Life was always unsafe
When you went camping and people got norovirus
When you went to a convention where the flu was spreading
When you ate burgers and fries every other day
You weren’t worried about dying then
What has changed?
Is it the news, that you can’t seem to get away from?
Is it the statistics and the word pandemic?
Is it the constant reminder when you see people in masks?
When we finally get the promised vaccine, the herd immunity,
When strangers can be together without fearing the others’ droplets of breath
When we no longer worry about the healthcare system collapsing
Will we ourselves be changed?
Anyone you meet could be contagious with anything
Life will always be unsafe, because
every life, some day,
I’m hearby declaring my intention to participate in National Poetry Writing Month, where I will endeavor to writing and post a poem every day of April. At very least, a wee haiku!
“The perfect rose,” says my daughter. So I captured its light and shadows to keep forever in pixel form.
Longing for someone
you may not notice
that they are right there inside you,
closer to you than your own heart,
taking the shape of memory.
There is a thread
that reaches back
through the needle-eye of history
toward tomorrow’s beyond.
It connects all those present
in the now
with the ancient people
who wanted so very much to help us
our best selves
that they left pages and sayings;
for us children.
Now grown, we feel how close the thread’s end
is to our fingertips.
We wake up —
now we know
why our elders spent nights telling yarns by candlelight,
and sunlit days showing us how to tie knots.
Consider how you might take the hand of someone
newer to this world than yourself
and be a guide
for the benefit of
before the end —
worn and frayed
slips through the hole where you once were.
I invented a couple of words for this brief poem, so those misspellings are deliberate.
This quiver inside my gut
I draw back my arm
— bullseye to your center.
I was afraid of strangers
When I was young,
I looked before jumping
or into relationships.
I rarely spoke
for fear of the flood.
I learned to love
those whose eyes loved me
with the bliss of drowning
it is nothing
to slip on moist words—
my legs collapse underneath me
and on my knees
in this rippling pool,
I smile at you.
[Originally published in Jittering Microscope #3, 1991, this poem also appears in my first novel, Pieces of Home.]
How to Bloom
The Sunflowers sway in the wind,
smiling happily in the sun,
their roots tingling with gratefulness
when the rain seeps into the soil.
Their appreciation for what
God has given them is as full as the moon.
When they die, they accept it, contentedly,
knowing that their remains
will nourish future generations
of plants and people
who will benefit from
the deeds they have planted
in this world.
bursts with fertile, coppery
reflects a thousand
seeds of what will be his offspring —
Radhi, tall as corn
stretches toward the sun, face
for the blessing of lush harvest.
He plants the seeds,
follows the patterns
of light through the swaying stalks
till wetness drips
from the heaving sky, and
watches his children
drenched in sun and rain.
carving, shaping, digging, sowing,
and the flame of birthed fruits.
Like their father, they learn
[Originally published in Jittering Microscope #1, 1990]
Radhi is a character archetype from my pantheon of characters. He is inspired by Papa Legba (the gate-keeper voodoo loa), and Osiris. In my upcoming novels he is channeled into the characters Roddy in Pieces of Home and Perry in Haunted House Designers. These two represent my “well-meaning but foolish father” character type.
Although I simmer
with waiting to be near
your body, unclothed and glowing
in the sweltering summer,
touching anything now
is like smothering, and
as flies that bite in itching
It does no good
when my skin
with a film of sweat
and the air is too heavy
to breathe deeply or quickly.
When our skins come together,
there is a sticky slapping, instead
So I will thrill myself
through the open door
the swooning bliss of you,
in the sun.
I want to make love to flowers
to smell the tickling softness
on my lips
and touch the place where the bud
meets the stem
to tenderly penetrate
the silky petals with my finger
and quivering, caress
its responsive opening.
to feel the quick rush
of nervous blood
when I withdraw
and find the naked, open
staring at me.