Might I yet descend upon your shoulder unnoticed?
I’ll be as a drop of rain upon your coat,
or a guardian angel carefully landing,
existing just beyond the horizon of your senses,
perched within the outermost turret of your defenses.

I’d relish the majesty of the deliberate, rhythmic listing
The rounded waves of your hips impart.
I’d marvel at your soft-spoken genius,
The morsels of wisdom that begin to accrue
When you speak to those more decorated than you.

I’d bear witness to the unceremonious gravity,
That accompanies you into any room you occupy,
Dodging hubris with each quirky grin,
Despite the uncompromising gaze—so undemure!—
With which you tend to frighten the insecure.

Could I but once lean into the turnstiles of your mind,
And catch the catchy the bass-line of your inner chorus,
The lavish native tongue of the agora
Where your thoughts take shape—even if inchoate—
I’d content myself to listen silently at the gate.

And as I’d watch us making love,
I’d kiss your neck where I cannot reach,
Nesting ever deeper into your nerves,
So when I feel you shudder—and oh how you shudder—
I would feel what you feel, lover become lover.

And yet I ask my self honestly,
Would I even then close enough be?

Photo by Ron Gindlesperger

Searching for the Cheese

Searching for the Cheese

You close your door the way a warden locks a cell.
The iron clank of the bolt sliding into place
is a sentence upon the rest of the world,
“Step ye no further on pain of punishment.”

Or am I the guard and you the prisoner?
Do you reach around the bars to lock the exit
of your carefully crafted labyrinth?
I hope you are prepared to meet your Minotaur.

Sometimes I feel like a scientist in his lab,
sterile, objective, and ever so respectable.
How glad to have a top-view of your maze!
How ironic that you don’t know English.

I give you nudges like a ghost barely intuited,
give you pushes like an overbearing mother.
But the corridors of your world become thereby
Not familiar, but adorned with traps and horrors.

Mark the data. New hypothesis. Maybe music?
I sing my words to you in songs you might remember—
perhaps this specimen can learn language indirect.
But I seem to sing in lullabies: now you only sleep.

So the dusk of my experiment arrives grimly.
I shed the Enlightened myth that your Nature
Can be improved through torment and dissection.
The modern Midas touch turns sculptures into rubble.

Now I merely gaze upon you as you wander.
You weep in a rocky nook or hide from foggy foes.
Your health wanes and the cheese eludes you still.
There is nothing I can do but love you just the same.

Photo by ithinkx

Unpoetic Words

Unpoetic Words

There are some words that simply do not belong in a poem,
forlorn, unfurl and possibly soul to name a few.
That’s not to say they ought not exist at all,
but only that they no longer name anything genuine.

Were these words once chokingly grand?
I don’t exactly know how they lost their souls,
though overuse and vagueness are strong contenders
with obsessive rhyming taking the lead in the race.

A poetic word should have a persona, a grace,
not a clunky bustling, fattened on stereotype,
but a blossoming fragrance, slowly undressing
luring the imagination into the petals not yet unfurled.

No, these words are either too chewy or too salty,
Insipid to the point of emotional clamminess,
neither giddy nor forlorn, precipitous nor stable,
so no self-respecting poet dares today to use them.

May they rest in peace, knowing their lives were full.

Photo by V. H. Hammer

Smoking Lamp

Smoking Lamp

I watched the steady stream of incense smoke billow upward,
twisting and stretching, its spirals not content with perfection,
rising innocently into and through the shade of the lamp above,
unaware that the light, shade and smoke created a spectacle
most unexpected.

Amid the sense of wonder and beauty one might expect,
I found myself willing that the smoke not deviate from this track,
that it continue to file carefully into the conspicuous lamp shade,
maintaining the spectacle to which I had borne witness
most accidentally.

In my concentration, I gazed intently upon the stream below,
like a football devotee, taking possession of gains and setbacks,
as if one outcome were unquestionably better than another,
completely ignoring the spectacle that had originally drawn me in
most gratuitously.

Photo by Steven Duong



The me I see in the mirror
is twice as distant from me
as I am from the mirror.
If you are a reflection
of me upon myself
then you as you are and I
are only half as distant
as myself from me.

Photo by Nina Matthews

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