Salt Bearer

a shadow from the past
cast upon a new life
a dream in the shape of you
ashes and dust be gone

exorcise this demon
feasting on the soul
crammed within Pandora’s box
left to be forgotten

haunting the mind
brushing up against the landscape
leaving your scent behind
a lingering trail of memory

like a slug
leaving mucous in its wake
tainting the path
with residue – a sticky slime

tracking your every move
we come with salt and lime
shriveling and poisoning
at once existence to nothingness

 

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Fighting the Inbox

a to-do list a mile long
emails pouring in
each one adding
to the already overwhelming pile
of things that must be done

every day I fight this inbox
whittling away at each new task
only to return and find
more email in the box

time should come with
buttons,
pause, stop. rewind

I often think of the absurdity
that someday I will be dead
and those emails will likely still pour in
at least then I won’t have to dig myself out
from beneath the ever-deepening pile

Cosmic Spider

She weaves a universal web
connecting stars, sun, and moon.
Silky ties to a world beyond ourselves.

We’re connected just as the galaxies
hold together with invisible strands.
If we trace our web through
time and space –
we find our past, present, and future
along its course.

This is how our lives become
so entangled as to depend
upon each other.

Casting out lines,
in hopes of snagging
tiny bits of intimacy
another soul’s connection
hanging by a thread.

We dangle there
frozen in time until
the ripples of contact subside.

That which we catch
can destroy all we’ve built,
or nourish our souls –
weaving the tapestry of life.

We are mere fractals
of our cosmic spider
as she devours us
one by one.

Fair Warning

Relationships should come with
warning signs,
but what’s the fun in that?

Knowing how it would be
lacks discovery of self and
each other; things you might pass
up if you knew.

Putting our best foot forward
then taking two steps back,
a dance, fluid in motion.

Mistake,learn,and hopefully
forgiveness and redemption;
running away and holding tight

seemingly opposite ends
of the spectrum. Fair warning!

You’ll always be
searching for the right way
to save each other.

Ships

these small candles
float in a sea of black ink
miles from shore

specks of light
in a night dark world
bobbing with the current

provoking acknowledgment,
our diminutive nature
in contrast to raw power,
the forces of nature

yet humans’ belief
fallible skill and wisdom
attempt to tame and harness
these forces, bend them
as to their will

whether fools or daring
adventurers be,
we embark boldly upon
these small candles
afloat in the sea of night

Subjects of Paintings

trees and dew drops
things that capture my mind
stillness, quiet, and solitude
of night

the lake with its reeds and its willows,
islands, and naked ladies on cliffs…
the bay with shorebirds, cord grass marshes,
fiddler crabs and
barnacle encrusted terrapins
to my delight

but images of my heavy heart I reserve
solely to be painted with words
it’s what the world cannot see
and only I can describe

 

Sketch from the Park

I sat down thinking to myself that I would sit on the park bench for a short time until my parking meter ran out. No sense in wasting the money when I could enjoy some quiet reading time. Then, from behind me, I heard what I assumed at the moment was the voice of a lawyer talking into some Bluetooth device rather loudly. I attempted to tune it out just like the rest of the city noises. It was all just background.

I soon found that I couldn’t do much to tune the voice out as it continued to approach and grew louder with proximity. I glanced from the corner of my eye to see a worn leather suitcase plopped unceremoniously on the sidewalk near my bench as it’s owner paced back and forth arguing with someone on the phone. I turned my head to see a somewhat bedraggled gentleman with graying hair. He looked nothing like a lawyer.

The man strode further on down the sidewalk, seeming to have some destination in mind, and I realized then that the suitcase was still sitting approximately ten feet from me.  I momentarily wondered if the man had forgotten it and whether I should call out to him, but before I could make up my mind to any action, he came walking back much quieter this time. He picked up his suitcase and resumed his progress down the walk only to stop once again another twenty feet away, drop the suitcase and pick up the conversation with the person on the other end of the phone.

“Don’t talk to me like that; yeah, now a lady is looking at me,” he said, and I guiltily wondered if I was the “lady” he was referring to. I quickly averted my eyes back to my book trying to appear innocent of having eavesdropped on his conversation. “She’s just trying to read a book, and you’re interrupting her,” he continued much more subdued than the previous topic of conversation but still obviously irritated with his caller’s demeanor. I peeked over the top of my book shifting slightly on the bench to see if there were others nearby, but no; I was the one and only potential culprit. He was referring to me, and I found myself relieved when he picked up his suitcase yet again and continue his stroll towards the entrance to the parking garage – or so I thought.

Again peering over the top of my book, now fascinated by this odd gentleman and his suitcase, I became even more confused by his behavior when he again flung down the suitcase behind a dumpster loudly proclaiming, “you’ve got people looking at me! Why can’t you just leave me alone?” He proceeded to sink exasperatedly down on top of his suitcase and soon all I could see were his feet sticking out from behind the dumpster.

Figuring my entertainment had subsided, I went back to my reading. I managed another two paragraphs before I could hear his voice again echoing from the archway to the parking garage. He seemed to be telling the other person that they were in no way married. Puzzled and slightly amused by this new development, I continued staring at my book while tuning my ears in on his conversation yet again hoping, this time, he wouldn’t notice.

“We’re not married. You and I were never married. Wendy and I were never married,” he retorted. I could only imagine the other half of this conversation being just as emotionally charged as his half based on his tone of voice as he raged on again stepping from behind the dumpster, “Who the hell do you think you are? You’re not entitled to anything! Wendy and I were never married. Common Law marriage hasn’t existed since 2004, and we weren’t even together for seven years before 2004.” He began pacing again then headed in my direction yet. I shifted my eyes from my book again just in time to see him stoop over a cigarette disposal bin and start rummaging through it. Oh, I thought.

Up until this point I’d given the man’s appearance and odd suitcase the benefit of the doubt and made no assumptions, but it was at this moment that something clicked in my brain, and I realized that this man was likely homeless. At the same time, I became aware that he was not, in fact, talking to anyone via a Bluetooth device, but rather to a voice only he could hear. I buried my nose deep into my book yet again and as he continued past me leaving his suitcase tucked behind the dumpster. He strode on towards a garbage can further down the walkway behind me still yelling about Wendy and then back again towards the dumpster. Lifting the lid to the dumpster, he proclaimed to the voice only he could hear, “if I find something you’re not getting any of it do you hear me?”

An immense feeling of sadness washed over me. My mind ping-ponged about contemplating whether I should buy the man some food at a nearby cafe, or if money would be more helpful? Was it safe to approach him? What if he became angry with me? Here I was stereotyping this poor man; surely I should be offering help of some sort …

And as I wrestled with my failings as a human being, the man pick up his suitcase from behind the dumpster and walk off, checking each of the garbage receptacles as he went.

Pyrotechnic Life

gunpowder and a chemical mixture
flaring bright across the sky
a dance of sparks
lighting up the night

we sit upon a hilltop blanket
entranced by the display
only speaking again when
the acrid smoke dissipates
and the ringing in our ears ceases

I’ve seen this from above
as well as below
it’s much quieter at 30,000 feet
perhaps eerily so

the explosive sounds which
correspond fall silent from up above
and perhaps this also mutes
the emotional impact

and I wonder at the definitions
explosive display of brilliance,
anger, or energy…
versus gunpowder and combustible chemicals

aren’t we, afterall, combustible?
we burn bright and fizzle out in the end
all our anger, passion, and energy
at once spent, wafting through the air
as the sulfuric smell lingers on the wind
the pyrotechnics of life

 

 

Nancy…

(a.k.a. my anxiety)

And that’s what anxiety does
seeping in slowly,
imperceptibly at first.
Maybe it tickles your insecurities…

Then suddenly spirals downward into panic
lighting fire to everything in your path
because if you don’t, then it’ll just be
destroyed anyway, so what’s the point?

It sits on your chest and burns it’s way through
like acid eating away
and you can’t break free. You wrestle with it
and it pins you to the ground, all the while
crying, “mercy!”

Even when you can’t take it anymore
it persists in gnawling at your bones.
And when you think it’s finally through with you…
it comes back for round two.

The scortching burn firing through
your veins, searing each and every
nerve along the way,
shock collar of the damned.

And when it ceases, it merely
spits you out into a vast ocean of lost
and alone,
no matter how not alone you are.
It clouds your vision and continues
to churn within your stomach.

And this, is what anxiety does.

The Gate

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The gate is open; won’t you come in?
It beckons as you pass, enticing in its mystery.
Whispering your name, you wonder how it knows.

Curiosity tugs at the hem of your skirt
a small child, wanting for attention
leading you by the hand to show you.

Crossing the threshold bears a sense of significance
though you know not why; like stepping beyond the walls of a city
you once thought you knew so well into a new hidden recess.
Your heart skips a beat, excited by adventure, it knows no fear.

A chill rushing down your spine
tiny fragments of movement
skirt the periphery of your vision

With rapt focus and attention
tiny webs made visible by grace
of moonlight shining
sing sweetly to your memory,
a forgotten lullaby perhaps?

These webs, no ordinary orb weavers dream;
made of crystalline shimmers
mesmerizing and ghostly
as they dance with the breeze.

As the gate creaks closed behind,
much as you knew it would,
you wonder if you’ll ever leave.
Somewhere in the darkness, a voice
answers the thought with an echo,”if you so wish.”

Stepping forward, gazing steadily
ahead, the newly cleared path
lined with trees branches out
in the leaf-strewn distance.

Knowing only that you are meant
to follow this trail,
you reach behind you
to lock the gate.