Sometimes I remember things like this…

How I Remember You, Regardless

I remember you wearing blue – darkt blue,
like a shadow of a clear day.
And that color makes your eyes deeper 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 us.
You were never weak about those things.

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How we do things with words…

Only Words

The Philosopher says there are only words,
only ways of saying what can’t be said
about things like toast and coffee and love
and you and us, and somehow this should
make me feel better about how my words
trail off into air, into nothingness, but
when they were spoken, even thoughtlessly,
they were loud and important and true,
and the games we played with our words
that excited us then we reminisce over now,
those lisps of titles, and the laughs which
are certainly words and not just noises,
when a simple yes was amatory and
I waited to hear your voice say my name.

Learning to be silly…

Not From a Book

When all’s good and all is fair,
she is close and love’s a dare,
season’s all but winter least
fondness lingers, cares ceased,
songless tune, birdless song,
edging shade and time is long,
I’ll find a way, way to be
as close to you as you to me,
and when we’re called we’ll answer not
hearts be filed with headless thought,
learning ways and teasing look
and such is not learnt from a book.

Through the valley of the shadow of death…

GraveA Psalm 23

When my mother died
I said nothing, I had
no words – me, her boy
who didn’t shut up,
couldn’t, it seemed,
and would talk her ear
off, or so she claimed,
but I don’t recall her
ever telling me to
stop, unless I missed it,
quieter but not silent;
so where were the words
now – they’re not in
the dictionary she
said she wasn’t when
asked how to spell;
so I had to borrow the
lyrics she taught me
by her own mother’s grave,
about how to see the
valley of the shadow,
and fear no evil,
trusting the Lord
was her shepherd also.

Matchmaking on the highway…

Matchmaker

Another slow and agonizing commute
from the southern suburbs to my home north
and I have to find a way to pass the time,
do some good or at least no harm.

Behind me is a mouth-breathing Neanderthal
eating aggressively – beef jerky and nuts maybe,
alternating his well-balanced diet of commuter snacks,
but so distracted that he is constantly slamming
on his brakes to avoid rear-ending the car in front
which is mine and I am to blame he indicates
with extended middle finger, for being here
so inconveniently obstructing his progress
to some world-changing destiny; I see it all
in my rear-view mirror and he makes me nervous
in so many, many ways.

In front – intermittently – is a little red car,
with its brown-haired female distracted
by her phone, her radio, her hair,
something in her eye, her phone again,
and the apparent lack of lift or something in her hair
which she tries to remedy as she moves back
and forth from my lane to the next and back again
without consulting her mirrors or signaling
her capriciousness with a light so designed;
she must be perfect and all must defer.

Caveman-in-mid-meal behind, and she-self
primping in front – the two seem made for each other,
it occurs to me, if only they would meet – but how
on a road crowded with thousands of others, nervously
and impatiently cursing each and every one of
the thousands of others who presume to slow
one’s evolution and inconvenience their life.

And then my moment appears, as he reaches
for something dropped across the seat (but
certainly not a napkin) and she discovers
an unevenness in her brow that must be corrected
for the world to continue its revolutions,
as I quietly slip into the next lane and it happens,
for she has not signaled and he has not looked up
in time to stop the fender-bender that will
unite this perfect couple in their destiny
and I am their matchmaker – driving on.

What is greater than love…

Stronger

Hate is stronger than love
like up is higher than down,
it’s as simple as that, like
water off a duck’s back, but
it seems ducks enjoy
water on their backs; or
when left turns to right,
eventually, but it takes so long
to get there;
while everyone’s busy
keeping track of what
makes them so uncomfortable
they just have to hate so much,
love doesn’t stand a chance.

Playing and being played with…

Toys1Words are toys.

When is When
When – that’s the best way to start
a poem about memories and tears,
and ‘tears’ is such a good rhyme
for fears, hears, nears and years
which brings us back to when and
timing which is everything except
for emotion caught in time’s gears
(there’s that rhyme again), ripped
from childhood and baptized in
disappointment called adulthood
(you see, that’s how it’s done);
keep these things in mind and
compose away, don’t be afraid
to play with emotions and linger
while meaning disappears
and when becomes lost in years.

Stronger
Hate is stronger than love
like up is higher than down,
it’s as simple as that, like
water off a duck’s back, but
it seems ducks enjoy
water on their backs; or
when left turns to right,
eventually, but it takes so long
to get there;
while everyone’s busy
keeping track of what
makes them so uncomfortable
they just have to hate so much,
love doesn’t stand a chance.

What’s original about sin…

Eve-shoving-the-apple-in-Adams-mouthBlame the serpent (that’s Eve’s ploy), then Adam blames Eve (though she was just a toy), and God who created it all; add this together and we have the fall.

The history of religion is the history of blame, the motive for religion is guilt, the means of religion is empathy, and the denunciation of it all is sympathy. That is, only those who care go to hell.

 

History of Sin

History a tale of fallen’s friends
giving account of what had to be,
fixed  by a sovereign who sees the end
saddled with desire to be free;

lost to be found, but only through Rome
intrude on our lust, our passion, home,
named ex opere – the lusty lie
sprinkle the babies lest they all die;

create the fright, threaten what’s scary
touch our babes, but you’re still necessary,
triumph assured, all wars justified
feelings condemned not capitalized.

Who erred that all are born this way
simply answered, we all come astray,
it’s sin, not hunger, that babies cry,
and not biology why we all die.

 

Love Story

We met at the beginning of the circle
when all was new just to each other,
soon we thought we were always we,
stories merged like one on another;

what it was, was easy enough to be
always something, everything undone,
damned by fruit of a forbidden tree
critiquing what once was begun;

tested, not tempted, fallacies, not lies
our Kant dared us from infants to grow
question by taste, deceived by our eyes
stop just taking, trusting, we can know;

no prudes, no rules, the circle begun,
exemplary yet derided for immemorial
blamed by Hippo for perfection undone
but not the cause, simply the tutorial;

we’d eat it again and again in love,
the defiance was arbitrary after all
as was the command – it was a shove
toward deconstruction and not a fall;

it’s quiet, our story, beyond this plot
we loved, with fear – that our glory,
wandering together for what we ought,
we are Eve and Adam – a love story.

Anonymity and other unknown things… (part 2)

When nobody knows anybody (or is it ‘When anybody knows nobody’?), life is what we call normal. If that bothers you as much as it does me, then you might enjoy this…

Humanized Anonymity
It has come to my attention
that doctors have a 100% failure rate,
if life is what they preserve,
and I’ve never seen one attend a funeral
unless it’s theirs, of course,
so I propose they be required to show
last respects for all their patients,
by law they must be there, embarrassing
as it will be, and apologize
along with everyone else saying ‘I’m sorry’
in the line winding around
the casket, and they will be one of the
only ones who truly mean it;
while I’m at it, I propose that
historians be forced to stand in public
at regular intervals, reciting
the names and a brief paragraph about
the millions and millions
they gladly ignore or anonymously label
when writing their big books
of sweeping, majestic generalizations
while a mother’s baby failed
to thrive and died in her arms yesterday,
a stupid boy, so unloved,
thought nothing of shooting a neighbor
so he might belong to a family
he’d never had before, or the paranoid,
wrinkled woman named Lucy
who spied out of her drawn drapes
at her new neighbors because
they didn’t belong in her neighborhood;
with funerals well attended
and public recitations going on daily,
we’ll be quite entertained but
probably not concern ourselves as we
go about ignoring important things
until we see our doctors dressed to mourn
or hear our name recited; and,
doctors would be so busy with funerals
that they’ll be unable to save lives,
and the writing of history books would
suddenly include observations
of the practice of public recitations and
how this is just a concession
to a silly and meaningless public clamor,
for meaning for humanized anonymity
that they’re happy to supply.