Sifting Through the Dust

The tactile memories have
flown with the winds of time,
carried on the dust
of crumbled happiness.
Would you recognize the voice
if it echoed back, back, back
to your age-muffled ears?
Would you attest, “Yes, that’s
the one,” should they approach
through these dark dreamy mists?
Probably not, since all you recall
are feelings, emotional placeholders,
little more than silhouettes
of erstwhile three dimensional,
wished-for perceptions.
So why do you hold onto
these faded portraits
of the never-really was?
Perhaps it’s because you hope
someone’s sifting through the dust
of shadow-thin memories of You,
and wondering, too.

Table for One ~ A Rondeau

Table for one, that’s what I get
Since we no longer talk, and yet
I’m not alone like other men
Might be in bar, cafe or den,
Since here you see the place I’ve set.

That’s no surprise to you I’ll bet,
Knowing how I would sit and fret,
Even at this lonely, this Zen
Table for one.

Sure, there have been others I’ve met,
whom places in my life I let.
But only you are with me when
My obsession cries through this pen.
Two ink stains we’ll leave at this wet
Table for one.

Through a Ghost Rain

The “excuse-me” mist drops
like a ghost rain blurring
the windows. But,
there are no windows.
I stand here and let it
touch my face, soft and cold,
when instead I’d prefer
your touch, once soft and warm.
But that won’t be today.
It’s probably just my imagination
feeling something not really real.
Like there ever really was a you,
or there ever really has been a me.
Perhaps I’m just another
“excuse-me” drifting and bumping
my way through the tiny drops
of time. But, excuse me if
I still envision, blurrily through
misted eyes, a ghost us.

Just Can’t Stop It ~ A Pantoum

She’s not sure even she knows
Why she thinks of him still.
And she just can’t stop it,
Even though she’s tried not thinking at all.

Why she thinks of him still.
She’ll only whisper in the dark.
Even though she’s tried not thinking at all,
It’s his voice she hears there beside her.

She’ll only whisper in the dark.
What she never admitted out loud.
It’s his voice she hears there beside her.
Whispering what she wished he’d said.

What she never admitted out loud,
She’s not sure even she knows.
Whispering what she wished he’d said,
And she just can’t stop it.

An old friend suggested I join her and some of her other friends in creating a special form of poem called a pantoum. It is built on four-line stanzas that repeat certain lines that occurred earlier in the poem. In my present state of creative malaise (AKA paralysis), I thought it would tear my brain in two. But I tried and all it tore was my heart.

Running Out of Me

What is a poet to do
when he has nothing left to say?
No matter where I look,
I see nothing that would move me
to some emotional spillover
like a simple blade of grass,
the aroma of bacon on a griddle,
a baby’s smile, or you just existing
once did.
I don’t know why this happened.
Does a painter run out of form,
light and color to paint?
Does a composer run out of tones
to string together? Of course not.
Then why have I lost my capacity
to sense and react with words?
Maybe I’ve just run out of Me.
And I don’t know where
to find Me’s anymore.

A Touch of Memory

Why I can never let go?
Is it because your invisible grip
remains on my memory,
that guilelessly smooth
expanse where the world
has left ridges, whorls
and smudges to mark its passage
through the my library halls?
Despite the Hands Off signs
I’ve scattered, the mess
everyone left has rendered
any of my reflections
impossible to grasp.
Except where you’ve left
your glancing caress.
I keep that hidden
so no onecan mar where
your fingertips will linger
upon my face whenever I look
on this space I hold dear.
And where I hold you, dear,
never to let go.

Run Aground

Allegheny morning
© Diana Matisz, 2019

I still see your reflection
whenever the river slows
in its infrequently placid way,
kicking out sparkles here and there
just to make sure I notice.
Then a tug will push a barge past,
always laden with the weight
of the world someone’s mined,
all the time arguing
with underlying currents,
unseen snags and shallows,
whining of rusted steel on steel
and the strain of tarred ropes
that bind. And the wake
of their passage slices your image
into slivers of memory, emanating waves
that buoy and ground me as I list
in this spot, unable to move on.

With thanks to my dear friend Diana Matisz, who’s images have inspired me for years and I hope still will for years to come.