Friday, October 29, 2010

letting the paint dry

despite what you
do each and everyday,
sometimes you can't
help but paint your
self into that
proverbial corner.
you see exactly where
you are going, backing
up with brush in hand,
paint can at your feet.
trapped in your own
undoing, your own
hurried need to get it
done, and there
you are, but strangely
you find the patience
to let it all dry,
and then walk out.

christmas lights

a string of lights
tacked crookedly along
the roof of the porch,
is bright with blue
and white bulbs. one
or two, and sometimes
three may blink on their
own free will, and in
the yard is a plastic
santa, fat, and pink
with a white beard
and a faded red costume
that has seen too many
rains and snowstorms
from winter's past.
a cinder block from
behind hold's him
steady. the sleigh
and reindeer are missing
this year, still in
the garage.
but there they are,
santa and the lights
behind the picket fence,
behind the dirt lawn,
in front of the window
where a child leans
his elbows on the sill
and waits with magical
wonder for it all to
happen.

online dating

my friend told me
about her new suitor,
he's sixty-seven, she's
fifty three. after one
date, he said, i love
you. coughed a little,
excused himself and
blew nose while turning
up the heat. they met
online. in a dating
chatroom. he had
buried his wife a year
ago, and felt ready
to date again. and she
met him. she made
the mistake of making
love to him, and now
he calls and calls and
calls. he has plans,
he sees a future for
both of them. he wants
her love in return.
it's a hard story to
listen to. and at times
you feel the weight
of this sadness
of this world and
the lonliness of
so many, so many.

the summer sand

a package
arrived in the
mail the other
day. it was full
of poetry, poems
written in the
heat of love,
in the heat of
passion,
infatuation.
poems written
when the turn
was made, written
in the cold, damp
days of things
ending. but they
were all there,
like snapshots,
photos, as pure
and clear as
they can be.
written from
the heart with
a steady hand.
all of them. all
of those words
collected and written
on the soft
fine shores of
summer sand.

in for the night

it's nearly nine
o'clock and i'm
ready for bed. i
laugh at that.
friday night and
not a sinlge cell
or bone in my body
wants to venture
out into the fall
night air. not
for a drink, or
food, or quest for
affection. i am
in for the night,
with a stack of
books nearby.
a cup of tea, the
lights just
right, the window
open, the curtains
like soft hands
gentle and kind
on the breeze.
which book will
please me first?

in spades

it's the paradox
of showing love,
showing your hand
full of cards too
soon, that can lose
the game. and it
shouldn't even be
a game. no table,
no cards, no pot
of gold in the
middle. the heart
is a much more
complex thing than
that. and yet,
the truth be told,
it's best not to
ever, ever say
that you love
someone unless you
know for certain
that it's coming
back in spades.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

icecream anyone?

occasionaly i'll cut
open a vein, let the
blood pool rich and red
on the desk, dip a
pen into the middle
and begin to write.
yeah. well, that was
yesterday and those
poems are done.
icecream, anyone?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

go home now

go home now,
it's time.
it's time
to eat, and
sleep and
make love again.
it's time
to laugh and
smile, and
relax. go home
now. be done
with sadness,
the dark day
you have
embraced for
so long is
over. let it
go. it's
time. go home
now and be
free, be
thankful, be
of good cheer.

younger now

i use to fear
getting old.
the hair going
grey and thinning,
the weight so hard
to discard once
it's there, the
vision blurred,
the ache from today's
work collected
with yesterday's
and the day before.
or a new wrinkle
or line upon the
face that you never
noticed until now.
but not anymore.
there is no fear.
no worry about another
year gone by, another
birthday celebrated.
i'll never truly
be old. i know
that for certain.
i know it my heart.

childhood

there is a sweet
long dream of
time when children
are young, from
birth, before real
school and life
begins, perhaps
until they are ten
or nine, i'm not
sure. but to tuck
them in everynight,
to be home with them,
to hear their prayers,
to bring them water,
or read to them
to answer every question
that rolls through
their little minds,
is gold. is beyond
gold. those are
memories that are
never diminished
by time, by age,
by the long road
of life. he knows now
as he knew then
that i am here,
i am down the hall,
in the other room.
there is nothing on
this earth i would
trade those moments
for and neither
would he.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

the long parade

it's the long parade,
there are floats, pink
and gold, ribbons in
the wind, balloons
tethered to keep
the wind from taking
them towards the sun,
there is the brass band
in step, with drums,
pageantry in bloom.
there are people waving,
people smiling, it is
the long parade. it is
everyone you've ever
known, everyone you've
loved, or have lost.
the dead are there too,
everyone is there, in
the long parade. it
has a beginning, and
an end, but you can see
neither, you may be
near the middle, but
you don't know, not yet.
and it keeps moving,
under the blue umbrella
sky, it's the long
parade. every place
you ever lived is there,
every school you sat
in, every tear you've
cried, each laugh,
each tender kiss,
each moment of pure
joy, of utter sadness.
every time you made love,
or lied, or lifted
someone up, or ignored
them, it keeps moving.
it's the long parade.
it's a dream, it's not
a dream. it's your life.
in shadow and in sun
light, it's the long
parade.

light

in the moment,
inbetween breaths,
inside a small
window of intuitive
thinking and quiet,
call it prayer,
if you'd like,
it comes to you,
like a small
lighted bulb in
the palm of your
open hand. and
you laugh, you
shake your head.
you are as in
the moment as you
will ever be
and understand as
clearly as you
ever will
the purpose and
true point of
this life.

shopping

it's a strange
mirror that i see.
the lost weight
is actually not a
bad thing. it will
force me to go
shopping, which
i love to do for
new clothes.
new shoes. yes.
there is good in
everything.

all together now

galloping clouds
in a rush to get
somewhere, anywhere
but here, dropping
just enough cold
rain to let you know
that they are there.
they erase what's
left of a sun
as it sinks unseen
towards another
part of this curved
and trembling world.
movement of the sky,
movement of the
heart, the heart
so slow to catch
up to the mind,
but they are all
together now and
swimming towards
a new day.

Monday, October 25, 2010

less being more

as the wallpaper
went up over
the beds, over
the stuffed animals,
the toys, the books
the blankets,
the collection
of things from
everywhere they had
ever been, adding
one more layer
of decor on top
of decor, it was
obvious that there
was too much. way
too much. so much
so that you couldn't
see the beauty
of anything in
particular. trying
so hard to get
to a place that
really is no
place to be, but
striving blindly
to succeed.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

ants

i let the gathering of
ants live another day,
knowing that the maids
were coming soon.
i was feeling compassionate
and giving. they found
a lump of sugar or
something on the
otherwise clean kitchen
floor and they had
spread the word silently
in ant like fashion to
their friends, that
the feast was on.
they had formed a long
dark line of jittery
marching bodies, from sugar
spill to the little hole
they found, back out to
wherever it is that
they needed to go. they
seem so industrious,
so absorbed in their
work, their one mindedness
to survive and go on
despite all odds, despite
being so small within
the universe. i
like that.

cake

i baked a cake
tonight.
sort of a celebratory
measure of sorts.
chocolate of course.
with chocolate
icing. it wasn't
from scratch, but
i heard word that
betty crocker was
getting it done,
so went in that
direction. it's
a fat round,
double layered
magnificent work
of art. i'm almost
afraid to cut
into it. i might
put it in the
window for
passerbys to see
and be envious, to
have them
salivate with desire
to have a slice.
to make them wish,
that they too
had such a cake.
but oh no. it's all
mine. i earned
this baby. keep
your grubby paws
off it.

sculpture

in a moment of
creative frenzy
i decide to take
this stone, this
hardend block
of granite, drag
it home and
carefully sculpt
out a exactly
what i thought
i needed.
can you carve
out love from
such a place?
no. you can't.
and my bleeding
hands are proof
of that.

silence

purple blue waves
and a center as
thick and black
as plum pudding
at christmas, while
i swam slowly
in this lake,
head above the water
without light,
except for the candle
that you held on
the shore. you said
nothing. which
said everything
to me. there was
only the sound of
my arms going over
and over, swimming
gently toards an
undiscovered place.
and you in white,
holding some distant
flame of light.

the dream

having lost my wallet
the other day, and
my keys, and my sense
of direction, i found
myself walking alone
across the key bridge,
the wind was stiff
despite the sky being
egg blue and white
with swirls of clouds,
hand whipped like cotton
candy. and i refused
to believe that it was
just a dream, that
i was sleeping. i
enjoyed this lack of
knowing who i was, or
where i was going.
the sense of being lost
felt like the best place
to be, all things
considered. it's okay,
i reasoned in my sleep.
this is fine. this
place where i am, where
i am not.

feathers

there were feathers
everywhere, they couldn't
wait to leave the pillows
that i bought. amazing
feathers that had found
a way out from the thin
soft case they were in.
white feathers, large
and small, slender,
and some thick with
hard ends. i don't know
quite what happened in
the middle of the night
to make this happen,
but i'm hoping that
it happens again
real soon.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

balloons

the air was
full of balloons
today, pink and
blue, and yellow.
and a gaggle of
crying kids, held
their arms up
down below, wishing
that they hadn't
let go, thinking
that they would
all float back
down, but no.

Friday, October 22, 2010

lay it down

bring your weary
bones over here.
to the table.
have a glass of
wine, some bread,
lay out your
troubles,
your burdens,
your dashed hopes
and dreams, put
on the table
your lost loves,
your misspent hours,
or days, or years,
the mistakes you've
made along the way,
your sins, real
or imagined. take
everything out
of that bag you
carry that bends
you over. lay it
down. all of it.
and give it to
me. good. now
go, and be free
to start again.

there you go

cut here,
snip, cut again.
now that string.
that rope,
over there,
that twine, and
thread, each
and everyone
of them. snip,
cut, snap. untie.
unknot, release,
unbow, unravel.
roll me over,
unhook, unchain,
turn the key
on all of those
locks. now
get up. there
you go. there
you go.

integrity

i keep hearing
that word.
it's following
me. wholeness,
honesty, doing
the right thing,
taking a moral
stand and not
wavering. staying
true and loyal.
it's a rare
commodity these
days. principled
and fair.
and i have
fallen so short
so often, but have
awakened. i have
the dictionary
wide open, not
unlike my heart
at the moment.

when the levees break

when the water
rises, when
the levees break,
when the ocean
moves in
and takes away
everything you
thought that
mattered, that's
when life
truly begins.
you have no choice
but to find
higher grown,
or go under,
unchanged
to drown.

what you keep

the kiss that lingers
is the one you keep.
the hug that won't let
go, the eye contact,
the hands holding on
to each other while
a foot holds the door
and the keys are out,
and the wind is in
your hair, and the
stars are brilliant.

one small secret

as moments melt
and fall and slip
into the stream
that leads towards
the great ocean
where all things
are collected in
time, don't harbor
a single thought
of sadness about
what was or could
have been. instead
embrace the joy
of what it still
is within. therein
lies just one small
secret that adds
up to happiness.

icecream

i bought two scoops
of deep dark chocolate
icecream the other night.
went to the bench, near
the water, near the
harbor and sat still and
calm, like the waves
that lapped gently
against the shoreline.
it was a fine love
affair of me and sweetness,
cold licks of good
memories. leaving me
wanting just a little
bit more, but satisfied
for what was in the cup.

in the shadow

i saw a woman
today standing
in the long cold
shadow of her house
spraying from a
garden hose at
her new laid lawn
of thick green sod.
and the wind blew
hard against the
clear stream of
water that rushed
from the tangled
hose at her feet.
she was staring
into the sky,
mindless of the water
that sprayed
outward. lost in
thought. adrift
on this fall day.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

splash

one large splash
in the center of
the pond makes
a series of ripples
that stretch out
and beyond your
line of vision. you
have no idea where
these thoughts
and hopes, these
revelations are
going and to which
shores they will
spill upon and
touch the souls
of someone's feet.

the third man

the third man,
at the window
of my truck,
with beard
and crystaline
blue eyes, said
one other thing,
or rather asked
me a question
after saying
bless you. he
asked me why
i was wearing
those clothes.
it took a few
days before i
realized how
crazy it was
that he had even
approached me
in the rain
on that cold
dark day. but my
clothes? why was
he asking me
such a question.
i was dressed
quite normally.
i woke up the other
night and it
was clear, very
clear what he
meant by that
question and
why i was wearing
what i was
that day. and
since then
my clothes
have changed.

perishable goods

i don't believe that
there is such a thing
as perishable good.
how can affection
cease to exist, or
a simple kiss, or
kind word, or helping
hand. the inexplicable
chemistry of laughter
and fun. i don't see
that it's possible
for love to die, or
friendships to slip
away as if they never
were. no, there is
no perishable good
in this world and
certainly not the next.
it's always still there,
perhaps in the shadows
that we make, in
the cold rooms where
we hide, or tucked
deep beneath some
wound we won't let
heal. but all, i
believe all such
good lives on, survives.

silence

there is the unquenchable
drink of silence
that stills the soul.
brings you back to where
you need to be. losing
the chatter, the noise,
the clatter of the pots
and pans that rattle
endlessly in your
contradictory mind. only
silence, only solitude
can work. don't reach
for the phone, or book,
or friend online, or
a neighbor, don't go
anywhere. put the pen
and paper down. just
be still. be quiet. listen
and breath. it is utterly
amazing what awaits.

maid service

i can hardly
wait for the maid
service to come
on monday. whew.
what a mess. the
debris and dust is
nearly overwhelming.
it's not that i'm
a big slob, i just
kind of let things
go for awhile. all
four bathrooms for
instance, and well,
yes the kitchen too.
okay, below the bed
looks like arizona
on a dry, hot day,
full of tumbleweed.
it's worth every
penny to have it
all scrubbed and
cleaned again. i
can hardly wait.
whoo hooo.

2000 nyc

the coldest day
in my life was in
new york city.
the wind blistered
your skin coming
off the water around
battery park, and
straight up
broadway. you had
to duck into a store,
or pub to unfreeze
your limbs. it
burned your lungs
to breathe. it was
almost too cold
to snow, or so you
thought, and it
did, sticking quickly
bringing everything
to a halt, a peaceful
brush of white
drifts leaned against
the buildings
that had no end
as christmas
approached. and when
the snow stopped,
the cold ebbed
and the city was still,
and lit up in every
color for the holdiay
a few days away. and
i remember, with my
son's hand in mine,
he was only ten,
staring into the
shop windows, wordless
at the toys, the
the garlands and trains
the animals alive,
alive with magic.

jane

my friend jane,
who taught school
for many years, but
now hustles rentals
for a real estate
company in town
to make her daily
bread is reaching
deep into some
final years, and
yet presses on
with a joy that
makes me smile, her
dogs at her side,
her card games late
at night. her beach
trips, and books.
her life enriched
and happy, and when
she says stop by
for a drink, we'll
all be here, we'll
all be up, i start
to laugh, before
i nearly cry.
but good tears.
delicious tears.

christmas

i'm putting up
my lights early
this year. i have
one string of white
lights that i
plug in and place
upon the side table.
okay. i know. it's
not a big deal.
but this year i
will put up a tree
for the first time
in ten years. put
a candle in every
window. i'll cover
the tree in lights
and tinsel and bulbs
and put a star upon
the top, and i'll
celebrate the joy
of christmas, and
what it means,
and be thankful,
and share my life
and blessings with
anyone that wishes
to enter.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

anxious for nothing

i'm craving
nothing at
the moment.
not chocolate
or wine, or
sex, or
affection,
or a kind
word, or arms
to hold me.
i have no
needs at the
moment for
anything
or anyone. i
am quiet in my
soul. content
and anxious
for nothing.
it's a fine
place to
be, finally.

the long drive

i was lost on
the road, and she
was absolutely no
help at all as i
wandered sans gps,
around and around
in this strange
city with no guide
posts to put me
where i wanted to
go. so we circled
while she talked
about God and love
and marriages gone
bad, and i talked
pretty much about
the same exact thing.
and we circled and
went around and
around, through
the tunnel, then
back through it
the other way. it
became more about
us talking about
our lives, our
nature, our wisdom
gained through
trials and the
blessings that
follow. we were
less concerned about
being lost on
the road and more
concerned about
finding a different
sort of home
and the driving
aimlessly was
helping us in
that direction.

baking imaginary cupcakes

i left the stove
on the other night
for several hours
after cooking dinner.
no damage done
and the house was
warm and crisp and
had the feel of
something good baking
in the oven, but
of course there
wasn't. it was empty.
as was the fridge
and the cupboards.
very strange indeed,
but all of that is
about to change
real soon, it'll
be something to see.

rental

the empty house with
bare floors, and bulbs
swinging on wired
string, the closets
heavy with dust,
the smell of old
clothes and shoes.
the fingerprints
of a child on the
back window where
he must have sat,
staring out across
the highway, to where
the neon signs lit
up canary yellow and
red when the sun
went down. and the
broken latches,
and holes in the
walls, where fists
must have punched,
all signs pointing
to something not good,
not happy. and
the thin black
hangers in the
closet swinging
with the slightest
touch of air,
the squeak of
radiators, the one
single, lone chair
in the kitchen with
intials carved deep
into the seat. but
not a box, or book,
or hint of any
name, or person
that may have lived
here. nothing is
left. and i'll paint
it all white, fresh
and clean for the
next tenant soon
to arrive.

moe's rocks

my old dog
had a thing
for bringing home
rocks. it gave
him some strange
comfort to have
them in the house.
all sizes,
all shapes
and forms. he'd
carry them
in his mouth and
proceed to bury
them in corners,
beneath the
couch, or table
or a lifted
edge of rug.
three, four
five rocks could
be found at any
time. they were
of no use to
him, not really,
but the next
day, he brought
in more. occasionally
i'd throw them
all back into
the yard while
he stood there
staring at me,
dumbfounded with
a look of dismay
upon his face.
i tried hard to
see how this related
to my own life,
and came up with
something so
disturbing that
i shook it off,
and left the next
rock that he
brought in from
the yard alone.

out of the maze

i enjoy a good mystery,
whether it be in a book
or a movie, a well done
play on broadway, or off.
but at some point, in
this real world, you
want the shadows to
disperse, you want all the
lights to go on and
the path made clear with
the sign posts bright
and wide in front of
you, you want to be free
of this maze, but ahhh,
rarely does it work that
way without prayer or faith.

if you can

get up and
move forward
with a new heart,
and hope, after
falling hard,
battered and
bruised by what
has happened
in your life,
it's a good thing,
and if you can
rise and put out
your hand to
help someone
else stand up
and move forward
too, well, that's
even better. and
perhaps an added
reason for
the fall.

the horizon

when the light
breaks, and the first
long lashes
of sunlight drape
the flat blue sea
i yawn and sit
and watch it all
unfold, as it does
everyday, not bored,
or tired with the
miracle of it all,
but wanting more
and being patient
for what's next on
my own horizon.
awaiting with
christmas anticipation
for the next
blessing to arrive.

Monday, October 18, 2010

reckless speed

when the front
wheel of my bike
hit the wet boards
along the bridge,
still soaked from
the morning rain,
and i realized
that i was going
down, taking a fall
as the world went
upside down and
the trees with
their turning leaves
all stood in golden
silence, and while
i spun in mid air
i thought
about how blue
the sky was, how
crazy it was to
be riding so hard
and fast on this
curved trail with
wet leaves along
the way. and i
thought about how
effortlessly time
presses on, whether
we are here or not
and that if i
live through this
crash i will never
again, when healed,
move with such
reckless speed
when it comes to
bikes or love.

my father

pacing back
and forth, strangely
chewing gum
with a nervousness
i haven't seen
before, as his
friend, sat there
smiling, thin, guant,
a wig lopsided on
her small head,
i understood the
quickness of this
life in that brief
awkward moment
of unsaid words.
i felt that i
would not return
again with both
of them there
and hoped that i
was wrong, and not
letting my own
small cloud
darken the day.

spilled milk

as the milk
went over
and it poured
out onto
the table,
soaking the
paper, the
book, the set
of keys,
onto the floor
it trickled,
and streamed
towards the rug
and wherever
else gravity
would let it
go. i went out
and found
three cats
sitting on the
stoop, patiently
licking their
paws, they
seemed to know
that they
were needed
and so i let them
in to help me.
labella, cat
and theresa.
and i won't soon
forget that
what they have
done to soothe
my soul.

s

each wave
a whisper,
each cry of
the gull a
song. each
breath of warmth
from the sun
as it rises
higher into
the sky tells
you all you
need to know
about tomorrow.
believe it
and take it
home with you.

race for the cure

as i came out
of the hotel, seeking
coffee from the
starbucks a block
away, i was surrounded
by hundreds and hundreds
of women who were about
to run in the race for
the cure. all of them
in some sort of pink
garb, or hat, or ribbon.
and as i moved, stuck
in this throng of pacing
people, stalled, unable
to go back, or forward
awaiting for the gun
to go off so that the
race would begin, i
thought about how
wonderful this outpouring
of love and caring was,
and i pondered the idea
of needing my own personal
race,my race for my
own cure. and laughed.

the bath

she can't get warm
so she slips into
the tub for another
hot bath. she lets
the heat rub up against
her bones, her heart,
the deepest part of
her soul. she sinks
down into the steam,
down into the boil
of hot water that
spills clear from
the silver spigot.
she closes her eyes
as the tub fills
to the brim. and
she thinks about God's
love and how he
does the same.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

come over here

move over here.
slide your body,
warm and soft
next to mine. let
yesterday go.
leave tomorrow
alone, savor
this moment, and
come over here
and let me
whisper into
your cold, left
ear. there are
things still left
to say, love still
left to be made.
there are more
hours on the clock,
more days on
our calendar.
slide your body
over here and let
me whisper into
your cold, left ear.

shoes under the bed

there's a taxi
out front.
i see the yellow
light aglow
on the roof. i
left you a note
on the table.
it explains
everything,
or maybe nothing.
i'll leave
that up to
you. i did put
something
under your pillow
though. and
i left a pair
of my shoes
beneath your
bed. that
should tell you
something
when you arise
in the morning
and not find
me there. i'll
be back.

purr

another black cat
poem is rising
to the top.
i can't see her
from here. but i
can hear the soft
purr of her new
heart, like it
was on the pillow
next to my ear.

fresh coat

a fresh coat
of paint. down
soft and white
glistening wet,
drying slowly,
softly through
out the night.
and tomorrow
when the sun
hits it, rising
with wintry
light, there
will be a new
shine, a new
glow, to what
was once rusted,
stripped cold
and bare to
the harsh bone.

waves

the long blue
beach, covered
in the cold sand
of october,
washed clean
of shells. it
lingers still
in my bones,
as i sit here
three hundred
miles away. i'll
take it with
me into my
day tomorrow
and the next.
and when i lie
down to sleep
i'll let the
waves of it
sweetly rock
me towards a
warm new dream.

Friday, October 15, 2010

to the ocean

in an hour or so
i am heading to
the beach to get
away. to leave
this house for
awhile, where it
has grown dark,
and quiet. i will
immerse myself
in the autumn
ocean, in the cool
absence of love,
the memory of
love, and i will
take another
step towards where
i truly need
to be. i will
find a white shell
or two unbroken
and bring them
back to remember
what was good
and whole at one
time, and will
be again.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

three strangers

today, and this is a
completely true story,
while it was raining,
and i had a book tucked
under my arm as i walked
slowly across the street,
uncaring about how wet i
was getting, i
went into a coffee shop
got in line when a
woman came up next to me
and asked me, out of the blue
what i was reading.
what was that book
i had under my arm.
she had a patch on her eye,
she was old, and dirty
perhaps homeless. so i told
her. i told her
about the book, that
it was called the
blessings of brokeness.
and we spoke for a
few minutes and she
said. thank you.
i need that in my life.
bless you mister.
and as i left, crossing
the street a man
ran up to me, he stood
there, coming out of nowhere
and said, bless you, bless
you. he was wearing
a red torn shirt, soaked
with rain and before he
could ask for money,
i gave him some. God
bless you he said again.
and ran off.
then i walked across
the street and got
into my car, and within
seconds another man
was standing at my
window. he was bearded with
bright blue eyes, a
back pack on his back.
and he leaned towards my
cracked window and said.
have a blessed day, he
smiled and waved, again
not asking for anything,
he just felt some
strange urge to talk
with me. to say
something to me that
would reach my heart.
and when he walked
away i began cry and
realized how far i had
come this day and
wanted to stay there.

patience

i love this
dark, cold,
heavy rain
that chills
me to the bone.
i embrace it
and sleep deep
within it's
arms, for i
know that on
the other
side is where
God wants
me to be.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

on the table

i got a call
the other day
from an old
friend who shall
remain nameless,
and she asked,
so how are you
these days, and
i replied fine.
that bad, she
said. are you
going to be okay.
so how's the
weather i asked
her, and she said
i'm worried about
you. I asked, so
did you see
the game last
night. and then
i heard her
start to cry,
to sob quietly
into the phone.
i'm sorry, she
said, i'm so very
sorry. i've never
seeen you like this.
i bought some new
shoes, i told her.
brown, loafers
that go great
with jeans, stop
she whispered,
stop. but i
haven't worn
them yet, i
continued. they
are still in
the box,
on the table.

instead

instead,
let's stay,
let's dance,
let's find
a place
to talk
quietly
and find
once more,
a sweet
romance.
let's take
a trip,
where an
ocean waits,
let's count
the waves,
the stars,
let's live
in the moment
of each breath
we take.

shells

so many shells
embedded
in the white
sand, or lying
loose along the shore
each holding a
quiet whisper
of what went before,
so few unbroken,
without a jagged edge,
pristine and pure,
so few making
it through from
start to finish
in one piece, so
much like us,
the love we shared,
the love we broke,
like so many shells
along the shore.

laundry

i've been washing
the same load of
clothes for about
a week now. i've
got things on my
mind and keep forgetting
to take them out and
put them into the
dryer. the other
laundry is starting
to pile up like
snow drifts in last
year's snow storm.
i think tonight though
i've got it licked.
i actually ate a
scrambled egg and
a slice of wheat
toast. oh yeah, i'm
back on my feet again.

tired of driving all the time

i was hitch hiking
the other day because
i got tired of driving
myself everywhere, when
this old woman picked
me up in her cadillac.
it was white on the outside
and white on the inisde.
she said, hop in buddy,
where you going. i told
her up to the store to
get a gallon of milk
and some donuts. she said,
don't you have a car,
i told her, yes, that i
did, but i was tired of
driving. so she took me
to the store, waited for
me, then drove me back
home. it's your turn next
week she said, and i
told her, we'll see,
we'll see. don't get
your hopes up.

the long hot bath

i'm going for the nap
in a minute, after
the long hot bath to
free the debris of the
day from my head and
hands. just me and hot
water, a good book, a
long soak with the phone
off. i might even turn
the light off and sink
down deep up to my chin.
let my bones warm up,
my heart slow down, get
my vision clear about all
the good and wonderous
things i have in my life.
i'm grateful for this
water and this time alone.

the blue room

she wanted the room
not to be blue anymore,
she wanted an off
white, not yellow
or tan, or grey or
red or green, but
white she said. a
nice quiet white to
take away the blues.
i can help you with
that i said and
kissed her gently
on the cheek. let's
start with that and
work around the room.

exhale

it's amazing
how the next
day and then
the next day
and the one
following that
brings relief
and perspective
to whatever
mess you have
gotten yourself
into or out
of for that
matter. time
is no healer
though, it takes
more than
a calendar to
find your
happy place
again. but i'm
on that road.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

tough love

i went out and
got me sixty minutes
of tough love
therapy the other
night. it did a world
of good. she held
a mirror up to my
face, took me by
the collar, splapped
me around a little
and said something
like "what the hell
is wrong with you boy,"
although in more
theraputic terms.
and after i blabbed
about my mother, my
father, and every
relationship disaster
i've ever had
that went down the
drain because of my
selfish stupidity,
she shook her head
and said loudly,
"jesus, mary
and joseph you
are a mess,"
she took a swing at
me, but missed.
she said everything
i needed to hear, brutally,
then stood up, held out
her hand for money,
and before she kicked
me down the stairs
she told me i definitely
needed another session.
maybe three or four.
so i'm going back
next thursday. whew.
i can't wait!

road trip

time to shake off
the blues, shake
off that old tired
rap you've been
spreading all over
town and hit the
open road, not stopping
until there is an
ocean spread out
beyond the hood of
your gleaming black
sedan. you can only
talk about your
lovesickness for
so long before they
get sick of you and
shake their heads
collectively and close
the door. i know,
i know, having been
on both sides of
that counter. but
enough. gas it up
baby, clean the
windows, pack a
bag and throw it in
the back, put on your
shades, your high heel
shoes, and let's roll.

short story

she had
one cat,
but needed
another,
bookends
for the
dog who stood
there panting
bewildered
by it all
and the son
who couldn't
stop smiling.
and together,
the five of
them found
joy. sweet.

clean house

it's good to have
a clean house.
with the debris
and trash, bagged
and sitting at
the curb, the windows
wiped and sparkling,
the rugs vacuumed,
the floors now
with a shine on
them and holding
light. it's good to
see the dust gone,
the dirt swept away,
the beds made,
and all the clutter
gone. it's nice
to sit down in
the big chair and
see everything in
order, everything
in it's place. yes.
confession is good
for the soul.

in the woods

when you get lost
in the woods after
the sun has set, and
cold is coming on,
and the trees are
still and heavy with
the night, and you
can't find your way
out no matter how hard
you try, how hard
you walk and walk, then
it's time to stop,
to settle in, cease
striving to find your
way home, and be still.
when the sun rises in
the morning you will
know exactly in which
direction to go.

derailed

sometimes the train
derails, you stop
looking ahead at
curves, the dips,
the need to slow down
and take it easy,
and then it hits an unseen
break in the tracks
that were once so smooth,
so clean and safe.
but it topples over,
and tumbles. you get
hurt, you get injured,
and tossed about, but
you aren't dead. you
aren't left there
for the rest of your
life. you get back up,
you get on the next
train, you take another
path, and you hold on, but
this time with your
good intentions restrained,
and your open heart
towards love still intact.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

letting go

tomorrow
when i arise,
i'll shower
and shave, and
as i stand
there at the
sink, looking
into the mirror
i'll think of
you. when i get
my first cup
of coffee and
take a sip,
letting the
steam rise against
my lips, i'll
think even more
of you,
and as the day goes
on, this will
continue, and when
i lie down
at night, my
prayers will lead
me back to
you before i close
my eyes and
find sleep. and
as the days progress
into weeks, this
will all lessen,
and the memory
of what we had,
and the pain
of it ending,
will fade and
fade and fade.

after the storm

in the morning,
after the storm,
after the winds
have wrecked
the trees,
and the limbs
and branches
have been shaken
free, the sun
will rise over
the wet earth.
there will be
a calm, and we
will see what
is left standing,
what was true,
what was strong.

a small room

it's a small
room, this love.
this infatuation
that has
bent me over and
made me weep.
very little light
gets in, or out.
i built it that
way, but the
door is there,
i hold the single
key in my heart,
all i need to
do is stop, let
her go, and leave.
but i'm holding
out for a
different ending
despite everything.

Friday, October 8, 2010

childhood

you can blame
most of your problems
on what happened
between the ages
of zero and ten.
your mother didn't
love you enough,
your father was
never home. but
there reaches an
age, a stage where
despite all of
that imprint into
your dna of love
not gained. you
have to stop and
shake yourself free.
let it go and
love without
compromise and with
compassion.

grateful

the bright
white sun
sits like
a candle on
the shelf of
this sweet
blue sky
morning. it's
a wonderful
thing to
witness,
and be alive
and have
so much to
be thankful
for.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

beyond that

it's not
the skin, the shape
of her, her neck,
the long fingers
that entangle mine,
or hair gone wild,
it's not
the length of her
legs anymore,
or the curve of her,
or the quarter moon
and stars etched
on her right
shoulder. it's not
the way her
lips move when
she talks, when
she laughs, when
she smirks, it's
none of that
now. it's way
beyond that.

further

she leaned into
the door and saw
that no one was
home, and so went
in. she fixed her
self a pot of tea,
made toast and
built a fire.
she sat in his
chair, held the
book that he was
reading. she picked
up his coat, held
it up to her face
and laid it back down
again. she went
to the window
where she could see
his hand prints
on the glass that
had etched her
name in the slow
wet dimples of
morning. she stood
there and looked up
the road, further
than she could
ever imagine
going with him
before, and in that
moment she decided
what she should do.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

up on the ladder

i need eight
dry days to get
this work done.
that's all i'm
asking for.
two more jobs
with ladders,
out in the elements,
fighting the
wind, the slant
of the roof,
the soft ground
that makes your
footing slip,
the chill in
the air. eight
more days of
climbing the cold
steel rungs,
of teetering
on the edge,
of leaning,
scraping,
sanding, holding
on for dear life
with a a brush
in one hand.
it's another
season closing
in and i'm
glad of that.

such a place

i suppose there
is such a thing
as happily ever
after despite
not having found
it yet, that it's
not a fairy tale,
or fable, or story
that unfolds on
the soaps or in a
movie where all
the stars gleam
and glisten.
i believe that
there is a place
where you can be
in love forever.
where nothing
changes except
for the better.
where love actually
grows, where it
is full of compassion,
and forgiveness,
and kindness. yes.
i believe there
is such a place,
i really do.

make it warm again

the house
is chilled
almost cold
when you
realize that
you need to
turn the heat
on. it's time
the season
has shifted
to click
the switch
and hear
the furnace
turn, the
fire's
small encased
roar rumble.
and then it
pours out in
waves, the
soft flow of
warmth, not
unlike the love
you took,
and gave.

Monday, October 4, 2010

be still

stop splashing.
stop kicking
and stirring it
up, bringing
mud up from the
bottom. stop
struggling
to swim to
some other side,
be still, let
it clear, let
this struggle
go. once you
see the whole
body of water,
then you will
know.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

nyc

at three
am, on
the subway
going slowly
beneath
manhattan
coming home
from dinner
downtown,
a show,
a stop to
see the tree
at rockefeller
center,
tired and
wet from
the cold
rain, almost
snow, but
happy within
to live in
this day,
and have
this memory
to fall back
on again and
again.

ships at sea

as a boy in
barcelona my
brother and i
would wander
down to where
the warm streams
pooled into
low clean swamps
of brush, the
clear water
holding clouds
and sun in
slow soft ripples,
and we
would take
paper and corks
and toothpicks
and set sail
our fleet of ships
onto the great
seas before us,
blowing them
off to where
they couldn't
be reached, where
the winds would
take them. and
in some ways, i
feel that i am
still at sea, like
those corks on
foreign shores,
with their paper
sails, not yet
in the port i
desire to be, but
very close.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

stop

sometimes you have
to stop packing, and
moving, and starting
over, then over again.
sometimes you have
to find a place and
stay put for awhile,
for more than just
a day. you have to
unpack, get settled,
hang some pictures
on the wall, paint
the rooms and build
a fire, get another
dog. sometimes you
have to say, okay.
this is good, i think
i'll stay, then
lean back. take
her hand, and just
let each day fold
gently into the next
and see where
it all goes.

Friday, October 1, 2010

party aftermath

in a blue
glass she brings
me cold water.
sets it on
the nightstand
with two
aspirin. i
remove the
pillow from
my face and
squint into
the harsh light
of sunday.
what happened
i ask her,
and who are
you. she holds
up her hand
to show me
the ring i
supposedly gave
her last night
at the end
of tequila.
now get up she
says, you need
to take
the trash out
and the grass
needs cutting.