To one person passing they see a man ready for a date.
A bouquet of bright flowers cooly resting in his arm,
a weighted box of chocolates held in his hand,
awaiting the door to open, to be greeted with a kiss
and welcomed in, for her to be happy with the thought,
Another person, the one with a tough, knitted brow,
one who has faced the loneliness, now and then,
will not expect the door to open, for they can see
the heavy tulip heads and their drooping bow, tired,
wilting, paired with the chocolates bought at half-price,
I made the mistake of relying on motivation.
Like trying to seize an oiled balloon,
or wrangling a wild boar, it’s a mood
of stubborn refuse, it’s the bad tenant,
refusing to pay overdue rent, ignoring every
answerphone message with a fierce resent,
meeting only on its own accord.
If you’ve ever tried to capture a fly,
you know to come from behind,
fingers wide spread so it doesn’t feel the air
enclose upon it’s head.
Discipline is caught like that, and once I had it,
clutched tight in a balled fist, the wings
rallied against my palm,
and I let it go.
I don’t remember everything, unfortunately.
When anxiety strikes, remembering isn’t exactly
a priority, and with the past few months
of low rumble tension, through meals, hot weather,
and waiting in train stations, I forget some of the things you’ve said.
And so I keep a transcript. Your words,
uttered and whispered and spoken,
are put to paper in one block of ink,
bold and unbroken, so when I do forget,
and memory slips a disc of data,
which is quite often the case,
I can file through the syllables
and pry apart the paragraphs
to hear your lovely words again,
butter soft and sweet,
your words that could soothe a hurricane
We had the waves beneath us,
a gentle flow to sustain two racing hearts,
like passing sleepers below a train,
the comfort of a ticking clock.
She ascends the stepladder, tiptoes
the top shelf to reach the picture rail.
It’s secure. She clicked the hinge lock.
Found the flat surface for each foot.
She does as she does
a hundred times before.
Yet, I still find myself below,
knees with a slight bend,
arms in front, tense, to ready
a chance she might lose her balance.
After all, for the number of times
she’s caught me, it’s the least I can do.
I don’t remember writing these notes.
Some old thoughts, some potential ideas,
lost motes of worries, dreams,
fears? Quietly resting in the black book,
blue pen poured across the last page.
It’s my writing, years old, and translation
has been lost to age, far past the expiration date,
with no chance left for meaning or intent.
But, at least, it inspired two stanzas,
and produced some art by accident.
I pass through in the evening. Quiet now.
The wind gently rattles the metal shutters.
Enclosed behind the soft cotton, the spools of thread.
Only the syllables of footsteps sound through the tunnels,
dampening as they go, loud ahead. Muted mutters
and chants afar from the local beer and cider bar.
Some say if you’re still, if you hold your breath,
you can hear the echo of all sellers. Past, present, future,
each contesting wind, each rivalling the drawling traffic anthem.
“We sew, we cut, we mend. Fabric for sale in the west market end.”