Fear Lies

“Why aren’t you bold and free of all your fear?”

-Dante Alighieri, Inferno, Canto III

as smoke 

infuses itself

throughout the house

long after the fire’s extinguished

so fear 

circulates in silent eddies

flowing like ravenous minnows

nibbling sharply at our toes

.

my fear lies

within doubt

it breeds

in the crevices

in the misunderstood word

in the scene not played out

it’s brood hatches

hungry needing to feed

skittering along memory

like spiders alive to every

web strand’s tingle

it descends to attend

to the fly’s quick dispatch

(July 21, 2020)

a darker shape was always present

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (78)

after the worst of summer’s heat

we’d sit in the grass

beneath the pecan and cottonwoods

away from the radiant streets and sidewalks

the adults spoke of friends 

far away or long dead

they’d laugh and tell stories

which we were not a part of yet

we ran wild through the night

afraid of nothing

(July 18, 2020)

templates

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (76)

so many boundaries

are employed

in any definition


the outlines cut

from what is not

are as important 

as what remains


a pattern

even with

a patch

bears a pattern

if not original in intent


with care I fold my words

into this conversation

like origami cranes

from crisp white paper


(July 14, 2020)

Metaphor’s Threat

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (74)

It is hard to hear 

what must be said

easy to fall 

into cliche

a pair of shoes 

softly worn old

they know the way 

to take you home

as cows wear down

 a simple path

between one place

 and another

no difference

 really matters

our thoughts carve out

 the same channels

and run like rats

 trapped in a maze

never pausing

 to look for more

than what was there

 the last time here

repetition 

a common thread

comforts us all

 with old ideas

and traps us too

with such fools as I

(July 11, 2020)

even now I hear them

from a work in progress: process, not a journey (72)

“Sea, I am like you, filled with broken voices”

—Guillaume Apollinaire

insistent demanding attention

soft whispers curl at my feet

like cats they claw at me

with their sharp reminders

lightly pulling at my skin

until the ground is awash

in the blood of memory

and then slightly below the surface

small phrases embedded in dead

conversations rise like tattered faces

from the sea to mouth their silent

vowels like fish dying in the sand

until the raw scraps of language

in which I am tangled 

are cast out in a storm surge

far out among the dark waves

and I drown choking 

with nothing to say

(July 6, 2020)

there’s no time

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (71)

some time after sunrise I wake

go downstairs book notebook

pen in hand make coffee take

my meds check various

social platforms eat some thing

shower get dressed

sometimes read sometimes write

sometimes nap wake

cook dinner wash the dishes

watch TV listen to music and

then after some time go to sleep

(July 2, 2020)

Afternoon Light

from a work in progress, “process, not a journey”(69)

the grey cat sits

on the table by the window

and watches the mockingbird

on the elm outside

.

I watch her patience

today and yesterday

and last week

and think she’s oblivious

to sit so stoically

day after day

without hope

of any desires’

consummation

.

I lose my way each day

throughout the day

thinking of this

then distracted by that

as if the unspecified contains 

some mysterious truth

more than a cat

sitting in the sun

(June 28, 2020)

past imperfect tense

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey: (68)

“I cannot keep my dreams straight.”

-Franz Kafka

some nights most nights

after a whiskey or more

years if not decades

swirl like blue smoke

at my feet

and I forget

where I am as time

falls away like an old drunk

stumbling on my way home

the familiar story

the soft path alters

and strangers step out

of the dark laughing

vaguely  and I have forgotten

why I’m laughing

then laugh again

(June 23, 2020)