Elohim Creating Adam
by William Blake, 1795
Sometimes, like right now,
I find myself imagining
what it would be like
to die in this seat.
I’d be biding my time,
thinking how easy this was
not so long ago. Like breathing.
I’d turn words into living things,
as if they rose from some kind
of primordial ick to stick
to my mind’s wall, where I’d
shape them into Adams or Orcs.
Maybe you’d invite some
into your home, if they promised
to wipe their trochaic feet.
Tonight I’m biding my time,
waiting for any words to bubble up,
but fearing they’re in league
with some dark spirit,
who’s waiting for unholy sacrifices
I’d make on this QWERTY altar
for even fifty of his minion.
Instead, I just sigh in this guilty ooze
with nothing to show for my efforts
but white space smeared with gook
of the gobbledy kind, imagining
part of me has died already.
I was asked to write a story using the following words: die, ago, seat, time, imagining, even, making, league, sacrifices, and rose. But I can’t write anymore. Too much pain of various kinds crippling me. So instead you get this desperate fling of muddy verse upon your computer screens. That is if more than one of you still cares to read after this achy absence. The title is a quote from William Blake.
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.
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.
Each day Pain ruled more over his mornings than coffee and the meds meant to ease it. Today, a final dose. A smile. The great sigh. Relief.
Catching up today with a request for a Twitter-length story of 140 characters or less. I hit 139 after more revision and editing than I normally do for my full-length stories. Maybe more than even my 100-word poems. Probably a lesson in that somewhere. Nevertheless, here’s Story #1 for today. I hope to have another for you later. Maybe even a poem.
It can start with a flash,
a silver-white blast of temporary blindness
you soon wish could extend
to all your senses. After that,
the place in its aurora of intensity
can be determined by its place on your body.
The burn on my wrist was a red-line jump
from the barracuda-bite of sightlessness
to its ember-cherry sizzle that I recall
six decades later. The blows to my head
started the same way, but left me with
an ultraviolet glow that drove me to the dark
so I could see how hurt I was.
When it constricted around my heart,
there was no light, no color you could see,
smothered as it was within.
It thundered as it rolled and echoed
it breathtaking way through a rainbow
and back again, driving me to the floor.
But since I cracked this flicker
of a gasp of a shell of my heart
with a piece of the ruins I helped
make of yours, it’s draped itself
in constant midnight, the numbing color
This piece begins a new arc of poems I want to try in which I offer impressions of the senses told in the language of other senses–but not name it except in the title. Or at least that’s the thing I’m willing to try.
leaning-tower (Photo credit: wwphotos)
The consuming ache has locked
away the keys to my heart and soul.
The door did not close with a bang,
but with a whispered click. This
abandoned church-tower body,
its bricks bulging on one side,
and missing on the other,
plays a tenuous balancing act
not so much of “Will he fall?”
but more “How is he still standing?”
There is duty involved in
a building’s remaining upright.
You might see an oh-so-slightly
canted pile of steel and glass,
wood and brick, muscle and bone.
I see and I feel the pain and strain
of spine waiting for an end.
That is unless I find another way
to break in and rescue the keys
and true-up this imagination again.
Blew out my back and the pain and strain locked away my ability to create and even imagine. I couldn’t allow that to happen after I had released it from its 35-year stint of solitary confinement. This free-write is my first attempt to set it free again.
They stare at me each morning,
the doleful white, yellow and pink
ovals and circles that allegedly
see to keeping me happy and alive.
Unfortunately they aren’t doing the former,
and at times because of that,
equally unfortunately, are doing the latter.
I would take in a bigger batch of them,
filling my hand like a loser
holding but one ace,
but I’d probably pull nothing more than
three, seven, nine, Jack,
a splitting headache and
wrenching nausea for the effort.
I remember a time when I felt happy
and alive and didn’t worry about
holding or being held in the gaze
of such pale, jaundiced and sleepless eyes
as these glaring at me as I lean
against the shower-steamed mirror
above the bathroom sink.
They were a lovely shade of blue,