Been There Too Many Times

STANDING IN LOVE

I can’t follow you to the edge
Again, stop you from jumping.
You say if my love were stronger—
But weak or strong, it’s not my love
That put you there.
It’s not my love that holds you here.
Love doesn’t force you to edges.
Face your fear for once on your own—
You know how I feel about heights.
I’ll tie a rope to a tree,
But you’ll have to catch it.
So catch it, please, and let
The trunk and roots anchor you.
Find the strength in your own arms.
Pull yourself back to me.
I haven’t left you. I’m here,
Keeping a safe distance, standing
In love. But I won’t join you—
Not on the edge, where you dangle
One foot, while checking my face
For fear. I won’t play this game
Of chicken with your life.
Grab the rope. Join me at the tree,
Letting your fear fall away.
Together we’ll dig its grave
And mark its passing, far from
The edge, standing in love.

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There’s Still Time

OUR GLASS

Glass half-full set down before me,
Streaming sand, a growing mound
Measures out my life remaining,
Null of feeling, void of sound.
Watch the space grow ever slightly.
Grains fall lightly through the glass.
Count each microscopic crystal;
Cherish every memory past.

Here I balance, caught at midday
Watching close the noontime sky,
Catching falling sand to savor
Every second till I die.
Glass half-full, or now half-empty—
Measure each so carefully.
What life is left? What’s worth the living?
Count your sorrow; weigh your glee.

Each soul as a portal opens,
Linking heaven to this earth.
Time flows through each human tunnel,
Stretching back from death to birth.
Shifting sands collapse as time twists,
Memories are buried fast.
Closing eyes, I slide along
The surface of my half-filled glass.

What a Difference When You’re Not Wrangling Kids

SATURDAY AT THE MFA

I ambled through the galleries
Until
Casually rounding the corner
I found myself
Face to cubist face with
Picasso’s Portrait of a Woman
So close, I couldn’t breathe
Like Pollack, lifeless in books
Pulsing in person

This art, so much Art
Stand before a master
And marvel
How did he, did she, did they
Feel such beauty into being
Pen, ink, oil, canvas, clay
Capturing longing and danger
Agony in sublimation
On display

Look with your eyes
But I longed to touch
Ancient sandstone
Carved wood and marble curves
Silver tea sets serving
Founding families
Did they expect their
Breakfast dishes to be
Gawked at by strangers

No. But those others who
Wove this magic, and
Brushed souls
Onto canvas, stretched spirits
Life trapped in oil
They knew what they were
Doing

They worked for gods
Not tourists
Pocket the pennies
Praise the patrons, but
Paint for the gods

The Watchers, the Whisperers,
Applauding when you step
Back from the edge
Of your madness and say:
It is finished

Creator create through
Your creation
One soul
Energy of life
the Culmination
Just a reminder in case
You didn’t get to church
Today
This is who we are

I Don’t Want to Hear It

USE YOUR INSIDE VOICE

use
your inside voice
calm and still
or strident
clear and strong
the voice you use
to tell yourself
that once again
you’re wrong

your inside voice
the one no one
can hear
never shouts
out loud
but speaks your mind
your fear

that inside voice
so haughty
with its snide
remarks and yet
harmonics
whisper gently
urge you never
to forget

your inside voice
still yours to
control
withering or
soothing
shouting praise
or vitriol

the voice you use
when no one else
is near
your inside voice
speaks freely
you don’t listen
but you hear

use your voice
the words should
be your own
you control the
volume
own the content
set the tone

use
your inside voice
it’s yours and
yours alone

It’s Been a Long Day

THE STAR, THE STARK, THE STARVING

Fast and far, the night, the star,
The stark, the starving strive.
Find the thread, unravel all
The stories, all the lies.

You never feel the ground shake,
But you see
The cracks form on the walls,
The shattered glass,
The splintered trees.

Feast alone and pile high your plate;
Drink the vat of wine before your
Heart says it’s too late.
Stuff your gold in pillows for your bed,
Hug the diamonds closer, seal your coffin
Made of lead.

Late unto the dance, you miss the flame.
The fire’s out, the stars have died,
Forgotten lies your name,
Swept up in the morning with the dust.
You hoarded wealth, you courted praise,
You entertained your lust.

Away into the darkness sink ye down,
Heart of stone and blood drained, lifeless soul,
You’ve been around—
Feasting, fast, the fasting fare less well.
You won the game, but no one’s left to tell.

So sink into your grave, there rest in peace—
Your time is done, be thankful for release.
What’s yours you leave to feed
The stronger beasts.

Stop Thinking for a Moment

JOIN ME

see what i see
catch the air
touch and go
again

hear what i hear
see the song
watch and wait
till then

feel what i feel
smell the breeze
breathe and hold
it in

taste what i taste
hear the spice
listen close
to blend

smell what i smell
taste the smoke
savor it
like sin

sense what i sense
blur the lines
don’t ask why
ask when