Laying Stones

One night I woke, and watched you.

Saw the past in your mind, through your eyes.

So still you were, but there were tears in the moonlight.

I don’t know if you built the wall

or someone took you behind it,

but it was a place I could not go.

I tried.

I fought.

My hands were rough and bleeding,

and I had no rope, no grappling hook.

When I was almost there, I reached up for you to help me.

And you walked away.

I tried again, until I could no more.

When I passed through the gate

for the last time

I turned,

and you were there

in the window,

laying more stones.

Still crying.

 

(*art by jonasjensenart.deviantart.com)

Poetess in the Park

I stopped because she was absolutely riveting.

She actually wore a beret, had fully bought in to the whole scene.

Everything came together as I watched her perform,

as I watched her play the crowd.

I wanted her to hesitate when she looked at me, to stumble over her words, and come to a stop.

But she didn’t.

I understood: The poem was all to her, everything to her.

But to me,

she was the poem,

the art of something so out of the ordinary

it could never fit in.

I wanted to be that vibrant to someone,

for someone to know me so well they’d anticipate

what I’d improvise.

I wished she was my all and everything.

But I never asked her name.

Words Like Seeds

You turn your back on

the futility of letters.

‘Try,’ they keep saying.

‘You must keep trying.’

So I cut back, and set fire,

not to plant,  but purge,

yet the seedlings land

inside the spongy soil.

With sustenance unseen,

they wait their seasons,

testing the moments.

Heart and mind,

Soul and spirit,

are made verdant.

Pods of ideas,

Sprouts of imagination

flourish, rising and twisting

through the lattices.

They pollinate on paper,

and pluck pixels from our fingers,

working the pages of trees,

buzzing among the LED bulbs.

The pencil is the silvered scythe,

the poem reaped in harvest,

and placed on your table,

steaming and new

before your eyes.

Savor it, for it is one of a kind.

 

 

Long Road, Short Time

Splash, skip

jump, flip

stick your tongue out

pout your lip

 

Grow, play

run, pray

getting taller

every day

 

Chores, toys

birthday joys,

making friends with

girls and boys

 

School, sports

jeans, shorts

staying focused

out of sorts

 

College years,

drinking beers,

childish anger,

grown-up fears.

 

Career, life

children, wife

Partners team to

deal with strife

 

Kids adults now,

partners old,

summer years

turn into gold.

 

Partner leaves,

one remains, wipes away

the teary stains

 

sits, porch

love’s torch,

lonely heart is

feeling scorched.

 

silence, loud

family crowd,

grandson gently

pulls the shroud

 

Broke hearts

tears flow

in the ground

they watch you go.

 

end of days,

end of rhyme.

 

Long Road,

short time.

 

Of Summers Passed

Ah, I see. You must leave again, my love

to pave the way for your older sister,

the one who colors before the whitening kill.

I shall miss you.

Will you miss me?

We dance this dance

year by year,

and the music,

while ever as sweet,

slows down to the rhythm

of our ending.

I do love the touch of

your sun

upon my skin,

and the way your breath of song

makes the branches dance.

The brightness of your eyes

makes me don that which

tames their radiance,

and the weight of your stare

warms me.

The touch of your hot kiss

on my face

makes me close my eyes

and offer up my cheeks.

My heart takes sanctuary

in your

ethereal greenery,

as even now

you start to fade.

Summer,

I will miss you,

resting in the surety

of your

perennial return.

Sleep well, my love,

and know

my heart

is ever

yours.

The Value of Things

Indrissa hated the market, until he made her see it through new eyes.

Indrissa hated everything about the market: the noise, the smell of animals, the smell of people, the squalling of reckless running children that always resulted in something breaking, fighting off the feral animals that roamed and the endless vermin that stayed, the constant haggling, the heat of the sun, and the leering of men.

Resigned, she lamented her lot, until the day he came.

He bought a small, cheap necklace from her with a fake green gem and asked her to try it on so he could see how it looked. “I’m buying it for a special lady.”

Humoring him as well as herself, she put it on. “I’m sure she’ll be happy with it,” she fastened the clasp and looked up at him with a fake smile, “and pleased with you.”

He smiled back. “And are you?”

She tilted her head and looked at him, questioning his meaning. “What?”

“Are you happy with it, and pleased with me?”

She began to unfasten it and hand it back to him. “I don’t understand…”

He held up his hand to stop her. “I bought it for you, Indrissa.”

“Sir, I don’t think—“

“I’ve watched you for a long time. You always look distant and unhappy; you don’t like the market, do you?”

She felt her face heat, realized her hands were still poised to take the necklace off, but she didn’t.

“No, I don’t. I inherited this business from my parents so I wouldn’t fall prey to the scavengers here.”

Not far away was a stage with half naked men and women, and the grim, silent men below them who’d as soon cut a throat as shake a hand. Gold and silver coins flashed through fingers faster than the eye could follow, and the stage began to gradually empty.

He nodded. “I’ve watched them, too.”

She assessed him, trying to place him, but couldn’t; he said he’d been watching her.

Either it had been in plain sight, or he was stalking her.

Still, he’d bought her a gift, albeit from her own stall, and made himself known; if he’d wanted her dead, or harmed, he had more than his share of opportunities.

“So what are you going to do?” she asked, surprised to find herself a bit shy, “Take me away from all this?”

He shuffled a bit, now nervous himself. “Not right away. I could make coming here better for you, though.”

“And how’s that?”

“It’s what you’re selling. No one wants that. It’s for children…”

He stayed at the booth, talking business in between flirting.
He bought lunch for two, and sat beside her as they ate.

She could see some of the other merchants begin to cast furtive glances in their direction.

If he noticed, he didn’t seem to care; he was all business, offering to increase the value of her wares, and if she wanted, she could take him on as a partner. They’d do well together, and ….

The hours went quickly, and he helped her pack and walked her to the gate.

“Will I see you tomorrow?” she asked.

He smiled. “Would you like to?”

She actually giggled, and nodded. “Yes, I would.”

“Then I will be here.” He stuck out his hand for her to shake, and she did.

At home that night, bathed and pleasantly exhausted, she had a sip of something strong, and stared out the window at the rising moon.

She thought of him, and her hand went to her throat. With a small smile, she felt the gem and chain beneath her fingertips.

She’d forgotten to take it off, and now she didn’t want to.

Let These Words be True

So when all is said and done,

and I’ve seen my final sun,

and the final tale is spun,

who will say what I have won?

 

Have I touched a human life?

Relieved someone else’s strife?

Offered comfort, peace, and love

to someone I’d rather shove?

 

Have I made a small child smile?

Did I walk the extra mile?

Did I listen for awhile?

Aided someone through a trial?

 

Did my giving of a gift

give a trodden spirit lift?

Did my words that gave approval

lead to heavy load’s removal?

 

Did the music that I play

brighten someone else’s day?

Did the lessons that I taught

make the out-of-reach get caught?

 

Perhaps I will never know,

for I do it as I go.

From the surgeon to the skater,

plant a seed that may grow later.

 

May these words I write be true.

May they be true of you, too.