This Impressive Instant

These windows let in light
Sparkling sunshine through glass
Sparking prisms on the floor
They shiver in their frames
Water streaked by morning dew
Forming striated patterns
Waiting for afternoon daylight
To welcome in the shadows
Painting corners of the room
With shades and tones in turn
This thick, bottle brushed glass
Unwieldy from the heated forge
Formed an eternity ago
Out of compressed sand and shale
An incomprehensible history
So alive in this impressive instant
Guarded against the shattering
That always comes in due time
Waiting for the impression
Frozen on its face at nightfall
Before the curtain falls down
All around its shoulders like hair
Shutting me out in the cold
While I long for a clarity
That only lives in dust.




These beams are exposed
Far up in the atmosphere
Weathered by the weather
Stretching up to heaven
Like these arms of mine
Empty of consequence
Beseeching the clouds
For a kind of understanding
Lost in the silence
Belonging to these shadows
This substantial love
Naked as a newborn child
Learning how to exist
In a world full of hate
Where facades masquerade
As pure expressions
And most of us climb for gain
Reaching for a handout
Yet refusing vulnerability
The chance to be exposed
To see how others would see us
If we could simply be
These crossed t-beams
So high in the atmosphere
Always supporting each other
So that we never fall.



The shadows cross
Hatch and cross hatch
Illuminating fear
And the absence of love
Caught in the dark
Without a flashlight
These nights are long
Streets teeming
With imagination
Purposefully vague
Like innocence
Waiting for the dawn
When daffodils bloom
Under the brutal sun
And shadows loom
In the crossing rays
Of a stinging apathy
That leaves marks
In the hatching.


The Modern Machine


They slave hand over hand
Pushing and pulling to survive
In the oppressive heat
And demanding consequence
Falling to get up again
This repetitive struggle
Against the sadistic clock
Fighting to come out ahead
But failing at the bell
When each one returns soiled
Like soot stains on a shirt
This badge of relevance
Giving credence to the lie
As they slide into
This modern machine
Hoping to come out again
Starched, and pressed for wear
Still steaming from the day
But too wired to sleep well
This repetitive daily grind
These cogs turning together
Steady, back to back
This forge’s brilliant heat
Turning them into gods
Before the lights go out
The turning of the century
Making them as obsolete
As a soldier in a trench
When there is no longer war
Replaced by the very machine
They created with their sweat
As blood, and guts, and passion
Swirl together down the drain
And the clocks pause to listen
To their boots against hard concrete
Heading to the grave.


Saving Daylight

image by ren10-sei

The sun disappears too soon
Fading beyond the frayed horizon
But the stars don’t want to play
Locked into a self-imposed jail
Hiding beneath this dark canopy
Of undeveloped sky
While the moon sits high
Looking down on a humanity
It can’t help imitating
In its competitive stance
In this unrepentant dance
Between fractured souls
Dreaming under a great abyss
Breathing in perfect rhythm
With the ebony angels, skeletal,
Shallow like the shadows
That embrace before dissipating
Bringing with them a second day
A second sun that tempts and teases
Unencumbered by the passage of time
Lost between a shudder and a sigh
Like saving daylight in fall
When the light fluctuates by design
Coloring in the shy twilight
With broad brushstrokes
Pushing aside the twinkling stars
Like thick curtains in a house
Where voices echo forever.


Wake From Dreaming

“There are some who dream, some who realize those dreams, and some who never wake from dreaming.” ~Theodicus

The very first poem I ever wrote was about dreams, how they were the subconscious’ way of identifying the inefficiencies in ourselves and giving us notice. Of course, we don’t always remember our dreams so sometimes it is wasted effort. It was a simplistic poem, based as it was on something that cannot be measured, and the form was four-line stanzas that rhymed in turn.

But it was my first. You always remember your first, right?

The most recent poem I wrote was about Catholic constrictions, how the church isn’t catering to its new constituents, instead choosing to lean on form and ancient religious constructs beyond all measure. It had no rhyme scheme, although every once in a while a natural sort of rhyme appeared from thin air. That’s my favorite kind anymore, although some can write entire poems without it sounding forced. I am not those people. But I am content with who I am and the words that flow through me.

Then last night I was at a poetry reading and I’ve taken to sharing a piece of prose before my second round of poems. The one I shared last night was very well received, and I was hard pressed to figure out why. It’s because I talked about love — lost love — but a love that was fresh at the time and so full of promise. That’s what we connect with, and it’s why love poetry is still all the rage even in our society that promises flammable marriages and quickie divorces.

So, on the spur of the moment, I shared a poem called “Breathe Me” after my bit of prose, not willing to lose the connection I had forged through common experience and sympathy. And it resonated, the idea that we are two souls fighting for a place in a crowded world full of desperate souls, and that’s what solidifies love — not how we choose, or even who we choose — whether or not we are desperate enough to give the other soul a chance. It’s a heartbreaking poem with a hopeful ending. Which is all I can give, you know?

And I dreamed last night. I dreamed of the silence in my own head when I was up there ready to start, that moment stretching out forever, a companionable feeling that didn’t feel empty in the least. I dreamed of the noise of dozens of hands clapping interspersed with the clinking of silverware on china, a sort of ritualistic providence, an assurance that my words were not in vain.

But I can’t help but look back to that first poem, even though by now I’ve realized how futile it is to try and capture the essence of dreams, if not for solace at least for a baseline. It’s where I started from, and even though I would never share it with another person now, I recognize it as my younger self crying out for an acceptance that took an eternity in coming, but one that is so sweet now.

And it’s no longer lost in dreams. Because I’m tired of sleeping.


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