Winter’s Always Coming for Someone

I can’t recall if it was so gradual 
I didn’t notice, or all at once, 
like I suffered some kind 
of emotional trauma, 
but the pines catching snow 
on their needles reminds me 
of when I found my whiskers 
had begun going white.
I can’t say it bothered me 
all that much, not like when my hair 
turned from salt and pepper 
to a pilar NaCl without the spice
and from there to a skinny
low-sodium diet from my ears up.
But nature certainly has a way 
of letting one know Winter’s coming,
whether a guy's looking at a pine tree
in November's falling snow or his face 
in the mirror on the weekend.

By the way, pilar is an adjective meaning “of or related to hair.” I chose it instead of hirsutal because it was less work changing one letter from one of those Doric columns lining the fronts of old public buildings, rather than a whole mess of spell-checked letters in that swishy thing attached to the ass end of a cowboy’s mount. Which, come to think of it, is a pretty hirsutal thing, too.

Just a Pile of Words

To you I might be just a pile of words
that probably doesn’t say much,
a voice that makes no sound,
a silence that roars truth
if I’m doing this right,
At least that’s what I hope you found.
One day I might get through
to myself with the message
I’ve much too long been missin’.
But in truth I’m like you,
to whom this truth can’t get through
if to my own truth I don’t first listen.

Being Human In the Headlights

Wednesday morning, the big doe stepped 
from the brush girding the stand of pines 
on the north side of the yard. 
She was a majestic dream of a deer. 
Grandest female I’ve ever seen, even hiding 
her beauty beneath that late autumn coat. 
Idling halfway across the yard, she stopped, 
brown eyes looking into mine as I froze 
in the kitchen window. This dull grey human 
in the headlights. I broke the connection, 
blinking loud enough I spooked her.

Who am I kidding? She stopped to spook me.
How she knew I was intently eyeballing her 
is probably the same superpower you have 
when I stare at you, even standing there
in my imagination. You just know.

So, just like that, soon as she knew 
I’d been whipped, she trotted 
the rest of the way into the southside shadows, 
disappearing with a shake of her tail 
and three four-beat cloppities of her hooves. 
And now you’re both shrouded in my forest, 
your own stand of memory within me. 
I hope you’ll come back around and see me, 
even in your dun autumn coat,
still shining as grand as you really are.
I promise this time I won’t blink.

Once I Was A Sky-Gazer

I used to notice so much in the sky,
airliners writing travelogues 
in white contrail ink, birds penning
songs in feathered bunting strung
tree to tree, castles and dragons
and here and there your face sculpted
in billowing vapor, even the poorly
cleaned blackboard ceiling upon which
crows would scratch their calls.

After sundown I’d watch the winter moon 
rise working hard to escape from the net 
of limbs the maples tossed skyward 
to no avail, watch the escapee glide 
behind windblown clouds, follow stars 
as they ran their courses as if the gods 
were twisting the dial on the firmament, 
and wonder if I was hearing the invisible
vee calling the cadence as it sky-marched 
from Canada to the Chesapeake.

I don’t sense so much anymore as I wander 
alone beneath that world flying above 
since my neck doesn’t bend back far enough 
to scan the great dome covering 360 degrees 
of horizontal wonder. But over there 
an empty bag of chips is chasing a squirrel 
up that oak, at dawn the neighborhood windows 
glow like apricots or 65-inch rainbows, and then
there’s this flat me-shaped guy who tripped me 
the other day when he caught me while I tried
sky-gazing again.


Who would hear it, if I was to fall 
now that no one listens anymore? 
Would you feel the air rush past my ears 
as I drop on my way to the cold, hard floor, 
where my last breath will be cruelly knocked 
from my chest with a whoosh or a rasp?
Would my life playing on the screen in your mind 
in nano-second episodes make you gasp? 
Might your attention leave the theater after 
the .002-second scene of the third act 
because even my gun, the one from Act One,  
going off in my head couldn't make you react?
Or perhaps you’d wait stage-left to see 
if my final thought was of you alone,
as in the overture and between the lines 
I’ve written, recited and probably blown.
Until the curtain falls and in the wings I'll wait 
for you to make your final bow and adieu
and join me there because some writer never 
amended his script to ever let me join you.

Trying For a Mountain When a Molehill Will Do

I’m sitting at my window watching
a mountain being born upon 
the swatch of ground between me and 
the shed. Something out there wiggled, 
distracting my eye from this sheet 
of white, which lies as flat and dormant
as my inspiration and the near-frozen 
ground from which -obviously - 
mountains can happen. 

Again it shakes and an eruption of fresh
earth spews forth, cascading down 
its conical form like I wish 
great words would from my pointy head. 
And I spit curses at myself and Nature 
because there She goes making 
perfect molehills again while I’m 
stuck trying to make mountains.

True happening. Too true failing.

Hold On, Hold On

I wish I had a life something like yours, 
as sad as you feel you are. 
Yes, it’s dealt you some busted hands,
here and there…even there…a scar.
But at least you’ve lived and loved
and felt, the sense that’s left me just old.
And now I’m seeing that light up ahead,
where the only touch I’ll feel is cold.
Looks like I’ll always be left to wonder
what my life would’ve been like if only…
Wondering doesn’t feel so soft and warm,
wondering like this only feels lonely.
Too late now to hope some day I’ll find 
what I’ve not often felt to feel better.
Your memories hold the warmth you’ve held,
and I pray someday we can hold some together.

Telling You A Lot Since I’ve Nothing to Say

The words won’t come to me today, 
at least ones that make any sense.
Forgotten their rules, too, that is to say,
except, perhaps, number and tense.

But what do I know? I’m just a man,
who daily hooks his heart to his sleeve
and hopes what he says you’ll understand
and keep you near and never leave.

But I’ve no control over what you feel,
only Hope and Faith I might give you pleasure.
I pray a little of your heart I can heal,
or maybe steal, what I regard as a great treasure.

I’ve rattled on here much too long,
especially for someone with nothing to say.
With Faith and Hope I’ll send this along,
but (again) looks like I’m sending my Love today.

This truly started out as a free write this afternoon. Couldn’t get any words to knit together, so I just wrote what came to me when I wasn’t trying. 

As New As This, As Old As That

It’s special, this time, 
as my life dwindles down. 
I look back at what 
I can remember of the days 
and nights that led me 
to this place and time. 

But I can’t remember 
as much as I’d wish, 
those experiences as much 
a mystery to me as who wrote 
the good stuff in these books 
with my name on them. 
Or who I was to the world, 
or to you. 

I don’t envy those with 
memories of each little thing 
most find important. 
It’d be stupid to envy that
which I cannot hold, and, 
in truth, never did.

I do envy those who got to, 
though I pray that’ll slip away, too.
But this time’s special, 
indeed, because you’re now like 
a new discovery to my eager, 
raw and just-learning mind.

And that, dear one, is a gift
just behind this life and your love
to me.

Because I got a late start (Let’s admit it, I forgot about it), I combined a batch of Writer’s Digest poem-a-day challenge prompts in this Sunday catch-up special. In fact, one of them is a Special poem. I also tied together two title prompts, the “As (Blank)" and the "(Blank) That” prompts. Finally, I made this one of my Memory poems and threw Raw in there just to complete the handful.

Dumb Luck and the Blame Game

I wonder why so many of us choose 
to shoulder blame when kismet drew the card.
And even when pointed out, we refuse
to accept our life’s hard just ‘cause it’s hard.

I used to say I must’ve been the one
when something inevitably went wrong.
Everyone else looked like they had won --
or at least at the sky -- whistling a song.

But after too many times taking blame,
from parents, teachers, friends for all this stuff,
I realized they couldn’t deal with the shame
to admit their fault. So I said “Enough!” 

I’m not responsible for your screwups,
and perhaps they’re not all your fault, as well.
Sometimes stuff happens, like dice rolled from cups
and taking on unearned blame’s a living hell.

Life’s a gamble, randomly dealt, lost and won
and sometimes things happen ‘cause they do.
If you can’t accept this then Life won’t be fun.
And while I hate blame, that one’ll be on you.