Hello

The lamp overhanging
my neighbor’s back door
shutters on, flickers
like language.
A stutter. Morse code.

The incandescence
then swallows itself,
clicks off as the foyer light
warms the evening.
A mistake – they
clipped the wrong switch.

I still take it as a hello,
a good evening,
a happy spring,
an “isn’t the weather fine?”
I need it to be.

(2020)

Test (The Day This Lifts)

The days this lifts
we’ll flood the streets.
Will you get naked,
relish the air, lick the
filth of Manhattan Ave?
What a relief it will be,
what a relief.

The day this lifts
I’ll throw clothes in a bag – unthinking,
blaze down 95 – unblinking,
bang down the red diamond door and oh
What a reunion it will be,
what a reunion.

The day this lifts
we’ll shake the proverbial champagne and spray.
Will you take a sip for the occasion,
get drunk on talk and warm bodies,
fall asleep touching elbows?
What a night we will have,
what a night.

The day this lifts
I’ll let him go.
Or maybe I won’t.
Either way, my heart
will keep up the thaw
and eventually
What a Spring it will be,
what a Spring.

The day this lifts
will we be any different?
Will you still seek deep comfort?
Will I still conceal a dark heart?
Will our minds be wiped clean
like grime from windows in rain?
What a test it will be.
What a test it will have been.
What a test.

(2020)

(photo by Jennifer Hart)

Untitled

With anger spreading in the chest
To guard against a vainly barking tongue

– Sappho


With anger spreading in the chest
To guard against a vainly barking tongue
I tried, My Love, I did my best
To croon the words of light that must be sung

They fell upon your deafened ears
Which set a rage to sweep my heart with fire
Hysteria is born from fears
That tangle in the roots of all desire

We tumbled down an awful well
And cracked the very spirit of our bond
There’s no way out but through this hell
And through it we did go, for far too long

In the end, not much was left
We parted all our properties, our lips
I stood upon the shards, bereft
In disbelief how it had come to this

It took my all, My Love, to bluff:
To keep my person light, the dark at bay
I’m sorry it was not enough
I’m sorry that I don’t have more to say

(2020)

Vase

After years of tinkering,
puzzling over the shattered vase
I purposely knocked for the attention
one fitful evening,
I have finally started to see
where things go,
where they once were.

“See how fragile,
how beautiful it is?”
I say to a younger self,
pointing out the delicacies
in the design.

She nods silently, politely,
with eyes that tell me
she’ll understand
when she’s my age.

(2019)

A Letter To The One I’m Waiting For

*A special posting for Valentine’s Day*

To Whom It Will Concern:

Do you ache for the quiver in my step
as I approach on soft moss?

Oh, and hello. (forgive me, formality escapes me
when I teeter on the brink of bright flashes)

I’ll begin again:
How are you?
Who are you?
Do you anticipate my arrival,
as I do yours?

I’m afraid I’ve not had much luck.
Swimming upstream in a river of dead fish
slopping down the falls as I shoulder out of the muck.
Put another way: Love has come (and gone) like a pin prick:
it shocks/stings/smarts the finger pad, then
evaporates in the wake of the cosmic accident,
the digit retaining the throb, blood gathering
where surface air meets sebaceous gland.

But then there’s You.
The end of my flopping about,
my sucking of index fingers.
I approach on soft moss.
Do you ache?

I try to remain optimistic,
with my “Will Concern,”
but the kernel of the absolute
lies in its non-existence,
in its very un-American un-guarantee.
Perhaps there is no recipient.
Perhaps Recipient is Writer.
Perhaps I am “going it alone.”

But I’d to think there is a “You,”
a hearth for my heart.
It keeps me light, keeps me
going outside, keeps me
filling mine cup so I can
runneth it over.

My tread is lithe, the moss plush.
Do you ache for the quiver in my step?

Sincerely Yours,
The One You’re Waiting For

(2019)