True Story

I once loved a woman much smarter than me,
And also a better musician;
She had a quick wit, and a good turn of phrase,
Plus one healthy share of ambition.

I know while she’s richer than Midas these days,
Her talents remain, unabated:
Yet she has a spot in her heart still for me,
That idiot that

She once dated

i heard him die

from where i lay, i heard him die,
unable to form words or call:
no farewell speech, no last goodbye,
a desperate gasp, and that was all

i couldn’t move myself, for i
was injured, paralyzed by pain —
from where i lay, i heard him die,
and last night

i heard him

 
again

Assumptions (10)

I asked you once, when we were young,
If you thought love a burning fire;
You looked past me, tearfully,
And said, “There’s grief in all desire.”

I turned away from what you said,
An angry buzzing in my head,
For though still tender, I could see
I was unwanted, certainly.

I heard, though, one year later that
Your father had abandoned you;
Had left without so much a word,
And where he was, nobody knew,

And thought about that night, that look,
How you had been betrayed by stealth,
And how I’d been just one more guy
Who only cared about

Himself


(Assumption: “Everything is about me.”)

Love Spasm The Third

When my ex left, our youngest was
But three years old – alas –
So I would take him daily to
A little pre-k class

The girl who worked there was so young
But seemed to like the way
I’d sit with him – and other kids –
Beginning every day

So, finally, I asked her out
And she said that she would
So I drove out to get her
When she said it would be good

And she came out to meet me
Well before I’d left my car;
And it struck me, so I asked her
Before I had gone too far

Exactly just how old she was
“Um, twenty” – her head hung —
She looked up, her eyes pleading
Asking if that was too young

“Oh, no, no – you’re age suits you”
That was all I thought to say
But I knew I wouldn’t go on
Any further in this way

So post-dinner, I told her
Gently, how much fun I had
And then I took her back home
To her mother and her dad

And said, “I will not lie to you:
I will not call again,
But if I may, I’d like to say
To you now, as a friend:

You’re beautiful and charming,
And if ages weren’t in play,
I’d probably want to call you
From the end of the driveway.”

But she was not placated
As we both felt something strike:
The pain of liking someone
Who it is
Just wrong
To like

Remembering My First Real… Kiss

I was sixteen.
I’d just been dumped
By a girl I wasn’t actually with
And who was using me
To get something else

The beautiful neighbor girl
From across the street
Had tried to tell me
This would happen
But I didn’t listen

I knocked on the neighbor girl’s door
Because I needed a friend who understood
And we talked out in my front yard
As the night grew darker
And the wind blew colder

This neighbor, who was a stunning beauty
[Actually, she still is. You know, Facebook]
As we finished our conversation
Impulsively kissed me.
It was incredible, my first kiss.

Why, I’ll never know.
It certainly never happened again.
I made as regular a practice as I could
After that time
Of kissing girls
And that kiss was one of the top four, all-time
At least, until I met my wife

Occasionally, now,
When beautiful neighbor girl (now woman) and I
Trade pleasantries online
I think about that night

I don’t know why she did it
But when she kissed me
She lifted my spirits
In such a way that
They’ve never really come down again


 
(“Remembering My First Real… Kiss” – 8-7-2014)

The Life I Could Have Had

A true story.

In my mid-twenties
I applied to and was accepted
Into the Princeton graduate / post-graduate program
In Philosophy

I had been accepted by two of the three other places I applied

I was maybe five months from leaving my Civil Service job
As a mathematician
Trying to figure out how to stretch the money I had saved
Hoping to talk my way into an assistanceship

It was Spring
One of my best friend’s weddings was coming up in a couple weeks
I played basketball with some friends on a Sunday
When I went home, I crashed on the bed
When I woke up, it was Monday evening
And I was on the floor

I got up
Fed my cat
Left a message on my boss’s phone at work
Went back to bed

Woke up, and it was Wednesday
Fed the cat again
Noticed I had bruises all over my body
Went back to bed

Woke up on Friday morning
Fed the cat
Got dressed for work
Showed up right at lunchtime
Looking like death
Some co-worker friends asked me
To come to lunch with them

During lunch
I had a massive seizure
I had been having them for days
And didn’t know it

I missed my friend’s wedding
I was in and out of the hospital for two years
I lost all my money
I lost that chance at graduate school
But, even at death’s door
I made sure my cat kept getting fed

I am an epileptic
I gradually carved out a life
Through grace
Rebuilding my body
Recovering from years of depression

I finally went to graduate school
But it was nowhere prestigious
And it was in Statistics, not Philosophy
But I used that to become an actuary

I have a wonderful job
I work at a place that genuinely cares
About its customers
And employees
And the community at large
As well as shareholders

So, I missed out on my dream
Through illness, depression, near-suicide

But recovered to one day
Fall in love
Have a family
Find a rewarding career

And write about it

But

I would still rather not have seizures


 

(“The Life I Could Have Had” – 3/26/2015)

Waiting Room

I’m sitting in a waiting room
And choose to write this verse;
The snow is blowing hard outside
The wind keeps getting worse —

Winter once was magical
With castles made of snow;
But now the world is blank, and I
Can’t see which way to go —

The wait is over, and my child
Is here, so we depart;
We speak of senseless nothings as
We head into the heart

Of this relentless blizzard
Where we’re greeted by a blast:
Just two more people cold and lost
In problems
Way too
Vast


 

(“Waiting Room” – 1-26-2015)