Poems

Over the hillside

They marched over the hillside
like a goddamn legion of ants
hellbent on claiming discarded bread

as theirs. Once inside the church,
they pretended they never
waged war, fatted on the spoils.

Circus nights

The chairs wear clown shoes
on cold nights at the circus

while DJs turn tables under
big tents and singing stars.

Children play puerile games
on top of discarded peanut shells

while elephants enthusiastically echo
long-forgotten songs we played

once like trapeze artists
thoughtlessly turning head

over heels without a net. I had never
flipped so carelessly until you

tamed the roaring lion now
nipping at your blue-nailed toes.

A familiar scene

Somewhere light plays piano in the background
of that scene, the one that so often
repeats itself.  You know the one
I mean — it starts with the sun embarking
on its customary routine, dancing to a slow tune

through the sky. We feel emboldened to move
with mirrored steps at the rhythm
we choose, back and forth, as
time arcs above us in brilliant currents
of arrows sharpened by the blitzing wind

only to fall below the horizon. And still the familiar
scene continues into the dark as we
share a stage emblazoned
in the afterglow of another imperfect day
made idyllic by blissful notes we always hit as one.

Private circles

You’re always cold, rosy cheeks trying
to escape another freeze or, like
a mermaid on shaky ground, limping
to your hiding place behind boxes of fate.

Fortune moves at a constant speed
regardless of temperature, though we may
feel warmer when a clock’s hands
share space with ours inside wool gloves.

As you shiver from that chill brought on
by anxiety or mysteries of the universe
too considerable to convincingly consider,
I’ll swivel you (wearing plaid designs

on our future together) around in my warm
embrace, reddening from a warmth born
of spinning hands keeping perfect time
as we retreat to privacy — finding our own tempo.

In dreams (on holiday)

We took a holiday from the cold
stoicism bred into us over generations
and jumped with cavalier abandon

into each others’ dreams where
we secured passage to stations
never visited by anyone else.

We found warmth among the fires
burning at those depths, illuminating
desires awakened in dreams

we share, and though our sleep
must end we’ll jump into vacations
as often as our legs will let us.

En route

I named a road in my mind
after you — the one that drives
rainbows of radiance
through my head like a brush
steering hair in one direction.

I’m conditioned by now
to think of the traffic
that bounces through my brain
as simply commuting
between thoughts of you.

Indeed, all streets stretch
one way, inexorably leading me
down the road and closer
to home with you.

Memories made on the trip
paint this lane in technicolor,
another colorful reminder that
I’ll never need take a detour.

I remember a superstition

What apparition dares walk
from this tomb, suave footsteps
echoing between faded stones
marking the passing of time
and human souls? Let the other
shoe drop in a puddle and expect

a splash, or does this spirit
have the confidence to walk barefoot
through a cemetery? Kids on the school bus
told me to never point at a graveyard
or I’d be there next but I can’t remember
if I listened or let the warning slip

through my fingers like an autumn
breeze bringing grave warnings
of winter and cold and death which
comes for us all while the bus driver
ignores us. Perhaps it was not a ghost
after all but merely the wind.

My imagination sometimes wins.

Stamped letters

She broke the seal on the envelope
eager to read the letter locked inside
a catalog of a specific moment
I gleefully shared with her.

We tie those moments downs as fast as
the ink dries, shadows of our past
written in the excitement of today
insisting on being tomorrow’s memories.

With a satchel of reread mail we embark
on another epoch with missives untied
before us, sharing a pen to forge another note
soon stamped with forever postage.

Underwater

We lost ourselves in
the splendor of the lake,
dropping like stones to depths
we hadn’t fathomed before —

hiding from the real world.

We will break the surface again,
water rippling out in waves
from our bobbing heads —

but that hasn’t sunk in yet.

Double flower

Rain brings with it the promise
of gleeful blossoms sure to sprout
with tomorrow’s caboodle
where I find you blooming with me.

The smell of showers reminds me
of wet grass sticking to my bare feet
when I didn’t think of the future
but roamed moment to moment.

Now, tomorrow is a double-flowered
carnation  — two blooms thriving
as one amid the rain and whatever
tomorrow’s weather brings.

I don’t roam alone any longer
and the rain falls sweeter.


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