then becomes now

when the vein constricts just to hear

the blood

and your eyes see only in

the cave of night

when fixtures of time break from the rhythms of ground

only then

 

when the slow draft of deepest thirst is denied

and uneven steps abandon the road       

you clutch your own chest and your fingerprints

don’t recognize you

only then

 

when birds birthing songs are halted by wind

their silent haloes of pain embed in dark corners

and hope is cued but misses curtain call 

only then

 

when all this crescendoing chaos crows too loud

and reveals itself tripping over its own demise

then delight and devastation trade places

the Wind reminds the rain of its purpose

a Face turns toward you and

then

becomes

now

A Poem

When muscle, bone, and sinew can’t find heart

and listening and looking. Then, severed in time

from the wishing well of wonder, we wander

through rushes and slivers of our moments, bent

over mirrored water, haunted.

There is a wrinkle in the hour’d fabric of

our days when tender grows the minstrel’s

song. It rings across golden fields of

shimmering wheat – milled hopes, rolled and real.

Bardic but breathless it sounds, reveling in tremors

of songs still sung to handmade candles.

They shine to our hopes, ablaze with just

a hint of what could be.

There is a certain moment, beholden to itself,

in which ghosts and gazes meet to discuss

their future. Still, birthed

from the ashes of forgottenness

an ember yet lurks, small but waiting, patient –

alert to any movement or sounds of humming.

Catch it if it sings.

Beautiful illusion

Beautiful illusion, this lantern-press-magician-pulling-roses-out-of-hat-poster.jpg

trying to juggle fire –

trading one ache for another.

Sun and moon withhold their light

and spend their time drinking instead.

Shoulders, steady and strong,

but cold, are small consolation

against the high-cliff dive

into welcome water.

When do heart and shadow 

walk together? Does one see

the other? Would they dance

if they met?

 

Centrifugal encounter, the quest

for the peace of another 

that renders only pieces

of another. No eye for eye,

tooth for tooth.

No. I and eye,

and tooth with tooth – grins

hiding smiles

hiding pain.

 

Beautiful encounter – when

our illusions become too illusory

even for themselves.

And shells crack.

And blood meets light.

_____________

Picture found here

A Pint and the Brooming Hillsides

pint of bitter.jpg

Not everyone who lifts a glass

can do so with hands made

for prayer to the new gods.

The stolen reserves

of forgotten men

and their women of renown

steep in basements and gutters,

and tenements with shuttered windows.

Still, the backward glances

help remind the waffling ones.

 

It was near ten o’clock before the fellas

found their way to the table

of friends,

of insiders,

of wagging tongues and nodding heads,

of tacit agreement on disagreeables;

of the ancestors.

 

That’s when the best stories were.

That’s when I saw the words

most intended for song and not

for crouching in little doorways.

 

What was it you said before

we sat down to drink the air?

Something about

not enough garbage cans in laybys

or those fucking American hamburger joints

stealing from the coffers of your grandfather’s

croft house memories.

 

One more then, to close the wounds.

wordlessness

Sometimes he gets stuck in the dictionary so

long that his brain becomes alphabet soup.

He wears his skin tattooed with another’s thoughts.

And he waits.

No, he frets – and sour apprehensions

swim atop a slowly scumming pond

of wilted words, reeking of lost sleep.

 

And, if reflections in the coffee shop window

are meant to serve as metaphor,

they only spur on the edict

of secondary pictures mirrored from

another’s doubting face.

 

Come then, if you must,

shadows from a cold mist to

rattle and rustle the bones.

Come, take up residence beside

one with a plasticine pencil,

pliable to cautious hands –

worthless in sweaty palms,

squeezing desperately against

the inevitable.

 

In this reverie to a ghost –

vestibule in an empty house,

birthing only the vestige of coffee-stained

intentions, a writer paces –

penning wordlessness.