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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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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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.

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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FLY AWAY (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Cats at Play

Diving after strings

with the same ferocity

as a great lion.

 

Unpaired

Dazzled by the pair

of dancers in the moonlight,

I walked home alone.

 

Fly Away

The old, dead leaves fall,

but before they hit the ground

wind flies them away.

 

Leaves in the Pool

Debris from the trees

float, tentative as a fly

waiting to be struck.

 

Outdoor Mornings

Waking to a kiss

of sunlight and waterfalls;

lost in the stillness.

——

 

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OUR AMERICA

So I mentioned last week that Tuesdays would be about dreams from now on, but after the travesty in Las Vegas yesterday, I couldn’t in my right mind not say how horrible I feel over the subject. So I did what I often do in that circumstance and wrote a poem about it. Before reading it, please consider donating to Las Vegas. Here’s a link to a GoFundMe. Ok, here’s the poem. Feel free to comment:

Our America

We may not be slaves

to the sins of our fathers,

but we are certainly born

out of the wombs of their actions.

 

And while we may not bear the chains

that granted them power over men,

the scars they inflicted are still fresh

on the skins of our history.

 

The flesh of this America

still burns with the toil of war,

where brother fought brother

so that our brethren could be free.

 

The first tears broke over the face

of the American Dream in 1830

when Jackson uprooted the free

in the name of freedom.

 

And again we see the strength of arms

spattering our lands red with blood,

to protect the egos of the fearful.

 

From Orlando to Las Vegas,

that river runs deeper than the oil pipelines

those dream eaters feast their pocketbooks on.

 

Well I say to them:

We do not like your America.

 

Your America is not

the land of the free

and the home of the brave,

but the land of greed

and home to the slave.

 

So we have come to take it back.

With pitchforks and torches,

with iron and steel,

with the bodies of our comrades

gunned down by the bullets

of your deranged militia laws:

we are coming.

 

Like the beating heart of the mountain

and the roaring calls of the ocean:

we are coming.

 

Like the lionhearts of Europe

come to claim their throne from John:

we are coming.

 

For this is our America.

 

Not a land of destiny and perfection

but nonetheless a home

to those who would strive

to see a more perfect union.

 

Not a country unsullied by pride,

but nonetheless a home

to those who would strive

to see the error in their ways.

 

Yes, this is our America.

An America where men can be queer.

An America where women can dream.

An America where blacks do not fear.

 

This is our America,

an America that has never been,

and yet I swear this oath again—

our America it will be.

——

 

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WORDS AND IRONWORKS

I wasn’t born to be a poet.

With a name like “Smith,” one is only fit

to work over a hot fire with iron and steel,

and yet somehow the words chiseled their way

into the forge of my life.

 

The sound of my pen spattering paper

rung out like an imagined hammer,

shaping the letters of Apollo

into a work more spectacular

than those creations I’d made for Vulcan.

 

For though the glint of the ironworks

could be heard throughout the village,

it was the letters sung between drinks

that filled it with happiness

and when the time came for another pair of sons

to be whisked away on bloodied spikes

the solace of words meant more to the mothers

than the stained return of mail

to be buried with the bodies.

——

 

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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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THREADS (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Threads

One thread cannot hold

the weight of a broken tree,

no matter its strength.

 

Up Late

The sun is up high

yet my eyes have just opened

in a groggy haze.

 

Dish Mountain

The pots suspended,

precarious as climbers

hanging without ropes.

 

Lying Beneath Trees

Trees look like angels

silhouetted in sunlight;

their leaves are their wings.

 

Five O’Clock

Shadows on my chin

feel like dry blades of grass

before they brittle.

——

 

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