line breaks

I awoke unable to remember
how or why we write poems

or make these line breaks

alerting us to another way
of reading and seeing

now I remember

meanwhile
rainwater collecting in buckets
shone like something holy

[first posted 17 Jan 2015]

lighter 

the old man had lost something
of inestimable worth
more precious than he could ever say

now his burden felt a little lighter
a little lighter
as he went upon his way

(first posted 3 Feb. 2016)

helplines

while she held on to my hand
and whispered soothing words
she had one eye on her car keys
and a quick getaway

there is no common currency here
just rates of exchange
that fluctuate wildly
in different circumstances

try calling the helpline she said
there isn’t one I said
well try calling anyway she said
so I did
many times
many helplines

fifteen of them

[first posted Jan 2, 2016]

breath 

blank like the stars are blank
and the leaf
and all the leaves
and the carpet
and the ceiling
nothing brings relief
when not even love has meaning

only breath
only breathing

review

you might have told me I was cast as fool
even if I knew
the part I play was given
by a truer hand and cruel

and now I am to play no part at all
but know
like some old stager in the wings
I’ll never get to play the hero

a hollow masque is my review
of this production
too slight a thing to be called tragic
too tragic for a farce

some wizard’s art – for my part
too fierce a magic

Welcome

Welcome to the party
that occurs every day,
under an awning
blue often grey.
The music is painful
and frequently martial.
and people pass by
in tears or in laughter.
If anyone asks
don’t say that I told you,
those who invited me
both died years ago.
I stick around
for something to do,
awaiting further
instructions.
Welcome to the party
that occurs every day,
now that you’re here
you will have to stay,
please don’t think
you can just slip away
until the bitter end.
And it is a bitter end.