Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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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, not caring.

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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.

_____________________________________________
a birthday poem for Mike

Damselfly wings


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reconciliation

I still wear
it on my skin,
remembering
touch, intensely green
as if emeralds had visited.
every nerve end bathed in
the musk of an old perfume,
a hand there, and there,
the shape of his head
bent down to me, walls
all twilight, music
tracing curves, the beat
of time slowed
to gray, 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
ok it was, 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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intentional space

there is a place
now blank, erased
by grief and purposed
brain reset
wild pigment
bits of memory
color orts
of what had been
a heady time
inevitable yang
disguised
by yin’s rose lens
the peace I’ve earned
tells me straight
to recognize
the mis-steps
scrubbed away
yes child
snatch that pink
lensed pince-nez
from your nose
when new love appears
to see necessary truth
and only then jump
into its depths
with joy

__________________________________
sitting on my porch in early morning, bird songs on all sides.


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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
to touch a friend
like me a score or so ago
waiting for the sun
to shiver start the day
mind’s eye reaching for
the girl child of my heart
lace tokening her gaze
unruly 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
a tempting 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


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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 broadbrush 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
I am 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 blankets of regret
unflinching truth accepted flings me up
to land as newly tempered steel

and then


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and then

standing still
feet feeling steady rock
in unfamiliar balance
time stops it seems
a blink really
the stream
of then to next
flowing over and around
and somehow through
bones in a shiver
of recognition
no longer straining
to spring free
of oz like cages
revealed as
weightless frauds
their power merely dust
looks ahead
so curious about
what comes next
but firmly rooted
in this moment
and leaps from
rock to rock
given over to
joy at last