We All Need Some Reassuring Still

All I’ve got are words my heart pours,
and the ones you give in return.
Do you know the strength you have yours?
Please hold onto these then and learn.

Won’t take long, just a few more rhymes,
for once I’ll try to be concise.
You’ve said them more than just a few times;
and yes to me they’re beyond price.

But reassurance, even I need
when anxious to see or hear you.
And so it’s when your words I read
that I feel you feel as I do.

The thought is clearest in just three,
though I’ve used thousands, as you know.
You use four words when you tell me,
but today please end with “still,” instead of Joe.

Today, I found a poet asking for poems of Reassurance, though they meant ones we’ve read elsewhere and not our own. I’m not so well-read as most poets I know (and no doubt ALL I don’t). So I sat and wrote, a labor beyond Herculean for me these days. Here’s what I mucked out of the Augean stables of my mind. 


I hope there’s Wonder left in me,
something to hang my breath onto
with a surprised inhalation 
or a long slow exhalation.
Wouldn’t it be a waste of air
only to sit here and respire,
just in and out and in and out
in some autonomic two-step
our lungs dance to heart’s shuffle beat…
that lopsided ka-thunk, ka-thunk?
That’s why I need you in my life,
kick starting my heart from 4/4
to a 6/4 beat just seeing you.
Then my breath, trying to keep time, 
gets all tangle-footed in my throat.

So I Gasp, tripping over my tongue
like a little kid hearing with fright 
his cue to step into the stage lights 
to squeak out “Tidings of great Joy” 
in the annual Christmas play.
But when I look into your eyes, 
I find behind the glare of pain 
something I’m not sure many would.
I see the sparkle of Wonder.
Then my heart skips a beat or two, 
while my lungs squeeze out a low Wowww.
And I thank you for reminding me 
that Wonder still is in all of us 
but we can best find it reflected
in the eyes of people we love.


I'm sitting, looking at this cloud,
its top constantly shifting
in winds I cannot see nor feel.
I just want to reach out, 
grab hold of it and fly, 
which direction, northeast?
I can’t do that, anymore, except
in my once moving mind.

But now my life is settled,
like silt all around me, stuck 
in this tear-drowned dirt.
Here I no longer see nor feel
what I once could, when I’d grab 
the clouds just for that music 
of the wind to which I’d give lyrics 
for you to sing.

But I can’t hear you sing anymore, either.

Another Storm, Another Day

They say that a storm is coming, 
but some storm’s always on its way.
Clouds can gather and steal your joy
even on a bright, blue-sky day.
And so leaden shadow’s have come again,
though my sky seems never not gray.
What peeps of sun I think I see
are just more baseless hopes you’ll stay.
So once again I’m left to ponder
why still I stand in the storm and say,
“I think it just might be letting up,’
when I know it’ll never go away.

Alone In the Dark and Flying Too Close to the Ground

I heard before I saw 
the crows’ black forms cross 
in front of then behind me.
I was a little surprised 
by this intrusion into 
my downcast thoughts, given that 
I stop listening, too, when 
blinded by my inner lightlessness.
The greater surprise, though, 
was actually noticing the crows 
fly by while I shuffled along 
staring blankly just ahead of my toes.
Where clouds once were the canvas 
upon which we’d watch the birds 
flying against the sunlit sky, now it’s 
but the crows’ cutouts of daylight 
I see draped upon this path until 
gathered up by my lone shadow.

Photo ©2016 Joseph Hesch


How can this forsaken old cuss 
turn YOU and I into our own US.
Hmmm, if you’re my one and only YOU,
and I’m also yours, well that makes two.
Then if you are your own I, let’s see,
that would make me, well, my own ME.
How ‘bout we closely side by side sit,
so close just an apostrophe’d fit.
Here’s magic just your poet might see.
in which I and Me become I’M E.
So maybe E and our Double-YOU
don’t make an US, but a WE they do.
A WE to replace those times so lonely.
Sharing days to come. Oh, if only.

I know I’ve been absent for too long. A lot of life interrupted your local poet from completing the daily rounds of his imagination. But I’m feeling better now and hope I can bring you (and I) whatever verse I’m capable of scribbling. This is the kind of poem that comes to one when they lie in bed with Covid and a different kind of fever no medicine can cure.

Finding Our Way from the Always-Been to the Always-Destined

What a wonder it will be 
to discover a new path 
upon which we’ll walk. 
With autumn on the breeze, 
I know how the trees 
will cover our tracks 
with now-gilded reminders 
of all those lives past.
But wouldn’t it be another wonder 
to lose ourselves on a path 
we might vaguely recognize, 
only to turn around and find 
October’s smudged our route 
with its russet and vermilion hands?
Soon, winter will take over 
that job, filling our footsteps 
with blank pages for us 
to plot and plod our way, 
again, perhaps away from
our always-been toward 
our always-destined.

Available: Vintage Heart

I’m thinking of trading it in,
My heart I mean.
I’ve kept it sitting here in the garage, 
not going much of anywhere, 
not sharing any rides for awhile and all. 
It's more heart than i ever needed.

I don’t think I’ll be needing it 
as much as I’d like anymore.
So I’ll hang an ad right here 
and see if anyone would like 
a pretty well-maintained heart.
It’ll say something like this…

Vintage heart. Soft interior, 
some dents and scratches,
recently repaired, motor good.
Not quite cherry, but low-mileage.
Only one owner.
Not me.

On second thought, 
Maybe I’ll keep it.
This heart I mean.
Never know when we might 
take a another spin to the country, 
listen to the stereo.
You can choose the tunes.

Willing to Receive

Such strange vessels, you and I, 
with more than enough inside 
to pour, if not overflow, but only 
the smallest of openings with which to fill.
I know this because we’ve each tried 
to fill others, even one another, 
yet hunch our shoulders when such blessings 
fall upon us, as if shrinking 
from some fearsome storm.
Perhaps it’s best that we’ve always 
gently shared these feelings with each other.
Not wasting what we hold so dear
in some great rush, but with the tenderness 
of a mist caressing our cheeks. 
And now free to feel the soft joys 
of receiving as well as giving each other's love.

Writing Your Name in the Dust

I dusted my headboard today
and wondered, as some motes managed
to cling to the Mission-style frame,
if with my Muse I’ll still be sleeping
as long as the next weekend or two.
It’s why I hope there’s such a thing
as reincarnation and our paths
have joined time and again over
the course of centuries. And it’s
the dust of you I inhale each night,
a perfume of historic affection
ringing my senses with the possibilities
of the endless union of more than
our so, so spiritually conjoined souls.
For dust thou art,
And unto dust shalt thou return.
That’s what keeps me a lazy housekeeper
and a wheezy, waiting, wide-awake dreamer
writing your name in the dust each night.