The Last Wave

Last I saw you was in that parking lot.
You waved and I almost cried like a tot
trying not to run after you once more
and rap on and open that car door.
Because you know I always would.
And now, since I can’t, I wish I could,
since I may have forgotten your face,
always stunning me with its beauty and grace.
Sure I have some photos,
but as reminders they’re no-goes
when I look at them through
the fish tank dripping of dew
you filled up in me
as surely as rivers do the sea.
You probably look unfamiliar
now anyway. As I look dissimilar
to the man you once knew
in whom you’d find trust and love for you.
Perhaps one day soon it would be better
if someone gave you some sense of this letter
telling you the man who loved you had died.
It wasn’t that I never cared enough or tried.
I’ll fade away with whatever memory I can save,
since you said goodbye with your last wave.

Day #28 of my poem a day challenge. A poem titled “‘_______’ Wave.” That’s all I’m saying.

Carolina Blue

Blue Ridge Parkway North Carolina

The sky claims the upper third of the view in the blue that bears its name. The bottom of the scene, the blue-gray roadway, stretches out ahead like the world’s longest pair of jeans, top-stitched in a Pass/No Pass yellow thread. It’s singing the sonorous song of tar strips against this Yankee’s tires. The middle ground belongs to the pines that curtain off everything to the right and left as if the hills had something to hide. This is the Carolina I observe that lies between a family stretched 700 miles apart. The road offers somnolent monotony and even comfort to a brain that whispers and wonders about what it thinks might lie ahead and what lies might’ve been left behind. The Honda reels in another semi and peels around it to clear the screen of clutter beyond the bugs who lost their own race from here to there. And just as you think closing your eyes wouldn’t be such a bad thing after all, a deer wanders from its place behind the curtain, stage right. It’s gray-beige coat gleams like a the head of a haloed saint in the golden hour now chiming on the gong of sun preparing to make its exit on a day you remember only in stops for coffee, gas, tolls and men’s rooms dressed in tiles foreign as Delaware is to Virginia. But then that eagle, big as a retriever, swoops across its Carolina blue highway and settles upon some scurrying critter who will scurry no more, and you realize there is more life going on around you than in all the lives you’ve lived and loved and lied and lusted and outlasted in your head since you started your sojourn. That’s when you realize here’s your exit and your journey is only just beginning.

I thought I’d combine a couple of prompts for Day #27 of my Poem a Day Challenge. The prompt was for a story poem, which used to be my stock in trade. Also, May 1st begins Story a Day May, which I enjoy playing in. Julie Duffy the doyen of Story a Day, suggested we crank out a warmup story of 100-1,000 words. So here is my free-written double-header piece to warm down from April and warm up for may. Not sure if it’s either a story OR a poem, but it’s written and that’s the important part.

April, So Cruel

The rain’s laying
its restorative hands
upon the lands
surrounding my old house.
Our long winter has left
this pillow upon which sets
my only treasure a scratched
and motley patch
of tan, brown and olive.
April’s poetic showers
have only just arrived,
with May a week away.

Poor May, tasked with
completing the work
of two months in its 31 days,
scurrying along April’s
grass shoots, the crocuses
and daffodils, as well as
nursing its own tulips and lilacs.
April’s cold and snowy sloth
has shifted its cruelty
just as an October would
in blowing its leaves
into November’s yard.

This is probably a make-up poem for Day #22 of this month, sliding into the gap caused by my trip to North Carolina. It was supposed to be a “plant” poem, which i guess you could say it is tangentially, but it turned into a mild screed on how this winter has stretched its frozen fingers into a whole lot of the calendar’s Spring. But Nature can’t tell time and that calendar page beginning with A is just more junk for me to rake up this weekend…if it stops raining. Story/poem coming up in a bit for Day #27.

Grateful For Our Never-Could-Be

There always was a you and me,
though there never could be an us.
That’s just how things shook out, you see,
and how I never was one to raise a fuss.

But it would never have worked out,
two loners changing but one letter to lovers.
Not that the fantasy never came about,
and still does, as over my bed it hovers.

Such couplings would require more than dreams,
more than hopes and baseless obsessions.
They need two-way connection between their two extremes,
not vague one-way mumbled confessions.

So I gave up that ridiculous desire,
longer ago than you’d imagine.
Yet I’m thankful for each time they still transpire,
fueling what passes for a feckless dreamer’s passion.

For Poem a Day Challenge Day #26, the prompt was for a Relationship poem. My track record for writing such pieces is long and tinted blue for its view of the unrequited. So here you go. One more link in the chain that locks me into the poetry game. I can figure out some of the who, what, when and why of these things. But why the rhyming? Search me. I just transcribe what that lovelorn loser in my head mumbles.

Sesquipedalian

This poem is supposed to be about
any word that’s, you know, somewhat alien,
one that’s little known or multisyllabic,
as clear to most as if shrouded by a smoking kalian.
See, as a poet, you’d think I could pick from
a sackful, enough to share in a madrigalian.
But I’m just an opposing-thumbed, medium-brained,
somewhat upright-walking mammalian,
barely a member of the species that gave us
daVinci and Shakespeare, though not some rhychocephalian.
But if I could choose one big old word,
I’d throw a monumental party, something saturnalian.
And for those of you who love your drink,
enough libation would flow to float a bacchanalian.
But I can’t select one, so this poem’s another failure,
mostly ’cause I’m a piss-poor writer…oh, and piss-poor
sesquipedalian.

On Day #25 of the Poem-a-Day Challenge during this National Poetry (Writing) Month I was charged with picking an intriguing and/or seldom-used word, make it the title of the poem, and then, writing one. If you know me, then you know that decision-making cannot go on top of my list of strengths. It’s more like a feat of strength. So, choosing one word among the few I know (why else would I constantly make up all these hyphenated whats-it words?) was not going to happen. Hence you get this piece of spaghetti-tossed-at-the-fridge-door doggerel. Oh, and sesquipedalian means “tending to use long words,” coming from the Latin for “foot-and-a-half in length.” Works for me.

Silver Thread

Sometimes I think I can see
each silver thread that surely
salts the darkness of your hair.
I surrendered to the silver
years ago. You touched mine
with surprise and maybe wonder,
but never did see the value in it.
I’ve come to see that these threads
of silver as illuminating
the tapestry of our times here,
the life, loves, triumphs
and failures we have brought
upon ourselves and others.
And endured.
I’ve the most treasure
stitched into my time-worn arras
concealing the truth of
our history. While I never
touched your silver threads,
I probably gave some to you
anyway.

Sweet Angel, Take My Hand

The allure of diving into
the forbidden places
sits at the corners
never really hiding,
ready to saunter to
your shoulder and whisper
her practiced patter.
She’s not a demon,
a demon would never
entice you with something
as benign as a hot fudge sundae.
She could be an angel, though,
because she brings you
the message of how good
you’ll feel when you
taste a lick from that cone
of chocolate-vanilla swirl
or from that swirl of lips and hips.
Why else would God make them
but to allow us to feel loved,
blindly blissful in that
moment of contact?
Ahhh, captivating contact.
Ooooh, sweet surrender.
Oh, Angel, you still lead me
and my pen into temptation.
Take my hand and never stop
delivering me these songs
of blessed evil, these
wicked blessings.

Day #18 of NaPoWriMo and the Poem-a-Day Challenge. Today’s prompt was for a Temptation poem. Temptations come in many packages, colors and flavors.They can whisper in your ear, dazzle your eye, lead you by the hand or take your heart and carry it where you may not ever thought you’d go. But you do…willingly.

The Tune She’d Heard Somewhere Before

He’d say they were like the links on a chain,
each instance where he fell in love.
Or whatever facsimile of “love” he chased.
But he really didn’t understand true love.
He only knew it in a Webster’s Dictionary sense
that he’d read through the bottom of a tumbler
of pheromones and endorphins on testosterone rocks.

There were a few that rocked him, left him
stunned and aching in the avalanche of their passing.
To them he actually confessed his devotion, his longing,
his “love.” They would nod and then shake their heads No
as they moved on to the next manifestations of their own
understandings of the phenomenon.

Once, one looked back at his shadow, the memory of him
cascading broken and crooked on the debris she left behind,
as he whistled his way upward toward the horizon.
For a moment, she wondered why he always got back up
and tried just once more. As he crested the hill,
on his way to falling again, he shifted a few stones
that bounded down to her feet.

She picked them up, stashed them in her pocket,turned and
went her way, humming a tune she thought she’d heard
somewhere before.

On Day #17 of National Poetry Writing Month, I was asked to answer the challenge for a love or anti-love poem. Jeez, must I? So I sat and wrote something that might embody a little of both concepts…perhaps very little. A free write and one of those story-poems that used to flow from me as easy as tapping these keys. Maybe that’s my true love. Maybe there’s still a bit of my Muse’s love left for me.

Grandpa’s Favorite

It’s not that I was the tallest.
Not by a long shot.
Nor the best looking or cutest.
Well, maybe at age 2. Smartest?
Who knew back then?
But I always got the impression
I was my grandfather’s favorite.
Now, I don’t admit this with any
overweening pride. My pride lies
scattered and broken somewhere
in the basement or in my closet.
Years ago, I dropped it and
lots of people stepped on it.

But I can tell you the old man
would lift me into his dump truck
and let me fire up the engine.
He’d give only me nickels
to scratch his bald head while
he dropped off for a nap.
He called me Angelo and
I’ve never quite figured out why,
since I bear the same name he did.
But then, he christened all my cousins
with individual nicknames, too.
Hmmm…

Now I have two granddaughters
and I could never say one’s
my favorite, since they’re
so wonderfully different.
Their three-plus-year age gap looks
so vast when the oldest is barely four.
But here’s what I hope happens
when I’m finally hanging out
with that old man again in
the Valhalla of Hesches:
I want each of my granddaughters
to believe she was my favorite…
because she would be right.

On Day #16 of the PAD Challenge, the prompt was for a “favorite” poem. Which is hard because I don’t have a favorite much of anything. So I just sat at the keyboard and started typing. I often forget the free write is my friend. So here’s the “favorite poem,” which has what someday might be three of my favorite lines concluding it.

Fallen Upon This Deaf Ear

Fine, you don’t have to talk to me.
Show me the palm of your hand
and push me away. Your message
has always been clearer that way.
If we were to sit side by side,
face to face, I would only misconstrue
whatever flimsy bond of you and me
I could dream actually existing.
But I do long to feel your words
buffeting me like winds, freezing
and teasing, scolding and caressing,
their temperature and velocity
more important than their meaning.
They bump up against me and fall away
so that I must imagine their substance
and insinuation. But to not feel them
at all has left me voiceless,
spitting senseless utterances into a gale
where they become as lost as I am
perched here waiting to sense your meaning
if only you would speak to me once more.
Yes, I am the deaf ear to your words,
and it is I who will fall without them.

I am constantly coming closer to feeling I cannot make these clusters of words have any real meaning anymore. Be they poem or story, they lack the power, beauty and emotion of what I wrote even a couple of years ago, as far as I can tell. Maybe my misery has changed, beaten down by the silence I feel between me and the ones who fueled my creative flame. I would reach out for their words, kind or otherwise, but I’d only drop them before they reached the forge where I’d form them into something solid and shining. So you get rusty ore in this poem based on metaphor, the theme on this 15th day of April upon which I should be writing something better resembling poetry.