Note 12

There was a time when I saw you
In the smoky corners of
Crazy slap rhythm bars
Emerging from the haze
Sashaying between
Groups of fixated men
Like a haze licked dream
And you laugh then, and now
As but the beautiful can
We started to exchange
Stolen looks across crowded floors
And the doors, Gracey,
The doors we had to open
Just to talk
You shied at my suggestions
And cried unashamedly
When they died
I took you in my arms
and smiled inapproriately at the sky
We moved through the years
The bars became smokier
It was harder to breathe
That stale air
Peacock feathers and cards
The faces always changing
And Gracey laughing at time
The lines, the lines we had to swallow just to ride
You were my prayer, my dream
The luck I had to spend a second at your side
Decades trickled by
All has changed but the notes of fickle laughter
High, clear invitations
To a beautifully private joke
The bars are paved beneath a road, that crazy strip
And the laughing days are rarer still
Like a fill was leavened
The cup drunk
All those years of tipping arms, swallowing, exhaling
I find you here, at times, looking out over the busy road
Looking at the past, I think
Then I call to you:
You are not the caged bird, the cage is in your brain
And the corners of your mouth go up, knowing, uncaring
Just plain stubborn in the face of it

I stand alone at the road and watch the cars race by
I do not cry, for you would not approve
Hell runs in the grooves of life
But the heaven we held is ours.
"Life appears: a complex dampness, destined to an intricate future and charged with secret virtues, capable of challenge and creation. A kind of precarious slime, of surface mildew, in which a ferment is already working. A turbulent, spasmodic sap, a presage and expectation of a new way of being, breaking with mineral perpetuity and boldly exchanging it for the doubtful privilege of being able to tremble, decay, and multiply."

Roger Caillois, The Writing of Stones

High tide falling
Blue upon blue upon blue
Wave after ceaseless
Wave pours through
Across shallow sand
crunch of shells
Where sea greets land
Under orange-footed gulls
Under paved grey sky
Whose clouds announce:
This I'm a slave to
And proud
Proud to crave
This where I'll live,
Where I'll be
where I'll die
This is what saves me,
How I survive.
This is the sum
Of a life near free
Another day wasted
On ripples,
A place to be,
Another one before
The sundown
A few more steps,
A last ride;
Frown replaced
The motion of water,
Another tide.

3 x chapbooks currently in production, excerpted from 'A Dictionary of 26 Nothings.' This is my first short story collection, written on the road in America and Russia.