These Final Hours


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The doomsday clock to our marriage is ticking.

I can hear it echoing nightly.heart.  The sands are virtually pouring through the hourglass in these are last days together.  After 9 years of marriage, there are literally hours left before we go our separate ways, and with each passing second, another piece of me withers beneath the weight of this nightmare.

Each breath I take seems labored and futile.  As I write this, I am glancing up from the keyboard every few moments watching her fix her lunch, a cup of tea…going about a normal routine as though divorce was just another item to be marked off of her daily checklist of things to get done.  “Do you want a cup of coffee, sweetheart?” she asks.  Are you kidding me?  What I want is my wife…my life…my sanity returned to us.  I can’t eat or drink or think.  I can barely function.  Can’t she see me dissembling right before her eyes.

She’s keeping our dog. My heart.  I get custody of the memories.

Goodbye Beneath the Redwoods


If you searched the term “divorce” and ended up here reading my post, chances are you are searching, as am I, for some meaning in this painful process that will lend some comfort, some understanding. I am no expert in this subject. In fact, I am myself just now entering into the unknown turbulent emotional waters of facing the loss of my marriage; the rejection of what I had falsely and carelessly assumed to be an everlasting love. But of this I am certain – there is no comfort to be found.

When my wife finally uttered those fateful words, “I want a divorce”, I was strangely numb and accepting. At first. I understood  the intensity of the frustration, pain, and sorrow she must be feeling to come to the conclusion that she needed to save herself. It took guts and strength, or so I told myself. Hell, I wouldn’t want to be married to me either! I had failed on so many levels and, obviously, made the fatal assumption that I would have time to turn it around. This, despite her repeated warnings over the years that she was not “a bottomless well.” I’ve spent the past week reflecting on how many missed opportunities I had to save our marriage, and only succeeded in uncovering a bitter truth.

I really fucked up.

But why, then, am I so angry? I’ve done a great job of pushing that particular emotion deep down. I kept telling myself that this was my fault. My failing. The pain and the fear that arises when another human being ultimately rejects you … my consequence for my actions (or lack thereof.) But at 3:06 a.m., I awoke suddenly to a new realization. What could be more abusive or more of a betrayal to a marriage than seeking it’s dissolution? To quit. She kept telling me that I destroyed it…but here she is, walking out center stage dressed as an executioner, ax in hand. Giving up. She, not I, is destroying the marriage.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not blaming her. I am just pointing out the obvious. And it brings no comfort. And before I get blasted for feeling sorry for myself…that isn’t it. I know I could have saved this marriage. I know I could have dug deeper and spared her from ever having to make this call. This was all my failing, and I will have to live with it.

If this had been a short relationship that didn’t work out, perhaps I’d feel differently. But it’s been eighteen years. Eighteen years of dreaming together, building together, and yes, overcoming the setbacks, hurts, and disappointments together. Love is not the convenience of celebrating triumphs and victories alone. It is the steel that is forged in the furnace of overcome hardships, shared pain, and forgiveness. Did I dip at her well once too often? Undoubtedly. But this would have been so much easier if she had simply said from the beginning, “For better or for worse? I’m not down for that.”

I don’t know what I am hoping to find in putting these thoughts to words and sharing them online. I know it won’t bring comfort or understanding. And I am not going to magically rationalize my way out of this divorce. It’s going to happen. But in order to demonstrate the love I still have for her, I need to be supportive of her right to destroy this marriage if that is what she needs to do to live more fully in the future. I have to be the “man” she thought I was so many years ago…and find the strength to let her go.

I refuse to make this any harder than it has to be. Perhaps I am finally learning to give her the love she needed all along…through simply letting go.
Last night, we sat beneath the redwoods before a roaring fire, trying to comfort one another. We failed completely. We are still friends, and hope on some level that the memory of our better selves outshines the memories of our failings. I wrote her this poem…although I will never share it with her. I refuse to cause her any more pain than she (and I) are going through having come to this final crossroad. But I had to write it. I hope someone understands. I sure don’t.

GOODBYE BENEATH THE REDWOODS

The redwoods swayed in a post-romantic way.
their crowns in the planets, toes tucked below soft earth
under carpets of wet needles beneath our feet
- that’s how we said our soft goodbyes.

Our love smoked in the fireplace and I could see
the flames flickering in your dampened eyes, but I looked
away, too much the coward to own your pain.
You said it was the smoke, one final lie to comfort me.

We spoke in the soft, cordial tones of defeat as the
air hung heavy and silent between us.
Neither of us could hear the babbling brook stretched
beneath the fading stars as the waters carried the
last vestiges of hope downstream.

I will save my tears, the wrenching of my heart
for the long, dark nights ahead. Tonight, my love,
my forever lost love, let us wrest some warmth
from the dying embers of this fire; gather one last
bouquet of memories to set us on our separate ways.Image

My Book Now Available on Amazon.com: The Winter Bites My Bones: New and Collected Poems, 1980-2013


dmchale:

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On sale for a limited time….

Originally posted on The Winter Bites My Bones:

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Well, it’s finally here.  For those of you who have been following my work, my first book is now available on Amazon via this link:  Thank you for your patronage and I look forward to writing for you for years to come.  ~ Dennis

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A Failed Marriage


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I left bruises on her heart,
not memories, but empty spaces.
There is no fossilized evidence
love ever existed.
Her contempt folds in stages
like a Japanese silk fan,
while the flowers of our youth
drop their tired and wilted petals.
For better or for worse was a lie
easily uttered when I held more promise,
but as the years, and my failings, took their toll
it was easy to toss me aside like bitter fruit.

 

The Absence of You


crucified beneath her touch

I want you every second,
every minute, every hour of the day

I am flooded by an agony…
a physical longing for you…
brought to my knees by a craving
for your nearness and your touch.

Through tear-clenched eyelids,
I try hard to imagine your lips on mine.
If I could only hear your laughter,
the sound of your voice once more!

Nothing and no one, anywhere or anytime
could kill the love I have and hold  for you.
I have surrendered my individuality,
the very essence of my being to you.

I have surrendered to you my body
time after time to treat as you pleased,
to tear in pieces if such had been your will.

My spirit never seems as joyful
as when I remember the kisses you gave me.
All the hoardings of my imagination
I have laid bare to you…
There isn’t a recess of my soul
into which you haven’t penetrated.

I have clung to you and caressed you and slept with you
and I would like to tell the whole world I exist for you.

What strength have I that I may bear it,
that I may endure the absence of you?
Is my strength the strength of stones
that can wait for your return?

You are my mistress and I am your lover.
Kingdoms and empires and governments have tottered
succumbed before now to that mighty combination:

“I love you” –
the most powerful of sentiment
and words ever uttered in this world.

 

Best In Morning


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I love you best in morning…
In that quiet hour
before the sun fully rises
and the shadows of the night
linger possessively;
as I lie motionless
beside you
watching
the seductive blush
of a new dawn
filtering slowly through
the frosted windowpane,
caressing you in those last
moments of sleep
with warm fingers of light.
It is in that
special time,
that magic time of morning
as I, too, caress you
with my eyes
and with my thoughts
that I love you
best

 

The World Remembers Delaney Ann Brown


 DELANEY “LANEY” ANN BROWN

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We have all been following the courageous battle of Laney and her family this past month, and are deeply saddened to learn that this precious young child was called home to heaven this Christmas Day, 2013.

“December 25, 2013– on this chilled and grief-filled date, the gates of Heaven were flung wide open
as God embraced Delaney Ann Brown and welcomed her home again.”

The sun arose this winter day -
Across the world the children played.
Homes echoing with carefree glee,
As Christmas day was meant to be.
Each parent dreams of such a vision -
‘Til life injects its cruel revision.

Yet, like a child’s lost innocence,
Cherished and held in reverence -
In just one moment swept away
No sympathy for child’s play.
Into her life a darkness came;
Into our own, an infinite pain.

Our hearts now filled with an empty space -
of sweet Laney and her joy-filled face!
Malevolence came and stole her future,
A wound too big for mending sutures.
We heard the sounds of angels cry –
The day we watched this child die.

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We swallow hard; prayed harder still -
Our heartbeats faltered against our will.
The deafening blast of pure insanity
We’ve lost the best of our humanity!
A nation mourns with silent tongues
The senseless death of she so young.

The doctors did their very best -
Nurses offered up their loving breast
To shield from cancer’s savage blow -
To buy this young one time to grow.
But she slipped away, lest we forget…
Upon her memory, no sun will set.

Sweet Laney lost and taken away
Beneath the sun of Christmas day.
We are lost within an anguished grief,
As even celestial angels weep.

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Impeccant cherub laid to rest;
God took from us our very best.
The loss we feel is real and deep,
The pain forever ours to keep.
No answers to the question, “Why?”
Our babies were not meant to die.

So, brush away our tortured tears;
this truth is too demanding,
and whisper in our silent ears
some prayer of understanding.
Laney’s star now shines above,
Eternal bright and beaming love.

The Lantern


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Do you see that lantern on the mantle?
Its light has shined on three generations of this family.

My grandfather learned to read under the tutelage of its glow.
He wrote love letters to my grandmother in verse reflecting
The warmth gathered from its flickering beam.

My mother found her way home through lost woods
To the waiting arms of my Dad,
And on the night I was conceived, it lent its sexuality.

Bright and slightly hesitant, still burn brightly
The night I was born, weaving moonbeams
Linking silver threads through the tapestry of our lives;
Illuminating my path through the years,

It has lit my tears and calmed my fears;
Beneath its flame we all found ways to heal
To bind up old wounds; to celebrate new beginnings,
While keeping vigil as loved ones passed away

One day I’ll pass it down to my children
Now crawling on the ground
And in its light they’ll learn to see within themselves,
Beyond themselves

I take it down and light it it’s blackened wick
Whenever I am consumed by darkness;
It watches over me and comforts me;

It reminds me that there are so many ways
To become illuminated

 

Merry Christmas to All of My Faithful Readers


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Two things upon this changing earth can neither change nor end; the splendor of these few holiday hours, the love of friend for friend. Merry Christmas to all of you.  You’ve enriched my life with your presence!  2014 – Bring it on!

 

Opposite Sides of the Same Pain


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A Sunni mother silently watches:
overhead, a gathering of scavenging ravens
paints the dusky sky above
the broken bodies of her three children.
Bewilderment mixed with horror and beauty,
accented by the pebbles beneath her feet,
polished smooth by a flood of tears.
An acrid wind swirls
with scattered hope and broken dreams;
confetti raining on freshly scorched earth.
Another womb is rent in unbearable grief
at the loss of its precious fruit.

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In that very moment, across the sea,
a Haitian waif reflects:
A flock of seagulls angrily position
above the ghetto garbage heap
next to a crumbling shanty
where her newborn triplets scream with hunger.
Bewilderment mixed
with horror and beauty,
the waste beneath her feet glistens
with the flood of her tears.
The stench of rotting wind swirls
with scattered hope and broken dreams;
flies rising up from quaked earth.
Another womb is rent in unbearable grief
at the bounty of its damnable fruit.

 

Ocean Walk


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Silver threads woven through midnight skies -
Shooting stars as the white crane flies!
Cool autumn winds and the moon’s reflection;
Shallow tide pools inviting full inspection.

The ocean roars and rolls cascading,
White foam shorelines, slowly fading.
Footprints, mine, wet and dissolving -
Deep in thought, me, a life evolving.

Have I lived the life I was meant to live?
Did I take what was offered, did I offer to give?
Have I fought for the causes that helped to free men,
Or did I justify excuses time and again?

Did I love to my fullest, did I offer my heart?
Did I honor my word, or just play the part?
Have I sacrificed joy for immediate thrills?
Was I too vain, or humble, did I help to cure ills?

Did I live a life worthy, will others be proud,
Will I be buried alone or there with the crowd?
All these and more are the questions I pose.
These really aren’t mysteries for me to suppose!

The Sun now is rising, with fingers of light -
The end of reflection, the end of the night.
I turn with my back to the blue ocean swell;
I’ve too few answers, and that’s just as well.

Life is for living, and there is no exception -
We aren’t meant to dwell in such introspection!
The truth is unfolding, and this much is true;
I’ve plenty days left, and too much to do.

Surrender to a Better Cause


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What we have in common
stretches beyond our mortal shell;
If I have a kidney, it is yours
I have two – take one, and live.
If I die, my eyes are yours – see for me.
My heart is yours for the beating -
My lungs breathe for you; they no longer sustain me.
All that I am is yours.
Let me be folded into your chest.

Let my sacrifice be worthy of your hope.

Cathedral of Shame


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It was never my intent to return to this place
dark halls of betrayal, and lacking in grace
Lustful intentions, like geysers of steam
sex memories ‘neath mahogany beams

Yet I come on this day to recapture my soul
To quiet the screams now three decades old
Black flowing robes with collars of white
Incensed chambers to the left and the right

The bones of saints litter this brothel of sin
While confessions absolve the evils of men
The innocent novice here silently cries
Behind red velvet ropes of cardinal lies

Like lambs sacrificial to the altar are led
While the pure hearts of angels are quietly bled
I kneel before God, but my prayers silent fall
In the shadow of Christ in this candlelit hall

The peace that I seek here doesn’t exist
Where the holiest men refuse to resist
Hail Virgin Mary, full of sweet grace
Help me to rise and get out of this place

 

A Dark and Vile Seduction


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Photo by MaggieKai

I can see your soul
in the dark pit of despair, my love…
you have a demon lurking.

Sweat drops in rivulets of panic
staining your face with guilty roadmaps;
crisscrossing your haughty cheeks.

I gave you my faith – you whispered a cursed prayer,
condemning me to the eternal flames
of your vile inequities.

How could I not see the beast
raging within your tender breasts;
the sharpened fangs masquerading as nipples
glistening in the dark?

Your undulating hips covered in thorns,
your lying lips sweetened with vinegar.
Your reddening eyes, beacons of hate.

Just what is you think I’ve found?

Something deep and dark and inviting
despite the screaming in my brain –
I have no voice but to consent, not thought but to obey.

Don’t torture yourself with hungered thoughts;
devour me as your wicked appetite compels.
but please, spit out my bones for Heaven’s sake.

Mandela’s Legacy to Us All


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Sacrifice. Discipline. Forgiveness

Whatever the indignities
and misfortunes life throws at you;
No matter the depth or the breadth
of your personal pain and suffering,
these three virtues will anoint
and lift your very soul.

You have within you an enormous capacity
to endure, to turn the other cheek,
to rise above the relentless,
crushing tides of injustice and hatred.

Sacrifice. Discipline. Forgiveness.

When you are tempted to surrender;
to see yourself as a hapless victim
crushed beneath the yoke of life’s
inexorable thumb upon the scales of fairness,
in that moment, you will remember
that somewhere, someone
is bleeding more profusely,
hungering more painfully,
dying more senselessly.

Sacrifice. Discipline. Forgiveness.

Our capacity to ignore
our own anguish
and to ease the suffering of others
confirms our angelic humanity,
and releases us from
the bondage of helplessness.

Sacrifice. Discipline. Forgiveness.

Do Not Be Afraid


embrace

Do not be afraid
to lose yourself in me.
My hands are strong,
yet gentle
and, if need be,
I shall carry you
within the calm shadows
of my love.

Do not be afraid
to laugh with me;
the warmth of my love for you
I gather from the
rainbows of your smile.

Do not be afraid to cry with me
when life overwhelms you;
I will gather your tears
within the well of my understanding
and pour them carefully
upon the fires of your fear.

Do not be afraid
to live with me;
I will build for you a home
with floors of tender mercy,
Walls of compassion,
ceilings of hope,
and windows of promise.

Do not be afraid
to die with me;
I will lead you through
the dark forests of your doubt
until the bright meadows
of forever rise beneath our feet
and the cool waters of eternity
swallows our souls, together.

We Write What We Know


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I had lived one life with my face turned from the sun,
breathing icy winds and my father’s sin.
He is gone now but his fingerprints
remain a stain upon my broken bones.
My sister traded his midnight hugs for an opium exit;
her ashes instead of his lashes.

I took my refuge in dark shadows and withered.

I told…once.
Was rewarded with a year sabbatical in a red brick asylum,
bought and paid for with my mother’s silence.
She collected her ransom daily/offered up her womb’s fruit
to feed him like grapes to Caesar’s gaping maw.
She furnished her home with lost innocence
and found comfort in our cries.

She is buried now and I am robbed of my mourning.

Unearth me when tomorrow comes.
Set my broken feet upon polished stones;
let ascending steps carry me home.
My screams no longer echo from the mountaintops

My dreams no longer tether my pain.
I am not healed, but I feel, and my words
anoint my open wounds.

The Insidiousness of Life


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The insidiousness of life is that it constantly presses upon you;
it is unrelenting in its demands that you nurture and refine it.
It evolves, with or without your consent, so there is no rest,
to simply put it on cruise control and enjoy the passing of time.
For me, every breath is a nuisance; every step is a cursed journey
saddled with failed expectations and societal derision.

I never belonged to this world, nor has it offered itself to me,
and the contempt with which I hold its false promises
eats at my guts like ravens nibbling away at my meaning.
Where others are guided by the soft-bent wings of angels,
I am weighed down by the relentless nagging of demons;
wicked little imps who mock my waking hours and torment my sleep.

There is not a grave dug deep enough to bury my sorrows,
nor do I seek any forgiveness for my sorry state.
I will wash away the stench of my miserable existence
with endless cups of liquid absolution, and in my drunken state,
I will stumble through somehow.

Tomorrow’s sunrise may warmly embrace the multitudes;
each with their cheerful dispositions and infernal optimism.
I, on the other hand, will wither beneath the heat,
thirsting constantly for the darkness beneath a waning moon,
for it is in darkness that my soul finds its true voice.

The Seasons of Life


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In the youngest years, there is fear and pain.

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In the middle years, there is ecstasy, laughter,
hope, promise. happiness, delight, pleasure, bliss,
confidence, optimism, courage, faith, joy, desire,
hopefulness, buoyancy, brightness, anticipation,
choice, sex, cheerfulness, and contentment.

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In the older years, there is fear and pain.

Poets and Prostitutes


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He was a lover of street prostitutes;
not the sable-wrapped uptown girls
bathed in Chanel No.5 and punishing Daddy
by selling their tight-toned wares retail,
but rather those wholesale working-class girls
perfumed by the sweat of their labors;
standing beneath broken streetlights at 2 a.m.,
in cheap, colorful makeup and Wal-Mart lingerie,
with asses bubbling back and semi-flaccid breasts;
those colorful painted whores of the night.

In his youth, he had been scorched by the beautiful
and he would never again have the fevered yearning
of lying with flesh more pliant and comely.

Street-walkers fed his pathos and filled his inner void.
They would let him kiss them on the mouth,
and wouldn’t complain when he couldn’t get hard
because of too much beer and whiskey.

They’d always wait patiently, filing their nails,
chewing open-mouthed wads of gum -
but most of all, they would never, ever
fill the silence with meaning-less chatter.

If he couldn’t function, they didn’t condemn him,
but would play with themselves upon request
so at least the failing of the hour felt sexy.

Most of all, they didn’t lie!

They wouldn’t tell him what a great lover he was
or offer up false platitudes on his endowment;
They used their real names and would share their coke
for an extra twenty-five, and he would pour them full shots.

Sometimes, he would write beautiful sonnets for them
and they would genuinely be moved to tears.

If the sex was lousy, they took it in stride and didn’t bitch.
They didn’t conspicuously spit into folded Kleenex
or stuff their mouths with wads of spearmint gum
after he had come, just to lose the taste of him.
Rather, they swallowed because they, too, didn’t care
if they got one more filthy, fucking disease.

They were like him; defeated and empty,
just grateful not to be judged and discarded
like yesterday’s rotten fruit.

Nature’s Aria



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“Singin’ In The Rain Forest” by Lady Di

Receive the sibilant symphony
of sunset’s twilight serenade –
A cacophony of chirping crickets,
and grass-green geckos cheeping
within frost-flecked ferns
and flower-flocked foliage.
The shrill shriek of the osprey
slices the silence of the summer sky
beneath the bass beat of barnyard owls
hoot-hooting hallowed hallelujahs
in consonance with coyotes chanting
their mournful moonlight wail.
Dissonant and chaotic,
harmonic and serene,
nature’s love songs echoing
across gurgling moss-banked streams
against granite-faced mountains
silhouetted sentinels standing
behind the moon-misted
shroud of the falling night

 

Last Call


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Last night, as I lay muddled,
in my whiskey-soaked slumber,
A wraith-like mist appeared;
blue-black and musty scented
in tattered rags dipped in dust.

My burning sleep-clenched eyes
could not squeeze the scepter gone.
Her orbs, two onyx stones
set above translucent cheeks;
her mouth, a gaping maw
spewing ruby-red flames.
She floated on an icy breeze
scented with blood and bitters.

“Last call!” she hissed,

pouring me two bony fingers
of amber absolution,
judgment oozing from
her snake-coiled tongue.
I listened to the familiar tinkle
of liquefied reasoning cascading
across ice-cubed rebuttals.

Fear terrorized me,
stroking my belly with cold hands.
My gut curveting far and high
like smoke-flecked stallions
raking the coal black sky
with their steel-sparked shoes.

the earth reached up
with vise-gripped soiled fingers
grasping my naked ankles
and pulled down my saturated bones;
my drunken soul laid out and set
beneath lichen-laced granite.

Jagged stone-edged knives etched
my name and this,
the year of my drunken descent.

My Slow Descent


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Pressed beneath the broken rhythms of solitude
Stumbling drunk within intoxicated wavy parallels
Of self-derision and unbridled rage against lost time
A shattered vessel of my mother’s dreams
Absent when the arch of forgiveness bends mercifully
Over purpose-broken and diminished men
My unwinding days a gentle push toward the grave
With nothing left to secure my grasp
Pulled asunder by the wrath of fallen angels
When the shadows of my sins, like a burial shroud
Wraps me tightly, a corpse descending
Into the darkened void of eternal sleep.
This, then is my slow descent; tossed upon a funeral pyre
Engulfed within damnation’s perpetual flame
Condemned for lack of conviction as the cold winds
Of judgment kick up and scatter my weightless ashes

 

Sleep Eternal, My Love


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sleep eternal, my love
the flesh is over
wear as much earth as you wish now

let the flowers braid
themselves across your breast
let the bees bumble and
the morning birds babble
above your tired bones

let the setting sun
kiss your marbled stone
with summer’s lips

let the southern winds
embrace you
like a mother’s arms

let the heavenly poems begin
though the poets surely weep
for your earthly voice has ended

let the memories flow as freely
as the rivers in which we bathed
as innocent, carefree children

how can the earth be denied
the heavenly sustenance of you
which I have known all these years

who am I to deny God his angel
or the ocean her song
your whispers remain upon His lips
your sighs upon their waves

pray the passing seasons
don’t stack themselves
too high one upon the other
as you await my sure return

A Lingering Pain


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In another life, we would call this love.

Today it is just a lingering pain,
clenched fistfuls of it lashing forth upon the shore.
The oceans scream.

We want crisis, oh, how we hunger for it.

When we were young, we ate sorrow without sugar
before losing ourselves in the forest of shame.
Beyond our innocence, beneath our yearning yokes,
we lay together secretly in this seashore cavern;
frantic with love.

I was the lazy one, eating your peach without washing it;
writing a song for my supper
and with a bare mouth, kissing the very ankle
that kicks the life out of me today.
Our bodies rolled in and out like the tides
and in the forgotten distance, the thunder laughed
at our selfish lust.

Today, the beach below is sliced by dying rivers
brown-blue and reaching for the seawater;
One wet finger of water traces into the cavern
and licks our naked feet, causing me to
momentarily thrust too deep
while you, asleep, curse the very dream of me.

We met here once, as children full of hope,
our thirsts slaked in the moistness of the cave.
The ash-white hotness of passion powdering your fingertips
upon the small of my back, pulling me into your deeper meaning,
so hot then the sands turned to glass
crunching and shattering beneath our frantic embrace.

In that life, we called it love.

Today, the moon sucks the tides back to her
jealous bosom, leaving us naked and thrashing
like dying fish upon the shore.

Today, my love, is just a lingering pain.

I Bark, Therefore, I Am


Lord Byron enjoying his "after-vet" time alone.

Lord Byron enjoying his “after-vet” time alone.

I’m not going to yank your leash – it’s been a busy month. A few weeks ago, my humans took me into the scary place with the man in the white coat. You know the place. It’s where everyone gathers around me as I lay on a cold. steel table and they poke and prod. Seems I had something called cancer and my human’s seemed really, really worried and sad. It couldn’t be all that bad, I thought, as the treats seemed to triple recently… but before I could whimper, “let’s get out of this place”, they left me and went away.

Now, I know I’m a brave boy…at least that’s what they told me as they left. But I certainly didn’t feel brave as the man in the white coat took me into the back room and put me into a deep sleep.

I dreamt of all the eight, wonderful, play-packed years I had spent with my humans. I must have chased ten thousand bouncy things in the park, and they always bought me squeaky things to keep me occupied as they went to work each day. I dreamt of the day they rescued me. I had been kept in a breeders cage since birth, and when I was freed, I had seizures brought on by the new flood of attention and love. But as they said, I’m a brave boy, and I was so happy when they took me home to share their kennel with me. Over the next 8 years, I learned to play and cuddle and found my utmost joy in the little humans that would pet me, cooing, “Oooh..he’s so soft!”

I confess, nothing was as much fun as Christmas at my human’s owners house in Grass Valley when I get my new toys and treats! Didn’t much care for the firecracker day each July, but I found my comfort behind Mama’s legs. Oh, how I dreamed some big dog dreams.

When I woke up, the scary man in the white coat was smiling, and there were my humans!! They had come back (as they always do). My tail thumped as I could see how joyful and happy they were! “I got it all,” beamed the white coated man. “It’s was a low grade cancer and I’d be surprised if it comes back,” he said. I don’t know what all the fuss was about, but my humans were no longer sad, and that was all that mattered to me. I’ve got a lot of living, chasing, and loving to do still yet.

As I left the room, I looked back at the white-coated man and gave a little bark. He wasn’t so scary after all, and I felt I owed him a bark of thanks.

 

This Is How I Start My Days


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This is how I start my days.

At four a.m., I awaken with a start. It isn’t that I wasn’t sleeping well, but this is my witching hour. I reach over and pull the covers up over my wife and take a moment to gaze in absolute awe at this beauty, this incredible effervescent woman sharing my bed.

I quietly swing my feet to the floor and sit for a moment. My muse is impatiently pulling me into awakening, but I do my best to resist. I want to sleep just a little bit more, but my eyes have already made out the flashing light on my hibernating computer and just like that, I want to be writing more than I want to be dreaming.

I gently close the bedroom door behind me and make my way into the kitchen. I put water in the kettle, light the stove, and grab my pack of cigarettes. I head out the door into the blackness of the night, sit upon the second stoop, and light up. The ritual never changes. And there, beneath the canopy of constellations, I look for my special star. I don’t know what it is called, and I don’t know why it is that star…but I need to start each day in silent commune before it. Once I find it, I stare at it for a few minutes, emptying my mind of creeping thoughts. I slowly close my eyes, inhale another drag, and listen.

Like little mice on padded feet, the words start scampering around my brain. The writing has begun.

I toss the cigarette into the night, watching a spiral of red sparks ascend, then descend, as if to punctuate the purpose of this ritual. From the kitchen, the kettle begins to sing, and I rush in before it hits full crescendo and awakens my wife. I pour the steaming water over a cone of coffee grounds and inhale the rising steam. In a seamless arch, I take my cup of coffee to the kitchen table, flip open the lid to my computer, and hit the resume button.

And then I write. And write and write and write. At this point, what I write is irrelevant. That I write is the point. The wee hours of the morning are not the time to self-critique or to spin a plot. It is the time for the bleeding of words.

This is how I start my days.

Lights


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You have always stood
beneath a dazzling array of bright colors
Brilliant, and brave, and blinding
Your light provided bright reflections
and lit the stage upon which you danced
careless, joyful, and exuberant

It was a separate light that bathed me
not quite so radiant
and full of shadows
It has never illuminated my way
nor has it warmed me in its beam
It was what it seemed
an insignificant blue glow, dim and misleading

In your light, you were found
In mine, everything was lost

 

Unholy Vengeance


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Into the rain and clapping thunder
Sends God His vengeful deadly host
To see His children torn asunder
For Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

Throughout the night, and sure the road
Iron hooves clip steady shoreward
And more the rattling of the swords
Their sharpened tips now pointing forward

In fearless form astride their steeds
into pitched battle thrown
Ride Death and Justice gallantly
Slicing meat from bone

Upon each hamlet, rape and pillage
Man offered up for Heaven’s plunder
While screams ascend from every village
And babies slain in wide eyed wonder

No mercy shown unto this throng
Nor gracious sympathy bestowed
While Justice seeks to right a wrong
Death collects what God is owed

Before their blades a thousand fall
Ten thousand more now pave the street
Into the sea are driven all
This sacrilege is now complete

And as the surf coughs up her dead
Death and Justice sheath their blades
The golden sands now blood-soaked red
Belie this savage Godly raid

Revenge exacts its costly measure
Exhausted homeward ride the two
They fight not for acclaim or treasure
But to enforce what’s “right” and “true”

Lover’s Delight


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With desire spent, we leave the night
Our bodies bathed in morning’s light
Our limbs entwined like climbing vines
Our kisses sweet like summer wine

Our spirits soar, our hearts set free
Beneath a verdant canopy
Of flowering trees and running streams
Of fragrant winds and lazy dreams

Such sorrow shall we one day know
When either you, or I, shall go
And leave the other to sorely miss
This warm embrace, this soulful kiss

As the sunrise drives away the night
and sunlight fades to starry light
So does this love, in ardent gladness,
Dispel the weight of parting’s sadness

But let us in this moment know
One final bout in passion’s throe
And leave the morrow to the night
This moment now is our delight