words {sifted} from among the rubble
and darkness brought forth
into the light

searching for meaning

in distance / time
(= speed)

refraction of light
allows us to see each other
clearly, but not

*the future*

this space between our two points,
the geography of your mind,
this vessel navigates by heart

determine the equation
for happiness,
graph it on the Cartesian plane;
finding longitude and latitude,
set our course.

The shortest distance between two points will always be a straight line,

but

I’d                                                                                                     rather

circumnavigate                                                                             the world

with you.

 

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A Thank You to George S. Schmidt

Upon being asked recently when I began writing and who my favorite writers were, I recalled a specific book of poetry that I’ve kept in my collection for a considerable length of time and have periodically returned to throughout my life. I’m fairly sure the book came to me at around the age of 8 or 9, but how it became mine, I’m not entirely certain. Mostly likely I picked it up at a yard sale or library sale as I do know that it was not a new book when it came to me. Its pages had already begun to yellow at that point.

From the first time I read the book, there were a number poems that I enjoyed. Not every poem was of interest to me (as is still the case), but one poem, “Sunlit Yesterdays,” stands out in this collection as a poem I’ve repeatedly read to the point of near memorization. I have no idea what exactly drew me to this particular poem as a child as it is the poet reflecting on his life in old age. But this poem has always drawn me in. There are a few others I’ve always enjoyed within the collection as well. The book is entitled Random Rhymes, which seems rather nondescript and ordinary.

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However, my most recent re-exploration of this book focused not so much on the poetry itself, but I was curious about the background of the book and its author. I made some interesting coincidental discoveries (exciting to me anyway), and I wanted to share them.

So the book was written by George S. Schmidt and it just so happens that he was from York, PA, which is only about 30-40 minutes away from where I live. This information intrigued me, and I have been digging for more details. The forward of his book indicated publication in 1928. I was able to find a copy of the book for sale on Amazon. Even more amazing, I learned that this was Schmidt’s second book of poetry, the first was entitled Vagrant Verses.  Mr. Schmidt was a business person and lawyer in York; he was born in 1861 and died in 1935.

George S. Schmidt appears to have had a sense of humor that I quite appreciate. In the forward he says, “I am transmitting this booklet to the individual members of the Order, and to a few other of my friends, at a time when their hearts are so throbbing with goodwill towards men, and their eyes to dazzled by the lights of Christmastide, that their vision is impaired, and the manifold defects in these random and disconnected rhymes may ‘to some extent’ escape them.” I find this amusing. It appears that he gave this book only to a small circle of friends (it was privately published) and told them that even though they received the book out of his love and affection for them, they were in no way obligated to read all of it or any of it for that matter. A man after my own heart, he was.

I am sure none of this is of interest to anyone besides myself. However, I can’t get over the idea that I’ve kept this book for over 20 years because it marked the beginning of my love for poetry and in part inspired me to write poetry myself, and for the past 15 years, I’ve been living within miles of the author’s hometown. The book traveled over a hundred miles to get to me as a child, only to land close to home once again.

So, in conclusion, I thank you my dear departed friend, George S. Schmidt for your many years of company. I have indeed read each poem in your collection, and though I do not like every poem, I do appreciate your work.

Infinite Loop

silence allows for
thought
allows for silence

introspection’s grand
architecture dips below
the horizon

an infinte loop
in mechanisms of time
the clock circles ’round
ticking hours past

even the gatekeeper’s
locks and keys
breach immutability
by virtue of time’s ephemeral nature

imperceptibly entreating
all to dust
reposessing even citadels
of human progress
withering stone and steel
with elemental forces

stillness creeps in
allowing room for silence

 

 

 

Writing on an Empty Stomach

Writing on an Empty Stomach

Coming here on an empty stomach is good for the soul;
I’m hungry, but for more than just a good meal. Forget the
Filet mignon! I’m hungry for the words that come so fast and thick that you can’t
catch them all,
and then just as they arrive,
they dry up
and slow
to a
mere
trickle
as the night moves onward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Better for the Pain

and yes, I still miss you
because there were things
that used to be just the two of us
you got me like Henry got Tommy in Goodfellas

because there are still things left to say
for me, anyway. not that they mattered
to you when you threw it all away

and yes, I’m still hurt
by all the things you didn’t say
like – “goodbye.”

hurt, by the way, you couldn’t even see
where I was coming from,
after years of knowing what makes me tick

and yes, I’m still angry
that you made me second guess myself
that you let me believe it was me

still angry because
it has kept me from being
irrevocably open with new friends
slower to trust, quicker to pull back
that’s not who I used to be at all

and yes, I’m still glad –
glad that you walked away because
if you stayed, I might have had to be the one
to walk away. I’ve never been strong like that

…still glad that you saw how things were changing
and knew it was killing me, maybe I’m better for the
pain? Maybe I should thank you for having the courage that I didn’t?

But maybe, I’m just not there yet.

Drying Time

Drying Time

creativity is lightning crackling and buzzing
across synapses in our brains

a spark that flourishes across the canvas
ever evolving, touching and retouching
coaxing beauty from white blank spaces

painting requires patience
creativity’s urgency is desperate to ignore
imperious drying time halts progress
making Father Time’s clock seem in reverse

drawing us like moths to flames
tempting eager fingers
Our candles burn at both ends.
But this paint, it is unyielding to our demands!

like the nature of old men driving
slow and cautious, as paint settles
and fibers imbibe pigment
impalpably intolerant

eyes intent lingering on every line, shade,
and shadow – excitement and anticipation –
unveiling of a masterpiece
gently reminding us that patience is dearly rewarded

Stray

Stray

She huddles curling tight at joinder of floor and wall
hidden in darkness below the bed
she shrinks her already diminutive figure.

Uncertainty and fear ripple quietly
beneath her skin, tensing at
every step nearer.

Calling her name soft and low,
I stretch out my hand palm up, calmly,
slowly reaching –
giving no reason for suspicion.

Still she scrunches up further,
a wild look in her eye;
she’s deliberating,
calculating my intentions.

She shifts further out of reach
but gentle persuasion and patience
win her over as she curls into my loving touch.

Nudging my hand with anticipation
seeking scratches behind ears
scooting closer, she eventually finds my lap
a comfortable alternative to the hard wooden floor.

I caress her gently with reassurance in my voice
knowing full-well that even the tiniest creak of the house
will frighten – sending her scurrying,
once again, to the lonely safety of her hiding spot beneath the bed.

Bone Tired

Bone Tired 

late night talks
meant for convincing
you to stay

I’m left wrung out
and in need myself
of soul’s nourishment

though it pains me
I must break the dialogue
sequence for self-repair

feeling I could sleep for ages
that I’m slowly melting
into my surroundings

the warmth of numbness overtakes me
as I stumble forth into the garish light
the day is young and promises to be long

my physical presence is solidly here
but my thoughts linger with you still
though you’d rather push me away

Forbearance

Forbearance

my body vibrates with anxiety and caffeine
like tiny hummingbirds fluttering just inside my skin
instinct cries out to fight or flee, but
experience, the wiser of the two,
calmly suggests, “wait and see.”

I lean into it, allowing it to wash over me,
a continuous lapping wave persistently worrying at the shore
sweeping away loose grains of sand
and shifting coastal landscapes in my mind
rolling me inland awaiting the return of the mighty sea

as moon tugs tides astray
I rest upon the jetty
discovering creatures seemingly stranded among the rocks
taking comfort in their innate certainty
that nature taking course will raise high the tide yet again
granting safe passage whence they came

Unspoken

Unspoken

how to say what should never need be said –
I shouldn’t have to tell you that
it’s okay to be yourself – it is.

it should be a rule, understood,
that your gender is your business
as is your attire and I’d be the first to say,
you look quite fabulous.

an attempt to articulate the vigil in my heart
kept for you as one of those safe spaces,
in a kaleidoscope world of ever changing views,
with unwavering persistence prove I, still.

I hope it goes without saying
that I choose to stand for love, a buffer,
breaking gusts and glancing blows
of hatred; I’ll not abide their pouring down on you.

my imperfect words struggle to express
how infuriating to see one human
forsake their own humanity to strip away
another’s dignity – a hateful case, indeed.

Now, I must shatter the silence with thunderous roar
for those whose voices can’t be heard above the din of bigotry.
I speak the unspoken agreement – should you need
the safety of my presence, I’ll walk
side by side with you – through any door you choose.

 

Author’s note: The impetus for this poem formed in my mind after reading the account of a friend who suffered abuse for no reason other than being who he is. It has been percolating for several days, but I struggled to find the right words. His story screamed so loudly and reverberated within my mind. No one should have to deal with abuse, humiliation, and hatred of this kind.