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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Spider-Bit

I got spider-bit.
She tagged me
Close to a vein.
Her venom nearly
Went to my heart
But stopped short.

Her poison was enough
To complicate matters
And leave a talisman
Reminding me 
How close I came
To sorrow.

She left a bloody blister
That I regularly attack
With the blade
Of a knife I secret
At my bedside.

For a time my blood
Will flow.

Crimson will stream my flesh
To be staunched
By pressure and bandage.

I’ve been spider-bit before.
They all left
A souvenir
Of their silent visitations
But my knife only slices
The one most recent.
All others remain scars.

If you think
I am referring merely to an  
Inconsequential
Spider bite…

....Well
Dear Reader….

...You have never
Loved a woman.

I Don't Remember


What’s that you’re telling me?
That you and I were close?
That comes as a surprise, girl
It can’t be as you suppose.

I don’t remember loving you.
I can’t remember why
Though you said I told you once
I’d love you till I die.

You don’t seem too familiar.
I don’t recall your face.
If you were someone I loved once
I’d run to your embrace.

I’m really very sorry, girl
I don’t recall your name.
If I did I'd sure tell you.
Now, isn’t that a shame?

You must have me confused
With one who looks like me.
If I were the man who loved you
I’d remember, don’t you see?

I really must be going now.
I have lots of things to do.
There are some folks that I must see
But I don’t remember you.

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Reasonable Death


I did not know him
A stranger to me
Yet a brother.
Now he lies
An empty vessel
Poured out
Upon the cave floor
Of Abdullam.

The scent of gunfire
And blood
Come to me
Stinging the air
More with sorrow
Than acrid powder.

We are beyond
Searching reason.
We know the reason.
The question rather
Is how we go gently
Into the silence
Of the earth
Happy to die
For so powerful
A compulsion.

Tomorrow
Or the day after that
The muzzle may point toward me.
I hope to
Smile at eternity
In a way
That brings skeptics
To puzzle
Over such
A reasonable death.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I Wish I'd Said That # 12....


A fact is not a truth until you love it.

~ Shelby Dade Foote 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Champion Hill


Where cannonballs flew

Dragonflies flit
Above thick, green-standing water.
Where American boys
Were dismembered and died
Now ancient trees have fallen
Toppling the ground
The way their corpses did
More than a century and a half past.

I am not certain
What I came to see.
Perhaps I was seeking
A rend in the fabric of time
To glimpse the obscene carnage
And hear the fading echoes
Of dying men.
In retrospect
I would have felt
Pungent shame and
Puerile embarrassment.
The death of any man
Especially in war
Is a very private thing
Though it be on the most public forum.

All I saw
Was a lonely
Broken asphalt road
Bracketed by telephone poles
And trees
All smothered
In Spanish Moss.

All I heard
Was playing children
In the yards of double-wides
Set far off the road
Accompanied by cicadas
And barking yard dogs. 

No one but I remembered
That this seemingly innocent geography
Was guilty as hell
Or that, with little effort
One might unearth war’s accoutrements
Including human remains.

I came to see Champion Hill
But discovered
No champions
No hill.

I came 
A voyeur
And returned
A penitent.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Getting Older by the Day

Today is my birthday. As a young child I watched this day approach with all the anticipation of awaiting a circus train. But as a much older man, the day is a curiosity; a thing at which to wonder. I think I will celebrate by getting my long-ish hair shorn closer to my scalp. Perhaps then I will be less attractive to the blade of the young bucks, seeking a trophy for their lodge poles....oops. Wrong century.

James

Time Fire


Darkness mocks me
Stares back into my
Wide open eyes.
The hell with digital clocks
Is they
Flash time precisely
Unlike the grace of
Sweep second hands.

So I dance
With my demons
Wondering endlessly
Wondering
At the whys
And where-of's
Of this too-brief
Life.

Had I stood
A half inch to the left
Those bullets
Would have killed me.
Had I have been a bit more
Kind
She would have stayed.

Had I stopped
For coffee
Or had I not
Taken that call
Pivotal elements of my life
Would not have
Happened.

Life is the construct
Of the choices made
In a single second.

I tease
At my life’s frayed edges
Unraveling the moments
In the dark.
It must be an ordained review.
Even sleeping pills are
Useless.

So I stare into the void
Knowing sleep is paper
Memory fuel
And time fire.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Secrets


Secrets may bind hearts
As surely as love.

Secrets shared
Are secrets compounded.

It is no longer the secret
But the secret that there are secrets
That knot the attachment.

Quietly held
The way evening holds shadows
Unspoken mysteries
Like darkening hues
Grow more potent
As time passes.

At an undetermined point
Parallel lines converge at infinity.
The secret
And those who held the secret
Become known.

The secret dissolves
And loses its mystery.
The power that bound the two
Instantly disappears
And its particle remnant
Is known as shame.

The two secret keepers
Once fast friends and collaborators
Now cannot tolerate the presence
Of one another

The world clicks
Its collective tongue
And a new secret is born.

The new secret is
That secrets themselves
Are not based in love
But desperation.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Desert Thunder


I live on earth
Lightly.

I make no footprint
Take nothing with me
Leave nothing behind.

My breath dissipates
Into vapor
Wispy as mist.

What few words I speak
Are as a turtle song
The coo of a dove
The thought of a dream.
The boldest of my speech
Is desert thunder...
Rumble without echo.

I use resources sparsely
Needing little to sustain my flesh.

Do not think me motivated
By agendas of conservation.
You would misunderstand.

I am free and able
To use all I want
But have no such want.

Everything I need is in me.

My shadow shrugs off the soil
Like an old coat
And I am unencumbered
Of this shrink-wrapped
Pre-packaged
Tawdry and cheap facsimile
Of what passes for life
In this sad age.

I live on earth
Lightly.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Lazy 8's


Isn’t it strange
This turning of the wheel
Drawn on the sky?
Like lazy eights
And the breathless way I feel
As I watch the biplane fly.

What a turning we have been
Twisting in the air
End falling over end
Coming back to earth
Devil may care
Without wingman or friend.

Would that daring flamed you
As it did my soul
Weightless tossing of the heart
Horizons lost
Craft falling in a long, slow roll
Nearly tearing me apart.

You flew one way
I another.
In time, our time had passed.
Any heat I feel, I vent
The breath I have, I smother
Knowing nothing ever lasts.

So, pardon this sense of awe
And how I seem to reel.
It’s bent within my frame
And the nature of my flaw
To act on what I feel
And play my token in this game.

It’s like lazy eights
Etched upon the blue
Stark white, and strong
A testament to fates
The old becoming new
No matter right or wrong.

Write this on the sky
Let the Ariel song be sung
In verse bright and bold:
Let us live before we die
And be young
Before we’re old!