say a little prayer

perhaps I should genuflect
light a candle
mumble something holy
but when the night terrors come
to this private vault
we call consciousness
only my dog can hear me
be near me
comfort this old skin
so I say a little prayer for him
and whisper I’m ok

[first posted Jan 8, 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]

total recall

in the electric sympathy of your touch
I found my wilderness
and heaven both

but heaven is not measured out in dust
and dust was all I reached for
when I woke

you had a birthmark
we all have birthmarks
that much I can recall

here on this barstool
this barren outcrop
I recall the electric sympathy of your touch

a winter scene

found among the effects of a man who passed away
a child’s painting
snowy mountain
winter’s day

fingers of the forest reach out to grab the heart
male driver
no passengers
little blue car

the price of light bulbs

you sit at your table writing
while I sit at mine
I’d like to have coffee with you sometime
a glass or two of wine
discuss the price of light bulbs
or the intricacies of verse

there are subjects far worse
such as love
loss
domesticity

it would all be with the greatest civility
though I cannot remain serious
for too long

I knew a girl once made me laugh so much
I could have wept

but now she’s gone
and I am undone

so here’s to you
and whatever it is you write
so feverishly
uneasily
at your table

I am unable to stand the light
for much longer
at any price

[first posted Jan 10, 2016]

no picnic

that cloud

on the edge of the cliff

from the coastal path
like the head of the patriarch

only a flimsy thing
that soon blows over

leaving clear day
and little else of meaning

on the headland
where we leave eggshells
for the birds

and scatter

sorry
I meant to show you something special

navigation 

when conversation became difficult
I made for the shelter of the trees
looking back across the sun-bleached field
to where the party was in full swing
appreciating the amplitude of tall silences
that I could navigate more easily

from there I could see you slowly circling
coming to rest
before finally heading out

navigation

ascertaining a position
calculating the most favourable route
between one point and another

even when there is no point at all

navigation

just moving around

it takes skill

practice

finesse

when even gentle waters
can seem treacherous

safer amid trees

they don’t move around

at least don’t appear to

I whispered a quiet thank you
and plotted a course back