Over and Out

What’s my world come to?
It’s a rhetorical question.
If I welcomed you to my world
you wouldn’t see much different
from your own, I guess, except for the
“wouldn’t see much” part.
It’s an outwardly quiet place,
sometimes placid, others foreboding,
everywhere I look. But mostly that’s
in the mirror or in the dark above my
bed each night. That’s it, my world.
Always looking and dreaming
in the same direction…
Out.
I trust my sense of direction,
just never trusted myself to take it.
On this ledge above your world
I’ve always perched, facing out there,
sometimes dropping a sigh or a tear on you.
Sometimes I spit.
I like watching them twist and drift
before spattering the world,
where you pick them up upon your shoes,
walking through all your worlds.
I swing my shoes over the edge,
bravely dangling them in a dream
I’ve finally jumped over too,
somehow joining you on our march…
Out.

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A Face Out of Focus

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Out of Focus Green Backgrounds-9, by Victorgrigas, via Wikimedia

It’s funny how often when I sit down
to chronicle my mind’s journey,
the one that took a handful of decades
to make yet can be read cover to cover
in the instant I step off on my imaginary
left foot, only a handful of images
spring to view. I can only hold that
five fingers’ worth of life within this cloudy
scene of greensward and foggier memory.

More often than not, there’s this face
I once knew hiding just off the margins,
or in that park’s oak tree shadows
of ever more feeble remembrance.
I’d describe it to you, but its edges
have become fuzzy with the years
and its colors indistinct, like that face
in the mirror when I’d shave with lights off
and dawn not yet over the window sill.

The other day, I placed my imaginary thumb
over that blur of memory, and the remaining
images lost the sharpness of their being,
smudged as if rain, or even tears, fell upon
a fresh watercolor. I pulled back,
and everything became sharp again.
Strange that when we try losing sight
of one piece of our story, so much
of the rest of it loses its focus, too.

Sorry for the run of longer poems lately. After completing a book’s worth (actually two) of 100-word poems for One Hundred Beats a Minute, I guess my muse needed to stretch her legs. I’ll tighten things up again soon, I hope. Or maybe a poem’s length is like Abraham Lincoln how described his legs when asked how long they were: “Long enough to reach the ground.” 

Seeing the Sad Songs

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Sunset over the Red Rocks area of Arizona, by Harvey Stearns

We really listen to the sad songs.
The happy tunes blur in a whirr
of beats and snappy melodies
past our ears. But the lonely,
wistful ones capture us with words,
aurally beheld concepts
that could actually appear as
something tangible, touchable,
or maybe once that way,
within our minds and hearts.
The non-touchable hearts, that is.

I wish I could write sad songs,
framing my words like little houses
on 3/4 waltz time, punctuating the lines
with rhyme, putting up walls called verses,
painting them a memorable color
in the chorus. Not black or gray, though.
My sad songs would glow in
noon-bright yellows, Big Sky blues
and maybe earthy adobe reds.

They wouldn’t be country songs, though.
Just sad and maybe hopeful words
carried by the winds of music,
songs you saw with your heart,
enjoyed in their gentle passing,
and stayed with you even after
that purple and gold fadeout,
like a sunset cover of Arizona Highways.

Living the Dream

It’s 7:00 AM and I’ve been awake since 4:55. If the birds were up then, I never heard them through the black that oozed beneath the gray window blinds. Sleep and I are having issues again. She turned her back to me the past couple of weeks and finally booted me from the sack this morning. If you can call the lingering darkness of five to five morning.

I pull the cord down to open the blinds and see the flocked canvas of grass out back. Or what passes for grass among the yellowed weeds, spiny moss and tawny pine needles, composed in the half-glow of dawn’s pastel palette. A squirrel flies his autumn-fluffed tail in a chain of low-gravity leaps, scouring the scene for acorns the oak has dropped in exchange for holding onto its baseball mitt leaves for another month.

And I realize the scene framed by my bedroom window will be soon enough wiped away, baptized by the too-soon-for-comfort whitewash of winter, smooth and cool as those sheets must be by now.

I close the blinds for one more try, offering sleep this squirrel-gray bouquet of words in the twilight dark of early morning, my flag of surrender and supplication for just one hour in her embrace, perhaps to dream of floating through pastel pastorals, amid falling leaves, the wind whipping from north to west, gentle on my cheek. Gentle.

Two minutes later, I’m out back, living the dream.

One More Time

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A Lag BaOmer bonfire, by Yoninah, via Wikipedia

The bounce from bed to floor
and from there to the door
doesn’t happen much anymore.
I tend to linger beneath the covers
to gather myself from the ashes.
I feel the weight of days upon me,
my yesterdays and their nights before
and their dawns and sunsets before them.
I sense them clinging to me,
like smoke from a wood fire,
pinching my eyes closed,
binding itself to my skin with a burn
like an embarrassment,
rasping in my throat in
an old man’s morning cough.

I suppose I could accept the asphyxia
offered by this crush of years,
these smoky memories, just lying still,
waiting for the inevitable next darkness.
But I just can’t. I still
agelessly throw off those bed-clothes,
flap away that smoke,
lay another piece of the tree of me
upon the pyre I’ll set off tonight
when darkness comes. That’s how
I light the way to tomorrow,
anyway, when I slowly climb from bed
and I clear away the smoke
and take a deep breath of today
one more time.