a bow-tied gentleman’s smiling introduction

Anger is sadness. It’s sorrow with a switchblade and it burns in a heart as deep as love doth as it stabs through the moil. Anger is our sadness that has not been heard, but which shall now be known even if its sound is stoic silence where once laughter trailed the whispering sea-breeze of crimson summer evenings. Our anger is an affirmation of self, a mountaintop declaration of being as was Whitman’s barbaric yawp, and it is as misunderstood as the black-pit pain that’d birthed its red-winged vengeance. With many years passed since its damning recrimination, uncovered in a new life that is the old life forgotten, its silver steel still gleams, reflecting in the pupils as does lost-youth’s memory; decades-old blood pools on its surface, wet and shining. If love is the medallion saint of fools, then anger is our god, able to grant forgiveness and in forgiveness’s tall-walled absence, a penance to be paid. It is anger and love, both, that make us complete, exposing our undisguised humanness, each teaching us of the other, a bow-tied gentleman’s smiling introduction and an open-arm invitation to the hooded hangman’s razor-rope gallows. It is here, when twisting in grisly silhouette ‘neath the crimson’s last return, that we know– hatred does not exist, has never lived, but in the minds of those who’d give lesser notions deity.

amber and ash

’twas my father
who’d first taught me
a heart’s quiet disdain
of yester-love’s disloyalty
’tis the singular truth
of a life’s trivial divinity
that a man might survive
’til his fiery horizons, breached
crossing over that slim divide
‘tween amber and ash
of his own accord
neither forgiven
nor known

a cardinal in the garden

it happens so quickly
all things prior
through the months
and thin-shadow years
forgiven
overlooked
some– even reconciled
tho fewer than wished
until, one day
perhaps– a day in May
it isn’t viable
anymore
everything– changed
in a single instant
and the sunshine
might be warm on your cheek
that day
or the sky might be a thick gray
meeting your gaze above
and there might be a red cardinal
‘a craw-crawin’ in the garden

what remains of us

Strange, what remains of us, your name– gone from memory now. You were among the first to believe that I’d a voice– telling me of your novel, 70,000 words, sitting in a wooden drawer. My own only reached 10,000 words, a few worthwhile, before strangling itself.

Strange what remains of us, not even a name, but the image of a soul’s culminating essence– a dark sadness that mocked its own fair-skinned birth, an inward virulence, yes– madness, a jester-hatted smirking bedfellow to your kindness, its possession of your soul, complete.

Only a woman could’ve done this– tho you never told me her name.

young vagabonds

It was then, when we’d been tussled young vagabonds– that I’d learned of words, their promises, and their treason. I remember the first beige-paper letter I ever wrote to you and the stark room– where a crimson-glow sun bled out inside a narrow window that didn’t open and the walls stood tall and blank beside me. I’d only wanted you to be where I was then, or I with you– both of us rescued from this world, every detail shared.

I didn’t love you yet.

I mailed the letter from somewhere in Kansas; on the road, there ain’t nothin’ but nothin’, and more of it over the horizon that never arrives, only changes– nothin’ but screaming thoughts and haunted voices, and whispers– your song and your laughter gave solace between the rumble-thump of tires and the red needle dropping low.

Finally home, four dark walls made me miss the horizon, its rising hem that teases our wishfulness as we give chase, right foot to the floor. Each letter was several pages longer than the last. I wrote to you for hours every night by the heat of a yellowed bulb. Oh, the places we traveled, in my mind– we danced again, but this time sober, aware, inside the moment’s fire.

I still have your letters here, somewhere; I know better than to read them now.

love’s cherishment

Poetry is too impersonal to convey love’s cherishment. The trouble is in the words themselves. Each would wish to be a god, but there are no gods. There is only seduction, shouted into the soul’s echoing well, when we’d wish’d compassion’s whisper.

Can you remember– the lake’s shimmer? Aye, the way the water held the sky above us, and kept us from the darkness below– Our conversations, our silence, both brimming, and entwined, each a continuation of the other, seeming never to end. To the east, there was a fence, broken by vandals, its opening wide enough to crawl through. I’d ventured inside once, finding another lake beyond the tree line, but without you there, after you’d left, all I could hear was the calls of the birds. I’d watched a swirling-purple sky yield to night’s cruel obsidian, and I spoke to you, without speaking. I’d whispered your true name, that which’d been known only to me, that which’d been told only in silence. Nothing stays the same.

honor

they’re the largest lies

ever told

these poems–

in third person

pronouns

entire existences

reduced

to she

or her

distanced–

as though

a poet

could watch

a soul

from above

if I’ve any honor

remaining

in these years

grown slender

I’ll never write

another

as such