We sat on the beach tracing colors
of a sunset that would make poets of us all.
She thinks I’m a failed sentimentalist
swimming through snapshots of yesterday
as memories stretch thinner then molt —
sink — settle at the bottom of the sea. I can’t hold
my breath as well as I did that night
the waves sang an opera in shells flat under
the weight of the world. Moments that pool
together in murky water will stir up
a seabed. She saw the face of god
in a cloud but I’m hazier tonight.
The match lights.
The newspaper sparks immediately —
the flame matching the intensity
of the ink passionately spread through
a dozen stories — and dissolves into ash.
The infant flame crawls onto twigs.
I stand mesmerized by this transmutation:
words once poured over by anxious writers
now spilled into a fire as kindling, sweat
burning into memories I’ve already forgotten.
The winds shift.
I rearrange the sticks to assist their demise,
wondering how many revisions — how many
editors’ notes — were born before the news
fanned out to a half awake audience.
The flames leap from twigs to logs.
I stare transfixed at the graceful movement
of the blaze (so gorgeous as it spasms
on this log, then another) effortlessly
transforming timber into trifling confetti.
I find it poetic.
My stomach screams an idea, an ephemeral epiphany
I must immediately share for art’s sake,
enthusiastically published on pulp
and eventually catalyst for another fire.
The spider’s web hosts
hidden from the finders, keeper
of tranquility’s repose.
Silky isolation wraps the introvert
in a sticky embrace –
mistaken for warmth –
providing solitude to dream or just
His thoughts fade,
calm and still,
and the spider goes
The sun peaks between the timber
unsure, hesitant to reveal
itself fully to an insipid world
too often indifferent
to its nourishing warmth.
And still we look to it
to illuminate the beauty too often
unnoticed – the greens shining
with life, brilliant and glistening
in the early morning.
But the pond holds close its treasures,
refusing to admit
the luminous gleam as we are left
to wonder what mysterious riches
twirling in the dark
secret celebrations beneath the calm – looking
glass turning beauty
for our benefit. I dare not
What once was a pebble has gathered
no moss, rolling (not yet
declining?) towards middle age,
that problematic but venerable epoch
of reading glasses
and white hair
and aching back.
I clearly see the oncoming
shadow of dark golden years overtaking me,
weighing on me as I tumble
dropping like a stone, perfected
for the fall
through a life – if not well
lived – at least
The blind man hopes
through heightened senses he may hear
the darkness ebb, hindsight
in the vanity mirror he no longer bothers
with, confident that
a life without regret is one well lived
after all. After all.
Edge of Summer
A puppet tricks a telephone,
answering to no one
in the sunshine,
wearing a garish bathing suit
several sizes too large
by sweat and determination.
Genuine in her vitality, she
bares the heat
in her beach chair,
wearing the virtuous look
of someone bravely
the view from the edge of summer.
The puppet stumbles to her bike,
cycling through the rhythm
wearing the dog days
in sown-on lips,
by the last seaside breeze.
A child skipped below an umbrella,
the joy of youth insulated beneath
an innocent weapon
fighting back an inclement future.
Inspired, though not inspiring,
I longed for such a battering ram
to bludgeon the plaintive
skeptic buried beneath the years.
I tinkered with my cynicism, flirting
with the optimism of youth, hoping
I might change
or at least feint near —
Instead, though, I creep back to sleep.
I lack the energy for that particular battle.
The clock prefers
a polite tree,
ring with each
for the trouble.
The corridor reads
all mundane nameplates,
unspooled before it
The flame pretends
it cares, ice
I’ll not wake up, no,
swimming here in this conch shell
of a life, shadows tickling my ear,
playing house while the real
world assumes it’s won.
I’ll not confront it, no,
kicking up the remains of reality
swept under expensive furniture
when we could afford the luxury
of not caring.
I’ll remain in my head,
enveloped by this conch shell,
closed to those sounds desperate
to encroach, honking displeasure
at deaf eyes shut.
Let’s return, you and I,
to a dream – that one
we shared, hiding from the world
revolving around us
(Was it sunny?) I remember
only echoes in the dark
as we bounced off walls,
the world forgot.
The greens and browns
crossing the landscape now,
hostile in their indifference,
existing as though we care,
will slowly turn dark,
forgotten again, shadows
playing by themselves,
the world forgot.