I’m no guiltier than the moon,
Credited with shining white
And causing howls, or lovers’ swoons,
But possessing no inherent light
Merely collecting forgotten rays strewn
On the lost side of the dark of night.
I’m no guiltier than the mirror clear,
Reflecting all you hate, you fear,
All you adore now lost among
The wrinkles and smears
Depleting the memory of the young
You once wore here.
I’m no guiltier than the pen,
Or the fingers clutching tightly:
A marital dance, twirling again,
Ever swirling sprightly
Through the aged den
Of the unavoidable and the unlikely
Colliding into truth when
I speak in verse; I speak rightly.
Am I fundamentally the same I have been?
If this is the wind-down into the end,
What has remained, and what has been changed,
And what should be changed again?
Have I done all that I could do,
All that only I could do?
Or do I pass the flame, less my name,
Along to someone new?
Am I a pitcher pulled from mound,
Or did I make the final inning?
There are a thousand ways to stop a race,
But only one of them is winning.
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.
I have no more words to understand,
They have slipped and tripped and
They are foreign sounds.
I have lost their definitions,
No more premonitions
Of tangled webs of words
No more using the absurd
To illuminate the apparent.
I once thought them inherent
Not some scheming enterprise.
These efforts do not energize
Under the weight of exposure.
I have lost my literary composure,
And my dear, long friend.
I cannot pretend
I know what I’m doing.
Spit out something new,
Something you have spewed
In the same old terms.
The linguistic squirm
Fidgets from thought to thought
Nothing is as fresh as it ought
But each day is a new footstep forward
We all move away, we all move toward
We’re all becoming what we rehearse
For better or for worse.
My brother slashed his canvases
His scenes of earth in motion
Were layers thick in paint
Every coating represented commotion
So in the tumult of self-condemnation
He succumbed to but one emotion.
I dump my words upon my words
Hoping a new layer somehow conceals
The best in me, the worst in me,
The passion I’m ashamed I still feel;
Instead of smothering my inadequacies
Each word finds a new piece of me to reveal.
Letting your best go off to greet the day
Requires the skill to forgive
Perhaps there comes a decisive moment
When you have given all you have to give
And you must decide to slash your darlings
Or let them leave to let them live.