Wednesday, March 18, 2015

where land yields

Image courtesy of Google

where land yields

you visited me where land yields to the sea
where heaven rears back and blows kisses to the sea
the salt of your breath blurred my tears, blinding me
beyond my horizon, looking out to the sea
fog eats evergreen islands, robbing it of jewelry
emeralds consumed and known only to the sea

alone in this crowded bluff,
form is devoured by formless void
vision reduced to pauper palettes
incomplete in perfect streaks of ash,
charcoal, graphite, even sunlight squeezed into
ineffectual pale, genuflecting to the gale

sound compresses into a single pulse
unrelenting, except for melodies of past failure
and the relentless syncopation of self-doubt
cocooned in this shrinking, colorless, action-plan
of compressing fetal-position where
the cellular implodes into a pinpoint of light  

standing in the colorless, soundless, shrinking
midday pale darkness, I take a single breath
and then I take another
there is a hint of aqua reflecting a sun sliver
and so I breathe again,
curious about the next one

you visited me where land yields to the sea
where heaven rears back and blows kisses to the sea
the salt of your breath soothed my tears, binding me
to see my horizon, looking out to the sea
fog overtakes me and the evergreen tree
emeralds exchange hands, returning to the sea

Go here to read other dVerse Poets' contributions.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Imperfect Union

The Imperfect Union

 I don’t know if it’s the blessings of fate
divine force or relentless drive, driving me to make
the tapestry of pulling strings that sing out our will
both seen and unseen, we are connected until
we try pulling the threads away, undoing our life
the filaments of the lineament of struggle and strife
but for every section of imperfection I try to undo
I find myself undone, losing connection to you
I am myself undone, losing connection to you
drifting along far-flung, unknown trajectory to
some new reality devoid of your color and sound
foundering and rudderless where happiness did abound
wondering if I could pay it forward, repair it with clues
to find your essence of timeline, mending my undressed blues
but for every section of imperfection I try to undo
I find myself undone, losing connection to you
I am myself undone, losing connection to you
I leave myself undone, choosing affection with you.



Posted for dVerse - Twist and Shout – Meeting the Bar, where Björn has us sharpening up our Voltas. 

I skipped the sonnet form, opting for a free-write with emphasis on the sudden change of perspective, or Volta, which Björn challenged us to sharpen. (Well, I did my best, anyway.) :)

This poem was also written for the occasion of my ninth anniversary of being wed to a truly wonderful and insane woman, my Bookie. There are many things that I dislike about myself, but I find that if I perform the thought experiment of eliminating these unflattering things from my life, then in all likelihood, I never would've met Bookie. Life's funny sometimes. 

Go here to read the other dVerse poets who participated in this prompt.                                                          

Thursday, February 12, 2015

For My Valentine

For My Valentine

She lingers on a laughing line
Like ripened fruit strung on the vine
The party favors her wide grin
While coveting my valentine

She radiates the joy within
Photonic pleasure warms the skin
Some stars grow jealous of her light
But she just shrugs and laughs again

The tulips all lunge at her sight
Her two lips curl with coy delight
I offer orchids for her hand
Our lips converge before twilight

Valentine shines as smiles expand
She dances on my desert sand
Oasis springs from graying land
And I prosper on demand


Written for dVerse Meeting the Bar: Frost’s Form – Stopping By Woods. While I looked forward to trying a form made famous by Robert Frost, I'm not crazy about the results. The sentiment behind creating my poem is genuine, but the process felt like creating a poem from inside a telephone booth, and the end result feels clunky... even somewhat corny. Meh, perhaps it will grow on me.

Go here to read other dVerse poets as they give this form a whirl. 

Friday, February 06, 2015

the moment

Image source: Google

the moment

with a flinty strike, you are born
bathing the intimacy in your delicacy

with care, she transfers your heat to the wick
merging your light with vanilla scent
another wick is lit, begetting cinnamon

the dueling candles bend our light
slowing time to half-speed as she
closes the distance between me

and the empty space slowly fills
with small-talk, hushed music,
and silent assumptions that grip
the bare skin of my shoulders,
kneading into my defenses
until they heed her calming command
to relax,

our shadows unfold and elongate,
up the walls
for something we want but cannot see

as time is again stretched,
seconds become half-minutes
breathing slows as heartrate quickens

music is lost, now faded from perception
leaving only the pulse,
synchronized to the sound of her voice
her hands on my flesh, ruling my reality
and her lips, straining awkwardly
to contact my neck

and in that moment,
the seconds become tidal-locked with the moon
spinning me into her,
compelling me to return the kiss
that either hasn’t happened yet,
or has already happened countless times

but within that moment
it did happen, and when it did
there has never been a need so immediately met
never a thirst so heartily quenched

never a drunken moment as sobering
never a fragrance as imprintable
never a heartache so eagerly coveted
and greedily accepted

than what exists within that moment
Image source: Google

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Ten word poems

Image source: Google

Ten word poems 

your rejection
of my light
burns horizon
to ashes        

reds, blues, yellow, blacks
a living palatte
eclipsed by you

I was not meant for this world
tears smear colors

sleet pelts cheeks
mingle with tears
how discretely

midnight wind muffles sound
I cry peacefully
cursing the void

eastern skies soften              
I wait
bathed in lavender               
you’re early

sunlight pierces me
I invite you to
ignite me

Written for dVerse Poets Meeting the Bar: one, two, three ...tenWord! writing prompt. Go here to read the other dVerse poets who participated.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

a toast to two passing spring grasshoppers

a toast to two passing spring grasshoppers

I raise my glass to secrets untold
and the garden trail we dared not venture
as the path we would’ve walked and tilled
becomes overgrown with ivy and dandelions
reclaimed by twisted, wooded knots and nature

if only you and i had endured long enough
for me to drop my guard, sharing my secrets
we might have lasted long enough
for me to hold you in my arms
as you trusted me with your own

here’s to the garden left untended
abandoned by two cowards addicted to each other’s scent
that earthy familiar smell of new fertile soil,
but too fearful of the harvest
to roll up each other’s sleeves 

Sorry I've been away for so long. You know how it is. Holidays, depression, work-life balance, a bunch of freakin' teenagers running around, saying/doing ridiculous stuff and not LISTENING TO THEIR FATHER! But I digress...

This poem was posted for dVerse Poets' Poetics : What is your secret? writing prompt. The challenge was to write about a secret without revealing the actual secret. I chose to write about secrets that the writer desperately wanted to reveal to someone, but sadly, he no longer has the opportunity. 

Go here to read the secrets of other dVerse Poets. I know I will, because I'm pretty nosy.

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Civil Blindspots

Civil Blindspots

City planners seem to succeed
where King Śuddhodana failed Buddha,
but I see it.

It is easy to detect imperfections
in this gleaming, bejeweled metropolis,
not as obvious viewed from street-level of
the Magnificent Mile, with cathedral-capitalism spires
reaching to the heavens, threatening to wedge-open
the needle’s eye for as many camels as possible.

Pay the exorbitant fee to be lifted onto
the observation decks of these majestic towers,
it is much more apparent up here, but only if the observer
knows where to observe the divining line.
It traverses north and south when facing west,
and east-to-west when viewing south.
It is funny that many cannot see with their eyes wide-open
that which I cannot avoid viewing, no matter how tightly I
shut out the light with my lids.

With one eye, I see the future,
in all of its optimistic, sanitized,
chrome-polished glory.

The other eye sees a twisted, sinewy,
amalgamation of present and past,
my past entwined with this city like
the rusted remains of a chain-link fence
protecting a condemned building that was
once home to countless lives scraping to earn an honest living,
or hell-bent on strong-arming higher-quality lifestyle
by any means necessary.

From the man-made summits,
the horizon blends into haze,
it is easy to forget that people live in this nebulous realm,
but from the imperceptible margins,
there is a clear view of the majestic “big shoulders”.
They cast long morning shadows on playgrounds full of broken swings,
its paint-chipped benches occupied by jobless adults
passing around bottles in brown paper wrappers as they trade
addictions and stories, mostly of failure
and how the system is stacked against them,
or how to game the system for infinitesimal, fleeting successes,

but sometimes there are tales of those who tried but failed.
In what passes for the story’s moral,
the star-crossed dreamer isn’t mocked for his failure,
but for trying in the first place.

About ten miles from the Magnificent one,
the shadows fade by noon, revealing an elderly, shoeless man
chugging a beer in the middle of a pothole-mangled street.

The cops can’t even be bothered
to slow down enough to harass him.

He is a fixture; just another curiosity in front of a sandy,
vacant lot that was once a vibrant juke-joint twenty years earlier.

No one knows his story, the battles he has fought,
the turmoil he has endured, or even caused,
during the many acts of his life.

No one has even seen him begging for spare change
though he must have to at some point to finance
the only comfort he seems to relish.

Each day, the shadows reveal him,
each night, they reclaim him.

Some afternoons – weather permitting – affluent college students
would follow affluent sociology professors
on audacious field-trips to the ghetto neighborhood of my youth.

I knew they were sociology classes
because they used phrases like “urban blight” and “moral decay”.

I knew they were affluent because they always seemed to talk about,
but never directly to me or the “mostly fatherless” neighborhood kids
who had no hope of higher-learning or advancing
beyond the adults squatting in the playground
or that man swilling beer in the sun
that no one ever sees begging for cash,
though it’s assumed that he does.

I knew their trips were audacious because
each time I saw them bringing their discounted empathy
to my urine-scented streets,
I wanted to punch their smug faces.

As if they could capture the “plight of the negro”
without speaking to a single one of us.
As if we would be too stupid to grasp the inner-nuances
of their safari trips, and in grasping the concept,
also grasping the dehumanizing elements of their studies.

They observed that we were poor and hopeless.
Had they spoken to us,
they’d have learned of our fears and aspirations.

The evening hues cast unique features,
with skyscraper lights upstaging the distant twinkles.
On one such night, I sought out the darkness,
my gaze affixed to the heavens, veiled in youthful enthusiasm
as the earth’s shadow began to devour the moon.

Oblivious to this dueling jostle for attention,
a woman approached, asking the 16-year-old stargazing me
what up there in the sky could possibly be more interesting
than the dual bulging globes of flesh
pressing to escape her blouse to meet my approval.

She asked if I was old enough to date,
which made no sense to 16-year-old me because clearly I was.
Only when she asked how much money I had
did I finally connect the faded dots of this constellation.

Turns out that the perfect location for novice astronomy
was also ideal for other transactions that work better in darkness.

To this day, I don’t know which sight was dimmer;
a woman desperate enough to risk solicitation with a minor,
or the vacant, desolate glint of abject despair in her eyes
after I said, “None,” turning to distance myself.

None of this is visible from downtown’s corporate towers,
though the towers are clearly visible
to anyone who chooses to raise their gaze.

I guess the longer someone lives on the margins
of the structures of others,
with scaffolding soaring higher into vertical displacement
the less often either party are to see each other,
let alone seeing each other’s humanity.

It seems that King Śuddhodana could’ve
hidden the world’s suffering from Buddha’s observation
by imprisoning him inside an observation deck.

Written for dVerse Poets - City Songs for Poetics. Many other dVerse Poets also contributed to this prompt. Go here to read their work.