Caught In My Own Web

I started out with a length of golden thread
with which my life’s tapestry one day would be read.
But, Oh what a tangled web I’d weave
when first I set out not to deceive,
but to become he who I’d be proud to call Me,
the man I and they always wanted me to be.

But I was the guy who’d fall for a girl
who’d never fall for me, and instead would curl
into the arms of another’s possession,
only strengthening my ardor into obsession,
which always clung stronger, in fact like a glove,
to my oft-scarred heart, than affection or love.

I was the man who with artful words
built billboard ads, where nested birds,
upon which footnotes called “news” were hung.
I crafted webs of truths (full, half and un-)
to snare those who’d read them with their heart,
missing the fine print and calling it “art.”

As a youth I somehow viewed, through history’s haze,
certain learned men, who back in their days
owned other men, as being “of their time”
and somehow not as culpable of the same crime
as those who’d as soon destroy the constitution
they built and defended, for their “peculiar institution.”

This web, strung with self-deceit and knotty lies,
supports and ensnares he I’ve come to despise.
So I bid you and they and the old me goodbye,
leaving behind the smug mug I wore while I became I.
I hope you’ll forgive me my many transgressions
and pray for any and all divine intercessions
on behalf of the boy who always meant well,
but ultimately found he wove his own private hell.

Casting for Carpe Diem

Another week has peaked and waned
and here I lie to wonder,
“What is it that you’ve gained
from living seven more days under
a plan with no plan contained,
in this life of blunder after blunder?”

Oh, I’ve seen seven suns rise
and watched them seven times fall.
But life no longer offers a prize
on the ride where you must be this tall.
Adulthood offered only losses and ties,
barely chance of winning at all.

So I guess this is a lesson learned
over time and rock hard ground,
that my life’s happiness is earned,
not serendipitously found.
That each time the Earth it turned
was my shot to make laughter’s chiming sound.

Maybe it was for a nebulous tomorrow I’d pine,
a today out of reach, a chance not yet blown.
A day where I could seize a ring so fine
on the ride not dependent on your joy alone.
So tonight, when I row in at sunset, I’ll be fine,
savoring the day I hooked all on my own.

The Deal

Life has loveliness to sell. ~ Sara Teasdale

If I had the strength, I’d
steal some, because I don’t think
I’ll ever trade for it once more.
I recall it felt like holding you,
your eyes piercing mine, inspecting
the inventory left upon
the shelves of my soul.
That’s what loveliness feels
like, like holding you in my
ever-weakening arms once more —
priceless, though it’s cost me
so very much of my life.
Would that I had more days
I could barter for that loveliness,
but my stock has grown scant.
I exchanged them for moments
of the loveliness I felt you share
in my daydreaming yesterdays.

I’m not feeling too well these days and mortality has suddenly become my wingman. And, like a lot of people who feel thus, I go back and audit the balance sheet of my life’s black-ink experience versus the red of its too many hopes and dreams, and I’ve found how much I’m in arrears. Don’t waste your life’s assets, children. Splash that ebon ink all over your ledger’s pages until it’s full of nothing but black and the balance reads zero. It’s like they say, “You can’t take it with you.” This poem is in response to my friend Annie Fuller’s Writing Outside the Lines prompt up there of a quote from the prolific early 20th Century American poet Sara Teasdale’s poem “Barter.” Hence, my title.

Just Like Every Other Day

I used to remember
those times I
was blown away,
cast like sand
from where I’d stand
to watch you, while
winds capricious
into my youthful visage
carved what now is age.
But not today.

To my mind, you might be
a cloud of dust,
amorphous, nebulous
and just
impossible to grasp.
Though if I could,
I’d hold you tightly,
where I stood,
as in an hourglass,
and you’d never blow away.
Not then, not tomorrow,
not today.

This morning, a moment.
I, as ever, alone and
staring in a mirror at
these ancient scars,
vivid as a clear
summer night’s stars,
those stellar sands,
sifted through my own hands.
And I heard a voice say
“You recall how I got them
like was yesterday.”
“I guess,” I replied,
but it always hurts like
it was just today.”

More mushy verse from my mushy brain for Day Two of NaPoWriMo. A poem based on Robert Lee Brewer’s prompt: “not today.”

A Case of Mistaken Secret Identity

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I was never the man
you were so sure I was
then. And you weren’t
the one I thought
I knew. You still
don’t know me, but
I probably wouldn’t
recognize you,
through all the ink,
like milk, spilled since
last together we flew.
So now we’re strangers
living carry-on lives,
none of that old
baggage to check.
I could say, “Hi,
I’m just a guy,
on the last leg
of a journey we
each alone trek.

I wouldn’t mind
if you’d be so kind
to be a friend like
I once thought I had.
Perhaps you’d agree
a simple You-and-I We
would be super,
not like the old bad.
I won’t expect
a super-someone then
and don’t you look
for Bruce Wayne.
New connections
we’ll have made and
our rechecked baggage
permanently delayed;
we’d be just you and me,
with no more cases of
mistaken secret identity.

Above are the Chinese characters for “reconciliation” or “to make friends again.”  My old bones must feel Spring on the way to create something in this kind of mood of amity and hope. I’m sure it’ll pass with the next snow or depression blow.

When We Have Faces Again

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Faceless, by Carsten Frenzl

Should I read between this and that line,
if ever I thought it’d be a good time,
I’d see a piece of you here and there, all right.
But I write in the dark, behind a closed door at night.
So if some of you made your way into the room,
and got stretched across my word-weaving loom,
I’d apologize, but say thanks for the light.

But, reach out I never did.
Rather, I stayed here and hid
behind recollections fogged in,
almost, but not quite, forgotten.
Where you became a thought without a face,
and I, in the dark, one with barely a trace,
a memory of a someone locked out, not in.

Maybe we’ll meet some distant day
and perhaps then I’ll hear you say,
“I think I remember you.
You’re the one who
wrote songs that might be about me.”
And I’d say, “Perhaps, yes.
But my memory it lapses.
So these words might’ve happened without me.”

They may be woven of the chaff
of long ago when I’d laugh
at how I let life put me through paces.
I lost sight of you, and a part of me too.
Perhaps, blurred without traces, but
through God’s holy graces, amen,
we’ll finally recognize
one another not just by words, by the eyes…
but only when we have faces again.

When we have faces again.

Because you asked me.  But I thought I’d torture myself (and you readers) and make this writing a bit more difficult on myself–which will ever be my artistic wont–with some sort of half-assed rhyme scheme. Cryptic, I know…even to me.