tell me again

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tell me again

what’s wrong with me.

I’ll pull up a chair,

like a child listening

to a bedtime story,

while you list all the ways

I will never be enough,

remind me why I am alone,

sing me my failures,

question my abilities,

paint my inferiority,

hum my inadequacy,

strum the notes of my wrongs,

then ask me

why

I don’t

believe

in

myself

anymore

(someone with a brain tumor doesn’t look like that)

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sounds improbable

perhaps made up

even the radiologist

laughed (before):

“everybody thinks

they see a

brain

tumor

on their MRI”

maybe just

for sympathy

or attention, what better

way to make

people feel sorry

for you? really,

who talks about

it? If it was true,

you’d just be silent,

depressed, dying,

figuring out why you,

why YOU? so we’ll

silently nod our heads

in doubtful sympathy,

noting your normal

face, and we’ll keep

our doubts quiet

while

you

are

still

here 

The Music Man and Peace by the Sea

 

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The Music Man, he soothes; he plays all his chords in blue,

leans back his head, eyes closed, fingers of a poet.

He plays out his soul, in sonnets of electrics strings,

harmonies of rain and green. He’s made of music, mountain,

and silence, still searching for his home.  His melody

so sweet that clouds rain words, lift hearts into bloom.

Miles and miles away, she sits in peace by the sea,

and the mountain tells the waves the Music Man’s song.

She hears it all, Music Man’s dreams never sleep; she collects

each note, each word, each dream, two souls – and builds a home for both.

Questions

How did she taste, when I was writing poems for you?

Was her bed warm, did you sing to her, too, while I waited

in silence for you?  Did you look behind or ahead or only

in her eyes?  Was the press of her flesh all you needed

to feel alive?  Were my words tossed aside like last weeks

trash, while you cherished her body, and I walked alone

outside? Did you wonder what it meant as you sighed in

release, the waves of torment you set on the seas?  Or do

you owe nothing to no one and your body is free?  Do you

realize that your body will never claim me?

The Star Watcher

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She crawled inside the night to wait

as the sun sunk low, all of her warm

colors followed her down to the sea.

Like music, she heard them go – sun

and her bright yellows and reds – drums,

full orchestra as she bowed her head.

The oranges, peaches, and pinks

danced across the stage, violins echoed

their softer song, and then dropped

with the wind. Only piano remained,

clear and blue, and indigo inked the sky

as day let go – and silence.

 

And, for so many nights, this is when

the stars would come. The keeper would

release them, one by one. He’d watch her eyes

as stars transformed the blue, and the blue

of her eyes drew the stars inside. And in her sky

he’d draw magical things, and that is what

her heart was made of. But one night, the keeper

never came, and stars began to disappear.

Others claimed to see them still, but her sky was dark.

Deep inside her the magic never returned –

a heart without a keeper, a sky without the stars

BORN IN THE USA (we both say)

classified categorized signified

Who am I?

This is where I was born.

You think you know?

We are all….

We are all….

Every one of us, the same

must be geography

blame culture

this, a place no one wants to claim

because every one of us is the same

Right?

Does one voice speak for us all?

cultural assumptions

invisible me, an anomaly

No.

You think you know.

assume

They are that way.

simplify

Yet you with your own national pride

expect respect, are not denied

But those people, the U.S.,

they are THAT way.

Some things never change

(we both say)

No One Knows

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No one really knows the face

behind the garden gates, but

she smiles when the sun holds

her gaze. Eyes of ancient wonder

sing notes of blue upon the garden.

And when the leaves of fall crown her

gold, she holds it like it’s the last

she’ll ever know. Colors die,

cold creeps in, fades her into stone.

The flowers and sun betray her light.

She becomes invisible again.

Ending Up Alone

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“I will end up alone he says,” and in the silent pause,

so many doors close. She collects the know before the feel,

cancels the gray-haired couple, arm-in-arm,

rocking late days on the porch of music. Promises

to stay, believe, carry him to night, those are blown away,

stripped like maples’ autumn color, disappear like summer

days. Perhaps he chose alone to spare her in some way.

Though the layer of fallen leaves and torn up plans weighs

deeply through her bones, she carries pieces of him with her.

He will never be alone.

where is he now? (for Anthony)

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where is he now
the gardener of souls?
his “good morning” silent,
cardinals wonder why
sun, looking for a reason
summer holding on,
flowers broken without his songs
the gardener of souls
where is he now?