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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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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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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LOVE POEM #60 – BLINDED

I’m told that love is blind,

but having 20/200 vision

I know that nowadays being blind

can be corrected with a good pair of glasses.

 

The dense world of fog that seeped in

through these tired, aging eyes

made it impossible to see the problems

that were just a few paces in front of me.

 

Which is why, after the break up, I took a trip

down to the nearest Ross or Sears or Target

to try a few pairs on,

and share some laughs with my reflection.

 

But as the shadows grew longer,

I realized that my own vision

wasn’t actually so bad.

The midnight trees shading the sidewalk

weren’t quite the monsters

that my youth had cowered in fear of,

and the distance sadness of the moon

no longer seemed to hide behind blurred eyes.

And suddenly I wondered

if I really needed those glasses to begin with

 

until I looked in the mirror

and realized that my blindness

wasn’t due to my impair vision,

but instead impaired by the blindness in my heart.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #59 – THE APPROACHING NIGHT

Falling in love with you was like

listening to The Approaching Night

beneath an outstretched tree branch

in the backyard of my childhood home

while the yellow-orange sun glimmered

between sunset and nightfall.

 

In that short moment of reverence

it felt as though the great chariot

road across the sky just for you;

as perfectly balanced as a tightrope walker

so that neither of us were burned.

 

And yet looking at you tonight,

I can see that the approach of night

has long since passed us into the smaller hours.

Where the piano music twinkles

with the starlight; eternal

impassioned, and beloved.

 

Even though the lines of age

have filled your face with wisdom,

and bones once strong as the mighty oak

have grown flaccid and weary,

I see in you now the nova of life

burning more brightly than ever before,

having accepted that the inevitable extinguishing

is best enjoyed while living in the apex of the sun.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #58 – THE TOP OF THE STAIRS

Falling in love is like climbing a tower of stairs

only to lose your footing on the way up

and come crashing back down to reality

with everybody else.

 

The first flight of stairs is full of life.

The suspense of togetherness in a world

devoid of individual cares and niceties

creates a shared fire for cold winter nights,

 

but come the second flight of stairs

the kindling will burn low, and it will be

up to one of you to make it whole again.

Some people don’t know how to make a fire

though years of experience often help.

 

If you can manage the second flight, the third

will be less stressful. Your body will be accustomed

to the rhythmic pacing, and won’t tire from climbing.

You might even find yourself bored

and come back down, wishing to relive past loves,

until you hit the bottom and find

they don’t come by moving backwards.

 

The fourth flight is where people often trip

rushing to what they think is the finish line—

a room with white dresses and church bells.

Yet when they turn the corner, and see

another set of stairs, their footing fails

and they go tumbling down again.

 

But maybe, just maybe, you’ll make it up

past the fifth flight of stairs; past the long last leg

of this long climb we subject ourselves to,

and find yourself on your death bed

next to the only person in the world that matters.

 

Maybe then you’ll realize the stairs weren’t love,

but that the stairs were life, and that you were lucky

to have someone there to accompany you

all the way to the top.

——

 

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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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LOVE POEM #56 – WAITING FOR THE RAIN

Standing outside the cinema, waiting for the rain

is the perfect way to fall in love with someone.

 

First of all, it means there are a lot of people

trying to buy tickets for a brand new movie.

Crowds always seem to bring people closer together

and there, bundled up nice, breathing in the cool air,

is a great time to crack a few inside jokes.

 

Secondly, when the first few droplets finally land

you have the chance to offer her your jacket.

It’s such a simple gesture, but it brings warmth

in a way that walking inside doesn’t quite have.

Especially since the first few drops of water

always seem to land on the tip of her nose.

 

And then you go inside and see a movie or whatever.

 

Until the last moments of the date arrive

where you both walk out those big double doors

and see that the downpour paused just for you.

She’s talking about the movie, but you’re distracted

because you’ve never seen eyes light up like hers.

 

And then it’s time to go,

and you realize that you really don’t want to.

You wish you could tie a rope to those seconds

where the inevitable awkward pause arrives

and just stay there, tethered to it

like a buoy is tethered to an anchor

so that it doesn’t float off into the ocean all alone.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #54 – FEAR OF DEATH

I’m finally afraid of death,

not because I’m afraid of dying,

but dying before my children are ready

for me to leave them on their own.

 

Children who I haven’t even met yet;

children whose cries haven’t broken

through their tiny, shaking lungs yet;

children who haven’t even taken root

in the safety of their mother’s womb yet.

 

A mother, who to me is still unknown.

One perfectly sculpted woman,

who I have yet to fall in love with.

Who I have yet to share dreams with;

yet to kiss over candle-lit dinners

and travel to cliché capital cities with.

 

One who could show me that love isn’t found

in the superfluous places we buy flights to,

but in the people we board the planes with.

 

But now, after seeing my father off at the airport,

I pause at the door handle of my car,

worried that the plane will crash,

and those excited, to-be children

won’t get to meet father.

——

 

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