In Jack London’s The Star Rover,
the warden at San Quentin
wraps a man serving life for murder
in a cocoon of canvas, The Jacket,
to break his rebellious spirit.
How many times have you (or I)
felt crushed within the constraints
of our Jackets, the class, gender,
race, religion, duties and all the
turns of the fabric of our lives?
Do you, too, lie in the darkness
of your nightly solitary confinement,
alone in this prison full of souls,
and dream the What If or
the If Only of your one life?
The prisoner withstands his torture
by entering a trance state,
in which he experiences portions
of his past lives.
Last night, I shed my shroud
of Here and Now, reliving the day
I fought the British on Lake Erie,
only to lose that life in the blast
of a 24-pounder hit amidships.
It was then I wondered,
“In which life do I sail now?
Which will I see of yesterday.
Or will it be a million tomorrows?”
Perhaps we’ll meet again in one,
slipping the bonds of our
unforgiving jailer minds.
I’ll bake files within
these cakes I write you.
All you need is to take a bite.
I remember times I thought of calling,
but then stopped short after some reflection.
See, sometimes I get that feel of falling
and can’t help but think about our connection.
Soon, though, I realize my delusion,
which is a step in the right direction.
I’ve always struggled with love’s confusion,
which led to many kinds of rejection.
I sit down and put these thoughts in writing,
which you might think is half-assed projection.
But really it’s my way of inciting
a muse-less artistic resurrection.
So this is my way of self-protection:
poems of love with no real affection.
Just warming up for Valentine’s Day, y’all, with this sonnet that needs a lot of correction.
I can’t tell you what to do with your days.
Even I, myself, no longer listen
to my own words, philosophical ways.
I see now something’s always been missin’.
So feel free to ignore what I say now,
though you have never listened to me much,
but here’s what I’ve learned, and don’t ask me how,
it’s where I earned these scars…here, have a touch.
That warmth made me happy but it won’t last,
because true joys are but such fleeting things.
Cherish while you can, ‘cause life’s smiles go fast,
those too-brief moments that give your heart wings.
Warren Zevon advised before he died,
“Enjoy ev’ry sandwich.” Boy, wish I tried.
Sometimes I fear I am right there
within its reach, feel its warm breath
or cool shadow on my skin, and wonder
if I should surrender to its embrace.
Would it be so bad to finally
offer myself up? I could leave
all this confusion, remorse,
fear, and pain behind me.
But who then would mourn
all these losses if I didn’t?
Who would sing you the songs
you always wished to hear?
Who would lift this light by which
you might find me someday?
I will always wait for you, so
The End will have to wait for me.
So on Day #30 of this Poem a Day National Poetry Writing Month, the prompt was for and End poem. When you reach my age, go through all the things you’ve perpetrated and had perpetrated on you (by nature, the gods or that someone), there are days The End doesn’t feel like it would be such a bad bedfellow. But today, as down as I can feel, I’m kicking that bitch outta my rack. Hope you enjoyed, hated, were entertained, confused or otherwise moved by some of my zipped off poetry this month. Tomorrow begins my May Story a Day. Now it gets REAL. Ain’t at the end yet, y’all.
Last I saw you was in that parking lot.
You waved and I almost cried like a tot
trying not to run after you once more
and rap on and open that car door.
Because you know I always would.
And now, since I can’t, I wish I could,
since I may have forgotten your face,
always stunning me with its beauty and grace.
Sure I have some photos,
but as reminders they’re no-goes
when I look at them through
the fish tank dripping of dew
you filled up in me
as surely as rivers do the sea.
You probably look unfamiliar
now anyway. As I look dissimilar
to the man you once knew
in whom you’d find trust and love for you.
Perhaps one day soon it would be better
if someone gave you some sense of this letter
telling you the man who loved you had died.
It wasn’t that I never cared enough or tried.
I’ll fade away with whatever memory I can save,
since you said goodbye with your last wave.
Day #28 of my poem a day challenge. A poem titled “‘_______’ Wave.” That’s all I’m saying.
The rain’s laying
its restorative hands
upon the lands
surrounding my old house.
Our long winter has left
this pillow upon which sets
my only treasure a scratched
and motley patch
of tan, brown and olive.
April’s poetic showers
have only just arrived,
with May a week away.
Poor May, tasked with
completing the work
of two months in its 31 days,
scurrying along April’s
grass shoots, the crocuses
and daffodils, as well as
nursing its own tulips and lilacs.
April’s cold and snowy sloth
has shifted its cruelty
just as an October would
in blowing its leaves
into November’s yard.
This is probably a make-up poem for Day #22 of this month, sliding into the gap caused by my trip to North Carolina. It was supposed to be a “plant” poem, which i guess you could say it is tangentially, but it turned into a mild screed on how this winter has stretched its frozen fingers into a whole lot of the calendar’s Spring. But Nature can’t tell time and that calendar page beginning with A is just more junk for me to rake up this weekend…if it stops raining. Story/poem coming up in a bit for Day #27.
There always was a you and me,
though there never could be an us.
That’s just how things shook out, you see,
and how I never was one to raise a fuss.
But it would never have worked out,
two loners changing but one letter to lovers.
Not that the fantasy never came about,
and still does, as over my bed it hovers.
Such couplings would require more than dreams,
more than hopes and baseless obsessions.
They need two-way connection between their two extremes,
not vague one-way mumbled confessions.
So I gave up that ridiculous desire,
longer ago than you’d imagine.
Yet I’m thankful for each time they still transpire,
fueling what passes for a feckless dreamer’s passion.
For Poem a Day Challenge Day #26, the prompt was for a Relationship poem. My track record for writing such pieces is long and tinted blue for its view of the unrequited. So here you go. One more link in the chain that locks me into the poetry game. I can figure out some of the who, what, when and why of these things. But why the rhyming? Search me. I just transcribe what that lovelorn loser in my head mumbles.