This is worth it…

Everything doesn’t need to be worth doing,

like my mother’s love for me, doing some things

creates worth where there’s little.

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There are no morals…

The marks have no moral,

they know no stories,

nor me or mine,

no memories surfacing

in the quiet of the day’s ebb

haunting and mocking what can’t

be changed by dreams,

they are carried along

as the wave of the page turns slowly

to the next leaving anyone

reading to wonder who writes this way,

not how but why;

and the way the words go

becomes a prophecy because it is a path

leading to another nowhere

ready to mean something, to be noticed

and maybe even remembered

enough to justify

a child’s plea to read it again,

again, again, and again.

Do you know…

Do you know that moment when no matter how hard you try

there’s no way to keep away the scary things of quiet hours

when all’s too still so your head fills itself with every random fear

of things lost and unfound, loved but to far away, dear but unnear

and no mastery of mind can turn off the flood or slow it,

no pill can quiet the amygdala of my lizard brain

and no distraction makes it so… that’s one of the few,

certain and unchanging things I know about falling asleep

or not.

Forgive me but I’m not sorry…

If only, if, “If I knew then

what I know now” I know I’m not

smart (or good) enough to do

anything differently; I know that I

don’t know how to know

differently, I know that even

with 20/20, clear as day,

sharply focused and contrasted

lines diagraming right and wrong,

touch and don’t touch, walk

and don’t walk, buy and sell,

I would still act stupidly

and need forgiveness

instead of permission;

because it’s only later and

not at the time that I know

what I should have known,

and I’m fine with that because

I’m enjoying forgiveness.

Wednesday mornings…

It’s Wednesday morning and they’re here

sitting together like they’ve known each other

since childhood – unable to impress one another,

unable to care less, unable to enjoy like they once did

so they find peace in routines, every Tuesday,

same table and chairs – even sitting in the same

seats (like the man in the blue baseball cap facing

the glare of the sun, squinting his wrinkles

into even more, but refusing to shift his chair

and the others refuse to ask him again), and

the coffee sits until cool enough and the cream

forms a film and each cup has a stirrer but

no one seems to stir), and they always clean up

after themselves… always.

I love you…

For every pining lover aping the phrase,

every boy groping toward manhood,

every star-struck teen in an idol haze,

the reliable slogan will serve the good.

 

For any in search of a hearty reply,

an ‘and you too’ or polite salutation,

even a lonely cry which beckons nigh,

three words will draw the ovation.

 

Once a vulnerable, humble locution,

she’s pirated and plundered for spoil,

this once hearty exclaim suffers dilution,

at the hands of manipulative toil.

 

Once right, though often gainsaid,

not nor never perfect or immune,

this malleable slogan careens ahead

toward affections awaiting its croon.

The or of life…

The ‘or’ has always been my downfall,

a cursed grammatical conjunction,

as futile to fight as city hall,

yet I refuse life with compunction.

 

When, if not now, should I proceed

in struggle, to wrestle and wage my war

against this coordinating alternative creed

of damnable choices between either/or.

 

I choose to begin each day, each task

with the forbidden ‘or’ of differentiation,

or, why not, instead make ‘or’ ask

Or else what? is the true temptation.

 

Or to be (or not), or to know, or to live,

the Bard knew that matter of life,

not the choice but the refusal we give

which carves out a place amidst the strife.

 

The’ or’ for me is an or, or nothing,

no remainder, as well as no choice

it lacks permission, it fails to be loving

it lacks praise, refusing to rejoice.

 

It’s in the in between, not the preference

that life is lived, that affection is found,

refusing the ‘or’ is to learn deference,

and finding indeterminacy is profound.