I Wish



I suppose it’s only right 
that I so often use a word that, 
if you listen to it slantwise, 
squinching your ears just so, 
sounds like a short burst of warm wind 
masquerading as a fleeting kiss on your cheek. 
But mostly, to me, someone for whom 
the whole auditory world echoes 
scrunched and askew, Wish reminds me 
too much of a sigh. Perhaps that’s
because so many of my wishes end up 
punctuated, if not begun, 
by a hopeless exhalation that starts 
with loosening up my lips from a kiss 
and then an admonition to just shut up.
I wish (see?) that just wasn’t so, 
but (another word I use so much 
I’ve worn a groove down its middle)
that’s wishes for you -- and me and us -- 
lots of misses full of near-kisses 
and things maybe better left unsaid.

Your Feelings of My Feelings



I like the way you hold me 
when I try to speak to you,
how your hands close ‘round 
what my fingers wish to express.
I love how you might understand 
what I have to say, even though 
I’m not making a sound 
anyone but you can hear.
Perhaps that’s because no one 
listens so closely to my
clumsy, earnest efforts to let
you know we’ll be all right.

I blush when I see you looking
at me so attentively the way
you always have, parsing meaning
from between my creases and
lines that speak to you even
when our eyes are closed.
But mostly I love how you've 
always kept a place for me 
within the warm spot few 
have entered and even fewer 
you’ve let stay, even if what you 
hold, hear and see of me are just
your feelings of my feelings.

Just a Pile of Words



To you I might be just a pile of words
that probably doesn’t say much,
a voice that makes no sound,
a silence that roars truth
if I’m doing this right,
At least that’s what I hope you found.
One day I might get through
to myself with the message
I’ve much too long been missin’.
But in truth I’m like you,
to whom this truth can’t get through
if to my own truth I don’t first listen.

Dumb Luck and the Blame Game



I wonder why so many of us choose 
to shoulder blame when kismet drew the card.
And even when pointed out, we refuse
to accept our life’s hard just ‘cause it’s hard.

I used to say I must’ve been the one
when something inevitably went wrong.
Everyone else looked like they had won --
or at least at the sky -- whistling a song.

But after too many times taking blame,
from parents, teachers, friends for all this stuff,
I realized they couldn’t deal with the shame
to admit their fault. So I said “Enough!” 

I’m not responsible for your screwups,
and perhaps they’re not all your fault, as well.
Sometimes stuff happens, like dice rolled from cups
and taking on unearned blame’s a living hell.

Life’s a gamble, randomly dealt, lost and won
and sometimes things happen ‘cause they do.
If you can’t accept this then Life won’t be fun.
And while I hate blame, that one’ll be on you.

Come As You Are


Lake George, Autumn, 1927 by Georgia O'Keeffe

Conflicted leaves hang 
between summer slick 
and autumn tweed, 
at this place on the lake 
where your heart stays
and my invitation says 
come as you are.
And we stand on the deck 
behind this place, 
while the setting light 
upon your face
says it’s all right,
you saved some space
where I can lay my head.
And that’s where we are,
behind that locked door,
you’ve opened in your heart
and I don’t need any more 
than a dream on your pillow.
I’ll even sleep on the floor.
‘Cause the invitation reads
come as you are. 
And I’m yours.

Sorry for the disappearing act. I haven’t been feeling well. I’ll tell you the story in a week or so. But I was inspired to write this today by looking out my window and into a heart.

Courageux compagnons



So they told me I was booked,
but I never bought a ticket.
Destination? I haven’t looked,
I mean why bother? Frick it.
It’s one-way. At least that I know,
no round-trips this millennium.
Then I heard voices call, “Hey Joe!”
T’was a flock with angels tending ‘em.
Now I may not be that thrilled how
so much of my life’s played out,
but I did meet you, then “POW,”
agreed with what life’s about.
Some times we’ve traveled together,
but didn’t even know it.
Side by side, the trips were better,
if we checked our baggage to stow it.
I’d love to ride with you, you see,
if you’d have me as companion.
Such adventurers we would be,
wise Constance and rube D’Artagnan.
But I’m now kept in The Bastille,
my only escape with that doomed flock.
Death of body or soul quite real,
Hobson’s Choice and I’m on the clock.
I choose not that trip, don’t fret,
though staying’s thousand cuts kill, too.
I don’t wish to stay or go just yet,
unless it’s leaving here with you.

You’ll Know Me When You See Me



I might've surrendered, if I had a sword to offer. 
But all I have is a pen, one mighty in myth alone.
I won’t bow, even though I’m already bent 
by the weight of sorrow looped ‘round my neck. 
But I won't fall, because I’m so sick of the taste of dirt 
I refuse to crawl in apparent supplication. 
Yes, with empty hands, love has beaten me again. 
So you can have this pen, this key to a heart 
I've too often locked with it. It’s gone empty, too. 
But I’ll never surrender while my soul 
can still speak the language of your soul.
Because love doesn't require words;
words are merely the filigree surrounding
the mirror in which love recognizes love. 
Even if it's scarred and beaten,
with no sword, no pen, no poetry.
Only open hands, an open heart
and a soul brave and giving.
You'll know me when you see me.

Like My Words Touch Your Heart



When I’m done here, perhaps I'll have touched you,
and, in turn, you might reach out to touch me.
I haven’t given nor received it much, too,
not in a warm to warm sense and such, see.

Is it only with words that we connect?
No, we sense our feelings from a distance.
Words’ warmth a thermometer can’t detect,
not like skin might with skin in this instance.

But the human touch is something we’ve lost,
for so long, both giving and receiving.
Perhaps, to you my embrace feels like frost,
but we can’t see, since feeling’s believing.

Or I guess we could go on just as we are,
comfortably sharing our affection,
with my hands on these keys and this space bar,
yours touching glass and your own reflection.

So this poem’s done, hope you felt it, too, 
and thus in its own way it did its part.
It’s not enough, but the best I can do,
until we touch like my words touch your heart.

Sharing the Ride



I’m unsure what pain lies ahead, 
and I choose not to stand around 
worrying about it. That’s what 
makes rollercoasters so frightening - 
standing there in a long line 
while time and screams go by.
But I can address old pain,
the kind where we can set our jaws,
maybe even make a small tight grin,
and say, “Yeah, it was bad.
But I survived.” See how it feels 
weaker as time and the memory 
of those painful cries go by? 
I wish we didn’t have to suffer 
when there's no one to ride with us 
as scared, scary life screams, or worse, 
just stands there, while we pass. 
I see you bought a ticket, too. 
Please, give me your hand.
I'm afraid this might hurt.

Figment



I sit here and imagine
what it would be like,
the thing I have such trouble 
imagining.

The images come like snippets
from a movie or TV show,
only I can feel the warmth
in them.

Or sometimes my imaginings
have no visions, only feelings
like a faint heartbeat I sense
on mine.

But it’ll never be.

What if I’m merely the hopeful
figment of someone else struggling
to imagine me in their
heart?

Maybe that’s why I have
such trouble bringing forth
what it would be like
if only…

“If only”s don’t happen when you 
just hope, even if you did just feel 
your heart's warmest ever
thump-bump.

Or so I imagine.