You’d think otherwise, wouldn’t you,
but sleep has never come easy for me.
Not the tucked-in for the night sleep,
not the snuggled close and content sleep.
Mine is the toss and turn sleep,
the stare at the ceiling dark so long
my eyes adjust to see shadows you’d
never see. Shadows I don’t wish to.
I’d never wake you to tell what I see.
I can’t. If I reach right or left
all I can feel is empty.
Covers twisted and fallen, I turn over
and tell my pillow, but a pillow
will only echo what you lay upon it,
no spontaneity or warmth other than
what I put into it. And still,
sleep evades me, or teases me with
a veiled unconsciousness that lasts
maybe an hour or so, over and over.
So the thing I crave most
is the thing I most fear and despise,
something in the dark that pulls me under
and spits me back out like words
I never said except here. That might be
why sleep does not come easy for me
as it does for you. Because you sleep
just fine, right? Tucked in for the night
and snuggled close and content.
Another night, like so many other nights. Haven’t written about my bête noire in a long time. This morning I couldn’t help but.
All alone while south-bounding
this midnight highway, I’m staring
at the painted lines on the road.
The high beams serve as the conduit
through which I’m reeling
yellow-yellow-yellow into my eyes as I
draw closer to here, to there, please
don’t let it be once more to nowhere.
Now the snow is falling, though
from my aspect behind the wheel
it surges toward me in one long burst
of white and I dare not blink
or I might lose the road altogether,
the touchstone lines now erased.
My eyes must be stinging from all
this gaping into the glare
of faded yellow lines on black,
now motes of white ice dust
streaming upon a beam of light.
I just tell you they’re sweating tears
from the strain as I idly wipe
them aside with the back of my hand.
All I really see is your face out there.
All the rest is mere background…nothing.
All I want is to make it home and ask for
one more chance to make it all —
all the unbroken lines of all our strife,
all the blizzards of guilt I’ve run from since
all I knew was walking. I’ve run out of road.
All I want is back there by you.
In Poem #22 in the April Poem-A-Day slog to May, I’m responding to Robert Lee Brewer’s promo for a piece with “Star (Something)” in its title. Well, you know how Hesch rolls…too cute by half. Mission accomplished, Robert.
There’s an icy down
on the blades of grass.
atoms of winter have scraped
the little green that remains
of the blanket spring and summer
wove upon this bed where now they sleep.
I move outside, slowly stepping
my way west toward
the oaken stump I once built,
with my own blade,
my own knife-edged intent
to bring color to the spot
where light refused to shine.
Upon this veil of rime,
the hazy shape of a man appears,
stealing what I sweated so hard
to free. I turn to discover
the tide of another day
inching over the rooftops,
turning the frost to
a million million prisms
that will soon surrender to dawn
and a wave of dormant green
that inches toward me, warm upon
this shore of a December night.
For sixty round trips of the hour hand of his grandmother’s wooden clock, which he broke some indeterminable time ago, Pål Rønning, had not seen the sun rise above the eastern horizon, which his grandfather told him was out beyond those scrubby trees.
Compasses grew confused about direction this close to the top of the world, just as Pål got confused when he moved to this desolate spot when his parents died in an Oslo car crash, how he got confused even more by the however-many days, or whatever one called them, he had been alone during this horror called Polar Night.
As he lay there by the fire, staring at the images of his grandparents sleeping at the table, staring at the ceiling, he didn’t think anything around him was real anymore, even the winds that knocked at the door he no longer answered.
“I am alone here and will never see anyone again, or maybe all around me is just a dream and I and the darkness are all that is real,” Pål wrote on a page of an undated journal the hunting party out of Longyearbyen found, along with Björn and Maria Rønning, frozen in blood there at the table of their cabin.
What they didn’t find was young Pål Rônning, who had decided to take a midday stroll one night under the Aurora Borealis, so sure that it was noon in Oslo and not something imaginary again like people, April and that great ball in the sky that once was the Sun.
A quick Five Sentence Fiction based on Lillie McGerrins prompt DARKNESS.
A kind of placeholder/catch-up poem for Day 9 of April National Poetry Month. Today’s prompt for NaPoWriMo was take any random song play list (from iPod, in this case) and use the next five song titles on that randomized list in a poem.
I’ll dream up something on my own later.
Underneath the Stars
Miles from Nowhere
Till the Morning Comes —
As the Poetry gods, Kismet and Dumb Luck, would have it, Serena Matthews, Kate Rusby (I want her and Alison Kraus to sing at my funeral — angel voices), Cat Stevens, Neil Young, and Damien Rice were the stars that aligned for a rather cool poem.
If the prompt had asked for the first seven songs, this would have gone over like a fart in church. Next up were Wall of Death (Richard Thompson) and Canadian Railroad Trilogy (Gordon Lightfoot). Whew!
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.
Inspired by Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks”
I was sitting there
on the dark end,
away from the windows’
reflections on lives ill-spent,
bookended by open stools,
as well as the day before today
and the night after tomorrow.
Squinting into the icecube
at the bottom of my glass
I see familiar movement behind me,
or maybe it’s there in front of me,
all these faces I recognize.
Or maybe just one face multiplied
in the melting moment suspended in my
too-swiftly dwindling spirit.
Perhaps it’s another illusion,
a mirage in my desert of time.
I really don’t see anything out there
in those near or distant tomorrows
that will make me feel better
about my todays.
That’s probably because
I’ve emptied too many
of my yesterdays.