Somewhere, long ago

Somewhere, long ago, I lost a language.

Words, like jeweled coasters perched light on window-sills,

just out of sight; carefully lettered, dim-lit hallways,

diffused in a dappling dawn –

a reverie in lost sentences referencing only themselves.

I sought what little I could find,

rummaging in refuse, refusing the catalyst of tongue

and tooth when, better equipped, silence met me instead.

Still, as phrases found the furniture of faith,

they stood a bit taller than the mouth that spoke them,

and, in a final flash of familiarity, returned.

 

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When, if not now?

When, if not now?

A recluse to your own life,

are you banished from your own time and space?

When should you emerge from solitary submersion

into mental goat-cheese hills,

clouds coating molasses hillsides, at night –

fallow-fogg’d and faint?

Fainting in self-imposed hunger

you wander, buckling at knees,

well-scabbed, heaven-noticed.

And for all that, so little to show.

It’s the sound of excuses low on batteries.

The oldest, leather’d tales of one made sick

on sumptuous delights of dark.

And still, all those black, moonlit hills of your desires,

shivering wistfully in an adder’s den of want.

“Do you want to be healed?”

Such a stupid question, unless you’ve seen

all this before in light-adjusted caves

of self-pity; the forlorn battle-weary sojourners

preferring to fight without armour, eyes closed.

Closed to adulations begged for, wept over, demanded, refused.

Full steam ahead on an undersized train

sliding down carefully-crafted embankments of misfortune.

Divvy out carefully those shelter-shined coins of detail,

actual currency of a life lived on purpose.

Let your body to your soul state its intentions well –

walls you painted over, once your prison –

now, just old, flayed relics

of too many days reminding you

of too many days.

 

In the interest of recusing myself

In the interest of recusing myself

from the intentional acts of living in

salience and satisfaction,

I remove paper clips from bundles

and places of collecting –

days not yet taken,

things taken too often,

conversations unfinished,

gazes left unyielded to awe.

 

And I forget to wait.

 

In the interest of restraining myself

from the morbidity of beloved melancholy

I reach across heavens of tear-stained songs

and their owners, too shy to keep singing –

and touch the lips of those like me,

who might never have sung

were it not for those heaven-kissed notes.

 

And I forget to wait.

 

In the interest of reinventing myself

I recall to mind the person least reticent

to dance naked before the large window –

unblinking, shameless with wanton wit;

those long-wished for days not yet cast aside.

Not forgotten, merely unremembered.

A bold and chivalrous persona void of

the self-effacement unknown in our youth.

 

And I forgot to wait.

 

I am not as old

On the occasion of my fifty-fifth birthday.

____________________

No, I am not as old as

the wilting membrane of earth –

the skin of her secrets, too tightly

breast-held and leaky.

 

No, I am not as old as last

winter’s back-porch bread crumbs,

now frozen in cracks of concrete

and flaking paint.

 

No, I am not as old as the clock,

heavy in memory and fingerprints –

evidenced in her calloused hands.

 

No, I am not as old as the long-

faded colour now framing the painting’s

place – a reminiscence tucked in

a reminiscence. The irony of old beauties.

 

No, I am not as old as the tales and

fables, born wild and then loosed

in the telling, fermenting into 

many-tongued song.

 

No, I am not as old as the coughing

farm truck, grizzled metal and clogged

arteries, belching orders under

a hollow back, still unbroken.

 

No, I am not as old as the cathedral

stone, serenely quiet in the preachy

way of ancient things always new.

 

I am just old enough to love, and

to start again.

NaHaWriMo 2018, part 3

Day 17

I cannot say why

the page seems a mystery

to a breath of ink.

 

Day 18

If there is but one

desire, given to all men,

could it not be love?

 

Day 19

A rotund excuse

it takes to suffer one’s pride

for want of one’s rights.

 

Day 20

A curious thing

this stand of winter flowers,

blooming out of rhyme.

 

Day 21

When the clock stood still,

two arms aimed at journey’s end

couldn’t stand the strain.

Somewhere there lies, loitering

pexels-photo-556664.jpg

Somewhere there lies, loitering 

in the distance between pen and page,

the anxiety between knife and cut,

the pause between note and

note – the death between enemies, lives

the untested, a life yet

to be conjugated

into constituents, a partial

whole of whole parts.

*

Maybe in all our persistence,

advancing

forward

our stolen inevitabilities,

we trade the certain for the sure,

the palette for the lecture.

Does not heaven bear the pernicious blockade?

The bee’s tongue waits to pollenate 

what soon will sweeten the starving

earth, and every smiling charlatan

a saint in the making.

*

Winnowing out from among the what ifs,

here-to-fors of judgements made before

the trial, the touch before the love,

is a shimmering reverie,

song of those who cannot sing.

It is the best song.

The churning stomach taut with

unrehearsed laughter.

It is the best joke.

The blanching eye, met full on

with the heavier beauty.

It is the wildest good. 

*

Somewhere there lies, loitering –

let it.

__________________________

Photo courtesy of Pexels 

On New Year’s Day

pexels-photo-755726.jpg
Photographer: Zdeno Ceman

Look high up into the silent ubiquity of stars

and think. A razor’s-edge sky no more,

now, just lucid memory – the skinn’d-knee’d part

of the year, draughting, droughting, doffing

her news like the chevrier’s cap

to tip toward fresher dawns.

They spread themselves

out like white currents in black jam – a deft, 

thick parade of something always bigger than

it’s last time. Daylight, tapped out, 

waits for instructions.

 

Who’s news wrote herself of such worthy

stock as to preen in lace-ribbon’d journals,

the fare of hired kings, hourly queens?

Let the moated whims of the fanciful

remind you of marshmallow mouths,

full-brandied, shuffling through 

the shared coastlines of care.

Look far to the dual horizons of east from west,

wrong from pragmatic, and shudder full-wing’d

in the concentrated machinery of memory. 

Is this a constancy of preparedness? 

A repetition of verses, repeated, repeated again –

enough to repeal your doubts and reassign

them elsewhere?

 

Lean forward looking back, standing full upright.

Tell us what you would feign otherwise to see.