Traffic and whispers

Drag out the story as long as eyespan will allow,
as meticulous as the ear leaning into words,
or count it as easy money, soul-light,
pavement-dropped and found with a single bend
sweeping it here and away, past and future
as good as never discovered, known or lost.

Veering in and out of traffic and whispers,
like late guests struggling to catch up
with the rattling clatter of winter’s party,
the crowd’s fascinations and coded music,
inexorably we linger, looking inward,
waiting for the stars to set

when the breeze bends, offering an opening
and wanting to follow suggestions down alleyways
into unknown alcoves and always
onward even after its final pages
close you out,
life knows us and leaves us in its seasons.

Sisters

Having penned me as an older brother
and all that entails,
point-of-reference for their sisterhood:
a segue, a footnote, an invention
like some ghostly shadow spurring the machine,
whose engine-name launches memory
again upriver or adrift,
a stop, a tangent, or a shift
in conversation,
this is how we relate.

This is how we relate in absence
by invoking shadowsong and scattertalk:
that time, that thing, that hour when
endlessness returns again, again.

Look, how easily we revive some slumber,
and past lives whose bedrock
leases clay for song-craft,
yesterday and endless life-raft

You cling to: spin, speak, slander, sigh
some spell and I am here again
in words and bends,
stories that make amends
or cast dim light against dark glass.
Recited or revisited as phantom figure
for whichever fluttering incantation
suits mood or mould,
(or so I’m told).

Who knew you could fold
it up and call on me again
with your pencil music,
conversant magic,
fantastic images where I am rarely me?
Never exactly,
mostly impression,
only as much as the tilt of light
on the cross-hatching of imagination.

Whatever sparks that flight and
your mind sketches form and face,
remember all you really see is
outline, shade and soundless space.

– 5 October 2016

Drama Queen

She shaded you. All these years spent
huddled in the penumbra of her smiles,
misread. They demurred, ignored her wit,
and brushed you off in turn, snarling.

Each day, whenever your hope shone
and tried a greeting or an answer,
a studied glance jeweled to impress,
they only sniffed, or hissed, or sighed.

What they felt for her poured freely
from those turbulent waters into your lap,
no matter that in your alliance
she was the drama queen, and you

Dissolved in her presence.
Numbers, they say, breed safety
but like two fabrics roughed together
the louder always leaves a charge.

– 1 October 2016

Collected Stories

Gather close by my voice.
Be at ease:
Undrape your coat,
Remove your boots, heels,
Fading mocassins, grinding sneakers,
Relax your soul and
Listen.

For what wandering days reveal in
Loose-lipped splashes, careless as
The lingering rain’s rolling fingers
Tapping out small city stories.

Just for you have I collected
Word-drops as I might once have stashed
Gumballs, marbles, cards,
Spinning tops, dreams, snow domes,
Magazines, cassettes, fears
Or any of nostalgia’s leftovers in
Abandoned stacks.

These, now, are my curiosities,
They entertain me.

Being mine, I suppose,
They are perhaps too easy to dispense with,
Possessions too cheaply given
That might be better preserved until
Cob-webbed and removed from view
I have amassed enough of
Yesterday’s neglected treasures.

Yes. Yet.

Here we are among the words
You will not write
Nor I speak
While fire turns to ash.

We are at odds while we
Dabble in telling silences,
Choosing to gather our
Unwritten stories.
(20 April 2015)