This Act of Writing

You are a writer,

so you know

that it is a terrible thing–

this act of writing.

You make yourself vulnerable with every word.

Even more so with poetry.

You must distill the truth about yourself

into something quickly consumed

and easily judged.

Few things scare me,

but this baring of the soul

is exquisite anguish.

Song of the Cicadas

Sometimes I can still feel

Your fingers tracing lazy circles

On my shoulder

Your arm draped around me

On a summer’s night

The taste of honey and whiskey

On my tongue

The song of the cicadas

Humming beneath the lines of Shakespeare

As we watched a play in the park

A phantom touch

That feels like yesterday

And not years ago

NPM: Fresh Glory

Two cardinals hopped

Through the budding branches

Of my Japanese maple today

A mated pair

And I was transfixed

By the color of the female

Normally, the males are revered

For their vivid red hue

So bright and unusual

But her tones were subdued

And sublime

The colors of the dawn

Soft cream, pale yellow

And the flush of purest rose

She was the morning sky

The promise of a new day

Unmarred, unsullied

And to me, her subtle beauty

Far outshone her flashy consort

There is fresh glory in the overlooked–

In nature

And in us

NPM: Acquaintances

Have you ever watched

As the crawl of time

And the sprawl of distance

And the weight of responsibilities

And the busyness of the mundane

Turned dearest friends

Into acquaintances?

I looked about myself one day

Like a shell-shocked soldier

And wondered how this happened.

How did I end up here alone?

As if I wasn’t at the helm

Of my own life

And this was all an unpleasant surprise

Rather than the result of

The choices I made

NPM: Just Another Book

I keep the book you gave me

On my mantel as decor

Nothing more

I see it every day

My eyes skate past it

As I go about my routine

The rhythms of a solitary life

Or if I see it, it’s just a part of

My collected pieces on display

One book of a few

Until today

When my eyes lit on it

And I thought of you

And the memory stuck fast

Like a bramble to my skin

A pang that dulled to an ache

For what was or might have been

I hope it will go back to being

Just another book again

The Dying of a Dream

I dreamed of what my life could be

Of cities, loves, and being free

To win a heart, to take a name

To weather change, to stay the same

I dreamed of music building slow

I dreamed a whisper, close and low

Beloved face, familiar form

I dreamed the other pillow warm

But cold the bed, the empty home

I wake to find myself alone

Things are not as they had seemed

And thus, the dying of a dream

Legacy

Once, you made a promise to a lonely man. 

You took him out into the twilight, 

And lifted his eyes to the swirling crush of galaxies. 

“Your children will outnumber the stars.”

His gaze swept the heavens-

Multitude pinpricks of light-

Until his eyes were filled with starlight and grateful tears. 

I stand beneath that same darkened sky, 

But the stars aren’t so visible anymore,

Overcome by lights of our own design. 

The promise is dim. 

One star burns above, alone, 

And I wonder if this might be 

My legacy. 

The Symphonies of Heaven

Moonlight pools in the furrowed fields. 

Each grain-topped stalk reaches up

To caress the dark sky’s face.

A hush has fallen over our common earth,

But the heavens are alive with song.

The stars pour forth melodies, harmonies,

Endless arias, spiraling refrains.

Their silver voices sing clear in the night.

Who but God has ears to listen?

Who but God and his legions of angels?

If we could hear but one chord of that song,

We would never again doubt the beauty of existence

Or the perfection of eternity to come,

Wrapped in the symphonies of heaven. 

Open Book

You wanted me to be an open book to you 

You wanted me to lay bare my pages for your perusal 

To be picked up and casually browsed

Book-marked and dog-eared

And in the end you were angry

That I was difficult, inaccessible

I’m not saying I’m a masterpiece

I’m no Hemingway or Steinbeck

But I can tell you this:

I’m not a synopsis

Not a CliffsNotes guide

No eighth grade reading level novella

I am difficult to grasp

Impossible to master

My words are fluid

My meter erratic

My lyric baffling

I am a mystery even to myself

And a hundred readings will not

Make me anything less