From Painful Places

It’s not cathartic, at first,

this opening up, this outpouring.

It fill up with all the

scabs, blood, pus, and bile

of life’s blows to your mind,

to your body,

to your soul.

It reopens wounds and

unlocks memories,

but to not release it

turns you

into a dark alley in a deserted place,

forlorn and forgotten,

trash-filled and filthy.

But either way,

you’re empty.

 

Love is Not Wasted

I stand here in this wet snow,

in front of the steamy warm coffee shop

where I first saw you smile at me,

blush and turn away when

I returned it.

I watch you walk away now,

your red umbrella

bright and festive

amid the gray and weeping clouds

as you leave me.

And I have to hold on

and believe that unlike

the last unfinished cups

we had together,

Love is not wasted.

Land of Lingering

I walk among preserves, not people.

A world-weary wanderer, tired of travel,

but restless in his soul.

These stone-and-ivy ruins,

these empty, rain-slicked city streets,

these dying forests,

these deserts, almost empty of sand,

as if the gods turned a celestial hourglass.

The preserves hail me in greeting,

weep in their newly refreshed grief,

wave to me as I pass,

chase and curse me in their suspicions.

Their children run up to me,

and sing to me,

tugging at my clothes and hair,

encircling me in their singsong games

that light up their ancient faces,

their silent laughter fully roared

in echoes of time.

The musicians still play their festivals

and drip the ghosts of their notes,

that hover, not knowing where to go.

They all linger, just outside the senses,

like flickering lights on the sea.

Instantaneous glimpses of what was,

and what will be again.

‘Wait for me’ they say, ‘we will return.’

I long to sit and eat, and rest,

but over it all,

the  emptiness and solitude

move me ever onward.

My own presence lingers

among them.

I hope it brings them comfort.

Crystalline Quiet

Snow-swept,
these softened crags
belie their lethal silence
with a peaceful scene
of still and silent lakes
of ice, and mournful windsong.

The cold tranquility of the whole
speaks to something
inside.

A longing for beauty unattainable,
love yet unrequited but holding
a glimmer
of hope.

*************
An explosion of spring!
Life in hiding
resurging with new energy
of colors and songs

The crowning note
in the music of
our spinning world
among her sisters.

We welcome now
the challenge of a new
slow-dawning day.

Poetry’s Lament

Her sad eyes
looked into my own,
and I looked away,
unable to bear the weight
of her gaze.

How did you not know?
she asked.
“I never set out to do it,
not deliberately.”

And yet, it is a part of you now.
“So it would seem.”
Will you nurture it?
“I’ve little choice.
I’ve written way too many now
to turn back.
I don’t think they’ll let me anyway.”

That seemed to bring her comfort,
and she smiled
as I wiped
her tears away.

I would have hated to leave you.
“I would’ve hated to see you go,
but peace now, Poetry.
I’m not leaving, so
come take my hand
and open your gift.”

Sleep Like Rivers

Sleep assaults me

at every turn,

and I fight to stay awake.

Sleeep comes in torrents

of soft, warm water,

with the gentle gurgling

of infants

surrounding me with

tranquil eddies

of tenderness.

Sleeeep comes in droplets,

pelting me like a

wind-driven

sideways rain.

Sleeeeep sluices

down from the stars

into my room,

a cozy closeness

of presence

that sings in the voices

of those

who’ve gone before me.

Sleep like rivers,

like bones,

like dreams

of sleep…

I lose the sweet fight.

Goodnight.