Liver

I can’t tolerate eating liver.
It gives me this weird feeling
under my tongue, as if
someone’s placed the handle part
of a fork or spoon against it.
I told you it was weird.
Besides, I can’t wrap my head,
let alone my mouth, around
anything defined as “organ meat.”
Steak and kidney pie?
Sorry my British friends,
I couldn’t, no matter how much
gravy and ale you provide me.
You might like liver and
I won’t hold it against you.
Well, maybe a little.
As a word guy, perhaps if I
changed that initial vowel
from a short to long “I,”
I wouldn’t have such a visceral
(and isn’t that an interesting
adjective to use in this case?)
distaste for it. Say it out loud,
“Live-er.”
“Liver helps you feel live-er.”
That gives it a better vibe,
don’t you think?
Except if you’re a cow, of course.

Day #6 of PAD April ’18. For today’s prompt, I was asked to pick a food, make it the title of the poem, and then write away with that word as the theme. As much as I love so many foods, the word “liver” came to mind. 

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A Man Can Dream

His eyes were going,
but he said he didn’t mind
too much because he saw things
most clearly in the dark,
especially during those hours
he stared at the starless sky
of his bedroom ceiling.
His hearing was shot long ago,
owing to genetics and
a corresponding need to turn up
his headphones to 11.
But he heard the voice and music
no one else could hear in this dark.
His heart was failing him, too,
what with the stiffened scars
he hated to admit it bore.
Some were idiopathic etchings
of unknown origins, while others
marked wounds self-inflicted,
one way or another.
So now what? no one asked, because
no one heard him whisper through
life’s lightless vacuum.
Not even the one whose caress
he felt on his arm, his cheek,
his chest, when it was really
his own left hand in that meantime.
But a man can dream.

Full Stop.

He hates to think
he’ll reach The End and
never have the chance
to close their story
with a clean, contented dot,
punctuation connoting
the final exhalation
of a spoken breath.

Her draft still
bears that bold-face
exclamation point,
bolt-upright, indignant,
with arms akimbo…
if !” had any arms.

His version sports
what they once called
an interrogation mark,
a Quasimodo “?” questioning
something they still
didn’t understand,
only that he’s either
the clueless or callous
actor who prompted
her reaction.

They say he’s not got
much of a future
to look forward to
and his vision’s grown
too befogged to clearly
discern the past.
So he wonders if
some day she might
just say hello.

Perhaps then they
could bid goodbye to
the figures who cast
their shadows upon
what once was yet
never could be
and place that .,
a simple declarative
conclusion, on this,
a story better left
…unwritten.

First-draft desparate free-write. Full stop.

Gentling Me to the Other Side

Today, I once more dove
into this river so cold,
to see what I’d find
on the other side.
It grows colder and colder
as I grow older and older.
So often I jump in and
almost founder, my body
and mind not willing
to endure this shivering
self-immersion again.

But you often appear
as I reach out and pull
the water close to me, and
I remember the warmth
of those embraces,
when last we embraced.
That touch of your cheek
always helps gentle me
to the other side,
where I find I’m holding
something warm and white,
though it’s never your hand.

Instead it’s a craft you
helped me lash together,
with which others might
float upon our memory
of close and apart,
as if we’re moored boats
banging against one another,
tethered by our shared history
on this river where
I’ll always fight
for whatever touch
we might share.

So often, this is how it happens. I don’t know if that’s good or bad. I guess it just IS. By the way, only three more pieces to hit my 1,000th post on A Thing For Words right around its seventh birthday. I had no idea I’d been so inspired by whatever muse reaches out to me from time to time.

Dribbling Out the Clock

It came and went so swiftly,
the February evening snow
and its morning melt.
You could hear its heartbeat
as it ran down the rainspout
once the sun climbed above
the trees’ skeletal arms.
They shook small fists
newly clenched on their
branch tips, as if protesting
Winter’s next icy incursion.
Such protests never elicit
the preferred end result
while the calendar still
has March to march through.
But I admire these maples’
sanguine rush to get their
life’s blood flowing again
now that it’s sugaring time.
I raised my fists, too,
and shook them until
the blood rose in my cheeks.
Then, I slapped the old maple
on the ass like a teammate
from a dimly recalled basketball
season. My recall of those years
melts as quickly as this snow.
It drip-drip-drips as fast as
the gutter and the sweet sap
of memory dribbled by #44,
Acer Saccharum.

For those of you not hip to the vernacular of basketball, a sport I coached for 30 years, “dribbling out the clock” is the practice a team ahead in the score might use to burn up what’s left of the amount of time left in the game. One or more players will just dribble the ball as the clock runs down, rather than attempt to score any more points. In other words, the game is for all intent and purpose, over, save for that final buzzer. You may read into that bit of between-the-lines (another bit of sports argot) what you will. Oh, and Acer Saccharum is the  scientific name for SugarMaple.

Like a Heart Ever Bleeding

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
irredeemably addicted.

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.

Secret Identity

If I understood women
the way they think they
understand me,
I’d own that superpower.
Now I know a lot,
having lived with nothing but
the distaff side
of the world’s roster
for decades.
All that being said,
I wonder just what women
believe they know about
somewhat testosteronic me.
Do you understand that a man,
me,
can change over time?
Yes, it’s true.
Do you grasp that I know
and respect
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.