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Two Roses

I planted two roses this evening, and they seem content enough with their places in the garden. Out of sight of one another, so no cause for jealousy. Each free to do its level best, to reign supreme among humble hydrangea and pedestrian plumbago.   When spring at last returns, each will throw itself skyward in search of accolade, insecure in the absence of blossom, uncertain of its place.   Until there comes a day both roses reach a height where each comes in sight of the other, and in that moment there will ensue a febrile rush, to be first—taller, brighter, more fragrant than the other.   Only we do not know their souls, their foibles and insecurities. We see only the outcome, the wondrous outburst born of envy and ...

Alabaster Egg

Leave it be, the alabaster egg, alluring as morning, tenuous as rain.   Touch it and the mother will never return, the chick consigned to abandonment and death, she cursed to a life of regret and recrimination.   Only leave it be and the chick will one day burst through, moist, dazed, confused at the world, uncertain who to believe, unsure why he has come, not at all clear what’s expected of ...

Stones

The stories that we tell one another are stones buried deep in the ground. We need only unearth them, wrench them from the moist clutching soil with pry bar and shovel, muddy our hands with the travail of protagonist and heroine.   Sometimes the stone, once lifted, reveals hidden creatures that scurry from the light, threads of a story yet untold. Other times the stone is just the stone, clean and complete. And we raise it proudly above our head like Moses on Sinai, shouting to all who will listen.   And then there are stones we do not share with others. We just place them quietly into a wall with all the others, then look out proudly across the meadow of our life as our stories roll away into ...

The Moon is Dead

Everyone says so. Just a lifeless floating orphan, adrift on gravity’s tide, clad in gray regolith dust, barren and bereft.   And yet we keep looking. Staring intently across the centuries, as though there may yet be something poised there, waiting to surprise and excite the senses, perhaps offer hope in a place where there can be none.   The light, they say, is a mirage, an illusion stolen from another, nothing but a reflection of what we imagine we see, a harsh and cold chimera ripped from us eons ago, thrust away, only never quite gone, always circling circling, gazing down in envy, or perhaps pity, at what we have ...

The Freedom of Ignorance

Peristalsis is the heart and soul of this poem. If you know what that means, the poem conveys one thing to you, and one thing only. If you don’t know what it means, then the poem’s intent could be anything at all. A flower or a disease. A cat or exotic foreign recipe. The possibilities are endless, bounded only by your imagination.   Far be it from me to ruin that blissful freedom by revealing what the word means. Best you swallow your pride, embrace the uncertainty, and make it be whatever you want it to be. Which will mean that, in the end, we’ve really written the poem Me the words. You the ...

I Want to Kill the Ice Cream M ...

It’s that damned cloying song again, rising slowly in the distance as his boxy white truck approaches. The tune itself varies from place to place. For me – Turkey in the Straw, but only four measures, four gut-wrenching measures repeating endlessly, repeating endlessly. Like someone pounding the blunt end of a xylophone into the side of my head with a five-pound sledgehammer.   And as that satanic vehicle wends its cursed way through my neighborhood, the insipid melody waxes and wanes in tortuous doppler-shifted tones that lead relentlessly to my house, the vile cacophony building to a crescendo that makes my eyes bulge— my head throb.   It’s all I can do to feign a smile as my neighbor’s seven-year-old peers up at the ...

The Fall

On the faintest of breezes the glowing white cherry blossom in my backyard garden, final flower of spring, quivers and breaks free, twirls a time or two descending on currents unseen. It is perfect only in that moment, its ephemeral fall, set free from the nurturing branch, It lights upon the grass where already the tips begin to curl and brown, soon to become the ground, the tree, then the branch, and finally, once more, next season’s ...

Overthinking

Damn it, I am going to sit down and I am going to write this poem if it kills me.   It will have subtle rhymes, vital images, and visceral rhythm. I will employ nuance and texture, and just a touch of irony in exactly the right spot. If I really put my mind to it, I may conjure a metaphor or allegory that uses big obscure words. And, for the finishing touch, a gratuitous out-of-context foreign epigraph that makes dubious sense, but looks impressive when italicized.   I’m certain I have what it takes. I only need to stop procrastinating, and make it happen.   Instead, I sit hunched over the blank page, chew my pencil to sawdust, and stare at the eraser, which stares back as if to say, go ahead, write something, I dare ...

Heaven

Heaven is beneath your mother’s feet. A friend said this to me, and though I smiled, I did not understand. It means many things, she said. Many things to many people. It means what you want it to mean. What you need it to mean. But there is beauty as well in the simple melodious words. They speak to me, paint a picture in my mind. And though I cannot describe it to you, I see it clear as morning sun. I feel it in my bones. I hear it in the breathing of the trees. As close to a genuine truth as I have encountered in this life. Perhaps as close as I will ever ...

Moonlight

The dogs stand at the window and bark at the deer outside. Two a.m. and this is what I wake to. Every night. Since I am up now, I kneel with them at the window, look out into the garden, see the nighttime deer eating the flowers. I cannot make the dogs stop barking. They cannot make the deer stop eating. And the deer … Well, the deer eat flowers in the moonlight at two a.m., which is actually kind of beautiful in its way, except for the whole two a.m. wake-up call thing. And the fact that they’re my flowers. So I go back to bed. The dogs lie on the floor whining pitifully. The deer eat flowers in my garden by the light of the moon. And the world turns, just like ...