“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 fields of rice has stopped for now.

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

And put them in a pot of soil till we meet again, whenever

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

To leave and let 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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“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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“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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“When we said goodbye on Beacon Street”

When we said goodbye on Beacon Street we hugged.

I smelled must on your jacket, lemon-mint in your hair.

I would have sighed, nested my chin in your shrug

In another universe, but all I dared

Was smile before walking away. In another universe

It may well be that we’d’ve kissed as lovers will,

Embraced, laced hands, awoken side by side, traversed

Deserts, mountains, planets, and shooting stars until

We’re at the moon river’s end, just to go back and return

Again. In another universe, maybe

We’d hug and not go, or we’d never have met and I’d not yearn.

But in this universe we said goodbye on Beacon Street

And though in another universe, I’d be a lover if I could,

Perhaps in this universe, “goodbye” is just as good.

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Gallery V: Storm in the Mountains

A series of loose Petrarchan sonnets meditating on the Hudson River School. These were featured as part of “Falling for Pawling,” a musical production based on student works performed by the Sherman Chamber Ensemble. This is the fifth and final poem in the series.

If in eternity’s arms, Rome was built in a day (1),

If solar storms flood the earth, the galaxies sprawl,

And time scores our lives away to nothing at all,

I don’t blame you for thinking it doesn’t matter anyway.

But things do matter, like fireflies in the Hudson Bay

That glimmer on our fingertips and in jars, or small

Spirals of rainbow in marbles, or the way your hair falls

Over your eyes, tangling shadow and sunshine rays (2).

I do not care that the universe spins and grows,

Not when stars that die still reach and bend

To give us light, and there are emerald seas (3). No one knows

How long we have, but the real meaning of life depends

On all the small things we can’t see. Life may ebb and flow

Towards nothing, but I think by knowing this, the world never truly ends.

  1. Ruins-Campagna of Rome by Albert Bierstadt
  2. Sunshine and Shadow by Albert Bierstadt
  3. Emerald Sea by Albert Bierstadt

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Gallery IV: Starrucca Viaduct

A series of loose Petrarchan sonnets meditating on the Hudson River School. These were featured as part of “Falling for Pawling,” a musical production based on student works performed by the Sherman Chamber Ensemble. This is the fourth poem in the series.

We’re like the two fish in the sea (1), once asked

By a wise old fish, “How’s the water?” They swam on

Without care, till on the both of them it dawned.

“What on earth is water?” they asked, flabbergasted.

We swim, like them, in moonlit rivers (2), steadfast

In drifting, never dreaming of snow on a Swiss lawn (3),

Of Greenwood Lake (4), of falling gardens in Babylon,

Of love; unconscious, floating, thinking this is the last.

We think this is the world, for all we know is here.

And in our future, everything above will still not matter.

But one day we must open our eyes, and that I fear.

I fear the day we must wake up and gather

The air in our lungs, when it all becomes clear,

When we see the truth, and realize, “This is water. This is water.” (5)

  1. Looking Out To Sea by Jasper Francis Cropsey
  2. Moonlit Lake by Jasper Francis Cropsey
  3. Winter in Switzerland by Jasper Francis Cropsey
  4. Greenwood Lake by Jasper Francis Cropsey
  5. “This Is Water” by David Foster Wallace