I gave up early today, with the Finish Line out there in sight. And now I sit here wondering, “Did I really put up a fight?” The voices behind me say “So what?” and “Why should anyone care?” While the faces to my front smirk as I struggle or they dully stare. They’re the only parts of what once was a verdant and fertile imagination. Now they’re the only crop yield I can claim as my own creation. So I stepped away from this story and here try not to waste time. To toss what once was a blessed gift would feel like my biggest crime. This here is a half-hour’s harvest, of unmetered but rhyming weed. That unrequited love story sits, a fallow field for which I’ve little seed. It’s been a long, lonely winter, but I won’t let my tools rust. I’ll march back to it tomorrow, friend, ‘cause I’m a writer, and “Dig we must.”
I thought I could do it, sit and roll thoughts and feelings down a page like chocolate syrup runs down a sundae-eating kid’s chin. You know, simple as gravity. But Newton’s apple doesn’t fall on my head anymore. No, my dome is too full of mango now, an orange ovoid I’ve never swallowed, and yet of which I am gorged, sated, sickened, obsessed. So I just typed, letting nature take its course onto the page. But all I’ve accomplished over this quadrennial is dry heaves that leave me with nothing but tears falling down onto my empty hands. I hope someday soon, the emetic of time will allow more colors their space back in my head, instead of that vomitous orange. But at least I’ll be shed of it. Then I hope to find new rainbows in the black I’ll once more bleed, down into your once- open heart. You figure it out. I've about given up.
It finally came, the shortest of days, in a year long as the night that comes after. But all days seem three-hundred days long when they feel like just as many a disaster. Yet this year we count such calamities in the thousands, if not millions or more. Numbers have become numb in their meanings, except when illness or death knock on your door. So the planet spins and traces its path 'round a sun that cares about us not a whit. And we trudge our way through this dark Winter on its back, as if we were each just some nit. I try to have hope things will get better now that more sunlight’s creeping back this way. Our longest night might finally be over, and with it some of our sorrow and dismay. But if you still have trouble finding the good, you’ll need a certain help finding the better. Perhaps we can brighten our lives like we used to, simply talking ourselves out of the darkness together.
The snow’s come back, it’s Nature’s way to demonstrate who’s boss. And if you fail to know that by now then, Baby, that’s your loss. That’s a surprise, since loss you wear like a parka in the snow. No one looks good in those gloomy rags but what the hell do I know? Life’s fashion plate I’ve never been, always it's blue or gray or black. Let’s go outside and enjoy the snow, We’ll wear all white when we come back. Would it cheer you in these darkling days, when sorrow’s all around us? Lay down here with me and swing your arms, and angels leave behind, thus. And perhaps other angels we’ll hear on high, come some silent night ahead. The snow’s let up, our angels fly low, wings touching on this bed. They say angels are forever beings, but ours might be gone tomorrow. I pray my words lay forever in your heart and one day smooth your sorrow.
As the holidays come, he’d been thinking about her and others in his dim past. His memories, like white tree lights blinking flash and fade like guests, yet she’s always last. Does he recall the cards and gifts they shared? Has she kept any of them all these years? He hoped she understood they meant he cared, even the times his gift brought her to tears. Then his mind would move to another thing, focus he couldn’t hold long anymore. But occasionally some thought would bring a shadow she once knew to her mind’s door. But shadows are hard to find in the black, the darkest night of the year will bring soon. She drops that thought back in its velvet pack, and, for no reason, hums herself an old tune. And so their thoughts pass as if in a storm, out of reach, like a lost note or missed flight. That’s their lives, misses and losses the norm. But life’s gift’s best shared if only they might.
I’d love to eat away the dark clouds, but for so long they’ve feasted on me. I’m smudged across the sky face-up, so I don’t even get a view of the world from this dingy popcorn ceiling. And so I must rely on memories of my once-was, which grow foggier each day. I view them from my hazy altostratus hammock, neither fowl nor fish, soprano nor bass, just smoky wisps of "mmm…perhaps" that’ve always kept me above distant, concrete reality. You do look lovely here, though, where all our hair is ashen so who cares about age, and storms fill in for what passes for passion. Maybe someday I’ll turn over and find you, bright-faced, smiling with some small kind of love at sun-laced puffs of poetry…recognizing a few kinda look like you.
I don’t really know you, just like you never knew me. You assumed, ever since once I opened my mouth, and out came some impermanent impertinence, as I spoke the thought of a moment. True, here and there I’ve expressed myself embarrassingly in black and white, that more enduring medium with which I’ve abased myself. I can’t change who I am, though I can always change my mind. If you don’t believe that, then I guess that’s proof perhaps you’ve never changed, either. That’s fine, though, I wouldn’t wish to change you. Well, maybe just one opinion. I’m not…
They’ve taken the sheets, now even the mattress, for fear he’ll use them, himself to smother. They wager if he’ll last three days, at best. “I feel for the bastard,” some guards mutter. “What if a European had done it, crossing Il Mare in so small a craft?” “I’ve got no sympathy. No, not one bit,” said the oldest guard. With a sneer he laughed. “Serves him right trying to sneak in that way. Caught a wave wrong. That boat flipped like a toy.” “Yeah, but should he such a penalty pay? Can always send him back, but not the boy.” The disconsolate prisoner agreed. Mehmet wanted to pay for his blunder. Guilty of negligence a court decreed. “Why couldn’t it have been me went under?” I was asked to write a poem in medias res last week and couldn't come up with anything because...that's how it is these days. But I heard a story on the BBC this morning about a man who had the misfortune to have happen what occurs in my poem. The world has always been, at best, an unforgiving thing. And the sea might be its harshest child.
Hello, you, the one who helped me see poetry in my life. Even the strife. I miss what you did, but now you’re gone, life moves on, even when comes the end. Memory, I and thee, together forever on this stage, a white page. Now I’m tired, uninspired. Lost the way, sad to say. So I go. Thank you…. Joe
There’s not much left for the black crows to steal, maybe enough for a mouse’s meal. I'm alone in this field, as if I’d died, unburied though, left to rot, crucified. But that’s my lot once harvest’s done. Still, surprised, I find out I’m the last one, the watcher left when corn’s mostly been stripped before Fall’s frost has nipped, Winter’s winds ripped. I take great pride in how I stood my ground, chasing off intruders without sound. But by this time if you stopped by to ask you’d hear me sigh while I’m still at my task. There’s no rustle of crops upon the breeze, few birds left singing, just my silent "Please, could you stay with me and talk for a while?" I’m sad and lonely despite my stitched-on smile. Farmer’s got more important things to do now. Like feeding our corn to his stupid cow. Come, my true friends, we'll share the seasons’ rest - Crows, be my guest. Mice, nest warm in my chest.