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.

In the Canyon of Our Echoes

For years and years
and years and years
I’ve chronicled the echoes
of my woes and yours,
I’ve given voice to
the oohs and ahhhs,
the sniffs and sobs,
I hear with an ear
no one can see.
But I’m tired.
Tired, tired, tired,
retired and re-retired.
I know there’s joy out there
because I can hear
the giggles of little ones,
see the smiles of those
who think they know love
in this moment when I sense
I’m going deaf, blind and,
perhaps, speechless.
Yet there’s hope in this
canyon of our echoes…
because at least
I can still feel.

I just realized how long I’ve chronicled expressions of our emotions, over and over and over again. And I’m so, so tired…but still willing.

Weir Like a Broken Heart, Pain Like A Rainbow

Are you still feeling that pain
you’ve looked for me to capture
in a weir of words
strung across your river of tears?
It’s a difficult thing,
to weave a net for another’s suffering,
since each of us carries
our own sorrows, denizens of
the murky bottom, slithering through
the broken hearts of my words
and the knottiness of your needs.
And so I fail, not for lack of trying
or even for misunderstanding, since loss
is as much my tool as this clickity keyboard
and this clackity metaphor.

Today’s one of those bright days,
one in which I wade through the shallows,
picking at the small miseries
that beset us all. Then, with a splash,
the great sorrow leaps over
my words, headed upstream.
And I know. I’ll never capture
what’s allowed to return and spawn.
In that, though, I find a beautiful solace,
like a rainbow after the storm.

Like A Picture Drawn In Lavender

The fields of lavender stretch like bolts of corduroy from where we bask in summer sunlight. Their perfume wafts sweet and intoxicating, when we need not their breath, for she knows we must be living in a dream.

A breeze combs the wales this way and that. They dance like rows of tiny willows, swaying to the tunes of that aeolian flute rising from the sea, that brilliant mirror of the sun’s face. Does she know it can never be my face?

“Where are you?” she asks, as if my thoughts are always somewhere else. But I’ll be with her all day. “The light is perfect. Do you wish to draw me? Shall I disrobe?”

Within these purple fronds I’m sure she cannot see my smile. Neither is it lecherous nor amused. She’s not some whore like in the village tavern, nor is she some silly child. She is earnest, yearning, waiting for me to memorialize her today. Some instrument of recollection for when she is old and alone.

Then the tear forms at the corner of her eye, as realization crosses her mind like a cloud.

She’s recalls I’m heir to the darkness, yang to shining yin of this Provence light. I can record my chiaroscuro impressions of her, but they’re fleeting. I’m leaving, evening drawing me in its charcoal-covered hands, drawing me as a stick man of two-dimensions, drawing me longer and narrower as I near my vanishing point out there beyond these fields of lavender.

 

It Happens Every Spring

These were the days I would
run like tree sap, uncontrolled
by any man’s order. Not even my own.
A seasonal shade of masculinity
drip-drip-dripping from me
like tears at a funeral,
freeing my joints and tongue
in a low-gravity dance
with the baseless hope one feels
at 0-0 before the first pitch.
And, before you know it,
after a few scoring opportunities
got turned away, I’d be down
Spring to Nothing. Life throwing
a shut-out at the guy who still
misreads the rules. Always thought
’twas Spring hopes eternal,
not some other way ‘round.

Too true for it to be fictionalized. What is it they used to say? Oh yeah, “It happens every Spring.” Still.

What I Talk About When I Talk About Love

Write what you know, all the experts say.
But my level of knowledge, let alone understanding,
of the subject at hand is about as low as
one can feel when you don’t feel any love.
Those fancy lovers (and lovers of letters)
who believe they know all the ins and outs
of that “o” and “e”, all the angles of
that “L” and “V,” only know what they know.
Ya know?

Me? What I know of love could best be described,
though I’d never deign to proclaim “defined,”
as a mushy melange of obsession, possession,
with a strong dash of protection, chased by a swig
of rejection stirred with a sprig of depression.
And yet I write all these poems in which you
feel we are sharing a sense of that thing
I’ve never understood, but maybe felt once
or twice. I don’t know. I’ll leave that up to you,
my Love.

On Day 21 of the April Poem-a-Day promenade, I’ve been charged with writing a “love” poem or an “anti-love” poem. So be it. Here they are, all in one piece.

The Tender Trap

She fogged the crosshairs of my mind.
the first time that I sighted her.
I confessed to my journal, blue-lined,
“All but she’s an unlighted blur.”

Yes, I chased her, though never stalked;
even I knew that was creepy.
Finally she stopped and we talked,
then hunter became prey, completely.

I’m told this happens ev’ry Spring
when testosterone runs like sap.
Guy’s lose their minds, hear angels sing.
Little do they know it’s a trap.

Mmmm, pheromones…was that a clang
rolling up my spine like a ghost?
Or was it an alarm bell rang,
warning “Sorry, brother. You’re toast”

Too late, she snared me something fierce.
And though it didn’t hurt at all.
Remember the words of Ambrose Bierce:
Their arms? It’s into their hands you fall.

On Day 6 of National Poetry Writing Month, a “trap” poem. Please forgive me, ladies.  The pretty words wouldn’t come today. At least not yet they haven’t.

A Touch of Love

It’s always been my secret,
now others must learn its ways.
Start using words like “egret,”
in conversation on the page.

I began this a decade back,
while I sat alone and lonely.
Imagination an empty sack,
I thought of you and said, “If only…”

Pulled apart by distance and time,
I couldn’t feel you if I tried.
So I called to you, not in rhyme,
but poetically I kind of lied.

Made-up stories, observations
of a somewhat intimate nature,
took the place of conversations,
all in my own nomenclature.

My words became more than my own,
since they touched others in some way.
But now it seems I’m not alone,
since we all have to keep away.

I suggest if you crave a touch,
and social distancing won’t let you,
write an ode, sonnet or some such
and see how close that’ll get you.

We’re in a new world, living apart,
wearing the mask and rubber glove.
But if you wish to reach a heart,
a poem can be a touch of love.

Day 1 of a stab at my annual Poetry Month poem-a-day quest.

Love In the Time of Corona

So…what if this time it’s really the end?
The time to say adios, good-bye, adieu.
If it is, then what better time to send
one more poem, my friend, to say thank you?

Isn’t it strange how many questions I ask
when it wasn’t answers I really needed?
See? Now there’s two more I add to the task
of figuring you out. Never succeeded.

You whispered at me so many secrets,
then pushed me away when I’d lean too close.
Now, I’ve caught so many of your regrets,
and never knew why it was me you chose.

So here’s the end. Not too close, should I sneeze.
Never mind, we were always each other’s disease.

Sorry for the extra beat at the end. Sometimes such things don’t have a suitable explanation. They just have to be. Let’s just hope it’s like an extra heartbeat. Be well, stay vigilant, and know I’m always thinking of you as we each wait out whatever lies ahead. 

A Matter of Honor

They think I don’t hear them, but I do. Or at least I hear the hum of their talk with words bobbing up every now and then.

It certainly bests the sound of breathing, the crackle of my neck turning left and right on the cot, or the heartbeat that longs to feel hers, just to make some poetry that probably doesn’t rhyme anymore.

But out in the hallway, I’m pretty sure the guards are talking about me. I hear “bastard.” And maybe that was a “poor,” which I’d appreciate if this wasn’t the eve of the dawn we’ve been waiting for. Or dreading.

There! I’m pretty sure that was a “governor,” but it just as well could have been a “southerner,” or a “lovin’ her.” They all could apply to me. Though I’m not sure Yankees understand family and honor like we do.

I probably deserve the dance I’ll do when the sun clears the horizon. Eye for an eye and all. Carpetbaggin’ sumbitch deserved every last ball I put in him. Wish’d I had Daddy’s LeMat to wipe the grin off his face with a shotgun blast, too.

But some Yankee’s probably got that, too. Took everything, eventually, didn’t they? Saber, gun, horses, farm, Mama’s honor, my…

I heard the lock clank.

“All right, I’m afraid it’s time. Ya know, I’d have shot that scoundrel, too, Missy. If it’s any consolation. I take no solace in hangin’ a twelve year old girl,” the glossy-eyed, red-nosed sergeant said.

When there are no more of their culturally established defenders around, some women grow up fast to protect themselves and their own. Especially in a mid-19th Century rural society. This 250-word story reflects such a young woman doing what she decided needed to be done in a family whose men were erased by war. It’s in response to that first sentence up there, the prompt for this week’s Thursday Threads feature from author Siobhan Muir.