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. Cold. 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) hypothetical… 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ghosts.
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.
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.
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'
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.