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)

nostalgia’s a desire for the present

from a work in progress: “process, not a journey” (64)

what he remembers now

is different than what

he remembered then

.

now he is old

and does not remember

as well what happened

.

then he was young

and foolish and remembered

trivial things

.

of little use then

even less so

now

.

as he holds 

his aspects together

between fragile hands

.

facets of the past

spin off light

for a moment

.

and he sees her eyes

that first night

they almost kissed

(June 16, 2020)

Memory’s Constraints

“the fog solidifies among us”

            –Tristan Tzara

As a dark spider webs

her partly-poisoned prey,

he shapes another wall

around another day.

Beneath his crippled hands

a mausoleum soars

to contain all his fears

in tightly patterned rows.

Each dawn descends to dusk,

as dusk ascends to day.

How one can thus escape,

he cannot aptly say.

Most days are forgotten,

Lost in this clotted fog.

(September 16, 2019)

Work on What has been Spoiled

From “Renditions of Change” a work in progress

Caught in a tight 

spiral of self-loathing,

I try to scrape

and cut away 

memory,

like a benign tumor.

Yet, I return and return

to each malignant moment,

and paint my face

in ritual guilt,

as if one could absolve

the past, and be free. 

(February 12, 2019)

Our Trespasses

Our Trespasses

From thick decades, 

memory emerges, with 

miniscule shames and sins,

to taunt and accuse again.

Laced like briars between

raw sinew and bone,

the castigating voice

scratches and pricks.

Unable to forget, thus forgive,

all the awkward trespasses

harbored in memory

claw their way free, 

like lizards from eggs, 

hungry and ready to feed.

(January 31, 2019)