LOVE POEM #53 – BLUE EYES

They look like the summer sky at midday

dotted with lazy summer clouds,

or perhaps like the arctic frost in spring

as it sheds from winter’s grasp.

Yet without the warmth of your coy smile

or the hymn in your flowered voice

I can’t shake that the icy glare you’ve got

means lonely nights for me ahead.

Which makes me think to Vivaldi’s Seasons:

that in your eyes I can find life.

That I can find the fresh roots of new spring

and summertime jingles that birdies sing

mixed in with the faded red leaves of fall

before winter comes to bury it all.

And that hidden beneath these vibrant songs

is the love you held for me all along.

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CAT NAP

I dug my claws into the side of the rocking chair, shifting my weight as I ascended its backside to keep from being thrown off. The cushion at the top was softer than the hard-pressed seat, and my personal favorite place to take a nap. I curled up, carefully balanced so that I wouldn’t fall back over the side, like some long dead camper falling over a cliff. When I finally was comfortable, I could feel my eyes begin to glaze over as the familiar feeling of sleep began to take hold.

Of course, naps are never that simple nowadays. Before my eyes had closed for more than a moment, the whole chair jostled. The big one had taken his seat in the middle—I didn’t understand how he could endure such a hard seat. The whole chair rocked hard, and I had to dig my nails in to keep from being flung over the side. It was clear this resting place wouldn’t do today.

So, like many days, I hopped back down onto the floor. The light thuds of my feet were beginning to sound a lot like those of my older brothers’. The wood planks below me were cool and smooth, and made for great walking. No unexpected catches, like in the shag carpet I was on my way over to. The couch over there was much softer than the remaining chairs, however, and was well worth the trek when the rocking chair was taken.

Two quick jumps and I was up on the arm rest. They put the best padding in the arm rest—it was firm, but not pillowy like the cushions, although it could be more precarious. I could feel the weight of fatigue hit me like a brick, and my eyes closed once again—but not a moment later I heard the terrifying sound of the back door opening, followed swiftly by the eager approach of beasts. They were like titans—they ran on four legs, panting heavily wherever they ran. Luckily the gold one missed me, instead running down the hall to my left after who knows what.

Unfortunately, the darker one was more attentive, and stopped hard in his tracks, then turning to look directly in my eyes. His eyes were a cold, dead black, like a silent murderer out slaughtering in the middle of the night. We shared that brief moment while he realized that I was not another piece of the furniture, where the whole world seems to grow quiet. The big one’s rising became so slow, it was as if he was covered in glue.

But that moment broke quickly, and he and I went from stone still to bolting in a heart beat. There was an open window behind me, just a few feet away, with a high screen. The beast was much faster than me, and it was all I could do to launch myself from the head of the couch to the screen. As I flew through the air, I heard his jaws clamp shut just behind me, just a few inches from my tail. The hairs on my back shivered and stood high. It felt like an eternity while I soared through the air, then dug my claws in to the little holes for support. I scrambled to get myself secured quickly; my feet sliding down before eventually they too were locked. Then I quickly ascended so that I was out of reach. I turned to look down, and saw the beast, sitting with tongue flopping over the side of his teeth. His mouth was open wide, waiting for my strength to run out, and his breaths were deep with excitement.

I thought myself a goner for a moment, as my body began to shake with fatigue, but then came the pounding footsteps of the big one. He grabbed the beast roughly by the neck, and lifted him with such vigor I thought he might tear its head clean off, but the body held tight and pretty soon the beast had turned tail back from where he came, along with the gold one. When I was certain it was safe, I tried to climb down slowly. Halfway down, my leg slipped again, and I went crashing to the floor. I managed to get my feet beneath me at the last moment, and landed on my feet. I looked back at the couch, and felt the disdain for the potential resting place. I felt too much like a meal on a platter there now, so instead I made my way down the hall, to the third door on the right. There was a large space there, where the big one rested at night. I didn’t much care for it—to many different layers of material scattered haphazardly about—but it was soft. I found an empty corner by the window, and laid down. My eyes shut, and I finally got to drift off to sleep.

——

 

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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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THE RED RIVER

For the past three weeks, traces of red liquid had been found in the clear blue waters of the rivers, growing more solid with each passing day. At first, it was just a whisk, like a droplet falling in a cup, before it disperses and becomes unnoticeable. Then eventually, the water began to darken, from blue, to purple, to a beautiful shade of red wine. When it hit that shade, the water became undrinkable, and we knew we had to find out what was going on.

We began our trek up the river, to see what we could find. A few days later, it morphed into a bright, angry red, like a vicious sunburn. Eventually, we came to a massive forest, and followed the red river in. It was dark, like night, spackled with the occasional beam of sunlight peaking from in between tree branches. It was enough to light they way, but hardly bright. The angry red of the river looked more like smoldering ash in the dark. We began to worry when the sunbeams grew thin and orange—it meant the sun was going down, and all sorts of things could inhabit the forest.

We made camp, set up a fire, and picked roles for the watch. Mine was the last, which I was thankful for. It was easier to sleep through most of the night, and simply stay awake, than it was to sleep for a short three hours, wake up to keep watch, then sleep again. My eyes had glazed over by the time the first beams of sunlight touched down through the trees. It was like a heavenly ascension piercing through the heart of the darkness.

We kept this routine for another two days, marching through treacherous pitfalls and shifting terrain. All the while, we kept along the river, following its unexpected. It was growing wider, which we took to mean we were getting close to its source. A few hours later, the river widened into a lakebed, with a massive red waterfall, which, as it smashed into the lake, created a thin, red mist. The waterfall itself seemed to stretch off into the distance, far above the trees above us.

The unexpected base of the cliff met us as we drew closer, and we began our ascent upward. The way up was full of dangers, but eventually we crossed the upper threshold of the trees. The break of sunlight on our faces was soothing, as a cool glass of water is to a man returned from a desert. We could see the top, not far above the trees, and took the last hundred meters quickly.

When we reached the top, we were awestruck by the sight before us. Lodged in the middle of a massive lake—ten times the size of the one below us—was an enormous heart. It looked almost like a titanic boulder, bigger in size than any we had ever seen, beating fiercely, as though whatever body it had inhabited had been running for miles before.

And it was split in two, held weakly together by tethers at the bottom. From the center of the split sides, it was gushing blood like a fountain, pouring tons into the water around it by the second. The air stank of rot and decay, but the heart showed no signs of weakness. It was incredible to see something so full of life yet so broken. All we could do was stand there still, looking on amazed and frightened.

——

 

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SPILLED TEA

It was a fine summer day

 

the kind of day that is made

for drinking lemon iced tea

on white-cushioned porch chairs.

 

the kind of day filled with children,

laughing as they dodge between

sprinkler arcs and tree branches.

 

Which is why, when the phone rang,

we felt a kind of ominous shock

as the peaceful air was broken

by the impending sound of technology.

 

Part of me wishes we had smiled

and kept still in our cozy seats.

Part of me wishes we had unplugged

it and let the cord hang there, limp.

 

But the call of the electric siren

is a hard spell to resist,

and like Butes before us

we were seduced to answer.

 

The voice on the other side was sweet,

like a bar of milk chocolate

devoured far to hastily.

 

Your father had a heart attack.

 

And suddenly, that perfect day

felt utterly rotten.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #51 – LOOSE CHANGE

They told me the girl on the street corner

was a dime a dozen. Which is why,

when we stopped at the red light,

they threw coins at her

before speeding off, laughing

like little pigs, all the way home.

They didn’t see in the rear-view mirror

how she fell to her knees, crying,

scrounging to pick up the loose change.

 

Perhaps that’s why when I saw her

marching down the aisle

at the dirty supermarket

I couldn’t help but ask her

why such a dame would scamper

after a few dozen nickels.

 

And she told me that in life

we all just scrounge for enough change

to make our empty selves feel whole,

even if, in the end, we are just half dollars.

 

It was then I felt a prick,

and I told her, if she wanted,

that I would buy her a drink,

pay a penny for her thoughts,

and we could chat the night away.

 

She agreed with a smile, on the condition

that I wouldn’t be charging any hidden fees

or sticking her backside with my taxes.

 

It was a pro bono night, indeed.

 

The next morning I walked her home,

and we stopped at the same street corner.

She found a penny, heads up.

It’s your lucky day she told me,

handing Abe over to me.

I cupped it in her palm and told her

luck be you, m’lady.

——

 

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VISIONS IN THE DESERT

I felt like an ant, crossing that wasteland of a desert. There was nothing in site as far as the eye could see, and the sun was beating down on me, heavy, as though Apollo had set his chariot of fire on my shoulders. In my mind, the pulsing of my headache felt like the hooves of his mighty horses pounding me to death. My shirt had been soaked through with sweat hours before, and I could feel the sun burn taking shape on the uncovered parts of my body.

The desert air filled my lungs—drying my mouth and leaving my throat ragged and parched. Each breath felt like a cement block was being dragged across my insides. My legs had grown wobbly as I ascended the dune. As I neared the top, my vision began to grow blurry, and my legs buckled for a moment. I came down hard on the sand; my knees crashed, followed swiftly by my outstretched arms. I sucked a deep breath of air, attempting to gather the strength to get back up again, then coughed and spit as sand slid in between my teeth. My forehead rested on my arm, as I enjoyed the blackness behind my shut eyes. My arm was sticky when I finally pulled it away and, shaking, clambered to my feet again. I looked out across the mass of emptiness before me.

I was struck by the beauty of it. It was so empty, even time seemed to have melted away. Each moment seemed to take hours, and suddenly I felt like many decades of time had passed me by. And, as I looked down at myself, I realized they had. I watched as my deep black beard faded to peppered gray, and then finally to white. The skin in my hands wrinkled, and the whites of my knuckles pressed for freedom. I felt my body grown weaker; drier; sicker—as though I had been possessed. My legs began to shake, no longer in fatigue, but with the brittleness of an old man, too long for this world.

My mind flooded with visions of my youth: An awkward game of catch with my father, my first dance with a girl, the late night writings of a dedicated lover, the early morning rises of budding father; and then soon came the memories that I had never known. Seeing my son become a father, and holding my granddaughter for the first time, watching from the sun-chairs as they played in the waves, holding my wife’s hand as she passed away—that same shy smile she had given me when I had asked her to the dance. All these memories I had never known flooded through my mind, as though the floodgates of “could have been” had been thrust open by some unnatural force.

Then shut, once again, as I saw the last vision of myself, from outside my body. I was there, eyes shut lightly, with my mouth hung slightly open. My beard looked scraggly and short. My skin was pale—so pale I nearly missed it flaking away. Bit by bit, the wind pulled fragments of me away with it. It looked like I was peeling. Then, as the gusts grew stronger, I watched myself crumble away into dust and float away, with the desert, forever.

——

 

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DOWNPOUR (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Unending

Tick-tock, ‘round the clock.

Do you ever wonder when

the world will stop?

 

Enjoy

There’s not enough time

in this short life that we live

to not eat good food.

 

Fantasies

While your mind wanders,

night sets in; but you can still

picture the sunset.

 

Yard Work

With dust in my pores

and dirt soaking in my hair,

I feel at home.

 

Downpour

Consume the hatred,

let it flow through you like rain,

but don’t drown yourself.

——

 

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NEWLYWEDS IN FLIGHT

A quick intro before this short poem today. I wrote it as a response to “The Bard in Flight” by Billy Collins. You should definitely read that, too. 🙂 Ok, anyways, here it is:

 

Newlyweds in Flight

On the plane,

across from Billy and the Bard

was a newlywed couple

voyaging on their honeymoon travels,

 

and when the shock of turbulence

caused an echo of whispered fear,

he was comforted that his hand

held more than just history.

——

 

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