In Youth

You asked me once, when we were young,
If love was made to last.
I said I had no way to know:
“The future’s not the past.”
    And on a bridge, beside a pond,
    We sat there, full in youth,
    And wanted nothing comforting
    But truth.

It wasn’t many years before
You found yourself a place,
And built a home and family,
And filled it up with grace.
    For youthful as were all your ways,
    You lived true to your feelings,
    And marked your life with love in all
    Your dealings —

But I went on to just go off.
My heart and mind betrayed me.
I traveled through the manic lands,
For no one could dissuade me.
    Though youngish in experience,
    I felt old in my pain,
    And strove for nothing; all of it
    Seemed vain.

But in those last cold days of youth,
I still remembered us,
And saw you’d made another choice,
Got on a different bus.
    And so I traveled back in time,
    And stood beside this pond,
    To try to look around, and see
    Beyond —

For “young” is everything at once,
And little in return;
There’s cold and empty nights for those
Who always blaze, and burn.
    But honesty’s its own reward.
    In truth, you’d chosen wisely,
    And how my life had gone could not
    Surprise me…

You asked me once, when we were young,
If love was made to last.
A thing you answered for yourself:
“Depends on how it’s cast.
    For love’s a sturdy building
    If we’re careful in its making,
    A thing that starts and ends with
    Undertaking.”

Memories from The Suicide Crisis Line

…People always make fun of me, she said,
Kids in school said I was retarded

[oh, girl, i know i was there, i never spoke up for you i’m so sorry]

No boy has ever loved me, she said;
I don’t even have real friends –
Well, I have one.
My mom got me a spa membership, and
I made one friend, a woman at the spa

So, you’ve made a friend?
That’s good, I said,
Tell me about her

She’s older.
Her name is Daisy – she’s a teacher —

[my mom has made friends with her… of course.]

So you talk when you’re at the spa?

Yes, she also brought over
An extra workout mat I can use at home –
She’s really nice —

How’s work been going?

It’s lonely —
College cafeteria work – kids my age, but
They don’t even look at me

[i’m going to talk to you when i see you tomorrow! i will.]

Have you had any more thoughts about suicide this week?

Yes –
She said —

You have a lot to live for – you’re doing great…

Roger? — you sound kind of sad yourself,
The last few times we’ve talked.
Are you okay?

[i’m great, except i’ve hated myself from the moment i realized who you were…]

Roger?

Oh, no, I’m fine Kathy. I just
Wish sometimes I could help you more.

You all are there to talk to.
That means everything to someone like me —
Well —
I’m gonna go now…
Bye

[my god, i despise myself right now]

The Echoes of a Single Day

Once, you were trapped;
But this did not endure.
Through windswept hours,
Time could not inure
You to the hopelessness
That seemed to be:
For you were someone else,
A mystery,
And that one day
Was an
Eternity —

The beach felt lonesome,
Waiting for a chance,
And sadness whirled around you,
Like a dance;
A day to find, and sore
Your vigil keep,
In waking hours
Little more than sleep —
The waves would crest and fall,
The ocean
Steep —

I watched you, I could
Feel your wand’ring heart;
Some hours there together,
Lives apart,
I kissed you on the cheek
Beside your car
To let you know
I don’t know who you are,
But you’ve a destination
Somewhere far,

And that I wished you well
As there you’d go;
For you’d a life to live

Not mine

To know

Looking Back on Forever

Looking back on forever, it’s
Strange to think now
Just how fast
It went

The days
You traversed
The far reaches of my
Soul, and filled the universe –

Like a brighter color than any
I’d ever seen or imagined
That was on and in
Everything

But now —
You are like teal:
A lovely, familiar tinge
I might see on chairs – commonplace

Oh, once, all time bent around you –
All my time, at least – and
Even my breathing was
Full of you

My eyes only
Whole in your presence,
My ears heard only your music,
My hands were warm with your skin’s touch

Life and time, however, are corrosive to
Love: wearing it down, slowly,
Imperceptibly, until
It’s gone.

And we, once
Knowing only love, found
The tide had gone out and had taken
Our forever – someplace – far away & longer ago

Looking back on forever, I can see now that we
Gave and took like waves, and like
Waves, we disappeared into
Nothingness

Forevering
As people will do, for a
Relatively short amount of time, before
All went dark before the slow setting of the sun


 

(“Looking Back On Forever” – 5-6-2016)

Now, When I Remember You

To tell the story of a life
Takes many pages, many words;
To tell the story of a love
Takes every bit as long

The you I saw in summer fields
Beneath an endless weightless sky
The you I felt in tenderness
The softness of your skin, a sigh

For now, when I remember you
There is a novel in my mind;
The beauty of your memory
Is always young, and brave, and kind

There’s beauty in the world, I know,
But I thought I had lost it then:
You walked into the room, and I
Became the mindfulest of men

But this – this was not me at all
This was all you, and love; it was
A type of wakeful dreaming where
I did not want to wake, because

Your magic was in everything.
If ever a man loved, I did:
I cherished every moment, and
I lay awake at night and bid

The minutes slow their very march.
To lengthen time, our time, so much
As possible; to see your eyes
To stroke your hair, to softly touch

Your skin beneath your summer dress.
To love you there with all my heart;
Your words of warning in my ears
That love is short and lovers part.

A life, my life, what is it now?
It’s just a cold and fading fire
A soon forgotten flickering
Of what was once raging desire

And all for you, my long true love –
Who taught me wonder in the night,
Whose hand I took to cross the bridge
Of leaving off and doing right

The day is closing in, and I
Put down my pen, and rest a while –
For now, when I remember you
I shiver once, and lastly
Smile


 

(“Now, When I Remember You” – 6-25-2015)

another memorial day

never held my father’s hand,
we had instead to keep up;
and fall that year was all
that eight years old could fathom

he was our uncle, my father’s friend,
gone overnight, and we all
were there, on the trip he, too,
was supposed to have been on

asking about changes, and why,
my father said: the end of change
is the end of life –
to which
my mom said don’t scare the boy —

but scared was not the issue,
prematurely graying in the mind
was the problem, even at
eight years of age

my brother skipping rocks
marked the solemnity of the
occasion, and my sister’s
humming a song from Hair

let the sunshine in,
let the sunshine in,
let the sunshine in,
the sun
shine in