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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UNDERWATER (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Underwater

Underwater light

looks like glass sheets shattering

over and over.

 

Oceans of Green

Winds of nostalgia

smell like the waves of the sea

between blades of grass.

 

Winter Freeze

Wisps of the winter

run shivers through earthen spines.

Huddle close to me.

 

Rock Quarries

Kindred quarries house

a brotherhood of boulders

awaiting freedom.

 

Treasures on Trees

Who has need for gold

when trees provide the treasures

of life in their fruits.

——

 

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DREAMS OF THE FAIR

This week I had a dream that I was trying to go to the fair. The ticket booth, which was the only was to get in, was on a dirty covered hillside, behind a row of strangely placed buildings. There was no parking near any of them—the closest parking had been up at the top of a plateau, about half a mile up from the ticket booth. There were pine trees scattered about and another half-mile past you could see the fair. I had gotten in line behind a few slow moving people. I think I had been trying to meet my little brother, my older sister, and my father there.

The fair itself looked quite a bit more spectacular than the local one we get. There were dozens of rides that rose above the walls, and off to the east there was a strange roof that appeared to be made of water, which had reflected light through it in the way that a pool does. It was so exciting—and frustrating, because the line hadn’t moved. There were only a few people there. I remember thinking, Why are people so inept? before I actually decided to look around and see what was going on.

The line had three people ahead of me, all of them were elderly and white. So white, they looked as though they had bathed in a tub of bleach. All of them were wearing strange clothing. One, a woman, wore a big yellow rain coat, and massive rain boots to match. In front of her was a man, dressed in an all-grey track suit, with a pair of running shoes that had been so worn they were beginning to fray. The last person was dressed in a light green sundress, though I couldn’t distinguish if they were male or female. But they were certainly grey haired and wrinkly.

All of them were looking down, and the young woman in the ticket booth was looking beyond confused. She had called “next” several times, though even I hadn’t heard her say it until I saw her. I skipped ahead of the line when I realized nobody else was moving. When I began to walk past each person, the elderly people slowly raised their heads in disdain, but none of them moved to stop me.

I don’t remember speaking to the girl, nor getting inside the fair, yet somehow I’d made it there. I was in the water-roofed room. The ceiling had no glass, but somehow, as if by magic, the water was all suspended in the air. It was a beautiful sight, like the spirit of vacation incarnated. And it was the last thing I remember seeing before I woke up.

 

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WAVES ON A PAGE

My return to literature was like a sailor

returning to the salt air after a decade ashore.

 

The thin clatter of books from bookshelves

were like oars clattering into a paddle boat.

The small creak of hardback covers sounded

like wooden planks curling beneath my feet.

 

It wasn’t long before I’d raised sails,

and made my way into the first waves

on a broad, shining sea of letters.

 

After a few bumpy chapters,

the waves came rocking,

building, like a crescendo,

until each page was its own torrent

of water and hellfire crashing;

battering and beating the boat

 

and I was there screaming along,

mad with the thrill of the ride.

 

Until finally the pages shut,

the seas grew quiet,

and I found myself drifting along

waiting patiently for another storm.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #61 – THE DAY I FELL IN LOVE

It wasn’t a radiant day, it wasn’t a star-lit night,

it wasn’t a summer sun, it wasn’t a winter light.

It was just a day. A day, much like today,

where the rancid weight of our rotten job

rolled over my toes for the fourth time in a week.

 

There was no oak tree, nor one ripe with peach,

no simple sunset, nor calm, sandswept beach.

It was just a day, much like today,

where grey-white clouds blotched blue skies.

 

And yet, in you, I found a cliché dream

hidden like rain in those sky blue eyes.

A dream of diamond ringlets, crested with rubies and gold,

where the plunder of power was too weak to take hold.

 

But that was just a day, a day just like today,

that wasn’t like to come again

So Carpe Diem; I seized the day.

——

 

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PEOPLE WATCHING IN PARIS

I spent the afternoon at a small café in Paris, which could hardly fit the family two tables down from me. They had a string of three children toppling off the edges of the red backed booth—two girls and a boy. The girls were older, in matching pink dresses, and the word that ran through my mind was “starbright” when I saw their smiles. The boy, on the other hand, was more stoic than a Buddhist meditating, as if had been shot with 20 CC’s of chill-the-fuck-out by his parents. He wore a red t-shirt and navy blue shorts, and had donned a matching navy blue baseball cap.

Their mother was a tall, lanky woman, with thin arms, thin legs, and a thin waist—one she clearly paid careful attention to maintain. Her daughters were the spitting image of her: tall for their age, strikingly blonde, and beautiful. But where their smiles were bright and full of happiness, their mother’s was full of anguish, as if nothing could have annoyed her more than going out with her family that day. To contrast, their father was the height of personable. He had kept the waiter around for minutes, prying the youth out of his shell until they were both cracking jokes, and before long the manager had to pull her employee back to work.

They came and went, and I sat, drinking my coffee in the sunlight. It was a cool day, where a few minute indoors could leave you chilled, but a minute outside would melt the ice right off your backside. A good day to be people watching. The beautiful maids in sundresses walked around less in a step and more in a dance, and their partners never seemed to have the same sense of rhythm about them. They looked a bit too porcelain for my taste, but lovely nonetheless. I was particularly struck by the elderly couple that passed by when I took the last few sips of my drink.

I had never seen a couple with more swagger make their way down la rue. They were both in exceedingly white clothing, bleached to the point of blindness, save for matching pairs of Aviator sunglasses, which covered their eyes entirely. Unlike most elderly couples, there was nothing feeble about how they moved—they might as well have been going to the gym to beat up on some college athletes. Their grim expression was fitting a pair that had survived a world war, and didn’t hope to survive into another. But they too came and went, and my mug was finally empty. I left a couple notes on the table, beneath my cup, grabbed my bag, and started walking home.

——

 

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ETERNAL PEACE (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Fall Arrives

The spiraling leaves

fall like a patterned sunset

in the autumn sky.

 

Wet Panic

I hear the wind chimes

scream in a wet panic

from the storm outside.

 

Eternal Peace

A broken Buddha

lists off, half buried in dirt;

serene as ever.

 

Butterflies Abound

The butterflies weave

between the fingers of air

like playful lovers

 

Burnt Out

Melted candles wax

drips like hot blood from the wrists

of this dead marriage.

——

 

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DREAM LOOP

Today’s dream (or rather, last night’s dream) plays with something of normalcy, which is something that seems to occur regularly in my dreams, which is perhaps why I’ve struggled to remember them for so many years. Here it is:

 

I woke up, for the first time, or perhaps the millionth, gasping for breath. My room was dark, but the beam of light peaking out between my window curtains signaled to me that it was well into the morning. I took a brief look around, when suddenly the door burst in and my father was there, spewing some nonsense about getting out of bed and doing my chores. I couldn’t really make it out, but his tone of voice was clear enough. I sprung to my feet, threw a pair of shorts on, pulled a shirt over my head and walked through the door…

…then sat up gasping for breath again, again, for what felt like the first time, but may have been the millionth. At the time, I had no memory of what happened prior, just as many fail to remember their dreams moments after waking. This time there was a scratching at the door, likely from one of our cats. They would occasionally scratch, asking for food—or occasionally freedom. I opened the door, and saw Twilight, our black cat, staring up at me with great green eyes. I walked her to the door to let her out front, the pitter-patter of her feet were as light as snowflakes falling. I twisted the nob, watched her exit, then figured I’d grab myself a quick bite to break my fast. I took two quick steps to the fridge, opened the door

and again was gasping for air in my bed.

 

But this was where the dream ended. My eyes opened, and the world felt that slight twinge of real that distinguishes it from even the most vivid dreams. What does it mean? I don’t really know. I could be, very obviously, that my life is literally on repeat. Day in and day out things are too similar to really be distinguished. The repetition of gasping could very well be indicative of choking, as if I am dying by doing this. Or, it could mean nothing, and this is just some weird thing my brain decided to project, and I just happened to remember it. Who knows? Let me know what dreams you’ve had that stood out to you in the comments below!

 

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SUNDAY AT THE PIER

Weaving between the mass of smiles

along the Santa Monica Pier

is a reminder of how wonderful life is

when it can be shared with strangers.

 

The creak of aging wood underfoot

could barely be heard over the laughter

belted by children tasting the salted air

as their parents shell out dollars for rides.

 

The hum of the street players

singing and dancing to the tune

of their heartbeat and the ocean

fills the last crevices of loneliness

nearly every afternoon.

 

But I can still remember one dark Sunday

in the rainy mid-Autumn sloughs

where the only noises to accompany me

were the distant swallows of the sea.

 

The mist was heavy then, thick

with the remorse of a broken country,

and the players’ last song had gone out

long before the cloudy sun had risen.

 

The rank sickness of mortality

seemed to creep from the slits

of darkness hiding under the planks,

and the evil kept at bay by purer hearts

slunk out, unafraid of the silence;

rotting the wood and metal alike.

 

Those towering straights of humanity

forged in the fires of dreamers

turn to blighted nightmares, spoiled

without the people who loved them

to keep it fresh and wholesome.

 

And I was filled with the same dread

of a man, not much older than you,

who had felt his world slip away

in the trenches of a peaceful life.

——

 

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Quick mentions, I found this cover photo on Dirty Lens Photography, and I don’t own it.