Cuckold of the Balm of Hurt Minds

I cannot fight you anymore,
you’ve whittled away
my strength and resolve,
you’ve perverted my instincts
for self-preservation.
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.

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The Love of His Life

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.

Circulatory System

Dear You,
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,
Me

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 Why’d I Ask?

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.

Reminiscing the Tomorrows We Never Had

Each dawn, when I crack open my eyes
to verify I’ve received another chance,
I envision you in the empty space
beside me and close them again,
realizing I’ve blown it already.
A once-harmless fascination became
my obsession, fluttering moth-like
’round your incandescence that
threw too much heat for my heart
to dare grow nearer.
But when I realized your heat was
my actual desire, you’d gone cold,
your own obsessions directing it
so far from me I had to warm myself
with reveries of useless might-have-beens.
Now most mornings I fail another chance
to ignore these all-day reminiscences
of a future we never could have had,
obliviously resigning myself to the fact
my miserable life’s better
we never did.

Day One of April’s Poem-a-Day Challenge: A Reminiscing Poem. And what’s more silly, dreaming Hesch-like than reminiscing about something that never happened?

Broken Chains

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Each night’s become another
recitation of a rosary strung
with whispered Ave Marias
disrupted by the calls
from a father never seen,
a judge ever recognized.
This circle of fine filigree
inevitably will lie broken,
perhaps tossed under the bed
with rest of the best forgotten,
like the kind of secrets
that arouse you just before
you come to the crossroad
metaphor of a rising son,
that sacrificial cross, the sign
of death-turned-redemption.
This is the ritual I perform
each night, attached to a chain
linked to the miracle
of that blessed kind of death
lasting only a little while.

Five of the last seven nights have been this way, broken into decades of fruitless near-sleep. Nothing new, just nothing so recent. Once this was my obsession, then my obsessive literary theme. I’m hoping to break THIS particular chain with a new poem from my old, sleep-deprived brain.

Reaching Out for the Out of Reach

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I would think of her whenever I heard that song or even the singer. I’d recall the pain of obsessing over that which I could not have, yet still I dreamt of the possibility of it all. There was no way she could be more than she was, or really, what I was to her. But still my heart would leap when I saw her name on my ringing phone, feel the heat rise through my body and the flip-flop of something leap inside me as I held what I could of her in my hand. The distance between us would always exist because we each placed boundaries around one another, defenses against another broken heart. But mine was already shattered by the disappointment I realized whenever I stopped to think what might happen if… If we did breach my fear of our finally being together. How long before the joy waned and she discovered the secret I hide even from myself? I’ve yearned for so many, so much, so often, and the truth burns more than the longing. See, it’s really the yearning I love more than the yearned.

I wanted to dash off a quick something this morning, so I went to the dictionary and opened it to any random word. Up came YEARNING. I know, I know. Rather than wing it and just write, I decided to use an old process of mine I learned from Ray Bradbury. You take the theme of your potential work and then list ten nouns you free associate with it, each preceded by the word the. They’re all up in that block of prose poem above. A free written piece of semi-fiction, semi-confessional by a character who yearned to be expressed, I guess.