Life With Horace

poetry & essays


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The right note

Tomorrow might have been fifty-two,
not just thirteen since thirty-nine.
Aligned with family and gratitude,
The day 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.

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 composted into a white sound mask. Inexperienced, I flung my satin stole of certainty over each shoulder, and  rushed away, convinced I was right. But so utterly wrong headed, ignorant of the deeper dance of lust and love that finally shook its head, and left to visit other lives. Memories of touch by tantalizing milkweed silk, of hearing a fluted thrush note, fading every time I would have ventured back.

____________________________
for SG


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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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Next

I wear the cloak of having loved,
butterfly light, not hard.
Threads of life thrown on
to walk the path of next,
companion on the loops and hills ahead.
Grains of my allotted scores
falling through the hourglass neck of now,
descent soft breath to kiss my cheek
then drop away to join the humus
steeping just behind.
What colors must it hold, this cloak,
to lie so soft against my skin,
memories all skeined.
Some were nettles
leaving welts and tears,
others joy that grabbed me by the nape
and shook my soul awake,
then weaving strands of love
presented as a gift, no toll required.
Or so I thought. Glowing rich and warm,
elusive dancing beams
that stayed a while to walk among
wild golden flower fields
communing with my heart, until we faced
the sunset edge of certainty.
In dimming afterglow I saw
the dark cast Janus face of fear
instead of love, mouth open wide
to swallow all my peace.
Abandoning this portent of a frozen life,
I turned away before full night
without a backward look.
Eurydice sans Orpheus
shedding petal tears
but never love
walking fast toward the light.

________________________________________
I have always seen time, carrying its map in my mind’s eye, a form of synesthesia. Personally I think it explains the sometimes weird but welcome linkages of time to physical space that pop up in my poems.


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Waiting for the hunter

Many days since I have seen a moon
both night and dawn obscured by cloud or rain.
Days of leached out richness
lacking diamond clustered white,
creep fingered winter reaching out
to shackle and restrain my thoughts
till sun regains the upper hand,
tossing me the keys that come with
fledgling green and tender smells of earth
(around an oxbow bend of time and out of sight).
Tonight we have thick, clotted blots of snow,
flake armies blanketing the world, scouting
morning’s aftermath of shapes standing bright
against fresh blue. A constant roar
of moving trees, teeth of the north wind auto harp.
Deep ink heaven once again blown clean,
Diana’s slivered waxing moon
emcees emerging stars, until he comes.
A reaching leap of arms and sword and strength,
his belt the perfect anchor for my eyes,
standing watch, protector of the frozen skies.

_______________________________________________________________
I look for Orion each winter, knowing he stands watch over our frozen nights.


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the onion revealed

with all its skin removed
and moonstone lotus arms pulled back
the onion has no center
only tear provoking sharpness
seeping from its pores
but you and I have hearts
that feed our souls and break sometimes
laid bare in throes of love
or simply listening to the echoes
of a whispered thought
a memory of longing sweeping back
to fan regret at loss
we wear our years like onion skin
the proof of who we were opaque
of how we danced or soared
looked at the world from eyes that saw
time infinite us invincible
too quick to jump into the flow
of forces greater than our will
to hold them back
where war or danger
grabbed us by the throat and shook
tossing what was left aside
or living tamer slower lives
bumps and buffets taken as they came
no matter what our start
we all arrive at later’s trailhead
wondering where our eagerness and joy have fled
energies no longer at our ready beck
resignation sometimes held at bay
and yet our beating core
holds all of it on layaway
to draw on if we can
so when I lie with moonlight
shadows raked across my skin
and you reach out with forge hot hands
time falls away leaving elemental us
certain only of this moment
and its gift