the damage

I laugh well and often enough,
sounds of mirth rising richly
from the core of my soul.

My smile is neither timid
nor falsely conveyed,
however disbelieving you may be.

I rise every morning, dress,
sip my tea with honest pleasure,
and kiss my children goodbye.

I step into the world each day
intent on carrying concealed
my angry burdens as my own.

But they are there, as are yours,
and wholly formed, albeit raw
as a fresh wound at times.

You may not see it on my skin,
but that may only be because
the damage takes time to show.

Watching another spring snowfall in Salt Lake City (15 Apr 2021)

use a proper knife

loss is not always so concise
so precisely severed
by sharpened words
and shrill retorts
and allegations
that beggar belief

loss might crawl between you
insidious and still
the expanding space
on the couch
the dulling patter
the silent bed

loss should never be so easy
so effortlessly attained
I’d much rather
you screamed at me
cracked open my skull
crushed my heart

if I must be cut away from you,
then for God’s sake,
use a proper knife

Looking at Photos

That was me—
the happiest me
apparent not only for the smile
but for the glow emanating
from my supposedly knowing soul.

It was March,
and I certain declared
for a future unfearing
with most endearing you
truly unencumbered.

But then April came
and you fell, oh God,
how you fell so so hard
shattering the spine
of your loving soul.

And the March me
withering wandered
through meaningless days
awaiting the waxing moon
to birth a new hope,

leaving trembling me
to endure on masticated memories
that growl desperation
in the deepest hollows
of shallow nights.

seeing the sun

You didn’t really expect to find anything more
beneath the surface of all of this
did you?

Beyond the cheap and oh so uninspiring banter
that cheekily exudes from these
desiccated lips,

beneath the greying ever expanding skin that binds
within a perpetually painful collection
of pointless bits,

besides the once unrestrainedly fertile imagination
that birthed nearly clever books
and pithy boasts—

there is nothing more today than an aching heart
that occasionally weeps unnoticed
for its youth

and a prayer never spoken, not even once
but clung to for the simple hope
of seeing the sun again.

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

Sorg

find me i’ hadre
furh noht thy bru swa wynsum
streow petaln aloft

Salt Lake City 19 May 2012

NOTE: I am in something of an aging mood just now, my heart feeling at once heavy and yet so light and full of loving joy, while my body is weighing me unbearably down. And in this uncompromising mood, my mind turns to Old English. This haiku is not written true to Old English grammar, but I have chosen older words that fit my feeling. If you’re wondering at the pronunciation, try reading it with something approaching a Germanic-Gaelic accent. That should help. The translation of this near jibberish would be:

SORROW

find me in heather
furrow not thy brow so winsome
strew petals aloft

Sitting among the ruins of Ildırı, Turkey (5 Jul 2010)