Like a butterfly, obsessively fluttering in my mind:
Open-winged and delicately perched within
her soft pudenda; smiles in kind
dripping dew, and all for the want of a kiss.
She is…vinegar and vanilla, vaseline and vagina.
breathing the soft whisper of invitation.
I am a prisoner to her intelligence, her volition, her erudition.
She is a cascade of vulva vocabulary:
vibrant and vivid: the supreme vivisection of vacuous idolatry.
Her dictionary is a thrashing of vague innuendos;
and all meaning is encoded in the fluttering of her labial wings.
Splayed out on her gypsy brass bed, she calls to me
in wet words and moist verse:
songs sung in disdainful agitation – her cheeks,
red as those of Modigliani’s whores.
Teasing, she baffles me with the pink virtuosity
of her tongue and seductive mouth.
In vain, I reach out to the heat of inevitability,
the dark depths of her cavities.
It was she who devoured my strong ancestors:
she who left Christ crying and gasping for breath.
What hope then for me, with only my poet’s pen
and second-hand adjectives to protect me?
“God talks in the trees.” — Thomas Merton, The Sign of Jonas
It is the season of sleeping late
while dreaming of red-orange trees
shuddering in the evening breeze.
These are the short days
when the thirst for warmth suborns desire
and Eros kisses summer love goodnight.
It is the season of crimson sunsets
pouring slowly, like thick molasses,
over church steeples and frozen riverbeds.
When snow-pregnant clouds float lazily
across flower-less meadows
and lovers seek shelter beneath heavy quilts.
It is the season of naked trees,
with branches like fingers extending
toward the setting sun, tracing delicate arches
across the rose autumn sky.
Those days when the blackbird flies southward
into the night beneath crystal constellations.
It is the season of surrender,
when burdens, like the yellowing leaves,
fall silently to the frozen earth
and tired bones warm themselves before tended fires..
It is the season of dying in the palm of God’s hand;
comforted in the knowledge of spring’s resurrection.
This poem is dedicated to Hastywords,
who taught me the value of true friendship
A bowman knows his craft and his art The deer only knows its fluttering heart
When the arrow pierces its tender mark
The bowman knows he must give
The deer knows she must part
I never knew of you before we met Though in my heart you lived
For Love is born in the beating heart
Which the bowman hears and hunts
What once was a sacred mystery Now lives on the tip of his arrow
But she broke it and lives in the dark
Not daring to hope, so full of sorrow
Distrustful of the bowman’s mark
He knew he could never hold her
Though she cried of lustful hunger
Rather than accept his tender gifts
For of a debt she would never owe
He wanted to tell her, but she said no.
She was locked in battle with her insecurity But her defiance was all too polished and real
Not wanting to stray, not wanting to feel
Not wanting to falter beneath his loving touch
Denying her heart, for the distance too much
He broke his bow and beheaded his arrows and blew out candles and laid them to rest
He wanted no shadow to witness
Her struggle, her half-hearted protest
He wanted to protect her dreams and her fears
So she could stop hiding her sweetness
Embrace new love, and cease hiding her tears
She knew she had fallen in impossible love The kind she would lose and later write of
One heart divided would not much long beat
His arrow lay broken, like his heart at her feet
So she gathered the pieces, her joy and her bliss; and offered the bowman her sweet-scented kiss
Then she thrust the arrow deep into his heart
And whispered goodbye as he entered the dark
I awoke to a kiss, a whispered taste softly pressed upon my face, and in that moment, my soul, it wished to know once more that soulful kiss!
Yet it was a vapor of a waking dream. Nothing more; not what it seemed.
These wretched ghosts that find delight in morning’s light, dancing and playing betraying with the dust of sorrowed dreams promises broken, and vows false spoken!
Violently shaken in the sudden waking arms no more to hold me tight through winter nights…I am awake. I am awake.
Where, gentle caress of morning rain? that eases my pain; The merciful patter that shatters my hold on false dreamt love each drop above my window pane, slowly washing in rivulets the memories set under granite stone..I lie alone. I lie alone.
Enduring ink upon the page, how do I gauge What’s real? What’s myst? What’s relevant? Unlock the night, Release my dreams silence the screams, and write for me an ending poem, whereby I lie here not alone.
How sweet the dream that never ends? Where love ascends and kisses dealt are truly felt in dark of night.
She spent half of her life wearing the same pair of shoes.
When she first saw them, they were dazzling… full of promise (and promises!) Tightly laced and polished, glistening like diamonds upon her feet.
They were immediately comfortable, and comforting.
At first, she walked through dark night forests and midnight-winding streets; breaking them in, smiling at the melody of new leather creaking in harmony with the violin-sawing of cricket wings, with the ruffling of the night owls feathers.
She dared to share her dreams, and danced in her new shoes with abandon and trust and hope.
The shoes spoke to her of wondrous things to come… making promises shoes should not make but new love demands –
of forever cradling her feet against sharpened stones; of warming her toes through winter’s storms; of lifting her heals in rapturous dance…
She fell in love with these shoes, flooded with dreams of where they might carry her. Each morning, she slipped them on with tenderness and love; each night, un-laced, she fell asleep clutching them to her breast…
…whispering sweet hallelujahs for all the miles they had shared, and would in all their ahead days walk, promising – until death do us part!
She loved her shoes with complete abandon and imagined they would always be as comfortable as the day she first placed them upon her trusting feet-
each day praying these shoes would always love her in return; with tenderness, truth, and above all else, never hurting her.
But the years went by, and those beautiful shoes began to wear. With time, they lost their gloss, and the leather cracked and hardened. She noticed, one morning, a tiny droplet of blood upon her sock; Later, a small cut upon her heel, a new pain within her heart.
Yet still, devoted, she continued to wear them though at night she began setting them beside her bed.
In the final year, she wept looking at these shoes; they were now ugly shoes, painful shoes.
“These shoes,” she tearfully whispered, “will never carry me to where I need to go.”
She could tell in other’s eyes that they
were glad these were her shoes and not theirs. They never talked about her shoes.
They looked away in embarrassed empathy. To learn how awful her shoes were might make them
To truly understand these shoes you must walk in them. But, once you put them on, you can never take them off.
She began, for the first time, to hate her shoes; with guilt at first, then with an increasing passion until one day an awareness swept through her thoughts:
“I deserve a better pair of shoes.”
She looked around, and for the first time understood that she was not the only one who wore those shoes.
“There are many pairs in this world,” she thought. I can either learn how to walk in them, timidly, so they don’t hurt quite as much…
“…or I can throw them away.”
And she began to plan. “No woman deserves to wear these shoes,” she cried. So for the final few months, she gathered her courage …..to throw them away.
Ironically, it was these shoes that had made her a stronger woman. These shoes had given her the strength to face anything.
They helped make her who she now was.
One day, she slipped them on a final time feeling the worn leather against her savaged foot; then, flooded with the intensity of love one can only feel knowing love is forever lost…she kissed the shoe goodbye.
When the time was right, she took her shoes to a secluded ravine kissed them, and tossed them…like an old pair of shoes, into an abyss.
The shoes lay there broken, tattered, worn and useless. The shoes could not speak of the love they held for the woman For its tongue was torn. Left to decay with nothing but the scent of the woman’s tender hands scenting its laces, slowly fading.
As soon as the shoes were disposed of she went barefoot into tomorrow, pain-free and dancing and singing:
“I will forever walk the bare feet of a woman who has lost her shoes!”
But in exactly one year, she slipped on another pair, happy and in love again, dancing and laughing once more...
hoping against hope, forgetting old shoes, willing with all her heart for this shiny new pair to carry her home.
How do you keep the wind upon your face?
Like love, it lightly kisses your cheek,
and is swept away.
She led me into a field covered with green,
where a handful of poppies
had already started blooming
along the edge of the split log fence
Filaree and locoweed were also blooming,
and some other small flowers.
Here, she lay me down in the tall grass
gently pressing me to the earth
with the palms of her delicate hands
until I lay prone looking up
into the blue softness of her eyes.
Slowly, she knelt beside me,
tracing her long, slender fingers
along my cheek; her nails lightly grazing
the contours of my face.
Her hand turned; the soft pads of her fingertips
pressed tenderly against my lips.
I looked upward to the bright sunlight
filtering through the strands of her silken hair,
blinded by the intensity of the brightness;
I lost my vision of her in rippled pools
of tears flooding my eyes between the bright light,
the overwhelming beauty of it all.
I felt the wetness of her own tears
fall upon my upturned face mingling with my own,
as she quietly whispered:
“I no longer love you.”
She rises and walks away
as I lie there, the ground growing cold.
In the sky above, two swallows fly by
wingtip to wingtip.
Even these simple, feathered creatures
have out loved me.
It’s easy to say goodbye – to meet again is hard.
Love gone like rose petals fallen on flowing waters
My thoughts of her are like these flowing waters,
Meandering toward the open sea on their hopeless journey.
In time, washed away over a burnt orange horizon.
My hope, too!
The north wind blows; here on the ocean it’s cold.
My home is at the bend of a crumbling, salt-soaked pier.
I watch a lone white sail at heavens’ end;
Like a waking dream, quickly gone – who can I ask where?
Darkness falls beside the endless sea.
We had often walked upon warmer, infinite sands
Pressing our bare heels into the foaming wetness.
But one set of footprints are swept away too quickly
Swallowed by the receding tides of love.
This cold empty beach was never what I wished;
These scattered empty shells speak of inevitable ends.
The beauty of the ocean’s edge declines more year by year.
As the sun goes down, a chilling wind appears
Whipping the sands, stinging my face…a reminder
That with beauty comes inevitable pain –
To hear seagulls cry, or see pelicans on the fly
Makes me sorrow even more.
I lack the courage for this day.
Wrapping solitude around me like a mother’s arms
I turn for home – or what I now call home –
An empty room, a quiet room, an empty bed, a quiet bed;
My refuge from the darkness and the light.
Myself, I think I’ve found a place that suits me..
I have made my home amidst this mighty shore,
Yet I can no longer hear the crashing of the ocean swells.
Outside my window, all the butterflies are white,
A pair flitter over the dying garden’s grass.
They are damaging my heart!
Two tears trace two lines down my face,
I send them to the ocean’s beaten coast.
One full year now separates the loving and the unloving;
I have not often thought of her, but neither can I forget.
We would not recognize each other even if we met again,
My face is covered with sand, my temples glazed with ocean foam.
In deepest night, a sudden dream returns me to her arms,
We look at each other without a word, a thousand tears now flow.
I know that this must have some deeper meaning.
My muse lifts me from my sickly state,
And smiling, asks me to write a poem
I try to write the pain away, but cannot find the words.
Tonight, the ocean’s wind enters through the window,
The torn gauze curtain starts to flutter and fly.
I turn slowly in my bed, looking up at the bright moon,
And send my prayers a thousand miles in its light.
In the bitter waves of loss,
Thrashed and tossed about,
By the sullen winds of life that blow,
From the desolate shores of doubt,
Where the anchors of love once cast
In search of eternal purchase
Now dragging useless in sorrow’s gale.
I am quietly holding fast, holding alone
To the things that cannot fail.
That’s what I seek (although my heart knows full well)
The truth is, I may never be able to know for sure why.
But I do know that there is no single
“Should have done” or “could have done”
Or “did” or “didn’t do”
That would have changed that why.
All that love could do was left undone.
This shipwreck, my castaway life,
This endless frothing of cold, death-capped waves
Was due to my taking my eyes off the horizon
Where our dreams were setting with the dying sun.
Letting go of regrets is not some passive undertaking.
Regret is a weight that anchors us in the past, rendering the future as unobtainable.
Letting go takes courage and lots of sweat. It takes a willingness to allow pain to run its course. We are forever changed by the failures of yesterday. Who we are today barely resembles who we were yesterday.
The heartaches and the pervasive sense of loss can either pull us down into the morass of self-pity, or it can catapult us from the depths of relentless sorrow to the heights of new joy.
It all depends on upon a readiness to face the sun as it rises upon a new day. Upon how hungry we are to feed the possibility that something more, something better awaits us in the infinite possibilities of tomorrow.
Memories are like a cracked mirror; they can only serve to offer us a distorted reflection of our true selves. Memories seduce us with useless thoughts and images of what was, of what might have been. But memories are a poor substitute for imagination and hope. If we are ever to break free from the shackles of our past, we must first wean ourselves from our addiction to memories. Our addictive behavior is the root of all suffering.
But much like the heroin addict who struggles and writhes in agonizing pain as he kicks his deadly habit, we, too, must find within ourselves the strength and courage to kick our dependence on self-recrimination and useless reflection.
The soul is a restless being; it is constantly expanding and demanding room to grow and to breathe. Let’s be honest – the air has been sucked from yesterday, and when we exist with our hearts and our feet planted in the past, we deny our souls the essential life force needed to carry us further toward our fullest potential.
In the very moment that we let go, we invite a rapture that can feed and satisfy the soul.
Be brave. Face the emptiness. Wrap yourself in self-love.
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 closed 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.
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.
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.
(*)Guayusa an organic herb sustainably grown in the Amazon Rainforest by Ecuadorian families only available at GUNPOWDER (http://drinkgunpowder.com)
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,
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
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.
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”.
In my darkest hour, rolled up into a drunken ball upon the divan
reading Plath and Poe, fantasizing about the sweet silence of death;
writing angry verse raging against all things holy and full of light;
then, and only then, was I full of purpose and certainty.
Mindlessly pouring ice-less cups of bourbon to free my tongue,
exorcising my demons on the back of torn bank statements;
scratching out never-to-be-read poems pulled from the bottom of empty bottles.
My loving Kate stood sentinel outside the mahogany door, matronly and superior,
occasionally sneaking in a bowl of tepid broth, or a grilled cheese sandwich;
she both loathed me beyond all measure and attended to my waking needs
with a love that pierced my frozen heart and stung me to the bitter core.
Awash in the dappled grey light of morning, reeking of whiskey and fear
I stood shakily, tucking away all evidence of my madness in the roll-topped desk..
Beneath a shower of scalding water, I made attempts to wash away the night’s sins.
Stuffing my walking corpse into a crisp linen shirt, draped with a burgundy tie,
I stepped into a fresh-pressed suit (dear, Kate!) and stumbled downstairs.
With the coldness of a ghost, I kissed her lonely dry lips goodbye.
Each day, I would drive into the city, interviewing for jobs I would never accept.
Stopping by Tommy’s Irish Pub for a shot of Johnny and a 2 p.m. round of lies –
later napping on a faded green park bench outside the old courthouse.
Dinner laid out would rest un-touched as I passed straight through toward oblivion.
Kate would be at her spinning class, pedaling broken dreams through salted-tears.
Rummaging her dresser, lightly tracing my fingers over her satin underthings,
remembering when, then forgetting why.
I shed the suit and all pretense, pulled on a pair of faded jeans…and wept.
Do not be afraid
to lose yourself in me.
My hands are strong,
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.
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 ~
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.
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