Category Archives: Poetry

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

A Territorial Story

I wanted to be your moon,
Distant and removed,
But necessary
As gravity;
You were my only focus.

While you tilted elsewhere,
I evolved to revolve,
Resolved to be resolute,
Orbiting in tribute.
But I was too creepy
In my silent devotion—
Round and round,
Full, half, harvest, dark,
Managing your oceans.

I learned to parallel park
By necessity
In the crowded airless
Density
Of nothingness.
I confess,
I was served
The restraining order
Yesterday.

Sometimes moons get distracted
By stars.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Territory

Anatomy of an Apology

I wish I had pulled the wings
Off your poisoned apology
When it came fluttering in
So unexpectedly,
Soft as butter in a boiled sun.
But it was so lovely,
Spun in delicate glory,
With colorful backstory;
I held out my hands,
Everything forgiven.

Apologies from men
Have been rare as Monarchs,
And I breathed in that golden dust
From your I’m sorry like a drug,
More potent than the heady bliss
Of your up against the brick wall kiss.
As bruised clouds slid past
The last light of that languorous day,
I’m sorry, I’m sorry
You whispered in sticky magnificence,
Sucking me into a sugar net seduction
I should have shot down.

I wish I had heard how hollow
Your sham regrets rang,
How they held no tomorrow,
Instead of feeling hypnotized
By the Blue Morpho
Of your eyes.
But it had been so long…
And you’re a charismatic guy;
That apology trapped me tight
In the crystal jar of your lies.

But only once:
When the glass breaks,
It shatters.
No molten gold
Can hold
Your broken soul together.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Unexpected

Swimming Alone on an Empty Stomach

I’ve been swimming alone
For a long time…
The water
First too cold
Now sublime;
I slide,
I glide
Through the darkness
Blind.
My wounds smoothed over
Are all on the inside–
When I bump up against you
All buttery sleekness
There’s nothing to hold onto,
No pain,
No weakness.
Two circling seekers
Float on unmolested,
Swallowed by the vastness,
No point of connection.
Bubbles of potential
More or less indifferent,
While stars shine beyond
This sea of solipsis.

[from Depth Perception]

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Smooth

The Abyssinian

Watching Tasha watching me:
Her ears scoop up every sound
Like twin satellite dishes.
Whiskers twich, and she waits
On the knife-edge of sensation.
Round eyes glow
Like topaz stones;
I suspect she knows
The secrets of the universe.

But I don’t think Tasha ponders
Modern problems
Or ancient philosophy.
She breathes cat-perfect morality:
Instincts equal ethics.
Body and soul are one;
Judgments dance in flawless rhythm.
She knows how high she can jump,
And which window gets the strongest sun.

[originally written 12/07/1988]

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Instinct

The Search for Nuance

The search for nuance
Came up nil–
Not a single folder spilled
Out a poem or post
In all these years,
Not even a ghost;
No evidence I ever
Used a subtle, filmy
Delicate negligee
Of a word,
A mysterious trail of lace,
Leaving a coy, flirtatious trace,
Instead of my usual
Bludgeons of bluntness.

But it is this, dammit, I scream:
Can’t you see?
My shrieks echo ’round the mountain,
But Narcissus long ago
Fell into the stream,
And everyone else has
Packed up their picnics
And gone home…
It looks like rain.

It’s time to stop yelling, Paula;
Whisper your pain
To the slowly swirling clouds.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Nuance

Muscle Memory

Reality recedes
To stardust dreams
And spherical music;
I am more alive when asleep
At our midnight rendezvous.

Your embrace
Sedates me,
Lulls me like
Opium poppies…
An all-consuming peace.

In these drunken moments,
I could love you forever
Without hesitation
Or contemplation,
But alas my bottle is empty now.

Please overwhelm me
With the logical twists
Of your hot pretzel argument,
Until I surrender
To your superior salty wrongness.

If the heart is just a muscle
And love a learned habit,
Then why is it so hard
To break this last recurring
Muscle memory?

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Hesitate