All our lives
for some something,
some even finding it.
All our lives we quest,
only to find it was
merely the flash
enticed us and
were naught but
of no substance
glinting upon our
All my life
for the maybe,
But I never
got it right,
ending up with fingers
and feelings scorched,
dropping back to earth
like a cigarette butt
tossed in fiery failure.
I couldn’t hold on,
making the grasp
a step too late,
finding I couldn’t
hold onto my own
Perhaps I should give up
my searching ways,
but I can’t because
maybe the next one,
or the next, or …
well, it might be
the one I finally
There’s always tomorrow. Isn’t there? Maybe, in the long run, it’s not some something or someone , but the search I really search for.
Beyond the obvious — you can’t
be seen or touched — sometimes
I wonder if you ever existed at all.
Oh, I’m sure someone can run
their fingers across
what I imagined was skin akin
to an infant’s. But I never did.
So I can’t attest to what I’m sure
must be your tactile perfection.
Beyond the obvious, you know,
I’ll never see you anymore,
I wonder now if I ever really did.
Oh, I’m sure I saw a somebody
who zinged my rods and cones
in a kaleidoscopic frenzy of
retinal fireworks. But the brood
of hairballs in my control room
have been known to hit the catnip
pretty hard after spying an enticing
wiggle on the end of a string.
Beyond the obvious, you never
really saw or touched me, either.
Never felt the goosebump pebbles
the mere thought of your skin
brushing mine would excite.
You never saw the hope and fear
the increments of intimacy we
never suffered wrought upon
this shadow you stepped across.
I guess, as far as you’re concerned,
I never existed either. And maybe
I don’t. I’m just a ghost who floats
among the phantoms and wispy memories
of mirages where we hoped to find
solace and the nonexistent answers
to our supplication. I guess I’m just
another nothing chasing nothing nowhere.
Until now, I never realized that was
beyond the obvious.
You are here. And so am I. I’m glad
you could find me amid all the chaos.
How’d I find this place? Not easy.
Started in my dark bedroom this morning
and bumped into the dresser. I thought
I was on the trail in the shower,
but got shampoo in my eyes
and lost the way. Once I hit the road,
I thought I’d remember the route,
as I usually do, but I was distracted
by two cars trying to occupy
the same space and time.
Thought I’d found this spot
in the parking lot,
but it was just another slot
way far from where I knew
you’d like to sit. In the office?
Nothing. So I sat down and
drew this map from foggy memory.
Slow work when your tired old mind
has lost its way again.
But here we are, right where
I’d hope we’d be. You are here.
So am I. End of the line.
Day 23 of Poem-A-Day April 2014 called for a Location poem. I may be running out of gas. Today was a difficult trip from there to here. But I’m glad you made it with me to the end of the line.
Autumn Leaf and Rusted Gate (Photo credit: mezzoblue)
The iron gate’s dormant hinges, fat
with the rust and moss of years
spent in content and oblivious fog,
screamed in alarm if the prisoner
so much as leaned against its bars,
to see what was beyond the mist.
And he, fat with the oxide of a life
barely lived, a desire coagulate,
sighed in resignation as he searched
his heart for a memory, a shadow
of open space where he once might fly.
On the darkside there he found it, a pen,
corroded but full of ink, oxblood-red
and warm, with which he wrote himself
a feather each day by the iron gate,
sheafing himself a pair of wings to soar
anywhere, even with his feet numb
to the fact they never left the ground.
Inspired by my friend Laurie Kolp requesting a Rust poem. I know rust.
The Road to Boston, 6:20 AM (Photo © Joseph Hesch)
Tuesday cracked open her bloodshot eye, peeking above the Berkshire peaks’ gauzy blanket.
She wonders why I’d awaken first.
“You’ve never seized any other day before this,” she said.
I squeeze the wheel, knowing where I’m headed.
Eventually I’ll run out of morning, out of road to Boston, and out from that coldly accusing stare.
Here’s a really quick Thursday double-header: a Five Sentence Fiction from Lillie McFerrin’s prompt word, TRAVEL, that’s also a 55-word Drabble for dVerse Poets’ Form for All.
© Joseph Hesch 2013
The search begins and ends
in this same spot every day,
where the concrete beneath me
is as hard as a cold-blooded heart
but as giving of daylong warmth
as a full bottle.
The seeking is much better at night,
when you can’t see the memories
in the face of the sun.
Those are the ones that hurt
if you stare too long at them.
And faces are meant to be ignored.
Illumination and clarity
are overrated anyway when
what you’re trying to remember
is how to forget, and the memory
is as rough as this concrete upon
which the search begins and ends.
I prefer the hard and warm
of this perch, and the comfort
of that bottle, to the soft
and cold arms that won’t let me
go, chill and flaccid as
the lips they drew to mine.
A raw free write for Kellie Elmore’s photo prompt below the title. The arresting photo is by Kellie, as well.
Tunnel (Photo credit: wwarby)
Where do I go should the lights
come on, exposing the shadows,
long and short, among which
I ever stand? And when again
they dim, do I find illumination
to stumble upon truths over which
I would inevitably trip anyway?
Within perpetually penumbral walls
of stone, wood or worry,
walls that smother reflection
and passion, I still wield this
inky torch in fingers ever-scorched.
Its ashen glow warms sooty scars
and creaking bones under the land
and flesh, stirs us to burrow deeper
within the stony dark, to a vein
of reality, so shining, sensual…
imagined or otherwise.
Choir loft (Photo credit: TepeyacFarm)
Does it qualify as bullying
when the one miserying you around
beats from within? Was yours a story
of trying to measure up, trying to
accede to implied expectations,
ones never voiced or illustrated,
where you had to rely upon your own specs,
your own skewed set of measurements?
How many not-good-enoughs to your foot?
Did you get tangled in those hurdles
and those traps you set out to trip
and splat and learn your place?
This congregation of one usually listens
to the loudest one, the guy in the pulpit
pushing me to his way of thinking,
not to the cowed sinner whispering
in the confessional between this pew…
Up here in the loft I’ve crawled,
where blessed dissonance might
draw attention away from the fearsome
stem-winder in the front of this,
my sanctuary. Here, a new choirist
with familiar face, chants a simple
song of praise giving me more faith in me.
There’s room up here for you, if you
know how to sing your own hosannas, too.
senses (Photo credit: joaoloureiro)
The air moves past my skin just as I move
through its birdsong-bounded reality.
I sensed neither its touch nor its whisper
for so long. Deep inside, listening, hearing
the voices of so many mimicked by mine
and their message consistent…
No, you can’t… You’ll never… Why do you?…
If you’d only…
If I’d only known how to break out
of that self-imposed imprisonment,
the isolation from truth, reality,
as simply real as air, the distant whirring
chirping and cheeping wall of noise
that scratches like fine sandpaper on my senses,
the raw smell of dirt just before the rain
walks fully into the room.
And the comfort of love—of self, of others,
from you. And now, yes, I can…
I stop moving, it felt so like a plunge
to those depths again and I’m not
going there anymore. No, I can’t…
I stand still, close my eyes and deeply
steep myself in memory, savoring
this feeling of Us from sole to soul.
Linked to the August 21, 2012 Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Peace reigns in this treeless desert of quiet.
Here I don’t worry about the philosophical
or metaphysical question of a falling oak,
redwood, or even a palm if I don’t wish to.
Many will never understand my affinity
for the neatness of the seemingly
dust-cursed and barren wastes of alone.
I don’t mind. The desert protects its own.
Always shifting, always the winds of time
giving me new geography to chronicle
and erasing the needless old steps,
always the sound of my own voice
when I wish to listen to it.
And there are plenty of others here.
Just very, very far apart.
My wanderings have crossed paths
with some of these nomads
and I have fallen in with another.
Sometimes we go off, each of us alone,
to listen to the desert,
take comfort in its cleanliness
of thought and deed and spirit.
We always seem to come back
to share our discoveries
and keep one another warm on cold nights
of what once was just one voice,
one heartbeat wandering
in that wind and the blessed quiet.