Love Fulfilled Beneath a Dying Light


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When the sun sets, when its dying rays
filters through my bedroom window
I get the full brunt of this powerful star.
It is beautiful and blinding.
I feel its warming fingers softly caressing
my cheek; it dries the last traces of my tears.

Today, as the sun came into its latitude
to be shining directly on me,
I close my eyes beneath its warmth
remembering brighter days.
Was this the same sun that kissed us
on our first walks upon the beach?
Was this the same sun that cast
its light on our wedding day?

Many people have expressed their love
to both of us throughout this process,
and many people have let us know
that it may be God’s will this, or God’s will that.
And it may well be.
But I know one thing.
We were both born of this organic, living universe.
Star matter is within us. We are forever connected
beneath the arch of its healing light.

I have never felt more in the presence of the supernatural
than today, with this mighty being shining on us,
me here, in my thoughts, you, there, wherever you are.
I can almost see the last breaths of our togetherness
in the stardust that once showered the idea of “us”
being pulled back towards that Sun.
It is as if the Sun had decided to choose this moment,
to envelop the two of us in divergent beams of light,
and take us back, separately, back to the stars.

In a way, it is beautiful.
This Sun, our Sun, reminds me
to live more fully, more appreciatively, and more happily.
I won’t think of a marriage that has died.
I’ll think of those moments we had to dance in its light.
With much love and sadness.

Of Love Lost


 All the dreams I dreamt
Will vanish like the morning fog
When at last I awaken,
And something tells me that day is come.

Still that final goodbye echoes fresh—
Oh, how we, both she and I
First kissed as the sun went down.
Will she ever return? I cannot say.

The door creaks.
A sudden whiff of the lost and familiar…
A day with her lost among the days without.
Once more the door creaks.
Who is it?
I have no voice left;
The last candle is almost out.

Painting by Adrian Calin

Painting by Adrian Calin

Bruises On Her Heart


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I left bruises on her heart –

not memories, but empty spaces.
Soon there will be no evidence
our love ever existed.

Her pain folds in stages -
like a Japanese silk fan,
while the flowers of our marriage
drop their tired and wilted petals.

For better or for worse was a lie
easily uttered when I held more promise.

The years, and my failings, took their toll
and it was necessary for her to save herself -
to toss me aside like bitter fruit.

 

Mistress Moon


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Her face is frost etched glass
floating in the blue-black winds of the night;
she illuminates footsteps hushed
on decayed and dampened leaves;
grieves for freshly planted souls
who have turned from the light of day.

Her midnight corset is tightly laced
by the dazzling tails of falling stars;
she moves in phases
with the  tempered grace of a childless empress
wandering silently and with bowed head
through the cold shadows of winter’s garden.

She seduces the wolf and the poet
with equal ambivalence, each of whom
compose for her dream-soaked arias
and haunting sonnets that speak of
promises never meant to be kept.

She mourns her  powdered reflection
as it ripples across frozen lakes:
hides behind silver-lined clouds when
she can no longer bear the loneliness
of her shadowy journey across granite
mountaintops and sleeping meadows.

At last, in the cool, grey light of morning,
as the sun softly caresses her porcelain
cheek with warm fingers of breaking light,
she sighs but once, then slowly fades into
the rose colored blush of a new day.

My Life’s Palette


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It all began
with the glowing green meadows;
cool, dew-moistened blades of grass
softly pressed into the shape
of a young boy’s naked feet running 
frivolous and joyous
in the backyards of my innocence.

     In time, the azure-blue skies
     puffed with the carefree brilliant white cotton-candy clouds
     of my adolescence fed my wandering dreams,
     lifting me to new heights,
     pressing me tenderly against the heavens.

In my teen years, the skies grew heated
beneath the raging, orange-flecked storms
battering the massive walls of my pubescent limitations.
I fought bravely against the darkening forces shaping me,
but was laid low with the sizzling strike of a silver bolt of lightning,
my body then forged in the ruby red-hot fires of puberty.

     As a young man, there came a day with you in it;
     a dazzling star as yellow-bright and full of light -
     your beauty washed over me, igniting my purpose, 
     I was blinded by the intensity and the nearness of you, 
     awakening within me the amazing brilliant white glow 
     of desire, love, and hope.

Eventually, the blue-black sheet of night
was pulled over me; the skies darkened a midnight onyx
leaving me lying in the cool-grey mist of the shadow of Death.
The lights dimmed as did my voice,
as the murky fingers of Death reached toward me.

     I was immediately lifted up into a new beginning;
     the soothing winds of forever washing over
     the palette of my life
     as once more my heels were dipped
     into the forgiving green blades of grasses
     of eternity’s meadow.

The Hopeless Longing of This Day


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Each night within my folded dreams
You come to me, or so it seems
My heart beats then a thousand times
In aching rhythm, in broken rhyme

But when the morning sun appears
Once more I’m bathed in lonely tears  

My thoughts of you will more than pay
The hopeless longing of this day
Come now, and let me dream it true
With sleep-clenched eyes I am with you 

You part my hair, and kiss my brow,
And say, Love, why sufferest thou?

Come to me in my dreams, and then
By day I shall be well again!  
My thoughts of you will more than pay
The hopeless longing of this day  

 

Behind Green Eyes: A Child of the Ozarks


Ozark Girl

Photo Credit: Jeff Jones, Photographer
(image of his daughter, Valerie)

Skin softly bleached like the Southern twilight
freckle-kissed face ‘neath the Ozark ‘s skylight
fire-red locks and curls tossed by stormy winds
Pa’s softly-pressed dimple upon her boyish chin

     Green eyes revealing her faded innocence
     a determined gaze, a child’s jaded reverence
     for a young life lived beneath the savage blows
     of poverty’s yoke, though no one knows
     for this girl who bravely looks right through you
     wears a forthright courage, honest and true

She rides a bitter storm that’s never-ending
twelve tender years in fields deep-bending
with calloused hands plucking earth’s creations
like her kinfolk have done for generations

     Laughing like a banshee, she dances in the rain
     holding back her tears as she swallows her pain
     A motherless child born to a colorless world 
     still she sings of a future, of hope yet unfurled
     she sings of the woods, and the trails, and the streams
     of infinite hope and impossible dreams

She could never be pressed to surrender this hour
‘neath the soft Ozark moonbeams that fill her with power
to endure what she must, though she’s only a child
under dark gathering clouds she stands there beguiled
filled with wonder and light behind a soft-freckled face
she presents to the world the persona of grace

Love in a Guayusa* Shop


(*)Guayusa an organic herb sustainably grown in the Amazon Rainforest by Ecuadorian families only available at GUNPOWDER (http://drinkgunpowder.com)

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, we sit this soundless morning at
Gunpowder, the drone of Venice Beach
tourists muted by the intensity
of her faded beauty,
casting furtive glances above the
flipped lid of my computer -
sipping my guayusa latte,
drinking in the realness of her,
tasting 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 empty distance
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.

The Divine Tapestry of Life


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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,
ineradicable 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 and not the “other”.

Cinco de Mayo by Lavelle M.


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Poet Lavelle Maddox
Inglewood, CA

As part of my commitment to bring new talent to my audience, it is with great pleasure that I feature an emerging poet, Lavelle M.  I recently heard Lavelle read the accompanying poem, “Cinco de Mayo” at an open podium, and while the piece entitled was somewhat dated, his mastery of research in composing this piece left a deep impression on me and I knew my fans would appreciate this new voice.  Lavelle writes in free verse here, bringing about a much needed historical correction to the myth of Mexican Independence Day.  For generations, this important feast day has been misrepresented and Lavelle gently lays down the bare bones of this date in history.

CINCO de MAYO

Cinco de Mayo means 5th of May
Not to be confused with Mexican Independence Day
But it’s a day we shall all remember
For the record, Mexican Independence is the 16th of September
This is a small dedication from me to you:

Cinco de Mayo started in 1862
During the Civil War, before Emancipation
The Mexican soldiers had a celebration;
Not for freedom, but for heritage and pride

By defeating the French on the far West Side
Blood was shed, lives were lost
By dead soldiers who paid the cost
Battle of Puebla is the name of the War
Too bad the French didn’t know what was in store

With war comes tragedy, death, and defeat
It’s when the strong survive and surpass the weak
For me, to be strong is something I seek.

This World


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Your love, your hate –
it’s all the same thing
it gathers me in the same web
entangling me with empty promises.
and like a lot of dreams
it made a monster at the end of it.

This is a world where nothing is solved –
where time is a flat circle
and everything we ever do, or have ever done,
we do over and over and over again.

Where you touch darkness
and darkness touches you back.

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.

Self-Reflection


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I am the ripe green apple,
plucked from Eden’s garden
Contemptuously bitten,
no hope for God’s pardon.
I am Achilles heel
that hobbles my stride;
Odysseus’ curse,
my insufferable pride..
That lock of hair
claiming Sampson’s life,
And the brother of Able,
I’m Cain with a knife!
I am the snakes coiled
in Medusa’s dark mane -
Like a lance to the boil,
my mercy is strained.
I’m the brew in the cauldron
of deep-forested witches -
The ugliness that comes
from Frankenstein’s stitches.
I am alone and afraid,
but too stubborn to change;
Hopeless and lost
and most certain deranged!
I’m broken, defeated,
and reeking of sin,
The lowest of cowards,
the most evil of men.
A life, ever wasted
on cheap wine and women,
My descent into Death
is just now beginning.
This ghost will remain
as my specter of shame -
I’d rather be dead
than live more of the same ~

 

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

 

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

 

The Speed of Life


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I’ve threaded the needle once or twice
And paid the price for my sacrifice
But now old age has tempered me
I’m not the man I used to be

When I was younger, or so it seemed
I still had strength and hopeful dreams
With youthful promise I fought for love
Reached for the heaven and stars above

Countless days lost in desire
Lived to set the world on fire
But now my time has much diminished
Where once I started, now I’m finished

Youthful dreams now mock my nights
I awaken drenched in winter lights
My life now unfolds in finite measure
Robbed of all the things I treasure

The circle of life has run its course
And to this point I reinforce
Don’t let waste each given day
For all too soon we fade away

 

Wrath of the Phoenix


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Laugh at my misfortune, rejoice in my defeat:
Plunder that which I hold dear, for I am incomplete!

My foolishness brings you delight, my tears a source of glee;
Be careful though, for you don’t know, what price your victory.
The constellations whirl and spin, my time, now lost, will come again!
And who among you then will stand, when I regain the upper hand?

You say I’ve lost my vision; I’m blind to better days?
Perhaps, somehow, but even now, I’m breaking through this haze.
Be merciful, restrain your dance, my day will come again…
Watch yourself, you’ve had your chance; my star once more ascends!
And in its glowing light, my foe, my victory unfolds;
I’ll rise again, even though; my story now is left untold.

Laugh at my misfortune, rejoice in my defeat
Plunder that which I hold dear, for I am incomplete!

Your arrogance will catch you up and lay you at my altar;
Implore me now, in that somehow, I overlook this falter!
Be gone you fools, don’t stoke my fires
With your evil deeds, your foolish desires -
A brand new day has just now broken; I fear the worst, it’s true
With urgent speed, you should recede, I’m coming now for you!

Snoqualmie Falls


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Photograph by Paul Dorpat

The ground beneath my feet rumbles.
Softly at first, and then with each step
increasing in its timbre.

The air is damp and mossy with a gray light
filtering through the canopy of spruce and pine.
Wet thunder rises; my ears are muted
by the intensity of a river plummeting
over slick rock lips;
a roiling, massive death spiral.

Half the volume swan dives elegantly
hundreds of feet into a pounding foaming white pool,
while my pounding heart matches the outpouring,
beat for beat.
The other hangs mistily in the frigid air,
gently nourishing the brown-green algae with its spit.

I cannot help but marvel at the sheer anger of it all,
wondering how many open-mouthed bass
thrust forth into open space, gargoyle-eyed as
the river disappears beneath them,
recognize this as the end of their swim?

Death, anger, power…and yet
so serenely beautiful

Rage on, Snoqualmie,
before the winter’s freeze deprives you
of your liquid dance!

 

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!

Rebirth


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Stars descend on blackened veils
Guiding my steps to the ocean’s swell
Waves swallowed whole by gold sands porous
A symphony’s repeating chorus
As the moon reflects its softened light
The summer winds caress the night
My thoughts turn toward the heavenly spiral
Of shooting stars and earth’s denial

My eyes ascend to northern lights
While thoughts unformed take sudden flight
Carry me toward a heavenly vision
As my soul begins a new revision
Eyes once blind now clearly see
This single moment is lifting me
Beyond a life of imperfection
And giving me a new direction

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

 

Bourgeois


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You,
with your aphoristic charms,
you dance without a care
and sip absinthe into the sleepless dawn,
all smiles and laughter within your elite
and esoteric gaggle of bright-eyed friends.

You,
in your grizzly glazed stupor,
your haze of self-absorption and carefree bon-vivant;
you cannot bear to acknowledge footman or maid,
their lives running parallel to yours,
their ruddy captured faces reflected
sullen in the polished silver trays;
each truffle they carry would deliver them
and those they love from a blighted existence
drenched in shame and servitude.

Dance on
you, who will always be
oblivious in your ease and merriment,
of the pain and the hunger tumbling
from the rim of your cornucopia.

Why Do I Write the Way I Write?


“To describe is to destroy. Décrire, c’est détruire.”

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I write because your reading feeds me
My pen exists because words need me
Each spill of ink, each drop of blood
A new branch grows, a new leaf buds
With each new verse, a piece of me dies
But for this poem to exist you must realize
It nourishes itself upon my very soul
Consumes and assumes me, makes me old
So please read slowly, my existence demands
A frugal consumption this poem in your hands
When you have finished, with closed eyes pray
There’s a few words left for another day