C’est La Vie

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I remember

the fire and the ice and the winds and the waves

but I’ve forgotten

her smile

the way he used to laugh;

such is life, they say

but time

has carved away at the cliff face of my memories,

the same way sand carves away at the stones upon the seashore.

 

I remember

everything we left unspoken

but I’ve forgotten

the words we spoke, under the unfaithful stars.

I remember the ending,

but not how it all began,

because such is life,

or at least that’s what they say.

 

I remember

my life in symphony with yours;

such was our life, together –

and such is how it ended –

two divergent paths,

having met at a crossroads,

inevitably returning to their separate ways –

an ill-fated love,

doomed from the start;

but such is life.

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Love, Vanquished

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“Why don’t you write a joyful poem?”

S’il vous plait,” she says to me,

“Poetry”- a subject about which we have spoken comparatively little,

“Is mournful by nature.”

 

I am struck, as if by lightning,

Not by her seeming revelation

About the nature of the artform in question,

But by the formality of her please.

 

She is one of those dying breed of people –

The ones who understand with brutal intimacy

The difference between te and vous,

The ones who use language like the fine edge of a blade,

Ruthless, remorseless, ravenous,

Knowing just where to wound –

How to throw salt upon one’s soul

So it will strike those pulsing, jagged wounds,

How to wield a fire, wild to the last,

And tame it.

 

I am silent,

And she switches back to English,

But I cannot speak,

Not in one language, nor in two.

 

Poetry,

I’ve found,

Is, indeed, mournful by nature,

Not unlike the art of love.

Shadow Land

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She is pleased

On inauspicious days,

Days when the sun rises so red

That you’d swear it’d been painted

With the blood of ten thousand cowards.

 

She rejoices

In the sharp, salt tang of treason;

She’s a city-slicker, picker of fights;

For her, valor is not a good enough reason,

And youth is the only worthy season.

 

She’s the one who sways our hips,

Licks our lips, sips

Her coffee as her eyes meet yours,

And she is like the moon,

Bright and bare,

And it is she

With whom you fall hopelessly in love;

I sometimes wonder –

Will you settle with me,

Or would you rather I surrender,
Wholly,

To she?

crystalline

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I can see in you

That this night brings about the sweetest of sorrows,

The clouds of our breath

Forming halos ‘round our lips;

They are there one moment,

And gone the next,

This fleeting thing we call peace;

It, too, is there, then gone;

It, too, flares and fades,

Crystals forming, faltering;

Falling.

Still Life

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Modeled from Jane Hirshfield’s ‘Pebbles,’ from her collection The Beauty. I adore her work and mean no infringement through my emulation of her poem.

The disloyalty of Lucifer,

The Fall of Man,

And Paradise Lost;

All in the same still-life of a half-eaten fruit.

 

Like that,

I remember you.

A Letter to Myself

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It’s one of those nights.

 

One where the stars are too still in their orbits,

And I can imagine the scent of your perfume

Lazily wafting its way around the room,

And a love song – French, because those are the kind you liked best –

Is lingering in the air,

A mere whisper

Competing with the sounds of the rain

Tapping its melody upon the windowpane,

And the train hurtling through space and time,

Carrying me far from where I was,

Yet bringing me no closer to where I meant to be,

And the fruits of my youth lay wasted at my feet,

And a kind of melancholy that only visits me when I think of you

 Like a cloak I put upon shoulders so that I can wear your sorrows,

If only so you can dream a dream of peace, tonight,

Has taken hold,

And I burn and yearn to make right my wrongs,

To make my peace with my Gods,

And I sit here, staring into your soul,

So revealed in the brights of the eyes I see reflected back at me,

And I pray for both of our salvations,

And I blink and you are gone;

One of those nights

When I wish I could take wing

And travel back through time to be where you are.

 

 

It’s one of those nights.