Fallen Upon This Deaf Ear

Fine, you don’t have to talk to me.
Show me the palm of your hand
and push me away. Your message
has always been clearer that way.
If we were to sit side by side,
face to face, I would only misconstrue
whatever flimsy bond of you and me
I could dream actually existing.
But I do long to feel your words
buffeting me like winds, freezing
and teasing, scolding and caressing,
their temperature and velocity
more important than their meaning.
They bump up against me and fall away
so that I must imagine their substance
and insinuation. But to not feel them
at all has left me voiceless,
spitting senseless utterances into a gale
where they become as lost as I am
perched here waiting to sense your meaning
if only you would speak to me once more.
Yes, I am the deaf ear to your words,
and it is I who will fall without them.

I am constantly coming closer to feeling I cannot make these clusters of words have any real meaning anymore. Be they poem or story, they lack the power, beauty and emotion of what I wrote even a couple of years ago, as far as I can tell. Maybe my misery has changed, beaten down by the silence I feel between me and the ones who fueled my creative flame. I would reach out for their words, kind or otherwise, but I’d only drop them before they reached the forge where I’d form them into something solid and shining. So you get rusty ore in this poem based on metaphor, the theme on this 15th day of April upon which I should be writing something better resembling poetry.

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Battle for the Heart and Mind

I armed myself with a bottle of water,
eyeglasses, computer, and absolutely
no advance intel. This is no way
to face so cunning an enemy.
A few years ago, I’d attack these sessions
like a free-writing commando.
Sure I parachuted into the dark,
but I knew my target, its flat white topography
and the objective: break another prisoner
free from the prison of my heart.
I’d toss some metaphors into that
hardened space (like I just did),
set off a smoke grenade to hide
my true position and maybe bring a tear
to anybody who thought to watch,
and make the snatch and run.
I almost always extracted a prisoner,
though sometimes they had nothing to say
when I got them to my lines.
But somewhere along the way, I lost
my sangfroid in a story over New Mexico,
or maybe it was that poem about
how she made me a prisoner in the darkness
of our own making.
Some days I fear I no longer have
the thirst for battle, finding the pen
too heavy for the old parry and thrust.
But I can’t let those prisoners rot in there.
So I guess I’ll jump again tomorrow.

Day #9 of April 2018 PAD Challenge called for a “Battle (something)” poem. 

Something About Hope, Time and Brown Eyes

I keep this picture of myself,
from sometime during the 70’s,
a smiling kid, brown eyes
gleaming with hope, black hair
covering my ears and shoulders.
In it, I am a young man of my time
and my time was Now.

The other day I was shown
another head shot of a guy
I wasn’t sure I wanted to know.
His was hair thin and silver,
some growing ON his ears or
fallen upon his shoulders.
He appeared a man old
before his time,
which he prays isn’t now.

Through the bottom of my bifocals
I peered into the dark caves
beneath his patchy gray brows.
There I saw something like
a glimmer in his brown eyes
and I recognized it as Hope,
which knows not Time.
And was thankful Time
can never dim true Hope.

My catch-up poem for Day 2 of the PAD Challenge, which was prompted by the word portrait. Any resemblance to actual old poets, living or dead, is purely coincidental…and poor editing.

The Constant Shoulder

You probably don’t remember
when I would let you rest
your head on my shoulder.
Maybe you’d cry or yawn or
do whatever pretty heads do
when they come into contact
with that strong bit of muscle
and bone they could always count on.

And then you couldn’t.

It’s not like I lost it, though
perhaps it slants more downhill
with each year and beatdown.
It still teeter-totters on either side
of this head swirling with wishes,
what-ifs and why-nots, ready
to support your thoughts.

And now you don’t.

I’ve never had that kind of place
to nestle my bleary or teary eyes.
I shook off dreams and sorrows
like a Labrador loses the blue lake
he just emerged from, splattering
them in all directions. But
I’ve never been able to shake off
the blue I’ve swallowed.

And I’ve swallowed plenty.

So now you’re gone, grown and
different from when our heads
would share this bar from which
my embrace hangs for you. It waits
for some day when cooler heads
will bring ours back together,
when adults no longer act
like children and children don’t
suffer the acts of adults.

And this, dear reader, is officially Post #1,000 on A Thing for Words. I probably have written and posted more, but have deleted ones someone’s been kind, wise or unwise enough to publish or I collected in my own books. But the WordPress counter today says 1,000, so that’s what we’ll call it.

And I could never have accomplished this without YOU there to read and, in turn, encourage me not to stop writing. For that, I cannot thank you enough. Just your act of reading these ramblings has helped bring out emotions and words I never knew I could express. And you have no idea how close I am today to stopping expressing them anymore.

But I will wake up tomorrow and at least try to write one more something. Maybe there’s someone out there who may stumble on it in searching for words to help them smile or just let them know they’re not alone in what they’re feeling. So let’s just say as long as you’re willing, I’ll always try to shoulder my responsibility of giving you somewhere to lay your head. It’s what I’ve always done. And, despite all my personal “bleary and teary,” I guess I’m not done yet.

Thank you all. You and I know who you are. Thank you for helping me better know me.

Spray It

This sheet of white requires
some serious spitting.
A mouth full of dark words
with which I can sully,
besmirch or otherwise defile
this expanse of pure virgin
nothing.

They don’t have to be dirty words,
though I’ve spit my share before.
They can start out muddy, though, I guess.
My desperation requires
such desecration. So I’m marshaling
as much poetic or fictive invective
as this arid mouth can hold.

I can feel it drip down the back
of my creatively parched throat.
And what spittle I’ve coughed up
is this hairball croak you’ve
just read.

Thank God for that.

A tribute to the writers who have experienced the paralysis by analysis of the blank page and even blanker mind. Sometimes you just have to open your creative mouth and let it rip. Just start writing…anything. And so I did.

What Is Now Proved Was Once Only Imagined

Elohim Creating Adam
by William Blake, 1795

Sometimes, like right now,
I find myself imagining
what it would be like
to die in this seat.
I’d be biding my time,
thinking how easy this was
not so long ago. Like breathing.
I’d turn words into living things,
as if they rose from some kind
of primordial ick to stick
to my mind’s wall, where I’d
shape them into Adams or Orcs.
Maybe you’d invite some
into your home, if they promised
to wipe their trochaic feet.
Tonight I’m biding my time,
waiting for any words to bubble up,
but fearing they’re in league
with some dark spirit,
who’s waiting for unholy sacrifices
I’d make on this QWERTY altar
for even fifty of his minion.
Instead, I just sigh in this guilty ooze
with nothing to show for my efforts
but white space smeared with gook
of the gobbledy kind, imagining
part of me has died already.

I was asked to write a story using the following words: die, ago, seat, time, imagining, even, making, league, sacrifices, and rose. But I can’t write anymore. Too much pain of various kinds crippling me. So instead you get this desperate fling of muddy verse upon your computer screens. That is if more than one of you still cares to read after this achy absence. The title is a quote from William Blake.

Another Slice of Blood Orange

 

Sometimes I sit here
in the dark and ask myself
why I started this,
this burning of lifetime
spitting words into the air
like orange pits or
like blood from a split lip.
Wasn’t for any notoriety
since no one was supposed
to read them but me
and a very few who wondered
what the hell this was about.
And it wasn’t to write books,
lord knows, since I’d forgotten
how to read them years ago,
let alone write them.
It wasn’t, like you said,
for the approbation, since
I never belong with anyone.
Couldn’t be for what you call
stroking, since I’m unused to,
uncomfortable with touching.
I guess it was for a kind of
recognition, though, because
over these past ten years,
I might finally have recognized
my futile, inky-souled nature,
the guy spitting out orange pits
and blood to myself for myself.

My take on Robert Lee Brewer’s Wednesday poetry prompt in Writer’s Digest last week. He wanted a Recognition poem. I found the prompt and poem in my sleeplessness around 3:00AM this morning. Ahhh…throwback to the dark solitude of my Insomniac Poet days.