Planet Ahead

April 30: Outed

Words bruise worse

than sticks or stones

when lobbed, as if to curse.

Even folded into meter

or laid out plain in verse,

a turn of phrase,

more than a look,

can kill.

Can gallop off the page,

can pounce right off the tongue,

and pierce the soul with

unveiled ill will.

The heart of hearts

outs itself in words.


April 29: Arbiter

We need to get our imaginary lives lived somehow.

Maybe that’s the use of story:

Start at the end,

or make a U-turn at the final bend.

Plot the scenes without interruption.

Cast a villain, or at least a foil,

and have your comebacks ready.

Number your days,

and decide how long a minute will be.

You’re in no hurry.

At will, pursue diversion–

This is real life, the edited version.

April 28: Gifts

Why do I scorn your gifts

when they’re exactly what I’ve asked for?

Do I want to be surprised

by your punishment instead?

Fault foundĀ in each offering,

back turned to each ministration.

You’ve read my mind,

but I’m still not satisfied.


April 27: Refugee

The poisoned wind was at our backs

as we stumbled into the headwind,

nothing to do but press forward,

only forward, when we could.

Numb to our pathetic state

Aware of it, but uncaring–

there was survival at stake.

There were destinations

we lacked the wherewithal to reach

but must, somehow.

The Promised Land

doesn’t figure into this plan.

April 26: Door

You are the door

the window

How freeing to know

there’s a way out;

there’s a refuge

that is not an escape

but a change of course.

Go west until you can’t anymore,

then look for the door.


April 25: Silence

There was more to the story

but you didn’t respond

to my silence that invited

another reply.

A question

a mention

a Hmm or a Huh

to signal you were listening

or politely feigning interest.

April 24: Consolation

Were you there

with witness to bear

to whisper a prayer?

To fold your hands

and bow your head

in deference

with last respects?

Did you console the bereaved,

who in sorrow received

your embrace,

your tear-stained face?

Your memories,

your stories,

your practiced remarks–

were they a salve

for their broken hearts?