To Really Listen [Poem]

To speak
is my predisposition,
even in times
when I would be
better served
to pay you more mind.

I know this

and still, to change
is a process
that vexes me.
I do not know
any other way
to be.

I know this,

but there are times
when our discussions
turn to debates
and I hate realizing
how much I hate to lose
far too late.

I know this

and after each
of these times
my head starts to spin,
wishing to learn how
to be wrong
and to really listen.

Photo by Andres Herrera on Unsplash

Beach Trip [Poem]

Kiss me under palms 
on white beaches 

Leave your fingerprints 
on my palms 

Lay your weary head
against my chest

The smell of your hair 
is calming

The sun will warm us
while we rest

Rest in salt breezes
snoring softly

Know that I’m with you
by heartbeats

Yawn ourselves awake
in the evening

Shiver sudden cold
from shoulders

Wink with both our eyes
at sun’s leaving

Photo by Brandi Alexandra on Unsplash

The Illustrated Woman [Poem]

She came through my door full of history,
her cheeks polished silk smooth
by the soft erosion
of bitterly fallen teardrops
and her hands wrinkled
like the crumpled and torn first pages
of unfinished novels –
written, erased, crumpled, and tossed
in the wastebasket.

Her shoes etched
thousand mile indents,
marking my entryway with
traces of old alleyway shortcuts
and once familiar roads.
Each pace down my darkened hallway
recited episodes of the solemn journey
that first led her to the promise of warmth
behind my door.

In the dim light of the doorway,
the colorful stories etched into her skin
flickered in and out of focus.
I had to trace the outlines with my fingertips,
so that no detail would slip through the cracks.
She had chronicled all her stories in her skin,
so I tried to grasp every detail,
but so many times
I didn’t know where to begin.

Let Your Love [Poem]

Let your love be sunshine

pulling down eyelids already heavy with sleep
with the promise of daydreams
and the memory of counting sheep.

Let your love be a spring shower

pooling in the spaces between idle fingertips.
and dripping down sun-soaked shirts
as it overflows thirsty lips.

Let your love be lightning

lingering in the spaces between the rumbling thunder
like a promise or a premonition
at once terrifying and full of wonder.

Let your love be a downpour

falling wherever your clouds overflow,
cascading over mountains and growing flowers
in places flowers shouldn’t be able to grow.

Photo by Craig Whitehead on Unsplash

A Delayed Rebirth [Prose]

There was a lick of cold in the air when I stepped out of the front door that early spring morning, a small reminder of the ghosts of winter. I thought, for the briefest of moments, about digging a coat from the bottom of my pile of already-packed-away winter clothes, but the sun above my head was warm enough against my shoulders and it had been far too long since the sun and I had talked without intervening layers. Slow paced, I traced a path through my concrete clad neighborhood with no particular destination in mind. The sun felt good on my back, so I took off my shirt, letting the cold and the warmth sweep over me simultaneously. I shivered slightly as the sun battled the shadows on my behalf.

Ghostly blackbird sings

a premonition of spring

hidden in the shade.

The leaves crinkled under my feet as I walked. One of my footsteps made no noise and I paused to see what there was living among the dead leaves. It was a single cherry blossom petal that must have floated here on the contradictory breeze. With nowhere to go and nothing but time, I sat down in the dead leaves by the roadside, twirling the cherry blossom petal between my fingers, feeling the cold breeze, waiting for spring. I sat there all evening. As the sunlight faded into night, I bit a piece off of the petal, then another, then another, until there was nothing left. After that, I went home, the cold breeze still lingering.

dead leaves and dry ground

all crumbling underfoot –

a delayed rebirth

At DVerse, the prompt is to write a haibun about Cold Mountain.

Photo by Imani Bahati on Unsplash

Blood Moon [Poem]

Moon as red, as autumn wine,
that on this summer night so fine,
across the sky has slowly bled
like paint, unaccustomed to lines
or to creaking necks and upturned heads
that never before or after saw a moon as red.

There is a quiet quiver in the air,
on this summer night so fair,
when the moon is bled to slivers,
and laced with clouds that do not care
how much they mute the moon’s red river.
In your shoulders that night, though you know not why, there is a quiet quiver.

At DVerse today, we were asked to write a sparrowlet poem.

Photo by Anand Rathod on Unsplash

The Climb [Poem]

What is it, friend, that you expect to find
when at the mountain summit you arrive?
Will mind and body begin to unwind
or is that just a lie that you’ve contrived?
Might that lightheadedness be salvation
or is it merely an absence of air?
Are the tears that you weep from elation
or are they born from an unanswered prayer?
When Moses stood tall on that fabled hill
did his eyes see the same glory as yours?
Will you both swallow that same bitter pill
when you return to humanity’s door?
To search for salvation is so often futile,
even prophets must search through inverted pupils.

Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Unsplash

Edible Artwork [Poem]

Do you feel some strange desire,
when you look at a beautiful painting,
to consume it, to swallow its entrails,
to expose the finer details hidden within
that no eyes can truly see?

I want to sink my teeth into meadows,
gnaw valleys into cliff faces
brushed from water and oil,
and lap up the churning waters
of acryllic oceans and clay rivers.

I want to taste how
the air must have tasted
that spring morning, or fall evening,
or summer dusk, or winter dawning,
the painter so fully contemplated.

Greedy poet that I am,
I want to leave this world and enter another,
where I can open my mouth and ears and hands and nose and eyes
to a reality far more true than this musky museum
I’ve grown to despise.

A Book That Is Not A Book [Poem]

The worst part of any book
is almost always the binding.
This is not to say
there are not beautiful books
hidden between charming covers.

Rather, the binding is a crook,
that steals by confining,
confounding every page
with a thousand stories overlooked
by those ever opposed lovers.

I yearn to read just one book
unbound from its bindings,
that can life’s chaos convey.
A book that is neither a book,
nor governed by cover-sown shutters.

At DVerse, the prompt today is to write a poem that’s loosely based on French ideals and culture OR
to write a poem using the poetic form “Rimas Dissolutas.”

Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash



Crash [Short Story]

I was late. It was my own damn fault. Three alarms had gone off right in my ear – three loud, buzzing alarms – but I had turned them all off and kept sleeping. Now I was stumbling out the front door to the sound of screeching steel, and the buzzing and grinding of workmen that had kept me up all through the night. Damn construction. I’d have to talk to the homes association about the noise when I got home. I was so tired, I barely felt alive.

By the time I dragged myself to my car, a steady progression of cars was already making its way down the way, bound for god knows where. I took only a half second to look in despair at the slightly dented front bumper. My wife, or someone else, must have bumped a barricade pulling out of the work parking lot the day before.

I climbed into the car carefully, strapping myself in. I checked the seatbelt twice, adjusted the mirrors, and pressed a few buttons for good measure. Confident I was secure, I melded into the progression of cars, bound for god knows where.

The sky was a thousand fluorescent suns, surrounded by dark clouds. It was strangely beautiful, in an artificial sort of way. I didn’t bother looking up at it, though. I couldn’t have, anyway, since my head was locked forward, my eyes on the progression of cars ahead of me as they melted away from me one at a time, bound for god knows where.

Soon, there was no one in front of me, just the open road. I could almost have smiled, in that moment, if I were not so set on getting to where I needed to be. There was no one in front of me, so it was rather odd that I suddenly heard a screech of metal and a loud thud right next to me.

For some reason, my eyesight ballooned white and something punched me in the mouth. My legs, which had already been dangling limply from my torso, folded all the way up under the steering wheel. Then, I was flying.

I was sure I had checked my seatbelt, so you can imagine my surprise when I found myself hurling forward, into the reinforced glass. It didn’t break, but I did. I didn’t feel a thing, though, which I thought was strange. I must have died right when I hit the window. That was good, I would have hated to have suffered.

“Dammit!”

I heard a voice from outside my window, in the sky made of a thousand flourescent suns. A man appeared in the shattered driver side window. He peered scholarly into the car, not making any move to help me.

Turning over his shoulder, he called out to someone I could not see, “I think we need to fix the seatbelts. These aren’t holding any weight at all.”

He fussed around with the seat belt for a bit, then turned to look me in the eyes. Though he did not seem unkind, there was no empathy in his voice. When he spoke to me, it was as if we had some great inside joke between us that I did not understand: “Sorry buddy, better luck next time.”

Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash