Musings with Morning Coffee

This week, a woman was shot

in my city. It happened but a few blocks 

from where my children, and I, sleep.

This morning, her ex was found

in his car, on a road I cross every day,

four months after their

relationship had ended.

His suicide is thought to be 

his admission of guilt, 

his resignation

of what could have been.

I will not condone murder,

and love is only love if it is mutual, 

otherwise, McCullers explains it best.

Between lover and beloved, lover

is the more favorable position,

but intoxicated with fantastic notion

of what this person makes you feel,

beloved becomes victim,

playing with fire, like a fearless

stuntman, risking more,

everytime they interact.

If lover cannot handle pain,

bitterness will take over, and fester

in that broken heart.

Beloved, let me love you

by letting you go. 

There will be

no coercion  of my own will

over yours.

I would never bring about your end, 

and I believe the fact that 

a man takes his own life, after robbing her

of her life,

shows that even lovers

know their plight. Not having

to hold, is not the worst thing,

if the other does not wish

to be held.

What matters is when we realize

to let go.

I’ve been in far too many situations

where someone wanted me to

be, for them, what I was not,

and I didn’t have the courage to

speak against them. 

It is just as frightening

to be beloved,

as it is painful

to be lover.

Sunset Over Texas

There was no snow in April,

nor thunder in Febuary, 

but now the sky grows grey

and dark.

I tried to tell you that evening

when the day had waned to

thin orange stripes, contrasting

bright pink clouds, a sun half-sunken

below a somber horizon.

You would listen by and by,

a solemn nod, faint smile,

but your eyes were lightyears

away from whatever 

I was saying.

I wonder now if you will miss me,

when you find I’ve gone.

If only heaven and earth were not

so great a distance,

and there was only the

white porch swing

on a patio of this

too small house.

You

I’m impartial to lukewarm,

and annoyingly cautious, so

I understand that you would test

to try and gauge how I react,

but then I wondered if it was a game,

and wanted desperately to trust.

So, when we climbed the cliff’s tall face,

standing at the edge, I stole a glance,

and envied your decided jumping.

I rebalanced, tried again, but could not

commit.

Stuck on the edge of this earth, caught,

wishing just to be reckless enough to

plummet for my own reasons,

but I keep looking for you,

and I can’t let go.

Rally My People

It does not matter if you loved me,

or if you love me still. 

You can call

to my window. 

I will not hear you.

I spent hours in my fortress,

wondering if you felt anything 

other than the most shallow 

form of affection. When 

I needed you, you did not answer.

Deaf to me, my muse had become.

I embody my own

Lady of Shallot, peering from her perch.

Weaving for no greater purpose,

seeing you only from the corners 

of my eyes, contorted reflection,

never as you were.

Half-sick, I tried to call to you,

but you did not heed my cry.

It was then my mirror shattered,

frustration and anger, its 

demise.

No longer do I wait and watch,

nor listen for your voice.

I await the death of love.

Rally what you can, 

but do not hope.

As for my people, 

I have none.

Just a Rambling Reply

Always two extremes form in
you, and coalesce as black and white,
but love and hate are on opposite ends
of an exaggerated spectrum.

I won’t deny that jealousy had a factor,
but I wasn’t the green monster
seething over some other girl took
some place I never really wanted.

Spiteful, protected, maybe even annoyed, but hate? I feel no rainbows
when I see you anymore, just
a dandelion who lost his seeds.

A year is not really an indication
of how well anyone can know you,
a blink of time not much longer
than seconds or minutes.

Sand may pool around my ankles
in this hourglass that I gaze from.
I seek patterns, for habits are more
telling than all the time in the world.

You seek immediacy, using malhumor
to break the ice, and I don’t understand
the constant need to press issues,
specifically, the very things I fight for.

I emerge with newfound knowledge
as I clean up another of your messes.
You again left your friends, no word,
no reason, but that’s not your problem.

You can’t sweat it out. It’s just too much to promise something,
never having the intention of
finishing what you started.

What am I to you? That’s all I really
want to know. It doesn’t take passive
poetry, so I am genuinely befuddled.
Exercising patience is somewhat of a pass time, but I am at my limit.

Come out of the dream, stop illiciting
the monster, and tell me in words unspun. Truth is prettier when it isn’t
tossed in some sugar, cinnamon, and set aside, soon to roast.

Straightforward

(Forgive the formatting on this one. I should have done it all from Word, but I didn’t.)

By now, she thought he would have stopped talking to her. In truth, she wasn’t really sure if he was talking to her at all. He was writing sonnets for the newspaper, and she thought some of the details looked a little too familiar.  Christa had often written poems for the school newspaper, but, no matter who asked, she had never given insight to whom these poems were about. Some called her secretive, others creative for being so imaginative.

But now Frank was submitting poems to the paper, and they almost seemed to be in response to the original poems she had written. She tried to think it was coincidence, or maybe just as a device to propel his own writing, but some of his verses made her heart ache.

Christa re-read the last two lines of his latest poem, “Lady Misguided”, trying to keep herself from having an emotional reaction. The lump in her throat prompted her up to make another cup of tea.

Frank and Christa never dated, but sometimes she felt like they might as well have. They were partners in a creative writing workshop, and both had similar goals. They became fast friends, and she felt like she could trust him, easily. She was eager to show him what she had come up with, and he shared with her his ideas and encouraged her to continue writing.

“Don’t you think this is too explicit?” She asked one day.
“No. Risk is key to becoming a writer. You must expose everything.” Said Frank.
“I’m not so sure… this crowd is pretty conservative. It’s not like we’re writing for ourselves.”
“Writing should always be for yourself. Don’t shy away from shocking the audience. It will be good to shake things up. Forget pleasing them.”

She smiled, and shook her head, toying with her pen. She crossed out a few lines, and wrote a few more on her paper. He attended to his own writing, scribbling notes in the margins, and she watched him from the corner of her eye.
The class continued, and at the end, each student read what they had. Christa received great feedback for her poem, and she smiled at Frank who nodded and gave her a grin. When he read his out loud she felt as if she knew what he was trying to say, but no one else in the class seemed to.
“I don’t understand what this is about,” said the professor, simply. “There are so many abstract concepts, and I am only able to experience what the persona is conveying abstractly.”
“It’s still a work in progress. I wasn’t sure how to bring it out of abstractions.” Said Frank.
“Try to focus on the details, and bring us more into the experience,” the professor advised.

Frank gave a nod, and shrugged at Christa. She wasn’t sure what to say that hadn’t been already said, so she stayed quiet. After class was dismissed, he confronted her.
“Why didn’t you say anything about my poem?” He asked her.
Her eyes caught him, and she tried to hide any trace of guilt, but she couldn’t look away. “I just didn’t know what to say…” she confessed.
“Well, I suppose that’s that, then.” He said
“What’s what?”
“Nothing…” He said quickly, he jingled his car keys emphatically, “I have to go.”
She nodded, and watched as he walked to his car. Her own hands trembled. Was the poem about her? Why was he looking for response from her? Would he really be so bold as to admit his feelings for her in front of everybody?
The questions echoed in her head, intensifying the longer she thought about Frank and his poem. She walked out into the night air, her breath catching in her throat, making it almost impossible to swallow. Did she like Frank? The question seemed too daunting to think about.
Her indecision seemed to make the drive home turn into one of the longest ones she had ever taken. She hit every red light, and even stopped at a green light. When she stepped inside she was immediately greeted by her dog, a cold meal cooked by her fiancé, Mark who was nowhere to be seen, and the flickering of the television. She turned the TV off, and inspected the meal, which she picked at.
It wasn’t like she didn’t love Mark, but recently she had been feeling like they had been growing apart. Not to mention the frequency of random disappearances had left her feeling jilted.
She was thankful for the silence at this point. It allowed her to muse on the night and Frank’s poem. She decided at some point that she must be over thinking things, and it was obvious that the poem wasn’t about her. Besides, Frank was the kind of guy who hooked up with many different girls on campus, and getting strung out on this decision was ridiculous.
Still, as the weeks went on, and their relationship became more confusing, she questioned whether she had been right to wonder if the girl in his poem had been her. It didn’t help that her own feelings were becoming quite resolute in her own mind. She liked him, and had even admitted it when she thought he wasn’t listening. He was listening, but he hadn’t commented back.
Christa gave up on any notion that it might be more than just an inclination, and decided they were better being just friends. When the class ended, they promised to keep in touch, but he stopped texting after a few weeks. It was somewhat expected for her, so she decided to write about her feelings. Submitting the poems to the paper came later, after she had time to take out what she didn’t want read.
She gave six of her favorite poems which were received with enthusiasm. The newspaper published five of the poems she gave them, but the week she of her last submission there was a different poet featured, Frank.
Again the cyclic questions plagued her mind, and she read the poem several times, becoming no clearer in her mind. When the other poems were published, she tried not to believe that they were responses to her original entries.
She thought about texting him, but she decided that if he really had something to say he would say it. She didn’t tell her friends, save for Mark, who scoffed that she could ever be so conceited to think that any of his poems would be about her. Still, she wondered, and her curiosity eventually got the best of her.
Knowing he worked three miles from the University at the local library, she made a trip to see if she might gain clarity through observance. It was a long-shot, and she wasn’t sure if he was even working this day, but she headed to the library anyway.
It was quiet in the building, and she had to pocket her keys for fear that it might give her away. She wandered the bookshelves, giving each of the books a loving glance as she walked past. She turned the corner, and promptly turned back. He was organizing books in the children’s section, and she was lucky not to have been seen. Her heart hammered behind her ribs, and she felt the heat rising to her face.
She watched a few moments from between the shelves, pretending to be interested in the young adult genre. Grabbing a book at random, she pretended to leaf through the contents of this book until he moved towards the display of pop-up books and puzzles.
Perhaps she should just go, she didn’t really know what to say to him, and knew that simply observing him was not going to yield her any answers. Her legs tried to casually walk away, but seemed to stop short, and between her body and her mind she was torn with the idea of leaving.
Suddenly, there was a person clearing their throat, and she twisted around in panic. An elderly librarian excused herself, making her way past Christa towards Frank, who gave her the details on his progress with setting up the new displays.
She didn’t catch the first half of the conversation, but she caught enough to realize that he was explaining why he couldn’t stay past seven. He had a date to get to.
  Well that is that, then. Even if I wanted to confront him about his poems, he would still have that. She wondered if she might confront him anyway, but decided against it. Too much was at stake, and she had dated enough to know that she wasn’t about to jump without a branch to break her fall. With this in mind, she headed to the exit, when another librarian stopped her.

“Did you want to check that out?” She asked, indicating to the book in Christa’s arms. Christa nodded, glancing back to make sure that Frank still hadn’t seen her. She headed toward the desk after the librarian.
The librarian clicked the keys of her computer, glancing at the spine of the boom, and the checking the inside of the jacket. After a few minutes of typing, the librarian frowned.
“Give me just one moment.” She said, and excused herself, walking towards the back of the library. In the back Christa’s she thought about leaving without the book. Frank’s appearance made her sure she should have listened to her own intuition.
“Hey!” He said, smiling from ear to ear. “How have you been?”
“Oh. You know. It’s been pretty good, just busy.”
He nodded, still smiling, “Right, right. Yeah, same here.”
“Well, good.”
“So, are you still writing?” He tapped on the keyboard, checking the book as the previous librarian had. He seemed to be having more luck than she had.
“Oh yeah! I had a couple of poems published by the newspaper. You?”
He stared at her a moment, his own smile diminishing slightly, “Yeah! I saw those. Inspired me to put mine in too.”
“Yeah! I saw that you had one published last week.”
His smile appeared again, and her eyes met his for a long moment of silence.
“I did. Did you enjoy it?”
“Thoroughly.”
“Well, I am glad.”
There was nothing she felt she could say without asking him what she had long suspected. Part of her wanted to break the polite tension, and ask him,
but the other part seemed to kill every question on her tongue.
He finished checking her out, and wished her a good evening. Her hands trembled as she reached for the book.
“It was… it was really great seeing you, Frank.” She said.
“Yeah. We should meet for coffee or something sometime. We could discuss poetry, or just hang out.”
“That sounds great, Frank.” She said, tucking her book into her bag. “Just text me when, or whatever.”
He snickered and waved her on. “Will do, sweetie.” She paused, suddenly wondering if the term of affection was just part of how he spoke to women, or if he had intended to get her attention. He stayed behind the desk, watching her.
“Well, I gotta go. Lots of stuff to do.” She said. Her own mind screamed at the automated farewell, and she moved clumsily out of the doors, feeling stupid and much more confused than she ever had.

Reckless Soliloquy

Intertwined with hope, we won
a chance to see the ripples
of our actions take place,
reverberations spinning
out a message so faint.
We nearly missed it.

She was who you really spoke to
when you said those
honeyed lines, longing hanging
on your breath,
and yet I was beguiled.

I would not be taken a second time,
not down the path of
ambiguity, tearing out my innards,
if you asked, to realize you’d
only wanted to be wanted.

The spider stirs from her small corner,
thinking only of herself, weaving
lies upon each other, but I implore you, wait.

As for the woman that lives in
dreams, doling out love
to love struck men, I am not her.
She is cunning, and beautiful,
and I am just me.

I obsess about the way I sound,
try to emulate some grandiose
notion, as if I have a clue what
I even mean.

I’m not really pretty, but I remind you
of something serious you once had,
and that scares me
because I can sense it too.

Real things mean that complications
will arise, and the spider loves
her chaos.
I’d approach with openness and honesty.