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.

Six Feet of Earth

Now you are gone

Separated from me

By six feet of earth

I am left here to wonder

While wearing widow’s weeds

Asking questions

That have no answer

Finally brave enough

To consider

Why you so often stood

Upon the border of anger

With me.

 

It was not illness

No

For it was before

That I was the whipping post

For all the ways

I was not her

Who bruised your pride

Your ego damaged

I tried repairs

And paid a cost

Damaging to myself.

 

Yet I loved you

Generous with words

Sometimes, sometimes,

If it should suit

Your need and purpose,

Yes, you were.

But stingy with the spending

Of any actions

As if saving up

The tenderness

For one you would find

Who was worthier than I.

 

Why not say all this

Before you left?

Too afraid to hear

Or see

The truth in words

Or expression.

Now there are only

Questions

Never answered

Chained around

My mind and heart

And locked within

A prison of all

The faults you saw

In me.

All the sacrifices

I made upon the

Altar of you

No longer carry

The fragrance of

Incense sweet

But a foul stench from

The burning flesh

Of a soul.

 

My struggle begins

To free myself

From the chains

And the prison

Of faults where

I let you lock me away

To shrink within my own skin.

 

I will find myself

Shrinking no longer

And live

Without questions.

You Know Nothing

Spare me the lies of your banalities

Of what she wanted for me

 

For you know nothing

Of her true heart and soul.

 

Let the lying views you need of her

Caused by your shared DNA

Be your own.

 

You know not what I have come to know,

To realize in the finality of her death,

What is true–

That I was always second best

Since she could not find better,

Nothing more than a blanket

Providing warmth

Against the coldness of loneliness,

And my love for her,

But a crutch to prop up a limping ego.

 

Stop telling me the lies

You must tell yourself

Of her wants and desires

For me in this time after

Of finding love and life

And living again.

 

You know nothing of what it means

To live as if dead for six long years.

Your heart and soul pinned

On the kindness of a word or gesture

So rarely if ever given.

 

You know nothing of what it means

To sacrifice your own needs

For over thirteen years

On the altar of an ego bruised and battered

By one who never loved her

And then by the ravages of her cancer.

 

You know nothing of what it means

To listen for days to rasping breathing,

Dosing with morphine

And being cursed when another request

For enough to end it all is denied,

And all the while,

Praying you are keeping her out of pain.

 

You know nothing

Of what it is to chide and scold yourself

For your own selfish desire

For her to wake and say

You are loved and always were.

 

You know nothing

And never will.

 

So do not say what she wanted for me.

You do not know.

And it would be a cruelty for you to hear

That what she truly wanted

Was that I become a monument

To her ego.

 

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.