(About a 3 minute read)
On the warmer nights in the winter
I would sit on the patio composing
Poems for you who had no ears
For them. Poems I once called,
“Lighting colored patio lamps
To guide your way back to the stars”.
I’d sound their words softly
Almost in whispers to hear
If they had begun to flow
Like molten gold to me,
If the heat was on them.
We met when you mailed me
About your husband of 11 years,
A preaching man
Who with his congregation
Wanted you to become the perfect
Wife and subservient helpmate
To all their needs,
But true to none of your own.
You spoke of how you were losing yourself
How you were losing yourself to them.
“What do i do?? What can i do?”
And you didn’t cap your “i”s.
I think I saw beyond your questions.
I think I saw into your spirited heart.
Perhaps being older I knew,
As you did not, consciously did not,
The value of your authenticity to you.
Patio lamps to the stars.
I composed patio lamps to the stars
Then you said the stick-figure
Drawings of my penis
(That I’d painfully created over the years
By ripping them from the deep reaches of my soul,
And rendering them on museum-quality,
Had made your raw and honest emotions
Visible to you,
Made them concrete and tangible,
So that you could touch them
I didn’t really mind you didn’t get my jokes.
It wasn’t like they were all I did.
It wasn’t like they were all the gifts I had for you.
But they were I think where my love showed,
Was left out on your porch by night
For you to feel it for breakfast in the morning.
It was my love for you that moved me
To introduce you and him who I knew
Would be better for you than me.
I know in this sorrowful world
The sad people offer their
Wholesome condemnations —
Condemnations that substitute
For genuine insight —
Of women who like you dump a friend
For the one reason you gave
(My lack of money)
Then turn on me too
When I stick up for you
Saying I’m a chump and a fool
To be suckered in like that.
But I do not condemn you
And I do not condemn them.
I know judgment never truly sees true,
Never sees the marrow
Beneath the bone.
It’s just that I don’t understand
Why we couldn’t stay friends.
Have you ever dug down beneath
The troubled mud of confusion
About something important to you?
Have you ever looked beneath
The wind-lashed waves, looked
Into the darkness below the surface?
I did that with you.
It felt like being ground to a point
By a sharpener and yearning
Then to glide across your breasts
In order to leave
A fine and gentle mark
Somewhere in the vicinity
Of your heart.