The early dawn light, Too strong and eager to ignore Even under the cover of sleep That calls to me like a languid lover Not ready to release me From my place by their side, Breaks apart the restless peace Of a night I hardly marked As I tumble from my bed In an admission of defeat And slowly begin a sour morning I had hoped would instead be sweet.
It takes only a moment, The space between whispers of wind On a scorching September day As the sun roasts pavement Two feet from where shadow shelters A wilting garden unaware Of how little time it has left, And the past mixes with the present. Fingers tracing rows and lines, Too large now to intertwine With the holes left in the table Made of rubber-coated steel, But still looking for something to hold.
A simple shifting of feet As movement changes from past my door To through it and I, Lost in some deep reverie, Move from past to present To catch a smile, warm and expectant, But betrayed by a furrowed brow. Hollow words meet hollow eyes, Or at least they should read as hollow. I can never tell if what I feel Is written as plainly on my face As it is written in my heart.
I cannot tell if I am haunted Or trapped in an endless reverberation. Words from the past beat upon my mind Again and again and again and again Until I cannot tell if they are newly repeated Or just bouncing around my head Like an echo that draws strength and volume From the walls I’ve put in place To keep words like these out.
You spoke to me of comfort And camaraderie in a too-late attempt To stave off something you sense Is growing ever closer, A shadow you see in every mirror But whose shape you seem unwilling to acknowledge No matter how many times I describe it. These friendly words ring hollow, Changing from your voice to mine As I remember every time someone said them to me, All the louder for these echoes of the past That refuse to be stifled, Amplified by the utter emptiness Of everything you said just now.
You told me, hollow words That I longed to fill with the rage Welling up inside me, That I should not suffer in silence. But this silence was never mine to end. The silence that has forced this empty exchange Was a monster of your creation And I have merely been its victim.
Hung out to dry so long ago, both I And your vacant platitudes, Have long since withered. The hollowed ground I once claimed Matches the concavity of your starved expressions And I am left alone Except for the indiscernible echoes Of your words to me As we are both reduced to rubble By the impervious wall Of your past silence.
The sullen thrum of a distant engine Rings in the cascading hills As they rise and fall on the horizon, Fading into the white haze Of a humid Wisconsin evening. A fire burns to cinders in the foreground And the stars silently conquer the curtain of night, Pinpricks of sunlight poking through the shroud That wraps a dying day, As we cling to the hope That we are as eternal as this moment.
The washed out yellow street light Standing sentinel at the corner next to my driveway Throws wild shadows on my shelves and walls That are occasionally stretched into thin waving lines As the bright pale blue light of the patrolling cop’s Fluorescent headlights roll past my yard. The silent murmur of the woods holds sway Broken by a passing car on a distant highway, The echoing sirens of a police car needed somewhere quick, Or the mournful blare of a train lost somewhere in the hills.
Every walk I take is a performance, A concert for next to no one With no instruments to speak of Save for the rhythm of my feet As one step follows another To the solid beat of my gait, Stride staying steady As I cross paths and walkways, Each one a measure In the score of my day.
I’ve been working on a new poem (goes up tomorrow). I got a draft done pretty quickly, forty-five lines across three pairs of stanzas, lots of nice imagery, all of that in about twenty-five minutes. I had a super clear image, a theme to work with, and a form that rapdily emerged from the way the thing arranged itself in my head. Not my fastest work, but still pretty good for a first draft. I spent another five minutes over the rest of the day reading it and making small adjustments and then sent it off to a reader for a quick review. I was expecting a comment about the end, that it would feel very abrupt or like it shouldn’t have been the end, and that’s the comment I got back. See, I had more I wanted to say, but I couldn’t find a way to say it, so I tried to wrap it up there. After all, not everything needs to go into one poem. But clearly it was missing something, so I decided I’d spend some time today to work on it.
She waits, Like a mountain reaching for the sky, Pushed up by unseen plates in an embrace It will never know or feel, She waits for a call To hear a voice she knows She may have already heard For the last time. She waits for comfort, A desert cactus counting days Since the last rain, Pinning hope on each passing cloud As the little water it has slowly drains. She waits, Breathing deeply, fighting anxiety As each buzz of her phone, Each ping on her computer Resurrects hope she abandoned When it pulled out her hair And chewed her nails to the quick. All I can do is stand by and watch While she waits, Useless words weigh down my tongue, Empty gestures tie my arms, And the knowledge I cannot fill The void she feels bows my head. She waits, Knowing what might be lost Cannot be replaced, Like a dried up river Leaves a furrow in the earth That will linger on until The entire world has changed. So she waits, Living the best she can With one ear cocked for a sound And one eye watching for a face, And a smile to hide them both.
Once upon a midday dreary, while I browsed, bored and bleary, Over many a wikipedia page of unverified lore– While I drowsed, my head swinging, suddenly my phone was ringing, It was my favorite band singing, singing about a red door. “Someone is calling,” I muttered, “ringing like some common bore– Who calls someone anymore?”