More Congenial

I want to be better

More friendly

More open

More kind

I want to be consistent

Disciplined

Organized

Life is messy

Waves of distractions

Knock me from my feet

I tumble over opportunities

Choosing heart over plans

Meeting needs with disregard for

The outline

The bullet points

The lists

Crumple the paper and start again

I am hung upside down

Shaken

Coins drop from my pockets

I lost a boot

Twenty times I almost got it done

Almost

Almost

I write a list of the things I did

I burn it rather than share it

Flames rise from the actions

Which take place in the dark

The left hand doesn’t even know

The right hand exists

So much I never say

The avalanche clears it away

I check in with my heart

What to do today

white printer paper on white printer paper
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She’s Compounded

How many breaks

Of bones and hearts

Fractured into multitudes

She’s many

Exponential

It’s worse than you thought

Or can imagine

How the pain is held behind a smile

At bay

For a minute

For an hour

For a lifetime

He had a temper

They used to say

But it meant more than that

It was a code

And I know there are men in the mix

Suffering at the hands of mad women

You know it two to too

Pink Floyd knew new nu

It’s women hurting women

Men hurting men

Even so these intimate disasters

Create the ruins from which we grow

Everyone is hurting but it’s worse

Than you know

Or can imagine

It all breaks apart

Shattering

and we all want to be home

safe

nurtured

loved

Lacking the skills to get there

Without a map or a guide or a road

We stab at healing in the dark

And cut ourselves on the tip of our tongues

What was said under covers

What was cried in the early morning hours

What was hidden behind sunglasses

What was hissed in the angel’s ears

Of pain and threats

No one saw

No one told

No one wants to remember

Until someone told

And people saw

Remembering it all

They blame the teller

Not the hitter

They punish the outspoken

As their fears push them further to the edge

Fear has a temper

Rising

And she’s compounded

Fractured

And the earth herself

Is cracking open

Grab your pen when the tremors start

Write out your dreams

She speaks

This reckoning in ashes

This reckoning is the sea boundless

This reckoning falling from the sky

She is compounded

Healing

The doves fly at dawn

The nightingale sings

The mockingbird mocks

The pig roots for you

Under the underbrush

Where the truffles grow

She is compounded

A rising vibration

Lift off or or be left

In the throws of the unsung

Stuck in the birth canal

Choked off from the infinite song

Hope rising

Peace settling

stomp once if

Stomp twice if you hear me

flowers grass meadow time
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Things You Never Told Her

In dusty musty boxes

In the basement corner near the back

Papers yellowing with age

Edges curling crinkled

Ink is smudged and

Pencil smearing

Cardboard soft and slightly limping

Are the words that choke you

In the middle of the night

How the sunlight dancing through her hair

Is magic when she lifts her face to laugh

Because she had a thought which pleased her

So she glanced over her shoulder

When her eyes met yours you felt it

Underneath your bones

Electric

How her presence in the darkest nights

Her even softest breathing of her sleeping

On more than one occasion anchored you to life

When her hand brushed up against yours

Fingers intertwining

Held you steady as your fears came creeping

That her touch banished them from sight

How the glimpse of her turning dancing movements

As she measured out a song while she was cooking in the kitchen

And her voice would sing along

That the joy arising from her gave you one more thing to love

About a life that had been dark and wary

Stressed and sacrificial

Maybe she never knew how she was balm to healing pressures

Maybe she never saw her worth beyond a budgeted refusal

Frugal and self reliant

She fixed and healed and tidied

Maybe she wept at times for lack

Maybe she questioned every penny of her worth

Maybe she longed for one more word of kindness

Maybe she wished for a hand which reached her heart

Maybe she knew

How every day you counted her first among your blessings

Some pages in the boxes stuck together

Moldering in cardboard splitting at the seams

Bending breaking open

Spilling letters onto concrete in the basement of your heart

The words running together

In wild fantastic herds

They have galloped across the plains into the forests

Grazing underbrush of lines growing thick

Around the trembling trunks of trees

All the poetry you feel is falling floating down

Drifting in paragraphs

In autumn colors just like leaves

As you trace the patterns on her hands

Watching wrinkles crinkle careless at the corners of her eyes

As she gazes at the antics of the chipmunks just outside

Maybe her smile is warmer, brighter when her glance meets yours

Maybe she reads each unsaid word there within the light

Glowing from within the silence of the corner boxes

In the basement near the back

Spontaneously combusted in the twilight of your life

As the flames dance and spark there

Behind your eyes

All the things you never told her

Flickering tendrils in the darkness

Became her hearth and home

person standing on brown wooden floor
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Boats On The Water

The harbor is spiked with masts of the vessels which have gathered under the low grey clouds. I am out on the edge in my small boat pulled up next to another. We are talking about where to tether our boats deeper into the bay, closer to shore. He says he will meet me there at the red boat. Do I see it?

In the gap between a large white boat, and a smaller grey boat, I can see almost to the shore. There is a mysterious natural wood boat, darkened with age and layers of pitch which catches my eye before the sleek, sharply rising hull of the red boat swings into view. The smooth water is lapping quietly between us as conversations and the occasional shout drift out over the water.

Go there he says, and I take up my paddle to thread through the anchor ropes and towering sides.

The red boat with the white surface has people sitting on the top when I pull up alongside. Three people are sitting out on top, and I greet them. May I tie up here? I ask them. The red haired man doesn’t turn his head my way, and the brunette woman is gazing off the other side of the boat. A younger man in shorts hops up and takes my rope. Come aboard, he said. There’s food in the galley.

Down in the galley, a dark haired woman with straight shoulder length hair which swings as she moves, is sweeping the floor. The broom and her hair seem to be dancing to the music playing. I don’t see the source of the sweet sounds, and thumping drums, and she’s talking as she moves in and around the others.

“The thing is he’s said the same things to me as he says to all the women. So, each one believes they are the only one he’s interested in, even though he tells us he doesn’t want to be in a relationship. We don’t believe him. We fill in the blank spaces with our stories. He seems so interested, attentive, and focused on us, and we want so desperately to believe that our devotion will bring him around…”

The man in shorts hands me a plate of scrambled eggs, bacon and toast. His bright eyes crinkle when he smiles and points out a spot at the table for me. I thank him, and sit next to a woman overflowing her brightly colored sundress. Her hair is pulled back, and from her ears dangle circles within circles of shaped wooden earrings. She has tossed her head back and is laughing loudly before leaning forward on an elbow, and pointing her toast at the sweeper.

“Aye, he told me the same just yesterday. And you’re the fool as much as me, and that cantina woman too. But none of us will give him up, either.”

The eggs are almost well cooked, a little soft for my liking, but the flavor is good, and the toast buttered.

I am listening and waiting, and wondering when he will get here. Is their him, my him? Am I a fool as well, I wonder as I swallow the last bite of bacon.

A mug of coffee is set down by my empty plate, and then the plate is taken away. I turn to see who took my plate, but all I see is the back of a green dress with curls cascading down it.

The hustle and the bustle of the kitchen had been soothing. Clatter of plates and forks, and laughter to music, and conversation of people well acquainted, but I feel the shift as well as hear it when every sound becomes sharper, and the colors brighten and the light dims. I drink a sip of my coffee, and then take the mug and stand up, a stranger looming in the center of this space. No one glances at me now.

I go back out onto the deck. Already the dark has crept in across the water. I stand at the railing, and listen to the harbor. I listen to the sounds of the bay as they soften. I see a lantern lit, and shadows set about on distant decks as they prepare for night. Someone off to the shoreside begins to play a flute.

I wake up in comfort, surrounded by white sheets, blankets, walls. The wood trim around doors and windows have been white washed. The bed is soft and firm, and the pillow thin the way I prefer. I stretch and wonder where I am, and how I got here. I note the lack of anxiety, and think maybe I should feel more concerned, but the door opens, and a woman in a white dress, blonde hair upswept enters with a dark wooden tray which she sets bedside.

She sits on the edge of the bed and pulls down my covers. I watch to see what she will do, and she says, “I would encapsulate your capillaries.”

Now, I feel concerned and sit up asking her, “What does that even mean?”

She is pouting, and beginning to melt. I hear car doors, and the walls of the room fall away into blackness.

The comforting slats of this futon beneath me, I awaken more fully. Thinking of boats on the water, and wondering about the hearts gathered in the harbor ready to sail, I rise to make the coffee.

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Nonsense

I listen to the rattling words

Bouncing through my head

I try to get them into line

I remember what you said

Rather what was implied

Shifting goalposts on a whim

You had me always striving

To try and become just what you wanted

Even though you changed your mind

If I ever I began to close in upon the form

I should be louder, softer, bolder, shy

I could be thinner, thicker, smarter, quiet

I could be stronger, weaker, taller, sicker

I jumped through hoops until I cried

It’s not enough

It’s all too much

Frazzled, dizzy, restless, sad

Spinning in the vortex of unstated expectations

striving always for the few articulated bars

Of a song full of dissonance the key was always

Changing

This dance never slowed down from a frenzy

Until one day I stopped

Cooperating in the ragged ragtime rhthym

And set about with drum in hand

To beat out a new percussion

Soft and slow

Long and low

You cannot even see me now

I glide upon the clouds

You cannot ever hold me now

I’m mist and falling snow

Look

Look

And you will never see me coming

You will never see me go

I have entered deep within the realm

Of spirit

A place I never fear to find you there

This is a place that you refuse to go

I know you’re out there somewhere

Spewing nonsense once again

Probably found a target

Take her for the spin

Maybe she likes the dance

Maybe it suits her

I am free and floating

Far from the pages that you’d written

The ink is flowing freely

This story is my own

I thank you

Many blessings

Upside down

I kiss the stone

Sentinels

Nature’s fortress formed by stone

Deep in the forest flora

The sentinels are growing there

Straight and tall

Straight and true

Shelter for the birds and creatures

Crawling through the day and night

Grazing, hunting, singing bright

Beneath the silent watch of wood

Guardians of all that strive

Protectors of the wilderness

We walk humble through the towering trees

Underneath the canopy of leaves

What will we find

On the other side of the rocks

We climb in reverence

We climb again

Always reaching beyond

The known

To discover another wonder

Mysteries unveiled

Another marker on the trail

Wild Places

I remember how the air wrapped around my arms

A little cooler as the sun lowered out of sight

The dirt path beneath my bare feet

A thrum emanating from the trail

Oh, how bright the moon shined

Not quite full

Small, wispy clouds curling like smoke

Each tree shimmered in the fading light

Some leaves had turned, and some had fallen

Lush green still dominated the canopy

Stepping lightly along the soft earth

What did I follow

Why did I go and not turn back

This mystery ahead calling me

Into the dark forest

The trail narrowed and twisted

I climbed and descended

Touching my palm against this smooth bark

Against that rippled surface

Too low to hear it

I could feel the vibrations

Ahead of me

Glowing faintly brighter before

fading

I reached and stretched

My paws scratched through the surface

My fur brushed against the underbrush

As I ran loping up the mountain

Soon enough

The rest of the pack had joined me

A short stretch of communion

Then they veered off t o the left

To the right

And the summit was mine

I howled

Sending my spirit into the night sky

A flare into the void

I listened for you then

In a palpable silence

In a tense quiet

Again I set loose all my longing

A sound terrible echoing to this day

I am sillouette

A dream

An illusion of loss and desire

Waiting for the answering call

Of your soul

Unquenched in the wild places

Endless desolation

Sometimes I still hear that awful silence

As I add another item

To the cart

And stand in line to check out

mountains covered with snow
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Detritus

There is no composition

Without decomposition

We break down

Broken down by fates and whims

The sun shines

The wind howls

The rain falls

The rotting and decay

Spirits falling and flagging and flailing

Components revealed

Bleached bones of old structures

Half buried by what used to be

Gone

Our youth

Gone

Our pride

Gone

Our strength

Molecules become atoms

Reforming into new molecules

Reprocessed

All the material at the ready

For composition

We write our stories in time

One decision after the next

Seeds splitting open to sprout

Recombining the secret patterns

Into glittering webs of life

We sing hope into the sky

Bright streams of glorious light

One note after the next

A chorus

A melody

A symphony

From that pain and joy

Wringing something new out of the earth

Until we are so far away from the detritus

That we forget

Have forgotten

That it was born from utter destruction

Of what had been

Broken down through time

Rocks became rubble

Oceans rose and fell

Fires flamed and fed

We turn

We turn

We turn to stone and

When the butterfly lands

On our shoulders

We return to life

To grow and glow and shine

Hearts open and eyes bright

Pinnacle

It’s a trope, you know

The aging man with the bad mustache

Looking back at the height of life

Throwing pigskins to a cheering crowd

Just before the homecoming dance

I am he grasping back to a wild success

that failed

Failed to hold due to forces beyond my control

All the forces are beyond me

I like to think I am self determined

I like to think I have wherewithal

I like to think I can

Except on days I can’t

It’s too hard to dream anymore

Too hard to believe

Too hard to try

It’s too much sometimes

To even open up my eyes

It’s too difficult to see

Ambition runs right out of my veins

I am deflated

I am defeated

I haven’t heard the pistol

Nothing has begun

I can’t get to the starting line

I don’t really want to run

I amble back into the forest

To watch the sunshine through the leaves

I don’t want that to be the pinnacle

That can’t remain the top

Of all I have accomplished

I don’t really want to stop

My passions are more muted

The edges have been rounded

Smoothed down by time and tears

The fire burns more broadly

The fuel is hardwood not the soft

This flame is more longlasting

I still can reach the top

A slow climb

A steady step

Already I can feel the changes

A return of something wholesome

I make beauty every day

My gift is heart as much as skill

I don’t need to win a ribbon

I don’t want to be

Here I am still breathing

Love with every breath

I let the future do its thing

It does what it wants to anyway

I just do this thing before me

In that senseless, timeless way

Listening always to the heartcalls

That keep me going

Every day

brown and black cut away acoustic guitar
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Sing Me

Hold that first note

Long and low

Walk down the scale in time

Those minor keys

Unlock me

Sing the cage door open

With harmonies I fly

In melody return

Lift up a voice that’s true

Sing me back together

Climb again the mountain

Sail upon the sea

Lose me in the forest

Rhymes and rhythm captured

Spirits freed enraptured

Loose me from this prison

Sing me pure and good

Sing me real and gritty

Sing me one more time

Sing me back to you