all of the silences

she is a master at her craft
a builder of extraordinary skill
employing language deftly refined
and meticulously set, her words
one by anxious one rising
as another wall emerges
into the darkness of my days
prohibiting useless dalliance,
for all must have a purpose,
even this matter between us
that once glowed with passion,
this once glorious act of love
now extraneous to a fault

she has taught me much
as the months have passed
and I have struggled to find
reason in this structure she erects,
assuring myself that her silence
is warranted by my own
petulant brooding, her distance
the result of my loathsome features—
of course she does not touch me
for who would choose to fondle
this aging fetid flesh of mine—
how much easier to keep building
in simple untainted silence

I have learned my lessons well
I abide within these walls

I have become all of the silences
you have taught me to keep

[Thank you, dearest Allison, for your incredible talent at always discovering just the right words, which I then gleefully borrow from you.]

when he speaks

when he speaks
there is silence
a stillness like nothing
he has known before,
and he wonders why?

he remembers
how she would listen
and respond, and his words
seemed ever to matter
to her when there was love

her eyes would sparkle
with affection for him
and he could almost
hear the passionate beat
of her most adoring heart

but when she lost
the man who meant
more to her than he did
it was as if his presence
were a noisome burden

he listened when she spoke
and offered his love
and tried to still
the anguish in her heart
so that she might heal

and there were times
yes, when he wished
that he had died instead,
for then she might already
have found her peace

rather that than to know
how little he mattered now
how foolish his words
how pointless his efforts
when silence were better

he speaks
and there is silence
expanding, filling his heart
whole and heavy until finally
he is the silence

which is when
he closes
his mouth
at last
and waits

I am still alive

Mystical memories tremble this heart
imparting moments of will that once filled
me with impassioned zeal to live, to love.

I believed then, with near perfect certainty,
believed in the veracity of my hopes,
trusted in the capacity of this me
to be as good, as grand even
as my ambitions had painted me
in my own thoughts, long since faded.

But the memories are there still,
only greyed and frayed somewhat,
torn by the incessant tumult
within a soul that could never
quite be sure it even existed.

I know people who compose lists
that lyrically lead them from one bright aim
to the next, inspired by the very abundance
of their most meaningful dreams.

In the dark of the night alone
I carve my moribund dreams
into the very flesh that drips
over my dubious ill-intended soul.

Which is how I know
that I am still alive.

alone

I have wandered beaten paths
and caressed carefully stones
hewn millennia before my birth
to adore gods I never knew

I have willingly surrendered myself
to as many beliefs and hopes
and fears as could account
for the storied life of a man

yet it is with sadly utmost certainty
that I can say, my most honored one
that even the winds know me better
than you, and I still do not like to be

alone

Ages ago when I stood alone before Yazılıkaya (the City of Midas) in Turkey (1992)

you’ll get over it

“You know you’ll get over it,”
she said with such conviction
I very nearly believed her.

“Oh? When?” I asked
forcing a nonchalance
into my shattered voice.

“Soon enough.” She shrugged
and finished packing—
all but the unwanted photos.

I never really liked winter,
how it needling crawled under
my pale wincing skin.

“My bones ache in this cold,”
I used to tell her, and she—
“You’ll get over it,” would say.

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.

tell me

tell me again
if you even can
what is the point
of all of this,
if not to love
and to grow
and to be more
than I was before

what is the point
of a life
grossly endured,
of a being
crisply cut
into banal lines
constituting little more
than rejected dreams

I believed once
in stars
that fell for only me,
in laughter
that cradled
my most fervent
ingenuous hopes
of a life fulfilled

tell me please
that there
is yet more
than this me alone,
because without you—
without us—
I don’t believe that I
could endure

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

I have seen

I have seen

the deepest red in gently folding
petals of a humble rose
not the one beside it which was more
than arrogant and unworthy
but that one, the little one
the quiet one
and it touched my heart and
made me long for love

I have seen

the most verdant greens stretching regally
and true across all of Cumbria
encircling Derwentwater
where swans splash while ignoring
the many curious visitors
who have come to honor Wordsworth
and revel in romantic verse and
glory in ever trembling song

I have seen

the truest blues bedeck the skies
over the bewitching redwoods
ranging over California’s mountains
standing proudly above the Pacific coast
looking down over Santa Cruz
and those vibrant sands and eternal waves
that ebb and flow and never seem to find
a reason to cease

and I have seen

the grayest of grays on solemn days
and felt inspired to be nothing
to do nothing
feeling naught but the bitterness of age
while listening to the mournful sounds
of a heart that once believed
only now to shudder in lonesome fear
just waiting, still waiting

oh yes, I have seen

Sunset over Derwentwater, Keswick, Cumbria

the sun and the moon

it is not the fiery sun
that rudely hastens the moon
from her heavenly domain

see you how she flees
quite of her own accord
timid of his touch

suspicious she wanders
frightened by his desire
wary of his embrace

until his journey done
he sinks below the horizon
that she may reclaim her throne

yet just beyond her sight
he burns in longing for her
and curses his seething soul

how little she knows
of the passion in his heart
sworn to hers forever more

and in the dawn that greets him
how swiftly he rises to his need
searching the heavens for her

just her

his one true love

Salt Lake City 20 Feb 2013