Midway Blues – January 7, 2016

Americana’s gone
I’m too old and time’s moved on
Where are the heroes now?

We’re all alone here at the age
when age becomes a thing to hide, a hidden rage
the dying of light that once shone high
inside our souls, now just a spark
that’s growing old

I dreamed a novel that I wrote
I published it and then I woke
to find it ripped up and divided
like a house of divorced minds
so undecided I revoked my sense of time

Is 40 years a mile or less
Do I still have a chance to dream
Or am I just a mess
everything I’ll ever be
And is it fine to just recline inside the world
I’ve made for me?

Or should I rise and leave the couch
Let a spark open my mouth
and say my piece, no chance for grief
about the things I’ll leave for dead
old lives turned past like pages read

My teeth are sore and now my head
I’m tired and I’ll go to bed
Half done or more it’s still unsaid
but I dream I’m not done yet

Nostalgia Ball – September 13, 2016

This day is cold, digital, black-on-white
like every day stretching forward
until the end of the world.
I miss the fuzz of photographs
taken with an analog, Polaroid blur
easily forgotten in the back of a closet.
Or the loss of time and geolocation,
once achieved by taking our bikes
and pedaling away from our parents’ houses
to wooded trails to swim in streams.
No one knew where we were,
except ourselves,
and no one worried about it,
at least not with the obsessive, hyperventilating,
second-to-second hunger of this new century.
I have access to every bit of information ever placed online,
and I am still lost,
because finding a path through infinite data
is like moving to a New York that encompasses the whole world,
and leaving all the small cities and towns empty like shells,
then wandering the streets looking for someone I recognize
to make me feel human again.

This poem was originally published in the Poets Unlimited publication on Medium.

If It’s the Last Day – April 18, 2016

If it’s the last day
Will I treasure your skin
from wrinkle to crease
Will I imagine smooth silk
or dwell in the papery, thin
brittle of now?
Will I brush back your hair
gray with age, unhidden threads
of life and story, decay and dreams
Will you look at me with decades of
appreciation, love, loathing, and fear
Or just the peace we’ve found at last?
Will I remember you now
in present pain
or the guises worn and thrown away?
Hair and eyes and nails and veins
Things
that make us human, grown
translucent, as you move beyond
the wall that gives us separate wings

This poem was originally written in April 2016, produced as visual art in May 2016, and published in Medium’s Poets Unlimited publication in August 2016.

A Time for Drift – August 4, 2016

The handle of the iron door is chilled
By wind that gusts relentless through the yard,
this gated square in which a tree claws stark
and weathered branches toward the clouds. Leaves cling,
crisp paper shells of red and brown, just one
thin stem away from death; and exile, heaped
in cluttered corners of this fenced-in plot.

I press the doorbell inward; hollow tones
resound and echo passages of times.
A prudish face appears behind the screen,
Warm eyes are bright with love and pride atop
the tired ages in their watery depths.
Her crinkled smile still welcomes me inside
this home, where women stare at TV fuzz
all day, or, silent, sit in tall porch-chairs
and stare beyond the gaunt and pitted tree
whose leaves are snapped by autumn wind, and drift…

This poem was written several years ago and originally published in 2016 in Medium’s Poets Unlimited publication.

Train Passing By – May 20, 2015

Vacant eyes next to new glass
Windows placed randomly in some of their sockets
What makes a building a home or a shell?
People live here, you know.
Sitting on benches and waiting for buses
Trains passing by but not stopping
Bricks with boarded-up windows
Half-eaten plywood and bright summer sun
No stores nearby
People live here, you know.
In a place where expectations
meet lack of opportunity,
people live, and breathe, and try.

Trees – March 2007

I want
to lean out
             my window
                         and scream
             to the trees,

feel
their bark against my hands,
branches rough,
unfinished

They are not putting on a show for anyone.

They are the only real things I’ve talked to
in a week and a half,
and they say nothing.

The TV blares
endless repetition of cautious cronies
ever ongoing without pause
to breathe.

The trees know how to breathe.

I want to fall
into the trees.

Summer Bridge

It smells like tiger lilies and hyacinths,
like oranges and spices,
the smells rising off the midmorning tar
sticky with heat in the shining, humid air.
The siren song of screeching brakes,
one after another,
makes the bridge sing and resonate.
The steel girders groan deep-bass,
flashing red-gold in the haze.
Liquid fire runs through skeleton beams
as they rise high over the river,
a flat plate of dulled silver,
with a glint here and there
of metallic reflection
in the hot June day.
And all around,
the noise of cars honking,
screeching, singing a paean
of glory to the heat-melted,
traffic-jammed morning.