Bleeding Heart by Michal Boubin
So many years have passed
since the first time
I felt the chill and
hot rollercoaster thrill
when I sensed you standing
on the threshold of my life.
It wasn’t a feeling I
hadn’t experienced before,
but with you it’s clung
to me like a tattoo.
When I think of that day,
and so many thereafter,
I can still feel the sting,
the pinching pain of the needle,
and bubbling rush
of endorphins upon which
I floated, intoxicated
on something and someone
to whom I became
No, it wasn’t your name
inked onto me, nor
even your face. Such images
would fade with age.
It’s been more like a wound
you carved into my heart,
initials that never healed,
a portal through which
it expresses emotions
I once preferred stayed within.
But that changed once
I dipped this pen into that
which flows between us,
and wrote thus.
Happy Valentine’s Day! Or is it, Happy Valentine’s Day? As always, I leave it to you, dear reader, to find your own impressions, your own story in these drops of what rested stagnant within me until that day it was given release.
Sometimes he can almost
make out what he’s looking for
deep in his Well of Memories.
Could be they’re glimpses
of what he actually experienced,
or maybe pieces of some other
recollection torn, dented
and stuck on their way down
in the shadowy moss fuzzing up
the view of this ever darkening
tunnel of loves lost and found?
Did she really say what he sees
in that unlikely clump of lichens?
Or is that merely a couple of dreams
he lost when finally he awakened?
Is that truly the touch
of her cheek to his or just
another soft thing he can’t recall
if he stole or merely wished
would warm him now when the world
grows colder, darker and
more regretful by the night.
Sometimes, when the moon’s just right,
he thinks he sees her face there
at the bottom, watching him
as he searches for something
no one ever saw but him.
Probably it’s just his face
reflecting back into those eyes
that hope they’ll find her there,
or see she might still care,
or the image of her ever thinking
she sees the same things
in the dark memories into which
she stares. If she ever dares.
The Wolf River, Kansas by Albert Bierstadt, c. 1859
I sometimes dream of eastern Kansas,
in those days before the wars,
when the white men fought each other
to be the right men behind the doors,
deciding the lives of men red and black,
to remain the preeminent beast,
over this land he said God was his alone,
from the left coast to the east.
I think of the man in the village,
sitting on the bluff above Wolf Creek,
and how once he ruled wherever he stood,
a wandering Pawnee being anything but meek.
And I know his time is passing,
his wandering no more his choice.
Soon the white man will fight everyone
over the black man who still had no voice.
In my dream the lodges moved westward,
if they ever moved at all.
Because illness, greed and the great lord God
seemingly turned on the Pawnee, Otoe and Kaw.
And that’s why I dream of eastern Kansas
in those days before the wars,
because a native man might still call his own
his land, his freedom and his lores.
Free-write rhyming thing, an exercise I tried to get the juices flowing. For whatever reason, the name William Stafford and the words “Lawrence, Kansas” kept clanging in my head. I searched for some art that might help stimulate some creative spark and found that picture by Albert Bierstadt of Wolf River in Kansas, circa 1859. Then I let loose the reins and my claybank muse cantered me here.
I never knew you could
hold grudges as tightly
in one’s hand as its fingerprints.
until you grasped the one
with my name on it.
I never knew that a grudge,
held with death-grip pressure,
could choke the air
from a living connection.
I never knew I could cause
such pain to someone
other than myself
until I burned you.
I never knew true emptiness
until I helped crush the trust
you held in me.
I never knew you could
hold a grudge as tightly
within a hand as your
but I wish you would search
for mine again where once
I touched your heart.
Somewhat disappointed with this, but it’s a first draft effort and I needed to produce something today or I’d not have something to show to that martinet of an artistic psyche of mine for two whole days. Not acceptable to that little bully.
If I understood women
the way they think they
I’d own that superpower.
Now I know a lot,
having lived with nothing but
the distaff side
of the world’s roster
All that being said,
I wonder just what women
believe they know about
somewhat testosteronic me.
Do you understand that a man,
can change over time?
Yes, it’s true.
Do you grasp that I know
how important feelings
are in your lives?
Do you comprehend
how I can’t work without
something to write on?
Yeah, I write on paper,
but also function on the fuel
of perception and emotion.
I keep this secret identity
out of sight,
like a flashy bodysuit
I wear beneath my clothes.
I break it out only
in the privacy of my
fortress of QWERTY solitude,
to fly across pages,
out into space and maybe
lift a few hearts
too heavy to lift
on your own.
Yeah, that’s me, the superhero known by a select few as…Poet Guy.
What’s done is done
and your life has to go on
whether I’m there or not.
I knew this day would come
I just never expected
would happen yesterday.
But that’s Life
and that’s Love
You’re never really
looking for it when
it sneaks up and
takes your breath away.
And you’re never
really looking for it when
that gut-punch goodbye comes
to take your breath away,
What’s done is done
and life must go on
whether you’re here or not.
And while that’s Life
I ‘ll always have Love
I guess you could call this an “anti-Valentine’s Day” poem. It came to me in pieces…like a broken heart. But, as Cicero said, “While there’s Life, there’s Hope.” God willing, Hope will come over the hill someday with a supply of Superglue.
After lunch, lovely Mary the Secretary
returned to her desk, where a half-dozen
pink and red, foily and doily cards
stood at attention, like gate-mouthed swains,
each proclaiming at least $6.95
of their undying love and devotion.
On the center of her desk, though, lay
a folded sheet of blue-lined notebook paper,
one edge ripped into erstwhile wire-bound,
college-ruled lace. Red ink block letters
spelled out her name, and when she unfolded
the supine note, she saw a heart
and a message ooh-so-neatly written
in the same crimson hand:
I watch you sit alone,
listening to voices on the phone,
ponder if two heartbeats do echo
or mirror-beat as only one that’s let go.
But this is only a dream,
one many nights I’ve seen,
in which I’m not the me
by dawn’s light I see,
but one you’d wish hold you
how you’d want enfold you
on nights it’s your dream to
be held by one who dreams that, too.
At workday’s end, Mary shoved
the phalanx of craft paper professions
of infatuation into the wastebasket
beneath her desk. But she once more
read a note on her desk, gently folded it
and slipped into her purse.
With a winsome smile, she bustled
toward the door, idly saying “Good night”
to Just Jane two desks over.
“Happy Valentine’s Day,” Jane said,
as she waved and ducked back to filling
her spreadsheets. Mary never noticed
the red on Just Jane’s blushing cheeks,
nor the same color ink on her fingers.
Here’s the first of 2018’s Valentine’s Day (or anti-Valentine’s Day) poems/stories. In about thirty minutes, this one bloomed like a hothouse rose. It’s no American beauty, but it’ll do in a pinch. More to come in this year’s bouquet. (I hope.)