Not a journal

journal.jpgThis is not a journal.

Not in the strictest sense.

Nor is it a story with characters

that breathe and laugh

and smite down giants.

Nor is it a retrospective

with light shining backward

into alleys of remembrance.

Nor is it a memoir

bringing back to life

that which never died.

Nor is it a textbook

filed to a fine point –

more sharp than shine.

Nor is it a nursery rhyme

where hard stuff softens into

good lessons that go down easier.

 

This is not a journal.

It is a depository –

for words and their spirits.

For their capacity to hunker down

under the harsh heat of life’s longest hours

and make love until poetry appears.

This might be a poem.

Or, it might be a place where broodings

outwit the failed necessity of effectiveness.

Yes. Let’s call it poetry.

Let’s call it something looser, more lascivious

and lighthearted than expected;

more slow barefoot than mere distance.

For poetry is why we came into the world.

Shy lovers trip on words that ache, and

with limited alphabets, build a song.

 

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After London

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She grabbed my hand –

caught, like a tufted

grove of hazy branches –

there were promises unspoken.

 

The full English –

an edible morning rainbow.

Then, it’s heads down, cell phone

ground-under-ground feud

to downtown.

 

It’s the skin-tight suits

the ‘please watch me not watching you’

as we shoot through this

time tested colon –

speeding train of Tartarus,

emerging once again,

limitless –

 

Chuffed, checkered, intermittent

chock-a-block

with gardens,

breathing –

assigns us together in the march,

a soldiery of urban totems.

 

1980s yoga pants

like validation tattoos – a rite of passage

for all who feed the push, heed

the pull, hunt the posh, herald their

potential.

 

Miles of scarves, stairs, scars, and stares (downward) –

brogues, bulimic beauties, and burkas –

pumps, peacoats, pints, and paces –

faces down, chins up,

clacking heals, turning heads

chasing oil on water –

pooling from the duck’s back.

 

How much faster can we go

to get to where we always go

but have never seen,

here in jolly ole…?

 

Is there anything after London?

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The world and me

I love the world as she has loved me –

she to me, a globule; I, to her, infinity.

She unpacks her bags each morning, 

with equal fanfare, but no pretense.

_

She always was a generous friend –

a giver of pleasure,

waitress to my doubt,

bearer of my pain.

And, in her bosom? That longed for, long

home-s  t  r  e  t  c  h of the driver’s road.

_

Her knowing neck waits for my tears.

She sends reminders for me to

clap the dirt clods from my dusty hands

before I scratch out memories in clouds

or bend my knees to the great silence.

Toast her first, take her elder hand, look deep

inside her intuition – then ravage seems less likely.

_

“You pinch and toss, diminish and deride,

hoarding stolen jewels for your banality.

But I’ve borne you on my back, 

wrapped you in my folded skin,

planted you in places

you’ve known, some not.

You’ve nursed these ancient breasts

into the submission of harmony,

the blessing of acceptance.”

_

So I come to rest in her scholarly pain.

There is a certain ennui in my small experience

that shows up when I meet her gaze.

And any of my rumpled thoughts or faces 

meant as caves and shields

cannot cast shadows longer than the sum of her days.

_

I smile and we shimmy down the park bench

of years and stories told and lies perfected.

And she smiles because she knows everything

I’ve forgotten or discarded

or chosen to remember poorly.

_

I’ve bruised her.

She blesses me.

I love the world as she has loved me –

she to me, a mother; I to her, a child.

Going Over Things

Like under-inflated tires meant for better roads,

the sheen wears off until tracks become ruts

and steering makes no sense.

Now they wonder out loud if pitch and yaw can match

the swoop and dive of former days.

And they ask themselves the only questions

worthy of easier breathing and potato salad,

fresher still than the arrival of these moments –

unbearably skint of certainty,

but crouching in the dew of possibility.

This is no John Steinbeck novel they chuckle uneasily.

But it sure bears a resemblance to those sullen characters

pulled from page to thought, from thought to talk

and back again. 

And even Oklahoma dust tastes good in a mouth

full of hope, conversations pointed in.

So, like throats yearning for rain,

they steer the bow of an old truck into new wind.

An uneasy road curls herself, snakelike,

hiding just underneath – not so much friend

as necessity.

Unlikely companions, no longer in remission,

make plans on the yawning road before them.Morning run copy.jpg

 

 

Regret

Somewhere down among the sheets,

between the spaces in loose gravel from nighttime sweats

lies the answer to an unasked question.

Somewhere underneath the skin of things

is poised another wrinkle, adding suggestions 

to the game of chances only played by winners in drag

or posers lost in long hallways.

Somewhere up among the heights of nether

is held packages of days, a fistful of years

soon to be released upon the cold, dark land.

Somewhere you awaken from the same nightmare

everyone has, standing before a crowd

leaning forward to listen, and you with pants at your ankles,

a mouth full of sand.

But the nightmare is real, you are not.

And it’s the speech you can’t remember,

adding salt to the wound,

grease to the pole,

 

 

fire to a barrel bottom.

 

What of it? he said.

What of it? he says.

What if there were the solemn chance of a reprise

to a time, long forgotten but fresh-remembered?

A chorus to a bad song?

A bad song on repeat?

Old onions on ice cream?

Frozen water in the pipes

when all you need is a drink?

Surely there can be one straw long enough

to snatch from the fist?

Or are they there just to tease you for

the risk of un-lived truth?

Relief that the ground will still catch you?

Under-thought high dives into a dry pool?

Over-thought reasons for the same?

Somewhere, around the perimeter, is a chorus-line

taunting from a finish-line you did not paint

in a race you never trained for.

 

Somewhere, you’ve stopped running to find it.

Somewhere has found you.

 

The living days

You turn and look at me

maybe for the first time

or the tenth, or the thousandth time

only to see what you knew you’d find –

a man looking back, whisker’d, aging,

eyes a little dimmer but still aimed at you.

 

I smell your morning breath

and think to myself how perfect,

how expected, how perfectly normal

and good and welcome.

The first kiss is always best

in its unnoticed awkwardness –

maybe because of it.

 

The shear warmth of your body

reminds me of our shared need

for presence and company and comfort

unattainable in the strivings of our days

but remembered in uncounted moments

spread over time and times and time again.

Our sagging bodies remind us of life

lived under common skies, the unexpected usual –

and it settles into me

in a kind of daylight reverie to what is.

 

We make love or something like it,

and vaguely remember the youthful bump

and grind of the easier, less calendared moments,

and scoff at our glorious, happy failure.

The pieces were better, stronger, truer

but more anxious and photoshop expectant.

But this is better in all its effort

and planning, and untelevised humanity.

 

These moments are charged

more insistently by words boring

and daily and dull, but real

and good and dressed in old pajamas.

It is the harmony of music left to

routine and chance and time, the choir of songs

sung to the easy marching hours

and resting nights full of the brighter

skies of want made less

in the beautiful tedium of the living days.