Something About This

We need to do something about this.

I know. If this goes on much longer, I doubt he’ll ever be able to – you know – again…

Don’t even think that. If he stops for good he’ll just lose the will to go on…with anything.

Then we need to do something.

He’s tried almost everything, walks, music, reading. God, look how he just sits there. A blink, blink, a sigh.

I caught him crying the other night.

No you didn’t!

Yeah, in bed, alone, staring, like he was expecting someone to come to him from out of the ceiling. Or past. You know how he likes the room totally dark and cool.

So how do you know he was crying?

Heard him. Like a stage whisper. Said her name and then…well, a sobbing sound. Like he couldn’t catch his breath.

No kidding! Maybe we should suggest he reach out to her. And yeah, we both know she’ll eventually make him more damn paralyzed with misery than he is now. Humming away in his chair one minute and then…

I know. But he can’t go on like this. I’m afraid he might just…you know, POOF, gone. And what about us?

Okay, you go to his right and I’ll go left.

Wait. Listen. The laptop. Is he writing her? Think she’ll answer? I mean kindly? What’s he say?

Let me check. Oh… Well at least he’s trying.

Okay, but what’s he written?

It says, “We need to do something about this.”

(This is pretty much the only way I can write fiction these days. I imagine two characters speaking and then my imagination follows their conversations. But I’m miles ahead of where I’ve been for months.  In this case, I’ll let your imagination discern who – or what – these two speakers are.)

Pyrrhus’s Desk

It looks, from this warrior’s level,
as if the battle finally has ended.
Upon this field, once-sustaining empty vessels,
as well as worn, broken and crumpled weapons
lie strewn from edge to edge,
foreground to horizon.
More still have fallen out of his sight.
Dreams, hopes, plans, idle inspiration,
they hover above the expanse
like a morbid miasma, like the fog of war,
like the spirits of the dead.
Over there he seee the pictures
of the warrior’s children, forever young,
He thinks, “This is what defeat looks like.”
And yet, as you can see, he’s won the battle.
This time.

The bottles can be returned,
the cups, pencils, paper replenished
and with them this warrior’s resolve.
Pyrrhus will live to fight another day.
He is Homer, he is Herodotus.
Or perhaps he is Caesar, writing
his own history of battles joined,
won, lost, best forgotten.
He knows the end could come tomorrow,
but that same tomorrow he’ll engage
the enemy once more, fighting
with himself on this 4′ x 2′ battlefield
for what makes him feel most alive
and keeps one day’s words forever young.

Leaving It All Behind

Within, the emptiness rules, cold and dark.
It’s been this way how long I just can’t say.
Probably long as I’ve not raised a spark,
in here to warm and light another day.

I’ve given up groping my way around,
gave up about almost all I once did
once upon a time, like new stories sound.
Now new stories have run away and hid.

You’d think I’d hear old echoes in this space
where once so many voices talked to me.
I can’t bear to listen, in any case,
lest your voice I hear and dreamed-up you see.

It’s new dreams I need, to fill up my mind,
not blank memories of this life left behind.

If Not for Yin …

I look up to see
the rain come down,
and look down to see
its drops splash toward sky.
I look through the light
to see the shadow,
and through the dark
for any light to catch my eye.

I must be warm in order to
best feel the cold
and feel relatively cooler
to sense the warm.
And so it goes,
living in a world
where we compare and contrast
to judge this life’s form.

There would be no bad
if not for good;
and no silence
without the sound.
Just like I’d not be here
except for you, and you’d
never grace this place if not
for the me to you I’m bound.

Just a little something I tossed at the page to kid myself I’m still writing.  
Nah, I think I’m just flipping verbal spaghetti at this virtual refrigerator door.

Five Minutes to August

“Just the bare necessities
that’s all I need,” I used to think.
I could hear the wind blowing
and leaves rustling and imagine
the walnut trees bobbing and heaving
like some portly prizefighters
as invisible hands rained body shots
and tickles on their flabby greenery.
Now I see them move left and right,
back and forth and think about
raking all those leaves come October.

It’s only five minutes to August
and I’m concerning myself with
half past Autumn.
Unless you’re Emily Dickinson,
a poet should never use
a roof and four walls as sunblock.
Sure, windows make fine frames,
but horizons gird much bigger pictures.
And you know what? Everything
encompassed beneath
the dome of the sky can be found
in one raindrop.

Two bird-shaped pieces of night
just crossed the sunny length
of the shed roof. I’ve gotta
get out there. You might say
it’s a necessity.

I’ve been stuck, stuck, stuck for weeks. Maybe months. And today I just gave up, though not like I have been giving up. I grabbed the first book of fiction I could find in that bookcase to my right, turned to page 8, transcribed the eighth sentence, and then started writing from there. It ain’t perfect, but it was a subconscious lesson I needed. And I just realized something about this book. It’s “Kafka on the Shore,” by Haruki Murakami, the first book of fiction I bought myself a decade ago to restart my reading life. And that, my friends, is what’s so magical and spooky about this writing thing. Get out. Get out of your own way. Get it out of your system. Get something close to happy.

A Tailwind for Sisyphus

So many wants sit within me,
but inertia and headwinds negate
any attempts, starts or begins, see,
what I once hoped would be my fate.

But Fate she’s a mistress most cold,
one who’d just as soon leave me crying.
Muses turn that way, too, I’m told,
and if I said “Oh, not mine,” I’d be lying.

There’s been more than one pushed my pen,
each gave my heart a stir and a taste.
I thought I loved each, and yet then
they left my poetic heart still chaste.

Now my wants have grown old and dusty,
not lost, but neither kept well oiled.
Such desires are wont to grow rusty,
and without fulfillment they become spoiled.

That’s why these lines squeal so loudly,
like cogged gears spent years without care.
Oh, I cared, but never so proudly
as a man believing in himself might dare.

So my fate remains unrealized still,
and today’s step was just mere mumbling.
While writing this was a Sisyphean uphill,
Sure, two back, but one up without stumbling.

I’m going to keep writing these until something clicks within me. I’m one hundred typewriting monkeys with a not yet totally broken old dream on the other side of this door. And I’ve found the sound of thousands of keys clicking an inspiring song. Who knows? Maybe one of those keys will be the one that unlocks it

Completely ‘Merican Spoken Here

The further twisting of this twisty tongue,
made of words homegrown and appropriated,
has gone unabated since I was young,
and some I have even procreated.

I guess that’s the price for a language loose
as the American vernacular.
I’m fine with words made up by Dr. Seuss,
but it’s the disuse I find spectacular.

You may not notice how the public speaks
as they hear language on TV mangled.
In texts their lack of care or knowledge peaks.
I gave up on participles dangled.

I’ll still weep for Mother Tongue, totally annoyed,
whenever I hear, “completely destroyed.”

Day 24 of my poem-a-day quest, which I’ve already completely destroyed…uh, I mean…

Oh, and the prompt for  today was a poem with a title beginning with “Complete…”