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The Known vs. The Felt

I know you’re gone
and I am left alone
to carry on.

But how can you be gone
when you take shape
time and again
within my head?

Do you live on
within the neurons
of my brain?

Do you have shape
that could be seen
on a brain scan?

Did you not die
but simply transition
to another form of life?

A dull response
passed along
the neural networks –
determined to carry on?

I know you’re there
knocking on my skull
from within
time and again –

It’s just that I don’t know
if you are aware
that you’re there

And so I’d better try
to let you go

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The Stranglehold My Soul Has On My Body

The silence that chokes me
is the stranglehold
my soul has on my body –
kept captive and fettered
it smolders inside
it longs to burn through
its containing hide –
It answers my call
that it alone hears
since I can’t make it heard
beyond myself at all –
It burns unsteadily,
colder, then hotter,
dimmer, then brighter
and sooner or later
it will cause me
to burst into flames.
But what might be seen
as the breaking of chains
is really just the end
since the flames cannot burn
without the fuel
my body provides them.

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Two O’Clock At Night

Two o’clock at night;
got up
and lit the lamp –
how long did I sleep,
how long been awake?
Darkness presses down,
the lamp struggles
sympathetically helpful
to keep it at bay.

I walked through
a large and cold house;
foreign, familiar –
past or future.
Someone’s death had caused
my presence there –
I went around and searched
for something; who knows what.
My head drummed with poetry
all starting with the line:
“What has happened?”

I moved some furniture around
and then some more.
I turned my back to hear
them relocate themselves.
All that I touched,
all that I moved
remained in place a second
and then returned
to where I moved it from –
nothing could disturb
their languid movements.

And two o’clock at night
I finally woke
completely exhausted
from all that work.
Now I wander aimlessly
about my flat
touching everything
to make sure
that it seems real.

I tell myself
a dream was all it was,
and you can just let it slip by.
But in my heart
I know that is a lie.

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And So He Died

And so he died
who, having lived so long,
had buried so many others
and never cried.

And so we stood there
powerless for words.
A person lost, indeed,
but memories and stories
so much more importantly
that day as well were buried.

And so we wept – some of us –
puny humans with no powers
to stop this erosion
of collective memory –

And so we buried him
who had outlived so many
but who was recalled in the end
all the same.

He never told us of his thoughts
so they have all been lost.

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The buds that unfold and grow,
the dew that resumes at night,
droplets in beams of light,
dispersing remnants of snow.

The skin on the back of your hand,
the sunshine through the trees,
the veins that pattern leaves,
footprints in the sand.

The wrinkes around your eye,
the dispersing remnants of mist,
the creepers that turn and twist,
cotton wool in the sky.

The dust in a beam of light,
the hoar frost on the leaves,
icicles hanging from trees,
your breath in a winter night.

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It gathers on my drying lips –
the dust of our lives.
The dust of repetition, lives
of dust that we must live,
and dust-related lies as well
that turn to stories which we tell
and name as “memories”

Lives of dust – they dry us out,
they suck us dry until we die.
And all the dust, the day we die,
turns out to be what’s left behind –
an endless cycle of dust-lives
where only dust itself can thrive –
what is not worthy to be “lost”?

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North Sea

Do you remember me, restless sea?
Do you remember the girl you’d have swallowed
if by some miracle unknown to me
I hadn’t been saved while I in you wallowed.
Do you remember the deed you near did
and would have finished if given the chance?
Do you remember – I always did!
I’ll always remember the breathless dance
of waves you sent to fetch my soul
there; breathless child in knee-deep water
where I stood, alone and cold.
North Sea, I’ll never forget you
though I’ve never seen you since –
even when my way has brought me
close to you my eyes have been diverted
from the place where I was left deserted
by phantom-figures; brought to bathe at sea –
the phantom-wave arose from out of you
and I no longer know how I escaped,
but one good thing came of the experience too;
I learned back then a wise respect for waves.

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Spring Coronet II

The light has faded over our days of victory
and in my hands I hold the only remnant left to see:
My well-beloved, faded Spring-coronet
wrought with loving hands by someone dear,
and placed on my head with a joy so sheer
on the day we danced. Oh, sweet flowerets!

My hands grasp it tightly, then suddenly let go
and watch as the coronet above the world flows,
then I lay myself down in the grass
and breathe a breath of pain, then of relief,
at last relieved of hope, fear, happiness and grief,
and in the church they light the candles for the
midnight mass.

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New Poem: “An Ode to Decay – the Life of Fungi”

Arising from the ground, outspreading careless waxy limbs
that’s merely periscopes that on its hidden body climbs,
unfolding innovative shapes that plants may envy but never copy,
unrolling laces or upbearing knots or plates, swift, carelessly,
with white eyes eying us out of its reddish head
from tree roots (where it feeds on those already dead),
unworldly and unwieldly, standing on its own
and though so carefully with all of nature interwoven;
fungi, you resourceful old recycler and renewer
you scare me, not because of fear of poison (though that too
might be sufficient reason to fear most of you)
but more than anything because I know some day
I’ll have to meet you in a most intimate way –
in death you’ll find me since you live by feeding on decay