Lover

Lover

your lonely lips smolder

seek heat from other sources

while mine burn cheap scars

into unworthy opponents

time-killers

wasted moments

 

Lover

your unattended lust wanders

finds home in worn-out hollows

follows

well-worn paths

to old flames

and regret

 

my lust rages

an untamed ocean

swells and crashes

onto unfamiliar shores

sweeping the sands

of simple lives

into my riptide

 

my cunning mind

untapped resources to entice

but, I faulter at deception

unprecedented declaration

deny friendship and loyalty

defile budding reputation

throw caution to the tide

and arc in desperation

 

still, my cunning mind

sources to entice

oh, Lover

your lonely lips still smolder

colder

can’t find them in the night

blinded by the light

of so many other

lovers

lost

somewhere

in the infinitesimal space

between neurons

firing and misfiring

lives the tiniest glimmer of hope

that our love was made

of precious metals

alchemical magical solids

not pixie dust and wishes

floating in the ether

where I am searching

without a compass

 

somewhere

in the black expanse

of my mind

where we are stars

you, expanding, consuming

sucking my light into your void

where I am angelic

with wings rubbed raw

all the dust washed away

my dreams left skeletal

I am searching

between the near and far

within the known and unknown

 

somewhere

in the infinite moment

before sunrise

I stand on the horizon line

seeking tomorrow

behind the shadows

the promise of light

hanging heavy in my heart

but my eyes are searching

between the day and night

between the cracks in the sidewalk

 

somewhere

in the here and now

bodies rolling together

skin touches skin

like ocean meets sky

above you

light as air

warm as sunshine

you are roiling deep

and I am searching

behind your eyes

I am searching

without a compass

lost

Love is a Verb

Our love is perfectly imperfect

We, perfect opposites

Maybe not what they call a match made in heaven

But clichés never worked with us, did they?

In life, there are many important choices

You are what I chose

 

I met you in a tree

You, high above me

Shining example of masculinity

I had to catch you

Pull your gorgeous body down to earth

where I could map your terrain

But, you were as hard to catch as an ember

Though an easy fire ignited between us

A slow burn that lingered at the back of my mind

Golden flames licked

and we consumed each other

 

Was it fate?

We fell right in to place

puzzle-piece precise

We were infected, but we said it wasn’t serious

It doesn’t really get complicated

until lives become intertwined

Now, our roots are tangled together in the mud

Trunks combine where we’ve needed to lean on each other

We’ve branched out and branched again

Always reaching for Heaven

 

It may be you saved my soul

I was adrift. Floating in a sea of misinformation

With you my eyes are open.

And maybe I saved your heart

Lone tender of the lighthouse

High above it all

Warning of the dangers of the world

Your lonely brightness called my name

A beacon for me to follow home

 

I was a rolling wave looking for a rock

You, the only one who could tame me

Because I was wild at heart

Feral in relationships

I bucked every cage that every man had ever tried to put me in

Always clinging fiercely, but not for life

 

You taught me to hold loosely

And to let go

Let go, though it undid me

Yet, I learned

you are not so much a balloon untethered

as a jellyfish with navigational powers

You are not something that can be lead upon a string;

a kite ready to tear free and give itself to the wind

or a big fish struggling to break the line and swim away from me

You are more like another planetary body orbiting the same sun

just on a slightly different trajectory

 

Loving you has taught me patience

That waiting need not equal torture

That everything really will be alright

…usually

That I am stronger than I thought I was

More substantial than the ether I sailed for so long

It proved to me that love is a verb

Forever is a choice

That you are the one for me because we make it so

 

You are still my Adonis, high above me

But, with feet rooted in the rich soil of our beautiful life

Strong arms protecting tender sprouts

And our love is growing. Always growing

Perfectly imperfect

Real

A beacon that guides me home

I Believe in Forever

I believe in soul mates

I believe in the definite possibility

of reincarnation

Because I know I’ve known you before

I believe in love at first sight

Two souls recognizing each other

across the infinity

Remembering when we were one

and in that oneness

you were me

and I was everything

and I was you

and you were everything

I believe in firsts

First smile

First kiss

First moment of true bliss

But I don’t believe in lasts

I believe in bodies becoming one

Limbs that tangle

and slip into each other

I believe in the memory of touch

Scars that can only be felt

I believe that souls can be tethered

That I am a fly

caught in your web

and I am the spider

I’ve felt your vibrations over the ocean

I believe in the ever-after

That I could wait 1000 years

Your softest lips will kiss me awake

I believe in dreams

When I am with you

in deepest sleep

I believe that you’re with me

I believe in love

In so many kinds of love

I believe in a love that defies time & space

In the non-physical

when we are stars

In the rocks and the trees

Streams that flow to the sea

Like a moth follows the moon

and the intoxicating perfume of a flower

and the star-dust pheromones

dripping off your wings

A bread crumb trail I follow

to your heart

I believe in meant-to-be

and that it doesn’t always work out that way

But I believe in next time

and the time after that

I believe in forever

Putnam’s Arms

Clay in the soil

keeps the rain

so that when it storms

little ponds pop up

in every pock mark

 

It is Summer

There is a shower every day

Frogs hold soirees in the evening

Their love a chorus

carried 360° around our home

In the morning

there will be jellied eggs

like wet chia seed clumps

floating in the puddles

 

On the lake

I see a swimmer

when I take my morning walks

She swims the length

of Melrose Bay and back

I would surely die of heart failure

from fear of giant gators

But she swims dutifully

with cap and goggles

and has yet to be eaten alive

 

Afternoons are filled with art

and music in the park

Kids collecting tadpoles

discovering treasure troves of Melrose Rocks

Everyone visiting

because everyone knows everyone

and there are stories to be told

 

The sun sets

in pink and blue ribbons

at the end of the hidden boardwalk

There, the dock has a view

worth battling ticks, spiders, and mosquitos for

It is where we hiked as newlyweds

to celebrate each other with an ale

It is where my parents

take out-of-town guests

when they want to show off

the serene beauty of their bay

It is a spot only the locals know exists

 

The path is muddied

because it keeps the rains

like so many bodies of water

cradled by the arms

of our winsome county

Drowning

Turn up the radio

to occupy my mind

while my hands

scrub, sweep, bake, diaper

wipe up another spill

 

This sad, sad song

builds a lump in my throat

takes me like a fever

sing along off-key manically

gasping for air

as words catch in my mouth

 

My body remembers freedom

long lazy days of passion

partners in a young paradise

addicted to adventure

focused on what you feel

 

My eyes see clutter spilling over

my soul is drowning

in dirty dishes and shit-stained laundry

suffocating on cat hair and dust bunnies

I watch the hours of my youth tick away

while I drive carpool

and march single file

in the endless drill of the grocery line

 

I had technicolor dreams

the road map to get me there

but now I work 24-7 at a thankless job

while student loan debt roils

in my rearview mirror

and my degree putrefies

filling my nose like the trash

I should have taken out yesterday

 

My husband can sell his soul

to keep the bills paid

kill his time with video games

sleep on the guest bed

sell his soul to keep bills paid

kill time with video games

sleep on the sofa

sell his soul

with video games

and almost never

sleep with me

 

I’ll just turn up the radio

let sad songs drown me

and dirty dishes bury me

choke to death on dust

they’ll discover my body

when they get hungry

Lessons from My Father

You taught me to drive

on a 3-speed stick-shift V-8 pick-up, no less

You taught me to appreciate

coffee and early morning quiet

and the importance of trust

You taught me patience and kindness

All of these lessons that have shaped me

 

You’re still my super hero

the way a dad should be

You don’t have to save the world

you hang clotheslines

and your granddaughter’s swings

Your super power is always being there

whenever I’ve needed you

 

You left on your bike every morning

but came home for every dinner

You never missed a big event

or a small victory

Your consistency was a priceless gift

that only now I can fully appreciate

 

I know now what strength patience requires

I know now the inability of strong arms

to protect a little girls from scraped knees

How a heart can break in proxy

when she loses a much-loved pet

I know the uselessness of prayers

to protect from the ever-ticking hands of Father Time

 

When I hold my girls through their tears

I remember you holding me

in your lap in the pink rocker

so many times

I remember encouraging words

and listening ears

when I was in doubt

I try to be the parent you were

when I’m at the end of my rope

 

You are the person who taught me

what unconditional love and acceptance feel like

For every lesson, I am thankful

Titanic

are you an iceberg

or just a cold man

floating in the cocktail

that was once my bubbling life

watering me down as you melt

a sad little puddle of anger and delusion

a snowflake that thinks it’s granite

a drop of water that forgot it is the ocean

 

I am the Titanic

and whether or not you are deeper than you appear to be

I am bound to sink

for I thought myself unstoppable

too big to be undone

turns out I’m just as full of hot air pockets as you

each filling with ice water

the cold is becoming unbearable

 

I used to be a flame you worshipped

drawn like a moth

’til you were close enough

for me to melt your skin

tough-guy candy shell coating

crackling between my teeth

I used to chew boys up and spit them out

like cheap chewing gum

you stick to the roof of my mouth

I gag and gag

but have no way of expelling you from my life

 

for you have me tethered to an anchor

(payback for all those Bubble-gum-boy’s hearts)

trapped by the enormous weight of my love

the bird-like rib cages of three small sisters

cage me like a criminal

behind the walls of my own home

 

and if all these walls could speak

would they spill my shame like a river

rolling over everything

bursting pipes

burdening septic systems

until sewage seeps up from the front lawn

so the neighbors can smell the lies behind the smiles

 

and you, an iceberg in the mudslide

pulling me under

battered by the debris that was my life

head barely above the surface

sinking

sinking

drowning

sinking

drowning

sinking…

if I could tell you all of me

through the tears I cry

spilling my love over my smiling, laughing lips

slipping into yours

 

emotions too strong to grasp

cannot be contained

I try to tell in half-sentence babble

love I cannot yet explain

my heart is full

with words too beautiful for speech

 

I could cry into your chest

the story of my soul

sing it to the beat of your heart

I could dream you a vision of me

where words are left unspoken

hoping you can see

bones

You dig at my door
wearing nail marks in my frame
and hand prints in my handles
Your begging voice through walls
whines and moans
grating my ears with why won’ts

You know why
You were there when I jaded
You plead with eyes
that are sunken
dark and unseeing
unseen in the dark
The porch is cold
even the puppy door is closed

Behind the walls
bones on mine
skin stretched against them
sliding on sweat lubricant

Remember nights where I
hung ’round your step
scratching at the door
rubbing against the poles
My mark was left
But not the nails that dig your back
Now she’s jumping in your arms
she may break your neck
but she’s something I am not

Delicate.

But not the nails that dig your back
or teeth that tear your throat
She’s not the one who is on top
She’s not the one who drags you home

She yowls to the moon
between the leaves above the lawn
Pacing circles in our crab grass
Making face-prints on the windows
Impossible blonde-blue eyes
She pleads in Hellish tones

But inside
bones on mine
skin stretched against them
sliding on sweat lubricant