On the Mortality of the Moment

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The shutter clicks,

And a photograph is born,

But what of the moment?

It is not quite over yet,

But, then again, it’s ending soon,

And though you just immortalized it

With your clever camera,

Some deeper, more primal part of you can’t help but feel

That you missed it entirely,

That while you were busy remembering the rule of thirds

And telling everyone to smile,

You were too far removed by the separation

Of the church of the camera and the state of the mind

To be fully present in the moment,

The one that is now lost;

The one your children will find buried in a shoebox

In the closet behind the door;

The one that you let flare and float away,

So consumed by your fear of missing it

That the moment, that shining, long-lost moment,

Ended up fluttering away on some wayward breeze,

Having missed the people it came from above to see.

The Dew

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The dew that dazzled me this morning

Is gone,

So I was wondering if

Maybe

You’d want to go back,

With me,

To when it was still shining,

Radiant,

A tiny drop of the ocean

Clinging

To this terrestrial world,

Fast fading,

Yet glinting and glimmering in the sun

As if

It had nowhere else in particular to be.

 

The Day After

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The sun does not fail to rise

The day after.

It does so quite like it always does,

Ascending high over your empire,

And when it sets,

It does so upon another world,

Waiting just beyond the horizon,

Golden and ripe for the taking;

The field turning fallow

In the absence of the farmer,

The conquest going unconquered

In the wake of the conqueror’s demise.

Ode to the Apple Abandoned at the Side of the Road

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The fruits of the tree

Lay squandered;

How is it that to the side of the road,

This singular apple has wandered?

Where are his brethren?

And dare I ask, is he lonely?

I picked him up,

But haven’t we all been taught that abandoned fruit is unholy?

I left him there,

I must say,

And though his flesh looked sweet,

I condemned him to a fate of wasting away,

A lone traveler lost

By the side of the street,

A wayward grocery

Left to rot in the oppressive heat.

Don’t Call Me Beautiful

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Don’t call me beautiful;

I am not the sunset to your sky,

And besides, hasn’t anyone told you that beauty is but a fleeting lie?

 

Don’t call me beautiful,

I am not the soundtrack to your cinema debut;

And in any case, I – I am painted in a darker hue.

 

Don’t call me beautiful,

I am not the moth to your flame.

Call me by my name.

They Called Me Pluto

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Note: Previously published June 2016; Edited August 2017

They called me Pluto from afar, and I,
Nameless and void, embraced the title
With the force of a thousand burning suns,
Each one like the star I loved ever so dearly,
An immense sphere of fire which had me
Helplessly, hopelessly bound by its gravity,
Caught in its orbit from the beginning of time.

They called me Pluto still from further still,
Speaking my name as the orbit of myself
And their water world drove us apart,
And I gladly, worshipfully rejoiced –
I had a name; I was no longer void.
I was distant still, but they called me Pluto,
And I wore my name like regalia,
A crown upon my lifeless skin.

They called me Pluto still as they
Waded further from the cosmic shore
That was their home, sending probes
That touched the regolith of Mars –
There was life, and light, spreading out from Planet Earth,
So I waited, hoping they’d come for me
Sooner rather than later, tomorrow and not two centuries from now.

They called me Pluto even as they stripped me of my name –
I was ‘planet’ no longer,
And I grew colder and bitterer as I spun,
Because I knew things they did not,
Things about the rise and fall of civilizations.
They did not see what I had seen,
They had not been watching
Since the dawn-time.

They called me Pluto,
And they cried my name
As I watched them burn,
The light of the flickering candle in the dark
That had once been humankind
Flaring, more luminous than the sun for one bright, shining moment,
Then fading.

They called me Pluto in the aftermath,
As if I were the God of the underworld,
Guarding their lost souls from my far-off perch,
Shepherding that which could not be led,
But I was not their God, even if I’d once fathomed them as mine.
So here I wait, patient, eternal, void and barren,
For them to leave me lonely when they no longer
Dare to speak my name from the realm
I am the supposed guardian of;
They called me Pluto.

Forsaken

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When I stepped out today,

I was not expecting the ocean to look so gray,

Nor the cries of the gulls

To match so perfectly with the outline of distant oceanliner’s hulls.

 

There are birds flying high above,

And part of me wishes Peace would send me her Dove.

Though I am so busy sitting here, writing this poem

That perchance I might miss the omen.

 

The clouds are collecting secrets

On the nature of human weakness;

They are amassing for war at their gathering,

While I paint them and wonder if this is the right moment to be capturing.

 

I am probably giving them more fodder,

But ‘tis true that I am the Mother Earth’s daughter,

And I could not resist the temptation

To watch them as they imagine the world below, forsaken.