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?

Keeping My Head Above

Just thought I’d write today. No theme, no depth of subject or consideration of how it might affect my life and life in general. Just write. So…

My life’s a mess, but so is human life overall. The length and breadth of it is a litany of sloppy, awkward, falling-down trial, error, failure and maybe the occasional tie. There don’t seem to be any wins. And if we think there are such Me-versus-the-Universe faux-comebacks, that’s just the House sucking you in with a blast of endorphin to keep you at the gaming table.

I guess the best times are the trials, those times where I’ve messed in the mess and have yet to fall on my face in the slop of it all. There are few times where the mess isn’t within and arm’s length of me (or you). I dance on the edge of it, splash in it, wade through it, throughout the Sphinx’s four legs in the morning, two in the afternoon and three at night quiz answer for Oedipus. His prize was the keys to “a NEW Thebes!”

And we all know how that turned out, right? 

Yes, life is messy, from its hormone-drenched origin, to its splatter-flick, camel-through-a-needle’s-eye (so I’m told and have observed) delivery, over its boot-sucking traverse of the day to day swamp, until its icky finale and ultimate disposal.

I am up to my chin in it all, with the once-distant solid ground of my evermore within sight, which sometimes feels more appealing than yet another swallow of life’s wallow. I’ve taken on a lot of its turbid wash over the past few years, sometimes nearly going under, occasionally dreaming of scuttling this leaky vessel altogether.

But here I am, taking the gamble one more day, reaching my foot into the stark paper-white unseen in hope there’s a there there to support me until tomorrow when I hold my nose and take another sodden step. That’s the risk I take. Maybe you do, as well. I’ve taken many a messy misstep, sunk into it over my head and somehow sputtered like flotsam to the surface. I’m an expert at treading, though I’m more exhausted every day.

Maybe you’ve been lucky enough (or made your own luck) to find a map to the stars’ homes, isles of dryland dreams to keep your feet unsullied at least for awhile. I applaud you, but won’t allow myself envy. That’s just more heavy ballast I don’t need. I carry enough of my own. 

So here on this page I have smeared the results of my latest fall in the marsh of human existence. I’ve wiped from my eyes the detritus I observed upon the silty bottom. Exhaled more of the miasma floating above the surface like a diaphanous warning of days to come. And I’ve spit out some of my latest gulps of failure. 

Another mess. Another chance to tread on. Another tie.

C’mon, Snow

The two feet of snow
disappeared across
the length of December,
and now Winter looks
like Autumn from my window.
The great smoother
of Man’s and Nature’s
jagged angles has ebbed
its way back into the clouds,
leaving reminders of a job
poorly done collecting leaves.
But one can’t expect perfection
when you are, indeed,
but one.
And that is the lot
of the lone gardener,
the one who wields
the rake or the pen.
Or so I’m told.

I suppose I could go out
into the cold cold afternoon
to gather the leaves
that came after I put away
my toothy tools, just as
I suppose I could sit here
with a heater at my feet
and rake words into
this biodegradable bag
of free verse. Besides,
there’s no one looking
to collect any leaves
until March. Like no one’s
inside looking at poems.
C’mon, snow.