Soft

Must morning devour me,
subdued in my bed, inarticulate,
after God’s sunrise voice
makes my murmured longing
soft, not vast?

My voice sinking soft
like powdered sugar on hot dough,
melting.

Must evening eat
my soft mind too, when
God’s sunset voice declares it?

{the dVerse prompt which inspired this quadrille is the word murmur}

Love and the Poet

Love, as in falling-in-love,
no longer exists for me.
Not fondness, not affection.
Not any of it.

I simply don’t believe in it.

And I see no value in considering it deeply.
I find no meaning in it
of any kind, no usefulness or purpose.

Not curiosity,
Not nostalgia.

No interest in it
as a plot element,
or a conflict,
or a trope,
or a character arc,
or the subject of a poem.

Have I loved?
Yes, and now I renounce it.
For good.

No-love makes it hard to be a writer or a poet. What is left to write about?

Sex?

Death?

Injustice?

I suppose there are still some themes.

You’d never know it by skimming the shelves of bookstores. It’s all love, love, and more love.

It even makes it hard to be a reader.

No Jane Austin.
Shakespeare. Meh.

I’m trying not to be pessimistic.

It’s not as if I can do anything about it—about the fact that no-love
makes half (or more) of all literature incomprehensible and foreign. False.

I guess my job now is to find out what I still do believe in.

Find those poets who understand me, who understand that falling-in-love is just a chemical trip.

There are other kinds of love.
I will write about them.

Smile

Some small creatures, like moths,
are born the color of bark or dead leaves,
so they can eat or avoid being eaten.
How honest is that?

It’s no different
than the way a strategically placed mirror
can make a room seem bigger.
Or how deception and survival align
when I must smile and say I’m fine.

{the dVerse prompt which inspired this poem is the word mirror}

Pay Attention

The voice is ancient and familiar,
belonging to school days,
bouncing off the walls of the gym
like end-of-day announcements
from the principal,
or the bright ping
of a red, rubber four-square ball
entering your zone
when you’re looking the other way.

{Almost a quadrille. I’m counting the hyphenated words as a single word. I knowww …that’s breaking the rules a little, but it’s a poem not algebra, so I hope I’m forgiven. Inspired by a fun prompt from dVerse.}

Today

What does it mean
to stand or not stand?
Who decides justice or mercy?

A sandwich lies on the plate, half-eaten.
A song is half-sung,
A crime half-committed.

Souls rise up from the earth
and from small clay jars on the mantel,
even from the ocean.

Pets also. And cobras.
And circus elephants who ceased
their performances
a half-century ago.

Today is the day of new beginnings,
surely not of endings?