Hamlet and Prufrock Walk into a Peach Orchard…

My life’s grasp seldom exceeded its reach.
Most often it brought back nothing but air.
If I’d grasped it, I’d have eaten that peach,
but I’d not get a taste unless I’d dare.

Those times I stretched beyond my fingers’ tips,
you would just laugh and skip away a pace.
And so your flavor never graced these lips,
even when you’d skip back to tease my face.

I know it’s for the best I always failed,
except for these times my words caught your ear.
Like Prufrock’s Love Song, they’ll never be hailed.
I just wonder if I’ve made myself clear.

I’d still eat that peach, I’ve never forgotten,
It’s just overripe. I’ve become rotten.

Ugh. Sorry. For two years, chronic crippling depression has rotted the creative core of this once-prolific and not-half-bad writer. Whatever gifts I had, today present as useless mush. If I don’t get squared away soon, I fear you’re destined for more shoe-bottom sludge like this…or nothing. If I were you, I’d opt for the latter. Still grinding away, though. For me. For now… ~ JH

Entangling Lines

Oh, how I wish that
you wouldn’t appear
whenever I try
to write something here
where you don’t belong,
and, in fact, bring fear.

Here you are again,
sitting there right now
inspiring these words,
and a grateful bow.
I’d ask you to go,
but I don’t know how.

I know you don’t want
being catch of the day
whenever I cast
for something to say.
But your lure’s too strong
to keep me away.

And that’s the problem.
Boy, don’t I know it!
As a fisherman
I always blow it,
I’ll cast out my line
yet you catch the poet.

I’m used to it now;
I think you are, too.
And so, once again
I’ll give you your due.
As good as I am,
I’m lost without you.

My Beloved Invention

No woman could compare to you
as you lie here in my arms,
unafraid, soft, constant,
after I turn out the lights.
In the dark, we are both perfect,
not puffy here, saggy there,
bent weary by age and the tools
with which life writes history
upon our once smooth bodies.
No, you are still perfect to me,
still my muse of fire that would
ascend the brightest heaven
of invention., my beloved invention.

And while none can compare to you,
I wonder if you still might compare
to the you I hold so dear each night.
The you who will never return
the thoughtful touch, never reach
for me as I pull you closer,
The one who probably won’t compare
to the imagined lover who lies
there at the head of my bed
wrapped in cool percale or winter flannel,
waiting all day for my nightly embrace.

You will always be the dream
I never had, but always felt,
the one who heard the poetry
I wrote for you every night
in whispers penned loud
as a lover’s cry here
on this silent sheet of white.
Someday, I hope either you
or this pillow my call will answer.

Sorry I’ve been gone so long. It’s been a long, hard road to 2020. I hope to return to being the prolific and thoughtful writer you once might have enjoyed. The guy who would write poems like this…only better. Welcome back, my friend. Love you.

How Do I Say It?

How do I say it,
when words won’t come?
My brain teeters in paralysis,
ready to topple again.
My tongue, always cocked and loaded
with some glib ammunition,
suddenly is a rusted and
dusty artifact, a relic of days
when you would fire me off
just to hear me bang.
How do I say it?
People mouth those words
all the time. It’s simple,
just like ordering coffee
used to be. But I wouldn’t know
an Americano from a Macchiato,
just as I wouldn’t know
Love from Obsession.
How do I say it?
How did I?
Did I?
How?
Oh…

Language Barrier

I used to understand its language.
But that was when the wind spoke to me.
Just like I used to understand
what you would said, when we still talked .
I’d hear you both strumming the air
in chords vibrating in frequencies
undetected by anyone else.
Then I’d transcribe what you’d say,
even the stormy messages
I never, ever wanted to hear.
But that was a long time ago.
Now I don’t understand the wind
and your voice lies mute to me.
It’s not that I can’t hear you.
Even in memory, I guess I’ve given up
trying to listen anymore.

They’re Only Words

I’ve scattered letters
all over this page,
for over an hour now,
then whitewashed them away.
It’s not that I can’t find
the words to write for only you.
I just cannot capture the right ones.

Isn’t that a silly thing
about those who sometimes
consider themselves poets?
We’re hardly ever quite satisfied
with the words we choose
to express what we’re feeling,
especially when what we’re feeling
means so much we try to be perfect.

Yet I could make up words
and place them in a certain context
and you’d still be able to blazoodle
what I’m trying to say to you.
We never did really blazdoodle
one another, though, did we?
Oh, I’m sure you thought you might,
as did I. But we were
just casting weird words at one another.
I as bait and you as defense.

Neither of us truly succeeded
in our aims, which is just fine,
since a me and a you might never
ultimately layplay with one another.
But we sure have had a hell of a time
trying, prying, lying, crying and
ohhhh… let’s say heartflying.
I hope I sometimes heartflied you.

Conflict of Interests

They told me to stay away
from telling you about loss,
just as they told me not to
talk to you about everything else.
It’s quite a heavy lift
when loss is what I do best,
what defines me, what joins me with you.
But I know that’s a lie,.
How can I lose what I never had?
What we never had.
What I had was proximity,
as if I was standing next to
the Mona Lisa or a Kahlo self-portrait.
What you had was an admirer
who appealed to your sense of humor,
your intellect, your ego,
but never your heart.
And that’s okay, since your heart
is a battlefield, laid bare
by the conflict that finds you
at every turn and from which I turn
whenever it finds me. Now
I seek the peace I’ve never found.
It’s hiding somewhere in these words,
unlike the word “Friend.”