Forever My Muse

Has it been five years, or even six,
since we went on that final ride?
I think of it whenever I see that photo
of you and me sleeping, my head
on your shoulder and your patience
on full display. You were my muse.
And even though I’ve stopped
high-stepping over that place
in the carpet where you used to lay,
(I even found myself hurdling shadows
after the carpet was removed)
you have your way of coming back
to inspire some poem I didn’t know
I had within me. Like this morning,
when I found a golden Golden hair
shining in the back of a drawer
while I searched for something
I can’t recall now. It must have been
this poem. You knew I needed you.
You’ll always be my muse, just as I
will always be the man you led
toward art at the end of a leash.

Day 3 of my NaPoWriMo Poem-a-Day April Challenge. Today’s prompt: An animal poem. I’ve been inspired to poetry by plenty of the natural world’s its denizens. But none hold have led me to more of my art than my old dog Mollie. Yeah, it’s not every artist can say he had a high-class blonde inspire his greatest work…and mean it.

Another Day Without a Name

It’s another day which might
as well not have a name.
Each of these expanses of light
compared to the next looks the same.
They’re just a period of hazy
darkness on the way toward night.
And night’s a chance to escape
what I cannot face come the light.

But even abed I see too much, of what
my mind uses to break my heart.
When sleep finally comes, it lasts but
a moment before dawn’s new sadness will start.
And so I move through day and night,
all the same save when an owl might shout Hoo.
Life’s an empty space in which I grope
with no one to hold my hand without you.

Interlude

It would be best on this gray dawn
for us both, myself the most,
if you’d just consider me all but gone.
I don’t mean away, more like a ghost.
Another poem for you I cannot start,
see how these rhymes are awkward and poor?
And the words you’d always take to heart,
well, they just don’t come anymore.
I’ve nothing in me to give you, grand or small,
the reason for which might simply be,
not because I no longer love you at all,
but I never could find a way to love me.
This is what I see in so many tomorrows,
framed in this broken heart and bowed head.
I’ll never take my own, drowning in a well of sorrows,
so I guess I’ll take leave from your life, instead.

Caution: Slippery When Wet

I was never comfortable wearing
such look-at-me accessories,
something I’d sport like
a flashy ring or a silk tie.
No, I’ve always hidden
what so many wear as comfortably
as a tee shirt and jeans.
To do so would expose that which
I am uncomfortable showing.

It seems like such an expense
of my life force that might
better be spent on something
I might find more important,
like squaring up the towels
folded on the shelf or
feeling guilty about not doing it.

But sometimes the mass
of my world’s sadness, grief, fears,
loneliness, loss and even joy,
push down upon what I keep
in that deep well within me. And,
like an Archimedean experiment
gone messy, my emotions squish out
from under the weight, displaced
after so long lying misplaced.

I can’t abide a mess like that,
for too long, but I accept
the physics of life and try not
to judge myself too harshly anymore,
most especially if a tear might fall
where you or I could slip on it.
Such accidents happen, like yesterday
and the hundred hundred yesterdays
before that.

The Road Between Anger and Anguish

Highlighted English word “angst” and its definition in the dictionary

All I do is sit now,
stuck in this seat on my rides
between Anger to Anguish.
I make the roundtrips all day
and all night, never getting off,
barely looking at the dreary scenery,
only staring straight ahead at nothing,
even if something is there before me.
I’ve been making this trip
for almost a year, from one emotion
to the other, my mind mired in ruts
so deep I can’t think above them.
Mud spatters the windows anyway,
so up and down the dictionary page
that’s become the map of my life
leaves me only one other destination –
Angst.

Sorry. Best I can do right now.

The (Try Not) To Do List

1. Try not to think of them.
2. Try not to think of them so much.
3. Try not to think of them on weekends.
4. Try not to think of them in public.
5. Try not to think of them when you’re alone.
6. Try not to think of them in the rain.
7. Try not to think of them in the shower.
8. Try not to think of them when you try watching TV.
9. Try not to think of them when you try reading.
10. Try not to think of them when you look up at the sky.
11. Try not to think of them when you look down at the sidewalk.
12. Try not to think of them while eating.
13. Try not to think of them when you can’t eat a bite.
14. Try not to think of them while you’re writing.
15. Try not to think of them while sitting in front of a blank screen.
16. Try not to think of them even though you know you can’t.
17. Try not to think of them when they’re all you can think of.
18. Try not to think of them at all.
19. Try not to think of them.
20. Try not to think.
21. Try not to.
22. Try.
23. Cry.

Today is the first day of the month I’m trying to write a story a day with Julie Duffy and her Story-a-Day folks. The first prompt was to write a story made from a list. I did one a few years ago about my last day of working and first day of retirement. I was stuck because I’m in a rough emotional patch right now. A month and a half ago my oldest and closest friend died. On Thursday his wife called me to see how I’m doing. Not well. Then today I watched Meghan McCain eulogize her father and my sister-in-law posted a photo of my youngest brother’s grave on another holiday without him. Let’s say my emotional scab has been ripped again. And so I wrote this story. It’s funny (not in a ha ha way) how sometimes you realize the love you had for people only when you lose them. Or maybe you realize how much they loved you. And you can’t stop thinking about that for a month and a half or years and years. So you do your best to get by with the thought of them always there next to your consciousness in your head and heart. And sometimes you just cry.

Whether We Know It Or Not

It is a universal truth that someone
who looks like me, talks like me,
fights sleep like me, falls in and fails
at loves like me and sits so often
alone like me can never be truly happy.
Happy is relative, something that
everyone feels they know, whether
they know definitive happiness or not.

It’s a construct where a human brain
imbibes endorphins, creating an emotional
and physical state of great comfort and pleasure.
I can’t recall, of late, tripping
with Terpsichore to that tipsiness.
But I do know I am least unhappy when
I’m here talking to You,
whether you know that or not.

Yes, YOU. To you. As closely as I
can get without reaching out and
touching, since warm on warm
must remain warm words, words that
I hope you might find…touching.
Perhaps they’ve made you less unhappy
as they did me while I wrote them,
whether I knew it or not.

I’m still sinking, capsized and taking on this painful emotional goo. But I seem to be able to say something, even if it’s covered in some other kind of goo, when I put you on the other side of this screen, as I am behind yours. And, in that, you (yes, YOU) make me as un-unhappy as I get these days. I hope perhaps I can help you, too.

I Fell Again Today

I fell again today.
Not a little trip or slip,
but a real live death spiral.
I didn’t even bother to look
behind me to see the long trail
of smoke, tight where I was,
expanding to blot out the sun
the further I fell.
And I thought of you.
I thought of reaching out to you
to say, “Here, I’m falling, too.”

But I was already a few feet
from bottom, so I stayed silent again.
Besides, you don’t need any
of my woe, though you understand
the passion, the anger, the sorrow,
the heat, the chill, the vacant,
and the jagged in your gut as well—
or is it as badly? — as anyone I’ve known.
We make that same trip every day,
just with different landmarks
and memories and questions and regrets
and shame and here and there some pride.

And yeah, it’s like seeing your life
on a slow motion loop as death,
or worse, comes closer all the time
as you fall,
and you fall,
and you fall,
but you never get all
the way to the bottom
because that’d be too easy
and life has a thing about
never being easy. You understand.
I understand. And we’re not ready
to give up and just shut our eyes
and let the bottom have us.

We’ll probably drop again tomorrow
and maybe the day after and after that.
But a few things keep me getting
back up to take that long fall,
dangling like a spider under that
smoky pall, again and again.
I remember when you and I,
apart and together, would listen
to the music as the wind rushed past
and, for who knows how long,
we’d fly.

We’ll revisit some of this again soon. I promise. Because I care. Always. Me.

The Last Wave

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.

A Thousand Miles Nowhere

KansasCyclingPhotos_005

It didn’t begin well, that journey
of a thousand miles, its first step halting,
the heel dragging, the knees knocking.
The first day was its last, best day.
Oh, maybe the sun shone upon it down
the trail, when that fruit tree bloomed
and its blossom staggered everyone,
not just the lost travelers.

That blossom pushed forth a stunning
hybrid of the best of its strings of life,
twisted gyres of things I cannot spell
nor speak. But I know when they
neatly tie a bow so perfect you don’t
wish to open the present it secures
from prying eyes, yet still entices you
to set it free. Perhaps to see it fly.

I worry about the day when this fruit
unties itself from its tree. Will it
have been cultivated with care to
its potential perfection, not ignored
and grown over-ripe, rotting from
the ignorance of some failed husbandman
who knows only what he thinks he knows?
What he doesn’t know is what he’s missing