Last night, I sat and torpidly watched
from my window the advent of deep winter
settle in well before Christmas .
I recall going out with the dog
on nights like this, when
what few sounds you could hear
seemed brittle upon arrival.
It was so still the cadenced report
of our feet on the snow was
something between a crunch and a squeak.
Every breath left the taste of steel
and blood on the back of your throat,
and each “C’mon, Slowpoke,” would
hang in front of your mouth like
sub-zero comic strip dialogue.
The air about you smelled so clean
as it chicaned its way through
the warming chambers lying
behind your frozen face, upon which,
if you cracked a smile,
you might indeed do just that.
Then you’d feel the tug of the leash
as a simple animal felt it necessary
to remind this dreamer that his dreams
were best accomplished under warm blankets
rather than beneath ice-crystal stars,
a haloed moon and a need to freeze
if only just to feel.
A winter day’s free write about winter nights.
Sometimes I wonder why
I live so much life
when you are done
living yours each day.
As you lie in your bed,
resting and recovering
from the energy spent
being you or assuming
the role draped across
your waking shoulders,
I come to life,
in the near-sleep,
staring straight up
into the dark, where
my imagination shines.
While you sleep,
we are performing
in daytime, when
the light blinds
my mind’s eye.
It is my balancing time
between day’s dull reality
and night’s brilliant hope,
no matter how fanciful.
Maybe that’s why it’s called
Poem-a-Day for April 26th, an “evening” poem.
The pillow to my back’s giving a push
toward this keyboard that won’t give an inch.
That’s how it’s been for this long lonely while
when the only you I see is up where
the stories come, through the dark to my bed.
That’s not in any dream, but in that time
between awake and not, since sleep won’t come
in the sense that I awaken like new.
I don’t really sleep, not because of you,
but because my sore old heart’s not in it,
just like your heart’s not lying here near mine.
So I toss and knot blankets, turn pillows
into lovers and foes. Doesn’t matter
since they’re not really human, though I am.
I’m so human, I miss something never mine,
which is why imagination became
my dear new friend and worst old enemy.
But that’s how I see you, through darkened rooms
like centrally heated tombs, where I share
a bed with ghosts of the not dead yet lost.
And they steal the covers and push me off
the edge, toward this keyboard upon which
I crash, opening the wound that you see
right here, amid all these, my other scars,
the ones hung on night air, like you-named stars.
I hope to smile as I sit up
in bed from another night of sleep.
Real sleep, not the toss and turn,
the clusters of one-eyed
the bedclothes-shifting kick-flips
of the nocturnal 5000-meter
medley swimmer in the sheets.
I won’t be sad when
I sink to the bottom five minutes
after I dove under the covers,
as long as I don’t awaken
with a gasp and snort of a man
who really DID sink to the bottom
of a pool on his way to swimming out of
That guy doesn’t smile when dawn
slaps him like a walrus flipper
with that long arousal called
But that smile’s just a dream,
and we who don’t sleep
the good sleep tend not to dream.
And dreaming would be a dream come true.
Then dawn would break open
with a smile for me..and you…
The light that glowed on my days so brightly
has grown so dim I grope to find my way.
So the trail I leave behind’s unsightly,
full of debris, no longer smooth highway.
When you hang your life on a single speck
of illumination, a lodestar hook,
should others’ clouds cross your bow, you might wreck,
in the wake of the blind passage they took.
I suppose my best hope to find my course
would be to rely on dead reckoning.
Instead of moping in doldrums, I’ll force
ahead on my own path come beckoning.
So with faith as my guide, and eyes wide shut
I’ll sail with hope and rely on my gut.
Illustration from The Dream of Aengus, by Ted Nasmith
It’s a world I cannot find
when my eyes, like day’s,
close in the darkness.
I wish to see that face,
hear the stories she can tell,
follow it where its may lead.
But I only lie in silence,
with an eye-blink, lids down
and snapping back open,
seemingly in a slice of a second,
yet six hours passing.
In that speck of time perceived,
she my forebears called Caer Ibormeith
never appears, doesn’t invite me
to her realm, and I awaken
with my mind’s hands empty
of what you take for granted
yet I never grasp…
Sleep and lust once shared
with me this bed where I lay.
They were my youth’s balm,
my refuge, bedmate and love.
Now we are estranged,
Nights are but numbed-over Days.
reflecting dark dawn’s light
on old eyes that see
how Night and I have wasted
each other again.
Went back to the origins of my poetic life, writing of my wretched sleepless or fitful nights in links of haiku-like lines of five and seven syllables. Restful sleep has once again become my obsession and unattainable treasure. And whatever facilities I have to speak to you suffer from this loss. With this numbness I grow more mute and isolated by the day.