like books


I have been reading
books about people
since I was ten. Then —
comprehension expanding — 
growing, to become
understanding of
people like books
since I was twenty.

At thirty, I could find
the villain in the story —
the hero
always a too-pristine-
of reality — the bad guy

At forty, I picked you
off the shelf
of the world, opened
the last page
and started
reading the story


Playing at detective,
sifting through
the last pieces of familiar
before they start to fade.

Not so much
sentimental-nostalgic . . .
those people
those days
that life

forever gone – old ghosts
attached to my shoulders.
Muscles strain, dip
under the weight
as old smiles fade.

When the answers come
I will be
too old to live them.

I carry this
fatalistic understanding
tossed over my shoulder,
held tight like books,
in a coarse-woven rucksack. 

~Winter 2011



In the Dark of My Soul

Dusky non-dark lightness 
the kind that comes only
in those no-name motels, 
secret places of meeting
where the darkness
of strange rooms is muted by
lined-orange curtains, 
where parking-lot-lights caste 
ethereal shadows: 

you come quietly to bed 
like nothing uncommon exists 
in my being there drowsy 
head on your pillow,
clothed in your shirt. 

Your body, stiff in the act 
of lying down, carefully 
trying not to wake me 
from my almost-dream-state 
sleeping. Your 
spark-laden energy 
into submission -- still atomic: your skin, chest warm, 
hips touching -- 

rolling, turning, wrapping 
myself around you -- 
normal-necessary touch, 
like a moth to flame -- 
the burning-shock 
epiphany moment, 
in an old motel room --you, 
a bright-white imprint 
in the dark of my soul.

~May 2012




I don’t
it’s supposed
to feel
this good to
talk to you

* * *

It’s like Roses
in the morning
in dew, too
important (beautiful)
for words.
Or, it’s like
the feel
of soft-warm
sun touching
your skin
on a cold
day — just
perfect and perfectly

* * *

are a shadow
love haunting
my memory
a deep,
cool breeze
on a

~July 2011, South Carolina

Sell Art Online

ARTWORK: Gentle Woman by Svetlana Nivikova. Read author Bio and see more work by this artitst here.


When you have said
all the words I need to hear
and told me everything
in warm whispers, except
“I love you.” It won’t be enough.

When you have given me
flowers, apologies, soft
sentiments and fresh hope
in softest whispers, but
haven’t said “I love you.”
It won’t be enough.

When you have told me the
truth about who you were
becoming who you are, and
have lulled my heart with
dream-songs. It should be,
but it won’t be – enough.

When you can tell me
in quiet-tones, face-to-face,
eyes-to-eyes that you love
me, I will know that you
see me clearly for the first
time. But, it won’t be enough.

When you can love me
across the miles of time
without hiding in the silence;
when the pain apart defines you
through the essence of my absence,
and your soul recognizes the loss —
then, and only then, will it be enough.


Scenes in Sepia

All we ever had was
time. Stolen from clocks
ticking our normal lives
away. A flash of minutes,
images on a transient stage.

Theater performance.
Limited screenings – a few
savored scenes in sepia,
playing against
an orchestrated hum.
Symphonic melody rising
until the heavy red velvet
curtain fell, the lights
went up, brightly glaring —

and in that hot white light
of mourning – the hum hushed,
as the symphony quietly ended
and all we ever had was
time stolen from clocks ticking
our normal lives away.

Pages of Memory


(On my last visit with my grandmother before her death)

Her age-dimmed cloudy eyes linger,
watch me being my mother on the pages of memory.
She tells me how much she loves me and
asks about the baby, turns to see.

Trembling-aged hand that held me and
spanked me and cuddled me as a child
shakes as it reaches out, then
tenderly touches a baby’s silken head.

She grows impatient, wants me to listen
to the important things she’s telling me
about how to raise this child — ooh, so sweet,
precious little Colleen. I, adult Colleen, stand

watching and listening as she talks
remembering me into reliving our lives
over again from her memory of 17 years ago.
I promise to do everything she says.

I tell her how much I love her and become
my mother for her today – again and
become my infant self again – one last time –
watching her through both sets of eyes.

Until, my daughter takes my finger
with her tiny hand and I look down to see
her child-dimmed cloudy eyes watching me
being her mother on the pages of memory.

How Time Builds


Isn’t it strange how time builds

these houses we live in

with regret, confusion, un-knowing turned to stone?


Did you hear the workman start clearing

the land for construction when you were young

and I was younger – a child at your knee?


Did you taste the brick masons mixture

of grief and fear used to season the mortar

for the foundation as we argued away the years?


Did you see the man pass by with his chisel

and saw and boards and nails for the walls

as you grew older as I grew older too?


Did you feel the dark shadows as the shingles

were nailed to the beams of the roof

while we huddled – divided by our growing identities?


Did you know our houses would share memories

and history and tears and people

without sharing a common doorway for meeting?


Isn’t it strange how time builds

these houses that define us

with regret, confusion, un-knowing turned to stone?

September Afternoon

You are my quiet obsession. A mist

of mirror and memory that I return to

in my mind (heart) – that warm, vague

shadow I cling to: when my true world

stagnates, bores my senses. I call you

from that place of tedium . . .

know the faster heartbeat, breathless gasp,

flood of memories will surge to lift me

past today, this place — stable and solid.

Your voice on the phone —

a bright, hot, rushing wind that carries

me up and away to other places.

Epiphany 1

May 2010 (in retrospect)


There was a moment when

your eyes changed – shifted

from bright sparkling blue to

darker, deeper blue – liquid

crystals of light dancing. Shift,

movement, reflection. Time

stopped flowing, the moment

lasted forever — before you

shielded your gaze, downcast

lashes fluttering portals closed.

There was a moment when

sound stopped – shifted

to quiet inside my heart

and I knew pain burned

the future — blazing fire

consuming, rolling, turning

into the end coming quickly

before I — shielded my gaze

lashes fluttering portals closed.

There was a moment when

truth interrupted — before our

lashes fluttering portals closed.