There are many hours

I dreamt last night I was in
a ribbon-stitched competition
& though its details are lost
to the murky meanderings
of sleep, the image of her cheering
the loudest in the crowd
stayed with me
through the morning.

I’m tempted by stubborn clocks
that tick on lemon-kissed walls
to believe the world changes
in the sunlight, but no matter the hour
I hear her over the noise
enthusiastically
calling me home.

Unexpected jolts

That light switch always gives
a little shock
when I touch it in this dry January air
& still every time
it surprises me like a goldfish
circling the same water, losing its place
without a thought.

She sends a similar spark that lifts me
into the air
with that smile that could never
ground me
& I’m jolted into jagged lines
of unexpected experiences once again lost
without a worry.

A walk

We approach the future as we do
this deep fog: hopeful but still
watching for shit between steps
in the still sleeping field You suggest
we walk towards the sun but I plan
on a long journey & don’t want to walk
in circles Instead we hold the light
dear as it clears the mist ahead
The field melts into a path of thistle-
kissed sun-dipped clarity
so we skip clean-shoed through the day.

The jacket in the back

I lost myself in discovery,
crashing into
the crushing essence of a
back-of-the-closet suit
I haven’t worn
since the funeral. I’ve practiced
the craft of nodding
small talk since, though
it fits as well as
that old jacket. Some things
I have no trouble throwing
out, while others cling
like a dryer sheet
waiting to tumble from a shift sleeve.
The program from
the memorial is still
in the inside breast pocket & I’m still
a pall bearer struggling
to carry the load while
the powder blue jacket hides in the back
but not forgotten.

French-pressed

If we made an Eiffel Tower
out of lemon pulp and limbs
would the neighbors jeer from moss-green door frames
or merely envy the taste? Would you offer

a cuppa
to the unarmed crowd
even if they couldn’t put their finger on it?

Or should we visit the Louvre
in picture books while we curl
up on the sofa
wrapped in a blanket
& each other
French-pressed
coffee raining on the table.

New year

A year is just a product
of its age, days adding up
until finally a new year springs
to life, breathing in hope

among waves of salty beach
air. The sun screams its ascent
as it climbs out of the ocean,
lifting our spirits like
champagne glasses toasting

absent lights. Up and down
is a binary distinction I’m resolved
to overcome, like gravity
or monotony I must rise above.

I see clearly this year beginning
differently than last — your eyes
floating in my dreams,
fragrant in my breath.

Asteroids (collision)

And after forever the gin-flavored breeze
remains like a tonic
police sirens
caught in the wind & blown miles
off course
bath water salty from the tide
coming in, then out
before silence
collapses on us both and stars
like beer-battered fish leap into Milky Way sauces.

In all the universe I chose my way
but did not see her coming
asteroids crash
to make a new world of ocean-swept
grounds
the smell of coffee fireworks pop
in approval
an alarm shatters the dark alerting
us to tides turning abruptly
the first sound
I’ve understood now sings in unison always.

Her crystal ball

She casually showed me her crystal ball
but said the future is uncertain —
creamy mist running in disorganized patterns
to places out of focus. Sunlight filters through
translucent spirits beyond the horizon,
a glassy wind-swept silence on my elbow
& she wearing a medium t-shirt.

Every soul glitters in a palpable pattern
if you have the patience to look. She can look
past my sins, beyond this body & its base
elements down to the light that shines loud
patterns beckon the future come in its own time.
She traces my luster in the globe, my aura reflected
in her witch’s eye, tomorrow’s haze evaporated.

Two drum beats

The rain drums on my umbrellawith a cadence I don’t recognize        stealing the quiet                rattling fallen leaves with lyrics written in clouds        dripping rhythmically in rowsbeneath the evergreen. The green seems to arguewith the browns wrapped over the ground        crunching underfoot                quieter now        or perhaps drowned outbeneath the drums. And still I feel like singing alongwith the melody, those notes ofContinue reading “Two drum beats”

Reflection

The sun loses itself in its own
reflection
as it submerges into the lake tonight
vibrant curtains of light
pavonine stripes covering the skies
too proud
to go quietly into the dark.

I sit perplexed at such vanity —
bright feathered clouds
dissolve into

– waning wisps of water vapor
– moonlit memories of the day
– bullet lists in PowerPoints due tomorrow

as a whole world turns
from the show ready to
move on
I reflect on another day
more beautiful with her
here.

For the light

December refuses to jump
fully into Winter, thin strings of green
poke through hollow white snow
stretch toward aching gray skies
trying to swallow the Earth.

Another year beckons us
with resolutions to stretch
like a sapling discovering brighter spaces
in a slowly graying world.

The world revolves around love
each orbit brings seasons
of color and flavors
too potent to survive
alone — I taste the cold
metallic daze hidden in clouds
the world unfocused

until the sunrise
lights her face
reds replace gray
she sees me again

A belt in the sky

I can almost hear the rhapsody of stars
singing of a hunter whose belt
cinched tight holds the sky above

my head rests uneasy

a frosty mask dotted with stardust
remains of something once
significant, other matter occupies

my mind struggles starlorn

the universe is expanding, adding
infinity to forever & the song
is swallowed in the earth’s atmosphere

By any other name

This season demands so much
attention it has two names,
as if we could ignore Autumn
without the Fall. October fans
its leaves in vanity, colorfully spread
like a peacock posing
for photographs. The wind whistles
through them as if
it does us a favor. We’re listening.

The sun lazes low in the sky, refusing to climb
higher, taunting us with tantalizing heat
evaporating in the atmosphere
just beyond our reach.

The leaves eat the grass in November
swallow the ground completely
until all I hear is the chewing
underfoot. The wind blows silent through
pursed lips, impotent
in the cacophony crunching colorfully
under marching feet pressing
towards December and the frost.

No matter how proud the season it must give
way to the next, one generation follows
another thinking it knows better
& it always Falls the same.

Christmas party

You smuggled a spreadsheet into the Christmas party
and sat in the corner while the host
served greetings from a -moon-rock-colored- platter,
decorative holly garnish threatening to devour
a pockmarked planet

You said the numbers didn’t add up
so I reviewed your every cell until we were both satisfied

Mercury the messenger carries the one
around the sun
we make a silent night of the party.

Measure the light

We measure the light by our phones
alerting us to the revelry in the skies
jet engines rumble
in our heads

passengers shuffle papers between
layovers perhaps
unable to sleep
preoccupied by an elbow
hanging over the armrest

just a bit too far — even in my head
I’m anxious —
jigsaw puzzle bruises groan in purple

Instead I look to her
radiant bands in her palm
clouds dripping salt water taffy
between our fingers

somewhere a fire
extinguishes ordinary evenings
grape jelly jet fumes
spread over exhausted toast

& us with sticky hands on a black night
creating our own light.

Memories

I don’t blame trees for blanketing
the grass
in brown memories of greener
months
nor the sun for plunging out
of view
while the clock still has hours left
to roll.

I’ve noticed that time moves at its
own pace
& memories come in different
colors
some at pleasant octaves we sing
along with
others hum so softly we don’t
notice them.

My earliest memories of you feel new
like yesterday
and worn in like a hundred years
of polish
dazzling as they hang from a pedestal
of stars
outshining even my brightest
wishes.

Scenes of home

I see her face familiar
the smell of butter warming
in a pan before
grilled cheese sandwiches

houndstooth pattern
transcribed from the sofa
to my cheek
on a lazy Saturday afternoon

James Taylor slowly pouring
from the speakers
like hot water in a mug
of Mom’s instant coffee

Her face double-exposed
over older memories
scenes of home flashing
from her propulsive influence

purifying moments woefully absent
of that face — the second place
I consider home
has always been there.

A statue

She lingers at the door, silent except
for the half smile singed on her lips

like a historical marker trying to freeze
a moment in time. We’re older but I swear

she hasn’t aged a day since this morning —
those green eyes still coyly tow me in

and I’m a wreck for her. I could build
a monument to this moment, one of many

that holds a place at the center of me —
cemented to last well beyond my life.

She lingers at the door, but calls me home.

Fragrant fragments

I borrow moments from your future
because the past
smells old

sneakers left in the rain while you slept
inside. Slept and slept
until

what has become of you
comes nearer to what has become of me
awake for the first time. I can remember

looking forward
a lighthouse on the beach drawing circles
fussy hermit crabs finding new homes

the smell of salty sea air
seemed far away though it waved to me
I shouldn’t speak of nose hairs

something dances inside me
aromas of tomorrow. Inside now

today’s heartbeat thumps
this banging

growing louder as we get closer
bang bang

stealing from tomorrow only enlarges
the craving

pounding right now
now you’ve become my very blood

the oxygen I pull in my nose

breezy with age

banging

The scene unfolds somewhere

The coals scream beneath the fire
because they cannot watch that scene

just out of sight

where flames dance like wisps of jellyfish
or misplaced popsicle sticks that

tumble out of reach

The wind carries a cruel sting
numbing even to deep-furred wolves

howling out of earshot

Or perhaps we’re not missing anything

Ash falls on the breeze like daffodil petals
set free in a gust — free from the flames

finally out of mind