Birdsong

multi_mockingbird

 

“All life is a foreign country”

–Jack Kerouac

 

All my life my tongue

could not curl about

the words spoken here—

my teeth cut my cheek

as I stumbled over

simple words, simple ideas.

I was silenced in simple

misunderstandings, in fear

of the wrong word spoken

too loudly, too softly,

or not at all.

I wish I were

a mockingbird able

to flit between the leaves

singing the song of others;

to speak earnestly around

the mundane bits of life

we share, like now, or mimic

an old man’s nod of greeting,

or children’s laughter outside

this window; or to simply cross

over the border to a home.

 

(September 1, 2018)

Dreams Interrogate the Day

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Questions

which remain unanswered,

as if on a student exam,

befuddle me. I wonder

the possibilities: lack of time,

lack of knowledge, lack of trust.

Some stay silent, although known,

because the question

was never asked—or

never formed

clearly enough to be able

to be asked. Or I feared

the answers might be

the ones I desired.

 

(August 19, 2018)

All Memory Wears Nostalgia’s Taint

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It’s not fair to compare

one to the other where secrets

are apropos to a love affair,

or some distant war as far

as that goes. Yet, what’s to be

done to stop it? What metaphor

within yourself were you willing

to sacrifice? As long as one

doesn’t mind water swallowing

your words, it’s simple enough

to drown in any nearby river.

I, too, hold my expectations

at a distance in order to live—

I’m not sure what occurred,

or even if we were just lovers.

 

(August 15, 2018)

Even Sleep Worries Me Now

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Inside dream’s not different

than day— I’m pursued

by doubt, dumb beasts

that plod along in herds.

I hurl myself away,

before I am trampled.

I wake bruised on the floor.

Then, embarrassed, without

transition, I return

to bed to sleep. I kick,

and shout out warnings

against the shadows

that crawl beneath my skin,

slowly feeding as they go.

 

(June 22, 2018)

 

Empty Bowl

Empty Bowls Graphic

 

In almost a religious ritual,

he castigates his niggling doubts

in a timid formality of failure.

Even now, as he folds his thoughts

neatly into another inaction,

a new desire falls softly to regret

like crumbs from a banquet table

scatter slowly across the floor.

 

Doubt and regret feed each other

a fetid feast lavished with fear.

He imagines a different world

free from this hunger, where he moves

forthrightly without pity, instead

of staring blankly at an empty bowl.

 

(March 14, 2018)