Finite are the times
The carousel goes round
A painted horse is deaf and blind
It can neither hear the sounds,
Nor cast the vigilant eye
Along the sky, nor ground.
It cannot twirl forevermore,
Each ride has a start and stop.
Once you climb aboard,
And once you climb atop,
Ups and downs are sure,
And nary a rider may swap.
Night sweats, and in my dreams
All my friends turn out their lights,
“Forgive! Forgive!” I scream,
I beg the cold, the empty night.
Windows closed like pursed lips.
Doors locked like extended palms,
As always I slip, I slip, I slip
Into the black, the waiting calm
The air is cold against my skin
Where is the warmth of day?
But still you sleep, you slumber-
Awake now, while you still may.
It’s raining self-despair outside,
And the clatter on my roof
Of water-damaged words
Sings aloud its sharpened proof
Cracks along the heights of me
Allowing rain passage through
It’s dripping all around me,
And the patter of the sound
Reminds me how I leak,
How I’m at risk to drown,
But I know the roof I lost
Can still, again, be found
So I pray He takes His able hands,
And wraps them around my soul,
To protect me from the coming flood,
To plug up all my holes,
As He has done, time and again,
When rain exacts its toll.
My face is flushed.
I am touched again
By brevity, and the severity
Of overturned nests
And untended graves.
She stands brave,
Shields and flags and
Foils and sharps and
A parry too late.
Each breath a rebellion,
From a bloody womb
Into a bloody world
A white-fisted petal,
A nightingale in a jar.
Siege the inevitable,
Voices only composed
Of exhaled air
Each new step
Unfolds something better.
The baggage I carry with me:
Even I forget
The strength for new steps
Doesn’t come from amnesia
Or pickled regrets
But active Love
These verses were never written
To impress, to stand on display
On their own two legs,
Nor extend their limbs, nor stay.
They were born as companions
To drink my imaginary tea,
Or brush my hair, or whisper secrets
In the dark, to sing to me.
They were never meant for fancy dress
For beards to appraise their structure
They were never woven
To resist such puncture,
But just to keep me company
Just to tell the truth,
When honesty became something
More than I could do.
Ill-prepared for such critique,
Such stringent demands,
But they have fulfilled their calling;
We have grown together, hand in hand.
In all my days of wandering,
Wending through water and wood,
For every move I made I
Mustered what courage I could,
Closing my eyes, and holding my breath
Putting foot, by foot, to ground
And while my fear was never lost,
Some little bravery was found.
On the outskirts of each town,
I buried my farewells.
Just enough courage to leave them,
But never enough to tell
And once I left a city,
I cut it from my map,
Because there was never any forward,
If there was ever any back.
All the friends I found along the way,
I left littered on every street,
Because the brave are always advancing,
The brave do not retreat
But each friend spoke into my heart,
And all their words remained,
And all my tiny footfalls
Left the echoed words unchanged.
And every word begged me
To change my wandering ways,
And every time they welcomed me
To make a home- to Stay.
Still I continued headway,
Step, by step, by step,
Until, in shock and wonder,
I found those who could accept
All my failed goodbyes,
And the worst I can be.
Friends who superseded,
Who survived as family.
Now in all my many travels,
And ever did I roam,
Nothing took more courage
Than learning to come home.
How blessed I’ve been to live this life,
Constant as the ocean swells,
And churns, and ebbs as well
Eroding the sands of time.
What happy collisions I’ve had
Inside these currents
With propellants and deterrents
Who swim alongside.
In these frothy waters,
This soup-bowl of brine,
I’ve breathed the divine
And swallowed the rest.
When these mighty waves of salt
Wash me upon the great white shore,
When I can eat the sands no more,
I will leave behind my shell,
And, oh, the stories it could tell.
Maybe in my footworn roads
With silent sunsets, and lone songs,
And quiet doors, and midnight miles
Maybe I’ve been home all along.
Maybe in these futile searches
I’ve been always falling
Drifting, molding into
My own, hidden calling.
Maybe these secrets I plucked,
Like fruit from the wild trees
Along uncharted fields
Will sink the roots I need,
Were always the roots I need.
Desperate for The Fount again,
Always unhinged, and swinging wide
My pride gets crushed in my own disdain
By all in life I can’t sustain.
Treading in the shallow pool of thought and activity,
Lost in the flow of humanity, weighted with a surface view
By failure, like a heavy noose, I see all cloud and wave
With no desire to cry out to be saved.
My shrouded sky is split by sudden light
Cracking through my night, my hopelessness
Unable to cope with this; these expectations
That decay into hesitations embedded.
Under the weight of dread, but hope
Is no frail concept.
It is the ground beneath us.