Radiance

Do not become bitter

When friend you thought is none

When calamity strikes her skin drum

And those you relied upon do not come

The world

Is a magical place of nonsense

What you know is often undone

By the whim of mercury and emotion

Little stays as you may have assumed

But in the hour of your isolation

Witness miracles

From the trees they unfurl

Familiar in compassion

A true heart rarely demonstrative

A kindness never published

Those with mercy on their tongue

Seek no recompense

Silently they stand at your side

Holding you when others did not show

Too busy in flamboyance

For the meak shall inherit trust

It is they who need make no false promise

Sincerity is not shouted from rooftop

Actions are louder than fancy words

Seek not the grandiose, who say they love

Take instead the slowness of certainty

You know when you fall 

By the tenderness of unexpected visitor

By gentle compassion and

The companion who you never knew you could

Rely upon 

Such is the mystery of things born in hard times

And the redemption of hope

Blooming

Blocking out disappointment with her

Soft and steady radiance

This poem is for those who selflessly were there in a supportive letter or word during the hardest part of my life. Please know it was you who got me through and my gratitude cannot be expressed enough but to say your kindness was everything to me. Thank you so very much. I have learned that true goodness comes often from the least expected corners just as those who pretend to care are often just hot air. 

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Is this you?

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Portrait of man and two women in orchard --- Image by © Robert Recker/Corbis

Is it you?

the girl who knows lustful eyes are on her back

is it you?

talking to your female friends

when a man enters

you reveal your choice every time

the man comes first

women only afterward

is it you?

thinking they don’t notice

when your eyes drift

from female conversation

to a man’s deeper tone

as if attention were garnered toward

the male of the species alone

don’t you see? you put down women

with every favor you give a man over

she

and whilst you may say

no that’s not true I am an equal opportunist

an observer will note

the change and variance of your attention 

you are a creature of men

owned by their regard

choosing them first in every scenario

sadly undermining

the worth of women

it is surely what lets us down most

the value we place on each other

being less than the other gender

call me an old embittered dyke

biased in her choice

if you need to

but truth speaks

louder than worship

and I must ask

is this you?

Third time lucky

006-alfred-eisenstaedt-theredlist

The proverb

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

Was in my mind when

I chose to forgive a third time

it was easy to say “if you hurt me again”

fill in the blank

but promises only matter if the person intends

to keep them

with your borderline posed to strike

it was impossible to calculate

if I would be cast again into fire

the only chance

how I chose to see the play

sacrifice the Pawn

save the Queen

it’s not that I’m especially important

but cruelty

cruelty is perhaps the last sin

unforgiving as karma

shows you the way out

you didn’t know it was only you I forgave

the other one who scratched I cast

far into the ocean

didn’t need their infernal clamor

they, just wreckage from a bad storm

I unfortunate to pass by at the wrong time

you were different

there was always something in the depth

of your eyes and quiet strength

yes I confess

I wanted not to lose you

but I could have said the same

when my mom closed the door quietly

packed her bags and went

see, you think you have me figured

maybe you do

aside one element I keep pretty tight

I’m stronger than even I know

it’s what happens when you get used to

let-downs

when you came and went third time and said

I don’t believe in you anymore

I don’t trust you

I think you’re shit basically

in the clear light of day I could see

this wasn’t about me

this wasn’t factual

sometimes others will believe

oh you must have something to do with it

just as the shallow person who told me

you’ve got a track record of being left

tried to leave her barb

what did she with her haikus know

of patterns? she needed rules to write

I had fucking wings

now she’s just

a taste in my throat I want to spit out

I grew up then when I learned

accusations may sting

but they’re not truth and those

who are weak enough to seize upon them

are just fools

with hypocrisy in their veins instead of blood

but you were different

you were my sister of the plains

we shared French blood

I admired you

it wasn’t enough

you cannot force someone to feel

or undo the damage wrought

in their mind before you met

it’s only necessary that you know

when it’s not because of you

which can be hard if you’re prone to guilt

that’s how we grow and develop armor

perhaps we won’t even trust

the next person who comes up

palms flat

asking for succor

or perhaps we will

because to shut the door

hurts only

the one who is left standing

when you tried to blow her down

erase her

when you hated yourself so much

you had to try to destroy

the mirror image

who refused

to shatter

stubbornly she still reflects

what you hate

about yourself and

what she loves

about you

Joanna

56akpbgJoanna

I never knew your last name

Benjamin wanted you more

than he ever wanted me

for your madeline face and framing water fall

of black hair

Joanna

as thin as if you only ate thought

your knees could not hold together you

came apart like a dearticulate doll

everyone felt so sorry for your ragged sorrow

though no one knew why

looking perpetually like you would cry

a Picasso blue girl of faraway gaze

Joanna

if I had not envied you the heart of a boy

who had bewitched my own, or felt your ability

to balance upside down on monkey bars

making you superior in the rules of horse chestnuts and marbles

I may have seen the threadbare grief in your eyes

how from the hollows came the cry

it is apparent now in a way a child refuses

blowing her rage with swollen cheeks

as if temper lost her place in a world of shut doors

why wasn’t I kinder to you?

why did I try to compete when all you wanted

was respite from the terror of being

Joanna

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

That made us three

wdfgI did not question my worth

I did not say stop this is not necessary

ego needs no increase

it is not an egg to crack and drizzle

leaving bright stain on good intention

we lived

on the breath work of shared emotion

they loved me and I knew

where afterward I could not duplicate

in any drawer in any sea

as if all the stones that made us three

were thrown too far out

a necklace reliant upon string

to loop meaning

 

she became an actress

of a stage for one

and he

continued to wander

until he ran out of doors

and I

gave away my legacy

and my dancing shoes

thrice mended, never substantive

we all of us turned to leather

under a foreign sun

wondering

what became of those three souls?

who linking arms

laughed with heads up high

thinking all the time in the world

was theirs to choose

(for D & J)

Frozen music

16003205_1833113303616542_7912161581201337846_nThe ice storm

swallowed sound

as suddenly as calm was lost

trees became music

weighed with the tongue of cold

if there is one time I should think

letting go and lying down

to bathe in clarinet wonder

it would be after ice

has swept clear our pretense

that we are in control

that our little lives are not

at best

fragile

liable to

freeze and thaw

by the whim of storm