At the corner of validation and forgot

 

At this drunken shoreline, patterns return, in

quilted quiet. I can revel again in spiced hours,

deaf to the biker-ghosts, bad-mouthing

this demure, paper posture.

Thoughts are a little rumpled, like the sea,

what with these ferocious memories; un-manacled,

like cottonwood dreams, blown out into the world.

This world I am watching.

* * * * *

She walks down the street, locking

every wandering glance; stolen stares from

other hungers. Sad limbs, built for laughing strolls,

carry instead their weight in

desperation, the roll call gestures of

fragmentary magnetism. To look down is to invalidate,

the one thing that renders such creatures immobilized.

She never looks straight on. Being seen but

unknown has honed a peripheral awareness

to a hawk-like precision. It’s the hollow

look of the lonely.

* * * * *

That’s a tiny dog for such an imposing guy.

It must have something to do with an ill-

fitting black t-shirt. I still love AC/DC, too. But

the designer sunglasses match the grey goatee and flip

flops well enough to doubt the bravado, question

the impartial coarseness; his language just color-

ful enough to hide the deeper grey.

The fear of more.

* * * * *

Her weighty eyes climb his rusting frame; a gaze

made full in the weight of familiarity. His jaw-

line, thin, like his tired neck, perches on

shoulders, stooped, but unburdened by

neat and tidy, pressed, quick, or stoic. Endless pages

pass between their easiness, two souls in single,

unflinching presence. He remembers less

than the love she feels, spoken through his

wrinkled palm in hers, their fingers entwined.

The tapestry of their years.

* * * * *

The penny arcade discoveries of wide-mouthed boys –

more magic through a cheap telescope than my pretense of self-

imposed juxtapositions. Their cocky, self-

assured swagger breathes the new air, heedless of my

artless anxiety in their art of care-less play. Can voices

really be that loud? So much more gets spoken in

the repetitions of unpracticed

wisdom. Their code is a skateboard sculpture. Life

on a flat, four-wheeled universe. Soon,

when fearful complexities begin to gnaw

through the ropes that tether youth to

moments and days, will they remember

this foolish display of seaside

time, gloriously wasted?

* * * * *

This guy has no story to tell. At least

that’s what is suggested in the gymnastic

dodging of eyes and steps from

that hand. Oh, that hand, weary, upturned for

that drop of grace found in spare quarters, lost

among our Visa receipts. Well-rehearsed

well-wishing will never match the possibility of just

one good conversation. His stench, reminder of loss,

friendship’s nemesis, gift of forgottenness,

taunts him. It’s one more reason to avoid him.

He owns nothing.

Well, except a checker board. But, that’s designed 

for company.

* * * * *

A tide and a thousand waves later, a laptop

overheats my knees. It reads 17%, the same possibility

I’ll remember their faces by the weekend. I am

like them – just another stigma.

Or, maybe another story waiting to be written.

Unwritten.

Rewritten.

Here at the corner of

validation and forgot.

 homeless-man

 

 

 

 

 

Images found here and here, respectively

Dismissals – on considering responses to things

That same girl passes him in the hallway, more aloof than ever;

like the neighborhood cat that pisses on my door.

There is no response to the constant

calling of her name. Just an unambitious purr,

the casual dismissal of a creature to

unreasonable expectations.

_

I passed him on the street yesterday,

that guy I met at the poetry reading.

It was hard keeping his eyes long enough

to finish a sentence, let alone fragments

of a conversation fraught with the dismissal of a

 “yes, it’s really me here” mystique.

_

She stood with a cardboard sign that read

hungry and unemployed with kids pls help god bless

I could see her through the Starbucks window

where my second Americano was already cold.

That second guy wasn’t as good as the first.

He never leaves me room for cream.

Is that too much to ask?

_

She wasn’t typically a make-up gal

preferring the girl next door simplicity

of less-is -more. But tonight

she dressed up, even eyeliner and dark,

red lipstick and skin-tight black dress.

He glanced at her twice at dinner

through the glare of his cell phone screen,

 that never dimmed.

_

I sometimes shudder to think what remains

in the shadows of what’s left after encounters

dense with the unwieldy results of non-praise,

of missing the open doors, sips not taken from

frosty mugs of welcome, the sleepy

dismissals of what’s right now,

hesitant on the stoop of another’s hopes.

What can they expect from me?

Gratitude? Platitudes? Assuredness? Distraction?

A snotty hanky full of rare humility, raw and pink?

_

The game starts in half an hour.

Daydreams – poetry from the periphery IV

Has been

He was on the football team,

his jersey long retired.

He still parties there

with high school kids

half his age;

time has

run.

 emoticons

Emoticon

A person in a circle,

soul in a smiley face.

What tale does it tell?

Evidences

of something

beyond

it.

 

Cancer

Every time I look away

I see his sunken eyes.

Pallid reminders

of death’s loud voice

and broken

promise:

more.

 

Pulchritude

When we see in pulchritude,

those things that seldom shine;

only then we see

what goodnesses

fill the earth-

 and we

sing.

 cell

Falling in a window

Life is God’s distillation

of Light from dark and light.

When the morning comes

to breathe her life

into me,

I can

fall.

Pictures: www.scotconway.com & www.123rf.com, respectively

There you will find me

dust

 

 

 

 

 

In the spaces between the leaves,

in that breath of less than more,

in pieces of air, which stand

among the ruins of our yesterdays;

there you will find me.

* * * * *

In the hours between the seconds,

the seconds beyond the years,

the minutes of our days;

there you will find me.

* * * * *

In the sediment of memories,

in the pale, blueness of tomorrows,

in the spoken, unsaid goodbyes;

there you will find me.

* * * * *

In the palm of our hopes,

in the inward grope of our fears,

in the flight from our grey to green;

there you will find me.

Photo at www.adlib.blogs.com 

Hope’s birthing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Her chances of success were never great from the start,

what with odds so stacked against her.

Reality’s weighty, sullen face stared at her,

gloating from it’s place in the darkened corners of her life,

the places where she feels so often drawn.

Yet, as alluring as her darkness had become,

she turns the other way, holding a shaking hand above her brow,

shielding her eyes from this unaccustomed glare.

It was the prism of peace, cracked open and bleeding its light,

chasing rats of fear, demons of doubt, beasts of uncertainty, veils of perception

back to their primordial Gehenna, place of shadow and falsity.

Through this forgotten looking glass, one solitary face revealed itself,

one both frightening and aloof, yet gentle and welcoming.

This light was not safe.

It burned a little. It’s brightness hurt her eyes and

drove all other retinal things to the peripheries of her inner room.

She, like Saul, shared the Damascus Road which planted itself squarely before her.

Blindness had given her sight.

Darkness had gifted her with light.

Woundedness had blessed her with might.

And in one blinding second,

faith gave birth to hope.

We are now

You cried in the car all night.

A pack of smokes and half a tank of gas to work out your anger, fear, self-hatred.

His boyhood dreams of greatness lay shattered on some far away board room table

surrounded by those whose job it is to look him in the eye and

with a single handshake, win through his loss.

None of them had ever met your kids.

Gone, now, the days of dinner party gossip arrayed in haute couture fineries.

“Who the hell really needs a horse after all?” you tell yourself,

rehearsing how you’ll tell your daughter.

Your fair-weather tennis club friends were the first to get awkward

and now spoke in corners in hushed tones

and side glances over Pinot Noir and single-malt.

You had never been the country club type and never did fit in that well.

That truth now serves you well

and eases your humiliation just enough to look right at them,

even through the tears you swore you wouldn’t allow.

“Fuck ’em all” you say, but inwardly long to be seen as they are.

Tall and suave and self-reliant like they are.

White and shiny, confident and perfect, gliding handily from place to place,

these cigar night botox babes whose welcome made you feel bigger somehow but yet…

strange, like a penguin among peacocks.

“To hell with it” you cry, “it doesn’t matter now anyway.”

Even the paper boy rides past your house in disdainful laughter.

Oh, dear God, those bad men,

men with muscles and sad agenda in sweaty shirts with unwanted insignia

roll out long memories and associations of bad choices and big living.

And as the last larger-than-life dream is rolled onto the truck

a ray of light pierces you, penetrating long forgotten places.

You turn and look.

His tears match yours but for different reasons.

His shame matches your grief and you reach a trembling hand,

tracing the outline of his haggard face.

Your eyes meet four, tear-filled eyes set in anguished faces of your children and realize,

that was then.

We are now.

Room for all

This is my submission to Abbey of the Arts latest Poetry Party. The theme: Hospitality.

There is room for all at the fountain of life!


Let come who will to bathe or drink

these playful drops so cool, you think

“how lavish God does pour upon

this water’d life whose life He’s won.”

And though the edge of this lagoon

is busting, full of those who soon

will push and tear and force their way,

yet those who see can laugh, can play.

For wherever all are welcome, there

is space for all, both rough and fair.

God it is who will decide

the ones who choke out love with pride,

instead the pain’d and poor, invite;

together, let us dine tonight.

Photo courtesy of: Steven Elliott