To the Daughter I Never Had


I don’t mean to sound unkind, and I am far, far from perfect, as a father or man. But I have spent some time in your future, and hope to help you avoid some of what just ordinary life, and poor judgement and the next 20 years of wear and tear might do to you, as it has to too many of your older sisters.

For now, you revel in the intoxicating power your young beauty has to excite desire. It just landed in your lap —no pun intended— and by God, you’ll use it. And, it’s fun for a while. (You’re smart too, but that will last longer.)

Older women sometimes mock men when our eyes follow younger women. “You look ridiculous–” they’ll say “–panting after her like that. Don’t you realize how ridiculous you are?”

Yes, we feel ridiculous a lot,  especially when we’re reminded of it—and often when we walk by a mirror, so we don’t need more reminders. Do they, do you suppose?

But we realize it comes from losing the illusion of immortality, of hurt feelings, and fear of being left behind; from the cosmic unfairness of time slipping away, and also a realistic understanding about how men are suckers for a good visual. You feel you can’t win. Ever. Some days Sisyphus wins, some days the rock wins.

Actually, the rock always wins. It’s the same for us.

It is ridiculous to live an illusion, of course. To pretend against evidence to be young again is…pathetic, really. Someone is always more bronzed and buffed, younger, richer, smarter, more lucky, with better teeth and genes. And half of the world’s population has the same basic equipment you do. You didn’t earn it; it was a gift. Maybe a curse, too.

We’re really not all that special, despite the ego that says we are. It’s nature’s way. Each dandelion plant spreads 15,000 seeds, all pretty much the same. I wonder if each seed thinks the world cannot go on without it, as we do?

Take care of yourself, daughter, and hear my words, because I’ll be gone soon. The future will be here before you know it. Try not to live just for ego and pleasure; take care of the love you can grow. Inside us all is a child that feels unloved. Heal yours first, because you won’t know love until you do.

Then let your whole life be a love song to the world.

In the forest
is a monster
It has done terrible things

So in the wood
it’s hiding
And this is
the song it sings

Who will love me now?
Who will ever love me?
Who will say to me
You are my desire,
I set you free
Who will love me now?
Who will forgive
and make me live again?
Who will bring me back
to the world again?
In the forest
is a monster

And it looks so
very much like me
Will someone
hear me singing?/p>

Please save me,
please rescue me
Who will love me now?
Who will ever love me?
Who will say to me
You are my desire,
I set you free

Who will love me now?
Who will ever love me?
Who will say to me
You are my desire,
I set you free
Who will love me now?
Who will ever love me?
Who will love me now?

“Who Will Love Me Now,” by P.J. Harvey ® Island Records limited

Wayfarers


I wander toward
an unknown destination.
Pretending a purpose.
As do you.

Free (for a change).
Hungry to learn your ways, how you touch,
why you sigh, where
your shy ecstasy waits.

The sunrise, the sunset.
The passing of the seasons.
New life in the spring.
A baby’s smell.

Each moment burns bright,
then is gone. Another comes.
God is there.
Listen.

Death has been
my companion,
making life sweeter. Happiness?
Never permanent.

Rejoice.

A Modern Man


I walk too often in the echoes of a cold canyon,
sometimes accompanied by my wife,
dead now barely two years. She’s silent, amused,
faintly attached to this world and soon to go again,
impatient with me for hanging onto melancholic vapors
when it’s obvious–to her, anyway–that I just haven’t wised up yet.

But I’m a so-called modern man, allergic to undue connections,
Even when a dream comes and I
am lurched through a deeper portal and part a
gauzy barrier to walk with skeptical ghosts.
All I know when I wake is this bag of meat and its
pedestrian priorities.

She knew. She told me to find someone.
Knew I would only trust the secrets, the warmth and dampness,
the round softnesses I could hold,
with nipples like rosebuds and mysterious eyes;
knew that all man’s scripture could be held on a 3-by-5 card,
if he weren’t so stubbornly drunk on himself.

Questions That Come With Age


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The clock… relentless.
What’s my allotment going to be?
How to make the best of it?
How to keep dignity,
avoid a failure of imagination,
avoid self-pity….

“Savor each moment…”
Yes, well that’s a cliché.
I know what’s coming,
What I’ve lost for good.
The trick is to
Savor these, too,
With a little grace.

No lies in the mirror.
No false smiles.
No regrets.
No cruelties.
Kindnesses given
with no expectations.

There are enough
bitter herbs around.
But

One surprise smile is enough
to recharge a whole day.
Thank you, darlin’

Continue reading “Questions That Come With Age”

Island Nights


Full moon sliding fast over the water,
enough to read by,
be burned by,
rolling bright and cool
to the west, painting
a wrinkled, twinkled path
on restless waves of
aching blue turned dark,
reflecting clouds and stars.

Magical island nights, but doomed.
As the moon waned
a little more each night,
so did the magic.
Precious, but fragile.

Continue reading “Island Nights”

A Cowgirl



I encountered a young Colorado woman, once,
from a distance. Our trails crossed in our personal badlands.

A beauty, she had the raw fire of a mustang.
I caught her at a terrible time in her life.
Or should I say, she caught me.

Her marriage was coming apart,
her husband having lost interest and sunk into cruelty and betrayals.

We never met, except
as passing
electronic ghosts. She writhed and wrote of her pain,
her bruised pride and injured beauty.
She touched us with her anger and anguish,
her soul’s search for beauty nonetheless,
In that state she painted lurid images of
what she would do with me,
to me, what she wanted from me,
pinned against a wall, legs apart,
full of anger, fury, revenge.

Continue reading “A Cowgirl”

Home


I can’t go home, because
home has not stopped
moving yet.
But I do know that
this moment is real;
I know how your lips feel,
I know the heat and
weight of you
In the dark,
or pressed against me
at a dock, oblivious
to jealous eyes,
saying a goodbye,
wordlessly telling
me what feels right.
I know loneliness
melts
in the heat of the
grace of you.
Stay with me a while, dancer.
Let’s walk on the beach,
and look in the sands for courage,
and sit at dawn,
watching the day come up like thunder.