Your Obedient Liar, Me



You do know, all I am is make-believe,
a lie I tell you I’ve told myself first.
It’s not that I started out to deceive,
but if I didn’t share these words I’d burst.

If I told you stories you’d want to hear,
then maybe you might give me a listen.
But I made them up, some over a beer.
In vino veritas, with Truth missin’.

I’m sorry if your feelings I misled,
I didn’t start out to sow confusion.
It’s not like I tried to get you in bed,
though, in truth, that became my delusion.

La Belle Dame sans Merci, I beg pardon.
My life’s been nothing but isolation.
If all I’ve done is your heart to harden,
then I’m doomed to even more privation.

Without you, this darkness my art confines.
But if you once more my attention chanced,
let this be the first of my truest lines:
My heart and soul you’ve forever entranced.

Day 26 of NaPoWriMo. No prompt involved. I just sat and wrote. Unfortunately it came out in rhyme, but at least my imagining and chronicling worked in tandem. Heck, I'm just happy they worked at all. Thank you, my source of inspiration, my wellspring of poetry, ma belle dame sans merci (Thanks John Keats for that, as well.).

Never Without You



Sitting in the dark, 
the stage lights reflecting 
back on our faces, competing 
with the music for spaces 
where our senses hold sway. 
Walking back after the show,
the warmth of your hand 
touching mine, a whiff of perfume 
charged by a hint of your sweat 
fill my head with sensation and sight 
from somewhere other than my eyes. 
Later, feeling your form tucked 
up against me there in the darkness, 
I notice the pillow next to mine 
is missing when I reach out,
only to find the cold empty place
where it should be. I’m forced 
to admit that’s who’s in my arms.
The arms, the hands, the eyes 
and ears which will never 
have the strength to embrace
you like my imagination does.
Yet I am never without you.
It is my greatest strength, 
thank God.
It is my greatest weakness,
damn it.

For Day 4 of my NaPoWriMo poem-a-day journey I was asked to write an "active" poem. Let's face it, for the past year (oh, definitely YEARS), the most active part of me has been my imagination. And even THAT has been locked down and laid up...a lot. Nevertheless, here's the latest exercise my active imagination and I sweated out. 
Happy Easter, everyone!

No Rest for the Teary

It doesn’t matter if I sleep or not,
since rest isn’t there when I awaken.
Perhaps, like blankets when I felt too hot,
I kicked it to the floor and t’was taken.

“By whom?” you ask, since the door’s always locked
and I try to keep the room in darkness.
I’ve no idea, my mind’s blank’ed and blocked,
which was its same state before I started.

But I digress, can’t hold a thought too long,
when sleep in teaspoon doses is proffered.
Which is why I’m asking you in sing-song
rhymes for your help, since you never offered.

But you know grief, obsession and guilt, too,
you’ve worn them like PJs or a nighty.
I’ll bet you’ve ceiling-stared without a clue,
your need for sleep equally as mighty.

Like you can’t go on, you’ve awakened feeling,
all night you’ve spent tossing body and thought.
And, if you can rise, you’re then sent reeling,
weary from chasing what you never caught.

Sorry, this wasn’t to be about you,
since it’s I who need to find the best cure.
I should leave you alone, you’ve suffered too,
I can’t expect you to be my rescuer.

My bed’s too crowded after all these years,
with sins I’ve committed, choices I’ve made.
They kick and elbow me sometimes to tears,
I hide in the pillow where poems I’ve laid.

That’s the ink in which to you I wrote this,
and no sleep’s the toll I paid for the ride.
No wonder I feel so worn and worthless.
Not quite an answer, but at least we tried.

Hell Hath No Fury

“You don’t have to do this,” Lottie said as I was about to finish Landro in the alley.

“After what he did to you?” I said. If Lottie wasn’t there, I’d have killed him already. But with her it was like having a good angel on both shoulders. She was my worst good influence.

“I don’t want you do it.”

“I don’t want you to either,” Landro said through lips I’d split five ways.

“I don’t want you to get in trouble for something I…”

“You didn’t do anything, Lottie. He’s a coward and needs killin’,” I said.

“I didn’t mean it,” Landro said, a tear in his voice and a torrent streaming from what was visible of his right eye.

I should’ve shot him when he came out of the bar, but I was walking Lottie home, still jumpy as a kitten.

“Her thtockings showing, riding astraddle that plug with the missing shoe, giving me the eye. She was asking for it,” Landro said.

I kicked him again. He was asking for it.

“Ted, take me home. Please.”

“All right. Landro, you’re lucky this girl’s more forgiving than any saint.”

I guess my threat worked. Landro was gone in the morning. Never saw him again.

Week later, some Buffalo Soldiers found a body about twenty miles from town. Said Apaches left him naked, face smashed in by a rifle butt, manhood tossed in a patch of cactus. Two sets of tracks.

Funny, one of them had but three shoes.

A 250-word story drafted for Siobhan Muir’s weekly Thursday Threads contest. Had to use phrase “You don’t have to do this.” I led with it and followed that trail. This one will be expanded into something even more grown-up someday.

My Figment, Your Poet

Here you are again,
sitting, standing,
floating in front of me.
There but not there,
inevitably as real
as I can make you.
And yet I’m your captive,
one of my own imagination,
one who who lives to see you
and loves to please you,
one who chronicles
the never-weres in clicks
of never-wills,
one who almost never can
without you.
Then I realize it’s time
for you to go again,
fading into the light.
At least until tonight,
when you return, floating
on a river of blackest ink
across my ceiling dark.
And I, your poet, without a pen.

As Big As That, As Small As This

When I close my eyes,
I can see you clearly.
Not from a distance, like
from all these years away,
but as if you were standing
right in front of me.
And if you really were here,
I’d still not see you,
not as you are, since
I’d be looking through
my glass with the rosy hue.
The one that magnified everything
about you into massive things.
Colossal, monumental, unrealistic.
That’s obsession for you.

I always thought you saw me
through that glass, too,
only from the other end,
where I looked so small.
Diminutive, unimpressive, quixotic.
I never did see you as you are,
a deep and complex forest,
rather than an array of pretty trees.
Too bad I believed the trees,
who saw a pesky weed.
You never were as really big as that,
and I never really as small as this.
So we never really were, were we?

Day 27 called for a “massive” poem. I don’t have the wherewithal today to put together some Homeric monster epic. Nor even an abridged version. And you don’t have the time to devote to reading it. Wait for my book. So here’s an equally fictive piece about how we can blow the normal up out of proportion, as well as diminish it into a gnat. Get rid of that rosy glass, y’all. Left out in the sun, it’ll burn everything down.

Table for One ~ A Rondeau

Table for one, that’s what I get
Since we no longer talk, and yet
I’m not alone like other men
Might be in bar, cafe or den,
Since here you see the place I’ve set.

That’s no surprise to you I’ll bet,
Knowing how I would sit and fret,
Even at this lonely, this Zen
Table for one.

Sure, there have been others I’ve met,
whom places in my life I let.
But only you are with me when
My obsession cries through this pen.
Two ink stains we’ll leave at this wet
Table for one.

Wherefore and Why

He thought he’d search today
for that old photograph.
And he was not sure why.
They never talked anymore,
the bloom off that rose like
the youth off that old image.
But still he rummaged,
through notebooks and pens,
books and file folders,
memories and other memories,
real and imagined.
And he was not sure why.
Until then he found it,
dogeared and scuffed,
within a spiral bound
remembrance he’d created
when he wasn’t looking,
not even thinking of it.
And he was not sure why.
But there was the smile
that lit so many dark days
and darker nights, like
the sun continues to glow
in its recalled place
behind his closed eyes.
And then he knew why.
With one smile he knew why.

I’d Love It Otherwise

I’ve talked about you so, so many times
you would think by now I understand you.
But no, seems you’re just a frame for these rhymes.
In my heart, I know it’s all I can do.

Because you are that thing that makes me weak,
and weakness has always been my power.
While your touch has ever been what I seek,
even touched, I’d more than likely cower.

If one day, emotion, strength and insight
might somehow stir me to honest action,
you’ll know I finally won this long fight
between truth and a fantasy attraction.

It feels just like demonic possession,
my love’s just another great obsession.

Day 9 of my NaPoWriMo poem-a-day challenge, a two-fer. When asked to write a Love and/or Anti-love poem, I ended up writing one that could be either…AND both.

Mything You Like No Other

For the past hour I just sat here
looking with warmth at your photo,
wondering if your voice is still strong
or more voce sotto.
Would your hair still be to your shoulders,
the consistency of satin
or, like mine, thin, patchy and
some other adjective from the Latin?
I discovered this picture of you
at the bottom a drawer
while I was looking for something else
and it opened a rusty-hinged door
to memories I try not to think
of all too often
while living through my days
with a heart you once did soften.
But that’s how it’s been,
since you were my obsession,
akin to Helen, but I was a weak-sauce Paris
and you were arrogant Menelaus’ possession.
And now, like her, you’re committed
to the dustbin of myth,
long-hidden within a pile of others
where apparently you were fifth.
Understand, this doesn’t mean
I didn’t love you any less,
only that there were four others
to whom I’ve already written poems, I confess.
So one day should you pass a hobbling
old guy who looks familiar in some way,
he probably won’t remember you
since I tossed you out with three others today.

Hey, don’t judge me too harshly. I’m just trying to get my old poetry gears to turn again. They’re currently covered with rust and moss after sitting here for months in a puddle of mud and tears. And, just so you know, this is a bit of poetic whimsy. Right? No, I don’t have something in my eye.