Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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The right note

Tomorrow might have been fifty-two,
not just thirteen since thirty-nine.
The day, aligned with family and gratitude,
always reflected joy, the heat of our love
folded into stuffing.
The missing of him has gotten harder,
but it seems he knows. I came upon
the sound of his small gasp,
that wrapped me up each time
in beauty gauze, when finally ready
I presented myself to his gaze
before our evenings out.
Deliciousness itself, just knowing
that he would, when I did,
that he always meant it.
And I can smile now, the memory
a pitch perfect gift.

 

 


Audio: Read by the author.


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How to darn a heart

If mending is the only route
then hold it safe, to
dance its beat
against your palm.

To brace the fraying edge,
thread light with memories
and run their warmth
the whole way round.

Bottom up or top down,
the strongest strands of love
comprise the weft, running stitch
to running stitch.

Then left to right or right to left,
hope forms the warp
needled over, under
in between.

It will look different darned,
the rend lightly scabbed,
dozing as it heals, until the next
onslaught of love.

 


Audio: Read by the author.

____________________________
NaPoWriMo Day 1 (my view of time being elastic), the prompt was to provide instructions on how to do something.

 


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Waiting

She pried my eye open,
brilliant Venus did, balanced
just above the pine spikes,
tired of waiting for me
to get on with dreaming.
A clear sky, meteors done,
still hours away from light.
Sleep brained, back to bed
with snoring dogs,
a dream of love waiting
across a bog, only reached
by floating stones,
until I balked and stepped
to solid ground.
She knew this one
was in the queue, and
did not want it buried
in the dreamless part of sleep,
but felt, and have me warned.


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Late present

The moon brought me a gift
last night, before the
solstice rain moved in.
I left the crispness
of my northern woods
to walk the dew off grass again
with you. It’s late, the
house lights dark, the night
all midsummer lushness,
bell buoys ringing softly.
We know the way by feel
across the lawns and
down the hill to home,
but cannot pass the garden
with its flat topped walls.
We sit, shoulders touching,
stone still warm, and let our
breath find a rhythm together
after days apart. Then on
our way again, to soft
lamp light on varnished
wood, and pick up where
we were before the first
mosquito bit.
This morning I still feel
your hands, your skin on mine,
and smile.

 

 


Audio:
Read by the author.

 


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Until then

There may still be
wind, that has not kissed
my face

Or light on vernal
water, not seen through
my lens

Or singing, that has
yet to hum along
my bones

Or time with friends, dancing
in green waves, sand on
my feet

Or words to share, flowing
from the mouth of
my heart

But, there was always love, with
you, so if I skip the rest
to waltz out in your arms,

It will be enough to
know these gifts waited
with me, just in case.

 

 


Audio: Read by the author.

 

_____________________________________________
A birthday poem for Mike

Damselfly wings


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Reconciliation

I still wear it on my skin,
to conjure touch, intensely green
as if emeralds had visited,
every nerve end bathed in
the musk of an old perfume.
A hand there, and there,
thoughts bent down to mine.
Walls all twilight, music
tracing curves, the beat
of time slowed to gray,
and wanting it endless.


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Sans Bliss

We were long split atoms
even then, the possibility of us
had ricocheted,
echoes of competing thoughts
a white sound mask.
Inexperienced, I flung
my satin stole of certainty
over each shoulder.
Wrong headed, ignorant
of the deeper dance of lust and love
that shook its head and left
to visit other lives.
Tantalizing milkweed silk,
a fluted thrush note fading
every time I would have
ventured back.

____________________________
for S


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Not quite endings

The music stopped, shimmering
in dust beamed space
our voices stilled, waiting
for the flood of response.
I fall into the silence
all energy given away
to singing’s singular joy.

What I thought was love,
no holding back,
died. Stabbed and poked
to rubble not worth picking through,
a lucky escape it turns out
in time to save my heart
and savor all that’s left.

A long goodbye jumps the queue
to sudden extinction.
Love lives on the mountain
ashes soaking into moss,
his spirit coming back
to say that 40 years were
worth it all in all
and how are things?

The chatter quieted
thank god, and in its place
a single sound takes shape. One note
clearly formed on endless breath.
Much to my delight I find
it comes from me,
I had been singing all along
and never knew.

_________________________________
a prompt from tonight’s writing group with Doug Anderson: endings


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Stepping onto grass

A sip of camomile
to soften nerves,
a quiet moment on the porch
observing fire flies
punctuate the trees.
Travels through cloud rain,
waiting for the sun
to shiver start the day.
Mind’s eye reaching for
the girl child of my heart,
lace tokening her gaze.
Her brother
brought to sudden tears
on catching sight
of unanticipated beauty
tethered by her father’s arm.
Last moments as the impish girl
who stood upon his feet to waltz,
then stepping firmly
onto sea scent grass
to speak her promises
and dance, love wrapped
as woman on her way.

________________________________
twenty three years on, that lovely day still resonates.


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For the taking

Perhaps the stars hold memories,
diamond pinholes punched in winter black,
life stretched across infinity, expanding
overhead, even as my focus
might be squeezing in and
only looking back, no counterweight
to shrinking time.
Well nuts to that, I’ll take
the milky way with thanks,
refusing blinkered days
or thoughts, and will not shut
all possibility away.
This heart and soul are
slated to remain
open for business
indefinitely.


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Longing for blue

Longing for blue
for the swell of
waves at noon,
wind changing,
light flaking
on their crests.

Lunch at a glass table
over hot flagstones,
flesh still warming,
we rode ice sharp water
round the whirlpool’s
seaweed walls.

Wine in the blood
languid tune in my bones
we sit, shoulders touching,
shaded corners
of a sea green room
calling.

 

 


Audio: Read by the author.


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In place of

In place of tender walls of green
hot sunrise vibrant pink
flamed above bare trees

In place of overwhelming days
unblinkered eyes and free range thought
released to roam

in place of broad stroke turning trees
leaf sun catchers glow chrome yellow
against the rising dark of hills

In place of touch and fire spooned nights
quiet gratitude for unweighted days
whole to dance again

In place of trees wrenched rudely from my woods
nightly sunset glory offered up
its afterglow on every side

In place of childish nubbins of regret
unflinching truth accepted flings me up
to land as newly tempered steel