LOVE POEM #62 – INSIDE THE BOX

It is hard to believe that love,

the greatest achievement in human emotion,

can be contained within four cardboard walls

like a mouse caught by children.

 

But when the string pulls out the stick

and the box comes crashing down overhead

you can’t even think to escape

before those blinders are stuck in place.

 

Or perhaps you aren’t of mice,

but are of men; a cleaner cut,

and you’ve huddled between those walls

as a last defense against the cold.

 

Those sopping, winter rains run swiftly

‘round your sweet little box

begging to enter, and it’s all you can do

to keep your bent doorway from breaking in.

 

Or perhaps it isn’t a person at all.

Perhaps inside your box are pictures

of people long past, with pretty green eyes,

dusty from years of preservation.

 

You might remember them, at the beach,

where the silky waves of seawater

wove between your feet

like their fingers between your hands.

 

But nowadays those oceans of blue

are only visited in memories

and the sea can only seep out

through the overcast lids of your eyes.

——

 

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MADNESS IN SPACE

It was just past midnight, though just past midnight could have easily been three in the afternoon from my window seat. Up there, in space, there were no real indicators of time. Our on-board clock had run out of batteries, and our watches were dead or off the preset time we had agreed to, as watches are wont to do. For all we really knew, it was in fact three o’clock. But as a crew we had decided that it was midnight, so that was the time I was sticking to.

The crew had composed of myself, James, Raymond, and Tanya. James had gotten caught up back in the Mars raid, which had just left Ray, Tany, and me. It was now down to just me. All the lights had gone out, and we were free flying through the nothingness, at a few thousand miles per hour. Tany’s body was off in the freezer. She had gotten locked in, and Ray hadn’t found her before it was too late. Ray’s body was down in cargo hold. He’d been out of his suit when the room destabilized and the air was wrenched from his lungs. At least, that’s what the records would show, and that would be my story if I ever made it home.

We had run low on food and water. Our hasty escape meant we couldn’t power up to full speed before power was shut off, and the trip would like take nearly four times the length we had expected. We had enough supply for three to make the trip at normal speed, plus a little for safety, but not enough for three people to make it going this slow. Plus, greedy Ray had decided to snipe the extra food barrels on the trip out. But with the extra food I had now, I would just barely get there, though I might have to go a few days without food. Tany knew that would be the case too, but she and Ray had been too close to each other to actually make a move. So I had.

In another hour, Ray’s body would spoil though, and I wasn’t going to take any chances on running out of food early. Not with all this good meat here. But I wasn’t quite ready to move yet. The twinkling light of the stars, like ten million glaring eyes, looked too beautiful to leave unseen. I wonder if, to them, we were just a star floating along out here too. So I sat there, looking out into the stars for a while, wondering how this madness had come to pass.

——

 

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DOGGED

Behind the dirty glass window panes

of the scratched French doors

are two pairs of vacant, lonely eyes

staring back with child-like wonder

 

and looking into their eyes, I find the darkness

ethereal, as if I had fallen through endless stars

into the deep plane of non-existence

hiding behind a black hole, to a time

 

where the only words that mattered were

sit, stay, come, treat, and good boy.

 

where the only worries in our brief life

were whether our family would make it home.

 

where the outside world was left behind

and we lived in the sanctity of our four walls.

 

To run free again, with the wind pulsing

like the hot breaths of a lover

through strands of golden hair.

 

And I wonder if, staring back at me,

they can see the light of our city on a hill,

shining bright with beacons of false hope

for the rest of the galaxy to see,

 

or perhaps they just see me,

their loyal friend,

stepping away from the window now,

not knowing whether I will come back.

——

 

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THE SECOND HEARTBREAK

I still remember my first heartbreak. I was a child of ten, sitting on our dirty house sofa, watching Avatar: the Last Airbender. It was the episode where Aang loses Appa to the sand benders, and the weight of loneliness crept in at the edges of anger. In between the scratches of static on the TV, I could feel the enormity of losing a loved on for the first time sinking in through the empathy of my being as this beloved titan of the cartoon world was carted away into enslavement.

I felt my legs shake, and the hollowness of my house that evening began to feel much larger than it ever had before. Dad was on a flight to New York, and mom wouldn’t be back from work until bedtime. As the credits rolled, I stumbled over to the TV, and clicked the OFF button, then slumped to the floor in a pile of depression. How could someone take his love away like that? Didn’t they consider how that made him feel? Why would anyone be so cruel? By the time the key to the door finally turned in the lock and my mother entered the house, I had accepted that some people do not consider the feelings of others, and act selfishly.

I would have thought that such strong emotions would have prepared me for the first time I caught my partner cheating, five years later. I had taken up basketball, which we played after school every day at the courts next to our campus. The girl I was dating then would come watch us play every day until her mother picked her up. One day, I decided to surprise her with a group of flowers I had collected, before the practice. I asked the teacher if I could leave early and everything. I went to the flower garden, and picked the nicest five roses I could find—four red and one striking white. I rushed over to the quad her class was located in, took a seat on a bench outside her vision so I could run up and surprise her, and waited until the bell rang. When it did, I could feel jitters of excitement crawling through my veins. It was so perfect.

But when the door to her classroom opened, I saw her walk out with another guy. Tall, white, classically handsome. They were both laughing. I kept my distance. She’d never talked about someone like this, but they were walking toward the courts together. Eventually, they came to the corridor just before the court I played on. It was after practice would have started, about three minutes before she usually trotted out to meet me.

They just started going at it, like wolves ravenous for each other’s face. He pinned her against the wall, one hand in hers, the other gripping her backside, all the while she was breathing so hard I could hear it from my hiding space. He turned her around, and pressed up against her, kissing her neck and grinding against her hips. They were completely fearless of any onlookers, like they had done this a dozen times with no problems. When she fell to her knees, and brought her hands to his belt buckle, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore. My stomach was spinning with disgust, the pain in my chest felt like someone had stabbed my lungs, and tears were building up in my eyes with the hacking sobs that claim distressed children.

I snapped a quick picture, which I have come to regret, of the mouthful she had, then walked down the hall past them to practice, completely stone-faced. No words, no recognition—I didn’t want to give her the satisfaction of knowing she mattered. She stood up faster than a cat in a thunderstorm, pushing him away from her and apologizing. But her words fell on deaf ears. People were selfish. I knew that.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #57 – THE WONDERING HEIGHTS

Do you ever wonder what they say

in the midnight hours when you’ve gone away?

 

I left her legs shaking, but I couldn’t tell you

if it was from the sex or from the déjà vu,

because when I packed my bags that night

she was still hot-blooded from another fight

where I had called her a fork-tongued bitch

and she’d ran at me swinging a willow switch.

 

Which marked the bloody end to our bloody marriage,

though it’d been over since the first miscarriage—

where they’d doused the fire in her eyes

after filling her heart with doctoral lies.

 

But on the empty road with dim street lights

my mind will take me to the wondering heights.

That place where people want cell phone passwords

even though they’ll regret it afterwards.

 

I was thinking about how in June

I walked in on her with a man in our room.

They was only talking, and only for work,

but there was a look on her face I couldn’t shirk.

A guilt, a silence, an unsaid thing,

like a child caught losing their mother’s ring.

 

I spent my night there, and the morning too,

waiting for our court ordered adieu,

wishing that we had said “I’m sorry”

and talked out are troubled inquiry

rather than avoided each other with vengeful hate

and been unable to set things straight.

——

 

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MEMORIES TAKEN ROOT

I lived my last few days, rotting away on the inside, with a red “X” across my chest, like an aged target waiting to be struck down. When the saws finally bit into me, like wolves sinking their teeth into a rabbit, I realized that nobody would really hear me fall, despite the number of onlookers who surrounded us. They were all too busy seeing the decent of this massive tree, that they forgot to see me for what I was: me.

I wish I could have been angry; that I could have been mad at them, but they barely knew me. Most of the aged adults were fresh out of their mothers’ wombs when the rot first set in, and the younger one were but a far away twinkle, like a star in the night sky. I suppose I was more mad at their fathers’, and their fathers’ fathers’, and all the generations before them, back to when they had first set foot in my kingdom, bearing fire and chains from across the sea. Then I was but a small, thin sapling, budding with the first full-grown leaves spring had brought me.

I was one of the lucky ones then. My small size meant I was unfit for their housing requirements, and so when they cut down my brothers and sisters, they left me for the future. By the time that future came, enough houses had been built around me that I had become a meeting ground for town festivals. They strung banners across me, and the innocent children ran about at play.

With the space they had given me, my roots were able to grow far and deep, and I grew bigger than any of the other trees in the area. I was so large, it took two dozen children to make a connected circle around me. With time, the pain of my executed family faded, and I found love for the children around me. I was saddened when they grew older, and acted with the same malice as their parents.

When the buildings first started going up, the first talks of cutting me down started, to “clear the skyline for future horizons” as one man had put it. I was lucky then, that the last generation of children to line up around me were still alive. They came again as adults, without the glistening smiles, but with the same love in their hearts, to protect me.

But as more decades passed by, the air became filled with gases. The roar of trains, and cars, and buses made the children cough, and stay inside their homes. The poison in the air sunk into my bones, and the rot set in. Nearly one hundred years went by before it began to show, but the day came when one of my massive arms couldn’t take the weight anymore. It shattered, and the massive limb—a tree in its own right by many accounts—came crashing down. It killed thirty people, which to me seemed like a fair trade for all the lives they had taken from me.

From the hole it had left crept a black ooze, and as it rained down from the hundreds of feet above, the people turned their heads skyward with disdain. A day later, the “X” had appeared. This massive, bloody tattoo across my body, and within a few days the machines arrived. They sputtered for hours, tearing into me, dying, being repaired, and tearing in once again, until finally I felt the whole world sway, and came crashing down.

——

 

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DERAILED (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Sympathizers

Wolves ambushed walkers

who were enjoying the day.

They blamed the walkers.

 

Oppression

The debts have been paid,

and iron shackles removed,

yet they still suffer.

 

Tunnel Vision

The Cyclops reared back,

blind to the malice he’d forged

by fighting heroes.

 

Derailed

In dusty ruins

lies the failing of progress:

derailed by pride.

 

Rooting

Do you think sinners

saw their blasphemy rooting

in their prejudice?

——

 

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LOVE POEM #52 – SATIATED

I didn’t think I’d write a poem

that was fueled by hatred

but I think it’s about time

that my hate was satiated.

 

Or that I was appreciated

or that you reciprocated

 

‘Cause this whole time

I’ve been pulling strings

so your pain could be

alleviated;

 

and I’ve been deflated,

like a popped balloon.

 

Who knew that it would end so soon?

That you would play me like tune

and I’d be playing the buffoon?

 

Now every time you’re in the room

I can’t help wishing for your doom.

 

For someone to come in,

take you out, and

leave you buried

in a tomb.

 

Too much?

 

Well let me say it without a doubt:

You better get the extinguisher

‘Cause now the fire’s coming out.

 

You told me that your love was free

but all you did was sell me pain

and now you’ve put that blame on me

so you can watch me go insane.

 

You watched me

kill, murder, maim, shoot, slay, and torture,

while you

still furthered pain, out making disorder.

Saying

we were a thing; that I gave you a daughter,

but when that beauty popped out

I knew I wasn’t the father.

 

So go to hell.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #50 – HOW MANY POEMS

How many poems till she realize she matters?
How many poems till she escape this disaster?
How long till she makes her defection?
Stands up for herself
And fights for her own protection?

I
Get the impression
That all the rejection
Normalized his affection
And led to her concession,

But I’m
The only one with objections.
The only one with obsessions
The only one with confessions.
The only one with depression.

So where in the world
Were all those processions
That told the girl she’d be saved
By divine ascension?

It was a lie.
It was a lie!

Saying when pig would fly
Was like waiting for goodbye.
Told the world I loved her
And her rivers ran dry.

So goodbye.

Goodbye.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #49 – SCHADENFREUDE

The Germans made this lovely noun,

which we adopted into English

somewhere in the mid 19th century,

precisely so I could talk about you today

 

with the utter respect you deserve.

You have spoiled me these past years

with your tantalizing lips, your perfect

hair, and your illustrious body. Too long

 

have you called me your sun and stars

behind closed doors and through keyholes

only to remind me that when we walked,

we could never walk together. Not while he

 

paid your rent. Not while you needed him

to get through college. Life is expensive.

That’s what you told me on the mattress

between sweat sessions in the apartment

 

last Tuesday morning before classes. Yet

the only expense I suffer is your big smile

every time you see me down the hall,

trying my best not too look at him

 

standing with his hands on your hips.

You don’t even hesitate to reach up

and pluck a ripe, juicy kiss from him then,

just to make my day taste sour.

——

 

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