Poems From Last Weekend

Numbing the Hand

Warm hands, warm heart
Cold hands, warm heart
Numb hands, numb heart.

The hand that feeds
Is numb to your desires.
The desires of the heart
Are not felt in the outer extremities.

A rose with thorns
Leaves no sting on numb hands.
The companionship of held hands
Numbed.

Numb hands, numb heart.

 

Love Is Something So Divine

Love is something so divine
That it overlooks these numb hands of mine.
No ice melt water or slushy churn
Can halt me from the unflinching burn
Of that passionate halo – Love.

 

In Dreams You Appeared

In dreams you appeared
In flammable seaweed
Walking to shore with a cigarette in hand.

You light your cigarette
Setting yourself and all the shoreline on fire.

You represent the oil spill of my life
Contaminating my essence
Destroying the love that is divine.

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The Crackdown

Work, bus, drugs, arrests, drink, and
struggle
and no good music anywhere.

And the young male press
says the crackdown on us is coming.

I say we’ll crack ourselves
before they ever get here
if we are not too careful.
They step over us
to avoid their mother’s backs.

Don’t walk alone
they shake their heads
they say say say
all sorts of stupid things,
but they do not say
how to get cabs with money
that stays in the rich man’s pocket.

We each walk alone
Needs must for the lazy (they say say say)
mother
because the late shift pays more.

We rest at last in rooms
behind the hardware store
through the alley
where our children sleep
in streetlight light
that shines
through thin curtains.

Copyright Kay Winter

Chalk Drawings in the Rain

Standing there alone, at the precipice of nightfall, the air turns cooler, daylight appearing a little dimmer and the shadows begin to fade away slowly. One moment his silhouette is beside him, it draws longer before simply dissipating in the pale, late afternoon ambient light, along with all the other shadows. It used to be so clear; his relationship with his kids, the expectations’, the experiences. But now they seem to be dissolving like a child’s chalk drawings in the rain.

It’s strange when you get older and your children do too, it’s not the same for you both. For one the days run by like a fast moving bus leaving one to yearn for what they may have missed and for the other they seem to draw on forever, full of opportunity, excitement for what may come, adventure and anticipation. For the parent there is a sense of loss, for the child freedom.

You knew it was coming, all the older folks say it’s so, that the time you have with them passes by so quickly and we take it for granted. That time passes by like a mid-winters day, and soon you’re wondering what happened, where did it all go, why do you feel as though they’ve forgotten you. You forget what it is like to be a teenager, cruising around with your pal’s, the freedom, no one looking over your shoulder.

Your daughter has a boyfriend, he gets more time than you now, she looks at him with that same lost essence in her eyes that she once had for you…when she was like five. It hurts, you feel betrayed, left behind, alone. They all grow older; your son leaps out the front door in his letterman jacket and the keys to his future, and his little tender hands not in yours, tugging you along. Finally the youngest glances back at you as she runs off to join her team mates on the field, it’s not fair you think, you used to throw her in the air and now her fellow ball players celebrate with her, they chant and cheer her on and they are louder than you and the sound of your voice diminishes as it gets carried away in the fall air.

Breakfast is lonely now; it feels unnecessary, like an old outdated custom. Like an old book you once loved to read over and over but it just seems like the words aren’t quite as bright as they used to be, the pages are more fragile and worn and the cover has seen its day in the sun, it eventually finds its way onto a shelf higher than the rest, it may be pulled out now and again but the air between its pages will grow stale and it’s binding dusty. Like all great books, once celebrated its now simply remembered.

You taught them, aimed them in the right direction, and gave them the tools they’ll rely on when they are all on their own. You are happy for them, and are yourself excited to see them flourish, grow and become adults. But somewhere along the way you forgot to prepare yourself, I suppose that’s what happens though, you love them, cherish them, teach them and watch them step away.

Miss Betty

She was beautiful, her white hair appropriately cut, her large, round, gold framed sunglasses reflecting the few clouds hovering above Parker’s Lake in the otherwise clear blue sky. Her thin, pale hand pulling on the pretty little leash attached to her small Bichon mix. She walked in her comfortable shoes towards me along the asphalt path. I had stopped to photograph a turtle sunning itself on a rock just off shore, and when I turned and saw her she smiled a crooked smile and wished me a sunny day. I responded with “me and the turtle wish you the same miss”.

She paused, she didn’t know me; I wore a blue t-shirt exposing my tattoos and faded jeans and cheap, dark sunglasses. Then she turned full round and stepped back towards me only a single step and threw her tired arms in the air and said “who couldn’t enjoy a day like this”. I introduced myself and said “indeed it’s a beautiful day, almost as much as you miss.” She stepped closer this time and stuck her hand out, I grasped her hand gently and gave her my name, she told me I seemed like a nice guy to which I replied…”my fiancée seems to think so” and she slapped her knee and whipped around and said “oh darn it’s always the nice one aint it!” I laughed and she asked about my fiancée.

Leaning against a rock wall along Parker’s Lake under a strong and warm spring sun we chatted about love and politics and travelling, OCD, addiction and recovery. I was already late getting back to work after lunch but I didn’t care, she was sweet and funny and we quickly became friends. She had spoken about a book she was reading called Switching on Your Brain by Caroline Leaf and how it had transformed how she saw things. She said it showed her how to be happier…by choosing to be happy, she has OCD she said and her husband is a recovering alcoholic and she spoke about how sometimes we just need to decide to be happy and that it doesn’t matter what others believe or whether or not they accept us as we are, it’s up to us whether or not we choose to be happy on our own terms.

She patted me on the arm and said that we were meant to meet today, we saw eye to eye on some things and not so on others but we both enjoyed each other’s company for a little while on what had already been a beautiful day, but now had become much more than that for me. When we allow ourselves to remain open to what’s around us we invite opportunities to be rewarded, sure that means we can be hurt too, there’s always an innate risk there when we make ourselves vulnerable, but I’ll take that risk any day! Thank you Miss Betty.

Today and Always

Life is so funny sometimes, not ha ha funny but queer funny, a little weird and unpredictable, even strange and disorienting. Every time I think I have things figured out I soon learn thereafter that I am as lost as ever and things really aren’t up to me.

When I met you I was taken aback firstly by your beautiful looks and secondly, after having listened to your voice, and then having heard you, your heart, echoes of your pain and reflections of your scars I was captured by how beautiful your really were. I connected with that pain, with that history. I recognized you like an old friend I hadn’t seen in a long time, not in the way that it might have been had we not seen each other in person in a long time but like when you realize that that person has been near you, close by and maybe even by your side for a long time and suddenly it hits you, the two of you are connected by something more than you can see, more than is actually tangible, by your spirit, by your yearnings and sense of desire.

When that realization hits you it destroys what you thought you may have needed or wanted, for me it was singularity, especially after having been in a relationship for so long, I wanted nothing to do with being in another one. But I would soon be captured by you in more ways than in spirit and heart, my world changed, my desires too and my needs changed shape. Suddenly I couldn’t exist without you by my side in some way, that scared me and I tried to push it away, please forgive me for that. I had been in a relationship for many years, but I hadn’t been loved for many more.

You began to open my eyes to the possibilities that lay before for me. You showed me what it means to be adored, to be loved for everything that I am and am not. I cannot thank you enough for what you have given me, for all that you have done for my soul, for my heart, it has healed far more quickly and earnestly than in any other time in my life. Also thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for my children, they are all of the parts of me that you aren’t and together all of those parts make me whole, validated, quantified. You all make me count; you have avenged me for my shortcomings and made my life so colorful and breathlessly wonderful, each day when I open my eyes and you are there beside me I know I will be all right, I know the sun will rise and the stars will shine for you, so thank you.

I love you, today, always and forever.

The holiday

The holidays always come faster than you think

and then they are here and you almost want them to go away

it seems to be a reminder of what you’ve lost

of the memories that once were

and the people no longer with you.

Today I have a family

but it’s not my family from birth

I try and be joyful

but I am sad.

One day

maybe things will feel differently

but until then

I celebrate for being alive

when once I thought I wouldn’t see another year.

Midnight River

No one understood how deep the darkness was.
This darkness was not the redeeming darkness of night.
It was a darkness that crept across the page, between words.

River water ran through her blood.
It renewed her soul, flowing both deep and muddy
in places, and rippling with sparkles in others.

She looked for redemption in these waters of contrast.
She tried to let water wash the darkness away but it was too heavy.
Words and water alone were not enough this time.
This was a darkness she fought with everything she had.

The road out of town she followed was not others’ road.
Her road was a solitary journey, of discovery, of quietude.
She stood for a moment in silence, just breathing,
absorbing the energy and history people left behind.
It’s what made places holy.

She had always wanted to fly.
To spread her arms and effortlessly take flight,
bending her fingertips just so to catch the breeze and glide,
to follow her heart without blinking,
to feel weightless again, but an open cage door
is of no use to a bird with a broken wing and though
glass birds sparkle in the sun, they shatter when they fall.

She knew some paths were meant to be lit by the sun
while other paths were better lit by the moon and stars.
Moonlight changed her when she breathed it in.
It seeped into her veins and silvered her soul,
awakening her anew to the wonders of night,
helping her see things she couldn’t,
helping her understand things she didn’t.

She inhaled the night like a bouquet,
Taking comfort in landscapes darkness hid,
the glaring imperfections of a man-made world
overtaken by soft purple shadows of dusk
and even softer grays of moonlight.

She wondered what was out there.
Fearful but aching to fly.
Because when she felt the wind in her face,
she could see, she could create, she could be.

She looked for rain to wash down on her,
baptize her soul with color.
So she would always have an artist’s eye,
a musician’s ear, and a poet’s soul.

Her poet’s voice urged her to write,
her inner fears held her back.
Voices within argued over her pen.
She wrestled between opening her heart
and keeping it safely closed, protected.

Allowing herself to be loved was so much work.
She wished she did not understand…
– what it felt like when a heart stops beating
– that love cannot conquer everything
– that the night does not hide everything
– that she could not fly like a bird.

copyright Nov 2016, Cynthia Sherar