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Lessen

I read with difficulty,

poets I once admired,

not seeing anymore

the simplicity I once saw.

I worry stones smooth

between my fingers,

as if patterns emerge

through a force of will.

There must be something

more than what is here.

Certainties tremble, then

fall like ash into dust.

I’ve come to know less

than I have ever known.

(November 8, 2019)

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I’m Not Looking for a Saint

When I read a poem, the voice

of another being is enough.

Someone extant in the world

who for this moment speaks,

resonant with each leaf,

with each burgeoning flower.

I do not expect epiphany

to fall from Spring’s mouth

for that would not be true;

truth grows in retrospect,

a mirror to distort the past

reshaped to an image more divine.

All gods are just us

without desire for more.

(November 7,2019)

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The FrogPrince Without Standing

He sat by his pond content

with the depth of his longing.

Then one day, she dropped in

laughing her way into his dream.

He thought he heard a splash,

and a glimmer near the bottom.

She played along the pond’s edge,

waiting for what he might bring.

When he returned to the surface,

the forest was dark and she was gone.

The castle was so far away—

and it was just a toy after all.

He sat by his pond discontented

with the depth of his longing.

(November 4, 2019)

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A Haiku a day for a Month

A little more than a month ago, one of my work mates proposed that she, a math teacher, and myself write a haiku a day for a month. After 37 haikus (I wrote more than one some days), I am going to stop the exercise. I think that my fellow English teacher proposed the undertaking in order to make her write everyday. I do this already, so it did not motivate me to write. I did find it a calming activity most days: a time to stop and think about what was in front of me either physically, mentally, or spiritually. However, it also deflected my attention away from other poems I had been working on. Usually I post about 15 or so poems a month (sometimes even pushing to 20). In October, because of the haiku event, I posted 38 new poems. I like haiku, and like writing them. Usually I make up parameters for my writing in an arbitrary and random manner. During the exercise, I used the traditional 5-7-5 syllable count, although I have in the past ignored that stricture focusing more on the brief flash of attention than on a numbers game. Figuring the syllable count is more of a guideline than a law. I don’t plan on giving haiku up; I’m just not going to sit down each day to write one. I have always written in small snatches of time, never having the leisure to write for extended lengths during the day. So, haiku, and imagism, lend themselves well to going from start to finish in the brief time I have to write. However, I also like spending time in my head as I go through the day, thinking about a longer piece. Therefore, as I stated at the beginning of this ramble, I am going to end my participation in the project. Thanks to all of you who read and liked the work I have posted over the last month.

(October 31, 2019)

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Hansel Grows Old

Bread crumbs were not enough—

insubstantial as memory 

flitting away like sparrows

through the trees. He was lost,

tangled in possibility’s inevitable

collapse; he could not pull past

the brush to a salient interpretation:

where he went, where he was going,

or what language he now spoke.

She had fled years ago,

escaped to the witches who

had forgiven her childhood

sins. She no longer believed

in the lies of her father,

the long walks in the woods

with her brother. She returned

now for some redemption,

only to find him not at home.

(October 25, 2019)

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always transitional

this is the moment

we find ourselves

ignorant and lost

hung upon a cusp

another idea

malformed and old

gnaws open bones

to lick our marrow

with trees being trees

we do not notice

the iron sentinels

stolid as chessman

they seem to say—

do not pass

we’re surrounded

yet we are in love

(October 25, 2019)

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Within a Dream

The sound of my last dream

will be silence: the silence

of fog, the silence of fear.

My last dream will echo

the clack of high heels

on wet London streets.

My last dream will be warm

like your bare skin beneath

my hands late at night.

My last dream will linger

over the thousand, thousand

kisses: your lips soft,

warm, hungry for more.

My last dream will be free

of doubt, secure in coherence

with all the lines blurred.

My last dream will not wake

to return me to a place

it can never know.

My last dream will be

a harbor, a sanctuary, 

a last whispered breeze.

(October 15, 2019)

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Prey

Since I am 

no snake

sloughing skin,

I hide my scars 

in an imagined other.

Not the obvious,

oblivious sheep,

but one more wary,

who waits

along the edge

knowing fear,

knowing

like rabbits:

one step left,

one step right,

without calculation,

equals death;

and any

volition ends

with a quick flutter

of feathers,

and the talon’s

sharp pang

lifting one

toward heaven

like a song.

(October 1, 2019)

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This Day Today

“same as it ever was”

                        David Byrne

Less time waits ahead

than has been left behind.

I enter the last third

of my life as if entering

a room in a familiar

house. Lasts will out pace

firsts, until the last breath

sighs into the stale air,

the last heart beat falters

to finish the room’s silence

like the last furtive shadows

flee an early morning sun.

Still, this day is my day,

until it is not, and I move on.

(September 30, 2019)