© 2019 by Caroline Wright

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Fresh Blend

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,

unafraid.

Suddenly the world opens up, 

without deadline.

 

Craving my favorite friend, whom,

despite not knowing him all that well,

I describe, like so:

warm, soulful,

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,

I stand,

breathing still.

 

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,

each time.

 

 

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…

okay, okay.

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’m Tom.

You’re Jerry.

This sucks.

 

I want you.

You want cheese.

This isn’t working out…

 

          …because you escape me,

          every time,

          with cheese in your mouth.

 

          ....because you appear the star

          of each episode,      

          leaving me in the dust.

 

I’m Tom.

You’re Jerry.
This sucks.

 

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,

sugared stems

in a vase of sand.

 

If you felt it,

you, too,

would just know.

 

Gardens or garbage cans,

their scents

once the same.

 

I fell short,

convinced I was headed

for the dumpster.

 

Then,

just like that,

you handed me a budding smile.

 

 

 

My Stunted Imagination

I imagine…

 

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

 

 

 

Love

            is like standing at the end of the Earth

            while the Earth gives you two options:

           

  1. Go back to where you came from; then, die.

  2. Take a step forward, knowing not what lies ahead; then, die.

 

Love

            your decision, making it not in haste,

            but do not befriend a snail’s attitude, either.

 

Love

            who you were,

            loving your present self even more.

 

Love

            your inner teacher,

            saving the syllabi of all your educator friends.

 

Love

            everything awkward;

            it's only awkward once, then the sillies disappear.

 

Love

            to cry;

            enjoy a good laugh more.

 

Love   

            someone else—anybody—

            more than yourself, even if just once in your life.

 

Love

            disaster;

            coming out alive makes you realize things.

 

Love

            the things you realize, such as:

            there is no end of the Earth, nor an end to your

                                                                                                Love.

 

To: Ricky

From: Vicky

 

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.

 

Sweet Rain

 

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?

 


Top down,

         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.

 

Mint condition

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.

 

I’m knocking,

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

You can

            hold out your hand as long as you want,

                                                                                    waiting

                                                                                                for a taker.

Warm as sunlight, cold as ice,

                                                            just                 waiting

                                                                                                for a taker.

Asking, begging,                                            

                                                            simply                       waiting.

 

Or,

 

            you can let go,                        stop                            waiting.

 

 

Bring   back your fist,

                                                            then

 

                                                           release

                                                                                                                            

           

                                                                              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

every time.

 

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

on electricity.

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Questioning Empathy 

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.

 

 

Oh, Henry.

Oh, Henry.

 

 

You are

                        what

you

            make me feel

 

and I rub

 

you

            which makes

                                    me

                                                warm and fuzzy,

                                   too.

 

 

It’s

 

you     

 

            making pies

                                   

            and me

                        salivating.

 

I water

 

you     

 

            so that

 

you                 

                                    grow back each year.

     

 

                                          

 

And then

     

 

I pick

                 

you,                 

 

            since

 you     

 

                        are                             

                                                                                              by

                                                                                                   far 

                                               

 

                               the    

                                            sweetest    peach.

 

 

Dreaming With Eyes Open

Easier said than done,

slowing down doesn’t always

avoid hit-and-run.

 

To scale,

imagination still arrives

with the rest of your mail.

 

Though attractive and great,

even garnish

ends up on the same, dry plate.

 

Waking up,

unrested

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:

Your tears

they came too much,

too soon.

The goodbye

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.

 

 

mating grounds 

 

slender,

long hair,

long legs,

pink lips.

 

do I

have

your

attention?

 

sexual,

sensitive,

tolerant,

patient and kind.

 

woman or bonobo?

either way,

both can teach us much

(if we get to know them).

 
 

Twilight

 

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.
Tomorrow
            both will begin again,

            both will begin.

 

Columbine Heart 

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…

 

 

Two Rabbits 

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.

 

 

White Rain 

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—

 

winds subside.

What appears next can only be described

 

 

 

as the stuff of legend.

 
 

The Painter 

Illusions of tomorrow evoke feelings of qualm
as I lay my head on the fluff of the bed.
In the blink of an eye,
daybreak;
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                                          

than you.                                                                               

 

For you its chocolate milk every morning

at Speedway;

sandwiches 

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

in 2014.

 

For you its pubs 

wearing worn t-shirt and jeans, 

ordering beer 

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

being simple,

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?