Posts Tagged ‘Trees’

I.
There was a woman
Who I loved with all my heart.
It’s the only way
I know how
to love.
The problem I have
With falling in love
Is that I just keep falling
And falling on through.
It’s a perpetual autumn;
Storming leaves of memories,
Possibilities,
Skeletal trees.
And turning my collar up
Against the cold of this world.
Holding my hands out
To the warmth of the fire
That we had kindled
To keep the darkness at bay.
Every time these things end
I look up from the glow
Of the smolder, the embers,
For the ignition of a smile,
That familiar, beloved synching
Eyes to eyes:
It’s just understood
We’ll revel in the work
To pile on more fuel
From our common woodpile.
But nobody is there
Across the coals from me;
I’ve fallen through
The bottleneck of the hourglass
Along with all these ashes.

II.
Songs get tied
Like complicated knots
Around my feelings;
They remind me of how
I used to think about forever.
Some are bright blossoms
Stolen from yards
On the way to your window
In the middle of the night
To kneel and present you
With a moonlit bouquet,
My Juliet.
Another is the crosshatching
Of spray painted poetry
Hanging in midair
Amongst the tree branches
Between the shadows
Of the stars that were ours;
Witchcraft and wizardry
For an unrelenting passion.
Tapestries of smoke
And of tie-dyed freedom;
Soft paws of haloed kittens,
The chocolate and the champagne
Of the once in a lifetime.
Threads on a magick loom
Synchronicity unparalleled,
Spiderwebs like a hammock,
An embrace as if I was coming home;
Touch burning like the fire of a faerie,
Or the resurrection of the phoenix,
Tracing sigils in the sky,
Re-ignition of belief
Like a firestarter
Or finding a soulmate.
I am haunted
By the breadth of my music
And the depth of my commitment.
The failure
of my eyesight.

III.
The carnage is absolute;
A battlefield strewn with my corpses,
Beer cans and shrieks and cigarette butts,
The best of intentions and
The stench of taking things for granted.
These raw wounds
I have sustained over my lifetime
Of loving how I should have been loved
Never seem to heal;
They just ooze and pulse
Making heartbeats painful;
A crazy accumulation of luggage
Like owning an airport carousel
Of baggage you can’t strip off.
It just grows with you,
Older and less attractive,
Smelling faintly of urine and gangrene
When you can’t bear
To perform the required surgery.
It hurts too much;
I’ll excise memories I want to keep
Along with the decaying flesh.
Retrospective or post-mortem;
It’s still the death of a relationship
That I thought would live forever
As if I had infinite chances,
Infinite quarters.

IV.
I was pinned to a mortarboard
Like a butterfly from a caterpillar,
When I had to eulogize my friend;
My brother, my partner-in-crime,
Someone who understood
By the merit of not being female
The depth of love and an enduring relationship.
I don’t ever want to do that again.
It is the same with love;
I know I can, and it will be better,
But the pain of losing someone to provoke that work
Is too much to accept;
Besides, who the fuck will do that for me?
The answer is as clear as hindsight:
20-20.
I listened to my voice echo hollow through a church
That he wouldn’t have appreciated
To the people who were left behind,
And became even more haunted.
I did my best to represent,
Tell tales, romanticize, believe
And I went home with ashes in my mouth
To cry, cry out, want to evaporate,
Disappear, erase myself from existing
Because I had lost something precious:
A true friend.
It’s a lot like losing your love
Because you have lost a friend.

V.
The light switch is off.
This is the eye of the storm for me.
Now I deal with the still shatter of leaves,
The cold of being alone,
And shoving my hands into the campfire.
There is no warmth.
This destroys the fabric of memories
That took deep commitment
And sweat equity;
Deeper resources than I had without you.
And I see them all retreat,
As if they never existed;
Vanish into the thin, thin air
That I breathe.
Flatlined.

VI.
To move along,
Because there is nothing to see here;
It’s a pretty penance,
My cross to bear;
One that gets weightier
The more years I carry forward,
This boulder I am pushing uphill.
It’s that lost luggage from the carousel;
It’s those old wounds from the battlefield;
It’s those lyrics of happier times
When I would write, compose, sing
Of how I loved being in love
And how I expected forever
But you only had right now to give.

VII.
Perspective is a function of wisdom,
Which is a byproduct of experience,
That is what happens when you live and die
Through these things.
Perhaps they build character;
Actually, they create defense mechanisms
To try to prevent this from happening again
And again.
Expectations collapse
And you lay bricks and mortar in the fortress
That you think will keep you safe
But not sound;
You all are quite persuasive.
Certainly isolated
In the aftermath
Of bequeathing your everything —
Heart, mind, soul —
To your everything
Around that campfire
And you look up and discover
That she is long gone.

Crown of Twelve Trees

Posted: November 17, 2002 in Poetry
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Returning from the western desert oasis,
I have found the autumn fading
Gone into the palest blue sky of grey vapors.
I smell far off snow on this blustering wind
Spraying the later leaves from the hardwood branches.
Twelve trees are a protective crown around my cabin;
She’s enchanted to see me back again.
Fill the heart with hot soaking embers
And sign at the projects left undone.
Spent the daylight battling the chill air
With damp wood, flannel, and moccasins,
Curled up with a thoughtful book on the couch,
And occasionally wondering
What’s going on out there with you.

Target

Posted: December 9, 1994 in Poetry
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Look around you
at the wrecked shelves,
the damaged or opened merchandise,
the floors littered with tags,
sale shelves half-empty
with slower-selling items or
taped up single boxes
priced as marked.
See the hanging advertisements,
the red and yellow eye-catchers,
the signs leading to popular departments:
Toys, Electronics, Sports;
Christmas Trees in our Garden Section!
Follow the heavy traffic lanes
by the shopping cart wheel skids,
the grease marks from boot heels,
the ravaged end-of-the-aisle shelves.
This place is empty now —
the midnight wind whistles outside
the blinking store front
on Christmas Day.

I
I can imagine a perfect spot
to have a picnic with you today;
the sky is a wee bit grey
at the edges —
I caught as many clouds as I could
with my butterfly net
(I came in wet
early this morning from the rain-dew
on the unmown grass stems).

II
I’ve found a circle of trees
by the brook in the forest
where it takes a toddler’s tumble
over a jumble of rocks;
the moss grows shaggy like old men’s beards
wisping from the branches;
faerie streamers from last night’s revelry —
perhaps Pan was here just a little while ago
rearranging or arranging this spot and my walk.

III
It’s only raining a little bit now
not like how it was this morning —
you were sleeping, darling —
I was watching the whole time;
the same clouds that dampened my socks
were protectively wrapped across your eyes;
It was no surprise that I found it so easy
to slip outside to explore, to find
a real secret garden for your majesty.

[for Dawn]

Humbled in an Easy Chair

Posted: January 24, 1994 in Poetry
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Tonight the old feelings
come back;
the old feelings
of enemies — long ago
when humankind believed
and could see their mistakes
unclothed as Demons.
They crouch in tree foliage
and prowl like cats
or gargoyles on the roof;
they know they work through dreams
and they know we have forgotten
our humble beginnings
in the depth of an easy chair.

They come to crack skulls open
and to tinker with your subconscious,
safe in your self-imposed anesthesia
of TV dinners and microwaves,
of ottomen and furniture never used,
of blinders and bit and reins
grown familiar;
you’ve grown resigned.

Sometimes it’s hard to find myself,
camouflaged and hunting fears by
hiding underneath the lilypads.
Like fear is going to to assassinate the Froggacuda?
But the memory is that if that is what it is:
a feeling lost and sunk in the swamp it was born in;
a beautiful first and last of its kind,
bred from books and desires and pirate gold,
from lost helium balloons and forts under acacia trees.
The Froggacuda is nothing without
one poet of keen eyes and quick hands,
a child catching frogs in the bog alone near dark
with a flashlight and an overactive imagination
full of Dungeons and Dragons books and Lovecraft stories.
Nothing is the Froggacuda without the puppeteer
who makes the teeth snap shut
and the eyes roll,
the ears perk up and the lungs breathe.
But nothing is the puppet-master without
those teeth, eyes, ears, and lungs
beating, breathing
in his self-esteem, his soul.

Lincoln Logs

Posted: October 5, 1993 in Poetry
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One blank piece of paper,
ruined by the Poet,
using whole trees to push my craft
on you like your first heroin fix,
or that coffee you can’t do without.
whole trees; I throw them at you
like lincoln logs or tinker toys
from an irritated baby.
eat them.