Warm Hands, Cold Heart

I’m always feeling cold, 
even though I’m told 
I throw a lot of heat.
I’ll steam up your car windows 
just sitting there listening to
the defroster’s blast.
And I can warm your bed so much
you, like me, will have to sleep 
with one foot sticking out 
from beneath the covers.
Then you might feel me shiver,
actually a semi-conscious exertion
to generate heat, a leftover
from my years sleeping in that
unheated room off the kitchen.
It was fine by me, I just wanted 
to be alone. Some might call that 
being aloof, moody, dark, depressed.
I’m slow to anger. Perhaps because 
I throw off so much of its heat.
You wouldn’t want to see me angry. 
It’s like comparing the explosion 
of nuclear fission to cold fusion, 
which is (as far as you know) 
like seeing me truly angry.
But then you’ve never seen
my cold side, my alone side,
my beating myself up side, 
my judging side, my hate side.
That’s because I keep them...
                                           deep inside.

This was supposed to be a "warm up" poem, according to the prompt. As in warming up for the next month of a poem a day. And while I am very good at warming up things in my environment - even you - I'm not so good at that for myself. So be it. But it would be nice to feel warm.

Almost, But Not Quite…Yet

The old brass ring, 
the Great White Whale,
just out of reach, 
each an epic fail.
Perhaps you’ve stretched
with all your might,
come up empty
gave up the fight.
What if you tried
just one more reach,
like old Prufrock’s
bite at that peach?
I, myself, had
many such miss,
I failed and failed
but tell you this…
I’ll not stop reaching,
what’s one more trial?
All I want is
to see you smile.

On my countdown to my poem-a-day effort in April's National (Global) Poetry Writing Month, I was asked to write a poem with the title "Almost (Something)." I had to fill in the blank and try, try again.

It’s Written In the Scars

I learned somewhat late in life, perfection 
was an impossible standard to capture.
To pull it off required misdirection,
like casting a spell akin to rapture.

And for a while I could be quite smitten
mostly during those times I was manic.
I’d find more than I could chew I’d bitten,
while I was choking on it without panic.

I learned that perfect can obscure the true,
after I kept running into walls headlong.
I was healed and chastened by then and knew
if I saw only perfect, I’d be dead wrong.

This revelation and relief I’m sharing;
they came to me like some grace from above.
Please know despite the scars you’re wearing,
you’re always worthy of this scarred man's love.

A Sample From This Fountain of Youth

It's a shame my body and soul 
finally caught up to one another, 
now both old beyond their years. 
This heretofore angular form 
and slender spirit may be capable 
of entering into the occasion of sin, 
if they can somehow slip through 
the golden door to seal the deal.
My mind hasn’t yet suffered such decline 
as this willing flesh and weak soul. 
I'll bet its boyish imagination can still craft 
a workaround that might satisfy someone 
willing to sample a poetic taste of hope 
from this fantasy-flavored fountain of youth. 
Now, if I could only find my glasses.

Let’s Talk About It

Do you tend not to answer 
the phone unless you know 
the caller, and then “Hello” 
only some of those?
Me too. Not to be rude, it’s
just too often my mind’s 
incapable of opening my ears, 
and my heart’s forgotten 
the rest of the words.
I’ve never had to decide 
about answering when your face 
or name appears on the screen. 
I’ve lost my only picture of you, 
including in my memory. 
And we’ve both tossed 
each other's numbers. 
Probably a good thing, right?
We could talk about this all day, 
but it always was the listening 
got in our way.

Day 10 prompt in the countdown to Robert Lee Brewer's Poem-a-Day April was to make a poem titled "Let's (something)". So here we are. Again.

Main Street, Deadwood, South Dakota

In Deadwood, Main Street’s 
no longer a river of mud 
bridged by soggy boards 
that otherwise might become 
a saloon, gambling hall or 
some whore’s crib.
Main Street’s like 
streets in any other town. 
It never did get paved 
with Black Hills gold, 
nor run with the blood 
of men, red or white.
The town sells being
Deadwood, a legend that 
appealed to the vices…
gambling, greed and
gold fever. Oh and
Wild Bill, who was 
killed in a saloon called
Nuttall & Mann’s
at 624 Main Street.
They sell antiques there 
today, on this river of
blacktop bridged by

Come Spring

Come Spring, the river ice breaks 
and floats away, like memories 
that’ll only return when 
you’re housebound and alone, 
prisoner of another Winter. 
Of course, Winter doesn’t need 
a new year attached to it 
to lock you up like an ice-capped stream. 
Memories can make their own Winters,
freezing you to your chair,
turning your back to any stray 
gust of Spring lest your frozen
mien crack even a grin’s worth.
But if you listen, you’ll hear
the river’s heartbeat within,
like knocking at your door.
It won’t be denied when Spring 
decides it’s time for open water again.

This piece was inspired by Writer's Digest's Robert Lee Brewer looking for a Spring poem today. I've written more than a few in my relatively short time as a poet, most looking at the change of season kind of sideways. Not sure what angle this one's looking from. Perhaps some hopeful shoreline.

Listening for the Hollow Inside

The emptiness never goes away, 
it only leaves you hollow inside.
And the perceived need to be alone 
is loneliness with anger on the side.

I say this because I’ve felt it too,
gutted by circumstance and sorrow.
That’s not to say mine compares to yours,
though I too felt no thirst for tomorrow.

But along comes another today,
something for which we’ve wondered the need.
Another yesterday yet to happen,
its satisfaction not guaranteed.

I’m so sorry I can’t lift your soul
with my words, like this music-less song.
Can’t even fill my own emptiness,
and to touch where you hurt would be wrong.

But can I touch your shoulder this way
and offer my own if you need it?
It lies beneath my virtual ears,
the ones whose hearing’s not impeded.

I don’t need any answer today,
nor any tomorrow that follows.
I’ll know when I feel those dark winds blow,
and hear harmony from our two hollows.

I and U

Too many of these sentences begin
with a pronoun of the personal kind.
But I guess that’s about as personal
as I’ll ever get now, so I don’t mind.

Suppose I began them with consonants
rather than vowels doing the leading.
No, most consonants have sharp edges and points
that’d wound a heart already bleeding.

I may not be the one who made the thrust
that hurt your heart most severely.
But these words I wield, even the soft ones,
have been known to bruise you just as dearly.

So as I look back at this purple poem,
as well as those years writ in black and blue.
Can’t write without one sentence starting in I,
just as I can’t start any without you.

Just so we're clear -- there's no 'I' in 'Poet,' but there's no Poet without 'U'

Smile, the Laugh’s On Me

Do you remember when I used to 
make you laugh and you could 
bring a smile to my face 
just by flashing me your own? 
I’m sure you don’t think 
of those days much anymore.
Life’s moved on, and those 
old laughs and smiles, 
like memories, became such 
fleeting things, harder to hold 
than a fistful of smoke.
Oh, but what I wouldn’t give 
to hear your laugh, lilting like a song 
across the canyon between us, 
calling for my smile to echo back. 
But I can’t hear your song anymore
and you’ve forgotten the words.
Guess the laugh’s on me.