Reaching Epic Heights

Reaching epic heights was never my hope;
I always feared them more than I could climb. 
Then I thought if I took hold of your rope, 
I might scale peaks that evaded my prime.

But I guess I’m not that good a student,
nor brave mountaineer, hero or friend.
While my intentions weren’t that imprudent,
sometimes they’re hard to comprehend.

Now we’re stuck on the side of this mountain,
surrounded by these clouds and can’t see.
No, looks like by anyone’s accountin’
the regret to reach the peak falls on me.

So you can go finish your ascension;
reaching epic heights is why you came here.
If you wish, I’ll untie this rope for descension
to my life of quiet failure and fear.

Dreams Like the Tiniest Snowflakes

The tiniest of snowflakes 
have returned to the tableau 
framed by the window 
where I sit and stare at dreams of you.
Etheral, gossamer, with a lifespan
as small in my hand as the hopes 
speckling those dreams.
How many winters have I sat here 
where imagination drove these dreams 
past my sight like the tiniest 
snowflakes I frame within 
this pane of vacant day, 
empty even of lies I tell myself?
They’re coming faster now, 
soon enough clouding my view 
of the reality I’ll always be alone, 
and trying to hold onto the tiniest of dreams 
I wish were true.

Talking to You Through My Fingertips

My fingertips are tracing 
this spot and that 
just as they’ve done 
uncountable times before, 
but in this instance, 
for this instant, 
I’m touching them in a way 
neither my fingers 
nor these spaces have ever felt.

Can you feel the soft abandon 
I’m bringing to this touch, 
not the teenaged hesitance, 
lest I make a mistake and 
lose the feeling altogether, 
nor the young man’s assertive
staccato sureness that
he’ll get away with it until
you ask for subtext like
a river flowing beneath the ice.

No, this time my fingerprints are
brushing softly on the coded 
conversation beneath them, I can sense 
their washboard burr upon the ridges 
rising from this spot and that.
And now the feeling’s gone,
turned cold and silent as
this scatter of gravestones again.
But above them, I see 
this instinctual invention, 
a forever echo of a moment 
that I dreamed of touching you.

It’s All Over

The dream overtook my sleep 
just before dawn, 
waking a subconscious hope 
usually kept hidden 
like the covers at 
the foot of the bed
hide a missing sock. 
Or maybe it was trying to awaken me 
to something I’ve lost, 
or never admitted I had,
like a child’s guileless mind, 
or that I didn’t want to know 
what I really wanted.
Wanted from my life. 
What I wanted from you.
Then I opened my eyes 
and the dream was gone.
But here you are in this memory 
of what never happened, 
and never will.
Because, like that dream, 
and just like that life,
just as I’ve woken up, 
it’s all over.

White Noise

Would you call it white noise I think I hear 
while I lie here in silence with no one near? 
No shushing vent like a librarian’s warning, 
no voice from the same room to wake to each morning. 
No dog scratching or snoring at my restless feet
just more silence where those hobbled feet meet. 
No soft breathing from someone reading at my shoulder, 
no sighs because I wish I wish I wish I was bolder. 
No rustle of cloth or approach soft as a snowflake,
to give me a hug, unlike the one’s that feel so fake.
No heartbeat within or whispering skin upon my skin, 
or catch in my throat where words should begin
to tell you the story, whose two lonely leads
have different wants but really the same needs.
No, I lie where nothing but white noises persist
and dream that in real lives happy endings exist.


They tell me it’d help 
if I could be in the moment, 
be present, as if 
I’m raising my hand 
at the head of Row 3 
and Sister Basil’s 
croaking “Joseph Hesch”
while she’s drilling me 
with those blue lasers, 
seeing me right there.
But here I am, thinking 
about all those years ago 
instead of feeling 
your touch on my shoulder, 
warm and encouraging.
But that’s not real either,
just another moment I’m not
really in, though I can feel
your presence as mindfully
as these keys ‘neath my fingers.
This is my present.
But only for the moment.

Today, my take on a Mindfulness poem.


I'm sitting, looking at this cloud,
its top constantly shifting
in winds I cannot see nor feel.
I just want to reach out, 
grab hold of it and fly, 
which direction, northeast?
I can’t do that, anymore, except
in my once moving mind.

But now my life is settled,
like silt all around me, stuck 
in this tear-drowned dirt.
Here I no longer see nor feel
what I once could, when I’d grab 
the clouds just for that music 
of the wind to which I’d give lyrics 
for you to sing.

But I can’t hear you sing anymore, either.

Writing Your Name in the Dust

I dusted my headboard today
and wondered, as some motes managed
to cling to the Mission-style frame,
if with my Muse I’ll still be sleeping
as long as the next weekend or two.
It’s why I hope there’s such a thing
as reincarnation and our paths
have joined time and again over
the course of centuries. And it’s
the dust of you I inhale each night,
a perfume of historic affection
ringing my senses with the possibilities
of the endless union of more than
our so, so spiritually conjoined souls.
For dust thou art,
And unto dust shalt thou return.
That’s what keeps me a lazy housekeeper
and a wheezy, waiting, wide-awake dreamer
writing your name in the dust each night. 


I found you wading in the lakeshore shallows,
the water up to your knees.
It had just come morning and a haze laid
upon the water like a net holding
the white glowing catch of another dawn.

I noticed the bottoms of your shorts 
had gotten wet, the way a little kid’s would 
from running forward and back with the waves. 
Yet all was still. So still I was sure
my heartbeat would would send out
circles of ripples if I joined you.

But you walked up the shore toward me
and reached out, pulling me so close 
I could feel your pebbly goosebumps 
raised by the cold water on my thighs.
I draped you in a throw on your shoulders,
holding you close as you warmed to me.

The sun on your face made me blink awake, 
the extra pillow in my arms, a new day
slipping into my room through the blinds,
a dream lying there next to me as I mumbled, 

Lavender and Lemon

I think it might be lavender
mixed with a little lemon zest.
The memory of how you smell
still lingers in me. Who’d have guessed?

Perhaps you. Certainly not I,
my memories now are hidden.
I think I lost them in the dust
of the desert years I’ve ridden.

All by myself, but not alone,
Imagination rode there, too.
A third shadow sometimes appeared,
so suspiciously shaped like you.

When it cast itself on the sand
the desert would begin to bloom.
Instead of the dust and dried sage,
the air was filled with your perfume.

At least that’s what I could recall
as each sundown you rode away.
Even sleep would leave me alone
all night as I daydreamed you’d stay.

Now I’m old, and rely upon
your grace for any second chance
to leave loneliness just once more,
and between us its vast expanse. 

That’s all I ask, just to get close,
close enough to finally see
if lavender and lemon were
what you wore, or hopeful fantasy.

Since I’m a day behind, I combined two prompts today -- a second chance poem and one using the sense of smell.