Sunday, January 31, 2010

the dinner

she made her phone calls
throughout the day, asking
her old friends, good friends,
those that had made her life
brighter and perhaps better
with laughter and work, in
troubles and pain, all being
a part of who she was, who
they were, giving each of
them an invitation, and
so they came to dinner,
alone or in pairs, from places
far, places near, and they ate,
they drank, it was all on her,
it was her idea, she missed all
of them, and the night went long,
with conversation and laughter,
kisses on the cheek, warm
embraces, embellishments of years
gone by, under the dim lights,
and music of the restaurant
that she loved. she insisted
that everyone, everyone have
a wonderful decadent dessert
before they left and went off
into the cold darkness, and then,
that night, she went home, put a
bullet in a gun and killed herself.

the cigarette

she says i'll be right back,
i need a cigarette, i nod,
she stands there for a moment
to measure my mood, my possible
discontent with her grabbing
a smoke out on the sidewalk
in twenty degree january weather,
but i smile politely, and say go.
i want to say that i'm sorry
that you have to, but
it's not me, it's you that
needs to do what you do, and
if we loved one another, if
we were to share a life at some
point, perhaps i'd touch your hand,
gently hold your arm and say
something like, i wish you
wouldn't. i love you, and wish
for your life to be long and
healthy, but i don't, and so
she goes, quickly to the door,
her hair in the wind, her long
bare legs shivering in the night.
and i see the bright orange glow
of her cigarette burning
at her lips while she inhales,
deep and hard, as if the smoke
was oxygen, and was needed to go on.

blue stars

the island of sleep
is a warm and sweet
refuge from the world
that sparkles bright
with sharpened edges,
the moon and the blanket
of blue stars beg you
to lie down in slumber,
to sink softly into
the womb of where
you started and where
you'll go, to let go
of the day, of many
things and dream.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

shadow

the earth wobbles
on it's axis, the times
have indeed been
changing, faster than a
spinning top on a smooth
wood table. it's hard
to imagine what's next,
and yet, there seems
to be less illumination
and hope as to how to
fix what's gone wrong,
love exists, but there
is a darkness that is
beginning to overshadow
the light that shines
upon the world.

journey

her soft hand
on my hand,
her lips
against my lips,
the legs
touching beneath
the table,
wine and candles,
the food done,
the dessert
still sweet
inside our
mouths, but we
can't leave
just yet, it
took so long
to get here.

confusion

it's so easy to be
misunderstood these days,
through the written
word or in conversation,
the wink is taken as
a slight, the poem as
a rebuke, silence is
a quiet roar of disapproval,
that voice mail or email
is twisted into something
that it was never
meant to say. it seems
as if the world is on
thin ice, on edge and
so easily upset over
virtually nothing. our
egos have run aground,
thinking that each wave
that crashes upon them is
on purpose, and not just
nature taking it's course.
i'd like to think that
it's raining, not because
of me, or snowing, or hailing
or that lightning is
spitting across the black sky
not because of something
said or unsaid.

the wallpaper

the wallpaper
was difficult
to hang, a wild
pattern of geese
and wagons, a sunrise
and a forest of thin
trees in the distance.
all of it a milky blue
and green. twelve rolls
of paper, to be pasted,
and smoothed upon
the diningroom walls.
and the woman
who hired me cried
in the kitchen, talking
on the phone while
i worked. she whispered
harshly, her face
was dark, and the tears
moved quickly down
her cheeks, but i kept
working. she never said
a word as i struggled
up and down the ladder
with the soft fragile paper,
the inks smudging with
the lightest of touch,
the paper that was so hard
to cut, so difficult
to smooth out the wrinkles.
when she got off the phone,
she placed a check onto
the table and said thank
you. please lock the door
when you leave.

decision

i have made a decision,
i'll sleep in today, i'll
rise late, i'll drink coffee,
i'll get a paper, and browse
the internet, i'll dash off
a few e mails, then go to
the store for milk and
bread, something for dinner,
i'll pay some bills, get
to the bank before it closes.
i'll make a few calls,
sort through the new mail,
discard some of the old,
at some point i'll put
a load of clothes into
the machine, fold the dry
ones on the chair, then carry
them up the stairs. and before
the day is done, i'll read
for awhile, perhaps
see what's on television,
fix dinner, then take a long
walk down the empty streets,
through the trees and woods.
then i'll take a long, hot
bath before heading off to bed.
yes, i've made a decision today.
i won't be calling you.

what falls away

what falls away
is this,
the sun and moon,
a handful
of pointed stars
and tears from
a love you once
knew, the snow
that surrenders
beneath a sun
too bright
and warm
to keep it down,
the birds that
sweep through
trees like
a dark hand.
an ocean
that rolls like
memory,
immpossibly deep
and lonesome
in it's blue
cold self,
finding that
tomorrow is just
like yesterday.
what falls away
is this,
me and you.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

less being more

she loved the mirror
and told me unblushingly
that people often
mistook her for grace
kelly, when she was
younger, when they were
both younger. it didn't
matter to me, but there
was an ache in her
to prove, or show that
she was still beautiful,
still desired, and in
passing she would mention
the men who went out
of their way to say hello,
or to ask her out.
single men, married men,
young and old this happened
all the time, she said.
on the bus, in the grocery
store, when she went
running in her tight shorts,
or walking through
the streets of old town
in her summer dress. none
of this mattered to me,
in fact it pushed me to
the other side of beauty,
wanting less, in order
to have more.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

obituary

this friend of mine,
not really a friend, an
acquaintance, not even
that really, but someone
that i knew through work,
passed away. i found
out a year after he died,
so that tells you something
right there about our
relationship, which was
no relationship, in fact,
i didn't think too highly
of him, but now in death,
i can suddenly paint a rosy
picture of who he was,
and how he treated people.
i find myself saying
to others, and laughing
to myself, that he was
a character, but to be honest,
if i saw him coming down
the sidewalk, i would cross
the street before he'd
see me, or take another
direction altogether.
yeah, i guess i never really
liked him, but having found
out that he died, i feel
funny about it all.

in waiting

while you answer
your wife's question
about how you want
your eggs this morning,
i'll be in my back yard,
on my knees, digging
the hard ground, planting
seeds. i need to nourish
something, and eventually
see results. when she asks
you to rub her shoulders,
her neck, her arms, her
legs, or to zip up her
dress, before you both
go out to dinner, i'll be
opening up the fridge
to find something sweet,
leftover from when you
were last here. and at
some point, i'll delete
all of your e mails, again,
and addresses, and phone
numbers where you can't
ever be reached anyway,
and i'll break those martini
glasses, stepping on the
shattered glass, and feel
the cut on the bottom
of my feet. i'll look
at that crimson bloom
of blood as a portent,
for a dark moment, and
then run, without
hesitation to the phone
when i hear it ring.

Monday, January 25, 2010

family

it's not easy
being family,
despite the blood,
the history,
the endless collage
of childhood
days, now permanent
distortions
locked in memory.
but not every
one is in love,
or loved, or
equally cared
for or betrayed.
it's family,
it's dark, it's
wonderful at times,
it's inescapable
and crazy.

she was

not unlike
a flower
dried on
the window sill,
once fresh
and vibrant
and fragrant,
stem in the water,
bent towards
the sunight
and the hope
of tomorrow,
but now flat,
and done, a life
lived short,
cut from the field
and plucked out
to decorate
the life
of a stranger,
who never
really loved
or adored her
for the flower
that she was.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

the local news

stay tuned, we'll be
right back with that story
about how doing this one
simple thing can save not
only your life, but the
lives of your entire family,
your pets, and perhaps
the whole population
of the human race, yes,
you won't believe it.
we will be right back
with this exclusive
information that you won't
want to miss after this
station break, the weather,
the sports and a round
up of our headline story
on locusts and how they
can get into your ears
while you're sleeping and
make a nest. as you might
imagine, the buzz is
horrendous, stay tuned.

perfection

during my former life,
when i was a plastic surgeon
for the rich and want to
be famous on connecticut
avenue in northwest, i used
to love my work. i would
sometimes sit on the park
bench by the zoo and watch
the people passing by,
examining their faces from
afar. that nose, i could
fix that, those bags under
the eyes, gone with a mere
slice of my razor sharp
scalpel, the paunch on
that otherwise slender woman,
a few suction treaments
and she'll be in a size
two the next morning. i
could vaccuum out those
scones in a heartbeat. and
that man with that huge
bump on his forehead,
bring him in, lay him
down and watch it go away.
voila. sometimes i'd
wander over to the zoo,
but there was nothing
i could do about them,
the animals behind bars
and glass, there was nothing
that i wanted to do, they,
yes they were perfect.

3 a m

it's clear now,
at this hour, 3 a.m.,
that i can't sleep
and that the dreams
i keep having are not
the ones i want, but
there is no flipping
through the menu
to find a better one.
i'm stuck, and will
go back to bed once
the fingers tire,
and the muse is in
the corner, snoring.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

on the subway

i bit my tongue
the other day
and like a vampire
was dripping great
drops of brilliant
red blood from
my lips. it was quite
a sight, riding the
subway with blood
oozing out of my
mouth. i was wearing
a white shirt and
a black raincoat,
with shiny boots.
i saw a teenage girl
grab a crucifix out
of her purse and hold
it up to me, which
got a big laugh, until
i turned into a bat
and flew the hell
out of there at the
next stop.

maintenance

i'm going in for
new hips next week.
the old ones are shot,
worn down from too
many years of running
up and down a concrete
basketball court.
the knees, both of them,
need a scoping too,
after that i'm
having my eyes done,
just a nip and a tuck
around the chin too,
some lasix surgery and
some spots taken off
the top of my bald head.
when this all heals,
i'm going in for
some consultation to
discuss my manhood,
and to get a perscription
for vitamin V.
sure, it could make
me deaf and blind,
and cause me to go into
cardiac arrest, but
what the hell. after
all of this is said
and done, i figure
i've got a few more
years left in the tank.

trust

it's like this, she says,
flipping through my wallet,
checking beneath my bed,
examining the history on
my computer, this shouldn't
bother you, unless you have
something to hide. then
she flips over the mattress,
empties a drawer or two
onto the floor, checks
the pockets of my pants
and goes through my receipts
stuffed in the little
box on the counter. if
i could trust you i wouldn't
have to do this on a weekly
basis. what i'm doing is
saving our relationship,
then she picks up my phone
and goes through the calls
missed, received, and dialed.
i'm keeping you honest,
and keeping our love in tact.
now give me your car keys,
i need to check the trunk
and the mileage on the odometer.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

thin disguise

this disguise you wear,
the one where you smile
and act happy all the time,
concerns me, and as your
doctor i don't recommend
that you continue it for
too long. others will
find you strange and think
that you're crazy or
on drugs, or hitting
the gin bottle on a regular
basis, or that you have
found the woman of your
dreams, your one and only,
and she is keeping you
on cloud nine, as they say.
so, as your confidant
and friend and physician
who knows your deepest
and darkest secrets, which
is it, what or who keeps
that smirk upon your
beaming, cheerful face.

bonjour

i fell in love with
this french girl, marie,
who struggled with her
english, but tried hard
to make a joke, i never
knew when to laugh,
and she was annoyed
when i laughed too soon,
or too late. i did a lot
of nodding, and grimmacing
at her puns that hit the
floor like lead baquettes.
she knew everything there
was to know about cheese,
about wine, about truffles,
and paris, art and life,
and about tiny portions
of food that take four
hours to make, and five
minutes to eat, but
thankfully, she also knew
about making love. we won't
get married, ever, and i'm
certain that it will be a
horrible end at some point,
but until then, i'm eating
and sleeping well.

the long way

i'm taking the long
way home tonight, not
the straight line, point
A to point B, B being
home, i'm stopping by
your lips for awhile,
point C and D.
i don't remember what
they feel like, taste
like, and i need a
reminder to go the rest
of the way. i'm not
a camel, or a woman,
i'm thirsty and want,
no, need to drink
deeply from your well,
and then i can go
on and make it home.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

princess

the house was crawling
with cats and strange birds
when they found
her dead on the couch,
the television was still on,
dr. phil telling people
to stop hurtin one another,
the stove was on too,
a pot of canned chili boiled
over, burning what was left
of the beans, which set off
the smoke alarm and made
the neighbor next door, who
hated her and always wished
for this to happen, to call
the fire department, who
with one mighty swing cracked
the unlocked front door open
with an axe. the cats, most
of them, and the birds,
all came running and flying out,
like a jail break, escaping
the smoke. but there she lay,
in her satin blue robe,
her leopard skin high heels
and a tiara on her head.
a Life picture book about lady
di was in her lap, and one
pink coconut snowball cup
cake was still in her hand,
half eaten, but not unlicked.

digging

i remember some
of those jobs, at
nineteen, digging
a trench around
a house to find
a crack, to parge
the walls and bury
it back up in the heat
of summer,
the bleak frozen
mornings of winter.
i remember the pick
ax breaking, the shovels
snapping, it was that
cold. climbing into
the car to warm
up with my friends
who also had the luck
of digging, but we
were strong, young,
our backs could do
anything. we lived in
the nights, the day was
to make enough money
to allow the nights
to happen. but dig
we would, deeper,
around the footers of
hastily built homes
that leaked, that
had streams running
through the basements,
built on swamp land.
their misfortune
was our sweet luck.

Monday, January 18, 2010

the phone call

she used to call me
every night before
she went to sleep. there
was nothing of great
importance to talk about,
work, the kids, the weather,
when we might be getting
together again.
but she wanted to hear
my voice and i wanted
to hear hers before
the day ended. her voice
was soft and whispery.
it was a sweet way to end
the night, before the lights
went out. it was a nice
way of showing affection.
and then one night she
didn't call, and then another
went by, and another.
the fourth night
i waited and waited,
i put my hand on the phone
almost ready to dial
her number, but didn't.
another night went by,
and then it became a week,
months passed and the phone
still didn't ring. finally,
late one night, after twelve,
i found her number on
a scrap of paper in the dresser.
and called her, it rang
a few times before a man
picked up, and i could hear
her voice, in a whisper, in bed
next to him, asking who
it was, who was calling at
this ungodly hour of the night.

division

after the lawyers
got what they wanted
and saw that there was
no blood left in us,
we divided up the rest.
she got the toaster
oven, i got the coffee
maker. the juicer was
hers, as was the food
processor and most
of the kitchen implements.
i got the tv.
she got the big bed,
i got the couch, the
coffee table and the
enlarged black and white
photo of the grand
canyon. she took the mynah
bird, i got the dog,
the cat was hers before
we were married, so
she kept the blind
and deaf cat and
the aquarium full of fish.
the linens were all
hers, i got two
pillows and the new
electric blanket. she
wanted the dressers,
and the lamps, so i
took the wing chair
and the lava lamp. i
rolled up the oriental
rug and took that, while
she bargained for and
got the dining room
table and chairs, but
just four, i got the
other two. the books
were easy, the ones
i bought i took, and
the single one that she
bought but never read,
she kept. i was amazed
at how well we were
getting along in this
process of dividing
things. it made me feel
good about life in general,
and put a hope in me
for future relationships.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

flood

it rained for days,
then weeks, months,
the stream rose and
flooded the streets,
there were no birds
in the sky, no dogs
roaming the parks,
the rain fell hard,
it pummeled the roof
tops, the cars, the
windows. the wind
made it fierce, and
it seemed as if it
would never end, that
there was no sun,
no blue sky behind
it all. no one
ventured out into
the rain, they ate
what they had on
the shelves, drank
all the liquor,
listened to the news,
wondering when it
would all stop.
but it didn't stop.
it kept coming,
and the houses
began to float away,
no babies were born,
entire towns were
swept into the
ocean, buildings
that had been there
for a hundred years
crumbled into the
soft ground. there
was a sudden outburst
of religion,
those who felt guilty
confessed, repented,
and those who felt
righteous blamed
the sinners for the
rain, for the flood.
it didn't matter,
the rain kept coming,
it filled the cities,
all of the flat
land as far as the eye
could see until
there was no more.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

baking instructions

it's easy, she says,
easy to fall in love.
kiss me, do this, do
that. follow these
easy bake instructions.
stir and mix, measure
and pour. a pinch of
salt, a spoon of sugar,
grease the pan, some
heat, a little more,
and watch it rise.

february

it's the following day,
the clean up day, when
you check the debris
of the night before,
and you hear her still
asleep, the light soft
hum of a stange, yet sexy
snore, the sun is too
bright, the air is too
cold to open a window,
but you do. you find
your shoes, your keys,
your phone, your coat,
you think about picking
things up, wiping down
the spills, but nah,
a half of bottle of
bad champange sitting
on the table gives
you a headache just
looking at it.
you put a post it note
on the fridge. short
and sweet. it's time
to go. her black
and white cat rubs
between your legs as
you turn the knob
to leave, so carefully
you slide out into
the next day of a new
month, february.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

oranges

she sends me a photo
of herself, this stranger,
and a bowl of oranges.
she's wearing a black
sweater, against the white
of her kitchen, she laughs
and says that she doesn't
know where they all came
from, but here they are.
and they look fat and juicy
in the bright lights,
held in the crystal bowl
by her long slender hands.
she is smiling, a soft
smile of tenderness, perhaps
a glimpse of the sweetness
and light within her, but
i'll never know, like
an orange tree, she's too far
away, i can't reach that
limb, that branch to pull
one off into my hands.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

cats in the street

my sister, who
lives florida,
the one i get along
with, called me
the other day
from the golf course,
i could imagine
her lean, tanned
arms and legs, dressed
in white.
she was peeling
a banana, waiting
her turn to tee
off, she wanted to
know how things
were back here, up
north where the winds
were blowing,
and the snow
was falling,
where cats
were dying in
the street, frozen.
she wasn't rubbing
it in, i was glad
for her, glad
for her new marriage,
her volunteer work,
her ability to change
directions in her
life and find a warm
place to rest
her weary bones.
okay, she said,
like that, i
gotta go,
and i could hear
her grabbing
her driver from
her bag before
sending a ball
flying through
the blue sky.

a window

uncertain weather
patterns
are overhead,
could be rain,
could be snow,
it could be
a wintry mix
of sleet and hail,
another words
they really
don't know.
but they'll try,
they'll give
it shot with radar
and maps,
and pointers
and a myriad
of space age
graphics
and charts, but
they won't
get it right,
they have everything,
from computer
projections
to satellites,
yes, they have
everything
but a window.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

the diet

i am eating oranges
by the bagful, and
bananas, apples too.
i'm on a mission to
stop with the red meat,
the donuts, the drinks
full of sugar. i should
be on an island full
of coconuts and grapes,
a place where only
pineapples can grow.
and when this last bag
of potato chips is
done, i'll be free
and clear. this should
last a week or so.

another

there is always
another door.
another season,
another window
to crawl out
of, or into,
another you
to kiss,
at least this
is the mantra
that i possess
and whisper
on those nights
when i'm not
quite sure
if it's true.
and a cold breeze
has found a way
in to give me
a shiver
of doubt.

circling

it's easy to circle
around and around,
and never ask a question
as to where one is going.
no map, no gps, no googled
search printed out and sitting
on the empty seat beside you.
there is no need to roll
the window down and ask
the beat cop, the stranger
with a bag, or woman
with a child in tow.
this is the way birds do,
they just know, and the
circling is only temporary,
getting one's bearings
on what lies ahead, where
to land, which tree to light
on, before nightfall,
before hunger, before
wings begin to weary, before
the next nest is made.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

ice cream

in this one photo
that i keep in a box
with a hundred others
i see my father sitting
in the center of a row
boat, holding the oars
in his muscled arms,
and four skinny children,
smiling into the lens,
awaiting the trip
across the bay, without
life jackets, without
a clue as to where or
how, or the danger
that might lie ahead
in the green deep swirl of
water. but there is
the promise of ice cream
on this bright summer
in cape cod. but even
with that i can see that
i'm holding my breath
just in case.

sample this

put anything
at the end
of a tooth pick
in this country
and a line
will form,
a charred tip
slice of beef,
a tid bit
of white fish, or
apple, or a chunk
of free range
chicken, add on
a plastic flag,
or smiling face,
or a snappy song
and they will
come in droves
to sample
the samples,
mostly because
it's free,
but also
because a very
handsome or pretty
celebrity has said
go ahead, eat it,
try it, buy it.
pick it up
and put it in
your mouth.
wrap it in bacon
and a riot
may start.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

the new poor

the bed is hard.
the night is long
and cold.
the fire is weak
and bends
in the wind
that flys through
the barren trees.
there is only broth,
bark, tough
salted meat, and
just a few rounds
of bullets
to keep the wolves
at bay.
the mattress
we lie on is
torn and soaked,
the blanket thin,
but at least
we have cable,
where's the remote.

In the Garden

be careful
where you
reach
and step
the bed
of roses
is full
of thorns.
no surprise
there.
every love
poem
will tell
you that
at some
point. but
you are
prepared.
this time
you have
stocked
up on
tweezers
and neosporin,
cotton balls
to swab
the leaks
of hand
and heart.

arrows

sometimes the smallest
wound of words, like
silver arrows, build
up and kill whatever
hope there was of
winning this vague
war of lust and love.
you have dropped
the armor, the helmet,
the sheild and
the flurry of points
brings you to your knees.
you want out, you want
the horse, the path
that leads away, cold
mystery is better
than this could ever be.

Friday, January 8, 2010

steps

the ancient steps,
long, deep, crumbling
grey ruins
beneath your feet
and the weight of you,
but they remain,
even long after their
true use has ended,
and now tourists, like
you, like me, carry
our lanterns, our books,
our guides to try
and discover something,
that will lead us
towards our own steps
that may or may not lead
us downward
or begin to rise.

secrets

in each shadow,
of each soul
there is a secret
life, a story
that most likely
will never get
told, and often
it's best
to keep it that
way, in the dark,
away from
the judgement
of light and eyes
that don't quite
see things
the way you do.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

ticking

I say go left,
she says no, go
right. I try to kiss
her on the lips, she
turns to give me
her cheek. She wants
red wine, I want
a gin and tonic
with a slice
of lime. She
prefers to sleep
in. I get up
early to walk
the dog, make a
run for coffee
and a paper. Cake
or pie, we differ
there too. Yes,
even the simple
things. It's too
hot for me, too
cold for her. I
save, she spends.
I want the beach,
she longs for a
mountain. Our
vote on every
issue cancels
each other's out
She wants to sing
loudly with the
music, I want to
hear the song. There
is no middle
ground for us to
stand on, just this
small island of
discontent and
the ticking clock.

cathedral

there is a small
cup of moon
over the snow,
a brilliant
piece of white
china that showers
light between
the pine trees
and unlit houses,
and this is where
you go to pray,
to exhale
the trouble
you gathered
during
the sunlight hours,
in the dark
hollow of day.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

flood rising

the sadness
of love
is that it can
end so quickly,
the differences
running over,
like water
from a storm,
flooding
the streets,
bringing
the debris
to the surface,
to float
aimlessly
on the current,
as you go
under,
and under
gasping for air.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

memo

i haven't heard
from you in awhile,
not a word, a peep,
as they say, by
phone or e mail,
or text or cans
tied together with
string. i'm
pondering the quiet.
i've built a
hundred scenarios
explaining it all,
and then tore them
down. it's probably
something i said,
or did, or didn't
do. it's hard to
know exactly with you.
i try to hand
out apologies at
the first of each
new year to cover
the mistakes i'll
surely make as the
days go by, but
perhaps you didn't
get that memo.

Monday, January 4, 2010

charity

your kisses
are charitable.
i have known
stubborn
and selfish
lovers
but you
are not one
of those. you
give till
it hurts, you
bend like
the trees
do when a storm
blows in.
you are the
red cross
of lovers,
healing all
of those
in need.

exhale

it's nice to let
it go, to let the battery
die out. switch it all
off. no beeps, no buzzes,
no voice mails, e mails,
or knocks at the door
with a special delivery.
it's calming to put your
feet into the ocean, to
breath in the salt air,
to exhale the year,
before the next one begins.
it's nice to let it go.

at sixty

please, don't tell me
that i'm old. can an old
man do this, i say,
and reach down like
a dancer to touch my toes.
can an old make love
in the morning, and again
at noon, and finish off
the night with one more
round of passion
beneath the white sliver
of moon, no, don't tell me
i'm old just yet. the old
don't sing like i do, or run,
or climb trees to shake out
the fruit in season. yes,
the hair is gone, the
vision blurred, the memory
weak. yes, there are more
wrinkles from the sun
and worry, and there is less
and less interest in what
the world is up to, but
please, please don't call
me old. now come here, take
my hand and let's dance.

survival

i am stacking wood,
storing supplies, food,
meat of sorts, stocking
up, as it were, for
what's next. blizzard,
depression, the market
plunge, the unringing
phone. i have been here
before, in childhood,
in every age i have felt
the pangs of hunger,
of thirst, of being alone
with a small fire
to keep my hands warm.
i have felt the cold
in my feet, the wet
socks, and the dull
ache of bones as they
pushed forward through
the deep, unflinching snow.

january

there is a myth
that the woods
are quiet, silent,
the animals gone
shy, especially
under snow,
the stream
affected too,
slowed beneath
the ice above, but
it isn't so.
everything keeps
moving below
the frozen
surface, but in
a different way,
life, as does
love, adjusts,
just under the pale
of january.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

on ice

the thick ice
will be around
for awhile, it
snowed too hard,
too early in winter
for it to find
enough heat
and sun to melt
away, and our shoes
will slip, we will
curse beneath
our breath where
we have let this
relationship go.
we are so in need
of an agreement
of hearts, of a truce
found only in
a season like spring.

moving

having packed
all of my belongings
into cardboard
boxes and marked
each as to the room
where they should be
set when i arrive
at my next destination.
kitchen, bedroom,
livingroom, etc..
the heaviest boxes
holding the many books
read and kept throughout
the years, i stand in
the hollow rooms and
watch the movers carry
them out. all of my
possessions so neatly
sealed and condensed.
i give the house
the once over before
turning off the lights,
before locking the door
one final time,
before thinking
about the love made,
the loves the lost,
the dog.

A Dozen Warm Cookies

the taxi pulls up
with doreen in the back,
black dress, a winter
wool hat, gloves,
scarf, she is prepared
for the worst of winter,
and yet smells like
a flower, wrapped
in faux fur, with boots
to her knees.
she holds a plate in her
gloved hands, an offering,
covered in shiny foil
that catches the glow
of street lamps bathed
in falling snow,
she has made me a batch
of cookies and has come
all this way to drop
them off before going to
see someone else,
and sadly the first bite
tells me they are oatmeal.

christmas eve

in the brittle cold
of christmas eve, on
a walk with little in
mind, but to sweat out
and stretch, to breathe
in the fresh air of an
old year at it's end,
i saw that the lights
of the church, at seven,
were on, and the parking
lot half full, so
i went in, into the place
where i had been so
many sundays and holy
days in my childhood.
and there was the altar,
the crucifix, the hard
pews of blonde wood,
candles burning and i
knelt alone with the small
gathering, finding
the remembered prayers
and the new ones that i
let fall from my lips,
confession of sorts,
thankfulness, gratitude
and a general all
encompassing prayer for
others. i have to admit
that it felt good, and
then the priest began
to speak, in spanish, of
which i had no clue, but
i stayed until the end
just the same.