The pain of loving intertwined,
remembering that which is treasured
will be lost, even as ‘forever’
spills from the lips;

Gazing now at this precious face,
new life paused in eternity
long enough to be companions
for awhile and it must suffice,
though water seeps from weary eyes
that well know the pain of partings;

And we do it again. Once more
we rise to the heart’s yearning
for loving connection, living amidst
collective illusion that seeing
must be believing, and so it is.

photo: Chris Johnson


Who knows which of us first decided
to move on it, heed the call, answer
the pounding pulse in full presence
of the other;

The heart I hold tender yet firmly
in these cupped gardener’s hands
is revealed without guile,
a fistful of manna, food
for the gods overwatching;

We imagine, this passion play
of bodies too temporal and finite
as souls awaken from the drone
of not knowing, all experiments
performed well when young;

It is you, this is me, and we give
over to its shining pulsing rhythm,
merely as token of an everlasting
eternal love.

Provisional Peace

Her tears roll down my cheeks
while I, imperfect proxy, pore over them
one by one, not having done so
since transferring onto flash drives
the sheer volume of archives once overloading
a laptop, then hidden inconspicuously
in a small wooden box near to
and yet far away from their power
to tear at fragile hearts
each time files were clicked open;

Once again I scan through pages stained
from years pressed into albums stored
in a piano bench, grit and dust in the midst
of new construction, implausible façade
for the crumbling life dreamed about
during days when fantasy still captivated,
impossible quandaries, what to do,
not only her life now, but those
of two precious ones entrusted
to her care, numbly trying to shield
while at the same time placing them squarely
in the thrall of her own desperate drama;

Sifting back through time, agony refreshed,
tears sliding unbidden down hollows creased
with living history, withering shoot pushing
wearily through a crack in the granite
of social veneer, the face one wears
in greeting another day without drowning,
gaze fixed firmly on growing things hidden
from people not known well if at all,
distance placed – temporary lives
and shallow roots like existence itself,
she reasons, philosophical smugness passing
off as modern maturity; elderly wisdom arching,
careening over losses in the detritus
of living well as can be expected;

Yet scratch the surface and she
is reminded we are all casualties of conflict,
lovers of life biding time in provisional peace
amidst destruction all around in the form
of memories that keen our awareness;
perhaps it is the best any of us can brook,
this truce with being human, wondering
at the time we have yet to traverse
before we lie still, animated only
in others’ memories while we voyage
into spaces lesser known.

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In Your Midst

Each time I am asked, my spirit is willing,
yet somehow I still suffer from a sort of social malaise,
and I cannot name where it comes from,
save enormous overwhelm in situations
where many discover delight.

I know I may fool you, for I genuinely love people,
though I am ill suited to groups and exposure,
small one hiding under desks, trying her damndest
to remain invisible, the observer, the writer,
the introvert shoved onstage, deer in footlights,
yearning only for the quiet of forest and stream
and creatures who do not conclude.

Still I soldier on, tears streaming down weary cheeks,
attempting to share my humanity, my heart;
participating in the human dance
for the first time in over thirty years of isolation;
and when I try and stop the waters,
it’s like imploding on myself, bursts of mortar
and powder, notwithstanding.

This tearing up is not stifled emotion,
decades of mining the depths of my soul; neither is it
a call for sympathy or pity, I cannot imagine
what my own sobs bring up in you, we do not share lives.
Still, despite discomfort, I vibrate to the strings
that tether us, sensing the tremolos of repression,
and perhaps the gods in their eternal quest
for amusement simply interject
this collage of a human, cobbled together
with paste and faded construction paper
into your midst for reasons unfathomable,
especially to her.


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