I’m unsure what pain lies ahead, and I choose not to stand around worrying about it. That’s what makes rollercoasters so frightening - standing there in a long line while time and screams go by. But I can address old pain, the kind where we can set our jaws, maybe even make a small tight grin, and say, “Yeah, it was bad. But I survived.” See how it feels weaker as time and the memory of those painful cries go by? I wish we didn’t have to suffer when there's no one to ride with us as scared, scary life screams, or worse, just stands there, while we pass. I see you bought a ticket, too. Please, give me your hand. I'm afraid this might hurt.
Are you still feeling that pain
you’ve looked for me to capture
in a weir of words
strung across your river of tears?
It’s a difficult thing,
to weave a net for another’s suffering,
since each of us carries
our own sorrows, denizens of
the murky bottom, slithering through
the broken hearts of my words
and the knottiness of your needs.
And so I fail, not for lack of trying
or even for misunderstanding, since loss
is as much my tool as this clickity keyboard
and this clackity metaphor.
Today’s one of those bright days,
one in which I wade through the shallows,
picking at the small miseries
that beset us all. Then, with a splash,
the great sorrow leaps over
my words, headed upstream.
And I know. I’ll never capture
what’s allowed to return and spawn.
In that, though, I find a beautiful solace,
like a rainbow after the storm.
The fantasy always
exceeded the reality,
until the reality
brought so much pain.
It is an inevitability
in my existence that joy
is more often make-believe,
a wish, a what-if,
while suffering is real,
even if only imagined.
What is fantasy if not
the yearn, the ache,
for that which we wish
to feel, if only
to make the pain stop?
You know this, though,
since you’ve been the fantasy,
you’ve brought the pain,
you’ve dreamed the joy,
yet came to learn as I did
that anguish was always
just an opened eye away.
Back to the métier – dreams and hope, loss and pain.
The hurt never stops, it keeps
its place in front of me,
no matter which way I turn.
Shadows lie behind my own shield,
using it to blind me, to hide themselves,
and keep the hurt coming.
That’s how this kind ticks,
fearful that others will see their tricks,
recognize their true selves
even as I struggle on.
I know my time is growing short,
but I’ll accept the wounds,
content in the belief the pain
could last only a few heartbeats more.
And not caring if it doesn’t.
I’m no coward, it’s always the dark
and desperate road I’ve traveled,
and it’s love’s light that guides me
even as the shadowy ones try keeping
truest love ever out of reach.
They may believe using my
own shield will keep me at bay
and wear me down. But Duty is my armor,
Truth my sword, and I’m willing
to fight through anything
to wrest that shield away
or be carried off the field on it.
Until one or the other happens,
know this, I’ll never stop coming.
My Day 3 PAD effort based on the Two for Tuesday prompt words Stop/Don’t Stop.
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 might 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.
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.