facets
of our collective humanity.
***

Trigger warning: The video below contains satirical graphic gun violence.

Inspired by dVerse dVerse Poetics: On Shades of Black, hosted by anmol(alias HA). Other writers contributed to the prompt here. I know this one’s in dire need of editing, but I may leave it as is, as it came from an honest thread of thought.