LOVE POEM #44 – DUSTED CONSTELLATIONS

Look out the window,

I made that for you.

That low-hung half-moon,

Golden brown and smiling.

You remind me of it…

Or rather, it reminds me of you.

That beacon in the darkness,

Between the starlight,

Swaying with the sounds

Of smooth jazz in the night.

I can see you in her

On lonely nights.

On the broken porch steps,

The chill autumn breeze

Swirls along our fingertips,

Edging us closer.

I want to dance.

Take my hand,

Let me guide you

Across the sky tonight.

The two of us,

Dusted,

With wine on our lips,

Make for a lovely constellation.

Exhaustion.

Star gaze with me,

My little star girl.

So full of life;

So full of light.

Lie with me a minute,

And let eternity pass us by.

There’s no arms I’d rather call home.

——
 
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THE IN BETWEEN

As I sit and look at the people from my own restaurant seat booth, I see myself as a part of the world, and yet completely apart from the world. I’m delighted by the smiling faces of the family at a table not ten paces away from me. They have aligned themselves in the most stereotypical of ways—the women on the left, and the men on the right. Yet they couldn’t be happier. The family members poured in one by one, and the whole room was filled with cries of “Hey!” and “So good to see you!” and they have yet to stop laughing. It is something quite beautiful—so few people live their lives to enjoy each other. So many live to simply enjoy themselves.

Take the couple across from me for example. I had expected an older couple to enjoy each other’s company more than my technological youth, but they are instead sitting, staring at their phone screens. They are leaned over, scarfing down their food like ravenous wolves. Their phones in hand—I don’t think they have spoken a word since they got here. They even sat on the same side of the booth. Perhaps they simply appreciate each other’s closeness. Perhaps at that age, there are simply no more words to say—but I would certainly hope not.

And then there is me. I sit in the in between of life. There is a void of silence that lingers, impenetrable, for feet around me at all time. Even the waitress, whose brimming smile roused the old couple to life for a moment, quieted as she took my order. My life has become all business, and they can feel it. I had been working diligently at the spreadsheets I had brought with me. It didn’t even cross my mind to ask someone to breakfast with me. I wouldn’t even know where to start. I am an invisible man—not the Ralph Ellison kind, but invisible nonetheless. For all the words I say, the people I meet, and the lives I change, I am forgotten.

That is, to everyone but her. You remember her, don’t you? We don’t say her name anymore, because she is gone now, but for a short while we spent all our time together. We went off, sailing away into the distance, with champagne, sunlight, and smiles. You know the one, don’t you? We have all met that person, who changed us. Who made the world feel whole and the frigid winters a little less frozen.

But she is gone now, and I sit in the in between. Between this cold, awful world, and whatever comes next. There is too much to lose in reality, yet too little to cling to for me to stay grounded. I am a mind without a body—moving through the world with complete awareness of self, yet no desire. I’m told desire stems from the gut. Perhaps that is why the office has come to call me gutless. It doesn’t matter. They will be long dead, and I’ll still be here: watching, listening, and waiting for her return.

——

 

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GRANDEUR (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

I Did

“I should, I could, I…”

How long will you tell these lies?

How long till “I did.”

 

Wasted Journey

Five thousand miles

And all I have to show are

Hunger pains and scars.

 

Grandeur

Do not be afraid

Of your first steps in success.

Fear taking your last.

 

The Nightmare

The nightmare whispers

Through the crack in the closet.

“Sleep, dream, and be freed.”

 

Background

You loved another

So I showed my love for you

Through restrained silence.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #39 – APHRODITE

I wish you could see yourself

How I see you. It seems your eyes

Dim the reflection in your mirror,

And somehow

That luscious, golden smile, and

That blazing fire in your soul,

Becomes an extinguished charcoal

That’s full of imperfections.

And yet to me, you are anything

But imperfect.

 

There is no star as shiny;

No flower so sweet;

No winter could stymie

Your summer-like heat.

Your smile could make oceans

Weep rain to the skies;

Your heart’s like a potion

That makes brittle men spry.

Your lips are like a drug—

An addition I can’t shake,

And at night when I am snug,

Cravings for you make me wake.

 

Yet all of these are things you cannot see,

For unknown reasons, you think you can’t be

As beautiful as you appear to me,

And yet I would call you Aphrodite.

 

And were I Paris, I’d not hesitate

To set that golden apple on your plate,

Because no one is as perfect as you,

Even if you take yourself for a shrew.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #38 – HELLO

Hello..

I didn’t

Expect to see you

Here.

Or really,

Ever

To see you again.

 

And now that you’re here

I’ve never felt so…

Lost for words.

I mean don’t get me wrong,

You’re still exactly as

 

I remember you.

 

Your hair,

The deep, long

Silhouette

That haunts me

To this day.

 

Your eyes,

Closed now,

But still full

Of so much life;

So much light.

 

Your smile.

The tiny fret

That hung against

Your strained lips,

As you faked it

In front of our parents.

 

The touch of

Your cheeks,

Soft

Against the back

Of my fingers.

 

Oh, I remember you.

 

You don’t look a day older

Than when you left me.

And yet you’ve aged

Like a fine wine.

 

Though your hair has grayed,

And your face shows wrinkles,

You’ve never been more beautiful

Than you are today.

 

And I don’t even know

What I’m doing here.

Nobody knows me.

I turned up because

I saw your name,

Like a relic from the past,

Across every newspaper,

Every TV station,

And every Facebook feed.

 

And you would think

That with all this time apart

I would have found the words

To finally tell you

How much I missed you.

 

Even if you can’t hear me.

 

Even if the last words between us

Were “get out.”

Even if the tears of today do not

Forgive the sins of my past.

 

Because the obituaries

Just see you

For all you accomplished.

They see you

As some of object

For mankind.

 

“Beautiful,”

“Gorgeous,”

“An actress

Like no other.”

“A true inspiration

For women

Everywhere”

 

They never saw

The little girl,

Teary eyed

At her first role

In the school play.

 

They never saw

The young teen,

Frozen in fear

Back stage.

 

Do you remember that?

You don’t.

You can’t.

You were off stage right,

And they’d just said you cue,

And you were stuck there,

Till I pushed you out on stage.

 

And you were wonderful.

 

But they never saw that.

They’ll never see that.

Only I saw that.

And I’m sorry.

I am so sorry

 

That I wasn’t there;

That I put my work

Before your love;

That I put my words

Before your thoughts;

That I put my wants

Before your needs.

 

I’m sorry.

And I just wish

That I could have told you

Before it was too late…

But it is too late now.

So all I can say is

Goodbye.

——

 

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THE CHERRY TREE

We used to spend our evenings back in the country popping cherries. The sticky, sweet juice ran down the sides of our greedy lips, leaving us like a vampire after finishing his meal. Nights like those were beautiful. The dusty horizon faded from yellow, to orange, to pink, to purple, and finally into the deep blue-blackness that marked bedtime for most people. But for us, it was a secret thing; a special thing.

A cherry tree at the end of the day is a beautiful thing to see. After hours in the field, one certainly works up an appetite. The dirt and grime of the day seeps into the innermost pores of the skin, filling the cracks in our broken skin with a thin layer of powder. To hold the soft, dainty skin of a ripe cherry, taught and firm, between our thick, meaty fingers, was like holding the essence of purity between the fingers of corruption.

The best cherries always sat at the tops of the tree. Perhaps this was because it was late in the seasons, and all the low hanging fruit had been picked by the passersby. But we would spend hours a day there, watching the time shift around us. We would climb up the branches, until there were but little spindles of tree for us to stand on. We would reach out as far as we could, fingers straining to catch a cherry or two, while the rest of our body was stiff; carefully balanced like a tightrope walker. Until finally, in a moment of release, we would have the cherry, pop it in our mouths, and enjoy our prize.

But those days are long gone. The cherry tree was cut down, replaced by a care facility for the elderly. And while I am happy that my father will get the care he deserves (at least, that’s what the facility has promised, once he come to need it), I am still saddened that our liberties as maturing young adults were torn away from our hands. We no longer spend those late nights together, feasting on the pleasures of youth. We simply sit, and watch, and wait for the end of time to bear us a different fruit.

——

 

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CONDITIONAL LOVE

It seems like a good day to talk about family. Everyone has family struggles in their life. Bad parents. Bad children. Bad siblings. None of the above…the absence of family is still a family struggle, right? But we often don’t talk about how important family is to the general scheme of our lives. Which is perhaps because we take them more for granted than we should. I certainly do.

Then again, family can really be a difficult thing to understand. People love to throw around the term “unconditional love,” which I don’t really understand. I mean, I love my family—both my immediate family and the vast majority of my extended family. But I don’t think I could call love unconditional. I mean, people often say “I love you unconditionally” to their spouse, but if they caught that spouse out with three hookers for a week long cocaine binge, they probably wouldn’t find it in their heart to continue loving them. Maybe. But probably not.

Likewise, family has a similar conundrum, right? We all have that one sibling that gets on our nerves (if we have siblings), but that doesn’t mean we have to cast them out, right? But at what point is the breaking point?

Let’s say they turn their back on everything their family stands for. Like a man from a Jewish family renouncing his faith and joining the Neo-Nazi party. Is that far enough? If love were unconditional, no. How about being betrayed by someone because that person was so desperate in their life, they decided it was worth punishing their family as some sort of…extended blame for their own problems? How about then?

What if a family member goes insane and starts murdering people without justification or anything? As loosely defined as it is, these technically fall under “conditional love.” Not murdering people seems like a pretty reasonable condition to me. But like…not loving someone because they didn’t share their milkshake with you would not be quite so reasonable.

Which leaves me curious about why we choose to use words like “unconditional love” when discussing our relationship to our family. I mean, it might have to do with the hyperbolic nature of human kind, and that’s perfectly plausible…but it is not that entertaining. I think it might have to do with the fickleness of love in the first place. Love, like all emotions, is not entirely sustainable. It ebbs and flows. Think about it. If every minute of every day you were desperately in love with someone, you’d probably kill yourself. Just like if you were constantly enraged with everyone. Or, if not, you might grow bored of them. Pizza is great, but eating the same pizza every day can grow a bit stale. Maybe it takes a week, maybe it takes a month. Maybe it even takes twenty years.

But we don’t eat pizza every day. We have other things. And like with food, we experience other emotions. And those other emotions impact the ones we currently feel. One might say they love you unconditionally, and mean it at that moment. But over time, that love fades and becomes conditional, simply because that’s how emotions work, no? Does that make sense? Let me know what you think in the comments.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #37 – A JOURNEY

It was the end of the world.

The streets were burning,

The oceans were churning,

And that’s when I realized

That I loved you.

 

I was there, running,

From a monstrous beast

Through a collapsing hallway

When it hit me

That I loved you.

 

And when I felled the beast,

I knew I had to find you.

 

So I traversed the sea,

Climbed mountains, and

Walked miles,

Ever telling myself

That I loved you.

 

I bloodied my arms,

Battered my limbs, and

Endured sleepless nights

As my mind screamed to me

That I loved you.

 

I crawled wearily,

Weak from malnutrition,

Afraid each day was my last.

My only respite was

That I loved you.

 

And when I had crossed the last street,

And used the ends of my strength

Just to knock at your door.

I knew it was true

That I loved you.

 

And then you opened the door,

 

And eternity passed between us.

 

The hate, the anger,

The pain, the love,

The lost friendship,

The bitter words.

 

Like a wave from the ocean,

It all washed away.

 

There you stood:

Shorter than me,

Yet somehow tall.

Perfectly beautiful

And shocked.

 

I opened my mouth,

But my words

Abandoned me.

For no words,

Could compare

To how I felt.

 

And to my surprise,

You grasped me,

Held me, and

Cried on me.

 

I felt the words

I love you

Fall out of my mouth.

Though I had not

Bidden my tongue to say them.

 

And you turned to me

And whispered

That I love you

Too.

——

 

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LOVE POEM #36 – THE TRUTH

I would compare you to a summer’s day,

If the Cali sun could match to your heat.

But the truth of it, love, I cannot say

For all comparisons would feel cheap.

 

Your eyes are like marbles; your lips like wine;

Your tongue like honey, and your hips divine.

Your hair like a river; your teeth a light;

Your smile like silver; your legs a sight.

 

Your mind’s like a dagger stuck in my side;

Your kiss makes me stagger and swell with pride.

Your stare makes me shiver, and turn to stone,

But for you I’d wither away to bones.

 

Because, love, I’ve found that the truth of you

Is that nothing on Earth can match your hue.

——

 

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SCAB (AND OTHER HAIKUS)

Fatigued

My eyes are burning

Like kindling for the fire

From my lack of sleep.

 

Scab

Life is like a scab

It bleeds; it stings, yet we still

Keep picking at it.

 

Police Car

The siren calls me.

I steer my ship abreast her

So she may take me.

 

Unexpected Complications

I leaned to kiss her

But she turned away from me;

Eyes full of sadness.

 

Mornings

The sun streams through the

Shutters by the door frame, till

She flutters to life.

——

 

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