Finally Catching Up

I know it’s never been a race, 
but I only know what it’s not.
You’ve already passed me by twice;
don’t know how many more laps I’ve got.

I’ve given up trying to catch up
as we’ve always run round and round.
Our strides so evenly match up,
but yours are swift, while mine pound.

As along I plodded, I’ve pondered 
all the laps we could have shared,
if out of my lane I wandered,
if only I’d sped up and dared.

I’m nearing the end of my run,
and I just can’t catch up to you.
Since we don’t know when we’ll be done,
here is what I thought we could do.

I’ll never get back my old zest, 
catching up I won’t even try.
So I’ll wait here and rest
and jump back in as you go by.

And as I did, you turned and said,
“Thanks for waiting ‘til I caught you.”
Seems I was the one laps ahead,
now we'll finish as we ought to.

I think it’s seamlessly ironic, knowing how I get bogged down in my real life and the hundreds of lives banging around in my head, that I’m a day late in finishing this poem. The prompt was to write a “Catch up” poem. Indeed.

Imagine a World Without Us, Angel

I suppose you’ve imagined 
a world without you. One of those 
“It’s a Wonderful Life” scenarios 
that so many of us posit 
when the world bashes what 
may actually be our reality.

I’ve done it, too, in those moments 
when midnight’s darkness or tears 
blinded me to the George Bailey-ness 
of such an exercise in self absorption.
I wouldn’t want to live in a world 
without you, even if I didn’t know 
what I was missing without you 
				and there 
		and there 
and here
in the timeline of my life. 

How would you feel if I never 
shined my light or cast my shadow 
across your path? Because it could’ve
happened if I listened to that 
teary darkness’ logical alternative 
to what I thought I was suffering.

And so, my angel, you’ve saved me 
from a world without. 
Without you, without me, without us. 
But we’ve brought each other a world 
with a special light and someone 
to dry our tears when we need to see 
this is such a better place because 
					you’re there, 
I’m here, 
		 and we’re together
to hear our bells when they finally ring.

The Price We Pay for Light Is Shadow

I don’t wish to be dark, since all 
I want from life is to bring you light.
Light to shine like joy upon you and me.
But I know I can’t hand you a ray 
of sunshine, like a celestial flower,
just as you can’t chase away my dark ennui.
And I don’t know if you’d even accept it 
if I offered. Maybe because you know 
what I know about life and light. 
How whenever each has shone upon us, 
neither of them has come cheaply. 
And nothing’s ever come to us without a fight.
So while I don’t want to bring you more darkness, 
we both know shadow’s the price we pay 
for the gift of light from above.
The shadow light casts when something 
or someone stands between us and some 
someday’s bright shining love.
So I will never stand in the way 
of the light you need and deserve. 
Just as I hope you’ll never block mine. 
For that we must stand side by side, 
letting the light have us full, 
and leaving our lives’ shadows behind.

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.