So, I have a tendency to write little poems in random journals. Basically I will write in whatever journal is at hand. And did I mention I have more than one journal? I have at least three. Don't ask me why. But I do. One my the bed, one in my backpack, one laying around the house or taken on trips or lost and then found at various times.
I decided it was time to type out the poems for one of the journals. These are largely unedited/unrevised, but let me know if any stand out to you.
Thanks for reading!
Johnny Varble (12-1-11)
Big slick file folders
full of notes that were once important
But now he is gone
and their hieroglyphics are yet to be deciphered
Will they ever?
So, we look through sheet by sheet
saving what we can,
what is discernible,
what reminds us of him without making us cry,
His notes on how to make an excel sheet,
a brochure for last season's performances at the local theater.
It's all gotta go
as he is gone,
but without the surprise of his leaving
over the edge of the road
with his dog in the passenger's seat.
We can't hold on to these papers forever
but we can't help but feel guilt for ripping his memory apart
page by page.
We shred the once valuable stacks of information
one file cabinet at a time.
Keep or throw?
These items with his handwriting scrawled in the margins
old papers worn at the edges and yellowed with years
and accidental stains of morning coffee.
This paper on which I write is his
top sheet of notes and memories already discarded.
I couldn't let the last few pages
go to waste.
Office papers, were not the heart of Johnny.
His heart is outside
with the horses in the barn and the cattle in the fields.
This cowboy forced to fill out the forms
we now hold in our hands
our young hands unwrinkled with time and still warm
from the afternoon coffee.
We make the decisions
paper by paper
memory by memory
making sense of what he left behind
making sense of his lost time
and our days ahead.
Spinning not unlike the earth
Spinning not unlike
the earth off kilter on its axis.
Round with rounded edges
smoothed by years of seasonal rains.
This stone looks more like a button on my nubby, woolen sweater
my favorite, not itchy at all
The shiny buttons of which pull against the the thread bare seams and the
deep pockets, in which I warm my hands
away from this frigid night air.
My palms press deeper into the cloth
closer to the warmth of my skin
In time, keeping time
with the seasons as my metronome
each revolution brings me in closer
until I can feel the warmth of my own breath bounce back at me
with each exhale
It reminds me of snuggling up to you from behind
so close that I can breathe in the scent of your neck
then exhale the warm moist air onto the fine hairs at the base of your scalp
tiny droplets forming on each one
Tonight there is a chill and your body heat is a sweet treat.
Along the road
dried tumbleweeds from last summer
scamper across the lanes
the wheel softly turning
I roll, along gentle curves into tomorrow's night
Looking up I swoon
the stars spinning before me
and inside my head
As they shine
I can see the mist of my breath
in an icy fog.
This night will spin and turn to day
just as it did before
and I will wait and watch my steamy breath turn cold.
There is a point
There is a point
when blue turns black
where today becomes tomorrow
and today becomes yesterday.
There is a point
when smiles turn sour
when laughs turn dark
and he begins to turn pale.
There is a point when blood stops flowing
and the heart stops pumping
and the sky yawns
and the stars fall.
There is a point
where I end and universe begins
where hopes turn to lost opportunities
and shame to cancer.
Suddenly (No. 1)
I catch a whiff of my mom's apple pie
a boom of sweet sugar, cinnamon and apple
It's almost time to enjoy, but first
I put my nose back in the book
words whizz by and I evaporate
into the story of magic lands and unlikely characters.
Encountering myself in each chapter of fantasy,
I flip page to page
until it is time and my mom calls me back home
Suddenly (No. 2)
The lights went out and my sister sang
her voice carried through the darkness
accompanied by the click of the grandfather clock
wound to its coil and unnoticing of the dark
I lay in the still-warm bathwater
not sure whether it is safest to stay put
or risk a slip on the tile floor
to find a light.
Her voice soars up the stairs
unharnessed, unknowingly beautiful
She sings melodies
calls out to the shadowed corners and pitch black of the living room.
My mom lights a candle
I see the flames flicker in the bathroom mirror
"Charlotte, are you OK?"
I somehow want to blow bubbles in response
instead I lift my head and call
But, as I resumberge my chest and chin,
I hardly know.
And, my sister still sings
still haunting me with her memory.
Suddenly (No. 3)
I put in another coin
and roll the ski ball
Perfectly timed, angled, released
Lights blink as I win
tickets pour of the machine's mouth
vomit for useless coinage and cruddy "prizes"
neon green sunglasses I will never wear
a coloring set, a squishy ball with no purpose
The bells and dings and rings and beeps
are all beeping and ringing and flashing
An ADHD fantasy of rushed moments,
forgotten focus and
new beginnings without endings
The hush, then quiet
then suddenly we whisper into the dark
the world stopped around us
We stand and sit with ourselves in the dark
afraid to move
for fear we might break our bones
or our timeless sense of immortality.
whispers out of chapped lips
once painted bright
It could be time to call it quits
I put in another coin and
a fresh tune starts up.
Gosh darn it! I want to do something
Like to sky dive, get drunk or
actually use real profanity!!
Instead I tell my stories in rhyme and stanza
stories of adventures never had
and words never spoken.
Could I bother you to allow me this one,
That doesn't make me feel better at all.
Excuse me. I'd better so see if
the casserole top has browned.
Notes on a Nightstand
In a book in the drawer
next to the meds
which hum tough tunes
A cage for thoughts,
this journal's pages include the
dates, but no names
sentiments and expletives
circled, underlined and in caps.
The book is sinking, sunken and drowned in thoughts.
Notes hide under the water's reflective surface
mirroring life's day that plays above.
How many journals live in drawers like this?
Notes on a nightstand
trying to explain away the need
for the little, plastic orange container
that lives there too.
Dear Lower Back,
You are so sweet to call me up so regularly.
Well done, I'm listening.
Oh, how you love to talk,
and talk and talk and talk
Which I appreciate,
But, I asked you here today because
I am feeling ready
to let you go.
For us to go our separate ways.
You don't need to check in on my quite so often
I feel ready to forget you.
Is that too harsh to say out loud?
I don't mean to be mean.
Its just that
I could really do
without your constant reminding.
Like a parent you hold me back and
warn me against my instincts
Don't do that! Don't go to far!
Let's be reasonable.
Can't you just let me be?
For a month or so? a week? a day?
I don't think I can handle it much more.
You shouting at me daily as I wake up and when I go to bed.
Each time I want to do anything
you are right there to stop me.
Don't you think it's getting a little old?
Don't you have something better to do?
Because I do.
So, go ahead. and take a long
and let me be for a while
unconcerned, uninhibited and unrestricted
Evening Happening at the Oak on Peppertree Lane
A long, blue-green feather on the road
Harrumph! I flutter to the bottom branch
Grip and claw into the rough bark,
pull myself up, through the maze of branches up to the canopy
where the acorns are still green
I settle in to roost for the night.
Footsteps fall below
Two of them, one stoops to pick up the feather.
How odd, don't they know?
That's no longer good. Shimmering green, gold and blue.
Those feathers were only in good fashion for last spring
Clearly they won't do any good now.
Once a part of a corona
meant only for one reason
but that is all done
they are now abandoned
As it goes with we who are luckless in love
I now have to wait for next spring
To try and find her again
To show off my four foot tail of brand new feathers.
Don't mistake my warning for a serenade!
They jump and laugh in response
clinging together now holding hands.
It seems this couple must mate in fall.
Stunned Blue in silent thoughts that
have no end
a shade of near gray that washes over my ears, cheeks and chest
blood drained from my cheeks
empty of their glow
Like a match that can not be unstruck
the blue burns out all the kindling it can lays hands on
My worries catch fire with ease and burn
in unforgiving pyres
Being blue is not a mood, nor emotion
nor a feeling
Blue is a way of existing
as mornings wash into afternoons wash into evenings
onto darker nights
Blue is a shadow waiting patiently behind me
a faux friend with a false promise to keep me company
Blue sits on my brow,
making it hard to keep my eyes open,
even when I want them to.
Blue hangs from hooks on my cheeks pulling down,
pulling, pulling down
Blue calls me to close my eyes
close out the world
sit in the blue darkness.
Heavy lids bind this bright afternoon to Blue's gravity
Today's particular shade is steel blue
tomorrow's is not yet announced.
I am resistant
and the resistance clings to me like an oily residue that won't wash off
knees refuse to bend
full of loud pops
clicks and crackles
But I have to sit
the work is in the staying,
sitting in the thick of it
enduring the winds that threaten to topple my folded origami legs.
despite myself and my desires.
I'm looped with the lasso of untamed fears
to stay despite it all
despite your leaving, again
after how many years of coming and going?
I stay, cross legged and resolute
despite my want to run
so many "aways" to go to.
Vacancy signs in neon pink and blue
tempt me with their playful blinks
like batting eyelashes.
The backs of my knees and creases of my armpits get sweaty.
The familiar heat rush of anxiety
washing through me in waves.
I feel sweat beading at my temples but
my eyes remain half closed in inner reverie
Hands folded into each other
against all odds
against the odds that you'll come back
be gone forever.