KNOWING THE BUTTERFLY

Was it better to know the butterfly

as he flew about the vegetable garden,

or to have simply seen him as a passerby

enjoying his stay in the sunshine?

 

Perhaps if I’d known him, he’d have stopped

and helped me along with my planting,

or told me a story about sunflowers

and how they made a magnificent landing;

 

but having never met, he stopped all the same

and waited hesitantly at the head of the gate,

fluttering his wings, faintly ready to fly away,

and that distant beauty wasn’t lost in friendly banter.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #75 – LAST RITES

I didn’t think one stanza would be enough

to tell you how much I loved you,

but now that you’ve scratched out my other lines

there isn’t any room on the page to say more.

——

 

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PICKING PLUMS

Five women were picking plums from the ground. Four were doing the actual work. They were carrying swollen bags of fruit, bent over to pile more on top. One, presumably the hardest worker, had already abandoned her bag and was continuing to catch the remaining morsels in her apron. Two others had wandered off in the distance as the plums became harder and harder to find. The fourth was grabbing the last few in the foreground, when she happened upon a sullen, black rock.

The fifth woman was standing with a platter in the center of it all. She was dressed differently than the rest. Her apron was white, and where the others wore a red over-coat, she bore no such garment. Her eyes darted between the women, but returned to the girl standing in the foreground. Her face was a mix of contempt and anguish, as if the girl had done something to wrong her that she couldn’t speak of in front of the rest of the women.

The platter she carried was a small, black platter, perhaps of well-polished, painted wood, or porcelain. It contained plums that looked similar to what the other women were picking, yet they appeared to be the deep color of overripe fruit and, perhaps, were for reference only.

I liked to think, as I passed by, that she was the headmaster’s wife. She was angry at this girl for having slept with the master, and had taken her anger out on her group of maids as a whole. In the heat of day, she had forced them to pick bags and bags of fruit—so many that they had run out of the massive bags, and yet still she made them relentlessly continue. It looked as though they had picked the orchard nearly clean, too. I think they would have kept picking too, had things not changed as I walked out of view.

A sharp cry echoed from behind me, followed by the soft thumps of a dozen or so fruit. I heard footsteps rushing through the woods, then a heavy thud of a rock against something. The footsteps stopped. Two, three, four more times the rock came down, and with each thud emerged a sickening crunch.

When I finally decided to turn back, the grove had been emptied. No bags were anywhere to be seen, nor any women, though there were two patches of plums. The first was far in the distance, where the two women had gone off in search of more. It appeared they had dropped a small handful from their bags as they left, which had rolled harmlessly for a few feet before stopping. The second patch was less fortunate. A dozen plums, much deeper purple, had smashed onto the ground; splattering across the floor. The pulp and juice seeped from beneath the little heads, creating a pool of matter that mixed in with the dirt as they rotted.

——

 

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TRACING (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Pairs

I see in their eyes

the starlight after midnight

twinkling shyly.

 

Star Gazing

I lie in the dark

on a still blanket of grass

gazing at Venus.

 

Midnight Noises

The rustling night

entices my frightened dog

with howls far away.

 

Tracing

Slowly, I trace you

against the canvas of sheets

under the shadows.

 

Mirrored Sunrise

I witnessed the dawn

as a sunset upside-down

when you were with me.

——

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STRIKEOUT

Like an umpire shooting bullet holes

through a neighborly batter’s defenses,

you should strike through the draft of your paper

with the black ink of objectivity.

 

Or else you’ll be an executioner.

The ink will become your vicious black hood

and the pen will be your dripping red axe

swinging at the necks of innocent words.

 

Or worse yet, you will be back in high school,

stuttering sentences in a mirror

as you prepare to ask Suzy to prom,

just to doubt you had a shot to start with.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #74 – SO COLD

Outline for me the love in your blue lies.

Was life so cold between these crimson walls

that you would search for warmth in winter skies?

Are you so conned by the sweet siren’s calls

that you would cast away your canvased life?

My love has birthed for you the finer things,

and you forget so quick that lasting strife

which bound your comely hands in puppet strings.

Then sketch your will with Neptune by your side

await those waves to take you through the light.

You’ll see those shallow waters swell with pride

and drown you in that cerulean night.

Yet when I see you float beyond that door,

I know you’ll wish that you had stayed ashore.

——

 

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PEN TO PAPER – 50 WORD STORY

I touched my pen to paper, and it exploded with brilliant hues of reds and greens. The canvas of my mind spattered with the colors of reason; as vibrant as the open window at the end of the table. Then, just as quickly, it faded back to black and white.

——

 

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MIRRORS (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Red Dawn

Another day gone

waiting for the sun to shine

through sanguine curtains.

 

Leaves

My sandals are lost

in the labyrinth of leaves

lying on the ground.

 

Benches in the Rain

The park bench awaits

the return of little legs

kicking empty air.

 

Unexpected Friends

Under the arbors,

the rain spotted me sitting,

and comforted me.

 

Mirrors

She hides in her eyes

so only her reflection

will really see her.

——

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THE UNIVERSE

It all started with the Big Bang

careening beyond the blackness,

weaving blue electricity

through the barren void of cosmos.

 

Then came the endless pulse of light

like a cardiac monitor

calling to the cradle of life

for it to be reborn again

 

and from the womb of the stars sprung

the stories of sacred spirits

that stoked our imaginations

like stacks of wood on the fire.

 

Until, at last, the burnt day comes;

where billowing flames unravel

the broken strands of creation

back to the heart of its great beast

 

and out of the blackened ashes

will crawl the Small Song of silence

who will retie the strings of shame

with the ropes of humility.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #73 – HEADSTONE CHATTER

Did you hear they cut down our tree?

They dragged the kids out from the branches

then dismembered it limb by limb

until it stood empty like a hollow woman

then in a final swoop of mechanical justice

toppled her like a pair of heels on a night out.

I took a hike up the wilderness trail last week.

The white flowers were in full bloom;

I still can’t remember what you called them.

I saw a pair of cubs running through the trees.

They reminded me of Taylor and Tom

the way they roughhoused in the grass

like they didn’t even know we were watching.

They always came home with grass stains.

Do you see them anymore?

Anyway, sorry I haven’t been by in a while.

Doc told me there’s only a few months to go

and I took a trip to see your mom in Peru.

——

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