So Easy, So Easy

The first time I heard you
in ‘68, I stopped as if
a rider pulled my reins and
I heard a someone shout, “Whoa!”
It was my own voice.
When I finally saw your face,
those big hot chocolate eyes,
the Cheshire cat lips from which
came an angel chorus that could
coo babies to sleep or roar
the rust off a battleship,
a lifelong crush began.
Now your gift is silenced.
But older me maintains your
image and voice inside,
where that boy keeps burning his
torch to the nail-hard, yet
cloud-soft spirit carrying you
through your days and mine.
The youngsters can’t yet know
what it means to fall in love daily
for half a century with the
unattainable nonpareil. I do,
each time I spin “Heart Like a Wheel.”
Then, it’s so easy to fall in love…

Every now and then, though I try not to think about it, I realize what we lost when Parkinson’s Disease  silenced the brilliant gift of singer Linda Ronstadt, the artist I’ve crushed on since 1968. This poem reads like teen-aged fanboy blathering because one wrote it. It just took about fifty years in the writing.

And All the Light Within

Night keeps all your heart …” ~ Claus Terhoeven

I surrendered myself to the darkness
when you turned out the lights,
a willing body and benighted soul
wishing to follow your luminescent lead.
But the heart doesn’t need light,
is a blind thing stumbling over the shadows
of other hearts that hide in still others’ shadows.
In the darkened room you offered your body
but not your heart. While mine, tenuously tethered,
I offered to you. But it shattered, its pieces
falling away, chasing echoes of all
my dreams that fell before it.
Now the darkness fills where once a heart
beat for you, lost to your honest duplicity.
You were the daylight of my life and turned
to a thief in darkest night who stole
my heart and never gave it back, for night
hates penumbral half-measures. Night rolls over
and keeps all your heart and all its light within.

A quick “welcome back” write for Annie Fuller’s Writing Outside the Lines challenge. I wanted to write a story, and probably will later, but I’m tapped out. You’ll have to put up with this fifteen-minute first draft poem until then.

Perfectly Forever

Romantics like to
think in absolutes.
When they fall in love,
that perfect love,
they hope it lasts forever.
But there’s no forever,
just as there’s no perfect.
Of course, that statement
sounds framed in absolutes,
binaries, black and white.
If, indeed, I spoke it
with such ironclad surety,
absolutes, if you will,
and romantics like to speak
in such terms because
it gives them security
in their feelings like
I would be secure in my
pronouncements, does that
make me a romantic, too?
I once thought I was,
but my imperfections
sentenced me to consecutive
terms of endearment.
Forever.

I guess this piece encapsulates the difficulty in being Joe the Poet and Joe the Failed Logician.

Oh Me, Oh My, Oh We

Oh, sun, I remember when
I could feel your touch
soft on my cheek, a cosmic kiss,
a whisper without breath,
an embrace with no one to hold.
Oh, moon, I remember how
you would reveal the hidden
when sun went to her rest,
yet I could not and needed you
to show what in shadow lurked.
Oh rain, do you recall how
we’d roam the streets together
clearing the air, our path,
my mind, leaving a shine upon
all I could see and feel
Within and Without me?
Oh wind, when you had my back
I could race the clouds,
snatch leaves from your grasp,
feel you fill my lungs with
the taste of blood and steel
Oh Life, how did I lose Us?
Did wind blow the rain clouds
to smother sun, to blanket moon,
to blind me to your glory?
Or did I misplace myself just living?

Memory Warm Like a Summer Wind

I remember a few,
my memory more frayed
and threadbare each day.
Some of those nights in
their embrace tend to stick
to a man’s weft like
my best old denims’ warp.
But you remain the one
who’ll ever stay on these
empty shelves when all
their histories are dust.
It’ll be your blue eyes
(or were they brown?)
I’ll always see seeking
something I’’d never think
to find in my own.
I still hold the memory
of your warm body and
I dream of how I breathed
you in like a summer wind.
You temper these evenings when
I fall like an autumn leaf
from our sweet near-sleep
into a lonely old man’s
dreamless night.

Poem  based on this week’s prompt from Annie Fuller’s Writing Outside the Lines Challenge. It’s to use this quote–“… I breathed you in like a summer wind …”–in your poem or story. Here you go, Annie.

A Time Fleeting, But Evermore

I don’t think you’ll cry one tear,
if one day you hear
that I’m n longer here
to tell you stories anymore.
You’ll remember the bad times,
the poems with bad lines,
perhaps some of the signs
I’d not be around for much more.
But I hope one day
you’ll suddenly stop and say,
“He loved me in his own way,
no less, no more.”
And maybe then you’ll see,
just how important you were to me,
and I was to who you thought yourself to be
before we closed that door.
So when you finally find out,
and get what these words were about–
whispers of wishes I’d never shout–
never wishing to make your heart sore.
I hope you’ll remember one time,
an hour, minute, or moment, where I’m
more than a storyteller in bad rhyme.
Then hold it, fold it,
keep it like the gold it
was we shared but never told it
to one another. Then I’ll rest
peacefully, evermore.

Sunday morning reverie in the half-light, half-sleep, halfness of my life I exhale like dandelion fluff to rest with you. If only for that moment so fleeting.

They Often Come Out At Night

If a story is in you … It has to come out.” ~ William Faulkner

I woke at 4:03 this morning,
a not uncommon fact of middle-aged life.
But what rousted me from slumber
wasn’t the siren call of
the porcelain throne.
Inspiration nudged me for snoring
too loudly,
my muse kicked me for stealing
the blankets,
my gut, like an old dog, woke me
to let it out for a walk
to the notebook.
This is the mid-night urge
to relieve myself of a poem
or story that can’t wait until
morning reveille to turn from
night dream to written reverie.
And I never hit that snooze button
when I hear that call.

Wrote this while dinner was cooking tonight, in response to Annie Fuller’s Writing Outside the Lines prompt from this past week. It’s that quote from Faulkner. I’ve been a little tied up with writing something or other a day April and May, but I try like hell to get Annie’s challenge in.