“The signs are always in front of you,”
my consciousness has said to me.
“Should have seen that crash coming
from a mile away,” he’ll chide,
when it was he holding the wheel.
I’ve always felt I was a sensitive,
preceptive guy, but where you
might be concerned, I have a cognitive
macular degeneration, a blind spot
smack dab in the middle
of my field of emotional vision.
Perhaps that’s why I never saw,
or maybe I just ignored, the warnings
you laid down for me to let up on the gas.
Even slowing down, though,
the intractability of my
runaway judgment still would collide
with your irresistible force.
The last time, I swerved
at the last instant to save myself
from the inevitable collision
between magnetic attraction and
multiple obsessive-compulsive injuries.
The big problem has always been
what I’d notice from the corner
of my eye as I’d swing past you.
Then I drive for days and days,
looking back into the rearview mirror
with that one eye closed, pondering if
your warning was merely another Caution
or a Detour/Do Not Enter.
For Day #11 of April 2018’s PAD Challenge, I was asked to write a “Warning” poem. Some people just don’t see the warning signs, or maybe they just choose to ignore them. Either way, they tend to regret it down the road. Life’s short, you’d do well to pay attention and accept with gratitude everything about your journey’s sights and sounds. Be a shame to miss some good stuff because you exited Life’s highway too soon. Or maybe you just should have walked.
Such a fine memory
I have of you.
Of you walking by me
in the moonlight glow
from the window.
I remember sensing
the scent of you
that night like
your silhouette wafting
though your nightgown.
Such a fine memory
I have of you.
Of you beside me
all those nights,
so close I could not sleep.
Of your warmth
touching my body
as your kiss.
Such fine memories
I’ve carried of us
all these years,
how you’re always there
when the music plays,
when the room goes dark.
But there never was an Us,
never really was a you.
Just fine memories.
I was due for something new. This is at least that.
What used to be scars
are now but traces.
And what traces came
Time has buried
upon my face.
The marks delineate,
limn and illustrate
like hooks in my flesh,
drew me to you.
I knew better, but I
couldn’t choose to ignore,
to turn, to run away.
Distance, of years
dissolved any cords
connecting me to you.
Some hooks linger,
embedded in those lines,
reminders of how easily
I can be caught.
They’re affixed to feelings
I can’t explain, so
I share them here.
They’re no doubt obsessions,
but some call them poems.
I cannot fight you anymore,
you’ve whittled away
my strength and resolve,
you’ve perverted my instincts
I thought it was merely
my obsessions, as much
a part of me as breathing,
my thoughts of this or that,
of her or another her,
that trimmed the ends
off my healing time between
lights-out and pre-dawn awakening.
But it was something stronger
than even the reins of any
preoccupation with the regret,
the maybe and the unattainable
that are killing me in the
too-short, too-broken time
from when I close my eyes and
the few hours until you rip them
open, unraveling this sleeve of care.
Oh, Sleep, why in these my
final days have you forsaken me,
taken your warm caress and
healing gifts from my bed
as would a cheating lover.
I knew you’d become a harridan,
but not, as well, a heartless harlot.
Sleep has returned to her position as the “ossessione di tutte le ossessioni,” the paramount obsession of all my many obsessions, in this miserable dead-man-walking life. The reasons for her desertion are many, but the results are the same—disjointed jeremiads written at 4:45 AM after maybe five broken hours of pathetic toss and yearn, when my brain is firing off short-circuiting sparks I cannot suppress nor control, other than to chronicle this broken relationship I have with a third of my days. This “death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath, Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, Chief nourisher in life’s feast,” as another poet once wrote.
Unrequited Love by Cold Tommy Gin
“What’s his name? he’d ask.
“Does it matter?” she’d say, losing focus
as she saw another’s perfection in her mind’s eye.
“No, not really,” escaped around his smiling shield.
Falling in love — which he felt was her
falling into obsession — was what she loved most.
“So he’s The One?” he’d say.
“Oh, yes. And he’s crazy about me,” she’d reply.
Reflexively, the corners of his mouth bowed up,
as he’d recall all the times she’d run to him
with that same expression he fell in love with
in sixth grade, flashing that same spark
that melted his heart, burning down his hopes with it.
He never thought to tell her the truth
each time she’d run to him like a little girl
excitedly showing a new doll to her best friend.
Because her best friend was who he was.
He couldn’t bear losing her smiling face,
the intimate warmth of how she’d whisper to
him, bringing to flaming life any embers
of his remaining hope, even knowing
they’d burn his heart to ash once more.
“Tell me about him,” he’d say, feeding
more fuel to the torch he’d compulsively raise
in these dark moments just to ensure
he’d be able to see the love of his life again.
An exhausting and exhaustive final poem on Day 30 of my NaPoWriMo poem-a-day challenge. I combined the two prompt sources one last time, using Robert Lee Brewer’s charge to write the title “The (Whatever I Want)” and taking off from that, as well as NaPoWriMo.net’s prompt to write a poem about something that happens again and again. Let’s just say they fell into my creative wheelhouse of steering through love, loss and the the shoals of what lies between. Thanks for putting up with my obsessions and writing compulsion during this month. Hang on tight and wish me luck, tomorrow starts Story-a-Day May.
I came across a photo of you
the other day so I thought I’d
drop you a line. It’s been such
a long time since we last talked.
It reminded me of the long ago time
when I’d always fight for you
instead of you fighting with me?
Just like here was a time when
you shared your warmth with me
instead of offloading angry heat.
That was a time when my sadness
made the world laugh, including you.
But it also was the time when
the ring of your laughter made me
all the sadder.
Did I ever tell you there was a time
when just the sound of your voice
made my day?
Now there’s come a time when
days pass between recalling what
you even sound like. Isn’t that sad?
But there’s a time every day
one or more of these silly thoughts
spin around my head like a cyclone,
dislodging emotions that carom
around my heart leaving behind
even more debris over which I trip
and reel, the World whirling
around me so fast I feel I might
auger myself to its core.
Anyway, hope you’re doing well.
You know me, nothing much changes
in my life. That Earth turns and
it’s another day just like yesterday.
It’s okay if you write back.
Probably better if you didn’t.
Love, I mean Best wishes,
For Day 16 of NaPoWriMo, I combined Writers Digest’s prompt for a poem titled “(blank) System” and NaPoWriMo.net’s for a poem in the form of a letter. And, just because I didn’t use it yesterday, I through in a dash of Writers Digest’s prompt for a “one time” poem. Oh, and if I could find a way to do strikethrough letters on WordPress, that “Love” in the end would look crossed out, as I wanted it to be.
So what if I could one day rein
thoughts I have crowding ’round my brain,
these images I see of You-Know-Who
to as few as let’s say one or two?
Do I really think my life’d be that much better
if I never wrote another cryptic letter
to a universal someone who’ll never end
being the adult version of my imaginary friend?
Question’s moot, dear Know-Who, since never was just one You.
On Day 9 of my NaPoWriMo poem-a-day quest, I combined prompts again. Robert Lee Brewer asked for a poem titled “So (something),” while NaPoWriMo.net suggested a nine-line poem. Nailed the former, but really folded, spindled and mutilated the rules of the latter. Meter and rhyme have never been my friends, imaginary or otherwise.
But NaPoWriMo’s supposed to be all in fun.
Even if all those muse You’s might really be one.