“I remember you as you were”

I remember you as you were those months ago –

The budding marigold in the arms of the wind.

Time has spiked silence on our court and pinned

Our tangled nights to the bullseye, but even so

In my thoughts your gaze still volleys with mine;

We walk through the zoo of lights, aquarium of words,

Bump shoulders and fingers. Still, the birds we heard

In the cedar trees have long since flown. The train line

We rode to the same place has stopped for now.

But I’ll pick up the blossoms of days with you from the ground,

And put them in a vase until we meet again, whenever

That may be. I’ll set them on the mantlepiece and vow

To leave and let it bloom, till the day comes around –

We’ll meet, we’ll embrace, and embrace – a moment of forever.

Written January 17, 2019.

Parameters: Inspired by Pablo Neruda’s own “I remember you as you were” poem, very loose Petrarchan sonnet

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“It’s been raining since”

It’s been raining since you were fifteen

And the men with closed fists stomped in the puddles

Rippling their rage into the present.

On rainy days, all you want is to read novels and poetry

And too much into the look of twilight reclining into my eyes,

Next to the window glossed with pearls.

But it’s falling down, a torrent breaks the pane and the weather men –

The ripples coil into waves and snake around you

In a suffocating embrace of seaweed and salt.

Isn’t it too dark to see in this storm?

If you wait a second, lightning snaps its fingers

And a comet tail of light bends over you for a breath

But even so, how can you follow the story

When it is dripping off the page

Back into the ocean? You exhale –

Flailing in the ink, wishing you knew how to swim.

Written January 14, 2019.

Parameters: freestyle, Pablo Neruda-esque juxtapositions, horror

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“I saw you yesterday across the road”

I saw you yesterday across the road, walking

Up the staircase, under the architraves, towards Minerva

And her temple of turning cogs. All I could discern

Was the curve of your shoulders, but though the rain was falling,

The fog thick, I knew it was you by the way the air

Parted for your stride. My friend dropped her ice cream and asked why

We mourn what we never really had. I could not reply,

Thinking how there were surely gems of raindrops in your hair,

Wondering if you might hear my voice above the traffic roar,

If you’d know the shape of my mouth, the cadence of my shout,

Or if to you I’d be a silent, nameless face in the crowd.

The strawberry ice cream, like crossed paths on the shore,

Washed away with the water. You, I’ll have to do without.

The cars and rain are clamoring anyway, and my voice is not that loud.

Written April 28, 2018.

Parameters: loose Petrarchan sonnet

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“It’s a hard truth when your heart”

It’s a hard truth when your heart is made of satin ribbons

to be wrapped around another like a present,

But do not keep your ear to the ground,

Because he isn’t calling your name across the shore

And certainly isn’t whispering that he loves you.

Don’t keep your eyes peeled either, because he’s not

In the crowds or standing on the mountains,

And you don’t have to wear contact lenses today

Or tomorrow or any day to see him,

Because even though he was right when he said you can see the stars in your irises

And you’re worth more than gold,

If only you could untangle your stretching heart from him,

Take a moment to see beyond

And remember that today’s gold standard is 1285.60 per ounce

And yesterday it was 1283.80 per ounce –

But that you are priceless everyday.

I know it’s hard to see when you’ve got the entire sky in your eyes,

But it’s just like in those cheesy campfire love songs from your 14th birthday party,

If only you could see what I can see, you’d understand that looking in a mirror

Doesn’t reflect just how beautiful you really are,

Because beauty is on the outside,

not inside your head or his head or anyone else’s –

It’s the way you walk, the octave of your laugh, and the nod of your head;

It’s your satin ribbon heart not wound tightly around another

But tied up in a rosette in the palms of your hands –

And you don’t need to wear contact lenses to see that.

Written January 9, 2019.

Parameters: Lyrical poem, fragment, theme of moving on

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“Pretty city, won’t you tell me”

Pretty city, won’t you tell me

Why when the river sighs on rainy nights,

I think of singing 燕 (tsubame) perched to the right

Of couples embracing on the benches by the sea?

Why, oh pretty city, as I flâne beside the plane trees

I think of 杉木 (sugiki) and 蝶 (chou)’s spiral flight,

And columns conjure skyscrapers and the sight

Of tangled iron, wood, and glass that brought the passioned to their knees?

Dear pretty city, when your bells toll and chime,

I hear the branches whisper on the maple leaf and sakura hill

Where on a cool Monday moonrise I belonged

In the arms of one I loved, who loved me. How time

Pounds like taiko drums, fate blades like moulin windmills.

Do I wait on the bridge, or follow the swallow song?

Written January 7, 2019.

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“This winter night you become the ghost”

This winter night you become the ghost that seizes the bouquet

Of tulips and dreams I hold crossed against my chest

And drops it in the ocean, at least until May

When snow’s all melted and the doves awoken, but I don’t suggest

That I am Sleeping Beauty in her satin gown

For the waking kiss, for the truth is I’m dressed

All ready for the beach, and weighty things like love might drown

But I am light as a cloudless dawn and won’t let you halt

Me or any swimmer from plucking out the flower crowns

And wreaths of dreams from waters deep, and the salt

Of the stubborn, pounding shore when I walk along the quay

Will not stop me from loving the rolling cobalt sea I so exalt.

Besides – tonight too will pass with you away into the day,

And I never believed in ghosts all that much anyway.

Written January 5, 2019 (at 2:58am).

Parameters: terza rima, ocean themed

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“The constellations were covered by the smoke”

The constellations were covered by the smoke

Of your cigar, and as I squinted at Cygnus,

“What’s so amazing about stars,” you spoke,

“That keeps us gazing at night?” For Polaris

We chase no more down the banks of River Tuul,

And we’ve never understood the astronomer’s charts.

But someone once said, “Make a wish and you’ll

Be answered.” So lovers and thinkers sat in parks

In Lisbon and Kyoto watching swans

Glide on long pearled lake lights and thought

How gold and clear the sky shines at dawn

And constellations connect more than just the dots.

That might be why – When we part to places new

I know we’ll keep on stargazing then too.

Written December 31, 2018.

Parameters: Shakespearean sonnet, memories of this past year

“You threaded your fingers through my hair”

You threaded your fingers through my hair, kissed my jaw, and said,

“It’s a shame time was too short, space too long.” I was hushed

By your butterfly lips that quivered on my neck, and shushed

By your weaving arms around my waist. I wanted instead

For you to say, “No matter the oceans between us to tread,

No matter what storms, crowds, chaos be spread, I’d rush

Through the cosmos to reach your side. I’d crush

The hourglasses to shards and sweep the sand, so I could dart ahead

Of time itself to the point where our lines once more converge

For when we are together, timing doesn’t matter.”

Yet when your hands tangled in mine I cared not about forever,

But rather if you thought that then was right and meant to be as well?

With a knotted kiss and coiled legs, the chance and urge

To ask fluttered away, and now, only time will tell.

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