Dark Morning

Dark Morning

“… Like images in a puddle bent / Projected from the night.”

The misty morning haze
Paints thinly my coat
But kisses wetly my face
Unwelcome & contrite

And quite like a fuzzy mote
In the vision of the day
Floats dejectedly the sun
A lazy leak of light

And trees on the horizon
Hue muted & translucent
Like blue veins under pale skin
Rise then vanish from sight

And that dreary sun’s ascent
Queer’ seems to darken the day
Like images in a puddle bent
Projected from the night

 

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The Marsh & Little Wood

Such a little wood can only drink so much rain. Its leaves of myriad greens droop from days of constant beating. Its dark, bulging roots lay drenched & gasping for air. The saturated top soil shifts & bubbles with the push of excess water flowing up from beneath it. So much water that a sizable pond has formed there, beginning somewhere in the woods & spreading out across the marsh, which slopes down from the tree line.

All around, the grass thrives in these swampy conditions. It has grown tall & vibrant green, needle heads poking out like patchy stubble across the surface of the water. Leaning in over the pond, the trees gaze into the shallow, shadow-speckled pool. When their reflections ripple with each drip from their heavy bows, they can imagine what it might look like to see their old bodies dancing under the soft grey sky.

Ducks & geese flying overhead make a stop to swim & snack on the spongey vegetation. One brave drake paddles all the way up to the edge of the woods, much closer than he might have dared if venturing across the marsh one clumsy step at a time. Now he floats effortlessly above it. Several of his friends, emboldened by his brave display, join him. They quack in a line back & forth, mocking the twisted darkness.

The scene—the whole of the marsh & little wood I look down upon from atop a neighboring hill—is full of movement & life. I want to throw myself into the middle of it, immerse myself in the grass-filtered water without care, my only thoughts those pertaining to the wondrous coming of spring.

 

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Prevailing Light

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Gray clouds slid down the windshield of the sky like a river of ash, aiming to shut out the sunrise. But how that golden wave pushed back, glowing in its righteous defiance! Its colors flushed richly with the strain of its struggle, orange burning at its cheeks.

Its light was so pure & good that it drew in the help of the gallant east wind. Quite unfortunately, the wind’s charitable gusts proved almost too enthusiastic, & the moment it heard the bitter, shivering mumbles of cold humans tightening their jackets against it, the invisible Titan mercifully settled.

But without the wind the brave little sunrise trembled & began to falter. And so the gentle moon, still watching nearby, just on the other side of the veil, came to aid the cause. It did what it could to pull back the stormy tide, but, as for all creatures of the night, the day is primarily for sleeping, & its assistance quickly yawned into absence.

Noble efforts as they were, the darkness continued to fall, & the golden glow dwindled. With both quivering hands pressed against the descending shroud, the dying morning looked down upon the earth with an apologetic flicker.

I stood in the window, staring into the rapidly fading warmth of yellow light until the heavy clouds pinched out the last line of color on the horizon. But I did not despair; instead I smiled gently at the hazy orb still rising behind its dreary oppressor. A dim but prevailing light illuminated the day.

 

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Rising Day

A subtle, rising glow of light breathes gently upon the foot of darkness; morning waits beneath the horizon, building slow anticipation for the wide & shivering faces already packing themselves into frosted vehicles to start the day.

The foaming orange wave swells & crashes against the receding purple veil, gradually washing away into the signature blue sky that blesses us in the daytime—but not before finishing its grand entrance, anything but routine, a new show every sunrise; it is the purpose & joy of the proud sun to perform for all creation, awing us with its brilliant displays of color & light & warmth, illuminating the stage & allowing the sky to be seen.

A thin break of red flashes just under the curtain, almost open, the final gesture of the prelude, which rolls into the next scene. The painted clouds freeze for a moment on the closing frame. The earth smiles—I capture a picture—& the colors slowly sink into the still blue.

Act Two.
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Her Expression

Every thought she has ever had can be known by the study of her expression. Through the emotional vicissitudes of each day, her story is captured upon her face; she adds each moment to a frame & wears it in her secret way, subtly painted across angular features, pale olive & thin.

Always begin by reading her eyes. They are like porcelain orbs set in shallow caves with blinking mouths, identical drops of ink in each center. Sad India pigments bleed from those stains; they spread beneath the shear skin stretched under the curve of each socket. Along the hooded edges that hug her gaze, fans of eyelashes perch themselves in pairs of long, sultry wings. Her searching stare is always dark, always piercing, yet in a way that is rich, with capacious warmth, like a sip of bold coffee on morning’s tongue.

But, for God’s sake, do not drink & forget the detail on her lips—full & pastel pink, with the signature taste of mint. Their texture is pliable but firm, a bed safe to tangle & whisper in, two soft blankets over the crowded pearls of a dreamer. They laugh. They kiss. They speak—but they will not tell you the story of her expression; they will only playfully direct you back to the deep well of her eyes & smile with pleasure as you guess at how to draw from it.

 

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Second Breath

That evening, in the blue light of a shrouded winter twilight, I saw falling leaves suddenly begin spiraling upwards through the trees.

I rubbed my eyes, reassessed my mostly empty—second or third—glass of dry red wine, &, with the slight squint of my dreamy eyelids, made the walls of the glass disappear. I stared at it curiously, slowly licking my tingling bottom lip. The opaque liquid left behind seemed to sit like a pool of blood in my tender & innocent palm.

A strong gust of wind shook the warm cabin logs, which turned my amused state of attention back to the gravity-defying phenomenon bustling outside in the woodland air. As the leaves continued to mysteriously climb & dance, I could hear their brown, crinkled flesh whispering prayers of returning again to the impossible place of their youth. Together, like a fabled lament of the forest, they told the longing story of May, June, & July, swaying high up in the branches, wearing the color of vitality, drinking light & life so abundantly.

I watched them. Up & up they soared, desperately reaching, twirling & chattering like lost fairies of spring & summer.

But suddenly there was silence; the breathing sky inhaled & all that floated in the treetops began to fall once again. I scooted my body closer to the window, captivated by how magical the switch appeared. It seemed to me then that it was not gravity that had previously been bent, but time; it was as though time reversed & resumed with the push & pull of the mighty, reigning wind.

It is common for an individual to experience multiple moments in life when time seems to slow or stand still, but I am quite sure it takes a much rarer trick of perception to be convinced of time moving backward. It was indeed a first & thrilling sight for me in this instance—but I am also sure that wine is & was a significant factor in creating the proper conditions for such a time-reversing illusion to occur.

I took another hearty sip of my drink—this finished the glass—as my gaze followed the leaves rocking silently back down to the winter ground. Somehow I knew the wind had not really gone; it was only just recharging. As I waited for its return, my empty cup was, without request, refilled by the familiar hand of my beloved. I found him standing in front of me, in the soft orange light of the cabin, his face feeling flushed as he met mine for a gentle kiss.

I cannot recall the precise amount of time that passed after that moment, but, regardless, & as surely as I predicted, the tunnel of cold air did come again, roaring back through the shivering valley, scooping the paper leaves off the forest floor for another—perhaps the last—ritual attempt at regaining the lives they lost.

“Abandon your mourning to this second breath of life,” I whispered to them, &, like a toast to good health, clinked my full—third or fifth—glass against the window, “for we can never go back.”

 

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What Strange & Resilient Things

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Oh, all the strange & resilient things that don the old trees in the wet winter forest.

On the weathered faces of those sleeping giants, clever mushrooms appear like five o’clock shadow. Their roots, stretching out across the plush carpet of decay like callused & twisted toes, are graced with fuzzy green socks of thick moss, rich in color. And around every naked trunk, wrinkled & leathery like roughly aged necks, are fashioned snug scarves of ivy vines.

High up, the wizened branches may crack & creak, like ancient bones in cold discomfort, but down below, damp leaves, like blankets of freshly shed skin, silently compress into fresh fabrics for spring clothing.

 

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Tethered

Do you see me?
In the holy space above you
Tethered by the gravity of your pride
Dipping down to sip your exhales
Frantically pushing away
When greedily I brush your lips

Do you feel me?
Groping the tapers of your shadow
Naked to bid it cling to my skin
Awkwardly mimicking the dance
Laughing with exhilaration
Then retreating back with shame

How many float here?
In the orbit of our delusions
Imprinted with the dark side of memory
Slipping further from reality
Centrifugal desire
Force, pull, placate these longings

 

ABOUT THIS POEM? FIND IT HERE : ABOUT MY POETRY

For Our Good

What words could fully incapsulate this human experience? I’m fairly certain there are none. For example, none that could describe such a mix of worry & disgust at my failings, yet simultaneously explain the undercurrent, the electric, jittering pulse of giddiness I feel about my hilarious carelessness & unjustified rebellion when I indulge in drink.

None of this matters! I… I should have left a long time ago! No—no, I’m sorry—
Indeed I think I meant it, & I’m glad I finally said it—
HA!
—you are so upset! I wish you could see how ridiculous you are being, dear.
You 
do know I don’t mean a word of it…

The verbal & written language is so peculiar. It’s all we have, really, to attempt to share this experience in the most explicit way. Yet even as we torture ourselves with trying to write it down “just so,” it always falls short. Even the wordless language of art or music, generally accepted to be universal… No, no medium can inject you with the exact same madness of emotion as I am experiencing at the moment—or any moment of one’s current fancy or otherwise

That’s why I’m certain there is a God. Nothing we create can truly translate this thing to one another. Yet I know deep within me I am wholly understood by something or someone. It’s all innate, don’t you think? We just feel it, we know it—when it really comes down to it—that we’re not as alone in our thoughts as we melodramatically think we are sometimes.

This visceral existence. This constant, fearful wonder yet infected with this unpredictable strain of emboldened pride, the force that compels us to keep fighting against the truth, the heavy, subconscious knowing we are but mere specs of dust.

What a paradox! I do love the mystery! Bless me—I am terrified & in awe! Bless me–I am hopelessly, fabulously intoxicated & full of joy at the moment, with the realization that I am pathetically human. Human & therefore perfectly, beautifully, a disastrous mess-of-a-thing.

And for God’s sake, do bless me! If you could just see me! I’m positively a-flutter. Admittedly, it is not just for the love of my God & the experience of this life that I am a rambling fool…

Can I tell you a secret? I believe I have been all but proposed to! Ah, but can I be sure? If he is under the same mist of bliss I am currently raptured by? Excellent question, my brain… Let’s think on it until we are rendered an anxious heap—the logical thing to do, undoubtedly, to be sure.

Oh, but if it is true… we should be engaged by the end of the year! And I shall not die young & unmarried as the wicked demons in my nightmares tell me!

What an effect this elixir has had on us this night, my love. But I trust our Father is working—working in all our ravenous sin & ridiculous impulses—all things together for our good.

I Dreamed I Had a Daughter

I dreamed I had a daughter.

She was dark-haired with big, searching eyes. She was small & quiet, quick & happy. She was the happiest when I was near her.

She loved to babble about the silliest yet the most intriguing things. She ceaselessly asked questions, danced goofy little dances, sang nonsense songs that meant the world to me.

I miss her. I hope I meet her one day. I hope she has a brother—oh! with my dearest’s sweet lips & strong hands… I hope I dream of him when I fall back to sleep.