A long set of poems borne of lonely anger. Covid is not my illness, but it may have bested me – financially, figuratively & finally. Were I suicidal, I would already be dead of it. See my images as your own but don’t dwell here long. Love, Carol

THE DISEASE OF UNEASE

How can I not miss all that I miss?

A body so warm beside me

The wash of the sea

That salt-morning light

A family

So soon it all changes

Once again the more & the less

Will lead me a dance divine:

The motherless child

A fatherless girl

A sister-less life

A brother unknown –

The nights like this:

A season at end; another not begun

A time of silvered stars

The rime of the horizon

A single setting at table

A single serving.

I no longer complain or marvel

I am simply through it

Through with it

I long for a bosom

To weep upon

A tickle to laugh, a limerick rhyme?

I yearn for a life which will never be mine

My nights spent alone on the staircase of time

Not poems that wait till the last word to rhyme.

STEEL MIMICRY

Bold as brass, I steer forth upon my course

Unstayed by wind, by aching hands

By sullen feet

My eyes sore of missing faces

My heart salted by loneliness & faintly sour

Faulted by sinecure of sin

I have climbed over decades

Searching an easier path

Than this, uneven stone & shale.

I have bared my soul a thousand times

Only to redresss it, bringing it home

To sleep beneath my pillow.

NOTES

The music defines the moment

One key on a piano

Tapping against time

The days all lit. I gather change about me

Cashmere in comfort

I see my way clear to home

While night approaches

A feral cat, seeking succor

A black thing with green eyes

A pat upon its head

A sufferance for food.

A narrow bed

I am grateful to rest into

The universe hangs upon my wall

A purple swag of planets to behold

A memory I live at the center.

THE POST-COVID WORLD

A 50-50 chance

Of having a car

A place to live

Food to table

I am no soldier

Yet somehow signed up to march in this lockstep dream

Before the lemming rush

Before the bodies take, wingless, to air

I have my life lived already

Enough to spin in front of me

No matter the height from which I fall.

THE READING

I look to you, my divinations

The round cards before me

Shaping a Celtic Cross

You unfold a fervor of vision only

Dizzying with foresight

My place in the middle

Where spirals emerge

A past with a future

Equally in balance

The to & fro of tidal life

The iron in my blood magnetized

To what I cannot say

By what I will not do.

I am agreed to stand the middle

To straddle lies & truth

To make my unequal way.

I remember the solitude of perfection

Once the pattern

Now tilted all a-side.

HOME ALONE

Now defined by idleness

Not sanity.

I feed a neighborly cat

I water sixteen plants

No expectations left

In polite society

For such an isolate as me

A hermit in the cave of time

Lacking the charcoal to

Slash a day – one day

Upon the wall.

And in this heartless stripping away

A promise is uncovered

A fan of words to hold the heat of hell at bay.

KEENING

I know I am enough for heaven

To gather wings around me

To live in former gravity

My pockets full of sins, like rocks

Will wings be strong enough to carry me?

Is even God enough to forgive the unlived life?

“I AM INNOCENT!”

I supinate my palms

One arm crooked, trembling with effort

“You cannot accuse me!”

But my voice is lost in the courtroom’s

Bloody effulgence of noise

The judge looks away

Shifting papers for dates & times

My wrongdoings rendered evidence

Disappointed to find me

Still sequestered to life

Without parole.

THE YOGINI & THE TWICE-BROKE ARM

The yoga chart behind the door

Bought in faith

The mounted visual aid

My self-improvement swear-in

Dust takes longer to gather there

My twice-broke arm cannot hold the rag

Let alone wield it true.

There was a time

I would have bulled through to be a Hero

To attempt a headstand on eternity

Now? Not even Happy Baby!

I am yet recovering from Shivasana.

IN POINT OF FACT

I have no refills

The pens run dry

Down to pencils

Yellow & thin

Reluctant to record my life

This is what is left of me:

A disembodied voice

A nursery rhyme unremembered

A fool to even care

The last to recall my name

Will end me once for all.

ONCE UPON MY TIME

I only wanted a chance to tell my story

To bare my breast, not beat upon it!

I only needed proof of life

Beyond my departure from it.

I guess coming in without a plan

Except to be here

Was a poor idea

An existential fly

In the non-existent ointment

After all.

GROWING

So this is what it means to age

A pick & choose among the words I’ve swept before me

Blossoms baked & dried in the sun of another’s regard.

I even forgive myself this confessional moment

This bedraggled accounting in want of smiles!

I forgive my independent ways

My chancy decisions

The long dusty distances ventured from home.

I forgive the litter of life

The loitering debts, the trespass of my passing

My feet remain unbound

My vision unhindered

My grim will, undeterred

To live my way

To live light & shadow

In all of it, the only me

The best I know to be.

CHURCHES

I remember when I prayed aloud with many

Rather than alone, on paper

Furtive, a dark morning becoming chill

Soft notes playing.

I remember gathering like minds together

Under a domed roof

“Be still & know”

Where I sit amidst a chorus of cactus

A muted hum accompanying all grace

Needing no permission to sing

(Now all subversive in song

Transmitting death on a holy note…)

I have lived in times when children were ripped

From my arms to die by the sword

I remember when I did not look down

Till the hand on my neck forced me

I knew these words, tho not how to write them

I knew these formulas, results never changing

But I have less to live for now

So I write them with impunity.

Come, cut off my hands

Dissect my heart’s four chambers

Brain me unsensible.

I am impervious to curses

A stalwart divinity of One.

I have lived a life seeking eight noble truths

You cannot harm the God in me

Nor divest the Goddess in every cell.

Come, do your bloody worst

I am a stringy old woman with bad teeth

The perfect victim

My findings will never be that for which you search.

My submission will ever be a taint upon your hands

I will not even hate you tho I’ve left love out of it.

Wherein I dwell – that innermost altar you’re seeking to augur out?

Still intact & whole as a Temple

I am barefoot for I stand on holy ground.

THE DOGS BEGIN TO BARK

Brought outside their bedroom dens

Urged from oval, braided rugs

Where their paws tapped a Braille of dreams

Packs & pacts forsworn

Rudely chained to guard posts

In the chill of Autumn mornings

Barking to fill the spaces you once held.

HABITUAL HUNGER

Humanity stripped from inhuman times

Truthsayers hoarse in accusation

The walls of communication

Lined in silk.

But truth wears sturdy shoes

Stands impervious to false victory.

You cannot have the morning!

You may live in the land of no clocks,

Yet all I hear is ticking.