what you say
what you always say
never satisfied
hurting with you
sharing
what is mine is yours
and yours
is also mine
even the ugly
but let’s put
a bandaid on that
and some word salve

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Raw

Today was supposed to be beautiful
one of love and laughter and soft touches
but I have been beat up around the shoulders
and my sides, ribs sore
the last words from your mouth
cold and indifferent

what would you say to unbearably cool sheets
and soft duvets, dark hair thick and gleaming
draped over you, sticky with love, and us
oh us, we could be something, we should be
really something but we collide, we clash
and we are bruised

while you wash my back we could talk about our dreams
about how come everything suddenly
feels hard and uphill
rub my skin softly then rub me raw
far away from here

The usual scars

I tried to be cool about it, no tears
at the start when small losses
left minor marks upon my body
civility insists we do not complain

Who does not have failures? Misfires
we wear like weights from our limbs
that happen once, then dog us.
I am never alone in this muck we tread

When another incident let blood
I was mortified, staying home
to not leave a trail, don’t
upset people. Don’t remind them

But when some flesh was sheared
from the kneecap and an elbow
where I could scarcely afford it
self-pity set in and I wrote about it

Someone called me poet, and
another brought soup for my troubles
we sat and shared a half-pint left over
from the new year celebration

We sang a song–making up verses
about a monkey and a typewriter.
She showed me where she had lost a toe
the year she joined a gym

Our songs reached into the neighborhood
as we walked to the liquor store
well into the night, we listed our losses
and we sang a good deal more

of love and coincidence, of kindness
and bearing each others burdens
falling asleep with our feet in the fountain
where someone had said that we could be healed

*

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2 (ESV)

*

Ticking

Every day I open another door
watching an old one close
turning my head for that moment
hearing the click of the lock
my soul in chains and it is He
who unlocks them-one by one
reminding me I am here
for a greater purpose
everyone hurting – everyone needing
and I have something still to give away

Getting to know my own heart
hiding it even from myself
I get surprised – appalled – scared-
by what oozes out of this organ
the hate and bitterness
the color of death
leaving me now
and I do not look away
at the horror of the decay to my heart
once pulsing and new

So many doors – I get
so easily twisted ’round –
a face from the past
darkening a threshold
confounding me –
what do I really want-
which to choose
and which to board up-
pain when the cells reweave themselves
new life where once was merely debris

It is safe to come out now
as the thunder is less
and the ticking is behind me –
the further I travel down this path
the more I have to learn yet
and I find myself astonished
as I become reacquainted with myself-
loins girded – helmet fastened tight
that others should know me better now
yet you know me less

69.

I see the end coming
far off
(but sure)
I feel the pull of the earth
weakening
when it used to hold me tight

my eyes blur
you are hazy there where you sit
nearly with me
but somewhere else
at the same time
the fog rising between us

I see the end coming
far off
(but sure)
the aches are greater
when it rains
your anger is greater
when I cry

and I wonder why
I have failed
to dredge up empathy
among the roses
this dry spell of months
is heavy to drag behind