Portrait of an Invisible Man

His jeans once belonged to another man and it
shows in the vacant spaces where flesh should be.

The desire to turn over a new leaf has given way
to staring contests with a peeling radiator.

Debits and credits meander through a sotted and swollen
mind until red blankets each and every boulevard.

The arithmetic of our choices adds up perfectly, so
much so, that we can’t bear to face the ledger.

In a round, nut brown serving plate, a half-eaten baguette
sits stale and useless, hardened to all who enter.

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Saint Lucia’s Day

Inside, breathing branches sprout from oak pews.

Fireflies, misplaced in December’s frost, beam in the distance,
beckoning small raving robotic feet towards them.

Apprehensive proud faces, normally high but now low,
guide a row of bobbing robins to a prearranged nest.

A jig, a gallop, and sometimes a lilt, followed and not understood,
around a taciturn pony, small in stature with a vivid coat.  He
cannot hold them forever.

Wide-eyed descendants bereft of blood ties shoulder ancient
symbols: a straw goat laced with red ribbon, rounds of rye stacked
on a blood orange wooden pole, and cotton porridge piled high
in a brass pot.

Weighty and faded gilt stars rise high in the air, reflecting the
prayers of the public who witness their passing with quiet
anticipation.

Wavering flames encased in snowballs, cracked with crystal,
herald the beginning of the end.  Modest though they are, they
too will lead us out of winter shadows.

Massive wooden doors gingerly part to reveal burning saffron
crowned in youth’s ephemeral glow and a rill of fire flows
through the tabernacle.

White wax engages in a one-sided game of tag with the star
swan’s vulnerable neck, hoping to summon it and its brethren
towards the tendrils of Spring’s solace.

Outside, snow falls against scarlet gates.

 

The First Door On the Left

You enter the room where you child self dreamed.
Your dreams have changed but the room has not

The water-stained ceiling has not forgotten how your
salt-caked eyes stared wildly up at its jowls, dazed by
what the day had dealt you, oh so ready to retreat into
your ever expanding skull.

Those walls, those taciturn aunts and uncles, recall
your mirthful mouth making merry after August
birthday thrills and encounters with middle school
Rudy Valentinos.

The pre-Instagram picture window, alone now as it
was then, reflects on who you were, who you are, and
who you may yet become.

You leave the room where your child self dreamed.
The room has changed but your dreams have not.

forever edited

Decay of the visible is difficult enough but the
assassination of the unseen is a far greater crime.
Amazing transformations are taking place every day and
already, we have lost precious and valuable slivers of
energy that could have been used in an
alternate life.  The disintegration of our histories is a
puzzle that we may never be able to solve.
Symbolic objects pass through weathered hands, forever
edited for meaning by time’s ever-changing whims.

she could not say

An august owl, silent as sycamore, perched
on lofty marble throne just might, if not napping,
catch creatures of carelessness with its divine
hatchlings.  Protected by tripart shields, they
detect everything which moves under moonshine.

But, Maude saw nothing behind the light–bright
sun out of synch–on that secret sleeping
road.  Whether man or monster came her way,
she could not say.

The Tranquil Tiger

Rippling crystal becomes bistered and soiled,
staining learned thumbs with mud from this noble
land.  Immature garnet tresses lay slumped beside
woven palm leaf, gasping for air with the fire of our
founder on their faces.  They will never know the
power of their ancestors, those heaven sent messengers
with twisted fingers, blighted by warts, but which smell
of tropical winds.  One quick slice and a tiger’s hide
is exposed.  Stripped of black bands, the beast is tamed,
becoming a willing servant to body’s desires.

Apricot Moon

That droning throat buried in
his fingers, cracked and tanned as
barren earth, narrates the tenderness
of our times.

Into the wind, from hoping souls,
agile lungs stain this burning night
with the bittersweet shades
of our days.

Somewhere past midnight,
but well before dawn, silence
falls betwixt brandied cheeks,
yet our hearts wail on.