This Happy

I wish you were this happy all the time.
I know our days are coming to a close,
For I am not for you. I’m not the one
To bring to you this warmth, or sense of peace.
So we can part now, better in past tense,
Then ever in the present tense we were.

For comfortable and boring’s what we were;
A slowing down of interest and time
That led to moments clumsy, fraught, and tense:
A time when couples ought to settle close
Together in a panoply of peace,
And show the lucent ways two become one.

For there are many paths, and I was one.
Now spread into the air is all we were;
A maybe once that led to greater peace,
When that day comes when love takes over time:
When what had seemed so far, comes ever close,
And there’s no pretense – any kind of tense.

But here, the moment’s peaceful, far from tense:
Your heart is full of joy. The furry one
Who rests within your arms is warm and close.
The two of you seem suited, as you were
The moment that you saw, and froze in time
A mother-type of love, and child’s peace.

How strange to know, within this shade and peace —
To let go of my hope, let go the tense
And worried weight I’ve carried all this time.
For maybe, without you, I can be one
Not tied up in the things we weren’t, and were,
And bring these months together to a close.

This journey soon is drawing to a close,
The sun will set into a night of peace,
Officially beginning what we were:
An active love turned into passive tense.
Just know: for me, you could have been the one.
I thank you for your kindness, and the time.

To be so close, and yet to be so tense,
To see your peace, to know I’m not the one,
That all we were will soon be lost to time

The Leading and the Lead

The dreams we have, wrapped up in paradox,
So many things become so many toys;
We make excuses, weak, habitual,
Like radios we keep on for the noise.
But this might be our leading quality,
The mien that we maintain with so much poise.

So keep your equanimity, your poise,
The world goes mad in fits of paradox:
A shiny mask of varnished quality
We smile through amid our guns and toys,
And bands that blare our fanfares and our noise
Until it’s just a thing habitual.

Hypocrisy becomes habitual
When we can wear it with esteem and poise
And not evince the slightest sign, or noise,
That we’re aware of any paradox —
Just flowers here, and spongy-soft plush toys
We buy once we’re assured of quality.

Or, we trade quantity for quality,
The many, cheap, become habitual:
A thousand plastic soldiers as our toys,
Who we then place with care, and thought, and poise
Upon the brink of war and paradox,
The calm before the launching of the noise.

Then panic starts. The calumny, a noise
That rises as it shrinks in quality,
And anger waves its flag of paradox:
The slogans old and worn, habitual,
But yet, delivered with such force and poise,
We’re not aware that we’re among the toys.

We’re action figures, puppets, dolls and toys.
Our words are never heard, just background noise,
Our dignity a sham of empty poise.
Equality is just a quality,
We say the words by rote; habitual
We are in our embrace of paradox.

Just toys of broken quality:
Our routine noise, habitual,
And our grand poise an empty paradox.



(Sestina form use based on a suggestion by Katherine McKnight Shipp.)

Mother

(First published April, 2018)

As still to hear, the speaking of a poem
Like ravens in the desert, sadly singing
The pages of a twice-forgotten novel
Within a theatre, the same pics running
And only for confusion is there worry
In wobbling and jerking and in shaking.

Feelings I’ve been having I’m not shaking:
Just what is life, reduced within a poem?
And what is gained from sorrow but more worry?
A memory: a still-young girl is singing
Throughout a grocery store, her errands running,
And her small son, to whom it all is novel.

But now, an aging shelf, a fav’rite novel,
And from the cover, some light dust I’m shaking;
I see her, happy. No more races running,
And mouthing words from William Blake. A poem
About such innocence as once was singing
When she just a child, but clothed in worry.

A tax form on the table she will worry,
Instructions long as any tome or novel;
The nurses stop, their voices fairly singing
To check upon her mood, her gait, her shaking;
Their interchange is sweet – a gentle poem.
In just a minute, two more errands running.

The tracks are there: the trains no longer running.
No passengers to hurry or to worry —
Upon the walls, a short graffiti poem
Whose message might be turned into a novel:
That why should we at fate our fists keep shaking
When we were made for laughing, dancing, singing?

I play for her, I hear her old voice singing:
The tunes of long ago are still there, running,
As she, in time to music’s gently shaking.
A moment clear as glass, and free from worry,
As melody comes new: forever novel,
And lyrical as any child’s poem.

My memories: her shaking,
      but then singing —

A poem, said —
      a dark young woman running —

A bird released from worry —
      one great
            novel