Gaps

Gaps and false starts,

dying dreams,

fading hopes.

They tell you it is never too late

but time lays waste to the body

and heaven burdens

the spirit of man

with a choice.

But men have their own minds,

follow their own hearts.

Sometimes good comes out of it,

but mostly nothing remains

save the charred and smoking corpses

of love, hope, and plans.

Shrine

With shades of orange and pink, the rising sun smoothed the jagged edges of the snowcapped moutains, rendering them deceitfully gentle for a time.
Topping his final rise, the bedraggled soldier Olnan saw the shrine in front of him, not too far away now. Taking time to rest, breathing deep of the fresh, chilled air, he took a moment to admire its beauty.
As he admired it, a memory came unbidden, but not unwelcome.
************
His father was holding his hand. He seemed happy enough, but his breathing was labored at this high altitude.
“Are you well, father?”
He smiled at the note of adult concern in his son’s voice. “Yes, Olnan. I’m fine. We’re here now. All is well.”
“Do you want me to go in with you?” He was curious to see the inside of an actual shrine.
“Of course I do. It’s time for you to learn the rituals I perform that honor the ancestors.”
“Like …. ” Olnan took a moment to figure it out. “… your grandfather?”
His father laughed with pride. “Yes, Olnan! Well done! Yes, like my grandfather, but also those who came before him. We owe them a great debt we can’t repay. They went through many things to settle us here, and faced hard times.”
Olnan beamed at the praise.
His father lapsed into silence, but didn’t move. Olnan knew when that happened that he was supposed to wait; Father was remembering something unpleasant. When he spoke again, his voice was husky with emotion.
“But they didn’t give up.”  He looked down at Olnan. “Let’s go, son.”
Still holding Olnan’s hand, they entered the shrine.

*****************

Olnan felt warmed by the memory, and sadness at the empty space beside him now hit him unexpectedly hard. He took another moment to gather himself.
And now, my father has become an ancestor, and I’m not yet a father myself.
He took the offering pack that held the ritual’s needs off his back and held it instead.
It seemed even now that he could see his father there at the door, motioning for him to come inside.
Taking a deep breath, he walked toward the shrine, smiling through his tears.

   One day, my children…

What Do You See in Me?

“What do you see in me?”

You really care.

“Not just my eyes and my figure and hair?”

All of those things are as fleeting as snow.

“So what do you see in me?”

I think you know.

I see the way that you watch

when you think

I am not looking and having a drink.

I see the way that you smile at my faults,

but not at my failings; my wounds get no salt.

I see the way you receive me at night.

Even in anger, you make it alright.

I see the way that you smile at the sun,

holding my hand as we laugh, walk, and run.

I see the way that you cry in the rain,

holding me tight as you’re sharing your pain.

I see the life in you thriving inside,

happy to have him along for the ride.

I see the way that

your heart beats for me.

What do I see in you?

All there could be.

 

Dancer 2

The timelessness of mutual expressions

meet on a city street.

Music inspired the dance inspired the music…

turning in a soulful waltz,

ever intertwined.

Across generations,

across genres,

across skin,

into the soul

they fuse,

and mate,

and make children called

Beautifully,

Artistic,  Virtuosity.

She dances across the notes,

He floats when she leaps,

and the electric connection

has its way with them both,

until it is sated,

and they part,

forever together

as the reverb of melody,

of improvised, wind -borne brass,

and the whispering tap-click- scrape

of slippered steps

fade in echoes,

walking together

across the waking avenues

they both call

home.

 

These Long, Slow, Lovely Sunsets

These long, slow, lovely sunsets

are bittersweet to see.

They mark the passing of time,

the ending of things once held dear,

the seasons,

the deceptively rapid maturing

of children,

as the present day

is stamped by the last rays

into the book of the past.

I watch, and grieve, and rejoice,

and wonder how many more

I have.

But I will also

treasure those

I’ve been blessed to see,

and remember,

knowing that at least

the long, slow, lovely sunsets

will never outshine

the love we leave behind,

when our own light,

now extinguished,

is rekindled

in another place,

to rise anew,

and start again.

 

Words Like Water

Words

gather, build up, swell, and rise

to spill from the mind,

flow through the fingers,

and spill out of  pens, pencils, and keyboards

caught up in currents

of concentration

and creativity.

Words,

free falling in a

joyous cascade of

imagination,

wild and swift as

horses thundering past.

 

Words,

smooth and silent

as owl wings

cleaving

the cold midnight air,

hunting for

just the right one,

plump with meaning,

searching with

keen bright eyes

full of

otherworldly intellect.

 

Words

channeled like water,

fleeting as an eddy,

powerful as tides,

flowing, rushed, and moving

at the

glorious sunrise,

rippling, dappled, and calm

in the

bittersweet sunset.

 

Words

for seeds of fading hope,

and fragile sprouts of love,

sown

in random rows

of longing need,

are poured down

from the poet’s well,

and for a moment

thirst no more,

and grow

a little stronger.

Heart of Steel, Soul of Stone

The heart of the city

is made of steel.

Its soul is made of stone.

It gives no mercy, and has no pity.

It eats the unprotected innocent and spits out

runaways, junkies, whores, and thieves.

It gleams like a glass eye, but like a glass eye,

doesn’t see the harm it causes.

Some write upon its heart to make their presence known,

their absence felt.

The city makes it a crime, and begins its slow erosion

of the anguish of your screaming soul.

It will not remember your name.

It will not care.

It may pay you in cash,

or redeem you in blood.

The choice is yours,

but not really.

 

*Photo by Loes ten Den at Unsplash