across the stars a message read…

across the stars a message read —
one written from forgotten years —
that to our destinies we’re led
despite our deepest hopes, or fears —

so much the energy that’s lost:
the feeble heat of permafrost —
despite all that, though, we are here,
and we can see the message

clear

Keeping Score, Part 2

In springtime we were younger led
‘Neath skies of blue to fields of red,
Where happiness was close to touch
And we did not think overmuch.

How strange the minutes melt to days
And love gets stuck in alleyways
Of city gray and urban blight
That leaves us feeling, but not right.

  There were no harbingers to say
  “Go back! There was that other way
    You used to go, with much less said,
    ‘Neath skies of blue in fields of red.”

In autumn now, the air grows cold:
I think I know I’ve gotten old,
My words diffuse, my thoughts disjoint —
Am I beside or missed the point?

But you are my all-season love,
And those fields that I’m dreaming of
Were what they were when you were there,
So since you’re here, what do I care?

Keeping Score, Part 1

You belong to me, the way
The earth and sky belong
To all who open wide their lungs
And breathe in every bit of what is there —
For hearts are made of air

And I belong to you the way
The autumn burns in orange gold
As clouds look down in wonder
At a landscape of entrenched desire —
Our hearts are wreathed in fire

  The elements of our belief
  The fathoming of soul and worth
  A day of breath and burn and light
  The passion that makes turn the earth

And we belong to us, the way
That yearning night caresses day,
And love holds on to life as long
As there is yet a glint of any light —
For hearts must needs

Unite

Sketches – 80

{Looking up from a book she’s picked up off the shelf}
So… how much longer?

We should be out of the condo
And back here in six weeks

Wasn’t it originally supposed to be —

Eight weeks, yes.
That was in March.
Then Covid

I’ve missed this place

Yeah, it’s been weird.
It’s just been sitting empty all this time with
A little bit of the floor torn up

I’ve really missed my studio

I know, baby.
That’s why I thought we’d maybe just come by for a little.

Did I tell you I had a dream about this place?

Our house?
No.
What was it?

It was really strange. Disturbing.
You had a mistress, and you
Were using this place to meet her every day

What?!

Yeah.
It was that brunette medical receptionist
You used to date.
Only, she was still the same age

When did you have this dream?

Oh, about a week ago.
I was so hurt. I was pissed at you

But it didn’t really happen!

Yeah… I suppose that would be
A mitigating circumstance.
The two of you were coming here.
Only the furniture was all different.
It looked like a massage parlor

Where do you think she, of all people, came from?

Heaven knows.
Have you ever had dreams like that?

I actually have.
I never understood why anyone
As beautiful as you are would
Be with someone like me.
I’ve watched women’s movies —
Nobody’s dream is to
End up with me

Yeah, well.
Men don’t really understand women,
Or their movies.
She’s married now and has three kids, right?
Kyra, the receptionist?

Last I heard.
It’s been a few years.
Look, you dated fabulous guys.
Why are you worried about someone
I dated for two months, years ago?

I’m not sure.
I don’t think it’s coming from being worried,
Or jealous, or anything.
In a weird way, the dream seems like
It was more about this house

How so?

You say often that you know I miss being here.
But I think you might, even more.
It’s been hard for either of us to have any privacy
In the condo

True.
But I don’t see how that translates into
Me having an affair

Dreams are weird.
You were so casual about it, too.
You were like, “You need to leave,
Kyra is going to be here in a few minutes”

That doesn’t sound like an affair

Then you said,
“I’ve been meeting her every day. For sex.”

Maybe I was kidding

Then she showed up, and she was
Barely wearing anything

I could see where you could misinterpret that

Men don’t understand anything

Sketches – 79

I turned out to be a beautiful day

It finally feels like Fall!
About time

Yeah, the Summer, like most of 2020,
Has kinda outstayed its welcome

No lie…
I just got a text. Hmmm.
Did you know there was going to be
A presidential election this year?

Seems like I’d heard
Something about it, yes

Well, this person says
I still have time to
Make a difference in the election

For what candidate?

One I’ve never heard of.

That takes some doing.
You are like a political
Fountain of obscure facts

Now I have to look this person up.

You really don’t.
It’s probably like the Merovingian Party

Close.
It’s called the “Bread and Roses” Party

Two things worth having

If you had to name a political party
Using only two everyday material items,
What would you pick?

So I can’t use words like ‘truth’?

Nope

How about…
Apples and bananas?

{Laughs} Why do I even ask you questions?

What two words would you use?

How about “earth and stars”?
People are in favor of those

I don’t know.
The earth gets walked all over,
And the only star we care about
Lives in the neighborhood

How far have we walked?

So far?
One point eight miles

Let’s go back

You going to research this party?

In the car, maybe.
I know you hate politics, but,
I find it fascinating

To me, government is like salt.
You put it on everything,
You end up unhealthy

I actually sort of agree.
It’s finding the right amounts
To put in things, though

Does anybody ever?

Maybe not.
With politics, you have hear the music
Underneath all the noise.
It can be beautiful

You almost convince me

You know I’m right.

Let me know how the research goes.

I will in… one point seven miles

anyone at all.

a little boy in back of class
is struggling with each word;
his voice is not a strong one, and
it’s rarely ever heard

no gold stars on his papers, for
his efforts seem but small;
he isn’t anyone to watch,
not anyone at all

the day of graduation comes
and no one in the stands,
calls out his name across the stage,
no cousins, aunts, or grands

he’d never been a scholar, he
was no good with a ball;
he was no one of great regard,
nor anyone at all

he’d watch her from some ways away,
but was no kind of stalker;
he left off all that he might say
as he was not a talker

he never was a special guy,
not handsome, and not tall —
he wasn’t anyone she’d love,
not anyone at all

the night is closing in, and he
his taking his last rest;
he’s found that feeling nothing is
the feeling he likes best

just one more shovel in the dirt,
as rain begins to fall —
as no one mourns where no one lies,
not anyone

at all

Sketches – 78

[The following conversation took place a few years ago. – Owen]


So why did you decide to come out here to work?

I don’t know.
Being home was getting to me

You’ve been seeming kind of depressed

I am.
I’m a little lost, professionally

Explain

Being in the arts is… very precarious.
No matter how you slice it, it actually is
A popularity contest.
Do people want to see my work?
To buy it?
Or do they prefer someone else’s?

… and…?

… and, it feels like
I don’t have any friends anymore.

How so?

I text people, but
They don’t text back…
Unless they need something.
I miss having girl friends to do things with.
I’d love a game night, a trivia night,
You know, someplace where I can just let go.

I don’t know, I just
Feel wrong.
Unimportant.
Like what I do doesn’t matter,
Like I don’t matter, and
Like.. garbage, really

Does sitting outside help?

Yes.
It’s peaceful out here

Good

So…
What do you think about what I just said?

That, that’s got to be really hard,
Feeling all of that.
Depression is really… hard

Yes.
Do you have any suggestions?

Your work is amazing, and it (and you) will find your audience.
Friends are hard. I don’t have a great answer there other than to say
Not to give up trying. If I wasn’t your husband, I’d want to be your friend,
Because you’re pretty cool

Thank you.
Why don’t you and I do something this weekend?

Like what?

Why don’t we go up to Bugg’s Mill Farm tomorrow?

I don’t think so. I’m not really a farmer

It’s not farming. It’s horseback riding

I don’t know… oh, okay.
I’ll go.
But I hear it’s supposed to rain.

Thank you.
Please don’t think when I’m depressed it’s because
I don’t appreciate you

That thought has crossed my mind.
But — I hear — everything is not about me

Hard to fathom isn’t it?