Tag Archives: longing

Glowing in the Afterhurt

Once I gilted lilies
in the hope of yet in spite and
even though and still because of it
there wasn’t much of either then
(things unknown after this now, like
lips surrounding ashless breathing,
hands that seemed to fit too closely,
wanting but the need to truth
was what the why could not dissemble).

There upon the killing floor, where
something reading Phoenix papers
lost itself in time’s fluxation,
two hands grasped for fallen control.

He who I am not could say in nothing
more than clever verse, which is not all
there is so purified in this
that my corruption cannot alter.

Once I gilted lilies
in the hope of yet in spite and
even though and never thought it would
was weak when once the moments tendered
(things unknown until this now, like
lips surrendered barely breathing,
hands that seemed to know your beauty,
knowing but the need for truth
was what the way could not discover).

There upon the killing floor, where
something, almost my religion,
lost itself in time’s mad frustration,
two hands parted once in anguish.

I who am not he who could would ought
to be so good for you can say nothing
you find worth embracing; but, if anything
remains when other princes fall,
promise me what almost never happened.

Spring 1994

A note from 2005: An email from an old friend in Memphis got me thinking about the time I spent there, the places I haunted and the people to whom I gave a piece or two of my heart. This poem was written during that time, after an evening spent with someone (who knows who they are) during which certain things happened, and other things did not, neither set of which is good or bad, nor prevented or encouraged the rest of our lives from continuing, albeit along separate roads. It is a poem of might-have-beens that in retrospect might be just-as-wells. A poem of things I should have been able to say, but was unable to cut from their crazy poetic metaphor except to speak in Imagist parables. What we had, were deluded into thinking we did or did not have, or might have had … well, that is another lifetime’s story. You know who you are. Without your inspiration, it’s doubtful that I would have been a poet in Memphis … and now, I find myself a poet no matter where I go. Part of me that I recognize to be my true self I discovered in the process of trying to be part of your life. Thank you. I wish you nothing but happiness.

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Just Go Away

Doctor, I am feeling ill; I’ve eaten all my young,
touring the coast of Africa,
going through the longboats
with a fine-tooth comb.

I’m a debutante at the Ball of Confusion,
filling fishbowls with the Water of Life,
burning the candle at either end
end of a switchblade knife.

Why do you keep following me
to take my pain away?
Don’t give me, give me anything
Just go away; come back tomorrow.

Yesterday is so far gone; I’m somewhere in next week.
Hours melt like tiny raindrops,
running down the gutters
onto Lonely Street.

I’m a candidate for mass frustration,
filling canteens from the Fountain of Youth,
keeping my hair from turning gray
by pulling it out by the roots.

Why do you keep on bothering me?
Please take my pain away.
Don’t give me, give me anything;
Just go away; don’t come back tomorrow.


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Words Burst the Thirteen Open

“I have nothing to say and I am saying it; that is poetry.” — Thirteen Words, John Cage

What it is or was mulled over like cheap wine
we drank although we didn’t know it and so we
called our passions sad mistakes and so refused
to comprehend but never mind it overall and if
you’re sorry that’s the price or so you say but
I was giving it free of charge in case you didn’t know

(grow old with me I said
as childishly I pulled you through the grass across the lawn
behind the backs
of those
who paid themselves to watch)

What it is or was and in the end became to be
because when I just happened to you accidents
can happen to love you and there’s nothing else
to say and my mistake was letting you believe
that I could accept nothing free of charge.

(grow close to me I said
as hopelessly I let you block the light across my soul
behind the house of cards
I built myself
to watch fall down)

Where do you think those words came from?
Did you think I was kidding?

Would I have struggled through this:
aborted our unborn children,
burnt our home together down with deliberate matches,
killed the part of me that made you love me
just so you could sleep easier knowing
it was one less decision you had to make?

Look, here is the moon you wanted!

In my worthless, bloodied hands you see it;
it is what you want, but my having it makes it dirty;
you look away – the sight of me
with your sky makes you weep.

I am the sacrilege in your dream.

Your emasculated knights could never bring it close,
the feeble soldiers for whom you feel appropriate,
but I have held it here with me for three months now,
fought dragons and returned near death,
in vain, to hang it on your wall.

Although you want it, you must not take it from me –
that would mean something, a commitment.
I refuse to let myself be shamed by your refusal
of it; it was not the moon at all you sought,
but mere reflection of it:
substance, not the style that hides it,
is the gift you turn from.

That is my flaw, that I have substance without style,
truth without flowers –
these are my bitter pills,
presented without their sugar armor.
What it is or could have or to have not anything
about will never weep my secrets:
I have cast myself into this pit
and wrenched my heart from where it was
and burnt it here upon the hearth –
for rather than the something different


I would have the nothing that we shared and then made sorrow
by denying
that it mattered, that it felt,
that it was real, that it was anything …
that it was everything.

Look, I can be more than just your mistake!
I can stop hurting, just like that!
I can deny that i will always love you!

I can look forward to Hell, where
I burn now for lying,
and you commit yourself like murder,
while we stand aside and watch ourselves
drowning in the fire.


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Song for Vidya

Watch for me when you sleep —
dreams can be masterful fortune-tellers.
There is no distance too great, too far,
that wishes cannot traverse as mountain travellers.

Think of me when you wake —
there will be other fond remembrances.
Dreams cannot deceive; there is no substance
to your fears. I will come for you.

I will be in the farthest stormcloud.
Listen to the thunder — there will be my words.
Look upon the mountains, unyielding to the seasons —
there will be the rocks that turn to birds.

Talk to me in your wishes —
hearts can hear where ears cannot.
Time is but an obstacle which can be overtaken.
Wishes will bring nourishment as if holy waters.

Watch for me when you are worried —
dreams can be revealing sources.
There is no distance that is so far
that wishes cannot cross like hallways.

I will be as the waves on the ocean.
Listen to the thunder, there will be my words.
Look upon the mountains, unyielding to the elements —
there will be the rocks that we will turn to birds.

27 JUL 1991

Sometimes, a word can have a myriad of meanings. Take “vidya” for example, which in Sanskrit means knowledge, when spelled with a small ‘v’, or denotes knowledge leading to liberation, i.e. to the realization of Ultimate Reality, when spelled with a capital ‘V’. When I wrote this song, it was for a girl with that name — I did not know of its other connotations. But reading it now, almost fifteen years later, some of that deeper meaning seems to seep through in what I said then.

Sometimes, we surprise ourselves with epiphanies that cannot be rationally explained. It is these flashes that illuminate a darkness, and can pierce shadows we didn’t even know existed. For poets, I suppose, these are “Rumi” or “Kabir” moments, that result in creations that are intended as simple love songs directed to a single person, but in reality illustrate a devotion to something much greater than the individual subject.

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No Surprise At All

She said that she was longing for the life that she once had
The changes they were coming fast, and some of them were bad
Said she could not believe it
Maybe she was going mad

And I saw just what was happening
And I wasn’t much surprised
That the laughter was now missing from her eyes
No, it was not much surprise I felt at all
More like autumn blues when leaves begin to fall

She said she wanted happiness and things as they had been
For life had started laughing and the joke was quite obscene
I shook my head and tried to say
I know just what you mean

For I saw the road she’d taken
And I wasn’t much surprised
That the laughter was now missing from her eyes
No, it was not much surprise I felt just then
More like longing for the wisps of might have been

She spoke of that long trip she made somewhere into the East
And the times she spent in turmoil wrestling her inner beasts
And of all the men that failed her: businessmen, and clowns and priests
And I wasn’t much surprised, not in the least

She said she wanted more to life than memories that fade
For going through the motions seemed like such a sad charade
Said she felt like an old record
That was scratched and overplayed

And I noticed what was happening
And wasn’t much surprised
That the happiness was missing from her eyes
No, it was not much surprise I felt at all
These things happen when your past decides to call.


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Chandelier’s Left Wink and Blinding

Ceiling now in staring anguish,
once the eyes I found and lost;
last few moments, caught myself
and wound my winding sheet about it.

Words are not the thing for speaking:
truth, in little hardened bitters,
shows itself as one with hopeless
causes, self-aversion dramas,
Lysistratic coffee conscience.

Why when said it natural felt
the need to press and fold?
Enfolded leipedoptera means
no beauty, pins and needles.

I hate this feeling, wanting
knowing nothing offered is worth taking; yet
submittal, anything for just two fleeting
words, both of contradiction.

Given it is gone, and yet while nothing
hurts its purpose, still expect
you’ll never see what pain is
in the place where you are not.


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Picked up
set up
called up
stood up
held up
fucked up
hoping for a let up

Made over
looked over
passed over like a four-leaf clover
glanced over
once over
start again
start over

Poked at
joked at
chew the cud or chew the fat
looked at
looked past
wonder how long this will last

Looked up
hooked up
will you ever shut up
booked up
cracked up
endless lies still cooked up

Stepped on
spit on
without a leg to stand on
passed on
long gone
in the game of kings and pawns

We are fighting opposition
Victims of a preposition
Eternal question for absolution
Nothing more than noise pollution
Preposition: prostitution
to the ultimate solution.


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