Til Death Do We Part…Or Until Today


September 25, 2004 - Our Wedding in Mendocino

September 25, 2004 – Our Wedding in Mendocino

Well, we didn’t quit make it to death.

It certainly feels like death.  Same darkness. Same eternal silence. Same gathering of mourners offering condolences on our loss. Same tears both from self-pity and genuine sorrow. The only thing missing is a stirring eulogy, although I imagine that’s what I am writing now.

The photos above mark the happiest day of my life.  These words spilled out now before you mark the saddest.

I remember our wedding day as though it happened this afternoon. We were married at the Heritage House on the cliffs of Mendocino overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The day started out foggy and overcast, cold and wet.  Kerri and I were certain it was going to be that way all day and made our mental adjustments to allow for a less than perfect wedding day, but fifteen minutes before the ceremony began, by the  time everyone had gathered and the music filled the afternoon air, the sun burst through a bank of clouds and the fog burned off, leaving a rainbow arching against the horizon.  A flock of pelicans flew over the dais where I stood anxiously awaiting my beautiful bride.

My best man whispered, “pelicans are a symbol of eternal love.”  I smiled.

Well, here I stand, 9 years later, and the fog has rolled back in.  The sun is nowhere to be found, and I am almost certain those pelicans are dead by now, as is my marriage.

I don’t ever want to go through such joy, followed by such loss, again. I don’t keep these pictures as a way to torture and punish myself for all the beauty and wonder that is leaving my life.  I keep them as a reminder that at least once in this wretched journey called life, I knew unfathomable  love and joy.  When people see this broken shell of a man in future days, they will be hard pressed to believe that once I knew happiness and beauty in my life. These photos are all I will have to prove that we once existed.

I have had my fill and am quite content to end my days in the certain knowledge that I was once loved by the best.  She can have the house, the dog, the friends…. I have have custody of the memories…and that will have to suffice.

Now where is death, and why has it not done its part?

I am waiting.

How Do I Say Goodbye?


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How do you say goodbye to your sweetest hello?

When the woman you wake up to every morning, serving as an affirmation that all is well in your world, no longer shares your bed..or your life?

How do you maintain your balance when the center of your equilibrium in a world already spinning on a shaky spindle, says, “I love you, but I want a divorce?”

How do you formulate words with any meaning when the one person who truly understands you no longer wants to hear the sound of your voice?

You don’t.

You simply get up, put one foot in front of the other, and hope, with every fiber of your being that today, you will survive, you will move forward.  Whether you believe it or not.  Hope that you don’t stumble and fall into a crumbling heap.  Hope that your sense of purpose and direction will one day return.

The next 24 hours will be crucial.  We have been living together for the past 3 weeks, ever since she decided it was best that we don’t.  We have been loving and supportive and oh, so much in denial.  We thought that through maturity and feigned patience that we could forestall the inevitable…the crushing and the shredding of our 18 years together, without too much drama, without too much pain.  But as I stand here, packing my bags, whispering tender goodbyes to our dog, the pain and the anguish are mercilessly pounding at the door.  They demand an audience.

It is too late to correct our course…things have been put into irreversible motion.  The families have been gathered and informed. Friends have been brought up to speed.  Luggage has been bought and sadly packed. Her Facebook status has been updated, even before I leave the house. It was so fucking important that the world knows she would soon be rid of me.

I bought a used car to facilitate my exit.  It, like me, is creaky and worn and dangerously close to its final days here on this earth.  We deserve one another.  As I drive off, quickly glancing once more at a lifetime of love and memories fading in the rear view mirror, me and my broken down car will try to nurse our way down the highways of life.  We may not make it very far, but we won’t be here anymore.

How do I say goodbye?  “See you later” seems altogether absurd and insufficient.  “I love you…take care of yourself” sounds seditious and false.  “Be well”…perhaps, but I know she won’t be.  Not for awhile.  And a tight hug would only mock our separation.  I’m afraid I’d embarrass the both of us by not letting go.

No, the best I can come up with is to quietly slip away while she is otherwise distracted posting updates of my departure with her faceless friends on Facebook.  The non-people of cyberspace who seem to bring her more joy and comfort than an actual husband.  Unlike me, she can pour out her heart to these faceless creatures who offer her false comfort and advice.  They share memes to bolster her decision to quit this marriage, as though they are writing her name on some imaginary wall of support that disappears when she powers down for the night.  I “unlike” you all.  You inglorious bastards.

How do I let go, one last time?

By simply…letting go.  And not looking in that rear view mirror.

A Prayer for Her


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Last night, as I lay quietly weeping next to my sleeping wife, I prayed with all my heart.

In four short days, we will be separating for good, a prelude to the divorce she requested just before Christmas.  Looking at her through my tears, I could tell she was exhausted.  The past few weeks have taken such a toll on her.  We still love one another and have both been trying so desperately to make our inevitable parting a process of love and respect and peace.  But that does nothing to stop the inevitable pain of letting go.  As she has for our entire relationship, her primary concern has been for me.  Doing whatever she can to make this in any way less traumatic, easier to endure.

She has always been selfless, up until she finally gathered all the vestiges of her courage to finally set herself free.  I desperately want her to be happy and fulfilled, even if that means letting her go.  But I prayed, nonetheless.  I prayed like a condemned man facing the final seconds of life knowing that in a few short moments the executioner will do what he must do, and it will all be over.  I prayed like Jesus, in the garden of Gethsemane, asking his Father to spare him from “drinking this cup.”   I prayed for everything cowards pray for when the consequences of their actions stare them squarely in the face and demand accountability.  I prayed for a way out.

And then I realized…this is exactly why I’ve lost her.  In that tender moment of the night, watching her toss and turn in a fitful sleep, I had failed her once more.  I failed to pray for what’s best for her.  I failed to pray for her happiness and security.  I failed to pray for her future.  I failed to match her selfless act for selfless act.  I failed, once more, to love her with all of my heart.  Too consumed with my  loss and pain, I failed to consider hers.

This is undoubtedly why I should not be allowed to pray. Or to love. My prayers fall on silent ears because they are offered in false pretense.  I haven’t evolved enough as a person, let alone a man, to put the needs of those I love most ahead of my own.  I have no faith anyway, so why I continue to dabble in the mysteries of prayer, I don’t know.  But with or without faith, I am going to give it one more try.

This time, my prayers are for her.  For her happiness. To ease her suffering and pain.  For the joy she so richly deserves.  To be surrounded by people who are stronger and more present than I ever was.  And more truly loving.  For the strength to grow from this, to risk again, to find her true meaning.

To let me go without second-guessing.

Perhaps, if just this once, I pray for her needs before my own, then tonight she will sleep more comfortably.  And I can cherish the few remaining days I have with her…for her sake.

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

 

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.

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.

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.

 

Nostalgia


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In my mind’s recess, a soft caress
of memories and days gone by
A kaleidoscope of love and hope
And answers to the “Why?”

I fall within and live again
Those magic days bygone
My thoughts set free in reverie
Warmed by a setting sun

Another time in perfect rhyme
Now formed in my revision
I’m lifted up as I fill my cup
With reflection and a vision

Within my dream, or so it seems
The best of times has past
Yet still somehow, I cherish “Now”
And tighter still my grasp

Outside my mind my thoughts unwind
And now today returned
Living in yesterday is still no way
To face the future’s turn

 

E=MCreativity


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Einstein gave us relativity,
but failed to factor creativity!
His theorem’s certain, yet we are not
and mankind, therefore, slips the knot.
While science deigns to draw the curtain,
the power of love is all but certain.
Quantum physics, both here and there?
Mankind cannot be factored square!
String theory speaks to nature’s state,
while poets reveal our human grace.
Unification without the arts
is faulty from the very start!
There still remains the mystery
of how we simply came to be?
Big Bang theory explains the stars
but does not speak to why we are?
The paradigm begins to shift
When we factor in the artist’s gift…
Equations writ in bytes and bits
Cannot explain Beethoven’s fifth.
As so we argue with indignation
We only exist in our imagination!

Writer’s Block


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Half smoked cigarettes fill the vapid air
the poet hunches over in total disrepair
His dalliance with the muse is such a sad affair
When words won’t come, he slouches in despair
The night mist lingers though he doesn’t’ really care

Surrounded by empty bottles, his vision is impaired
The empty page taunts him, “Fill me if you dare!”
He reaches even deeper, but there’s really nothing there
Another evening of this is more than he can bear
In absolute surrender, his pen flies through the air

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

 

Omnipresent Love


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If flowers bloom when summer ends, their fragrance rising, too,
These I, on bended knee would give, and even more to you.
Celestial stars and distant moons I’ve gathered up for thee -
And as the angels sweetly sing, profess your love to me.

The tides should rise and surely ebb with every breath you take;
Each heartbeat to mine own entwined a passion full awake!
Softly pressing palm to palm, our fingers tightly laced,
Pulling closer, closer still, a warm and tight embrace.

Each minute to the hour unwinds, and still the night unfolds
Timeless and eternal as we lay in sweet repose.
The morning comes on the rising sun, our love in warm reflection
Whispering low, we are even so lost in introspection.

Such is our love, so tightly stitched, the seams appear transparent -
And to the world our vows are writ in verse now made apparent

The Divine Tapestry of Life


“We are each a thread in the tapestry of our human family. Our outcome is woven of endless possibilities, because we can choose from a universe of endless possibilities. Every person can make a difference.” ~ Steve Brunkhorst

tapestry of life
We are imperceptibly bound
by the common chords of our humanity;
colored threads weaving
a rich tapestry of shared experience.

Our similitude outshines our differences;
durable and glistening; certain and enduring
beneath a billowing canopy of endless possibility.

Not me, or you; not him or her, but all as One.

The fabric frays when we close our eyes
to the wonder and intensity of our diversity;
divisiveness and uncertainty pulls at the threads
which embroider the story of our divinity.

Our uniqueness as individuals only adds
to the richness of the fabric of humankind,
where rivers of color intertwine to form
delicate and stunning lines and patterns
– intricate and beautiful in their relations.

No stars hung in heaven shine more brightly,
shimmer more vibrantly,
or radiate more light
than when we embrace one another
as One.

At Last…Goodbye!


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                                       Painting by Alan Hurley

Each word, a thousand times spoken
Each promise, another vow broken
like snowflakes melting as they hit the ground
your words fall coldly without a sound

Each kiss, from cold lips pressed
Each touch, just an icy caress
You hold me so tightly I can no longer breath
Your embrace insincere – I no longer believe

Each gesture, an empty illusion
Each thought, just a delusion
The love I once felt has turned to regret
And the best I can do is hope to forget

Each day, a waste of my giving
Each night, exhausted from living
With someone who hasn’t the vision to see me
I’ve opened my eyes, I just wish to be free

Beneath Her Radiant Light and Gentle Touch


Dedicated to my Friend

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I hear she is so radiant and magnificent that,
like the face of the Sun,
you dare not look at her
for the brilliance with which she shines.

I have not seen her,
but in my dreams comes the vibrant image
of love and warmth nonetheless.

I awaken bathed in a sheen of sweat,
and my eyes burn from
the memory of her dazzling light.

She has the strength of a tender vine
coiling upward around the dying oak
anchoring in place, for the last moments,
something that was once beautiful and majestic.

That is me – once beautiful and majestic
dying beneath her grace and beauty
as she holds me up to her beaming light.

I cannot – I will not surrender life
beneath her radiant light and gentle touch -
even if only in my dreams.

Vanity


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Understanding you is not,
contrary to your incessant belief
the sole purpose of my existence
You are whatever you are,
while I, without pause, accept this
If I were to assume a constant analysis of you
and the things you do
as my pre-ordained purpose for existing
I would as soon take the sharpest of razors
and pass it with pleasure
one-eighth inch deep across my gullible throat
Your vanity exhausts me
Is there not a moment within any given day
wherein your every waking thought
is directed toward anything, or anyone, other than yourself?
If not, then tell me, do you ever grow weary
of unceasingly caressing the image of yourself,
as even lust-crazed men tire of their indiscriminate seductions
of faceless women?
Don’t you ever lie spent after
a consuming bout of self-adoration?
Here, then, is my ardent hope and prayer for you
May you love yourself only to the measure
that others may, perchance
find in the smoldering remnants of your self-delight
a crumb or two left over
upon which to nourish their love for you as well

 

Cut Gently


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Be gentle with your words
they cut like knives and twice as deep
if you’ve hatred to spew, just keep
searching for a way to express yourself
without completely diminishing
everyone else around you
On more than one occasion
You’ve carved me up until I had
nothing left inside to support me
Loving you isn’t hard,
It’s the most natural thing I do
but listening to you sometimes
takes such masochistic effort
That said, we all need to express
those emotions that bind us up
in those moments, cut gently
and give me some time to heal

Scary Love


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Day and night
Her complexion changes;
Love or fight
These are her ranges.

And here I am locked into the midst of it,
Trying my best to make out the gist of it.
I’m caught in her spell; she has such a hold on me.
It can feel like hell, but it’s just where I want to be!
When the morning comes, do I stay, or do I go?
With the rising sun, there’s so much I need to know.
As I hold her close, our two hearts will beat as one,
But don’t assume they will beat when tomorrow comes.

Night and day,
Haven’t got a clue!
Fight or love
Either way I lose.

And here she is right in the thick of it,
Trying her best not to get sick of it.
My love for her is far beyond doubt -
But should I love her from the inside or out?
She loves like an angel when all’s going well,
But burns like the devil when things go to hell!
The best I can do is to commit to the fray;
Praying to God I can survive one more day.

Day or night
When will she come to me?
Love or fight
What will her method be?

I try to predict, but she’s much too slick for me,
And if I run, she’s much too quick for me!
This love we share is hopeless and wonderful -
In a black and white world, it’s so bright and colorful.
My fate is cast, so I’ll just make the best of it -
I’ll hold her close, and just take the rest of it.
She’s a riddle, that’s true, but I’ve got her figured out;
At least I think I do, but still, I have my doubts.

Day after day
I’ll continue to work on this -
Night after night
She’ll reset with just a kiss.

 

All The Love I Once Had…And Lost


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I have no thought of future love
That’s a bridge I’m not ready to cross
I need time yet to heal
From the pain that I feel
For the love I once had…and lost

It’s not that I don’t feel the need
In truth, no need is greater
But unless I survive
What I’m feeling inside
I’ll have no need for later

Be patient with me, please understand
I’m not a man who’s made of stone
I’ll deal with tomorrow
When I’ve dealt with the sorrow
Of living today all alone

I’m not giving up on the future
I just have no time for the thought
Of loving again
While I’m still lost within
All the love I once had…and lost


“Just so you know, despite the darkness and despair of some of my poetry, here’s a glimpse of the more hopeful and soulful affirmation of my personality” Anyone laughs, I un-follow!

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PROMISES

You ask if love’s forever
A promise I can’t make
But if I could, or thought I should
I would not hesitate

I’d promise you forever
And then a day or two
If I were free to guarantee
Forever loving you

But promises are born of doubt
A doubt that’s seldom real
The love we know can only grow
In trusting what we feel

Yet, I’ll promise you this moment
If words can still your fears
Just hold me now and show me how
To love you through the years

 

Promises


This is dedicated to two sisters who I have recently come to know and adore. They are the embodiment of what this poem attempts to convey – that we are transformed by the love one has for another.  I’ve posted this before, but never has it spoken so loudly until I understood the transforming love these two sisters have shared in their very special bond.

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By Pino – Two Sisters in “Afternoon Respite”

LOVE”S TRANSFORMING HAND

I don’t profess to understand
The power of Love’s transforming hand
But I can’t deny what’s plain to see
Loving you is changing me

As a child walking on the shore
I saw the ocean…nothing more
I cried, “Oh God – what senseless waste
This vast expanse of liquid space.”

Yet now, with your hands guiding me
I cherish the life within the sea
I built myself a one room home
And dared to live there all alone

It wasn’t that I did not care
Just felt I had not much to share
But now, beneath Love’s soft caress
I simply have to give my best

I once viewed stars as nothing much
Cold, distant worlds beyond my touch.
I had no need for cheap sensations
Built on simple constellations

Then Love’s hand touched me through your heart
And I knew that stars were heaven’s art
No, I don’t profess to understand
The power of Love’s transforming hand

But I can’t deny what’s plain to see
Loving you is changing me

Dedicated to Brooke and Her Sister

The Skirt


Image

You laid your plaited skirt
on the foot of my bed,
neatly folded as though
in doing so you could somehow
retain your virtue.

In the midst of our fleshy thrashing,
I kicked it to the floor, and you began
to cry, deep sobs that rattled
the mattress springs.

I moved, too reluctantly, to retrieve it
but you said, “Why bother? You’ve ruined it.
You’ve ruined me. You’ve ruined everything!”

Making love doesn’t always
mean making sense,
and so I threw my feet to the floor,
pulled on my jeans, and looked back,
although I would never be able to see.

“So that’s it?” you sobbed.
“You bastard!”

I smiled In affirmation, buttoned my shirt,
and turned toward the door,
and as an afterthought, picked up
your once plaited skirt, tossed it
carelessly over my shoulder,

and left.

 


To my wife, Kerri….my eternal muse.

“Love at first sight is grossly underestimated: a single glance can take the whole person.”

Kerri Portrait

WITHOUT YOU

Without you, nothing seems possible.
Every beautiful thing this world has to offer
Revolves around you.
When I am sad, happiness is in your smile.
When I am afraid, your arms calm me.
When I can’t find my way, your eyes lead me.
Without you, I simply drift along.
There is no color in my world, until you come home.
If I am tired, your laughter lifts me and I am whole again.
If I yell at you, you sigh a little.
If I don’t’ come home, you die a little.
If I fail you, you patiently what until I find my way again.
Where are you now?
When I cannot speak, your lips consume me.
When I can no longer stand, your love exhumes me.
You are everything that makes me live.
Every dream begins when I draw near you.
Every hope demands a path clear to you.
Loneliness does not exist when you are in my life.
I am lifted up, drifting up to heaven above you.
When you whisper you love me,
Stand fragile before me,
I am transformed and need to pull you close.
I know you could walk away, but you never do.

Without You


Image

The phases of life, the marking of time;
I lived two weeks, four months,
six months before moving on.
There were no long-term relationships -
one night, maybe a week, perhaps two.

Love was too expensive for a traveler,
much too heavy to carry in a bag or box.
I put my days on paper, ending one story,
another poem filed away, me moving on.
There would always be another day,
another pretty face, a warm body
to hold through another cold night .
True love by the hour or day, I could afford that.

That’s what I thought at the time.

I sold my poems, sad stories, many years ago.
I didn’t sell them for money;
it was always a trade , a fair exchange I thought.
The perfect and ideal love
burning so bright, but not very long.

 

A Poet’s Affection

Love in a Coffee Shop


coffee

She’s not the kind of girl
men see across a smoky bar
and write songs about.
There is an uninviting sadness
in her dull blue eyes,
downward cast,
washing out the sparkle of
her tender youth.
Yet, I’ve sat here all morning
casting furtive glances above the
flipped lid of my computer,
drinking in the realness of her,
sipping the lukewarm resignation
that hangs upon her like a
torn burial shroud.
I am intoxicated by the way
she breathes slowly and with
lost purpose; how she twirls
a lock of her dishwater blond
hair with her forefinger,
the nail of which is bitten
to the quick.
Every few minutes she looks
off into the distance
with a blank and distant stare,
perhaps daring to dream, broken,
of a life that might have been.
I know, in that way of knowing
the permeates you to the core,
that she has lived, and felt, and
loved, and lost, and somehow
found the strength within herself
to carry on.
I also know that I love her,
she, who I do not know,
and she who no longer loves
in return.
She’s not the kind of girl
men see across a smoky bar
and write songs about,
but she is the reason
poets anguish into the night
to capture the authenticity
of true love and broken dreams.

Beneath a Dust of Snow


snow

The darkly puffed clouds, pregnant with snow,
hang dark and bitter and over mountaintops flow.
A cowardly moon casts a muted light, reflecting
scattered jewels across the veil of night;
Winter descends.
The rippling hills in the park in dusted white repeat;
streets grow eerily silent beneath unmoving feet . . .
The timeless face ticking on the old clock tower
shivers as the bell strikes its mournful hour.
The city sleeps unaware, or lost in the memory
of yesterday’s warmth and illumination.

He, from his frost-laced window panes
in silent rumination, stares out in pain
over the bitter whiteness of the slumbering town,
Seeing through swirls of white softly floating down
one candle burning in the window of a shuttered house
where this night the flame of love was cruelly doused
as she, in death’s harsh grip and coiled embrace
surrendered the light that transformed her face.
The frozen earth, itself reluctant to let her go
as he laid his love to rest beneath a dust of snow.

He desires like this to forget what will not pass,
Grey death, stale ugliness, and the sodden grass.
Deep in his heart old bells are beaten again,
Slurred bells of grief and twisted pain.
Dull echoes of hideous places where poisons grow,
he desires to drown in a cold white peace of snow.