Category Archives: Poetry

Syzygy

It might be a thousand years
Before the stars
Line up again like this;
One last incandescent kiss
As the light diminishes
And five million miles of dark
Ribbon out
In a long slow
Deathless march.

Eons pass;
A glacier cracks;
Again the moon
Hangs low and blue.
Did she count the waves
While I waited for you?
The tide pulls us into alignment:
Two frozen souls
Circling
Space and time.

I’ve lain with a hundred men
And felt nothing;
Yet your gaze burns my skin
From across an ocean.
Tectonic plates shake
When we touch
At last—
Mountains collapse;
The earth splits in half.

We retreat,
Our cosmology incomplete;
Resigned to the separation,
The endless analysis and division,
The rebalance and reposition,
Until equilibrium settles over the seas.
We drift once again
To opposite ends
Of this lonely galaxy.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Incomplete

4AM

I watch from my window
While your tail lights vanish in the rain.
The streets smearstain
Into a red and green fingerpainting,
Flickering with the traffic signals,
As fickle as your interest in me.
Blurred and tearstreaked,
The wet masterpiece
Stays illuminated
By a cold lemondrop moon.

I know I’ll never see you again.

All the frothy promises
And cottoncandy plans
Dissolve in the morning mist.
My lips still hum from your kiss,
But I feel your vague disappointment,
Your perpetual darkness
Guarded by barbedwire.

I wander outside to feed the ferals—
Two slinky shadows, silhouettes cut from coal;
Crunchy nuggets clink into the cats’ dish.
How I wish I could make a wish,
But there are no do-overs here.
I always fail with a complicated man;
I don’t respond well to the tortured genius soul
Who needs the perfect femme fatale,
A Marilyn to his Al.

I fail with the uncomplicated too.

You told me I was nothing like her,
The ex who depressed you—
I thought that was a good thing;
But now I imagine you search
For her likeness,
In hopes of recreating some sick
Woody Allen type lobster scene,
To find catharsis
And absolution.
And though I sneer and snark,
I want to play a part
In this execution.

I gaze up at that judgy stone face,
Unflinchingly—
In my disordered state:
Jammie pants, damp coat,
Tangled mass of bedhead.
“Is it something I said?”
Yes.
I ponder this relationship chess;
I might just be on the precipice
Of finally understanding
Something,
Anything,
A small piece of this
Jagged, glassy, bloody puzzle.

“Is it something I didn’t say?”
Also yes.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Precipice

Like a Reprieve

Like a reprieve
Comes soft morning breeze;
Unwrinkled sheet between
Bisecting yet connecting
Blazing dreams
And cold quotidian chores.
A chance one more
To drift weightlessly
Aimlessly
In apricot-tinged hope—
An undemanding tightrope
Thin glimmer
Love’s gold shimmer
A carousel of birdsong
Rose-petaled dawn.
Almost here
Almost there
Hearts tossed in the air—
Suspended
Unrepentant.
One last shuddering streak
Violet periwinkle pink
Soon to dissipate
In the bright eye of day.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Pink

Reconsolidation

Memories are like clay,
I’ve heard,
Half-formed
Into malleable birds.
Pushed together
In a mindcage
Floating on a bay
Of undulating waves,
They escape,
Mutate,
Once exposed
To the eye of day.

Those times with you—
Long ago, so few—
I check the cage,
Surprised to find
These birds
Have turned golden,
Sparkling in the dark.
Gemstone eyes
Radiate precious scenes…
A kiss in the moonlight,
Strawberries at noon.
Smiling and warm,
I close this door.

I don’t even want to know
What you recall.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Exposed

Insomnia

There are days that go graceful,
When none of it matters,
Time ticks on easy,
Illusions stay taped to the walls.
But some nights stretch on endless
And the clocks begin melting;
Fake faces drip down to the floor.

These hours when I miss you,
When I spin in the abyss,
The air is too heavy to breathe.
Each moment rides eternal,
Every word reimagined,
Despair has shredded my dreams.

Yet the day breaks mundanely
And they form all over again.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: None

False Verse

I have two kinds of poems in the pile: those based on a truth, however faint and hiding behind paint and glitter to make it more interesting, and those based on nothing. Often the nothing verse is technically better because I wrote it in school, carefully, for a grade. One of my nothing poems that I’ve lost now was about a beach in Rhode Island, where I’ve never been, and the professor, an acclaimed poet, said it was good. When I revealed the lie (because someone said the color of the water was wrong), he laughed and gave me an A. I felt good about that back then; I don’t now. (I wish I still had that pome however.)

The reason my poetry was often based on lies/nothing in the early years is because I hadn’t done anything yet. I hadn’t gone anywhere. There was no drama in my life, no big heartbreak. The poetry professors agreed with me that poetry could be fictional; only other students thought this was breaking some rule. I never questioned my own stance back then, since the professionals were on my side. And yet… and yet…

I’ve changed my mind, at least with respect to my own work. When I reread my old poems, I immediately know which is which. The false verse is hollow and dead on the page, no matter how “good” it is. It has no emotional resonance to me, no layering. But when I read one of the truthy poems, I feel the truth again, however old and buried. I know exactly what inspired me to write that pome. Of course I don’t know what someone else would feel reading it (maybe nothing ~ maybe they’d feel more reading one of the false verse poems), but the point is that I know.

I haven’t written false verse since I began writing poetry again several years ago. No matter what I write about now, something in the pome is true, even if it’s just one line or one emotion. These aren’t just words strung together for a grade ~ they actually mean something. Also, the old pomes I poast here for my loyal blogfans are the true ones only. No false verse for you.

Happy May! ❤

Float

Love should be a spectator sport,
Said a man who liked to float
Between my unprotected port
And his luxurious Isle of Wife—
This man taught me much of life.
Heisenberg, he named his boat:
If you tried to measure speed
He vanished
O’er the horizon;
If you tried to find him
You’d never know how fast
He traveled.
Like an uncashed check,
This man drifted,
Bank to bank,
Living off the interest
Generated by his mystery…
Until the day
I remembered
How to make my own waves
And floated off untrammeled.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Measure

Second Draft

The moon is golden full;
My heart is empty null.
All that wasted space
Unrecycled
Yet I know I did the right thing;
The moon man nods so slightly.
He saw it all unravel;
He watched lust turn to gravel.
The stars wink in agreement;
Planets are unanimous—
There is no one left to ask.
God said I should leave him;
Satan handed me a cleaver.
The angels fluttered nervous—
No worries it was mercy,
No blood no wounds
To disturb the moon.
Stay golden—
I revel in your fullness,
I grab a slice of light
And I am ready for the rewrite.

[From Depth Perception]

The Daily Prompt: Unravel

Paused

I am the desert:
My skin is swept with sand
Across a shelf of stone;
My hair is spiked with thorns.

Daylight bakes me into crust;
I release the warmth at night
To a spangled, velvet sky.

I wait for candy-drops of rain,
When scarlet will erupt
From shriveled fingertips.

[Revised from 1989 version]

~*~
The Daily Prompt: Pause

Date with a Vet

Kevin was
Too old for me, but
He knew where to get good drugs.
Guys my age
Don’t like to smoke pot anymore–
They’re too busy making money.
Kevin discussed
His failed relationships
And growth experiences;
He said,
“There’s nothing I’ve done
That Jackson Browne hasn’t
Sung about.”
Later we walked by the lake
On slippery stones
And cold night sand;
The stars had
Someplace better to go.
I asked Kevin if he,
You know,
Ever killed anybody over there,
And he said,
“You bet I did, baby.
I shot ’em dead.”
Kevin called
A few months later–
Said he was having trouble
Meeting people
(He meant women)
Here in the Windy City–
Thought he’d join Club Med.
I wished him luck, but
Today I read
That Jackson Browne has been
With the same woman for
Several years
And they might even get married.
So, I don’t know
Who’s going to record our culture now.

[originally written in 1989]

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Later