double-edged affair

text:

are we close?
are we tight-
is the big red bow
topping off this affair
so very impressive, do you say-

isn’t it grand to walk hand in hand
around battery park
to hold your head and hair for you
when the ferry makes you sick
isn’t it something out of this world
to know what I am thinking and
to finish your sentences- ain’t it great

how this double-edged sword nicks us
each time we rub elbows
but we never feel it
having the nerve to be surprised
when blood rolls down our hands
give me another word for how
two hearts feel they beat as one
a snare drum heading up a parade down main street
that they all can see and hear

don’t they talk, don’t they wish us well
already seeing our future
as parents and owner
of acres of whitewashed fence
isn’t it grand
leaning and knowing
it is safe to sleep away the hours
the night turning into daybreak
a thief of all our good sense

in a pile on the sofa
your whiskers against my forehead
Bogey passing the hours
on a continuous loop on the screen
his voice echoing in the high ceiling of your loft
saying “I lived a few weeks while you loved me”
and all the while we eat up time
and no one tells us it will not last

a secret code in the club
we don’t talk about intimacy-
we only talk about puppy love
the stuff that daydreams are made of
and no one tells you
that they see the end coming
except afterwards
when you cry in your beer

One night downtown

foggy-river

We walked along Michigan avenue
the green water of the Chicago river
lapping against the tour boats
the violinist on the street
a hat at his feet-his tones
dropping into lower Wacker drive

Romance was in the air- for hours
we watched the fog rise off the water
and play around the parapets
etching our names into the slat of a bench
eating popcorn-our fingers greasy
against each other holding hands

When we arrived at our hotel, we laid back
watching the news and talking quietly
changing channels from game show to talk show
the news gripping us-the violence in the streets
while we had been there-falling in love
blood spilled someone’s love all over the concrete

when we talk about the memory now, all is changed
from the loveliest date ever
to the night someone we never knew
lost her baby boy

she doesn’t know who she is
all the clouds look like rain
or snow-every man walks by
in a white t-shirt and faded jeans
and no one ever asks her
who she is-no one ever wants to know
where she came from
all her weather she brings with her
all the storms she leaves behind

(that will) leave a mark

leave-a-mark.jpg

he was kind and soft
and said the right words
had a tattoo he said
on his right shoulder
and every other Sunday
he visited his aging granny

I doubted that he could
take on the world
and every time I watched him
drop a name
I got less and less sure
we’d make it past 1st base

we continued down the path
we’d set off onto
fog in places
slip-n-slides on obscure ramps
depositing us
into the mire of expectations

were we not clever
beating the doubters
coming down to fault
stalwart in our apologies
and I forgave him profusely
but I do not miss him, still

On the horse, endlessly spinning

loosen-tie

Over a lifetime of thrill rides
men find their way onto the carousel
sometimes tossed clear, of the
mechanizations and the infernal map

Some men alone-early morning respite
from wifely nags and to-do lists
others in booming baritone, sure-footed
and laced with bravado and beer

Men in worn sweat pants and hoods
in their early Saturday morning slouch
a man scratching, paces behind his woman
her soft voice heard-summoning

Men who walk head and shoulders first
those who build bridges and empires
men strangled by neckties
their shoes reflecting their dreams

Spinning, a few content to stay aboard
others ready to leap-holding fast to a friend
who will likely fall into the same dumpster
or whichever new world lies beyond

My friends need dusting

 

You said
you pictured me in a great library
in a great house with a huge kitchen
where I cook amazing meals
and sumptuous desserts

I  never told you
how I gave away my life-twice-
donated and left behind every book
I had collected-except
what I could run with under my arms

Now I have begun
to replace them-to purchase again
these dusty old books
that bring such joy and peace
and also a great, big dictionary

But I panic
at the thought of running again
with that in tow
for he and I are friends now
and no man will be left behind

let’s talk about

 

they don’t like
when we whisper
another name in bed
when we are far away
and they cannot be sure
just where

they don’t like
when we disappear
during a conversation
it hurts their feelings
if we do not listen
or pretend to have
listened

wearing a new cologne
after so many years
raises a flag
an angry red warning
that the ground beneath
he and me
may be made of sand

my confidence
coming back after the wreck
mentally-physically-emotionally
being so long
there
then suddenly
here

brings relief
but more than a little
doubt

No snow

The night is cold
two feet on cement
a sidewalk bereft of snow
rain as if it is April
mind full
as though it might break
my heart if you say a word

Why, why did you go
You, with
little in your hands
to offer
taking, taking until
I had no more to give
and I, drifting along

hypnotized with how good it felt
to have someone to remember

Caught

The screen door is open and I walk in. Jeremy likes it open so I don’t nag anymore. I smell spaghetti. He cooked? I hear his voice and call out. He suddenly walks out of the den as if he has not heard, his hand resting on the back of a blonde who looks familiar. Is she Jack’s teacher? I duck around the corner. I want to catch him in the act, furious now, when I see my favourite red pumps, dangling from her fingers as they walk through the kitchen and out the door. He closes and locks it and I run out the side way to watch from around the garage. They take off in presumably her burgundy BMW and I grab my bike and hop on, hurrying to keep abreast of where they are headed. They don’t go far, turning off the side entrance of the old arboretum where we used to walk. I am crushed. Why would Jeremy cheat on me? And why would he bring her here?

Continue reading

(easier to) Forgive

If we start adding up our slights
(when we bruised, neglected
and lied to one another)
we will lose sight of the treasures
(love, joy, peace, hope,
and patience)and everytime
we held one another and cried-
If we list them all (spiteful,
lasting, ungenerous boasting)
we will never get to where
we wanted to be (by now)
before we go