Sorry About The Cake

I wish I could find the recipe
for my old delectations you loved.
Couple of cups of flower
for the nature ones,
a teaspoon of that sugar and soda
for the leavening of levity.
Was it four or five drops
from the bottle of tears
for all the pearl-clutchers?

Seems so long since I
broke all those lines of eggs
and shoved a two-verse bit
of two-bit verse into the oven.
Was it a knife or a toothpick
I’d stab into the Westerns
to check their done-ness?
None ever were.

I should have written down
those old recipes, but maybe
it was the total sensory emptiness
of the cold, aroma-less kitchen
that stirred me to pull out
this 52-key mixing bowl again.
The clicks as I mixed this
sound write, but I’m never
sure how how it’ll taste.
Want to lick the spoon?

Feeling My Way

I wonder and wander each day at this time,
hoping I won’t need to resort to some rhyme
to chronicle the tour from right brain to left.
Sometimes the scenes are forests or plains wind-swept,
others like deserts, barren of even sounds.
But the best trips are those where I, spelunker
of this cavern, drop into my heart’s abyss
or maybe the bottomless black of your eyes.
I guess that’s because I don’t see as much as feel
my way into these chambers of mystery
where I’m sure there are glyphs of our history
on the walls that echo each heartbeat and blink.
So if, while you read, a tear on your cheek falls,
it’s just irritating me trying to feel
with hands and heart, my way out, along those walls,
imprinting memories I hope I don’t drop
before my wander is done, when I’ll wonder
not how I found my way, but how I lost it.

All The Questions Behind Our Masks

If you could hear my voice,
would you know who I am?
If you could see only my eyes,
would you just shrug and move on?
You, who notice so much, how would
I stand or walk or scratch
my nose that’d signal I’m
the one standing before you?

I only ask because years and tears
take their tolls, and to chase life,
we now wear masks to jump the stiles.
Would I recognize you, if you
covered half your face?
Your smile, once so infectious,
would retain some anonymity
and protection from me, though
your laugh might break through
as if shrouded only by Salome’s
diaphanous veils.

Would I recognize those pools
of sadness or of anger cascading
over your protective wall, as well
as your mask? It doesn’t matter.
Apart is our part in how life goes on,
and happy face to face need only
happen where there are no masks
and distance is dissolved in time
and the dark mask-drop of dreams.

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.

 

Total Recall

I remember once when
my memory worked, how you
looked on the day that we met.
Well, we actually didn’t meet
since you were busy with them
and I was idle with me.
But my eyes met you.
I recall you in black and white,
which I’m not sure if you wore
or that’s just how my old
memories conflate with newer ones.
Do you remember when we met,
or have the years smeared
that picture with the tears
I’ve caused you because
eventually we did? Perhaps
I didn’t make that big a dent
in your mind as you did in mine.
Or maybe you’ve lost that memory
because it was for the best.
If they’re there, I can’t find
all the pieces in the corners
of my mind, scattered by fears
that a perfect memory would be
too true for my imperfect fantasy.
But its all here in black and white.

There! I think this might be better. Do you remember when I would write one of these lickety-split over a ten-minute break? Well, maybe it was 15. I don’t remember such things so well anymore. But, like I said, there it is in black and white.

What My World Had To Say

It’s the frame through which
our pictures happen to unfold
of how the world goes ‘round and ‘round
and I just sit here and go old.
I perch here on this side of the glass,
the world lies around out there,
and we pose for hours and one another,
the world supine and I in my chair.

Even on overcast days, outside
it’s brighter than it is in here.
That’s in the eye of the beholder,
and this beholder’s craving a beer.
I watch the maple and birch trees bow
and then, with the wind, they dance.
On a page, I draw a picture of them,
with words better suited for romance.

Some days those words come quite easily,
other days it’s just so damn hard.
I’m sure the world deserves better,
but unfortunately I’m me, not some Bard.
Birds, squirrels, a woman, some girls,
memories of them true and false,
cross by my window in their own way each day,
this window ‘neath the old back porch walls.

I write down what I see, most times what I don’t,
‘cause I have a tendency to forget.
The world’s wooden-framed eyeball never blinks,
but I’ve yet to see it write about me yet.
So that’s the lot of the back porch poet,
the guy who chronicles what he senses each day.
Not too many read these, as far as I know it,
but if I didn’t, who’d know what my world had to say?

On Day 9 of Poem A Day April, an ekphrastic poem. For all you folks like me who never knew, that’s a poem inspired by a piece of art. I’ve written lots of poems like that! I’m an ekphrastic poet! Who knew? Anyway, I chose that photo up there because it reminded me of yours truly as he hunches over his laptop each day in front of the window facing the backyard.

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.

I Still See a Face

It seems so stupid,
how that face is still in my thoughts
visiting me more often than even
someone’s idea of a Muse.
And while some might call it
my poetic river’s source,
the thought of it brings
more sorrow than joy.
On my ceiling dark, I lie awake
and see those eyes swing
from glad to sad to mad
(or even angry)
and randomly hopscotch emotions
until my mind surrenders
in exhausted relief.
And so thank you
for your curious lullaby.

Your silence is often the last voice
I hear before the darkness
consumes my consciousness
and my dreamless sleep
provides escape from
the gladness, the sadness,
the madness, that would
drive most other men to
slumbering fantasy,
but prods me toward
the sweet relief of a poet’s
near-sleep breath and breath,
hopeful that even if all those
transgressions are not forgiven,
they may, at least someday,
like that face,
be forgotten.

Turning Back the Pages

The decisions we’ve made
have steered our lives
like some existential
“choose your own adventure” book
with its pages ablaze.
We flip them back in recall
and feel the sting of those
times we chose C instead of
A or B. But what if we hadn’t?
I’d probably still be jamming
my fingers in my mouth,
wincing with the pain
I’d feel about the pain
I caused, scanning
the scorched past through
blackened memories of
times when I thought
my light was bright enough
to decide C sparkled like
the sapphire or obsidian
in those eyes I misread,
too.

Do You Ever?

Do you ever wonder why
I do these things I do?
Those annoying, forgetful,
clumsy, mean-spirited,
endearing, gentle,
memorable, loving things?
I suppose not.
That would mean you’d
have to think about me,
and that’s something
you’d just as soon
not have to do.
No reason to,
no future in it,
don’t care.

I wonder not only
about all my actions,
but also about yours.
Sorry, that’s another thing
you might not think about
that I do. Did you ever?
Will you now? Now that
I’ve brought it up,
like someone saying
don’t think about me.
And so you will.
Add another annoying
act to my tab.
You’re welcome, stranger.