This, These, This

In the dark, ceiling-staring
into the nightly abyss,
I became not-alone.
Twilight dreams before sleep
projected a life of never be,
but would never leave
in the soft dawnlight glow
behind my hooded eyes.

I lie there thinking of
the living, the dead
and the one beneath
those covers who was neither.
With one more sigh,
t’was then I saw them,
short strings of expression
rising from my body,
five knots in the first,
seven on the next.

They repeated over and over,
a rope ladder I climbed
past soft women,
and hard worlds,
elevating my spirit
and body to a near-waking
breath and breath
exhalations of unrhyming song.

The blood-rush in my ears,
wave upon wave, sounded like
“Wish, which, wish,.”
To which I replied,
“This, these, this.”

My young friend, the terrifically talented Anthony Desmond, makes his official debut as a member of the dVerse Pots Pub crew the afternoon of March 4. He is asking poets to write a poem that is influenced by certain times in our lives that made us the poets we are today. I originally wrote something mopey and dark, but decided to toss it this morning. (I’m a foolish artist, aren’t I?) This piece came to me, like the time my first “real” poem, Night Writer, did. In fact, it practically is the story of Night Writer. Welcome aboard, Anthony. Hope I did right by you.

Poker Face


Dealer (Photo credit: ΞD)

It was like I antied up as soon as
I entered the room. The cards,
my face-up hand, before me.
“What?” she said, and peered over her glasses
in that interrogatory way of hers.
It speaks louder than the bright lights
and rubber hose quality in her voice.
“What do you mean, ‘What’?” I said.
“I don’t know, something’s going on.
You look like you’re thinking,” she said.
Even though nothing was,
I immediately tossed in my hand.

Busted said my discard mush.
“Well, of course I’m thinking,” I stammered.
“I’d be going around bumping into things
like one of those little toy clown cars if I didn’t.”
She hmmphed her …aannnd? hmmph.
“Now you’re making fun of me.
You know what I mean,
something’s going on,
I can tell.”

This is why I never play poker.
My face, a fumble-fingered fish
in a casino of card sharks,
always expresses whatever I am feeling,
what I might possibly be thinking.
No matter how hard I try to control
these tics and twitches.
“Oh, nothing’s going on,” I said,
“Uh huh,” she said, unconvinced.
And then she smiled her selachimorphic smile
and dealt me another hand,
just to make sure.