Dead Wrong Dead Reckoning

From that first moment he saw her,
he was sure.
Or so his story goes.
He envisioned her as Hesperia,
nymph of incendiary sunset, while
the deck beneath him soared
and dipped upon the swells
and troughs of uncharted oceans.
He never admitted this to her
until years later, another
of his rosary of miscalculations.
But, to the fearful man, merely
tossing adrift on her sensuous sea
brought such exquisite terror.

After the truth escaped him,
and she warned him off
her shameful shallows,
he dove headfirst anyway and
dashed himself upon the rocks.
The death of his hapless hopes
in her storm-tossed seas
didn’t kill the dreamer, though.
Only as a castaway did he discover
she actually was the red sky at morning
and he just another wrong-way
mariner lost to the vast
emptiness, steering his course
without compass, so dead wrong
by his own dead reckoning.

Free written poem based on the following quote from Annie Fuller by Jay Asher for her Writing Outside the Lines Challenge:

“… know me …
don’t just see me with your eyes …”

Perhaps this lost soul should have looked beyond her sun-bright gifts and into her shadows to ensure his bearings before he was lost.

Whatever the Heart Has Left To Take

The gentle man always was
a tick slow on the uptake,
blind to the foibles
and shortcomings of the angels,
fallen and otherwise, who
he believed encouraged him,
with a virtual handkerchief drop,
to voice his feelings
to (about) them.
But that exposed the soft anatomy
of his misplaced humanity
to their talon-sharp vanity.

So to unspoken words he turned.
Not the gesture, the expression
nor the tender touch the angels
always returned unopened.
He spoke instead to
the tissue-thin mirror
of a notebook’s page,
which sometimes reflected
his words to a keyboard
which echoed them
to you and you…and You.

You may read them
as love letters if you wish,
even though they’re unaddressed.
Read them today or whenever
you wish to feel what
he never got to…
except from the page.
The page always takes
to its heart whatever his heart
has left to take there.

Written on the 7th, but felt like sleeping with it. My poem-a-day run continues, as well as my weekly piece for Annie Fuller’s Writing Outside the Lines Challenge. This week’s prompt is that illustration up there.

Another Spoonful of Dreams

spooning

I dreamt you allowed me
to hold you, and I did, as
I dreamt you’d want me to.
And I recall wishing
my skin was soft as yours,
my embrace strong,
yet tender, too.
My chest I pressed
against your back,
your breast
my hand caressed.
I needed to know
if heartbeats echo
or mirror-beat as one.
But this was only a dream,
one many nights I’ve lived,
in which I’m not the me
by dawn’s light I see,
but one you’d wish hold you
how you’d want enfold you
on those nights
it’s your dream to be held.

Sat down late this afternoon and along came this 100-word piece of free-written, stream-of-consciousness run mushily amok. Must be the approaching celebration of mirror-beating hearts and mated souls . Oh, and the imagined dreams of my dreamy imagination.

Lost to the Fog Dichotomous and Oxymoronic

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The fog of love can blind
and change a man as much
as that of war.
While men can fall, unknown,
in war’s smoke of cannon and confusion,
it is in love’s bewilderment
that many men fall and are lost,
some becoming unknown even to themselves.

They may live on, these casualties
of the heart, but the child
who entered the fray most surely is lost
once battle is joined.
They can become enshrouded
in the atmosphere of swirling emotions
and blinding opacity to what’s real
and what’s heart-charging fantasy.

To come out the other side
of love’s haze into the bright light
of recognition that what was
once was oneself now’s become
half of some dual-bodied beast,
a cryptic Minotaur of pleasure
and pain, neither himself nor his other.
Perhaps that’s why the Greeks
deigned Love to be the offspring
of Beauty and War, as
dichotomous and oxymoronic
as any invention of man or god.

Love, assuredly the first and the last,
leaves its casualties staggering,
walking, limping or at gentle rest,
lost in its flummoxing fog,
its smoke made with the fumes of sighs,
from which no man or woman emerges
unscathed, unmoved, unchanged.
Nor ever wished to.

I’m in no way comparing the horror that is war with love.  I am comparing the type of confusion experienced in the smoke of battle and how it changes people with that confusion and change experienced by those who fall in love, whether for good or ill. My thanks to The Bard for semi-agreeing with me in his fume of sighs quote.

By Heartwood Still Beating

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Heartwood, © Joseph Hesch 2013

I found a picture today
of when we were young,
a crystallization of time
that blossoms into recollections
bittersweet.
The expression you’re wearing
beams with a joy I’d forgotten
we could share, for we share
so much with one another,
yet seemingly shared so little.
That’s how we are, though;
that’s part of our commonality.
Always the brave face expected,
required, our shield.
But I felt your hurt and
I hope you sensed mine,
because even though we’re
from the opposite poles,
we’ll always be tied together
by  heartwood others never see.
It beats between us today,
and will forever.

Lying with Beautiful Lies

art-is-the-most-beautiful-of-all-lies

Once he’d write her
every day, sometimes twice.
But he’d never send
those messages because
they confused even him.
They’d lie, inert, unloved,
he hoped forgotten,
between notebook covers,
or under assumed names
on a hard drive.
To send them would
blow his cover,
as if he was the
star-crossed lover
who pined for something
he couldn’t have,
but never really needed.
The words that escaped
would lie, too, speaking
of feelings injured,
a heart unloved.
He heard that song today,
and they all came back,
stupid words and dreams
best forgotten, and
beautiful lies once more
given life.

Only the Smile Remains

She had a bright smile, as I remember,
and I forget so much these days.
But the idea of what’s now a featureless face,
save for the memory of that brilliant double arch
of inviting conviviality, coquettish charm
and orthodontic perfection, floats
before me and I can’t blink nor rub it away.
Sometimes I can still make out her eyes,
deep brown with a filigree of gold
and ebony surrounding the pupils.
I only got close enough to study them
four times, and of those, only once
was with her knowledge, but not approval.

They were as bright as her smile
and were the windows to her troubled soul.
But now I don’t see her eyes too much.
Perhaps my recollection boarded them up when
she lost the lease on her soul.
It doesn’t much matter anymore, since I
moved off on my way, too. But I admit
to missing that bright smile and the times
I’d bask in its illuminant approval,
hear the chime of laughter from inside,
instead of feeling its bite on these,
my long smileless days, when in the mirror
I reflect on my own eyes, and see, and see,
and see…a candle within.

I was writing a story, and the character stopped in mid-draft to tell me this story about himself and the one who is but a shadow on a cloudy day to him now. I’d better put down my poet’s quill and pick up my writer’s keyboard to see what else is troubling this guy. Perhaps its the quote by the Cheshire Cat as he faded away, leaving nothing but his smile: “We’re all mad here.”