Dearly Beloved

I’m leaving you soon, a matter of hours,

And before I do, I want you to know that I don’t leave without trepidation.

I’m not one to walk out.

Stand and face–even when the blackest eyes pierce my throat–

That’s been my method, fearless.

No doubt I’m getting older, less reliant on speed and jaw.

Yet, my resolve stands taller, wider, less compromised 

By shaky passion and toppling ardor.

I know what’s right for me and mine.

Perhaps the children have made it so, the will,

The mighty outrage and outpour of righteous indignation,

It’s no mere whim or fashion.

I have roots, here in this land, on the soil of my mother.

But they grow wherever my feet touch down, 

When blossom and wither beach.

My return, though certain, may not be.

I once traveled far, jungled inside, canopied under

The emergent layer that cocooned and cut me, culled flight.

And I never returned, even as surely as my sandals scraped sand,

The water’s edge of me, the tidal flow of drifting ear deep in water,

Listening to Gods and men groan secrets unheard.

I left then, returned, leaving my image behind me, left to howlers,

Lemurs, quetzals and Monteverde capuchin, who held my breath

In their seams, and still do.

I never came back, and now it’s winter, the summer of then passed,

To retrieve the lost faces, shed skin, the chameleon dreamed,

I’ll need to travel far from you, leave your bigotry and bile.

And when my body drifts inside again, your walls, your fever,

Only vespers’ dusk and smokey dawn, crust of the ague, remains

That travel torn, release us from hate’s grip, my form and fold united.

I will be new, and you will too, when I slip once more inside your border,

Hear the errant’s disbelieving, horrified roar, the be-trodden masses.

I’ll be ready then, to stand erect, balanced, both arms ready.

I hope to say farewell to closed palms, only to be welcomed

In a week or lifetime or two, to open gates, walkways to settle-in wicker

Chairs to my rest, porch to our swings, quieted storms’ memory.

I want you, my beloved, healed and hallowed, churched Christly,

Only the love, only the forgiveness, only the compassion, only the humble,

To fight, to triumph’s return, you, my lover, once more mi patria–free.


Dear John…Poem 20

Dear John:

You’ve told me a man must have everything.

He must have her love and affection, trust

and cares, woes and fantasies, body and belief.

He must contain and compel her dreams, speak

her mind with her, beside her and be her too.

He must have her body, entirely his own, as she

equally partakes of his, fully accessible any time.

He must give her solace and she his support.

They must build things and break things down,

together, working as a team, united as one.

There must be abundant love everlasting, you say,

and undying even beyond death and delivery.

John, you’ve claimed possession of her opinions,

her bodily secretions, and her style of clothing.

You’ve demanded her attention and hands, her

movements during the day and night, her arms

ever clasping yours, enveloping you enveloping her…

Dear John, my dearest of all, love can’t be swapped

and traded, quantified and qualified, bought and sold.

Love is no cure, can’t fill the gaps, cracks or ailments,

not those inherent or fostered in the care of those who

thought love was power and hurt and discipline and

control, John, mere control that fear spills through you.

Love is not for keeps, never on sale, bundled or peddled.

Especially, love is not had but kindled, like wood fires

warmth and sustenance, dazzling and mysterious, in

properties known and magical too. Love has no rules.

John, let me, if you will, teach you all I know about love.


Will to Forgive

You just bombarded my world, shattered my sheltered piece,

unexpectedly patronizing the safe haven of an employing

menial job away from my usual world of impotent pledges,

places that belonged to another life, another me, and you say,

“Hey, I remember you. I saw you there…from the court”

Memorizing the cold inside smile like a lightbulb flash, burnt in air,

scalding the fingernail of an infant size will to forgive.

Just pop me back there why don’t you? I’m long sprung now–

for over a year and minding my business, picking up the pieces,

and here you go dragging my ass backwards, sliding me down

there in the dankness and graveyard dreams, the hole of holes.

I could hear my heartbeat in my eyes but somewhere receding

like a mote under the metal mattress of my will to forgive.

I know you were reprieve, a nice girl, honestly asking, earnest,

wanting to be what I was, aspiring while I was spiraling down,

you upward with your youth, all possibility ahead, to recover, 

re-coup, pop yourself up from a crack-split of a morning that 

caused you to fall, while I was on the downslide, much older

career-weary and worry of the world, on my way out of it.

Crushing reason pounded my back and sides of a silhouette stare

piercing the baton flesh of your powerful thump on my will to forgive.

But I too have regained my step some and gathered my thin-self.

Only you jarred me out of pretending nothing is or ever was wrong

and “I will forge ahead,” make it like it never happened, reinvent 

myself, my life, and call it a new beginning replete with hope.

To the place where I first met you and left you in half smiles

on the sooty bench of ash, our smoldering embers of I will forgive.

Until you walked into my store, my place of candy cave-shelter 

to kick me in the flashback and remind me that I am still in it.