Escape Velocity

This morning, I found myself 
standing atop that old hill, 
that long expanse of the Sisters’ yard 
between me and something 
they never offered. 
The old penguins would give me prayers 
and this scar where my index finger 
made a run for it. While I never did.
		<Big inhale>

I’m soaring down the hill now, 
shadowy trees behind me, 
as I race gravity toward 
the flat-world surety of the Faithful. 
My youthful stride’s so long 
I feel I’m flying down 
as I fall up, youthfully sure 
my other foot will beat my face 
in the race to the ground.

And in this competition between 
the Devil and the details of a life 
spent looking uphill, I think 
I may have reached that place, 
where you stand, ready to catch me 
before I pass by, if I’m lucky enough 
to keep one foot in the present, 
while the other hides somewhere 
between the past and future.

My heart pounds. Lungs beg. We reach out.
I open my eyes as I touch the window, 
realizing  haven’t made it. 
I fill my lungs again 
with possibility, 
close my eyes and wonder 
what it would finally take 
to reach escape velocity. 
Just once.

Visions of Sugar Plums

Somewhere in a Christmas fantasy, 
something like my Life’s sugar plums 
resting all sweet and spicy upon 
a cosmic comfit plate, right next to
the roasted chestnuts I hear about, 
warm and soft as a lover’s kiss.
Or so you tell me. Because this 
is a fantasy, a dream straight out 
of one of those Hallmark Christmas movies, 
only none of us are princes, princesses or
destiny’s darlings fated to leap 
holiday hurdles to couplehood and,
per every fantasy’s script, 
fall into one of those chestnut kisses
in the last thirty seconds before 
the credits roll. The sweet and spicy?

I don’t care.

But we all need dreams, don’t we? 
Otherwise why even have that one day 
of the year when wishes can come true 
and hopes aren’t dashed and danced upon 
by a fantasy fleet of reindeer,
an ill-fit significant other or 
make-believe mean girl. Maybe that’s 
why I keep my list short, written 
in invisible ink between lines 
of fanciful good-boy reveries of 
an exchange of Life’s gifts you can’t buy, 
nor steal and I’ll likely never get to try. 
Like sugar plums. 

Another If Only

I awakened again 
before I was ready, 
wondering why I never was so. 
It was five-something and 
I heard a tune playing 
over and over, though 
there wasn’t a sound in the room 
except that shut-eyed sigh.
The blackout curtains held back 
morning over the East's ash and pine.
But I couldn’t black out again
as I began pining over the ashes
of those lost years, mourning 
the missing lives we didn’t lead. 
If only I’d listened closer 
to the songs we shared, 
would’ve shared, could’ve…
I should’ve awakened, 
known when you sighed, 
you were ready.
If only…

What It Always Really Was

Turns out those dim old reveries 
were only the dreamy memories 
of a man sustained 
more by wish than reality. 
Eventually, though, he realized 
wishes are just hopeful dreams, 
images of someday somethings 
without substance, even though 
they can feel so real they'll 
spur a heart to galloping 
almost as cloppity as a touch 
from the one who spurred them.
In the end, though, it was you 
who turned this someday something 
into a reality. No one else could’ve 
tended it for so long, never 
letting it die, just waiting for 
the right time to bring what it 
always really was into full bloom. 

98 Degrees of Separation

I don’t know why it is I find 
the midday heat on this searing 
summer day so very uncomfortable 
when all I’ve ever wanted was to be 
wrapped in a certain 98-degree embrace.
To wander outside right now 
would be an act Sir Noël Coward could 
most definitely write a song about.
Not that I wouldn’t mind being 
thus immortalized, but I am neither 
an Englishman nor a dog. 
Though to dream I’d ever find myself 
melting into anywhere other than 
noon’s shadowless sidewalk rather than
some evening into those not-very-tan arms…?
I must be quite mad.

A Few Flowers’ Fluff

The wishes spin around in my head 
like dandelion fluff caught in the breeze.
They’re there when I’m awake or in bed
vexing me more than just a sneeze.

I’m not allergic to them, oh no,
though so many are born from an itch.
And I wish I could scratch it, you know,
but that wish fits in but a wee niche.

The big ones whirl in my mind nonstop
even coming to me in my dreams.
I know half are just fanciful glop,
though e’en they brought you poems by the reams.

Like, I wish we could go back in time,
to start over again, a clean slate.
But erasing our pasts would be a crime
if we weren’t brought together by fate.

I’ve wishes about you, just a few.
But a few flowers’ fluff can turn a field gold.
I wish your best wishes all come true,
and we remain we as we grow old.

Another BLINK of My Life

I still count my days 
by my nights, 
or at least by the single blink 
each night has become. 
Slide into bed, 
click off the light, 
settle my head and 
The problem is the moments 
spent between settle and BLINK, 
that period of near-sleep 
where I breathe those
pretty or sad words next to 
the face that will appear 
in maybe-light or almost-chiaroscuro
on the ceiling.
When my mind finishes, 
it closes its own eyes 
and we rest without sensing 
the passage of time. 
We'll have done all our dreaming 
in penning the words on the ceiling.
Then dawn, the "K" piece of BLINK,
scatters them like birds except those
I was lucid enough around "B" o'clock 
to slip under my pillow.

For Day 23 of NaPoWriMo 2021, I borrowed a prompt from my friend Carolee Bennett again. She asked that I consider what repetitions in my life mark time, and write a poem featuring one or more of them. If you've been around for my relatively short "life" as a poet, you know about my love/hate relationship with sleep. Perhaps this poem explains why.


      Contemplation, by Karen Hollingsworth

I think it would be like heaven, 
sitting there in my writer-mind’s hell, 
to look up from that bedeviling blank page 
and see eternity stretch out before me 
outside my mean little frame of reference. 
That’s where the sea breeze coaxes 
the window sheers to tickle my bare calves
like my angel’s toes might, given the right
circumstances. But then a wind-blown whiff 
of dusty curtain would remind me I don’t 
visit this heaven enough to shake loose
the idle cobwebs of my shuttered imagination, 
and, you, the angel I perceive waving to me 
from the beach, are just another of my 
writer’s dreams unfulfilled. But I believe 
we all have a shot for at least one visit 
to heaven. Don't we, angel?

NaPoWriMo poem-a-day makeup poem #3. An Ekphrastic poem...I think.

In Case You Wondered ~ A Shadorma

The answer
is complicated;
it's not a
black or white.
In truth, it lies ‘tween the two.
garbed in gray shadow.
I won't lie to you.
But in poems I write of
my dreams in 
black and white,
with you, in color,
I'm lying

For Day 6 of my poem-a-day April, I've followed NaPoWriMo's suggestion of using the poetic form called a shadorma. A shadorma is a six-line poem with a specific number of syllables -- 3-5-3-3-7-5 -- assigned to each line. I chose to make mine a mirror image version, which adds six more lines of 5-7-3-3-5-3 syllables, respectively. 

The Moon, In All Your Glory

Did we really once move
through the night,
our shadows holding hands
beneath a moon that could
read my mind the way I wished
I could intuit yours?
In those moonlit hours,
it cast shadows so dense
I tripped and fell over yours.
Its beams would cut ‘round you
like a silhouette artist
leaving me these shadowy memories.
We stand alone in the night,
eclipsing lunar light beneath
its face, once-radiant as yours.
Your face, how it gleamed
like alabaster, projecting
its own glow to my glib sincerity
and welcomed lies I always knew
could be final goodbyes.
Perhaps there will come
another tomorrow night when
these clouds will roll away
and the moon, in all your glory,
will extend its searchlight fingers
to fumble and find the missing
you never missed, the supine echo
of a man painted in light, and
a shadow of what he never heard.