the sting of occupation

dreams of summer

I dream of slow summer dances
hiding in the shade of July's sun,
and yellow print dresses
    tugging at the brown
of your perfectly tanned shoulders.

I dream of cool, blue river stones
and inventing beat poetry
under the blanket of summer stars.

I dream of long breathless kisses
and the rhythmic stroking of my thumb
                  on your thigh,
and lessons of love learned
  and love remembered.

I dream of you
walking along ripe Kentucky grass
as the flirting friendly blades
tickle your feet through
the leather of your sandals.

I dream of me
tracing and retracing your tan-line
in the sanctuary of our home
planning the so many tomorrows
  of our life.

I love you.

I can't wait for summer.

I can't wait for tonight's dreams.

the occupation


A cold wind storm
dove head first into my valley.
I was curled up
under electric heat
and your memory.
I heard the wind
lapping at the cracks under my door
  and running on the flat roof
above my bed.
How I wished for rain.

Sometimes your pictures
are enough to cover
flaws in the foundation.
Sometimes the electric heat
keep my feet and heart warm.
But sometimes the wind wins
  and the chill I feel
only makes me miss you more.

I wished for you to come to warm me.
I wished for you to rub your bare feet
    on my calves.
I wished that we could battle
the windstorm together
in your safe place.

I wished the cold away.

But in the end
I had to get out of bed
and get another blanket.

Sometimes wishes won't cut through chill alone.

I still wish it would rain.


Memory is sometimes like the heat
of friendly quilts
  on a snowpacked morning,
or rain on an August afternoon.
Memory can be friendly,
            or torturous.
My memories of you are kind.
They come to life
when the world becomes too cold
  or too hot to bear.
I remember the kindness of your perfume
      left behind on my pillow
  the day after you disappeared,
or the frozen smile of happiness
captured in 400 speed ektachrome.
I remember the feel of your back
as we slow danced in front
of gig speakers
    and Kathy Mattea on video.
I can battle alone
as long as I can use your pictures
                and scent
      as my tender mercies.

I love you.
I know that.

Last night,
as I stretched across
your safe place alone,
the ghost of your memory
brushed your cold feet
against the warmth of my calf
and I fell to a comfortable,


That late August cloudless night,
as thunder chased the lightning
        across our wide valley,
  the only rain that fell
came from your eyes.

Tethered by guilt
and chill in the summer air
you leaned into the flashbulb night
  torn by things you wanted to say
and the silence you swore was your friend.

I understood
    and stood just out of reach.

I remember the clouds in your eyes
and the fretful glances toward the lit window
                  and wished I had more courage.
I wanted to wrap around you
and cloak you in the safe place
          that was my arms.

Do you remember?
It was an electric night.

Occasionally the whole sky would erupt
                              and pretend it was day.
I would turn to you
and lean in and out of your space,
  catch your almost tears
                    and pray
that you didn't catch mine.


A poem cannot replace the warmth
                        of your hands.
A flower cannot take the place of your kiss.
A song is no substitute for the safety
                  of your arms,
      And they should never be.

I write poems
to erase the distance between us.
I write poems
to expose my heart
when you feel alone.

When we are finally free
    and together,
I will write you poetry
to remind us
of the days
when we struggled for our love.

But now,
I will write you a poem
because it is the only way
I can prove my absolute love.

If there's nothing else my poems can do
    It will prove my absolute love for you.


Life is measured by the first moments of birth
  and the final breaths of death.
I know now how life can stop
in the third decade.

I can't help but wonder
if our love wasn't so pure,
would I hurt you as much?

How do you need me?
In what ways?
Should I be your sunrise,
  or maybe just a burst of sun
when the day is mostly cloudy?
Should I be your whole night,
  or just the comfort of the north star
  when you need direction.

I'm sorry I blew in like a hurricane
leaving everything weak
turned and thrown aside.
I will try to be like a northern breeze
  on an August afternoon—
                giving you comfort
only when you curse the heat.

I love you.
I'm sure you know that.
I just keep wondering
if my love wasn't so pure,
would I hurt you as much?


Needing strength for support
I rely on what will be
more than what was.

I know that one day we'll be together.
I know that one day
    you'll allow me to make you happy.
We both need to dream again.
We both need the support.

I love you is present.
I'll always love you is future.
  Just like I loved you is the past.

Dream with me.
Dream for me.


He tried to kill the rose.
He tried to bleed the red from the pedals.
It only worked in darkness
or when you relied on his words for colour.
No man has the power
to stop growth.
Even the darkened rose
reaches for the hidden sun.

There is a magic about life—
  a wonder about growth.

Even in the darkest of days
I will give you a rose.
And even if you have to squint,
look for the colours
and don't let man
kill your roses.


I shivered before the sun
stroked my skin
and gave me warmth.
I shook in my solitude
the morning I waited for you
                to never reappear.
I miss you.
And I will forever miss you.

I swore that I would never hurt you.
But now I have.
How could this much love
give so much pain.

All I want is to be with you.
All I want is to begin our life.
All I want is give your life meaning.
All I want is never hurt you.
But now I have.

I love you.
Please don't let me hurt you
  in the name of love.
I will go away
if it means hurting you less.

I will wait.
At a distance if that's where you need me.
But I will wait.

I love you.
Remember that.
I'll always love you.

This morning as I shivered waiting
for the sun to offer warmth,
I remembered how I slept with just your spirit.
And how you kept me warm
just by thinking of me.


Soon it will be winter.
The back path to the warmth of my home
  will be disguised in a cotton-tail white.
Memories of summer liaisons
will hang from my tongue
like ice from December rooftops
and the weight of Autumn
    will fall like some
          other November Rain.

I'll live without you this winter
and love you no less.
I love you now
I love you forever


We froze under the glare of
              life's flashbulb—
  eyes dilated
and equilibrium gone,
We regressed to human sublime,
offering the only movement
in the journey to the next breath.

We checked for casualties
and rechecked for wounds
and waited for darkness
to sigh relief.

We were only survivors.

In the battle's wake
we acted as prisoners of war
not showing escape
or attempts of escape
We took our bondage
with reserved acceptance—
    but still together.


I begged escape,
pulling you toward the wire.
I had no idea
your chains were so strong
Go, you said, leave me.
Never, I said, we go together.
I love you,
even in captivity.

I wanted you to know
that the sun is waiting for us,
    as are the beaches
and swing-sets.
The spring will come
as it always has
with colour and hope.
Know that time must go on.
Not without us,
but only to prepare our world
for the time of our escape.
When we are free.
When we are together.

the liberation


One mid-winter morning
with a wake of slush
following me East,
God gave me a sunrise of vermilion.

As autumn gathered
on the spectre of colour,
I sat alone
as the last of summer's breezes
mixed with the coming winter's air
left me in a mist that was my own.

I remember witnessing death and birth
within the same sunrise to sunset.

I remember the tears of summer loves
falling on my forearm
like oak leaves in October.

And I remember the hollow of night after night
without sound.

All this I remember before you.

All I wish
is that I always remember
    you in a green dress.


As long as children run face first in Summer rain,
    or catch mammoth snowflakes
  on the flat of their tongues;
As long as wet-nosed puppies
pound their quasi-enthusiastic tails
against the kitchen floor
each time you return home;
As long as babies cry for food
and the young cry for lost love
and the old cry for lost youth,
I'll remember the Summer
you made my heart quiver
just with a simple smile.

I hope you'll remember me.

I was the one
with the quasi-enthusiastic attention—
my heart pounding
waiting for each time
you return home.


I've imagined you
bare-backed on a carpet of sand
swallowing the sun
and me
in the same fervent pout.

I've fantasized me
cooling your warm skin
with my tongue
and the constant stroking of your hair.

I've closed my eyes
and smelled the sweat between your breasts
and felt the heat of your breath on mine.

All these thoughts
my mind
could conjure
just to explore the eroticism
        in you
  could not compare
to the sight of you standing over me
in my bed
wearing my shorts and an old tee-shirt
throwing pistachio shells
across the room.

That is the image
I want to save of you today.

I can have you twice.
Once as I lay in your shadow,
and again as I crawl
on my knees cleaning husks from under the bed
remembering why I love you.


I want to write you a poem
that you will eventually lose
    inside a collection of short stories
  by English authors;
or inside the cover
of a hand bound book of quotations;
or maybe even a weathered
      Mediterranean cookbook.

I want to give you a memory
that will spring to life
a decade after its birth

I want you to feel the warmth
                            of my love
      a half-score from now.

But instead,
take today as my simple present.
And in ten years
I'll just write you another poem.


The sky gave evidence
    of a memory sublime.
What was moments ago
the deepest of dark black
became the softest of light blue.

Stretching across the Oquirrh horizon,
like a ribbon of horizontal lightning,
I saw your eyes.
My knees began to shake.
My dry, parched tongue
    filled my mouth like sand.

I struggled to walk
placing each foot
firmly on the ground
as independent balance.
All the time,
  the sky
        fill to light blue,
became your eyes
as you watched me
completely fill with you.


One day
I want to stand beside
a monster bed
and watch you swim
in mountains made
    from the silk of a white comforter.

One day
I want to wash the day
    from your tired feet
with kisses and a new song.

One day
I want to give you love
that will overwhelm your senses
and make you aware of the air
  in your lungs.

One day
I want to crawl next to you
and live for hours in a silence
built from comfort.

One day it will happen.

I choke our every I love you
    and stop my very breath
not wanting to waste
our valuable time breathing.

One day
we will dream again.
I believe that.
Because I believe in us,
  and I believe in you.


The weight of our dreams
fall heavy on the back of this simple world.
They cast shadows
that cross over this winter
and crawl into our future.

I could not hold them alone.

I need you to help me dream our dreams.

I know that together
we could hold the weight
      of what we will become.

we will live,
  and dream
in a world
that few can see
  and fewer still
                can touch.

I love you.


It is winter
because the earth
has chosen these five months
to venture away from mother sun.

Every year half the earth dies
and paints familiar paths
  and comfortable front yards
in a light dusting of white.

Every year we witness the death
and believe that a small part of us
      had died as well.

With the knowledge that I own today,
with the all memories that I've amassed,
I remember that every year of my life
            has had a winter,
I also remember that every winter
was followed by a spring.
And that the every loss I felt
was recouped by new life
and the grace
    of a budding flower.


Sometimes love is not enough.
We've proved that true.
Sometimes right is not always
            completely right.

I don't understand it all.

I love you
and it's right.
Yet still we grow apart.

I give to you
equal to what you give to me.

I help you
    as you help me.
It's a perfect balance.
Yet still we feel the distance.

I want to make you happy,
I want to help you grow,
I want to give you this world
and I want to love you completely.
But today,
I feel that it's just not enough.


My memory is filled
with cracked cement sidewalks
and painted walls,
cat corpses
  and dying gardens.

My past is the one weeping willow
  that left my palms green
and the cliffs of iced gutters
that became my battle grounds.

My past belongs to dark quilts
and the billion books I read
as a substitute for breath.

I remember a broken white plastic swing
and a muddy rut to my dog's waterdish.

My past is all the memories
I have before you came to me.
And my past is all the times
I want to share with you.

My past will belong to us
as my future
will be all the times
filled with your SUNSET.

5 haikus


the depth of my love
is beyond standard rule
it's infinity plus one


I love you
      for you
            because of you
            because you love me
      I love you
I love


the love we made
from nothing but clay
will forever last
when gone's the day


please and pleas
and days of self-doubt
the future is waiting
for you to come out


all the fears
and tears of the past
will rub away
with one swipe
of tomorrow together

flesh tonight

a day away

I miss your flesh tonight—
    the smell of the small of your back,
  the taste of the sweat
beneath your shoulders,
the way you used to sigh
when my tongue touched your belly.

I miss the passionate cry
that almost didn't sound human.
And the giggle that escaped
when daring became adventure.

I remember the way you made me feel.
I believed that no man ever felt so alive.

I remember the burning desire
in the way you spoke my name.

And I remember the comfortable silence
when we sat alone together.

Mostly I remember what my life was with you,
and how much you let me feel.

Your kiss,
          to me,
                was magic.

Your breath on mine
    was like heaven.

And when I touched you,
  it was like . . .
        touching God.

the giver of gifts

I tried to come up with something profound
    or romantic
  or unique to say to you this morning.
All I can say,
after last night,
after your arms,
after your kiss
for loving me.

safety in colour

I fall into your safe-place
without the breath of you.
The same yellow light
that signaled electric heat
    only reminds me
of the cold of alone.

I miss you.

I miss the feel of your palm
on my cheek;
the scratching of my thumb
on your shoulder.
I miss the quick kisses
and long embraces
and the long talks
after the long love.

Every noise now reminds me
of something we did
  (or was going to do).

I miss you.

I love you.

I'm sorry I have to be
in your safe-place
without you.

One day
well share the electric heat again.
And the yellow light
will only remind me
to kiss you goodnight.

safety in scent

Like an explosion
that rips apart the night's tranquillity,
the smell of us together
tamed my wild senses.

A flood of memory
rushed my heart
and made my knees shake
yet again.

There will be a day
when I can taste the sweat
from your neck
while inhaling
Obsession combined.

There will be a time
for spraying each other
with the past and memories.

There will come a day
when all that will matter
is pushing you out of our warm bed
into a hot bath
letting me lather your head
and kissing the shampoo from your eyes.

I hunger for our simple love.
I yearn for quiet times together.
But mostly,
I ache for you,
your arms,
  and the scent of my Obsession
    on your chest.

silent memories & speckled skies

Some November mornings
pretend to be summer.
Blue skies
and clear uncut shadows
call for sleeveless slumber
                in warm grass.
From behind the glass
of the living room deck
gas heated flesh
is fooled into August memories.
It was before the winter removed doubt,
It was before the walls themselves
      sat cold,
It was when you not only love me exclusively,
but you were mine alone.

Forgive me for reliving summer this Autumn
I need manufactured warmth
and silent memories
or our speckled blue skies.
And I need you again.
and again . . .
      and again . . .
    and again . . .


For a hundred thousand years
when judged for better or for best
My love will be fulfilled
for surviving through this test

flashbulb memory

A memory, like flecks of paper gold
  falling from a long ago Christmas bulb,
                        is what I want
      to give you today.
I would rather not overpower you
with flashbulb memories
or strains after strains of emotion.
I want to give you a memory like . . .
    the last red tulip
fighting to stay atop
the late March snow,
or an angel white kitten's face
watching a yarn ball
roll down the living room rug.
I want to give you a memory
like coming across the ocean through the trees
  or smelling hot chocolate
after an afternoon of sledding.
I want to give you memory
that you don't have to battle.
I want to let you have peace today—
I want you to rest your tired head
on a familiar pillow
and fall to a placid sleep
with visions of old gold Christmas bulbs.

more than a legacy

A thousand years must past
before the evidence of our love
  will be eroded from this earth.
A billion, billion raindrops must fall
to wash our smell from the air.
Only after forever passes
will the memory
of what we made
be lost
      on mortal man.

By then,
we will be in a heaven
leaving a new mark
for the ages.

broken bromide

Someone has yet to say the words
to explain how I feel for you,
or devised a measure
for its depth.
I struggle and stumble
and cough out
I love you
over and over and over again.

How I wish for those words
to make you understand
that I feel the world for you
and the love
no matter how large the word
is still too small
to hold what my heart does.

i wish i were . . .

At times
I wish I were the wind
so I could encircle you
when you feel alone.

At times
I wish I were the rain
so I could roll off your flesh
  in tiny rivers.

At times
I wish I were the sun
so I could warm you
when you step out into our world.

But there is not always wind
                      or rain
            and the sun sleeps
    most nights.

Now I'm wishing to be your heart.
I want to be responsible
for keeping you alive.

And I want to be that close inside of you
                                if ever
                    I start breaking

no touch backs

One day we will grow too old
for piggy-back rides to the bedroom
and the battle of love-making
will become gentle pleasure giving.

One day movement will be gauged
in inches not light years.

I hope to still feel
the flutter of my heart
when you walk into the room.
I hope we are still young enough
to laugh open-mouthed
and reach for tomorrow.

I know we should grow old together.
Age should be our gift.

If we do indeed grow too old
for racing
        or tag
            or kick-the-can,
I want to still fall into your arms
and remember all the days
that we were
the young.

the loneliest night

A thousand singing crickets
  interrupted my silence.
A thousand bows
struck a thousand strings
and symphony noire
rang out in my solitude.

It was the song of my life
I heard that night.

Under a black umbrella of dancing stars
the night was filled with music;
Music I understood completely.

In the darkness
of my silence,
I was awakened
by the music of a thousand crickets
singing with a thousand voices
a thousand sad
  lonely songs.

fool's gold

A galleon lost in a calm, mirrored sea
watching the gathering storm
turn the bright, blue sky
to a sick, crunching yellow.

A black fluffed-haired puppy
stepping two white paws
into the busy noisy street
afraid of both size and sound
looking for a clue
to a long ago
  but long remembered home.

A lonely sparrow
drawing circles in the sky
where once below
a familiar nest or perch
offered sanctuary.

This is how I feel
when you are gone.
But I'll continue.
I'll go on searching for shelter
      and hoping that behind
    the next unfamiliar corner
  you'll be waiting for me
to take me home.

october eleven

A couple of generations ago,
maturity was rewarded by
a second-hand copy of
a Henry Miller,
    or Allen Ginsberg,
  of Ernest Hemingway.

Here is my accolade of friendship.

As my eyes once perused these words,
  as I spent my still moments in these mountains,
    as I became Robert Jordan,
I give them to you.

mit Leib und Seele

a new lunch letter

No poem today.
Today I want to thank you
    for giving me life
  in the sting of occupation.

And a prayer
that of all the memories
we created,
the one you can recall,
under the weight of alone,
is the soothing calm
of my puppy dog brown eyes
kissing the words
I love you
into your mouth.

no poem today.
a complete
I love you.

one more good-bye

Yet one more good-bye.

This time
when ever the dark
    bids adieu to the day,
or when the phone doesn't ring,
        I'll think of you.

I know I will miss you.

What ever glory there is in my life today
I owe it all to you.
What ever hope I carry to tomorrow
I do so because of you.

you are the most valuable part of my life.

I thank you
with feeble poems
    and warm kisses,
dried summer flowers
and the scent of the day.

Thank you
    from me
  And more importantly,
thank you
    for me.

the vigil

A circle becomes smaller
when vigil is set from a distance.
The delicate petals of a lily
  become broad brush strokes
when painted from the hilltop.
Watching the moon rise
over the midnight ocean
is like waking up
at the dark end of a tunnel.
I thought of these things
waiting for you to come back.
I'm trying to keep your memory close,
        even when the only intimacy
  is inside a folded paper envelope.

I remember you
      in the distance.
And the tender mercy
    of my today
  is that I can spray
the fur of your teddy bear
and imagine
that I'm next to you.

It's the only blessing.
this life can afford.

I want you to know,
I've spent countless midnights
    gauging the size of the moon.
I just want to inhale the scent of your hair
    and imagine the glory of a thousand lilies.

seeking the shadows

I know your darkness
I've been there as well.
I know the effort it must take
for you to reach prone.

I know your hunger.
I've felt the pangs of abnormalcy
  bite at the empty belly
that is your hope.

I know your fears—
    the indecisiveness,
  the pensive movement forward and back.
I've been in the dark with you
when you doubt.

I know your fire.

I know the bitterness on your tongue.

I know when you feel in decline.

I know the cold,
    and I know the lonely.

But I've seen you smile
in the rain,
and kick fresh snow
with a wet boot
  and a hop.
And I've held you
after the doubt and darkness.
I've seen you with hope in your heart.

I love you.

I wanted you to know that.

In short,
I want to be your light,
    and your warmth,
  and your hope,
and your love.

in lego cities

From cardboard boxes that became apartments,
to mounds of dirt that was a mountain,
childhood is filled with things that are not.

I bring reality to you.
Fresh with laughter
or pain.
And I bring you love.

We must keep the lego cities
          and paper flags,
  and toy fire engines
locked in the recesses
of childhood memory.
We cannot alter what was.
But give me tomorrow,
  and share with me the child,
And I will bring you the future.

tonight's dream

There are poor men
who cry into the night
praying for a love like you.

I am grateful
for the mid-day sun that warms you
  or the black silent midnights
that soothe you into a semi-comfortable sleep.

I am thankful
for the food that stays in your belly
and keeps you alive,
and the gallons of water
that moistens your flesh
  and wets your tongue.

I know that you tire running down
grassy fields
and I know you grow weary
traveling through the so many winters
      of your life.

Just bring to mind,
from time to time,
the shadows
        and shade
  of summer,
and the heat of wool
  on long snowy evenings.

And if you remember
that I love you
and that I'm grateful for you,
you may conjure up the midday sun at midnight
and fall into a comfortable,
                dream-filled sleep.

solace of surviving

There were times
you looked as if
you had just come
        out of the rain.
You wear life heavy,
  as if it were a burden.

I know why.

If I were to give you
any gift this day,
it would be the grace of summer sunlight.
I would also give you the solace of surviving.
That is something I'm sure you would covet
  on dry insomniatic midnights.

If I could
I would give you comfort from storms,
warm in winter,
and time when you battle the haste.

In short
I would give you
the silence of self.

But all I can offer
is a scent that reminds me of you
and the escape of Hemingway's Spain.
And of course,