Table for One ~ A Rondeau

Table for one, that’s what I get
Since we no longer talk, and yet
I’m not alone like other men
Might be in bar, cafe or den,
Since here you see the place I’ve set.

That’s no surprise to you I’ll bet,
Knowing how I would sit and fret,
Even at this lonely, this Zen
Table for one.

Sure, there have been others I’ve met,
whom places in my life I let.
But only you are with me when
My obsession cries through this pen.
Two ink stains we’ll leave at this wet
Table for one.

Just An Opened Eye Away

The fantasy always
exceeded the reality,
until the reality
brought so much pain.
It is an inevitability
in my existence that joy
is more often make-believe,
a wish, a what-if,
while suffering is real,
even if only imagined.
What is fantasy if not
the yearn, the ache,
for that which we wish
to feel, if only
to make the pain stop?
You know this, though,
since you’ve been the fantasy,
you’ve brought the pain,
you’ve dreamed the joy,
yet came to learn as I did
that anguish was always
just an opened eye away.

Back to the métier – dreams and hope, loss and pain.

Just Can’t Stop It ~ A Pantoum

She’s not sure even she knows
Why she thinks of him still.
And she just can’t stop it,
Even though she’s tried not thinking at all.

Why she thinks of him still.
She’ll only whisper in the dark.
Even though she’s tried not thinking at all,
It’s his voice she hears there beside her.

She’ll only whisper in the dark.
What she never admitted out loud.
It’s his voice she hears there beside her.
Whispering what she wished he’d said.

What she never admitted out loud,
She’s not sure even she knows.
Whispering what she wished he’d said,
And she just can’t stop it.

An old friend suggested I join her and some of her other friends in creating a special form of poem called a pantoum. It is built on four-line stanzas that repeat certain lines that occurred earlier in the poem. In my present state of creative malaise (AKA paralysis), I thought it would tear my brain in two. But I tried and all it tore was my heart.

I Promise

“What?!”

“I wish you’d not sneak up on me like that. It freaks me out and I lose the flow,” I said.

“What the heck does that even mean? Who’s THIS woman your main character’s talking about,” Jeanne said, her finger leaving a smudge on my computer screen. Her tone more accusatory than interrogative.

“She’s the angel who smashed the bottle on the bow of his Titanic of a life,” I said.

“The Titanic sunk,” she said. “So you’ve longed for some woman all this time? And you’re going to write about her for the whole world to read and talk about? I hate you.”

“She’s imaginary, like Queen Elsa and Olaf,” I said.

“Well she came from some somewhere inside you. You couldn’t have just made her up from nothing. Who is she, Eddie?” Jeanne said.

“Do you know how many books I’ve read over my whole life? Thousands. And all those characters are smushed together up here,” I said, pointing at the side of my head. “My imagination just picks pieces of those characters and builds a new one. That’s where she came from. If it’ll make you feel better, I’ll put a big notice on the flyleaf that swears that. Okay?”

“Fourteen-point type?”

“Eighteen,” I said.

“Okay,” Jeanne said.

“Now can I get back to this? My deadline…”

“Okay. But please don’t work too late. We’re going to Mom’s tomorrow and you can’t be nodding off again.”

“I’ll be up soon. I promise,” I said.

When the door clicked shut, I returned to my keyboard, closed my eyes and that snowy day thirty years ago with Diana flowed back to me. And started I typing again.

This is a slightly lengthened version of my 250-word story for Siobhan Muir’s Thursday Threads flash fiction contest. I had to use a phrase from last week’s winning story (my own): “What the heck does that even mean?” If you’re a writer, a romantic or a romantic writer, you know what this story is about. If you’re not… Well, it’s about angels and magic.

It Must Be Magic

Isn’t it spooky
how many couples disappear
when the magic’s gone?
You would think they’d stay
there on the table, or bed,
when the smoke goes poof.
But that’s what happens on stage
before the curtain falls.
Either the guy in the cape
is left standing there
less the girl he came on with,
or that girl notices
the run in her fishnets like
the one he just took.
But magic’s a funny thing.
It can reveal, too,
as well as it can conceal.
Like when the ta-daaa
comes along and the partner
thought gone reappears
in the back of the playhouse
to thunderous applause.
Sure, it’s an old illusion,
a trick we’ve all seen.
But while we stand and applaud
at the duo’s gift
and the wonder they provide,
no one goes home so
immersed in magic than they.
Because they know how
hard it is to keep and act
all together since
anyone can disappear
when the lights go down.

I thought I could write a story today, but I still seemed paralyzed by my being too long in the wasteland of depressed creativity. So I went back to my roots. Literally. The first full-length poem I ever wrote — it must be nine years ago — was a linking of the 5-7-5 syllable scheme of haiku. Go ahead and count ’em. I’ll wait. I’ll always be here, not gonna disappear, come stories or not.

The Voicemail

I guess I’m not the only one who’ll keep
voice mails from the departed on my phone.
To hear one say my name might make me weep,
though to not hear makes me feel too alone.

Some may find this morbid, maybe even sick,
hearing a loved one’s voice as from above.
But for me it’s a special kind of trick
where I listen and think I hear their love.

Sure I’m kidding myself when I press PLAY,
like I’m kidding you, if this far you’ve read.
This voice you’d know if you heard it today.
See, I only said departed, not dead.

I’ll play this call when my heart gets too blue;
then I’ll hear the one I loved and lost…you.

Isn’t It Nice to Think So?

Maybe you were the water
that quenched my thirsty soul,
allowing it to bud and bloom
and bring forth something
I never knew lay fallow within me.
Or maybe you were the fertile soil
in which dormant soul seeds
were able to catch hold
and break through to the surface,
strong, able to withstand
the winds of all our storms.
It’s possible your voice
was the music that carried through
all the darkness and gales,
providing accompaniment
to the libretti I tended for all,
but really you.
Of course, maybe you weren’t
the be-all and end-all
of my tending to this concrete soul.
But look what just thinking
about that has helped me do.
So isn’t it nice to think so?