Poems, Reconnaissance, Uncategorized

Why We Walk

The_Funeral_of_Shelley_by_Louis_Edouard_Fournier

Byron and Shelley

As we trudged along the varied paths
of the Highland Way you did not let go
to cry, though legs ached with pain
and skewed nerves slipped out of place
screaming for you to stop.

Our last night before we go home,
I read Trelawny’s Recollections
of the Last Days of Shelley and Byron:
Percy’s funeral muddies my mind,
but I cannot unhinge the sable-eyed rival
or the torture of a lame and disfigured foot
that shamed Byron all his days. How skilled
we are at pushing our deformities into
the deepest alcove then turning away from them,
lest they outpace and overcome us.

A red-haired boy—more than a boy—
a young man—travels with us
on the flight back home. His father
who is grey and wears glasses
accompanies him. I see that the boy
is blind, and think he is—how
to say this kindly—lame of mind,
though as I watch him and his father
pace back to their seats, I see that he is
purely sightless, and I feel cruel for thinking
it was something more. All this time

I thought that it was me we were walking for,
the mess upon me and the volume of days
yet unwritten tensing with uncertainty,
smudged with hieroglyphs of caned figures
and the imposing arc of wheels.
Waiting out the rain in Philadelphia
my head slumped in exhaustion, your legs
extended in a futile stretch, I grasp
what it was we were really walking for:

the German girls whom we’ll not see again;
for Gerry, our sturdy guardian, agile as a buoy,
flecks of white in his hair and a harness of years
on his back; for the moments between the rain;

what every boy’s blindness wants to possess;
for Byron’s feet and the contents of Shelley’s coat pockets
washed up on a shore we haven’t yet visited
and may not ever walk upon.

The poem appears in Reconnaissance, published in 2017 by Homebound Publications. Louis Édouard Fournier, The Cremation of Percy Bysshe Shelley, oil on canvas, Liverpool, Walker Art Gallery, courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Nomad's End, Poems

From Nomad’s End, Finishing Line Press, 2010

Before Your Train Leaves

a handful of minutes need to morph
into their shape, crust like atoms
becoming a molecule and tell a story
with thrift. No time to dawdle.
Back-story, established by your eyes,
advances the plot, though I am more interested
with the syllables of touch than
the tactility of speech. We pool
into the sparse bed and handle
each other like pottery clay, mold ourselves
into familiar shapes. I smooth
your back as moments hoof between
the walls of the room. They assemble
in the sphere of a clock above our heads.
Before your train leaves, the hands
will complete their circle; our story
will end as most do, with goodbyes
filling the grooves between scripts.

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Uncategorized

Companionship and Inspiration

Sing to Me
Sing to me, Oh heavenly Muse,
Sing of the sea, “wine dark” and full of mysteries;
Sing your generous musings into my untamed ears,
Guide me to places where islands peek out and crest from the ocean’s swell of waves.

Speak to me of sailing, foreign speaking travelers, roads and pathways winding and      steep, gravel covered, tree-lined and mountain rich, those which frame
the ocean’s mighty blue-black plentitudes in their sights.

Sing to me of gannets; the birds of prehistory captured in flight, white winged with sun-touched caps and eyes blue as the empty sky.

Sing to me of porcupines, earth dwellers of the spiny quills, shy and clover-munching; Sing of rabbits tramping through forests, stealing a moment to look out and survey the
open path, only to scurry playfully into the underbrush.

Bring to my ears the far-away call of the coyotes, watching over the mountain campsite. Bring to me news of whales, giants so gentle in their swimming, the sea’s expanse seems hardly touched by their brawn.

And Muse, bring to me tidings of love, companionship, a hand that reaches out and takes me into the pleasing sunshine, so that we will walk toward the horizon and find a
moment now and then to make love among the brilliant colors in the expansive catastrophe of this world.

For Eric

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West Rock Ridge