Coldness of the Days

The coldness of the days between
Measured by degrees
Equaled by the miles
Separating desires
One from the other
With the freezing of the hours
Marking time and distance
Comes the ache of body and heart
Between the leaving and reuniting
To wake in a landscape filled with you
And the world I see within your blue eyes
Rather than a barren bed
Would warm and soothe
The ache of body and heart

At Sunrise Over Water

At sunrise over water
Remembering a dream
Within tears
Things neither given
Nor ever felt
Linked by all the fears
To form decades of a life
Lived like a stranger
In my own skin

I have stood
Since dawn
At this ocean’s edge
Waiting, waiting
To hear something of a siren’s song
And now at noon
The rain begins
Fierce pelting blows
Washing me clean
Of all I know
Or dare to dream

And I will know no song
For living continues
As a stranger
Within my own skin

(Provincetown 2015)

Broken Stone

 

The edges of a life chipped away
Breath not taken, suffocated
Heart stilled until
Walking dead through the days of life,
Playing as if alive,
So onlookers believe the pretense they wish to see.
While I,
Struggling for air,
For the beating rhythm of life,
Finally accept the coldness of the stone I’ve become.

Any warmth is as transitory as the sun
In its travels from
Season to season
From rise to set
And only coldness will I know
After any fleeting glimpse of warmth.

Such a bitter coldness,
Until a hand,
Holding the lost secrets of a forest under skies of brilliant blue,
Should touch long dead embers,
.As if in possession of some long forgotten, ancient magic,
And in touching rekindles flame,
Swirling within, spiraling outward
Warmth that does not die
Upon the withdrawal of touch.
A lingering heat, warming still,
Stirring hunger once thought dead to life.
Sweetness pounds a rhythm out—
Starting a heart to beat again,
Blessed breath returns
To suffocated, deflated lungs.
The shallow breath, the weak pulse hold ancient power,
Shattering stone to shards
Leaving flesh and blood and bone
To move in life again,
A life reclaimed from the stone stillness
Of gray grief filled years.
Carefully, hesitantly, I step
Over the shards of stone surrounding,
Making my way toward the touch that broke through
My stone encasement.

There trembles within,
A longing I never sought to find,
Fear and hope linked, hand in hand.
I smile,
Extending my hand
To the warmth
Of you.

Counting

Wanting the days to move forward,

I am impatient with seven,

a cat stretching after sleep

too lazy to jump to six,

a caterpillar crossing a continent of a day

in no hurry to cross to the edge of five,

and I feel closer to joy when it arrives

yet bells drone throughout the day

too slow in tolling the coming of four,

a tortoise with no urge

to race into three,

a wounded thing limping along as if too tired, too exhausted to hobble

into two,

a sloth with a grip too secure to drop from the tree

into one,

a glacier too slow to carry me

into zero

and to your door

A Word

I have searched all my baskets of words,
Taken out each one I find that just might work,
Tested it for finesse,
Held it up to the light,
Let it run through my fingers,
Inhaled the scent of each one,
And listened to the music it makes.
Only to reject each in turn
For a lack of smoothness,
Or being too thick or too thin,
For an aroma too flowery or spicy,
For music too soft or too loud.

Yet I know somewhere around here
Is a word of perfection
To capture the essence of what I see.
So to my junk drawers of words
I go to search.
Pull out beautiful.
Yes, true. But too ordinary
And plain a word for my need.
Pull out lovely.
Also true. But just not enough
Depth to capture all.
Pull out striking.
Accurate in effect. But
I require a word with something more.
Pull out gorgeous, stunning, and wonderful.
Yes, yes. All so true.
But reject all three
Since none contain
All I need to convey.

And there at the back of my junk drawer,
Covered over by others,
Hidden by charming, delightful, splendid, and magnificent,
I find it and pull it out.
Let it find the air to cross my lips
Then soar to light.
Yes, it is perfect
The only word to come close
To capturing all that I see,
All I yet know of you
–Exquisite.

Wild and Tame

My friend, the squirrel, sits at my feet.
I wonder perhaps should I be sitting at his.
He is tame
Unlike me.
I have peanuts for him
He knows.
He is willing to wait
And teach me
All the lessons he knows
Of a heart
That is wild
Yet tame.

I marvel at all
That is contained
Within his tiny heart.
The joys of peanuts and sunflower seeds,
Being unafraid in the face of strangers,
And making friends so easily,
Of finding a home among things lush and green,
Knowing no fear to leap
Into things unknown.

Will he instruct me
In the ways to live once again
And move on?
Tell me to remove these rings
Linked to a grief buried beneath red granite?
Can he share with me the lesson
Of what to do with all things circular,
New and old grief link upon link of chain?
Teach me the ways of letting go
Of fears?
To staunch the bleeding of wounds new
And ancient?

Is this the meaning
Of being wild and tamed?

Moment of Destruction

In the moments before
The destruction of a life,
The slow breath
And calm heartbeat,
Without hitch or skip,
Do not warn
In those moments
Before the devastation hits.

The volcano’s eruption,
The tidal wave’s wash,
The comet’s smashing,
All apt metaphors
For the destruction
But for the warnings
They give.
For the destruction of a life,
No warning is given,
No alert, no alarm
Blasts to ring in the ears
Before the crash
Before the hit,
Before the strike
Of a doctor’s news
In a sterile
Waiting room.

Words blasting away
Futures planned
For years yet unlived,
Routines lived
In the present,
Day -to-day.
All thought
Exploding
Fanning out
Like twisted metal
In rolling clouds
Of cement dust,
That is
The instant destruction
Of Lives.