I don’t know if this is the last you might hear from me for a while. If I become someone from your past, I hope you'd think of me and smile. You know I’m more than silly rhymes, as I know you’re more than despair. I’ve shared with you thoughts of my sad times, and emotions I’d never laid bare. ‘Cause you inspired what was near dead, my soul and reason for living. And to know these words you might’ve read, such new life to me you’re giving. Enough of these poetic bent nails, iambs hammered onto rhyme schemes. You helped inspire some of my best tales. just keeping me away from my dreams. But for now this poet needs a rest from sharing all his emotion. I always tried to give you my best, if not for love, then in devotion. Day 30 and the final poem of NaPoWriMo. A Goodbye poem. I hate goodbyes, but I recognize they are an inevitable aspect of life. Someday you and I will have to say goodbye to one another one last time. And I'm not near ready for that. We've had enough of those to last ...well, you know what I mean.
I think it would be nice to spend an evening together. We could wax poetic about the waning play of light behind the trees, the houses, the curve of Earth, while watching the sun take its leave of us. There’s a lot going on in that word… evening. We say it and understand it means sunset, dusk, gloaming, but also when twilight balances in its hands those even shares of day and night and the golden hour takes the field, but gives you a gift I’ve seen only in my imaginings. It would be nice to see you resplendent in such a setting, of place, of sun, of gold, a sunlit echo of days spent together, nights apart, and moments when you were the jewel in evening’s crown. Day 29 makeup for NaPoWriMo. And Evening poem. As I noted, if you put that word on the table and pick at its parts from all angles, evening will tell you a lot. It can give a poet lonely for what was and for what wasn't, except in his imagination, the kind of image that'll last inside his eyelids all night long.
I watch my folded arms rise and fall with each slow breath. It’s as if I’m trying to give flaming life to the pile of tinder sitting between and behind my eyes. This pathetic chakra of cerebral cattail fluff, dry and ethereal, has all the air it needs to puff and smoke and extend a yellow tongue to lick whatever kindling I can gather, like syllabically stacked cordwood. But the igniting spark does not come and the heat remains out of reach. I feel my arms rise and fall, cold and empty, as the light dims but does not fail. Day 28's distracted and tired poem.
We share this physical world, but have always really lived in different ones our own. They run side by side so closely, almost intimately, in a metaphysical cosmos, we've almost touched - even feeling your breath grace my atmosphere - but we never really have. Most likely never will. There have been times, though, I’ve thought of jumping the rails of my world, leaving behind its polished orbital monotony just to touch yours, only to envision the resulting train wreck such a conjoinment might ignite. But for a moment, maybe longer, what a bright light we’d give this woeful world we already share. Day 27, a poem spinning off using "(Something) World" in its title.
You do know, all I am is make-believe, a lie I tell you I’ve told myself first. It’s not that I started out to deceive, but if I didn’t share these words I’d burst. If I told you stories you’d want to hear, then maybe you might give me a listen. But I made them up, some over a beer. In vino veritas, with Truth missin’. I’m sorry if your feelings I misled, I didn’t start out to sow confusion. It’s not like I tried to get you in bed, though, in truth, that became my delusion. La Belle Dame sans Merci, I beg pardon. My life’s been nothing but isolation. If all I’ve done is your heart to harden, then I’m doomed to even more privation. Without you, this darkness my art confines. But if you once more my attention chanced, let this be the first of my truest lines: My heart and soul you’ve forever entranced. Day 26 of NaPoWriMo. No prompt involved. I just sat and wrote. Unfortunately it came out in rhyme, but at least my imagining and chronicling worked in tandem. Heck, I'm just happy they worked at all. Thank you, my source of inspiration, my wellspring of poetry, ma belle dame sans merci (Thanks John Keats for that, as well.).
I can’t allow myself to consider an answer, since it doesn’t matter now anyway. But the question, nebulous as it has become, still smears my view of things from time to time, like morning fog on the highway or maybe the anti-shadow I see after staring too long into the sun. Should have asked and answered it back then. Is it strange I think losing my way so many times at so many crossroads after so many years doesn’t matter? Well, we all know there’s no turning back once we’ve chosen left or right, right or wrong, why or why not. What’s done is done. But, ultimately, it doesn’t matter because here we are again, you and I. Here we are again. For Day 24 of Poem-a-day NaPoWriMo, I address Robert Lee Brewer’s prompt of a Question poem. I once again mull the one question that’s dogged my life since who knows when. But, ultimately, since back then.
There’s an old seat by the window past which the parade marches by. Its seat’s buffed to a shine, ya know, by its owner, the patient guy. In it he fidgets and he sighs, he sighs and he fidgets some more. It’s just like watching as paint dries. What the hell is he waiting for? For most of his life he’s sat there, chin in his hands, nose to the glass. Whether it’s foul weather or fair, this dude just parked there on his ass. “Why don’t you just get up and go,” he said to himself one fine day. “No time will ever be right, so why not get out of your own way?” He pushed back, knocking down his chair, then he tripped and fell to the floor. “Dang it, why do I even care?” And then came the knock at his door. He stood up and said, “Who is it?” but nobody answered his call. It’s possible that he’d miss it, but it was just one knock, that’s all. So joining the parade he missed, just as Opportunity passed by. The Waiter’s lesson? Here’s the gist: It’ll only knock once, poor guy. Make-up poem #4. A "waiting" poem. And boy, do I have the bruising memories of all the times I should've thrown open that door inked into my body and soul!
I still count my days by my nights, or at least by the single blink each night has become. Slide into bed, click off the light, settle my head and BLINK…morning. The problem is the moments spent between settle and BLINK, that period of near-sleep where I breathe those pretty or sad words next to the face that will appear in maybe-light or almost-chiaroscuro on the ceiling. When my mind finishes, it closes its own eyes and we rest without sensing the passage of time. We'll have done all our dreaming in penning the words on the ceiling. Then dawn, the "K" piece of BLINK, scatters them like birds except those I was lucid enough around "B" o'clock to slip under my pillow. For Day 23 of NaPoWriMo 2021, I borrowed a prompt from my friend Carolee Bennett again. She asked that I consider what repetitions in my life mark time, and write a poem featuring one or more of them. If you've been around for my relatively short "life" as a poet, you know about my love/hate relationship with sleep. Perhaps this poem explains why.
Contemplation, by Karen Hollingsworth I think it would be like heaven, sitting there in my writer-mind’s hell, to look up from that bedeviling blank page and see eternity stretch out before me outside my mean little frame of reference. That’s where the sea breeze coaxes the window sheers to tickle my bare calves like my angel’s toes might, given the right circumstances. But then a wind-blown whiff of dusty curtain would remind me I don’t visit this heaven enough to shake loose the idle cobwebs of my shuttered imagination, and, you, the angel I perceive waving to me from the beach, are just another of my writer’s dreams unfulfilled. But I believe we all have a shot for at least one visit to heaven. Don't we, angel? NaPoWriMo poem-a-day makeup poem #3. An Ekphrastic poem...I think.
The fish-belly pallor extends down from where some hair used to provide shade up there. Now I’m pale from tonsure to triple chin. But you can’t see that behind the ubiquitous bespoke mask I wear. This dermal pucker from months girding myself with elastic waistbands should become the skin-deep totem tattoo of my tribe of survival-bent citizens, though I hide it beneath shirttails I wear outside my pants since I began counting my daily steps by linear board feet and stair risers. I have grown old, as well as round, if this mirror is to be believed. But I probably can mitigate some of the damage if I try as hard at self-repair as I did at self-preservation. Or perhaps my post-pandemic appearance, this three-layered, mask-scarred portrait of a man in full-and-a-half, will be not unlike the virus-conscious cultural changes we're forced to make. The New Normal. For Day 22 of NaPoWriMo, I tapped into a prompt from my friend, Albany-area poet Carolee Bennett. I think a COVID life portrait was inevitable, given how poets are chroniclers of our times as much as journalists. And I've been both.