Thursday, April 28, 2016

She is not

It hurts to wait for her, and yet you find yourself still waiting, even though one of the narratives you're working on says you are learning how to let her go. The second narrative says your heart is a dog waiting in the window, certain that his owner will return any minute now, because doubt is not in the nature of a dog.

You text her after a few weeks of being careful not to initiate any contact. It sets you all the way back. Then you respond to her brief answer, and now you wait for more, and then hurt when it is not forthcoming. Maybe this is practice, how your heart comes to learn.

She is not love.
She is a woman, a human being, hungry and lost like all the others.
She is not your love.
Your love is your own, right here, to be given as you wish.
She is not your heart.
Your heart is your own slippery burden,

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

An Ordinary Messenger Arrives Dressed in Bright Colors

The sunflower seeds brought in a new guest this morning -
A purple finch, I think.
I looked for you, but you weren't there.
It was wonderful even so,  I didn't need you to see that,
But it wasn't magical.

It's the same as being sick, really - this thing I have for you.
In time you recover
Or you die.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Gentle Night

Home before dark for a change, just after a warm Spring rain
watching the day wind down, listening to water dripping, bird sounds.

A  tufted titmouse couple at the feeder, replenished finally, with sunflower seeds -
she called them "whimsical" then, and I nearly died of love,
but they exist here without her now, independent of her, and so must I.

Just before dark a mating pair of cardinals appear on the platform together,
eating at the same time, and twice they appear to kiss.

I let the darkness come in gently, and can do nothing to stop it.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Happiness does not wait...


The moon tonight rose full, round, orange and warm over the hilltop. The next time I caught a glimpse it was higher, silver, colder, remote. You coming into, and going out of, my life. Everything's going to hurt for awhile yet.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Instead of working out

A burger and a beer is too much too ask apparently without two or three relentless human voices far above normal conversational volume beating at my ear drums. Hyena laughter, some kind of programmed response, madness.  The two bar tenders are like a married couple out of synch, interesting to watch, and most of the patrons aren't happy with the chemistry either. Watch the hostess for a moment, she's very cute and young, and when she says goodnight it is in that manner of a young woman addressing an old man. You are no potential ravager in her view. A couple comes in as you leave. The male thanks you, Sir, for holding the door open for them - a kind of protest, a salutation to young love, a mournful howl into the night.

Outside the big moon glows brightly.  It's the blue hour, silhouettes of budding trees, and a black crow flies across her silver face. 

Monday, April 18, 2016


Sleeping in after working all night - a family fight,  the second heroin overdose in a day, auditory hallucinations, a man who pierced an artery in jail. Sleep came easily after, at 4:30 AM, but it's a bright Spring day, and I could neither stay asleep or rise feeling good and participate in it. She's in a large crowd today with a new friend, I think, supporting the runners. That hurts me more than it should. Half dreaming, I receive a text message in my head in which she said my name and that she was feeling happier already.

Don't do that to yourself.
It's important not to stay here.
Don't get stuck in this place - stomach dropping, hollowed out core.

You're free now. Even if you don't know where you are or where to go from wherever this is.
When in doubt, go forward - take the next step. You know this.

Whatever you decide, you must run your own race. And you must let her run hers.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

No Cure For The Lonely

A Necessary Procedure

If you're reading this, please take the alabaster heart and bury it
In the Spring-softened ground under the lilac bushes where you live.
It's a good place for it to rest.

My gift was your burden, I never even asked you if you wanted it.
But know it was given in hope, honestly, but too heavy a thing - sorry.
What I meant to say was if you...then I would...always

My New Sun, not only my heart knew,  but even the translator told me so.
You couldn't cure loneliness, but I felt you shine, and you made me forget
Through that long beautiful day when you moved across my sky.

Now, I remember.  Your last message sent and received, read and re-read,
A confirmation of fears, a clinical incision but no surprise, you've been bracing me for this day.
Now I must find some new way to breathe, learn to write about something else.

That which restored me, pumped life through me, now joins the line of things trying to kill me.
Waking from surgery, empty room, new scars, the pain of absence and
At least some percent chance of a partial recovery.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

What do you think you're doing?

Tried to go to bed early as part of re-establishing a routine
but sleep isn't really there (like someone we know).

You find yourself living in a squalid room - peeling paint,
unserviceable appliances, no heat, no air, brown water, toilet can't flush,
roaches and rats skittering and tip-tapping all night while you listen
blanket pulled up to your lips seething with rage and disgust
frozen in fear and disbelief until you're mobilized and
you climb flights and flights to the landlord's apartment
up on the top floor armed with a claw hammer you pound
and pound until the door swings open and you find yourself
staring hard into your own eyes which stare hard right back.

The problem with all of this is what?
The blame for all of this falls where?
The solution to all of this comes from whom?

I know but, right now I have to keep on
doing what I keep on doing until I'm done doing it.

Monday, April 11, 2016


The crows this morning plan and execute,
it's a military movement,
their communication, entirely tactical,
they bound and overwatch, always advancing
setting themselves up as the occupying force
in the woodlot behind this house.

They meet no resistance
just me, awakened from an anxious dream,
trying to stay asleep
a little after sunrise,
with the work week bearing down

Sunday, April 10, 2016


Will this, one day, look like just another chapter?
Not as final or as fatal as it now appears
Is this perfectly predictable?
An expected stage along the path to stasis

You like the invisible god in things
That mysterious power is your meaning
You don't want to see it written out,
Or hear it explained,
Or to know if there is a map

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

If you lose control of your self (you give it to somebody else)...

Something about what we're hungry for

On the stage where you posed last summer, the doctor talks now about how the medical establishment, under the benevolent instruction of the drug companies, pushed opiates on the people to treat acute and chronic pain and, seemingly, just about everything else. I remember thinking it was absurd - everyone who came to the Emergency Room was asked if they were experiencing any pain, no matter what their chief complaint was, and to rate it on a 1 to 10 scale. Like if I came in because I was a little depressed after losing my job, you'd ask me that question and then give me a little something for it. Not the listening to me or the encouragement I really needed, but the medicine for the pain I didn't know I had. And now the numbers of addicted, overdosed, and converted over to heroin use are growing at a rate of ten percent or more a year for the last ten years or more.

I'm sitting in the same seats in which I fretted last summer,  ill at ease with the whole thing but trying to be supportive to you, trying now not to fall asleep. Did he say we, in this country, consume 99% of the worlds opiates? I believe he did say that.

Another man speaks. He used drugs for the first time when he was 8. He's now not used drugs for 28 years. He tells us that we - the treatment community-love to finger wag and, not surprisingly, that never helped him. He says what saved him, coming out of prison and going into treatment, were the people who saw his humanity and held it up, the people who believed in him until he learned to believe in himself.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Still smiling....


Breakfast together and a long ride after, during which lots of talking occurred, most of it trivial and nervous, you thought. You injected, when possible, your feelings and provided several opportunities for an in-kind response, but it was not forthcoming.

Earlier you held her in her kitchen, she jumped up and wrapped her legs around you. You stayed that way with her for at least a minute. Didn't that signify something? You were looking for more hopeful signs like that, but they did not arrive.

Trying to explain herself, at your urging, she said something that cut you. When you reacted, she acted as if she'd misspoken, but it was the third time in the last couple of years she said something like that. This gnaws at you for the rest of the day. And though it's good to see her after such a long absence, you feel ill. It gets worse after you've dropped her off. Everything seems ambiguous, a cover. You shift from suspecting to knowing she is spending her time with someone new, and she never once said she wasn't. I do love you, she said, but...

Night falls. You are obsessing about this car you saw parked outside her house a couple of days ago. You have been thinking this thought for hours now. You know it's wrong to go there to check, but the thoughts are becoming more vivid, more demanding. You know it's not smart to feed this.

You will go there. You have a message prepared for when you see the car. You will tell her you are letting go. You will use the word goodbye - a word you've never said to her before.

When you get there, the car you expected to see is not there. You are not sure if you're relieved or disappointed. But her car isn't there either, and this brings on another round of speculation, of telling yourself stories. It's late. There are other possible explanations, but you know what you think you know. It fits well into the backdrop of the day and of the last silent month - her distance, politeness,  ambivalence, minimal physical expression of affection.

You text her a short message canceling a plan you had together, not using the words you had planned. You wonder if she will respond - and it looks like she is typing immediately, but then it stops. No reply comes. When you get home, you delete her from your contacts again.

I am letting go now.

Driving with her this morning, you noticed the grass greening west of here. The forsythia is beginning to bloom. After the forsythia comes warmer temperatures and the sweet smell of lilacs. They used to mean something to her. This would have been the third lilac season you saw together, had you made it.