Saturday, June 3, 2023

Looking elsewhere

I’d never seen that look 

Despite seeing her on every

Page, the thinking of everyone

Long dead, whatever living

On the edge might mean --

Out on the fringe of what

Was known, what suspected.

Great swirls of yellow

And orange, a veil

I slithered past and there

Beside me the latest book

I was reading, she stood

Staring down at hands that

Had once been graceful 

And fine but were now 

Gnarled from grasping

More life for my sake.

She turned with a smile

That should have persuaded

Me she was drowning

In agony’s seas.



“One man down,” I 

Fell, little thoughts

Grasping for the half-out

Woman I struggled to

Dream back in.  Saddened

By my inability, she

Longed, I felt for

A resumption of our

Striving to finish

The project we’d begun.

We rolled around

In our presumptive

Belief that we’d have 

Time to exercise

Our hearts, our

Resolutions, with just

A few more minutes

Of productive dreaming.

I looked for her down

Each aisle, but she was

No longer in the store.

Valedictive Dream

I had a dream upon

Learning she was ill.

I’d give of myself

During whatever

Her future held,

And, toward the end,

She said, “well done.”

Whatever joy felt

From her regard

Was splashed like

Blood upon the grail.

Her hands not mine

Were nailed upon

The tangibility 

Of her pain.  She

Roiled within its throes.

No help remained.

She went beyond her 

Strength seeing me

Unwilling to let her go,

And bled out on the way.

Monday, March 6, 2023

Ethereal Considerations

I’ve taken too long, passing beyond

My understanding.  I’ve inched up on

An elbow, watching the ax-wielding

Assassin.  My left side throbbed.

My bullet-proof vest took the brunt

But I was broken.   I fell face 

Down on the floor and watched

His boots as he stomped about

Viewing his work.  Satisfied,

He turned and swung the ax over

His shoulder, drenching my face

With the blood of all the others.

A long time later I struggled up

And made my way through the

Carnage.  Cleaning the blood

From my eyes I touched the

Badge on my belt, the gun

In my holster.  I stood

Unsteadily considering my

Obligations.  Should I retire or

Go out seeking my assassin?

On Stepping Back

        “You need to come forward!”

Brushing the dust from my

Writing pad I take a step

And then another.  Why

Send me, Oh Lord?  I am

Old and weak of heart?

I know the mantra

About your strength

Being all I need, and

Yet I stumble, and 

That’s no metaphor.

Would you have your

Servant on the ground

In some far land,

Where bullets fly, not able

to do more than stand

There smiling?  “Look

They’ll say.  He stands 

There unafraid!”  And I’ll

Say “take this burden from

Off my back and let me die.”


        It isn’t that I’m forgetful –

Not remembering whether

I’ve checked the mail, as

It is that I no longer think

It worth recalling.  I

Should, finding myself going

Out again and again as though

I’d forgotten.  Sometimes I 

Find mail and feel justified.

Sometimes I find myself

Rummaging through my trash

Looking for evidence.  Last 

Night I dreamt I was homeless,

Pushing a cart filled with mail,

And not knowing if it was all 

Mine, furtively thinking I might

Be asked to explain myself

And lacking explanations

Save the name on the

Cart and the time,

I kept on pushing.

Interstitial Innocence

        Standing here in the middle

O nothing, I suck in air

That seems clean, but

Has adiments that cause

Cancer and limits

Life.  From what I

Wonder?  There are no 

Guarantees at birth.

Except “return to sender”

However long

That takes.  Each of us

Being a narrative unless

One becomes an historian

Who leads an uneventful

Life in the first

Person. I Googled

“Afterlife” and received

Words wrought round

About with doubt, aware

Of the aerie nothing

On which we stand.