The Dregs of Cold Coffee

Perhaps he was confused from lack of sleep or
From the cold coffee that remained in his cup.
Then again, it might have been that he did not love himself
Or that he smoked too much.  For days, he had declined
A glass of wine, a rarity in that he seldom refused himself
Anything at all.  Fortunately, he was a minimalist,
Almost never over the top when it came to luxury,
Though he did indulge in loneliness.
Loneliness and the quiet of his home was the condition
Of his existence, the only reliable solutions he ever found.
He thought from time to time it was a pity he did not keep
A diary, but accurately assessed that his life was all too common.
Who would ever want to read his private thoughts but himself?


The Sun Tries to Come Out

The sky seems made of unpolished steel,
Hanging misty in the autumn air.
“I think the sun’s trying to come out,” she said.

Like my orange pants hanging in the closet,
Waiting for summer weather, sunny skies,
Ready to party for no good reason.

Like my heart, rocking on the edge,
Curled up inside, looking for an opening,
A clear way to love, out on the ledge of the blue air.

When the Sun Fell, Exhausted

The Sun, exhausted from its efforts,
Finally fell into the pitted ruins of Earth.
Orange lungs burst open into fire,
Sending fingers burning into the night,
Splitting the tremulous sky apart,
Ribs broken like a pumpkin breaks
When dropped from high above.

I looked, but no one seemed to care
This symphony of fireworks might change
The way oaks stand in their
Stalwart familiarity, leaning into
What was once the source of light.
I am tempted to resign myself,
But fear it’s far too late to leave or
Bury underground in some brutal
Grievance against such massive ignorance.

There’s not much hope I place on Tuesday
When votes are tallied, as though a
Change of fortune would magically
Restore the length of days or that
We might alter our evil ways,
Grow deeper in our silent thoughts…
Now that the moon will no longer reflect
Nor face the questions of darkest night.
A thousand years from now, ghosts will
Prowl empty valleys looking for our petroglyphs,
Wondering what we knew of the coming
Age of darkness limping down the trail,
Question what sickness sapped our strength.

Returning spirits will want to know who was the
First to open eyes and see approach of destiny?
Who sensed the burning truth… the searing failure
To oppose victory of war for considered gain
With the hope of peace written upon hearts.
Throngs of invisible dead will walk in dust still
Rich with fiery blood and ask why
Sympathies waned along with dying Sun.

Some will surmise we were warned by comets
Arcing through the shining daylight.
Others will think we failed to read nature’s omens…
Ancient forests cut down for personal profit or
Vast oceans filled with plastic trash, devoid of fish.
There will be those who think the dark
Took everything in its hungry mouth,
Like Pompeii’s instant ashen doom,
Swallowing up the exhausted light, turned away
From the bread that was cast upon the water.

There will be no memorial to the forgotten truth:
In the end we found nothing in common…
That we slowly grew blind to caring, sank
Deeply under the weight of too much wanting,
Failed to confess the poisoning of mind,
Water and atmosphere until the hatred killed,
Destroyed all hope we’d quench the fire of hell.

When Solitude Has No Words

My father never formed the words…
“Please stay…  I’ll miss you…”
I drove away into the rising sun,
Heading East to find my destiny,
The leaving burning deep within,
Carrying his absence as a constant presence
Knocking on the walls of the heart.

He, too, was running away,
Which is probably why I didn’t stay.
He never cried; never wrote a poem;
Never found his voice to sing his song…
What’s the word for those who
Back away from something deep inside,
Who create distance out of love?

A few years later, he was forever gone,
Held in my arms as he took his last breath,
My tears streaked upon his face…
The two of us still alone together
Before the morning sun rose among the stars.
So now I mourn the secrets that he kept,
Silently within his breast, unknown
He left and never looked back.

Now every morning I say a prayer
For those whose solitude has no words,
Whose loneliness is tinged with fear and awe.
Shadows put the pain to sleep—
They blur the edges of the leaving
Even on those endless nights
Dreams and hopes lie forgotten, wasted on the floor.
So much that burns inside turns hair gray,
Breaks the hurting heart wide open, scars
Exposed, vulnerable to the ever-present leaving…
Which still lingers in abiding love
Left behind for ages, coiled up inside,
Never fully put away; never fully falls asleep.

The Heron Flies Against the Setting Sun

The old grey heron flies across the lonely lake,
Solitary and alone he flaps his melancholy wings,
Head tilted as he breathes cold October air,
Swings in idle motion to catch the quaking branch,
Perches above the fallen leaves and silently,
Oh, so silently sighs before he starts again and
Sails across the water toward the blood-red sun.

Even in the silence, I sense the liquid feeling
Echoing from lake to golden trees upon the hills,
Burning in the chill of autumn sky…
An eternal spirit present in the heart of nature,
Living, dying, flying the way a sudden thought
Takes unhurried flight within the resting mind—
The way the heron slowly soars, quietly into dark.

Waiting for the Hour of Sleep

Sitting alone at night,
I scan the woods outside.
The dark of the world…
Always there outside the light.

There are no lies within the mind,
Only distorted  amplification, voices,
Twists that disappear as deer paths
Into the woods at night.

Tears form and cloud the eye.
A taste of salt
Lies on my cheeks.
All I hear is silence.

Lights twinkle down the road,
Waiting for the hour of sleep….
A quiet time where an old soul
Glimpses truth and weeps.

The Full Moon, Round and Naked

Tonight is my kind of night,
The full moon rising,
A strange summons,
Round and naked,
Tattooed with sharp peaks,
Its dry surface a simple mirror
For a million wondrous hearts.

One look at it,
As it briefly rises blood red,
Opens floodgates in the mind…
Slowly turns to candlelight
From the great source of sun—
Turning itself toward love.

By the time it lies pale
Above the cities,
The rivers are swollen,
Hungry in the silence
That drives the body mad.