Dog on a Leash (and Other Haikus)

Legos

My fingers fumble

to click the blocks together.

Where’s the yellow brick?

 

The Move

Staring at the space

where a sculpture used to stand;

now just an imprint.

 

Soil

Between specks of dirt

I can hear the solemn songs

of forgotten souls.

 

Cloud Nine

I forgot I walked

all the way down this hallway

when I held your hand.

 

Dog on a Leash

You’ve strangled my hand

hoping that for a second

I’d let you escape.

——

 

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The Golden Apple

The Golden Apple

 

It’s a wonder Paris could choose

who would get the golden apple

when I can barely part with one

that has red and yellow spots.

 

Yet he thrust it into the palms

of the porcelain god Venus

without a pause to consider

the empty pit in his stomach.

——

 

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FIFTY WORD STORY – Jello Legs

The door looked like it was a mile away. The orange sky was quickly fading, and with it Jon’s strength to move. He lurched past the desks, struggling to keep his footing. By the time he got to the door, he wasn’t sure if he could find his car beyond.

——

 

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Left at Home (and Other Haikus)

My Necklace

It’s not a burden

though the weight that it carries

could down a mule deer.

 

Skiing

The cut of white snow,

shifting beneath the black skis,

sharp as cool steel.

 

Tumbling

A twist of red pain

stabs through the knee like a knife

till it’s ripped away.

 

Still Water

Sparkling with stars;

disturbed in the calm blackness

by a moonlit fish.

 

Left at Home

The black dog is home

staring through the dark windows

thinking I’ve left him.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #85 – Late

Late

 

in life,

when love seems as difficult as laughter

the amber light of your reading chair may grow so dim

that you will struggle to see the letters on the page.

 

The white stationary of the note will be distant

and the scrawled, black handwriting so thin

that you may begin to wonder if her specter really existed

or if she was simply an illusion shaped by your sour heart.

 

Still, you will stay up, sunk into your chair

reading through a misty pair of glasses

at the page you have folded so many times

that you know the story of every crease.

——

 

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Snowfall on the Mountain

The grey wool coat clung to Harrison’s shoulders like a child to its mother. The first snow of the year was falling lightly through the brisk winter air as the last lights of the day arced over the horizon. It was his favorite time of the year.

In addition to his coat, Harrison had bundled himself in three blankets that draped from his neck down past the bottoms of his feet. Still, the cold had set in, and he felt it shiver through him in spite of his attempts at warmth. Up at his mountain house, the temperatures were half what they were down below, and even there the lakes had turned to ice. Still, the view of the pines daunted the grey city buildings he live for day in and day out. Their calm, cool whistle sounded to him like the voice of his grandparents, calling out to him from decades past.

The house had once been their house—though when they owned it, it had been more a shack than the manse he had built it into. The lawyers of the estate sale gave it up for less than a hundred thousand—a good price, but likely not much less than it was actually worth. The first year he had owned it, the roof gave out under the heavy winter snow, and he had had to bring in a work crew to fix it in the spring.

The memory of it brought a smile to Harrison’s face. It was bitter sweet to think of his grandparents, even all these years later. He had broken down crying that first year, after pushing his mourning to the back of his mind for work.

He lifted an arm out of his bundles, and reached for the Earl Grey tea he had brought out with him. It had been boiling when he brought it out, but the cold had swept the heat from the mug, and it hardly qualified as lukewarm now. The cold made the honey he had mixed in stronger, and for a minute he wondered if he had added a second spoonful by accident. He poured the rest of the tea onto the deck, though it simply painted the piling snow a grey-black color.

It was Harrison’s favorite time of year because the sunsets up the mountain turned the sky into a shimmer of yellow-orange diamonds. The light reflected through the snow, bouncing every which way, and from where he sat it looked like the stars had settled above the trees. In all his exotic business trips, he had never seen a snowfall to match the first of those up on the mountain. Eventually, the snowfall would grow thick, and even the highs of the day would become so cold that they would threaten a person if they stayed outside for more than a few minutes, but tonight it was still warm enough that Harrison could stay to see if the moon would be full or not.

He lost track of the days up here. Somewhere inside, his phone was waiting with an alert that would break the silence of his weeks off, and let him know he had to leave the next day, but for the life of him he couldn’t tell you where it was. All he could see were the snowflakes floating across the skyline, and the whispers of a long gone youthful innocence.

——

 

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Dog Ears (and Other Haikus)

Foggy

The morning fog flows

through the field of flowers

like a grey tendril.

 

Three Pens

One held in my hand,

one hiding in my pocket,

and one left at home.

 

Filters

The rosy red cheeks

pasted on a pale face

while hearts float around.

 

The Black Wall

It looks like the night

after I closed my worn eyes

waiting for sleep’s grasp.

 

Dog Ears

I put out my hand

to scratch behind your black ears

and see your eyes beam.

——

 

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COFFEE SHOP

I really like coffee shops. Not really the coffee, but the smell of a French roast in the early morning, along with the crackle of the pastries being torn to bits by customers as they rush off to work. The coffee grounds rinsing down the drain, the boiling water, and the steaming milk all add a special chaos that is seen nowhere outside a kindergarten classroom, and the coffee shop.

I started going in the mornings for a barista I met named Stacy. Stacy wore her nametag over her left breast because she loved her job. She said that her day was made when she brought the hollow black eyes of tired workers life. My day was made at 7:30 am, two and a half hours after she put the first pot on, when the chime of the doorbells caused her to look up from the cup she was at. It was as though a rainbow had been caught in the sunlight, and the whole café reflected her color.

Of course, that was a decade ago. Now I just go in the morning, sip a cup of tea, and read the newspaper until the bus arrives. The driver, Mike, knows me by name, but he took to calling me James a few years back. He overheard a passenger say I looked like Daniel Craig, and that made him laugh so hard he had to get off the bus for a rest stop. We sat there for fifteen minutes, awkwardly waiting for his scraggly gray beard to make it’s way back through the doors.

Some people might be worried someone would run off with their bus, but not Mike. Everyone knows Mike’s bus. It’s the only one with paint so faded that the company’s label is gone. They asked Mike to replace it, but Mike’s been there too long. Nobody tells Mike what to do with his bus.

And then it’s time to get off the bus. Brief case in hand, I step through the doorway of the glass door of the office. And who is there to greet me? Stacy. You can’t let your sunshine stray too far over the horizon, can you? I picked up Stacy, and she quickly outgrew her role as secretary. She stepped over me, and then over the CEO, but she still comes around to giggle at my salt and pepper hair in the morning. Our matching rings don’t hurt either. That’s the new nine to five for me, and I can’t say it doesn’t feel right.

——

 

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CAT UNDER A CHAIR (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Boxes

Opening cardboard

and seeing family photos

behind clouds of dust.

 

No Invites

A black iPhone screen,

an empty Facebook inbox,

and friends streaming fun.

 

Firewood

With your sacrifice

we kindled the sickly sparks

that staved off the rain.

 

Late

Hello, golden doorknob,

I think your brumal greeting

will mirror her dad’s.

 

Cat Under a Chair

While you lick your lips

and paw at the wooden legs,

I’ll sit and pay bills.

——

 

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IN THE RAIN

To the man on Main Street sitting in the rain

waiting for the second bus of the day to drive though

might I ask you why you brought a little purple umbrella

if you didn’t intend to open it for your protection?

 

Why is it curled up beneath your brown coat,

as though it were made to take the bus to work

for another long day bent over a steel bench

and you were meant to catch the raindrops?

 

You don’t even pause as you leave

when the pool of water pours from your hat to the ground

to think that there may have been some savior

sitting right beside you, waiting for its turn to help.

——

 

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