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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CHRISTMAS EVE

This isn’t a happy Christmas poem. This poem is something I wrote in the very early hours today, after we received some very difficult family news yesterday, and had to suffer the bitter reminder that Christmas is just another day of the year, plagued with the same pains as so many other days. So, if you aren’t in the mood for a downer, I recommend you don’t continue reading. If you are ok with that, check it out. I’ve copy-pasted my usual “after poem” stuff, so if reading more of my work interests you it is easily accessible, but the real me is not as chipper today as those closings sound. Thank you for your time, and for your support.

Christmas Eve

The stockings were hung, and the tinsel strung out

in hopes that Saint Christmas would soon be about;

the fires were low—so low that a whisper

could snuff out the flames like winds in the winter.

I shut off the lamp, and shuffled along;

away to my bed to dream my dream song.

But this year the sound of the clatter that rose

was only the phone ringing in the shadows.

I dashed to the doorknob and flew down the hall;

I rounded the kitchen to answer the call.

Hello” I announced in a voice oh-so-tight.

I’m sorry, good sir,” came the voice in the night,

“the news that I bring isn’t fit for this eve,

yet Christmas joy is what I’m tasked to thieve.”

“Thieve?” I asked, “Well don’t beat around the bush.”

“I’m sorry, good sir,” he said in a hush,

“at half past three, we found young Mary was dead;

hung by the rafters with a noose ‘round her head.”

He continued and yet the words were all lost;

deeply buried under hallowed winter frost.

I trudged out the door and up through the snow;

“Lustrous” Clement called it, hours ago.

Her favorite lines had been “Now Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!”

And now, as leaves at a hurdle take to the sky

so too, I imagine, that her spirit will fly;

Out! Beyond those bustling lights;

Out! Away from suffering nights;

Out! Over oceans sick with sorrow;

Out! Flying past lonely tomorrow;

“OUT!” I cry, with a fire so alive!

“OUT!” It echoes down the steep mountainside!

To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”

Perched over the chasm I sing: “It’s Christmas tonight!

Merry Christmas to all! and to all a good night!”

——

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itter: @cassady_orha<<
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RED LIGHT DISTRICT (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

In a Storm

Hear the broken heart

crying over lovers lost

like cats in a storm.

 

Across the Way

Hark! Across the way

a beauty chiseled from gold

shines in winter light.

 

Puzzled

She didn’t call back

after a wonderful night.

Perhaps I was wrong…

 

Last Moments

The last wisps of wind

passed between the black curtains,

exhaling his life.

 

Red Light District

She pinched at my heart

sitting at the lone street light

hoping for my help.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #67 – LES MÉMOIRES

Walking into the cozy French café

might stir a whirlwind of lost memories

long forgotten, like the postcards

from Nice and Paris, fluttering into view,

that I cherished and burned a lifetime ago.

 

Or Le Moulin, playing softly in the rafters

might remind you of a dance we shared at midnight

to a song that wafted through the window shutters,

reverberating into the walls of the wood apartment.

 

Or the booths might do it.

Like Dorothy in her bedroom,

those red cushions will lift you off to Oz,

where the echoes of laughter sit, waiting

for the ghost of her to apparate across from you,

 

but then the server comes crashing down

like a house dropped from a million miles above

ripping you from your fantasy

as if you had stolen their most precious pair of shoes.

——

 

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DRESS UP (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Out, on a Bench

I forgot the sound

of your delighted laughter

sitting beside me.

 

Still Life

Water unbroken,

leaves caught, frozen forever,

and me, watching them.

 

Shooting Stars

A hushed suck of air

fills the boy staring skyward

as streams cross the sky.

 

Piano Music

The lonely heart beats

slow and solemn to the song

wrote in D minor.

 

Dress Up

Honeyed cries of joy

call out from the living room

in mismatched clothing.

——

 

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CAMP OUT (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Messages

The wind came knocking

and the rain left a letter,

but no one answered

 

Hungry

Rot pays a visit

looking to find a quick bite

in my fruit pantry.

 

Drowned

Drain another glass

until at long last you drown

all your failures.

 

Soda Pop

Brown sugar liquid

bubbling an addict’s tune

with an icy kiss.

 

Camp Out

The rest are away

out on a voyage of dreams.

My eyes sail skies.

——

 

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RUNNING ON FUMES

Out alone on the desert road

in the humid summer sunset,

my car sputtered along,

seeking respite from the seething air.

 

Which is how I felt walking

through the bleak parking structure

between shifts at my second job,

on the way to Baron’s for lunch at 4:30.

 

Yet when I turned the key

and the car crawled back to life

I felt a rush of energy

knowing Willow would be there too.

——

 

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THE LAST SIP

I always loved looking in the sinister whisky glasses, with two clear, fat ice cubes barely contained within the small, cylindrical walls of the cup. The satisfying pop of the stopper, pulled from an equally extravagant crystal decanter, builds the anticipation of the moment. The first splash or two of the amber-gold liquid sets the tone of the pour. If the ice is cold enough, it will crack in half with a satisfying crunch, then those shallow splashes create tiny arcs off of the ice, until they eventually settle into the base of the glass.

I always prefer the glass left half empty, especially to start the day. Any day like today is full of wonder, tranquility, and anger. Whisky will pull in a similar sense of self-hatred. Strong, powerful, and above all else, contained. The first sip always stings, which is why I swallow it along with the second and third all at once. It slinks through the throat, like magma through the canyon—burning and renewing the land in one fatal swoop.

But it’s always the last sip that always gets me. Most often, people forget the last sip. They see a fleeting ounce left in the glass, and down it quick, like an actor in an old western film. They typically follow it with a satisfied Ah, and perhaps even a quick wipe of the chin to catch any excess the slipped through their lips. It’s dignified, hearty, and full of meaning. But the last sip still clings to the sides of the glass, drifting back into the base of the glass, forgotten beneath the melting cubes inside.

The bartender will pick the glass up, throw the residue to melt away into the sink, along with all the other forgotten memories. Quite the waste of perfectly good booze. One that, after many downed glasses and agonizing headaches later, I have learned never to miss.

The last sip is watery and cold. I like to catch each ice cube in my mouth, lick it clean, then spit it back out. If they split clean apart when the glass was poured, I might even chew one down to cleanse the palate. Catch the glass in your lips, and tilt your head back. The little droplets will form together, then slide down the side as a team, like a group of fish joined to impede the approach of a predator. In excitement, you might lift the glass in the air, as if to say to the onlookers “this moment is mine.”

And the drop will dangle, afraid, or perhaps teasing you there to build anticipation, before falling for ages in those inches between the glass and your outstretched tongue. Your throat might feel dry, as though this were the last drop of water on Earth, until it coats your mouth with the strength of a thousand oceans. Then finally, your glass is empty, and you might realize you’ve become an alcoholic.

——

 

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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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OVERCAST (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Overcast

The faded roses

wonder what their red was like

before the clouds came.

 

Thin

Looked in the mirror

and saw how my innocence

had grown thin with age.

 

Right Wing

Age begets wisdom

yet somehow those wise people

abandoned reason.

 

Lonely Sweat

I tossed the blanket

from our overly small bed

in a lonely sweat.

 

Dancing Trees

The twisting branches

entwine like tango dancers

suspended in air.

——

 

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