A vigil kept in empty times
To watch for signs of safe return;
The mission of forgotten folk
As long as there is wick to burn

Because — well, there is no ‘because’
The world would have us recognize —
But, maybe, this is what love is:
To wait, to hope,

To agonize


The artist stops to paint a scene
With colors that she purchased from
A shop that closed six years before,
A place that smelled of spirit gum

And costumes hanging in the back
By landscapes painted for the stage.
And in the now, she thinks about
What happened to that place.

Her painting packed up in her car,
She takes the long way ‘round to where
That shop was open, years ago,
But there’s no newer business there,

Just broken windows, abject signs
Of long neglect and passing age,
And how the dreams we bring to life
Soon leave so little trace.

  Her painting hangs now on my wall,
  The glories of the woodland fall;
  As she to senescence has passed,
  I think about the spell she cast

  About a shop I never saw,
  A time and place I never knew,
  And how it feels in moments true
  To see another’s

  Point of view

“… the noblest arts hold in perfection but a little moment.” — Samuel Butler, “Erewhon”

The Difference

When she gave up on love,
She went, instead, for me;
With older kinds of men,
There’s more security.

And so, she does the things,
And most guys wouldn’t mind it —
But I can tell the difference
When there’s no love

Behind it

A Little More

Every day a little more abstract,
  and then the carelessness
  of contempt that’s sanctioned
  as a fact
(perhaps just heedlessness)

And while the world lines up
  as though arrayed,
  the costumes show to all
  what little value we
  put on what’s paid
  in blood, and cell,
  and stall —

A little more inhuman
  as we dehumanize
  our brothers, sisters:
  in the state we trust,
  and will not recognize —

  that’s us

{ the feel }

when he still had the feel, the earth
was cinnamon, and waterslides,
and autumn like a kiss, a lingering,
discovery, no guides,
each whole experience — a birth.
when he still had the feel

when sorrow had another place to grow,
he held the air and ground
inside a heart that stretched into the sky,
each field a temple mound
he came to love, to really know.
when sorrow had another place

see, now — the dirt is open, bare,
and all is silence but the air;
the wind on his uplifted face
blows in from some less sorrowed place,
and he knows buried, underneath,
the feel is there —



We ran and played until the night;
Our shouts rang out across the beach,
And though exhausted, wanted more,
As headed to our houses, each

Would say aloud, “I wish we’d stayed.”
To parents smiling in the front,
Before we fell asleep ere long,
And dreamed of trick, and tale, and stunt

And words repeated, endlessly:
Our play, a joy, a revelation —
Running, jumping, singing songs,
With breath-filled childhood

An incantation

November’s Chalice

I was, I think, a hurried man.
To get to where and what my goal;
A confidence, a worked-out plan,
An inside-out, and fevered soul,

When she November’s chalice brought
For me to sip the honeyed wine
I’d wanted, and through seasons sought,
But that was hers, and never mine.

She was, I see now, flourishing
Upon the edge of certainty;
An interlude for nourishing
A strength that lay in dormancy,

And I, I was a puzzle piece
She had to lay upon a board
To find her own way out; release
The limits she had kept, and stored,

For she, when she was just a girl,
Had built a picture in her mind
Of what was not to be her world,
A summer costume-tale confined —

    But I saw autumn: elegance,
    And she responded to my eyes:
    It wasn’t me she ever saw,
    But her own, pure reflection

    Within the chalice gleaming red,
    Of falling hard and straight surprise
    I’d taken in before I knew
    What lay in that direction —

It was, I know, not all that long
Before I felt December’s blue
Come crashing down in loneliness;
But what was left, and what is true

Is that what we take in is ours.
For some things lie beyond regret:
Like autumn days, and once-drunk wine,
That aging hearts remember