The worm

Why have you never been happy? Asked the caterpillar

I do not know, said the worm

For I have tried, to find meaning in wriggling through mud

Surely I have put effort into higher purpose 

Yet it eludes me for certain

And the caterpillar

Understood

For he would soon transfer his frustration

Into colored flight

Becoming even if for a short while

A thing of polination and cast of beauty

Surely people wept when his life, so short, would end

And still they taunt the worm though it cleanses the earth

For we are kinder to beauty than usefulness

And our lot is hard to fathom

From a ninety degree turn

Walking as we do, on top of the worm

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Walked with angels

You are the wonder of the world
a red man come from desert

you saved this girl from drowning in sand

pricked her lips with cacti juice

told her of the stars in your mouth

collapsing mountains

summoning sleeping giants to lie beneath us.

With cicadas, you wove me a blanket of safety

though you had nothing

you gave me all.

From the empty handed

comes the greatest gift

unfolding like paper water lillies

leaving stigmatas in my palm

the shape of echoing stars.

Never apologize 

Dearest

for being poor or empty handed

when your feathers are full and sunset lifts you high

the circumference of your heart

longer than a sincere word

taught me humility

and how to know 

the tenderness of kindness comes often 

from those who receive no thanks

for they are not rich

nor need those things to sustain their souls

walking with angels.

You are a man of your ancestors

truth in the words

as the bell chimed, you took me to be yours

pouring salvation into candles 

lighting my way to freedom.

So many years I had been caught by the neck

twisting in the wind unable to escape

the trap of circumstance

and in one pull 

you gathered me close and saved me

a hunter turned tender 

for the fluttering of his people

bestowing goodness like late harvest.

From the empty handed

comes the greatest gift

before we reach heaven

we may have still

walked with angels.

Tapestry


When did we cease being

Wide eyed and curious

Of this velvety world

Not ever

Shouts blue rinsed grandmother

And sings her baudy war songs

To the chip chop chop of her brothers clumsy accompaniment

On stairwell piano with missing ivory

It was said

Parlor tricks began with family visits

Light a cone of newspaper on your head

A second from setting fire to your hair

There were jugglers in the house

Catching Xmas clementines by the handful

And ladies whose pure voices lifted up sagging furniture

Such the gratitude of survival

Friends of shared blood and homemade eye patches

When did we cease lighting candles to cast a glow

Making magic of things otherwise ignored

Not ever

Today, everyone is dressed in threadbare finery

Auditioning for heaven, the old ones say

And all I thought of was the last licorice stick

Staining the inside of my mouth like forbidden wish

We remain alive by sheer will, it is the rush of nature

To keep us tethered by thinnest string, weaving our own

Tapestry

Our full heart

main-f0fe47502643bfa3cd01e1536fd2ba8514666262Nine told me

love was chasing and pinching

love was not, little boys grabbing fleshy parts

love was sharing the last Xmas chocolate

and wiping the stains with the corner of your cardigan

Sixteen told me

love was chasing and pinching

love was not, young men grabbing fleshy parts

love was found beneath eider down

finding out the workings of bodies yet grown

and the tender string of hearts unaware of how

deep their timber could sound

Twenty five told me

love was chasing and pinching

love was not, shorn-haired women in bars, grabbing fleshy parts

love was discovered in the shape of a woman’s mouth

how it resembled the moon covered over with darkness

culminating in a smile that stole

the very backbone of words

Forty told me

love was chasing and pinching

love was not, middle-aged men in Starbucks, grabbing fleshy parts

love was molded from piano keys played in harmony

as day slowed and sky swept with wonder

overhead us while walking hand in hand

ruby leaves crunching underfoot

Sixty told me

love is remembering being chased and pinched

love is not, the disregard of all the years before

but a remembrance of each step taken

love is the emptiness of a house without you, watching for return

love is the gentle dent of your body as it lies

ever long against me

always a little empty without

our full heart

Shine on

33375321740_85cc0d50b9_z

It is not

ficklety of cat

rubbing leg in faux earnest

nor

those clamored souls with

wine soaked language rolling ebullient

reefer in sardonic prose

It is not

deftness of entreaty wound around

stocking nor thickness of honey consumed bread

turning truth to sticky fingers

pinching air in thought

naming the stars

underneath canvas where tents

suspend redolent arias and

forest creatures lament

shrill bleat of humanities

persisting encroachment

though you

rising from steamy bath

ruddier by your delve

bright as a regained penny

shining like evening pearl

you

silver limbed and black of eye

rival the moon at her dearest rise

you

are velvet lament beneath air

a song of shivering moments

burning like freed embers

from dazzling height

you diminish never

you shine on

spreading your

arms into

hungry night

Quenching

SHRIMP CROSS BACKHer shape

puts me at peace

lying propped up, one elbow jutting

one foot lolling out of damp sheets

curled in a knot of former movement

the wind outside is hitting moss covered shingles

like it wants to join in

clouds swirl like drunken sailors over-head

she has a strange gait

as if unsure of being girl or boy

yet her legs are as straight as a dancers

envious I suspect of my curves

the tattoo that begs to be planed

for every vein and every vessel

we are ever waiting to reach deeper

the fusion of two lovers

one defying gravity with breasts like pinches

mocking those half her age who struggle to stay

retroussé

the other a drunk without bottle

swimming in fear and loathing

tempered sometimes by her steady hand

pulling me to discomfort

where pier lights wink til past the witching hour

relieved nobody burning needs

quenching

 

Felix (part of the memory series)

0f43a8692e2f903f820b1a40a7add30cHelix boy

green was the color of your insight

you thought you could trust the girl who stood by your side

before your fame

and you were right

my back made a good drawing board and I knew the rules to

Dungeons & Dragons

when you called leaning out of your window in Earls Court

watching the washateria fold n’ smooth in your Judge Dread shirt

you’d ask me questions you didn’t let others hear

why are we here? what’s it all about?

we were philosophers in children’s suits

fame struck you as an unnatural quill

you learned and you unlearned playing base

with the rigidity of adults rules

some days you fit in like a diamond in the rough

Jewish boy with a blonde quiff and James Dean turn-ups

other times it felt all wrong that’s when you’d call

tell me ordinary things so I can come back down to earth you’d ask…

let’s listen to telegraph wires buzzing in the night

the B side of that Springsteen LP where he

refers to love and madness, escaping down a dark road with chains

terraced and quiet in our honeycomb middle

breathing the air of normalcy and my dad’s bad cooking

switching the globe of the world on to illuminate dark

in our Batman PJ’s a joint under the pillow

what you didn’t know what I never told

you held me up when I was drowning

it was the tender of your soul that you recognized

pain and didn’t shy away

even in the show-biz world of false and fakery

they may say oh he’s just a player who has no scruples

different woman every week, he’s just like the rest

I could dispute that if we bothered to believe idle talk

I saw your heart

beat

one night

when I told you I couldn’t go on

and you said

yes

yes you can

I’ll show you how

and we planned our revenge

in pretend knots until the sun rose

and school began

vanquishing dreams of

escape and super heroes