displaced river

beneath the river filled with silt, contempt
flows over grounds of guilt, and arrogance
is there rebuilt, while silence rules and reigns;
the quilt of blessing torn by regicide.

along the river of remorse, ’twas seen
the major, out of course and innocence;
the hidden force that draws things forth, and makes
the source of everything that is and was.

the banks were misty in the morn of hope,
although a bit new shorn of grass and weed;
the soul reborn, the life malfeasant, was
as worn as any tread or shoe or shirt.

as absence fills the heart with more than space,
the mist was here, and there, and everyplace

Flow-flakes

Now is the winter of absence management
Made glorious bummer by this son of pork;
The keening wind is Carolina made,
And all this twisted truth must take some torque —

    Tall tales, tall tales,
    And such travails
    As fills the fall
    Of one who fails
    To word-wind wield
    Like parasails.

The sky grows blue for lack of cloud,
I take more license than allowed,
The lights are strung up — so am I —
And right now, even two’s a crowd.

    We come, we go
    We fall like snow:
    A time to stop
    Is room to grow —
    And petty pining’s
    All we know.

Alas, historic, I knew him best in bars:
‘Neath Amstel signs and flashing stars
We both drank and destroyed his health,
A thing he gave away in pints and stealth,

    Comme ci comme ça,
    And fa la la,
    The king collects
    At last, his draw,
    Our tribal strife’s
    Become the law;
    Beneath the shine
    The flesh is raw —

    And we must wander
    Where we’d not,
    And toast each other’s
    Sorry lot,
    And fervent pray
    We don’t get caught
    On lanes of
    Unofficial

    Thought

Isolation Station

Waiting my turn, watching people pumping gallons of loneliness into themselves, paradoxical thoughts enter my mind — how it is, electronically, I can transact with someone I’ve never seen nor ever will see; how it is that flowers bloom where they were not planted, and die where they were; and how it is, like food and drink, we are destined to lose most of what we take in.

The Things You (Also) Learn

When I was a teenage boy, I developed a fascination with a girl in my school whose name was Vicki. She was very beautiful, and I used to fantasize about what it would be like to kiss her.

What I learned: It seemed like it would be a wonderful thing to actually kiss a girl.
What I (also) learned: It really doesn’t matter unless she wants to kiss, you, too. She didn’t.

At that age, I shared certain characteristics that had people typically classifying me as a “nerd”. As such, I did things like read comic books and science fiction stories and talk about them with my friends. In those stories, certain characters can do things like ‘stop time’. I used to fantasize that I could stop time for everyone but Vicki and me and then she’d realize maybe I was exactly the boy she’d always dreamed of.

What I learned: Fantasies help us see our way out of seemingly unsolvable problems.
What I (also) learned: I have no ability, whatsoever, to stop time. I could, however, spend time, which I did watching Vicki walking around school hand-in-hand with the captain of the football team.

I talked to one of Vicki’s best friends, a girl named Joan. Joan could tell I had a bit of a crush on Vicki. She explained to me that Vicki “liked me” but just not “that way”.

What I learned: The concept of “liking someone” just not “that way” is of intense importance to girls.
What I (also) learned: Like the Backstreet Boys, I wanted it “that way”. Alas.

About a year or so later, I started to notice how beautiful Vicki’s friend Joan was. I wasn’t quite sure why I’d never noticed it before. We had several classes together. We always talked. Maybe, I had been missing out all of this time. So one day, right after class as we were walking next to each other in the locker hall, I asked her, “Would you like to go out with me?”

What I learned: Sometimes, you just have say what you are thinking.
What I (also) learned: It’s better not to ask questions you don’t already know the answer to. I got just-not-that-wayed. Again.

By this point (it was my Junior year in High School) my tally was as follows:

  • Number of girls I’d been out with : 0
  • Number of girls who seemed even mildly interested : 0
  • Number of reasons to continue living I could actually think of : not many
  • Number of girls who liked-me-but-just-not-that-way: seemingly all of them

What I learned: Every food chain has a bottom.
What I (also) learned: There are options. The French Foreign Legion was (and is) still hiring.

I did eventually start dating, after having remade myself over completely. By that, I mean I changed: (1) the way I looked (I tried to look like everyone else); (2) acted – I became far less nice; and (3) spoke – I talked a lot less, and became kind of a 17-year-old version of world-weary.

What I learned: There’s nothing wrong with looking for new ways to connect with people.
What I (also) learned: Pretending to be someone I wasn’t seemed to make me wildly popular with girls, more-or-less overnight. I eventually stopped being phony – I think. However, there is a reason so many guys become posers in the dating world, namely: it seems to work.

However, like good things, all bad things, too, must come to an end. I dated someone long enough that they actually got to know what I was really like, and she actually seemed to like that guy better than the one I was pretending to be.

What I learned: Lies are like manners – when you’re tired or your guard is down, you tend to forget all about them.
What I (also) learned: It’s better to be liked for who you are. If you haven’t found someone who appreciates you, it means just that: you haven’t found them yet. It doesn’t mean you never will.

By the way, I saw Vicki maybe twenty years after we graduated. She was still very beautiful, and very funny. We got to reminiscing about old times, and I couldn’t help but finally admit to her that I had a crush on her for years.

She said, “Wow…. I never really liked you that way… but that’s sweet.”

Some of us never lose our knack for being just-not-that-wayed. It’s kind of a gift.

And I would have never made it in the French Foreign Legion, anyway.

… how close the far away

Across the room a wooden table
Yellow tea lights flicker
The night is gathering her dress
To go amid the stars

And we in silence find abundance
Through the skylight glowing
As shadows dance across the bed
And every sound is ours

For we are physical and mental
Full emotions churning
And yet are centered to our core
To lie among the still

And see the lights of years ago
By our few candles burning
To feel how close the far away
Can be when we just will