I have become a permanent fixture.

No longer seen. Ignored.  Like the breath in your chest,

I’ll be unnoticed until I am gone.

Yes–I’m an old coat rack, a hall tree with deep

diverging roots beneath this splintered wooden floor;

hairline fractures  mapping out and making a break

for freedom, covertly inching away , searching

for an oasis in the compacted backfill

that formed the foundation of this lonely house.

But there is no leaving.

The mud I carried in on the heels of my boots

Made fast friends with the companionless dust on this cold floor,

Made of the same stuff from a different beginning,

evidence of my past missteps mingling

with the consequence of your inertia and dead space.

Rooted and glued now. Unable to move for fear

of dying, for fear of uprooting the only home you have known.

And so here I will stay. Silent.  Unblinking.

And tomorrow—

and every tomorrow–

I will be here, strangled by scarves, aching

under the weight of your plans for rainy days.

And I will watch you

pass me by, toss your hair

and walk out the door.

Out

into the sun.

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the note said

there is no need

for peripheral plot

or overloaded metaphor

for timid parentheses

or non-committal ellipses now

no need for passive-aggressive footnotes

hidden below the surface

no eyes will condemn

the truth

such forgiveness and humanity is

reserved for the dead and dying

 

but wait I am still here I am here

holding the book fragile

and afraid to see my literature stripped

bare to meaning

and now without notice my editor

has left me too she passed away

and buried herself

with you eternally devoted

unwilling to preserve

my sense and sensibility

 

is she with you sharing secrets

I can feel her vicious slice

bleeding me cutting away the kindness

of literary discretion and excising the

punctuation that stapled me closed

exposing the wound and the tattered diary

hidden within

tear-stained yellowed pages a pressed rose

and the leaves of October

that never faded

because I always loved you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She sat beside me

and watched me struggle

as I attempted to build

an empire from broken glass and tears

with retaining walls and a moat in defiance

of the tide.  

it will never be strong enough she told me

but there is nothing more you can do

it will soon be gone and I knew that

she was right.

I wiped the sands

of make-believe from my eyes and cheeks

and we sat together and watched the ocean

swallow the kingdom, leaving only wet

clumps of a childhood dream, an illusion

at our feet.  

follow me she said, and I walked with her to the edge

of the water. We stood ankle deep in silt

and broken shells. We stood in the only silence

that can be known on the edge of the water,

the kind of silence where you know

you are not alone

and never can be. We stood together,

worlds apart for what only seemed to be

an eternity.

 

Gentle swells brought children dancing in the surf

singing and playing the games that children play,

unknowingly conjuring spirits and speaking truths

they have yet to learn

                                          ring around

                                          the rosie

                                                         a pocket

                                                         full

She smiled at me and took my hands in hers

and we splashed and stumbled in circles

once, twice, three times

                                                          ashes

                                                          ashes

We all fall

And I knew it was time to let her go.

 

I turned away, holding in my hands the remnants

of her that had woven into my fingertips

and walked back up the sand

to my daughter, who was waiting for me

with the ocean in her bucket, waiting to build

sand castles.

 

Last night,

while we were talking

about her, over the music

I took your breath away-

I admit it.

I couldn’t help myself

It was just that

your face

was so close,

so, so close

to mine

you were nearly

touching me

and

I

was

needing

air,

it was

so

hot and close

and I was

getting

breathless.

I want you

to know,

it’s been so long,

such a long time

and I never intended

to take from you again

but oh it felt so good,

such a rush

warm and soft inside

and I rationalized my behavior

telling myself

you wanted me

to

This morning

visions of us dancing, 

of me stealing

your afterthoughts,

taking

your breath away

are more than I can bear-

how could I be so wrong, so wrong…

I must make amends…

Please,  let me

make it up to you.

Meet me

tonight

and let me

give it

back.

She had

very little

in her cart

and she was

poking at pockets

searching for papers

and coins

in her wallet

and robbing me

of my time

when a plastic

accordian of photographs

fell to the conveyor belt

and I noticed a snapshot

of her with a man

they were smiling

he had his arm around her

and she showed the cashier

who said something

and touched her

hand

 

then she unloaded

her basket and

she had

a bouquet

of carnations and daisies

a steak

two tomatoes

a head of lettuce

and

one

single

ear of corn

and I suddenly felt ashamed

and I wondered

if she noticed

and she looked at me

full of sorrow

knowing I knew

at once,

She had.

I remember that summer.

We met.

Bathing suits and

sandals with

worn soles.

Baring souls on a sand bar

over dirty

martinis.

I was waiting for your friend

and you were

just waiting

for something, anything

or anyone

and I was there

Wait. I think I’m making this up. I remember the martinis but I think you did all the talking and I wasn’t listening to a word you said…

 

Take 2:

 

A single look was all it took

A glance that sparked a fire

Then came the touch

At once I knew

You were my heart’s desire

Strike that. It was lust. And “body’s” has too many syllables. Maybe something shorter…

 

Take 3:

 

Dark blue eyes on you

Splendidly symmetrical

A summer haiku

Oh, please. I will not sink to this level just to have something to write about. This absolutely sucks.

 

Final version:

 

Girl. Boy. A drink. A dance.

Intense.  Fast. Separation.

Together we weren’t poetry

Just free association.

 

Perfect.

 

i wrote this poem

with you in mind

and realized i have

nothing to say

there is no reason to write

it ends here