Wednesday, October 31, 2012

That time of year

When elections loom, familiar shapes
become more threatening,
the masks we wear more obvious,
and demons prowl the streets
in search of food for damaged souls;
the mouth of hell yawns wider,
and the roots of all our troubles
come springing to the surface,
reaching out to trip us up.
Familiar landmarks disappear:
fogged in -- or have they left for good?
If we can't see them,
can we assume they're there?
Walk carefully amid the lies;
ignore the beckoning darkness
and superstitious whisperings...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dreaming of Venice

Winter closes in,
dark presses on the windows, cold,
and tucking her feet beneath her
she settles in her chair
to dream of Venice;
of aqua seas and ancient palazzos
blushing in the dying light,
the songs of sweet-voiced gondoliers
echoing across the narrow canals;
the taste of gelato,
cool upon the tongue,
and, oh, the subtlety
of color, and of light;
the beauty that awaits
round every corner;
tucked in every calle and sottoportego...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Come-hither glance

After days of pouring rain,
the clouds lifted their skirts
for just a moment,
giving us a glimpse
of what's been going on
behind the scenes:
up in the mountains,
all that rain had turned to snow,
and the dark hills,
brown for months on end,
are gleaming white again,
sending us a brief
come-hither glance,
an alluring invitation,
tempting us to escape
to higher ground...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

A perfect parable

Ten days til Halloween,
and the ghosts have begun
to gather in the trees,
their howls to echo in the wind --

Oh, no, it's just the dog,
whose tennis ball has rolled
beneath the radiator once again, 
and so he crouches --
black nose pressed against the heat
that so intensifies the scent
of that one lost ball --

and whines, and wails
despite the fact 
that six other tennis balls
lie scattered around the room;
a perfect parable whose passion
noisily outweighs the widow's mite
and the one lost sheep...

(Having just seen Billy Collins read, I had to throw a dog into this poem...)

The rock at the root of being

Let us make this pilgrimage together,
one long line of individuals,
sharing a common goal:
to brave the changing tides and reach
the rock at the root of being.
while its prominence lies exposed,
let's reach and touch
our common ground,
then scamper back to shore before
the waves of fear that separate us
roll back in...

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rorschach test

What have we here?
A Rorschach test?
So tell me -- what is it you see?
A lacy dress from the Roaring 20's?
Or could it be a shroud,
burial garment for a long-dead queen?
A religious icon?
Does your imagination fly,
or are you simply practical:
"What we see here
are the mottled results
of decades of exposure,
a simple accident, a stain
upon a fortress someone built
when feeling threatened... "
How does what you think you know
color what you see and hear?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The bridge of lost opportunities

Light shifts,
the seasons change,
and seeing the trees fill up with color
my heart slips back
onto the bridge of lost opportunities.

I'd spent the day out wandering the woods,
some forty years ago,
sipping the wine-deep reds of fall
through my camera lens
and found myself standing
on the Taftsville Bridge.

It took a minute for my eyes to grow
accustomed to the dark,
but then, after all that color,

to see the old gray floor
dappled with streaks of light
from the cross-hatched sides
and the one bright maple leaf gleaming there,
each color etched into its skin
like some celestial tattoo,
I snapped, and snapped, and snapped again,
and then rewound the film,
intending to replace and snap some more,
and opened up the camera's back
to find there was no film at all,
and patting my pockets found them empty,too,
and now too late to purchase more,
the sun lowering,
the clouds rolling in...

Life lessons always follow loss,
and still it haunts us,
wisps of failure drifting here and there,
and now, glancing through old images,
I see they're full of losses,
chances missed and loves gone by,
and with the falling of the leaves
the heart gives one remembered leap
and then subsides again.

The longing shimmers still,
then fades to loss
and floats,
ever so gently
to that gray floor.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Soul Food

I wish I understood,
or could explain,
why visits to this place
so feed my soul.
The dark, the light,
the subtlety of color,
the slow subsiding
of weapons into earth again;
the harsh allure of angles,
the cracks
where life is so determined
to seep through...

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Might have beens...

Alone and lost
with only a bottle --
but for Grace,
go I.

A suitcase that's full,
a heart running on empty --
but for Hope,
go I.

A life gray and weary,
stale, flat, and unprofitable --
but for passion, and you,
go I.