into the false dawn





















I thought all night 
the day I bought you 
a going away present.
But if daisies and   
    McKuen poems
did not forever remind
          you of me, 
I'm sure nothing will.
-dfd 8/6/88

























preface






















1.

I caught you staring at me.
You didn't even try to look away.
Your hands on my smile,
      your eyes on my mind.

I wonder if in your stare
you are only picking out my imperfections.
And I wonder if you're smiling with me
                        or at me.

Then,
I stop wondering.
You're here,
and for now,
            this is all I ask.

Minutes away from you—
        I miss you.
You've spoiled me.
Now,
    I'm used to hands on.
Now,
            everything's alright.

If you go,
go quickly.
Don't let me watch you walk away.
I'm not that strong.
You see...
                      I feel too much.





2.

Basically,
I'm a selfish human.
If you go,
I'll swear you owe me
                  one more minute.

I know that's not true.
I owe you my world.
Because once
you let me hear you laugh.
And it made up
for all the lonely midnights before.

Looking back,
    on the first few days,
I remember how you came my way—
eyes darting back and forth,
anxious, but not confident.
friendly, but not aggressive.

I was yours
the moment we finally locked eyes.
Everything happened so fast—
  we laughed,
              cried,
                  and ran nowhere.
I learned so much about you,
and didn't even move a foot.

We shared our small world
until we were finally alone—
body warm on body warm,
  pressing closer into tomorrow
as the sun disappeared into the dark.
We ran as we met—
            no abandon.





3.

Now,
I need you as I once wanted you.
And I want you.
We loved and we loved.
No one can take that away from me.

I could never share you,
but I will,
    if that's the only way
  I can have you.

I could never let you go,
but I will
      if you ever need
  more that me.

Most of all,
I could never forget you,
How could I?
    I'll love you forever.

Please take me,
take all you need...
    take all you can.
I'm living for you now.

Love me...
    I'll always love you.

Take care young heart.
Remember,
  the sun's not yours to abuse.

























dawn






















ONE

Summer didn't belong to only me.
I never thought it did.
But for a time,
you let me forget the others.
I believe in only you then—
  (you and summer rain.)

Now,
  children laughing,
          and dogs sleeping
will remind me of this summer,
and anything that's beautiful
will always remind me of you.


We ran beach and hill alike,
knowing both buttercups and butterflies—
  we lived only once then.

Summer began with you.
I hoped only that you would wait around
to see earth change colour with me,
then hold me through winter
as snow painted white a blank palette
            of the fields we once ran.

Now,
I sit
needing fire for warmth,
watching snow bend trees
and wondering of you're warm
                and enduring winter,
  or if you're waiting for me to come
to start summer all over for you.





TWO

If this summer ends before we do,
  let's just hold on tighter.
Let's make every moment last.
If summer ends,
                    let's not.
We'll still chase dogs,
and walk barefoot
in cold mountain streams,
and talk deep into the night
with no regard for the morning.
We'll be us forever.
We'll take everyday for what it's worth
              and make every moment last.
As for now,
                      just be still
      don't move.
We can't afford
to disturb the quiet.





THREE

This is today,
and it belongs to no one.
        We have a right to claim it.
As for now,
don't move,
    let's not ruin our day.

If this rain ever stops,
        we'll walk about.
We'll make believe we're free again.
Like before we said goodbye...
            like before the rains began.

As it is,
the rain may go on forever,
    and we didn't last.





FOUR

Oquirrh landings and shady retreats
separate you from me,
and man-made barriers came up
    every time we fell together.
The moments we met were so far between,
              and then so short.
And you needed more than me,
        (or more of me.)
I needed only you.

It was hard letting go.
I never felt so weak and so vulnerable.
I told myself you needed
to see the world,
but not through my eyes.
I made myself believe
  you had another life to go through.
And I made believe—
          over and over again.

I could have made the life-hurt
so much easier for you.
Still,
  that just wouldn't be right.
You needed to grow
much more than I needed
the charge of your youth.

If you stay with,
I swear all will be equal.
If you leave,
    there's nothing I can say.
For now,
  just smile when you can.
Because when you go,
      remembering smiles will be all
                        I have left.





FIVE

I stopped running once,
but only to watch you alone.
You moved along the knee-high grass
so slow,
              so gentle.
Stems and your brown hair
tossed about in the breeze,
sometimes in your eyes
then out again.
You don't smile;
it seems you never smile,
    (unless someone asks you to.)
When you do—
      so brilliant.
I wonder where the lights
really do come from.

If you wonder why
I stand so close to you,
maybe it's because I like standing
next to beautiful people.

Walking beside you,
I hold my head up,
and for the moment,
      become gregarious—
so full of self-importance and worth.

You do that to me.

You live in your own time.
You ask questions,
then wait around for the answers—
                  you seem interested
Even at quiet times,
      you laugh on que
    and reward me with attentiveness.
You do right instinctively.
I'm at ease with you.
Even when sitting
inches apart in silence,
                        I'm comfortable—
not needing a foray of words
to find security.

You've changed me.

You've become more than a moment,
                you've become my hope.
And in time,
if I forget how to dream,
I'll never forget your smile.

If one day
you look back,
and try to remember
      why my memory is worth keeping,
remind yourself
of how hard I tried to make you smile.
You never do...
    unless someone asks you to.





SIX

We grew side-by-side,
but not necessarily together.
Back then,
we saw the world
through our eyes only.
Many times we mistook
        kindness for friendship.
We laughed together,
    cried together—
  we captured the world
      and gave it back.
Many times
we won
when we should have lost.

I remember everyday—
moment-by-moment.

I'm glad I got the chance
to be your friend.





SEVEN

In taking the days one-by-one,
I'm sure I've missed some smiles
along the way.
Now, in looking back,
times all seem filled with you.

We grew with no purpose.
We only smiled.
We never talked of the future,
  while never forgetting the past.
We lived
    as we'll always live—
      taking days
                      one-by-one.





EIGHT

We took part in a whimsical past,
tied lives with lies,
and ran until time itself ran out.
What we saw in summer
was vivid in winter,
and we never list regard for time—
although we had no regard for it.
      We were the whimsical youth.

Being young
  and being with you
was my reward.
I took full advantage.
In my mind,
I believed our friendship was forever.

Now,
as years and time erase youth,
only the memory of what was survives.
And even that is eroding...
      year
  after less whimsical
                        year.





NINE

I stopped thinking of you today,
but only for a time.
The Ilsa of my dreams died,
leaving behind a world full
                  of unconquered dreams.
I love you
as I love her—
    completely and absolute.

Time made me need you.
I need you right now.
I still believe in dreams and forever,
it's just that right now,
I feel alone.
          I lost Ilsa.





TEN

You took the fire
out of my eyes
with just a smile.
I looked up
and melted down.
You acted out—
    I gave in.

Do you know how much I depend
                on your youth?
And what you own
            with just a smile?





ELEVEN

If I were anything to you,
I would be a diamond,
cut to reflect
      all you want,
                  and you need.
A million facets,
so that everyway you turned me,
I would reflect differently.

Most of all,
I would be precious—
so that everyone would admire you.
I would want to be shown off,
              in your hand,
          and with pride.

But I could never be a diamond.
                  You see why.





TWELVE

Since you can't give me the rain,
and since you haven't the power
                    to hold the sun,
then just stay for awhile.
I can give you right now,
                  I promise.

Take it,
        you see—
you haven't been promised
tomorrow either.

You once asked me what I needed.
I said I didn't know.
Now I see that when you were here,
                    I didn't need.

Now,
I need only you.





THIRTEEN

For a time,
all that mattered to you
                      was leaving.
You forgot a past
you never lived,
and held no regard
for a future
you'll probably never see.
You held today
as long as it lasted,
never pushing into tomorrow.
You used me
like you used everyone else,
thought I never felt cheated.
I had only hoped
that I meant enough to you
                to make you stay
            at least one more day
But after a time,
I realized
that all that mattered to you
                          was leaving,
Now,
              you're only gone.





FOURTEEN

I turned around
just in time to watch you at play.
You do live when I'm not around.
It's not that I didn't believe you,
It's just that...
                I didn't know.

I found out that I'm selfish.
I'm not willing to share you
               with the world.
I cannot bear to see you in a crowd.
I want you alone,
just you and me,
      where I'm most content.

I can't share you,
I can't change,
But I will.





FIFTEEN

I survived another spring
just to meet you
and lose my heart
all over again.

I didn't really mean to love you.
I knew the consequences.
I realized how hard it would be.
But my heart didn't listen,
and your eyes...
            they were much too loud.

I kept a distance,
  at first.
I fell away from the stars,
and held back my hands
and prayed the morning would come
to light last night's mistakes.

Did you see me struggling?
Then why did you come to help me?





SIXTEEN

When you go,
I'll miss Tuesdays the most.
It seemed that
    that was your most lazy day.
You had more time for me
    and all I had to offer.

I'm not fool enough to make believe
you'd stay forever.
But I guess I am a fool,
because I spent time wondering
why you're even here.

We should be content
to share a June evening
with sunsets and shadows
being all that mattered,
talking deep into the night
with no regard for the morning—
              knowing it will come,
  but praying it will wait.





SEVENTEEN

If I took the time
to count every minute
I stared at you
trying to say
      I love you
              outloud,
I would have given up hope.
I'm not a magic man,
the words I spew out
are what I mean,
but maybe mean
in a different way.
I should carry around an interpreter—
  someone who could tell you
what I tried to say.
Someone who you would believe
when I finally get the nerve
to say I love you outloud. 





EIGHTEEN

When tears have dried,
and thought been placed,
and all but memories are gone.
We'll realize
that youth was lost
    as we ran together
          into the false dawn.

























dusk






















one

Tomorrow,
  if the rains don't come,
let's take off and watch rivers run.
Then,
        if we tire too soon,
  we can sit and just follow clouds
across this august sky.
I want to spend this summer
            inventing memories.
I want to eat the entire afternoon
    and digest the evening.
If the rains don't come,
we can judge each other's people smile
                and practice hellos
  and try to touch and look away.
We can let loose some secret hurt
and understand why it's become a lie.
All this—
            if the rains don't come.
If they do,
we can stay in bed
and taste each other's smells.
        Either way,
                    I win.





two

These few months later,
more than miles separate us.
Deseret Mountains streams
and small shaded meadows
are now just pawns for memory.
The smiles you caused
and the tears you left
are now just deep hidden feelings
      aching to escape,
  but remain obediently still.

Even the poem you wrote for me
is filed away in some metal box
or left unalphabetized
      in one of my guitar cases.

Since then,
more than miles have come between us.
You ran off your way
      (taking my dreams)
  and I backed off mine.
Now I rely on memory
to put your days in prospective.

Today,
I was stilled by a Deseret sunset.
I couldn't help but wonder
that if two hours later,
it stilled you too.





three

In this winter,
the frost controlled our lives.
Snow belted the earth
and disappeared with the wind.
The cold was left
to conquer and control.

I remember you printed our names
              in the frosted glass,
and how you smiled at me
for what seemed like a forever.
That night, we lived and lived.

When morning came,
the sun melted our names
and you were gone.

And I was left
a causality of the cold.





four

It's not the cold that bothers me,
although at times I feel it's responsible.
And the night and night fears
end up taking away more
than it can give.
January warmth was all that it advertised—
          grass above freezing,
          trees below life.
That night,
all that mattered
was how big the moon had grown.

I'm constantly amazed
how the body can sweat at 30 degrees.
How can you be hot and cold at the same time?
And why does winter control the heart?
Is cold what becomes of wasted energy?
And is it the cold
        that really bothers me?





five

It's no wonderland
to those who wish winter away.
Snow is an assassin
and so are the winter's nights.
Dawn brings no release,
the sun has no answers,
and the light only makes
the nothing that much easier to see.

I'm not a dreamer
    (although I do dream),
as I am not a cynic.
I only lay back,
watch the dark of day
eat at the mountains,
and wish winter away.





six

I can't understand
your infirmities.
What pleases you
ends with the moon.
What disappoints you
begins with me.
I'm not your answer,
but I feel you have as yet
found the question.





seven

They killed a man today—
        the vipers.
Hands bloodied and bound,
the bullet that entered his beaten head
  erased the sins of his past.
Because on that worn Beirut tarmac,
in front of millions of eyes,
and solely because he was an American,
he was murdered.
And for that,
      he became a hero.





eight

Standing toe-to-toe
with competition,
I become overtly aggressive.
All noise is my noise—
all manner is mine.
The sun dare not move
until I beckon it so.
I become Joshua in my eyes.

I jump at chance
and leave no room for thought.
I fly at abandon,
being more that frightening.
I've left others
seeing madness in my eyes—
the cold hard insanity
brought about by stern belief.
Insane due to the lack of retreat.
There are no avenues of escape
when eyes are mad.
                      I own maddening eyes
and appear frightening
when in reality,
it's only fright.





nine

What makes you think
there is really a rainbow?
And what grows out of dreaming?
Does reaching too high
make you taller,
or does it only give you
farther to fall?
Are you reaching for dreams,
or dreaming of reaching?
Or are you just falling?





ten

End of June
and it should be raining.
A summer's runner
in a winter mood.

Science has found new ways
of destroying the fetus humanely,
but the minds have yet to understand
that the allowing is much worse
than the killing.

My eyes are closed to the sun,
but I feel the warmth.
I'm a million miles from war,
but I hear the whistle of shells
and the whisper of death.
I'm safe in a rented room,
and still I reel with every mortar.
What has happened to war?
Soldiers have a code to die.
But children...
    they are to only dream.

























pre-dawn






















a mercy memory

Some long August ago,
when we thought ourselves untethered,
the dawn caught us by surprise.
We spent that Sunday
defining each other with new adjectives.
Adulation and contemplation on menu,
a smile and tear frozen in magenta,
sitting hand-in-hand facing each other
              under sun and shade,
with moment of silence being saved
  for some future quiet.

I remember how you hated french wine and music,
but how you politely toasted Edith Piaf,
  and how you cried
            when I help you translate Jacques Brel.

You told me
that the only french word you knew
was merci beau coup,
but that you didn't know what it meant.
I told you that it meant—
        thank you very much.

We ran into Sunday dusk
as suddenly as the dawn.
We had survived unscarred.

Wine gone
and no longer to see your face
                  in the dark,
we picked up and ran toward a Monday.

I have a memory
of that long ago August Sunday
that I keep for moments
I need reassurance of time.
I'll always be as young
as we were that Sunday,
and I'll always feel as pretty
as I did when you reached across the night
                                to kiss me.

And for that...
thank you.
                  Or should I say,
          merci beau coup?

cumbersome journey


I have flown thousands of miles away
to flirt with brown strangers.
I've driven hours
just to watch the sun set
on a different scape.
And I've tagged on trains
heading in directions
I knew my way back from.
I've even closed my eyes
and ended up talking some foreign talk,
                  walking some foreign walk
            for smiles or nods.
All this,
              before there was a you.

Now,
the farthest away from you I can travel
is from the bedroom to the kitchen.
                          And sometimes,
                    even that's too far.





august 77

If the rain stops,
we'll never know.
The sounds will be gone,
the whispers will become shouts,
and I will once again be alone.

So tonight,
let's pretend
the rain goes on forever.
And if we wish it so,
well,
      we'll never know.

There is something about rain,
something in its feel,
and I can see you need shelter.
So let my smile,
        my dreams,
          my poems
    be your umbrella.

And let me know if you get tired.





stoney blues

I am sorry, Annette,
I just can't seem to write my mind.
I really wanted to paint you true.
I didn't want a false image left
                    after you go.

You see,
you turned
and I was answered.
I'm not sure you knew that.

I'm not sure you even knew me.
And for that,
I apologize.





when poets die

Debi should have been a poet.
She felt enough,
and she cried alot.
She always left little notes laying around—
some personal thoughts
she felt comfortable
letting the world see.

She saw the world
and took it at face value.
Debi knew her limitations,
but dreamed the impossible.
What she couldn't reach,
she painted with a pen.
She lived as a poet.

Then,
by accident,
Debi fell in love.
She lost herself in giving.
Her new life afforded her a check
              every two weeks,
but left little room for dreams.
Debi should have realized,
a poet dies nine-to-five.

Now she's dying in love,
her pen traded in on a checkbook.
If only Debi could have been a poet.

Happy are those who dream dreams
and are willing to pay the price 
        to see them come true.
                -dh





passion assassin

What gives you the right
to call me whore?
You don't know me well enough
to assassinate my character.
You just don't understand.
How could you do this to me?
After all, I came to you
when you needed someone like me.
I took your hand
and asked you to close your eyes
and become anyone you wanted to be.
With me,
you controlled your fantasies.

I undressed you with wide-eyes,
and no hint of a smile.
With me,
            you were comfortable
standing naked in the light.

I don't deserve this attack.
I thought you were content enough
just to be loved.
Motives were of no concern.
We agreed straight up.
I have no need to apologize,
as you have no right to condemn.
I plead guilty to only one charge—
  I gave myself to you.
And maybe of misreading you.
There was no harm done.
I didn't take away
what you weren't willing to give.
So if I was whoring,
you share the guilt.

So I fell into your bed
a bit too quickly,
that doesn't give you the right
to call me a whore.

I was hoping
you'd be more gentle
                after this.
A storm needs a wake.
We both gave too much
to end up hating.
I know too much about the secret you,
and you know what I gave up
          just to be free.

Let's start this time over.
Let's forget about what brought us here.
I'm willing,
and anyway,
              you owe me a dinner.





with pastel guilt

I don't think it's fair
to count on memories.
As time goes by,
        colours fade.
I remember me taller,
          and you closer.
And I remember how quiet it became
after we realize what we had just done.

So it's memory's fault
when I look back and smile.
And it's only time
that's took its toll on me.
We have no right to claim those days,
but we own that time in memory.
And it's not fair to blame the time.
We knew men couldn't fly,
still we jumped
with no regard for safety;
leaving only the urgency
that brought us there.

Too nice,
          I said that.
Too distant,
        that's what you said.
So what's become of memory?

We shouldn't trust memory
as you shouldn't trust me so much.
I fade and disappear
like anniversaries of forgotten friends,
      or deaths of almost ones.
Or even the roads I should have walked
but stepped back
                  just in time
            and out of time.

I'll paint your smile
on a canvas palate this summer.
Oil pastels lasts years,
and I'm not one to count on memories.





to jc

You can walk gingerly around this world
using sight for balance,
holding on to anything secured to earth.
You can look away
when caught watching quiet eyes
and hold smiles and hellos
when friendly strangers pass by.
It's all legal.
As fast as this old world whirls,
you can get away with insecurity
            and blame it on demur.
There is no crime in that.

But you should know
that hellos are free,
and eye-play creates the smiles,
and oh yeah,
you can look up,
you won't fall this earth.
You might lose balance now and then,
        but that's legal too.





surviving slush rain

March is as far from summer
as man can go.
In fall,
the summer still exists—
      the beach-type and hill-types alike
have saved certain memories
of some June, July, or August.
Even in the deep of winter,
memory's always been enough to conjure up
                              summer's warmth.
And the one-hundred degree torture
seems somewhat comfortable
when tucked into a winter blanket.
These March days that tease winter
and throw wet snow at you,
and the blue of skies,
    well...
they just lie.

I'll survive this March,
but I swear,
it's as far from summer
as man can go.





my friend lisa...

Death is,
  according to one poet,
the grim reaper
stalking the living
taking life
before the seed has dried.
One other poet said,
death is surviving an eternal fall,
existing at an exuberance
that never ends.
My friend Lisa,
who always wanted to be a poet,
and in crying outloud became one,
                          said,
Death is simply seizing to exist.
I'm afraid that one day,
                        she just will.





apologies to rm

I'd like to visit Stanyan Street
  and Kearny and Channing Way.
I'd like to know Belcher Landing
and visit El Monte on a Sunday.
I'd like to befriend a Sloopy
                          or Mr. Kelly,
  or just get lost in a Sauselito sunset.

I'd give back all my moments in the sun
to watch you walk in Spain.
Now,
  Jackson Square and Haight Asbury
are for the strong of will,
and I'm more relaxed
in a little rented room alone.
But if you asked,
and if you waited around for the answers,
I'd tell you of me...
                          and of all my
    Stanyan Streets and Other Sorrows.


























bohemian musk























With less than time
I watch you.
Night will soon end
and I'm sure the morning
will find you gone.
So many times before,
I've shared midnights
with wide-eyed strangers,
losing only the hour...
                    and sleep.

I find giving much easier than lonely,
and I give
only what I can.

Listen,
I'm sure
I'm not the first to see you naked,
so don't wince at passing headlights
who are only watching out
for stray animals,
              (or lonely ones).

Don't look away,
or grab for the twisted sheets
as the lights from the other room
catch you alive.
Don't be ashamed of me—
                          remember,
tomorrow, I'll only be a memory.
In memory,
I can become whatever you wish.

As for now,
I only have an hour to watch you.
I've memorized your face by moonlight,
and penned countless songs
with the rhythm of your breathing.
I've moved the hair from eyes,
            then moved it back again,
    trying to leave you pure.

I never knew my heart was so loud
as I prayed silence would keep you asleep,
                    and keep me in audience.

You become the moment of absolute.
I wonder,
how did you find me?
I've been in hiding for such a long time now,
not even my old friend lonely
                      recognized me.
And hiding out
in five dollar movies
lasts only a few short hours.

Like the fool I am,
I spent the first hours of tonight
wondering why you came my way,
and why you took that extra second
                  to return my smile.
And who you belong to
when your not fulfilling my fantasies.

In silence,
I thank the gods
for sending me this march night
in you arms.

Gentleness almost make ups
for winter's frigid lonely.

The clock that yawns out digitally
says 4:30 in a low green tone.
I have just over an hour to conquer you.
Still I don't move,
except my frail hands
stroking the mane of a dream.

With your bare shoulder
tucked into my belly,
and your head resting on my chest,
you couldn't be more beautiful
if you were spring itself.
And I have only an hour to conquer you.

If I could,
I would awaken you with love,
and tell you of the dreams
      that slipped away.

I'd tell you of the time
I hung upside on a school swing
and pretended the sky was my home.
I'd say almost anything
  to make you stay—
anything that would make me
                      more than a memory.

I hope I'm asleep when you leave.
                    I don't think
I could take a goodbye right now.
I had so many dreams planned for you.
I had created a world for our secrets,
a world where I was your hero.

If I were awake,
I'd probably say something stupid like,
    don't go, or I love you.
You didn't come here for that.
It wasn't in your eyes,
In fact,
nothing was in your eyes.
But you were in mine.

I hope you don't mind,
but I took one of your hair ribbons.
I need more than my vivid imagination
                    to remember you.
My pillow smells like you,
but perfume has a way of disappearing
                        with the dark.
So by morning,
both you and your perfume will be gone—
                    that I do know.

I left a coded message in your bag.
It means that I'll always remember tonight.
You were more
    than a friendly stranger to me,
  you became my hope.
I'll resign myself to becoming
just a memory to you.
But know this—
you will live forever in me.
Because after watching you sleep,
                you became my future.

























a clue






















one

When I was ten,
I felt all of twelve.
I knew that in time,
I could run faster,
      jump higher
        and be stronger
than any man before me.
               But then,
I was only ten.

          A child with dreams
          is just a child.
          A man with dreams
          is just a dreamer.


I was just a child
with a pasted smile
and my fathers haircut.
I was my father's son.

I saw the pictures of the young soldier
                    on the dusty mantel—
the Marine dress whites,
the obedient smile,
the pride that explodes from youth.

I walked past the shelf, attentive,
                      with reverence.
I'm sure no one saw me salute,
                                but I did.
Back then,
I was a child with dreams.

The duffel bag,
full of the past,
              was my Valhalla.
The wide brim hat,
          twice the right size,
white gloves now turned yellow,
the anchor on the globe,
all became symbols of eternity.

I held on to my father's past religiously,
and never once
did I lose my own importance in it.

I guess what really mattered
was what I did alone.
I became a million heroes—
    always using my father's name.
I was satisfied alone,
always making the right moves
and saying the right things
when no one was there
to question me.
I wallowed as a recluse,
and from there,
                  I built my life.

My games ended
when someone walked into the room.
                      Then,
I'd turn towards the wall
and check my shadow for imperfections.
I'd smile when I was cued,
and laugh when someone laughed at me.
              Then in turning,
I'd watch my shadow sulk.

If I had conscience to blame,
I'd lay reason on malady.
My condition was cause enough
                for solitude.
Other children played
where I would have died.
I looked out,
while they never looked in.
There,
              I became me for life.





two

I'll never apologize for being me.
You say,
        Don't look at me that way.
It's the only look I've got.
I've had it
for some time now.
The only thing that changes
is the degree of my smile.
I smile in degrees,
              and laugh
          just in time.

I want you to look into my eyes,
then look away
if you want.
There is no need
to watch my back.
Honesty is in my eyes.
All that you will see behind me
is what you'll misinterpret.

My past is so unimportant to you.
What truly matters
is that we're here right now
with no excuses or reasons.
I could never forget the past
or forgive the lies.
But I've decided
that I'm surviving this life
with more than just a smile.

Listen,
don't look at me and expect pain.
You'll never watch me weak.
I do cower at times,
but only when I'm alone.
You see,
            my game ends
  when someone walks into the room.





three

Later,
      maybe much later,
  I'll share my pain.
I need to trust you
as much as I trust myself—
                          absolutely.


If you had your way,
you'd like to untie my past
and reconnect the knots
with just you smile.
The only problem is...
          you could never feel
  my yesterdays the way I do.
The minute smiles
that sprinkles my past
meant more to me
than the minutes they occurred.
I'd know you'd try,
but you could never paint my memories
                        with my colours.

You could never give justice
to that baby soldier
kicking ice sculptures into the gutters
making his own kind of war.
Or the fallen hero
who has died a thousand deaths
with just one tear.

You could never feel
all that made my life,
or what brought us here together,
and why I'm content
        just to wait
for the rest of my life.

At times,
I picture myself an old man,
haunting the night,
preying on the young.
You are the young—
    as you are young,
and I'm just eating the flesh.

There are times
you see past my armour
and discloak my guise.
Am I looking back at something,
            or just looking?

Day after day,
I'm living just for me.
I'm giving all I can,
          just for me.

I don't believe
that I'm making up
for lines lost in the past,
    or past lost in lines.
I'm just a walking tribute
to that little soldier
who became me.





four

With no apologizes,
I run headstrong into the future—
always remaining securely tethered
            to an omnipresent past.
The past I knew alone,
      the past that brought me here.

If time could freeze,
we would be forever.
As it is,
you are my only present,
just as one day
you will become part of my past.

For now,
let me keep what's sacred.
And let me stay
where I am most comfortable.

I hope that when I'm gone,
you'll remember what I tried to say.

I'll always be just that toy soldier,
just as I'll always be contained.
Life taught me that,
love proved it true.


What do you see
when you see me?
Are you confused,
or do you smile at my imperfections?

I was always just me,
as I knew you were only just you.
But I let you pretend,
and you became anyone I desired.
You let me pretend
I was a toy soldier.
And for that,
              I thank you.

From today,
and after you've gone,
  I'll hold a special place for you.

I hope you never become
just another story.
Because you were someone
who made me happy—
Someone who stood by
as I rambled off nowhere—
Someone who watched me
when I was just me—
Someone who understood
that I had come
and had become
          an old toy soldier
  staring into the sun
looking less
            and
              less
    for light.