That Day

I was walking a hopeful road that day.

It felt almost like a dream beside her

looking at the ocean, high above the city below.

Tall blades of grass swayed golden in the sun.

From that high up the ocean appeared silent,

and the black dots riding waves were people

gliding against the tranquil bed of water.

Like a stenographer I listened while she spoke

nodding in agreement, wanting her to like me.

We talked all about everything that day

and she sang Life Is A Highway while I blushed.

It’s hard to read you, she said. But I didn’t mind.

Because the world seemed new and exciting,

like nothing else mattered but our feet and the ground.

Everyone else was COVID crazy but

we had that, before the first kiss feeling

that no one can deny, that nothing could dismantle—

you know, that private little world between ignorance and bliss.

Nobody quite wore a baseball cap like her.

Or looked at me with such uncertain eyes,

like she knew then I couldn’t be trusted.

Or perhaps she thought I was it?

The future took a different course

when the surf died down and the people disappeared.

No wave can last forever, but

it’s remembering those tiny moments,

the inside jokes, and playful voices.

It’s remembering the good stuff,

while the bad we just let rest.

It’s remembering we’re human,

human enough to forgive,

and human enough to be civil.

It’s the poems written in bed

and the songs sung in our infancy—

The Essence Of Her Core (unpublished).

It’s knowing I’ll see her again, as friends

and I’ll be glad to hear her voice,

to see her smile, and know she’s well.

The road may not be ours together anymore

but that doesn’t mean the road’s less hopeful.

That doesn’t mean that I’ll stop walking.

The Good Fight

Sometimes, not very often

but sometimes,

I’m afraid to read my own writing.

I have my reasons for most

though others I don’t.

It’s the one’s I don’t remember

writing, I think

that alarm me more than any.

It’s the one’s that keep

coming back

in different forms over the years

that sound my silent alarm.

It’s the breath you forget taking.

It’s the secret you don’t tell.

After playing with enough language

what room is there for air?

It’s not very often, but sometimes

yes sometimes, I’m frankly more aware

of the sirens through my window

reminding me to breathe,

reminding me to listen,

reminding me to fear

not that what I have written

but what I’ve yet to right—

there’s so much life within me still

sometimes, it feels

I’ve just begun this fight.

Pretending

I can not keep pretending

that things were all o.k.

when in fact I’d climbed

that Brooklyn roof

long before they got worse.

You see, the memory has it’s way

of cutting up the past,

rearranging it like a scrapbook

where you only have to see the good.

I can’t keep pretending

that things could go back

to the way they were,

even before I moved to Maine.

Because even if I could,

it wasn’t how I imagine.

Second chances only work

the second time around.

After that it’s just sad.

It’s denial.

It’s that last drink you take

knowing you don’t need another.

It’s that expensive perfume you buy

in hope’s it will cover your mistakes.

It’s the pictures you post smiling

having almost killed one another

the night before.

When make believe becomes your norm

I guess it gets some people by

but,

I can not keep pretending—

I had jumped so long ago.

this god damn ghost of me

if i could live with someone’s hope

forever till we part

i’d at least be able to see

beyond the ashes on my fingertips

and the cough tucked under-sleeve,

perhaps then maybe i could sleep?

longer than it takes to wake and find

who i’m not, or who i’d rather be—

cause it’s such a drag to smile

then to give a laughing nod,

that even when i do it’s like

my mind just says enough—

so when sitting becomes quiet

with my shadow and the curb

i hear within the darkest corner

that hope i don’t deserve.

and if i know you well enough

i know you’ll disagree,

still hopelessly devoted to

this god damn ghost of me.

and it’s hardly ever good enough

in retrospect you’ll see

that hope distilled in all of us

is that in which i bleed—

banana cream pie

with the sun in my eyes—

in they come and

out they go,

these spirits wrapped

in skin-clothes.

whether drinking coffee

sipping wine, or

devouring slices of pie

they come in droves

regardless of the day.

and I only wonder

about them

for as long as my cup ring

takes to disappear,

by that time they’ve too.

then it’s back to my text

of peace and war

full of satire, humor

and the ambiguity between.

while I’m left thinking—

sex sounds good, but

banana cream pie sounds better.

As If We Existed

It wasn’t ever fun

Even when it lasted

There was always hidden

A motive and agenda

Something I couldn’t figure from afar—

I needed microscopic certainty

That I’d have to disappear

In order to remember—

For them to forget—

That either of us had ever existed

Flipping Birds

The only places to go now

Are those best traveled alone

Where a fork in the road need

Neither argument nor discussion

And where judgements pass

With tumbleweeds and dust that

Dissolve like cars with the horizon

Thumbing South of nowhere

And flipping birds, eh

I’ll be just fine.

What Could Possibly Matter More Than Meaning What You Don’t Have The Answers For?

What’s the point in asking the question

If your voice is already defeated

I’d go blind just trying to see it

You know everyone is trying to beat it—

If there’s pain then that means there’s a reason

If there’s truth then it’s hard to believe in

Still it’s hard not to relive this feeling

Where everyone everyone’s stealing—

It’s like selling your grief for a grievance

Why the hell would you even break even

Doing all we could to deceive them

It’s all wasted time wasting time healing—

It’s like playing pretend dressed in your skin

Or saying the pledge of allegiance

When there’s no one to please or believe in

It only matters as much as you mean it

Real Life.

We did nothing that we said we’d do

And everything we said we wouldn’t.

Living like a road trip—

We’re so good at vacations, yet

So terrible at real life.

drunks and dreamers

I like to sit, in long

Wakes of silence

And write cowboy songs

For drunks and dreamers

Who know better

And are better—

Who are better off alone.