The Scars That Never Stop Hurting

He didn’t know how to make peace with his past. What offering of acceptable remorse exists when the past, in whatever personage or spirit, listens naught and averts its eyes at the mere thought of him? He’d try, “I’m sorry,” but seven letters hanging off-kilter from an apostrophe can get blown sideways and lost in the winds between two people, two different lives from what came before. His mind has lost its edge and quickness since its days of serving up scars even before others knew the sting of his cut. Now his life is not much more than a scar, something to look at and recall all those wounds he administered across his lifetime. So he waits upon his cold chair for that final felling wound. He sighs at how the sword always fell to his pen, but knows the scythe always wins. Perhaps then a peace he still dreams might come will reveal itself before he hears the swoosh of that existential steel. And, if comes too late, he must assume the role a scar on a piece of someone else’s past. But wouldn’t it be grand to hear that voice say, “Would you write me again.”?

A 200-word free written bit of what feels like literary (those probably not literate) confession and self-imposed penance. Hey, you sit down without a shred of inspiration, you can’t expect Shakespeare or Kendrick Lamar. You just hope and expect ‘something’ will appear eventually. Oh, and the new photo, old regrets and ancient scar (I have many more, some of which you can’t see) are all ©Joseph Hesch.

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Fallen Upon This Deaf Ear

Fine, you don’t have to talk to me.
Show me the palm of your hand
and push me away. Your message
has always been clearer that way.
If we were to sit side by side,
face to face, I would only misconstrue
whatever flimsy bond of you and me
I could dream actually existing.
But I do long to feel your words
buffeting me like winds, freezing
and teasing, scolding and caressing,
their temperature and velocity
more important than their meaning.
They bump up against me and fall away
so that I must imagine their substance
and insinuation. But to not feel them
at all has left me voiceless,
spitting senseless utterances into a gale
where they become as lost as I am
perched here waiting to sense your meaning
if only you would speak to me once more.
Yes, I am the deaf ear to your words,
and it is I who will fall without them.

I am constantly coming closer to feeling I cannot make these clusters of words have any real meaning anymore. Be they poem or story, they lack the power, beauty and emotion of what I wrote even a couple of years ago, as far as I can tell. Maybe my misery has changed, beaten down by the silence I feel between me and the ones who fueled my creative flame. I would reach out for their words, kind or otherwise, but I’d only drop them before they reached the forge where I’d form them into something solid and shining. So you get rusty ore in this poem based on metaphor, the theme on this 15th day of April upon which I should be writing something better resembling poetry.

Lamentations 1:1

He’s not too a bad guy,
he has feelings as deep and sore
and soaring as anyone else’s.
Maybe even more so, we just don’t know
Few of us have ever seen them
as he moved through
the vacuum of his days.
I once caught him in one of his
brooding moods, the ones maybe
you’ve seen or you’ve felt.
He broke through the 1,000-mile stare
and wall of his self-imposed isolation
to look up at me, half-grinned
and raised his chin in greeting.
He hummed his shrugged-shouldered humph
when I inquired how he was.
And then he surprised me with
“I’m sorry.”
“What are you sorry for?
You haven’t done anything to me,” I said.
“I’m sorry because I’ve never expressed
to anyone my regrets for my sins and omissions,
never cried at their funerals,
never spoke up about how I truly felt,
never professed my love to those
I should have and never moved on
from the ones I shouldn’t,” he said.
“Why are telling me this?” I asked.
“Because you’re the only one I can
and that’s what I lament the most,”
he said, as we turned away from
the mirror and switched off the light.

On Day #12 of this National Poetry Month PAD Challenge, I was charged with writing a poem based on the word “lament.” Oh, I know a lot about that one. I just have never done it right. And I still haven’t. Thank you for reading.

Such Is the Way of the Heart So Human

Two Hearts (beat as one) | by Franci Van der vyver

A man may be stone deaf but
still can listen with his heart.
A woman may suffer a heart broken,
again and again, but seldom
loses her blessed capacity to love.
A man’s heart may appear
indifferent to the feelings
a woman may enjoy, lament,
or even misunderstand, but,
if he ignores them, then
he misses completeness as a man.
A woman may watch him stand
in his brooding way, yet never see
his silent struggle to parse
the language of her feelings,
but misinterprets this to her detriment.
And a man in his silent world
might never fathom the true depths
of emotion a woman can suffer.
He can only hope she might one day
turn her face toward him. Only then
might he read upon her lips
what she would share
of the joys and despair
she tends within her broken vessel.
Such is the way of the heart so human.
Perhaps one day two of these hearts,
each bearing the scars of their
unbridled rides and unbroken falls,
might discover a man can love her
without being a lover, and how
a woman’s emotions, deep as seven oceans,
vast as a clear night on the prairie,
can forgive almost anything.
Just never forget.

How Dark Our Shadows

Have you every noticed,
while others marveled
at the brightness
of the afternoon sun,
we were the ones
pointing out how dark
it made our shadows.
We were the ones
who talked and talked,
sharing so much,
giving so little,
caring not enough
and too much.
We were the ones who held
one another’s secrets,
even after some escaped
our pieces of night
into the light. Look,
how dark the shadows
they cast!
A pity how our garden
never bloomed, but
such an inevitability
shouldn’t surprise us.
You blinded me
with your light
and you said mine
hurt your eyes.

I Wish I Never Knew

I never knew you could
hold grudges as tightly
in one’s hand as its fingerprints.
until you grasped the one
with my name on it.
I never knew that a grudge,
held with death-grip pressure,
could choke the air
from a living connection.
I never knew I could cause
such pain to someone
other than myself
until I burned you.
I never knew true emptiness
until I helped crush the trust
you held in me.
I never knew you could
hold a grudge as tightly
within a hand as your
fingerprints,
but I wish you would search
for mine again where once
I touched your heart.

Somewhat disappointed with this, but it’s a first draft effort and I needed to produce something today or I’d not have something to show to that martinet of an artistic psyche of mine for two whole days. Not acceptable to that little bully.

Like I’ve Seen a Ghost

Lately, her ghost’s been been floating back
into the edge of my consciousness again,
like the first robin showing up each February
as a flash of vermillion in the corner of my eye.
Then disappearing again.
It’s something I’ve come to expect on the downhill run
from the Winter Solstice to the Vernal Equinox.

But I know it’s just my imagination. It has to be.
She hasn’t spoken to me in years and I believe
I’ve even forgotten the sound of her voice.
Also, if she ever spoke to me, I’m sure
I wouldn’t want to hear how her she sounded
or what she said. It would chill my spine
like that February wind that cuts right through me.

Fear? Hell, yeah, it’s fear. It wasn’t supposed to end
this way, my Civic sitting there on those
twisting railroad tracks. It was inevitable, though,
once she pulled out of my station and turned that corner
to her new life. It really was for the best.
Obsession can kill you like some creature of darkness
that’ll reach out to grab you. Tear you apart.

But then, out of nowhere, there she was,
comin’ around that mountain like a reanimated Casey Jones.
I wasn’t looking for that ride anymore, though. I’d given up,
traded in my ticket for this keen parking place
atop the once-shiny, long twin silver lines of hope.
No, I didn’t hear it coming. I’d turned up my stereo
deafeningly loud again, after years of being unable
to listen to it.

The melodies sounded vaguely familiar, but I’d forgotten
so many of the lyrics. So, as always, I replayed them
over and over, again and again, until I knew every breath.
Obsession, right? Reliving and reliving each note
and every word and inflection and inhalation.
And then, there she was, coming on like a snow-blind
Lake Shore Limited out of Chicago.

So here I am today, hanging around in the same old spot,
not sure of the date or even if it’s day or night,
when that flicker of a memory, that flash of a face,
that barely perceptible sound of a voice slices through me
like I’m made of smoke, as if I’m some kind of wraith.
Maybe she’s not the ghost haunting me after all.

I am.

Free-write (which I used to do every Friday) because I really am like that ghost. Full of naught but hazy promises, empty dreams and nothing of substance. I’m a spirit that’s willing, but can offer no creative corporeality. Which is so weak.