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

NPM: Birds Fly Away

Even if Death does not steal those you love, 

Time does.

Time slowly inserts wedges between lives,

Driving people further apart

Almost imperceptibly.

Time deadens the ache you feel for friends.

It numbs the pain of missing them.

Time gives you certain experiences

That are not shared with those far away.

Time hands you moment after moment

Until your hands are overflowing with seconds,

So that you must drop some memories, cut some ties,

To hold them all.

But that is just the nature of time-

It moves ever on.

So do people.

One by one, birds fly away.

It is not in their nature to stay.

NPM: I Do Not Think of You

I do not think about you from time to time
and wonder how you’ve been.
I do not ponder if your broken heart has healed,
and if you’ve found love.
I do not feel a pang at that thought,
nor do I feel an accompanying sense of relief.
I do not worry about the path you’ve taken
or hope for your safe return home.
I don’t see your face in my dreams
or consider what your family must think
or replay any of our memories in my mind.
Clearly, you see, I do not think of you at all.

NPM: Confluence

You and I 

Are two different streams

Each flowing in its own course

Carrying different debris and trace elements

Our different sources 

Influencing our composition

But here our courses have met

In this peaceful pooling

Our confluence

There are times when floods upstream

Send us crashing into one another

Churning up the waters

The currents fighting and clashing

But there are also times

When we meet so beautifully

So smoothly gliding along into one another’s path

And we find that we are of one accord

And that two can be better than one

That the waters are fresher and sweeter

At their confluence

NPWM Day 29: Walls

The first line of this poem is borrowed from Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall.”

 

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,

but it is not the human heart.

No, our hearts build walls

without conscious thought or hesitation.

In a desperate bid for 

self-preservation,

we throw up defenses

miles high,

meters thick.

After its first taste of pain,

the heart reacts the same way

again and again,

to keep others out,

to stay safe and untouched.

Walls within walls,

and behind them,

corridors and halls

ever twisting,

labyrinthine,

and somewhere inside

hides

a fluttering, frightened heart.

And yet,

from its refuge,

its self-imposed prison,

it gazes out,

hoping that someone worthy

will scale the walls

and search the halls.

It longs with such desperation

for someone to seek it,

see it, need it,

know it.

The walls it crafted over years

suddenly become confining, isolating.

And protection is not so important now.

If only it could feel again

somehow.

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,

and perhaps that something

is the heart, after all.

NPWM Day 17: The Weight of Words

You wanted to forget those painful times,
So when I wrote of them,
It hurt you.
You hoped those dark instances
Would pass and be gone forever,
Like a shadow of a dream.
But moments never work like that.
They’re never just gone,
even if they’re not written on paper.
They’re written on us.
They can’t be erased,
But the ink fades over time
And new stories can be written over them
In bolder hues, with broader strokes.
Moments of redemption, forgiveness, hope
That lay themselves over the old pains
Like bridges to cross over.

And yet I cannot help but fear
That I carved those bad moments
More deeply into your heart
With each stroke of my pen,
And no poem is worth doing that again.

NPWM Day 15: Moon

As we drove along the winding, shadowed street

I gazed at the sky, criss-crossed with branches

Flashing by, blurred by speed and motion

And I said I would write a poem

About the moon, hanging like a golden coin in the dark

You didn’t say much, because the thought

Of poems was painful to you

No golden coins could make up for

The price you paid in the reading of poems

I cannot un-write them, cannot un-feel them

You cannot forget them, though you wish otherwise

And the words hang between us

Like a moon in the sky

Like a curtain of rain

Like a frozen memory

And I ended up lying after all

I didn’t write of a golden moon

But of you