Sky Meets Earth

Landing is the part that gets me,

Gravity exercising final control.

We must always come back down.

My brain abandons all logic on final approach,

Dredging up all the images of Icarus,

Wings spread, hands up, head back,

Dropping like a chiseled stone from the sun drenched skies above

Mediterranean waters. Daedalus, often forgotten

In the picture, off canvas, watching horrified,

His son, saved from the minotaur to be eaten by sharks.

Hearing the sick slap of flesh on unyielding waves,

Bones snapping, skin bruising black from the force,

Consciousness switched off—a mercy—as the young man,

Wax wings, disfigured from flight and folly and fall, breaking and spreading,

Sinks under the serene summer blue of the sea.

 

I have no problem with heights.

Takeoff. Flight. Physics is a solid comfort,

Predictable, law abiding. Landing follows suit,

But variables are all I consider.

It’s a silly fear. I had carefree days when I truly believed

A blanket cape made me Superman. But even he started out

Only leaping buildings. Drop him from the edge of space

I bet he’d have a bad time, too. Likely it would be a broken wrist.

What happened to Billy?

Oh, he jumped off the roof with a blanket around his neck.

He’s lucky he only needed one bone set.

What happened, Clark?

Skydiving accident. Needed a cast.

Sure, sure, I still expect those articles on my desk tomorrow.

 

Falling is the problem here. The joke is that the instant deceleration,

That’s what kills you. I’ve fallen from a few heights.

I still climb; the view is often worth it. Trees, slides, trees, again.

Hitting land is no problem, sometimes survivable, always some evidence.

And I have falling nightmares, and drowning nightmares, sometimes sequentially.

Maybe I fear Icarus’s fate.

I fear falling from too great a height to be lost in the unplumbed depths.

Unrecoverable. Lost. Forgotten.

Touch and Go

It’s been awhile since I last posted. I’m nearly done with my first novel so I have no apology. Here we go:

We touch and turn
round, under, through
other bodies rotating.
I dip, he leads,
I think he smells
like a good place to be
for the next three minutes
before we part and repeat.
Different song,
different beat, strangers
meet together on the floor,
while the music lasts
becoming
something more
at least for three minutes
before they part and repeat.

Recovering

I told you, I told you, I told you, I told you
One day we’re fine, one day we’re flat
And I never, I never, I never
Understood that
Never understood how it came to this.
I never understood what you thought you’d missed.

We’ve been spinning around each other
All these years;
Independent orbits, independent fears.
We talk at each other but neither one hears.
And I can’t imagine making it last
When we’re  going down in flames this fast.
We need to light a different kind of fire
Turn down our tempers, turn up the trust.
This isn’t a test, the stakes couldn’t be higher
It needs the kind of fix that can’t be rushed.
We need to get it together,
Get on the same page or lose it forever. 

I told you, I told you, I told you, I told you
One day we’re fine, one day we’re flat
And I never, I never, I never
Understood that
Never understood how it came to this.
I never understood what you thought you’d missed.

I know you’re thinking about a life without me,
Shake me off, get yourself free
But that life sounds cold, it sounds lonely.
And you can’t imagine making it last
When you’re living with the ghosts of the past.
We need to find a fresh start,
Banish our demons, let sleeping dogs lie
Because I gave you my heart,
And I don’t want it back, not after this much time.
Don’t give yours to another,
Just give our love a chance to recover.

I told you, I told you, I told you, I told you
One day we’re fine, one day we’re flat
And I never, I never, I never
Understood that
Never understood how it came to this.
I never understood what you thought you’d missed.

And now I’m letting go
Of my ‘I told you so’s’
Drying my last tear
And breathing my last sigh
Hoping for a few more years
And plenty fewer lies
And love that never,
Love that never,
Love that never, never dies.

Missing and Gone

It seems a dream now,
Everything the same
Yet different somehow, inside,
Where I still feel the pain
Longing and wronged by fate.
I could shake my fist but
It would be a waste
And whatever cathartic release
That brought would be replaced
By the empty hollow you left,
Because you’re missing and gone.

I can hardly remember your touch
But I’m missing it every day
In some way I can’t define.
Your things remain and, though it’s not much,
You remain in my mind always
Young, still here, still mine.

I’m growing to accept it
The stillness of these rooms
In the midst of your absence,
Though letting go of the grief?
It’s too soon, too soon
Too near your departure.
It makes no sense.
My heart hurts more now,
As the numbness recedes
The realization is fresh
That you’re missing and gone.

I can hardly remember your touch
But I’m missing it every day
In some way I can’t define.
Your things remain and, though it’s not much,
You remain in my mind always
Young, still here, still mine.

You’re here, in my mind,
Where you’ll always be mine,
Mine, though you’re missing and gone.

My inspiration for this came from an unusual combination of influences. I was listening to the Van Morrison station on Google Play Music, and a Bruce Springsteen song came on. I don’t usually listen to The Boss, but this song struck me deep down. It’s lyrical, beautiful, heart wrenching. Love and loss, and life goes on somehow. The song is “You’re Missing” from the album The Rising, which makes it fairly new Springsteen. I’d highly recommend a listen. I also have a friend and fellow writer who frequently takes inspiration from songs. Music informs his poetry, and it’s a huge part of his life. A lot of his poems have a song like quality, with verses and refrains. He seems at times to be in dialogue with the original material, at times taking only a cue from it, thoughts coming together at a single point and parting again. However you view this style I enjoyed giving it a try. Here’s the result. At it’s heart it’s part poem, part song. You get to choose the tune.

October Is Past Its Peak, Already

I think I’d like to lay with you in the blue-gray shadows
thrown by the cold, barren winter moon.
We can pretend the stars are fireflies, stuck in a stasis of unblinking
flight by a cryogenic freeze
brought on by this northern clime and axial tilt of our homeworld. Of course,
we’d have to don suits of nylon swishiness
to shield our limbs from the white perfection of the snow’s teeth;
our suits will morph the biting cold into downy
beds upon the ground.

Let the northern latitudes be capped in silent frost!
Silent nights are an eerie respite from summer sounds. I’ll trade
cricket song for the crack and chirp of icy branches,
briefly.
Hold my hand now and we’ll watch those
six-month stars spin out across the sky. As I’ve traced the last
constellation I’ll be ready for warmth to rise as those strange
hieroglyphs set in favor of the next round.
Our puffs of breath will do for nets,
for now,
as we pursue our signs in the sky and continue this crazy earthbound ride.

Because, Why Not?

The Old House Blues

The furniture’s ancient and

horribly mangled. The curtains:

windblown, and hopelessly tangled.

Kitchen dishes discarded,

in shattered decay while the food’s done the same,

in a fuzzier way.

The wallpaper is peeling, the rugs are a mess,

pilfered by mice to feather their nests.

There’s some soul in it yet,

and good bones, good bones,

a foundation made of solid stones.

It sighs and it creaks

from the weight of the roof,

but it hasn’t leaked yet so

there lies the proof.

The beams and joists

(so far) stand firm.

No, it hasn’t given yet

to termite or worm.

The woodwork is walnut, mahogany, oak;

it stands up bravely under the yoke

of crumbling plaster and

moldering brick, of dust

that is laying two inches thick.

The porch kind of sags—

no surprise that it should—

for out here is made of a much softer wood.

The boards are of pine, and

—isn’t it grand?

how—despite the weather

it continues to stand.

The façade, it is true,

has seen better days. Now it’s faded

and chipped by the sun’s piercing rays.

The siding is warping, the windows are black.

This house has good bones

but the skin is all cracked.

Instead of a lawn, a dustbowl

holds sway; dirt barren and crumbly

or hard-packed dry clay.

Out back, ‘round the house, at the end of the yard

are a springhouse and well

that, silent, stand guard.

And the wind through the eaves sings the saddest of blues:

Of a house with good bones,

and longs years of disuse.

I originally wrote this in 2013, in the notebook I carried with me everywhere. That same notebook has the first fitful pages of the first novel I wrote. It also contains a few bits and pieces I can go back to and glean for future projects. I have a new notebook, full of new ideas, but this was worth coming back to visit and typing up. Enjoy 🙂

Sensitivity Training

I read an article in The Atlantic which was brought to my attention by a friend’s Facebook post linking it. The article is on the longer side for today’s attention span, but well worth the time taken to read it through. Here’s a link to the article. It also spawned this poem, and it will, quite possibly cause backlash. I hope it also causes the intended effect of making us think deeply about the topic rather than jump to feeling offended.

I’m offended by this title.
Do you think I’m sensitive?
Maybe you’re just hardhearted.
There I go: Using accusative
“you” statements again.
I’m told the world’s a scary place.
I demand protection from every
trigger, microaggression,
noncontextualized statement
thrown my way. Oh, no,
they’re not directed at me personally,
just left around carelessly
like socks that have lost their mates.
I expect to be Molly coddled in the name of liberty. Free country,
free from anything that hurts
or frightens my thoughts.
I want shielding from the world,
but freedom to go out into it
expecting nothing less than to trip
naïvely through the woods
as all the Big Bad Wolves
leave me in peace to pass on through,
[Trigger Warning] unmolested.