Here, take this for your journey,
the one we all must wander
and ultimately finish alone.
That’s how I’ve made my way
across this expanse — past you,
the hope in me, the dark, the light,
that unrecognizable song on the wind,
the shaking limbs of trees
and those of my body.
I’m presenting it to you
with these shivering hands.
It’s too heavy for me to carry
anymore where I must go,
but it’s too dear to bury,
becoming some treasure forgotten,
its loving shine grown tarnished.
I didn’t mint it for saving,
but to pay the toll on this
lonely road I’ve traveled.
And the jingle of it in my pockets
is killing me.
The rain falls gently all around,
touching my face like an ancient great-aunt,
her cold slick fingers trying to recall
what warm and soft felt like.
Easily forgotten, I’d imagine,
if I didn’t know the truth,
I suppose I could slap my cheek
and then brush my fingertips
against a freshly shaven expanse
of warm pink flesh, but that would be
like touching a medium rare steak,
lifeless and ultimately not good
for what ails me.
The wind’s shifted and the rain
comes harder now, stinging my cheek
with the old slap of reality
that I wouldn’t recall warmth anyway.
See, I’ve always been a medium rare
kind of guy and this rain’s just a reminder
of what really ails me.
Street gutter in Old Town Stockholm, by Bengt Nyman via Wikipedia
It’s me, the out of mind one, more than likely.
But just this once more, unlike all those
other times when I didn’t push SEND
or wrapped the messages in so much thin metaphor
it looked like a confused, opaque mantle
to everyone but me, I hope you don’t turn away
as I raise my chin and burning cheeks and then
scurry back into the shadows.
Seems my time’s growing short, bodies falling around
in some sort of how-to for writing an itinerary
to the complete darkness, when it’ll be okay to forget
I was worth a conversation.
I don’t have time for the old obsessions,
the past mistakes of diving head-first into puddles
that looked sky-deep and as cloud-comforting
as a bed upon which an angel would keep a side open.
I get it, there are no angels, no companions to serve
as wingmen on that last trip…and fall. But maybe,
just once more, you might think kindly enough of me,
the good side of me at least, to walk there
for a few metaphoric steps, a couple more smiles,
where we can say “See ya,” and I can drop this
in that shallow gutter to float away with the rest
of those thousand thousand words.
Been a while since I cranked out one of these. But the “whiles” a growing sparser and this just happened. Must be the time of year.