One moment of one day, another year later,
as I stray from usual thoughts,
recognition sets in:
My previous work is at least part-ways done;
standing at the end means
it’s none other than time
to begin again.
I feel like a child,
but not in the way Mom says
I’m acting like a baby.
More innocent, determined,
Suddenly the world opens up,
Craving my favorite friend, whom,
despite not knowing him all that well,
I describe, like so:
always on your side.
It’s good to know a guy name Joe
who keeps you moving when things are slow.
Losing the Man of My Dreams
Living a constant nightmare,
only now wide awake and alone,
I close my eyes often, shutting them tight,
hopelessly waiting for something that “might.”
Replaying you and me in my head, now and then,
watching things wrong turned to right—
in horror I view them, again and again,
wishing so badly for a more decent end.
But the end remains the same
since my conscious did forget
about me as Venus, him on Mars—
the reason, surely, for our canceled stars.
I realize it all, though it all came too late;
in desperately trying
not to lose what was had,
I lost the very thing, then made it go bad.
You pat my head as I raise my brow,
nodding, all will be all right.
“It’s me I hate for acting weak,” I say,
and with that, the truth did finally leak....
“I know, oh, I know this journey’s so over.
Listen close and be glad,
for I now wish to admit,
all the details before I chose to omit:
First, there was violence (against women) in his past,
though he swore it only once;
no thief in the world could remove from you worry
that he’d hit me once, too, if ever in fury.
He had a wife and son, now was raising a daughter,
and with that came some grief.
His needs weren’t met, he felt depleted,
so he found himself a mistress and with his mistress, cheated.
I doubt he ever trusted much
since his women often strayed.
He admitted with suspicions high,
he’d proceed to stalk and snoop and spy.”
I know you think my dreams are mistaken,
with me this man had no business nor place.
It’s true he had issues and with them came fault,
but he still had my heart locked away in a vault.
Rest assured, though, I recovered—
with the key and with it pride.
Now I sleep more soundly every night
since learning how wrong for me, this same Mr. Right.
Thank God for Gravity
With a deep breath,
I take in reality
of your absence,
and with my leftover presence,
No stronger is the wind
than a newborn child;
their breath is the same.
So, with our birthright,
wind’s and mine,
I reason a smile.
Your feet are grounded
in the soil,
though our roots stay intertwined.
With every step I leave you,
but gravity brings me back,
The Shattering of Advice
She told me to buck up—
less emotion is actually more,
though I have yet to find evidence of
something less being more,
besides perfume, make-up, salt, booze, caffeine…
I see what’s she’s saying.
Secretly, I like it, though:
how I’m more alive today than yesterday,
more open now than I was then.
(It’s hard to get around with all those antlers.)
I told her, thanks, but I’d prefer to feel it all,
even if it breaks my heart.
My next heart will not be made of glass.
Poker with the Queen of Hearts
You said you were all in,
but then I called your bluff.
After my winning hand, you chased me down,
unconvinced you’d had enough.
The next hand wasn’t dealt quite right,
even though you thought you’d won;
your flush was red with all but hearts.
Cheers!—to thinking you were done.
A man must learn a hand without hearts,
whether borrowed or one’s own,
leaves a queen without a choice:
to fold her cards; dethrone.
Take your money and run, you coward,
sprint as fast as you’re able,
knowing never again you'll be welcomed back
to sit here at my table.
Playing Cat & Mouse
I want you.
You want cheese.
This isn’t working out…
…because you escape me,
with cheese in your mouth.
....because you appear the star
of each episode,
leaving me in the dust.
You go play with other mice
while l go find a cat,
trying to get over my love of mice…
…because you deserve to be happy
and I deserve better
and I’m tired.
…because the more I chase you,
the faster you run away
and I notice no one is chasing after me.
Likeness of a Rose
If there is a God
He (or She) is in the petals,
mark my words.
With veins of wine,
in a vase of sand.
If you felt it,
would just know.
Gardens or garbage cans,
once the same.
I fell short,
convinced I was headed
for the dumpster.
just like that,
you handed me a budding smile.
My Stunted Imagination
waking up Saturday mornings
wearing your scented button-up,
waiting in bed while you make us breakfast;
confused, though, when I hear a crack and sizzle
realizing you’re opening a can of Coca-Cola Classic…
almost instantly my clothes are back on and something came up.
Man to Man
Somebody’s got to be the man here,
and, Man, if it’s me
I’ll tell you now:
this isn‘t going anywhere,
no matter what, I swear.
Being a dame
is already a full-time game;
adding your role to my part
is our relationship’s suicide
and another one’s start.
So, man up!
There’s room for only one
crazy ex-girlfriend here
(and I was really hoping that’d be me),
but you beat me to the punch, you see.
Standing at the End of the Earth
is like standing at the end of the Earth
while the Earth gives you two options:
Go back to where you came from; then, die.
Take a step forward, knowing not what lies ahead; then, die.
your decision, making it not in haste,
but do not befriend a snail’s attitude, either.
who you were,
loving your present self even more.
your inner teacher,
saving the syllabi of all your educator friends.
it's only awkward once, then the sillies disappear.
enjoy a good laugh more.
more than yourself, even if just once in your life.
coming out alive makes you realize things.
the things you realize, such as:
there is no end of the Earth, nor an end to your
A girlfriend and I were up texting one night,
hormones were high and aplenty.
Whenever I asked her for a piece of advice,
she came back with tips over twenty.
I laughed and I wailed,
revealing I was feeling quite blue.
She smacked me with nothing but the soundest advice:
“To get over your ex, just go date someone new!”
I didn’t believe her, but thought, Why the hell not?
This time may not be so tricky.
So, after swiping most left, I once swerved to the right
and found me a new one, named Ricky.
Oh, sweet rain,
you are more welcome than you think.
Sometimes when you sprinkle,
I simply wish you’d pour,
but I know you know your blessings
are all too easy to ignore.
Oh, sweet rain,
be not angry,
but I understand, you're sad.
Still I need your honest heart,
to believe in changes
only you can start.
I’m sorry if I’ve let you down,
or slighted you when you came.
Yes, I stayed inside at times
when you came out to play,
but—look, now, oh, sweet rain,
my boots are on today.
Who's driving the convertible?
wind knocks the love right out of me
and rushes into you,
almost against your will.
When it rains,
you simply reach for your sunglasses, smiling,
as if waiting
for water’s redemption, for I don’t know what.
Drunk on love,
you whisk me away to another land,
promising on the other side
romance is still alive and well.
All the while,
I am left wondering,
who’s driving the convertible?
since we’re making out in the back seat.
Then it hits me:
I don’t even care, because,
despite the rain,
I see myself in the reflection of your sunglasses.
Walking through the corridor,
cigarette butts and candy cane wrappers.
Funny, I used to like the smell of mint.
If heels were originally made for men,
somehow they ended up on my feet tonight.
I must have been high.
Showing up was easy,
though I know nothing happens
‘til you open the door.
hopefully not my sanity.
Guess I’ll know in a minute.
In a minute
I’m not so claustrophobic
despite your closeness.
Making my way through the bedroom,
sanity still intact,
you offer me a stick of gum.
Making an Impression
hold out your hand as long as you want,
for a taker.
Warm as sunlight, cold as ice,
for a taker.
you can let go, stop waiting.
Bring back your fist,
The wait is over.
More can be done with
your two hands than one.
Flip of the Switch
I noticed you
in your dark,
so that’s where I left you
as you walked away
Until one night,
you defied your own approach—
when, upon mine,
out of the clear blue,
turned on the lights.
I’ve been in some bright places,
but above them all,
when you changed before my eyes,
forever altering my outlook
Put a Band-Aid on it.
Without a wound to speak of,
when you offer me an adhesive bandage
I accept it lovingly
(And why not?).
The thought alone
has healing properties;
might as well put a sticker on it,
making me feel better instantly
and letting everyone else know,
in bright colors,
how therapeutic it is
having you [stick] around.
How do you tell someone
you hardly know
you love them?
Look them in the eyes.
Feel it, too.
all in your mind
standing barefoot in a blanket of snow
I must say feels different
from what was described in the weather books
since here I am—
warmer than I was
sitting with you
by the fire.
crawling uphill against the wind
I must say is easier
than the repeated trainings on which we spent hours
because here I am—
atop a mountain
watching you prepare for the climb
back at camp.
flying a kite on a day like today
I heard is as useless
as attempting to navigate the same flight through the woods
but here I am—
at the height of the tallest tree
with the most incredible view,
kite in hand.
make me feel
and I rub
warm and fuzzy,
grow back each year.
Dreaming With Eyes Open
Easier said than done,
slowing down doesn’t always
imagination still arrives
with the rest of your mail.
Though attractive and great,
ends up on the same, dry plate.
and an empty cup.
Back to closed eyes tomorrow
since forced dreams are no better
than nightly ones you merely borrow.
when there are no words, use these:
they came too much,
was all too fast
and not nearly enough.
I bet you wish your tears
and goodbye could switch places.
Then you could have at least
said goodbye too much,
even if the word itself had to be uttered too soon.
(No matter the speed of your tears.)
That’s the thing:
too soon always comes.
Yet we still practice moderation.
I say too much is a good, good thing—
at least then, when too soon comes,
you get to hold on to so much more.
patient and kind.
woman or bonobo?
both can teach us much
(if we get to know them).
The great woods let out a howl while its wolves stay silent.
Calm feels miles away, yet peace lurks,
perhaps left over from a seemingly uneventful morning.
Window shutters tap, tap, tap; then, nothing.
Wind eases, and begins again. Eases, begins.
Lovers huddle under a blanket near a cold stone fireplace,
preparing for nightfall, full of promises to soothe
another day and its wind, at least until dawn.
both will begin again,
both will begin.
Broken trails to awkward places
Places you felt broken, too
Mistakes disguised with feathered faces
Earning back what you outgrew
Kiss your life, man, kiss your life
Fly into the night while you still can
Kiss her hard to set it right
Just remember to be back by light
Bloody, beaten, bruised and alone
Pains are the feelings you couldn’t let go
Cry, columbine, as you let the wind blow
Thirteen hundred miles until you’re back home
Kiss your life, man, kiss your life
Fly into the night while you still can
Kiss her hard to set it right
Just remember to be back by light…
Let the dogs run free;
while you and I may be heavily baited,
still no one can catch us.
Do they know?
Smells of sweet sweat stained
by months, if not years,
of rigorous training
now inside our track.
One, two, three: done.
Off they go, anyway—pacing and chasing,
chasing and pacing—
unwanting to see they're the only ones racing.
~ Published in Spring Thaw, Spring 2019.
Caution: Slippery When Wet;
but, Beautiful When Dry, you see.
Wait for it. Just when you think, enough,
the same day you almost don't get out of bed—
What appears next can only be described
as the stuff of legend.
Illusions of tomorrow evoke feelings of qualm
as I lay my head on the fluff of the bed.
In the blink of an eye,
again, I'll wonder if I have enough time...
to imagine, speak, delight, and do,
plan the escape by mid-afternoon;
draft a conclusion, alter the plot,
deliver the news with a cherry on top.
Rave of successes, inventions and more,
whisper sweet nothings not spoken before;
ignore all the upsets, learn as I go,
then re-teach the lessons, so even the lessons would know
...with a soft squeeze of evening's cushion I finish sifting,
tipping my head as a voiceless pause brushes the edge of my lip,
lifting it skyward. Confidently
I am reminded that whenever I wake,
I will draw my pen, prepared to sketch.
Dating an Onion
Opposites may attract
for the initial hello,
but I worry I have more layers
For you its chocolate milk every morning
for both lunch and dinner.
For me it's crepes with jam and coffee
from anywhere but a gas station
and I'm pretty sure I gave up sandwiches
For you its pubs
wearing worn t-shirt and jeans,
and complaining about money.
Though I, too, pinch pennies
and enjoy a good beer, in jeans,
I most prefer a Martini
in a rather festive dress.
Nothing wrong with
but I sense my layers
are more complex.
Memoir of a Zookeeper
"Plenty of documented accounts of misbehavior;
even the penguins do it,” he says.
She takes a sip and rests her drink
outside the rim of a coaster.
Instantly, he notices, but elects to continue his lecture:
“society is filled with such notions, which I do not believe
can apply to everyone, certainly not myself.”
She draws her eyebrows inward,
curious how long this one will last;
wonders of the lioness caught in feline thought
when Leo takes on similar pride.
Her glass sweats onto the wood side table.
Too much ice, she thinks, taking another sip—
oh, but the warmth of gin and the luxury of his leather sofa.
“We’re all animals,” he concludes.
Stuck at an Intersection
Cars zipping past like mechanized people
dressed in various shades of chalk, tinsel, lapis;
the fiery ones catch your eye, and—BAM—they are gone,
fast as recent prospect on a dating app.
The novelty comes and goes in a matter of minutes,
between traffic light changes,
or seconds—a pause at a yield sign.
Sometimes, the power goes out and you look in all directions, wondering, Who is driving, and where are we going?