Shelter From These Storms

Rabbit’s a patient boy, who cares not
that it’s Saturday as he hunkers
beneath the porch next door
until the rain lets up.
Cats or coyotes around here
eschew attacking rabbits in the rain
unless they’re starving. Otherwise,
it’d be cruel, and cruelty’s not Nature’s game.
That’s the domain of the allegedly
dominant creature of the planet,
the silly species that will put up with,
hell stand out in the middle of,
the storm as long as they can
stuff their mouths and
fluff their nests with more clover?

But rabbit doesn’t know this,
nor does he care. This rainy Saturday’s
just another “whatever” rabbits
discern as days. I doubt if he understands
it’ll be dark later. Or that the light
will return on that thing we call tomorrow.
Rabbit just cares that he’s
out of the rain and he’s sitting
in a salad bowl full of clover and his buddy
the robin just plopped next to him.
And, as I sit here in the house, I whisper
“Thanks, Rabbit,” for the momentary shelter
he’s given me today. I pray someday
my storms will let up, too.

Ya know? Sometimes Nature will get up on its hind legs, reach out a paw or wing and save me from myself and the storms besetting me. If only for the time I can write about those rabbits, robins and their rainstorms.

Weir Like a Broken Heart, Pain Like A Rainbow

Are you still feeling that pain
you’ve looked for me to capture
in a weir of words
strung across your river of tears?
It’s a difficult thing,
to weave a net for another’s suffering,
since each of us carries
our own sorrows, denizens of
the murky bottom, slithering through
the broken hearts of my words
and the knottiness of your needs.
And so I fail, not for lack of trying
or even for misunderstanding, since loss
is as much my tool as this clickity keyboard
and this clackity metaphor.

Today’s one of those bright days,
one in which I wade through the shallows,
picking at the small miseries
that beset us all. Then, with a splash,
the great sorrow leaps over
my words, headed upstream.
And I know. I’ll never capture
what’s allowed to return and spawn.
In that, though, I find a beautiful solace,
like a rainbow after the storm.

Tu Lobo Solitario

I remember when you told me
you had the resolve to be alone,
yet not lonely. But it’s hard to
embrace such a future when
a certain someone comes along
to bump into your present.
I know.
My spirit animal has always
been the wolf. Though mine
is lonely, he’s never alone.
It’s why I became a fixture
in your night, loping to
the bottom of your page,
the top of this hill.
I’m silhouetted against
this virtual moon where
I howl out feelings
I know you share, there
in your room, where
you’re alone, telling me
you’re not that lonely.

Another poem-a-day effort. I wasn’t feeling too well the past few days and missed those daily pieces. Maybe I’ll make them up over the next week or so. This poem required me to use those words you see up there in bold maroon. I’ve always enjoyed using groups of random words as poem or story starters. I should make my own instead of waiting for someone else to do my work. Oh, and the title is Spanish for “Your Lonely Wolf.” I’m hoping it sparks me into writing one of my beloved western stories.

Lavabo Inter Innocentes Manus Meas

I believe I had it a few weeks ago,
but I’m never really sure.
On a good day, control’s a slippery thing
that’ll squirt from my hands as if
they’re covered with soap suds.
I hate this feeling; it’s akin
to my senior moments, when I walk
into a room and forget why I did.
Did I ever have it?
I’m certain of one thing, though:
doing everything I can to stay alive
and, by that same token, keep you well.
But, if you can’t control yourself
and this all goes to hell…
at least I know MY hands are clean.

So much of the poetry being written every day during National Poetry Writing Month’s various poem-a-day efforts is centered around the coronavirus pandemic. And why shouldn’t it be? The damn thing is wresting our normal lives from our hands. And yes, we are doing what we can to stay uninfected. A poet, though, has the ability to build a moment of control while he or she is composing whatever it is they’re writing. (Unless the phone rings, the wind knocks a branch down on your roof or a meteorite takes out the State of Florida.)

Oh, and before I forget, the title of this piece comes from the Latin prayer the priest would recite while washing his hands when I was a wee altar boy back during the Dark Ages at St. Patrick’s in Albany. (But I’ll bet you could guess I’ve always been an altar boy, couldn’t you?) The translation to English is: “I will wash my hands among the innocent.” I thought it a good fit.

Last Man Standing

Another one went last week,
the brother of a brother,
like so many of the others.
I’ve been in this spot
so many times these days.
And while I waited to pay respects,
since these occasions are held
for the living, not the deceased,
it occurred to me that
I’ve reached a station in my life
I’d never thought existed.

Standing there on line,
waiting my turn to view a box
within which what remains
of my friend will be kept forever,
I noticed most of these people
around me were younger than I.
It came to me as a shock,
as so many revelations
come to me at my age.
And a new sensation struck me
in my heart and eyes,
something like loneliness
as my list of friends
grows shorter by the week.

And yet, here I am, still vertical,
still shuffling along, occasionally
thinking of when they stood by me,
as well. But in that moment,
I felt pride and a sense of duty
that they’ve left me here
with a mandate to carry on,
as I hope they would for me.

This isn’t my poem-a-day effort for Day 5. It’s a draft of one I wrote in November when the brother of my now-deceased best friend died, too. I almost never hold on to such things. I either post them or delete ’em. But I kept this one for some reason. Maybe now I know.

A Touch of Love

It’s always been my secret,
now others must learn its ways.
Start using words like “egret,”
in conversation on the page.

I began this a decade back,
while I sat alone and lonely.
Imagination an empty sack,
I thought of you and said, “If only…”

Pulled apart by distance and time,
I couldn’t feel you if I tried.
So I called to you, not in rhyme,
but poetically I kind of lied.

Made-up stories, observations
of a somewhat intimate nature,
took the place of conversations,
all in my own nomenclature.

My words became more than my own,
since they touched others in some way.
But now it seems I’m not alone,
since we all have to keep away.

I suggest if you crave a touch,
and social distancing won’t let you,
write an ode, sonnet or some such
and see how close that’ll get you.

We’re in a new world, living apart,
wearing the mask and rubber glove.
But if you wish to reach a heart,
a poem can be a touch of love.

Day 1 of a stab at my annual Poetry Month poem-a-day quest.

Love In the Time of Corona

So…what if this time it’s really the end?
The time to say adios, good-bye, adieu.
If it is, then what better time to send
one more poem, my friend, to say thank you?

Isn’t it strange how many questions I ask
when it wasn’t answers I really needed?
See? Now there’s two more I add to the task
of figuring you out. Never succeeded.

You whispered at me so many secrets,
then pushed me away when I’d lean too close.
Now, I’ve caught so many of your regrets,
and never knew why it was me you chose.

So here’s the end. Not too close, should I sneeze.
Never mind, we were always each other’s disease.

Sorry for the extra beat at the end. Sometimes such things don’t have a suitable explanation. They just have to be. Let’s just hope it’s like an extra heartbeat. Be well, stay vigilant, and know I’m always thinking of you as we each wait out whatever lies ahead. 

Circling the Herd In a Time of Social Distance

When you’re a kid and you get sick,
most times you’re lucky enough
to have the strength of many around
to tend to you and help you through it.
Or at least that’s how it was
during most of my life.
Oh, we’d run up against quarantines
for measles and chicken pox
and even polio (because I’m old).
The nation was a herd taking care of our own.
Now doctors tell me that a bunch of us
are going to get sick. But the herd
can’t take care of me because it seems
most of our horns have been sawn off
by the wolves in the food chain’s penthouse.
So, with almost seven decades
seasoning my once brown and shaggy coat,
it feels like I might be facing
a predator with no one of any muscle
having my back, at my shoulder,
over my wounded body. Sure seems like
it’s time to circle the herd for protection.
But it’s hard to feel safe while keeping
six feet of distance between each of us.

The Virus

A sneeze from behind makes people cringe and turn
to see what culprit’s spreading the disease.
They’ve yet to call at night for dead to burn,
but just wait ’til we’ve more fatalities.

We ‘Mericans think we’re super powered
to fend off almost any aggressor.
But lately our record with wee foes has soured,
or haven’t you noticed that, Professor?

Now comes the smallest we’ve faced in a while,
and folks worry about how serious.
Heed your doctors, they won’t jive you with guile;
just don’t listen to pols imperious.

Wash hands, cover coughs, it’s not just the flu.
So prepare, but don’t panic. I care ‘bout you.

Awaiting Your Touching Words

When you’re lonely, do you long for someone
who could find a way to reach out to you?
Does thinking of them make you come undone?
Don’t you wish you could reach out to them, too?

Rest assured you’re not alone, just lonely.
My friend in need, many share your distress.
I clothe my need in pretty words only,
you choose whether their those pants or this dress.

Just like you decide to accept my touch
when I reach out for a you who’s not there.
They’re all I can do, I know they’re not much,
but mere words are all I ever might dare.

So if my touching lines you’ve ever accepted,
send back your own. Please, do the unexpected.

Yeah, the final couplet of this janky sonnet is made of two eleven-syllable lines. But I’d hope you’d allow this desperate artist some leeway after all our years of sharing secrets, lies and truths beyond belief. I forgive you your sins, maybe you could forgive mine. They’re only words, right?