the bravest of all

With the encouragement of some dear friends here on WP, here is me reading “the bravest of all,” a verse I composed inspired by my past and by dear Allison Marie Conway from her beautiful collection Luminae.

Too timid these steps
as I cross over
pushing gently
through unseeing crowds
showering nothing of
the silence I crave,
fearful of the throng.

They dance and sway,
and I, staring at the sand
glistening around my feet
plead not with her
but with my own heart
for a chance to live
this one moment whole.

I see her standing there,
her back bare
beneath the adoring moon,
pursued by many,
loved so richly,
but by none so passionately
as by trembling me.

Which is perhaps why I turn
and trace my steps
back into the town,
the sounds of the players
fading behind me,
loathing once more
this poorly forged heart.

Coward that I am,
my hands shaking
as I order another drink
knowing all too well that
the bravest of all
are the ones
who feel everything.

spectres

Again they come before me
these constant spectres
eyeless, mouthless, faceless,
pacing across my ragged breath
as I watch the fading sun,
weary wanderer, sluggishly
dip at last beyond the hills,
no longer caring for the day.

Ravenous, these ghouls
sally fourth, palely pouring
across the brittle sky,
more voracious they
than I had ever seen them,
swiftly consuming the fractured sun
which bleeds yellows and reds
across the angry heavens.

I knew them, I am sure,
I must have, for why else
would they shadow my days
if not for the chance
to accept the offer of my self
to sustain their petty
vindictive needs, feeding
oh so grossly on the flesh

that once shrouded my heart.

[Once again I must thank Allison for her inspiration, having drawn from her “black” certain images and words that fed upon my thoughts. I highly recommend her collection of poems, Vein, which you can find here.]

need to know

the greying sky denies me
the simplest solace of Sol’s
supremely blueing warmth

is it really so much to ask
that any task I perform now
be held relevant to another?

these hands lumberous lean
over keys that creak in aging
mechanical certainty

tap tap tapping, eyelids
snapping open, hideously
heavy with persistent weariness

but I still see truly you and
there is me clinging to hope
of happiness ever beside you

yet I am tired and so easily
broken now as I bending bow
to the spirit of worldly wonder

I don’t want to go, not yet,
but need quite simply to know
that even still, I do matter

trust

I uncover my hands
and open them to you
hoping to know your touch.

I unveil my eyes
and stare into your soul
hoping to find release.

I undress my fear
and stand naked before you
hoping you will not leave.

In the abyss that is my trust
you have touched me deeper
than I would have thought possible.

whispers

I ask myself in fear
why it maun be harder noo
tae hear the whisper
in the leaves which
hae begun tae mind
me o’ scratching mice.

The color painted sae
prettily aboon the skies
defies the imaginative
longing it once inspired
in my younger eyes,
graying in the dusk.

The majesty o’ the bens,
the glorious glens
seem forever faded
in the waning sun
as winter settles its
cold claws o’er my world.

An’ love? Aye, e’en so.
Ablow my straining
heart appending points
o’ sorrow seethe seedingly
for attention, crying
for the hope tae believe.

shroud

this open face
once held clues
that spoke of longing
and mystery, yet
now intersected
by abhorrent lines
of petty time

she once stared
at this face
eager to smiling read
its suggestive
hopeful fullness,
demanding that he lay
beside her

but then
as the moon rose
to quiet caress
the night sky
she began to count
the lithesome stars
once again

and so
he closed his skin
around the truth
and sighed
into the sheets
like a shroud
of silence

remembering fear

i still remember a horse
as massive as a house
and how my legs shivered
clutching at its dusty sides
begging to come down
oh please, god, please
just let me come down

i remember how they stared
how they laughed at my timidity
at the absurdity of fear
in a land of leathery skin
but even as a child i knew
that there was something fierce
something unbelievably urgent
about trembling flesh

and days that wandered into night
without a hint of morning

Ellington.George (1969.07) Virginia.with Big Earl.01

bean nighe (“banshee”)

what is it you really see
when first your eyes open
peering through the light
of the slowly ascending sun
falling from the mountains
to kiss warmth across
your glowing cheeks?

surely it is not me you see
leaning needfully over you
ever hopefully attendant
blending my lips to yours
it is not my face at all
but a variant thereof
unconsciously formed

know that in the sorrow
of your declining lips
there is but a specter of me
and in the mournful lines,
in the cracks of your vision
that pierce my rueful being
there is a me that is not me

in your grieving sight
am i a shadow of truth
cringing coldly in corners
fearful of the damning light
longing for the blackest night
and the harrowing cry
of the wailing bean nighe

holding on

there is such decay
in this aging flesh
such pain clawing
through these limbs
gnawing at the fibers
of transient being

and yet we hold on
grasping at perpetuity
while gasping our last
precious promise
of certain intransigence
and desperate need

we seize at vitality
angrily breathing needles
piercing our veins
with chemical inducement
and medical murmurs
moistened with tears

with trembling limbs
we prostate ourselves
before imperceptible deities
touching coldest stones
with sweaty hands as
generations of ghosts

have done before

open seas

as the waves rose ever higher
i grasped the tiller hard and fast
and searched the waters behind
scanned the horizon beyond
apprehensive of what lay ahead
knowing no more of what awaited me
but only keenly feeling the fear
that clawed at my calloused skin
this angrily aching aging shell
of fury and doubt and distrust
that has so long imprisoned
my fervently frustrated soul

such is the make of a man unrefined
the mark of a man undefined
by clear and conscious reflection
that he would lean then on the tiller
and strive his vessel to return
as swiftly as may be to the haven
of his all too familiar native port
so far short of the goals he desired
of that to which he in earnest aspired
before the grasping need of years
before the deftly growing fears
his heart had cowardly overtaken

yet hearing then the voice of the wind
feeling then the outstretched limb
of time’s so fateful trembling
of time’s insatiable dissembling
pretending at truths beyond nature
preening colors grown too bold
by the coldly demeaning stature
of solitude and sorrow and death,
i stayed the course that i had chosen
craving the hope that dearest love
had to my soul imparted and never—
never will i look back again