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.

Without You


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.

Crucified Beneath Her Touch


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In my darkest hour,
rolled up into a ball upon the divan
reading Plath and Poe,
fantasizing about the silent sweetness of death;
writing angry, diminished verse raging against
all things holy and full of light…
then, only then was I full of purpose and certainty.

From the falling of the sun until the break of dawn,
pouring ice-less cups of bourbon to free my tongue,
burning with each gulp as I exorcised my demons
on the back of half-torn slips of
empty bank statements and creditor threat letters.

My loving Kate stood sentinel outside the door,
occasionally sneaking in a tepid bowl of broth
or a grilled cheese sandwich;
she both hated me beyond all measure
and attended to my waking needs with a love that
stung me to my bitter core.
She stayed because she could see in me
what I could not, as I lay crucified beneath
her touch. I stayed with her so that someone
would be around to answer the angry phone.

In the daylight, awash in the cool grey light of morning,
I tucked away in the roll-topped desk
all evidence of my madness.
Beneath a shower of scalding water,
I made vain attempts to wash away my sins
of the previous night.
I stuffed my walking corpse into
a starched white linen shirt,
draped with a burgundy tie,
and stepped into my fresh-pressed suit
(dear, Kate!) I kissed her dry lips goodbye.

Each day, I drive into the city,
interviewing for jobs I would never accept,
stopping by Tommy’s Irish Pub for a shot of Johnny,
and napping the afternoon away on a
faded green park bench outside the county courthouse.
At 5pm I headed home to flee the light once more.

Dinner would rest un-touched
as I passed straight through toward oblivion.
Kate would be at her spinning class
as I dropped the suit and all pretense,
pulled on a pair of faded jeans,
and slowly drifted into my melancholy.
Each day, I would rummage through her dresser,
lightly tracing my fingers over her satin underthings,
remembering when.
I’d pull another freshly bought
bottle of amber courage from the kitchen pantry
(dear, sweet Kate) and poured
myself another night.

My Wounds Shall Heal, So Too My Heart


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silence, once a precious sound
where tenderness and love were found;
Lies now beneath my swollen lips,
once tender ‘neath a lover’s kiss.

My world adorned in rainbow hues
turns black with bitter shades of blue.
Promises, once pledged, are broken,
shattered with a harsh word spoken.

The trust we found in wedded bliss
ground to dust beneath your fist.

This pitiful epiphany –
your quest to now diminish me?
Without consent cannot succeed,
despite how much you make me bleed.

For now my strength absorbs the blows,
but this, my love, you do not know
Your rage and hatred will not define me;
your brutal threats cannot confine me.

My wounds will heal, so, too, my heart
Despite the love you’ve torn apart.

An Infinite Pain


And they will say, “At least he’s not in pain anymore.”

Really?

I have left this world just as I was beginning
to understand my role in it. I will never experience
the wonder of new lands, nor will I ever listen to the
crashing of a wave against the shore. I will never again
hike the wooded forests, or climb a lush green mountain.

I have widowed my wife and whisked away her best friend.
I will never feel the softness of her lips; hear the laughter in her voice.
I will never share with her my deepest secrets, nor will I receive hers.
I will never love again as I have loved.

I have taken my children’s father away
before they were even halfway home.
They will grow, and marry, and have children of their
own, children who will never be gathered into their
grandfather’s arms. In time, they will forget me
altogether.

I have ceased to be a friend, forever,
to those I held dearest. When my name is called, I will
not come. When I’m needed most, I will not come. I have
taken so much, and will never be there to return the favor.

I will never feel the warmth of the sun
upon my face, or smell another fall as it rustles in. I shall
never shower in a spring rainstorm, nor will I taste another
snowflake in winter.

In what alternate universe does any of this mean I am free of pain?

To spend eternity in certain knowledge that I have failed everybody
and everything that I hold close in this life? I would rather live racked
with the physical pain of cancer for the remainder of my life than to
steal away a single day from those I treasure most.

Do not say, “At least he is not in pain anymore.”

My pain is infinite. My sorrow will bleed through the ages.

Until the Day I am None


You’ve given your heart
to my gentle care,
You’ve opened my eyes
and made me aware.
That after the darkness
comes radiant light,
In trusting in love,
our dreams may take flight.
I sometimes get lost,
but you always persist;
You’ve such faith in our love,
how can I resist?
Though sometimes I fail you,
I will persevere
I’ll never give up,
our hearts are too near
To hold and protect you
is all that I cherish
And I’ll love you until
the day that I perish
You’ve taught me to trust
in the things I can’t see
You’ve sacrificed all,
and you’ve given to me
New hope for the present
and future vision
Removing all doubts
and my last indecision
If I fail to thank you
for all that you given
I pray my failure
will too be forgiven
For all that I am,
and might yet become
I pledge to you now,
till the day I am none.