Caught in a storm on a summer’s walk…

Today I walk (do people even do that anymore?)

setting out in a promising direction, headed

somewhere unknown – a surprise on a sameness kind of day

 

the air is hot and unstable – another hint of certain

uncertainty, and the breeze stirs grass clippings

in twisters around my ankles when roughly torn scraps

of paper turn over just in view;

 

a sudden crack of thunder from behind me

will soon turn me toward home, but without hurry because

I didn’t yet smell the unmistakable scent of rain and

the writing seems certainly the hand of a young,

 

uncertain woman – not the blunt printing of an

unskilled fist, so I paused to read the sincerest of phrases

so clearly resting on a page – “I love you, I do…” and that

made me stoop, curiously and awkwardly straining

 

to find more of this story to discover the pronouns

and phrases “she didn’t…” and the smallest of “but they…”

on a curious triangle and another crack closer now

startled my reading as another scrap turned suddenly

 

and I read, embarrassed as if invading their privacy,

the unmistakable “I’m so sorry…” and this litter

made me sad for young love gone awry or a family

torn like this raggedly rendered and rejected attempt

 

to reconcile or explain (because we all seem to need

explanations, if for nothing else than to tear them up

and throw them to the street) when I was hit squarely

on my neck by a cold, heavy missile of rain

 

and the parent of that earlier breeze came charging

across my path stealing the sad debris of love’s demise

from my view as I hurried home wondering if it was

the downpour or tears wetting my face just now.

And here I sit…

There is a chair, on which I sit,

and milk to drink from mother’s tit,

such pain to feel, to cause, to seek,

and strength to waste until I’m weak,

laughter strides, but still more tears

haunted nights confirm my fears;

sluggish dawns come late or soon

while waxing fast to waning moon,

sophists write of what they crow

while all just live with what they know,

too much uneasy, uneven, unfound,

dragging dust back to the ground,

for life and death and all between

with wonder’s eyes we’ll all be seen

as on this chair I perch, I sit

and marvel at this life called shit.

For a limited time only…

Are we to be praised or pitied?

Creatures starring at stars

dreaming of loves dear lost

hoping as death takes us

every day as we sip our coffee

and wonder about whether our

child is lonely, looking out into

a nothing we pray is something

and wonder about how our feet

once so fleet are betraying us

but that new ointment might

really make a difference if

we order in the next ten minutes

because everything about

life is limited time offer.

The way the world used to be…

Life used to be

a magazine

before it was too

complicated

for glossy pages

and monthly delivery.

 

Love used to be

the word

before it became

common

for all things

and nothing special.

 

Last used to be

the first

before it became

unusual

for us to admit

we’re nothing special.

 

Snowflakes used to be

unique

before we knew about

patterns

for this rareness

and how we’re alike.

 

Time used to be

a friend

before it became a

commodity

for more than money

and our self-importance.

 

Hope used to be

a way

before we lost

confidence

in something larger

and more important.

Nothing much of nothing…

It’s sad to think of nothing

and what nothing thinks of you;

that one can live, love and die

then dissolve without a clue.

 

That nothing is all that awaits

and nothing is what life means;

that living is all there is to life

nothing at all beyond it seems.

 

Being someone and not void,

able to see beyond one’s strife;

or dream the dream of Freud,

denied a denotation of life.

 

No more than childish dreams

deferring virtues now gratuitous;

instinct provides life’s schemes,

all else is simply unscrupulous.

 

Religion ruined this apparition

fighting and killing for possession

of eternity, God and salvation –

asserting a clandestine ascension.

 

Modern morn provided assuage,

altering right for enlightenment,

daring knowledge without tutelage;

and only death mocks contentment.

 

Animated rationale this quell

imagine, it’s easy, the cry,

refuse a heaven and a hell,

no war, blah, blah, blah, only sky.

 

Tutelage and faith estranged,

songs and ballads and manifestos

and not a damn thing changed –

quashing dreams and hopes depose.

 

Bravely embrace life’s one end

because all die, but don’t believe

learning to die by living ‘as if’

today is all – it’s hard to conceive

And nothing hurts like nothing

nothing can defeat death’s diffidence

most live in fear, ignoring the abyss

eating, drinking with wink and wince

 

It’s consoling – not in the least,

nor a substitute for beatification;

permit certainty to serve as priest

in the dark idol’s habitation. // intimation

 

Hail and revel as one will,

subsist on bravery towards death

permit the dew of life to distill

crave love in a last breath.

And then my future changed…

I was going to be an astronaut, blast into space

circle my earth and catapult to the moon

while complete strangers stared up into the sky

wondering at my bravery, jealous of my nerve

 

shaking their heads in disbelief, and I would

do it again and again, like others commute

until my second-grade class visited the Museum

and we all took turns sliding inside a capsule

 

wedging my small frame inside a grown-up’s

cocoon and the door closed on me and

it was then I realized this thing called

claustrophobia and the trajectory of my life

 

was forever changed – I am meant for earth

open spaces, but not space as open as it seems

because the price to get there is too high

and even closets make me uneasy these days.

How I will remember you, regardless…

I remember you wearing blue – light blue,

like a powder of a clear day.

And that color makes your eyes bright too.

It’s warm and there’s a breeze that flutters

the skirt or sleeve of what you’re wearing.

And your hair is down.

It’s chestnut or auburn (I never know

what to call that color). Sometimes you

pulled it back in a ponytail, and I liked it when

you wore a baseball cap

and just tucked it behind your ears.

But I like it best when it’s down and

the breeze makes you rake it back

with your nails. As you do you lift your chin

and close your eyes, turning your face into

the breeze. And then you turn again

and your hair flutters and dances

and you rake it back again – I like that.

Your skin is tan like girls used to

like their skin before they didn’t.

And it sounds silly to hear myself

say it, but you were tall. That’s not something

anyone could change.

And you’re smiling; you always smiled.

You weren’t always like this, I know. And

you haven’t looked like this for a long,

long time. It might seem shallow to think

of you this way, regardless. You changed,

and I changed too, I admit. I probably

never said ‘Why don’t you look like

that anymore’ but you probably knew

I thought it. You didn’t say anything

to me, but I never thought you regretted

how I’d changed. That probably wasn’t

fair of me. I’m sorry about that.

I’m not being shallow, I promise. It’s not

just that you looked that way. It’s the way

I feel when I remember you looking that way.

I’m happy and content. And so are you.

There’s no rush about anything.

We’re together.

We’re not going anywhere, but

we’re walking. Sometimes we tweak one

another and laugh and giggle and run playfully

but not from one another. We always

caught each other, didn’t we!

I can breathe and run and laugh. And

so can you. And we do.

We probably didn’t have any money

except what was in our pockets. And that’s fine.

It doesn’t matter; nothing else matters.

Too much matters too much now,

doesn’t it? No matter how we tried things

kept becoming more important – not just the

good things and great things we had, but

little things that seemed to matter

and they didn’t. I don’t like those things now;

I probably hate them. You never did;

you never hated anything.

I remember trying hard, and you trying hard,

but we didn’t succeed, did we. We didn’t

give up. We didn’t win, but we didn’t give up.

A lot of our friends gave up and I

wanted to, often, but you didn’t.

You never gave up. You never gave up on

me. You were never weak about those things.

Constancy is good with me…

I’ve greeted dawn, kept watch the night,
lingered meridian, and worshipped twilight;
I’ve been spied at play, viewed in morn,
taken joy in beauty, and removed thorn;

I’ve rendered what’s due, refused the wrong,
greeted the stranger, and composed song;
I’ve eulogized the dead, praised heroes,
honored athletes, and remembered widows;

I’ve studied the ant, the sluggard as well,
sought out learning, and harkened the bell.

Yet all remains constant, the march of day,
harrowing reflection, frightening the way;
the taste of fare, the dullness of vine,
laments of old age, and for youth I pine.

I’ve squandered vigor, passed on the ring,
lost my stride, and longed for spring;
I’ve been astray, taken steps poorly,
invited sorrow, and born regrets sorely;

I’ve found friends, pursued the virtues,
lost family, and born with bad news;

I’ve discovered love, courted the same,
sobbed unconsoled, and forfeited fame;

I’ve come incomplete, lived to fare well,
endured betrayal, and forfeited hell.

Yet all remains constant, the march of day,
harrowing reflection, frightening the way;
the taste of fare, the dullness of vine,
laments of old age, and for youth I pine.

My early last meal…

It was too good, I’m sorry to say

too good for an ordinary meal

in the middle of an ordinary week.

 

The meat was too tender and tasty,

the vegetables too crisp and right

and the wine too right and aged.

 

Many kings have lived and died

and not eaten this well, I thought

and I am not and will never be one.

 

This could have, should have

been my last meal and testament;

I will never eat this well again.

 

I now live the life of the condemned

with time between meal and Maker

to live on in satiated dissatisfaction.