Not A [Test]

This is not a test
Not a chance to change
Or translate
Not the second coming
Before the first
Not a contemplation
Or a transmission
Of ill-begotten love
That pulses as it moves
Trapped in sentimentality
Patient to a fault

This is not a mission
Couched in platitudes
And promises for more
Because life doesn’t care
It doesn’t choose sides
Or give us more chances
It doesn’t beat drums
And there is no box
No tricks of the eye

Unshakable in its permanence
Perfect in its imperfections
Yellow golden in the sun
Until night falls
And the coyotes come
Until features blur
When an end is a beginning
Then comes around again

This is not a broadcast
Not static in the feed
Or interference
Not an equivalency
Or a disconnection
Not a representation
Of our failures and sins
Painted by number
This is not a test

Until it is.

Forty-One

This age wears well
Like the finest of wines
In a dry season
Subtle, yet sweet
Rich and delicate
Despite its history
And my bones, they ache
They take time to warm
To adjust to themselves
After all this time
These lines on my face
Testament to a dreaming
That fades in eventuality
A new beginning for me
But the clock doesn’t lie
Its hands steadily advancing
The grinding of its gears
Giving me pause
Letting me in on a secret
That it takes time to get
All this dust and consequence
Shading me in trace elements
Leaving this constant soul
With more questions than a few
Even after all this time
Their answers transparent
As summer turns to fall
While the leaves tremble and fall
Lost to a casual eye
That sees itself looking
Without knowing what it sees

This age wears well
Like an artificial mirth
Mixed up in a stage show
Where I am the lead actor
Playing a myriad of roles
Lost in this appreciation
For the wisdom of years
Without feeling ancient
For the cast of characters
Who have darkened my door
Searching for kindred souls
In the middle of this life
For meaning from this chaos
That shakes me like a rag
And leaves me satisfied
With the aching of my bones
The decades that keep fading
These faces that disappear
Replaced by ones that matter
An opportunity to exhale
When I stop holding my breath
When the dreams turn to dust
To these ashes in my mouth
Set ablaze by experience
Renewed in the taming of time
In the grinding of these gears
So I’ll know I’m still alive
After a passing youth
That was only the beginning.

Life Imitates Life

The apple was plainly tart
Its taste compelling
But inadequate for love
Defiant in her will
She backs away from him
Seeking hand snatched away
Distorted by consequence
Bereft of self-esteem
Yet trying to understand
How life imitates life
Patient in its folly
Ready to start over again
As if nothing ever happened
Because somehow it didn’t
At least in her scattered mind
He left in the dead of night
Taking her memories along
Clouding everything good
With smokeless dissonance
She can’t begin again
Because to her it never ended
The fruit stale in her mouth
When it used to be so vibrant
It slips from her shaking hands
This poison draining free
Sluiced away by her tears
Long delayed, yet adequate
Enough to dissolve expectation
Like an experiment gone wrong
And it’s time to start again
With a new set of paints.

On The Equinox

A silence deafening to hear
Gathers in the collective shadows
Left by an intimate Indian Summer
When there is nothing else to hate
Save a creeping chill on the horizon
That tells us winter is on its way
These hands held out and observed
This light flickers in the breeze
Candle wax drops onto the ground below
Precursor to the forbidden cold
That will soon take its liberties
And the distance between degrees
Is a gaping hole knit with twine
Stitched together with skin and bone
Looking backward for reassurance
Or a chance to wash it all clean
These resolutions gain no purchase
When the pain never goes away
But the people often do
Drifting out of this hazy frame
Like toy soldiers off to war
Leaving this quiet storm behind
These memories of life and love
And all of the broken promises
All these shadows left by raindrops
That will soon enough be snowflakes
Melting on our tongues.

Snowblind

snowblindIn the frigid cold
The shadows dance
Limber and afraid
They conjure hate
In these pure fields
And fallen drifts
Under heaven’s gaze
In perfect white light
This distant sun
As barren as it is
Crossing at midpoint
Then winking away
Like fireflies
Illuminating white
These muted shades
Transforming shallows
Into layered planes
This aching need
To be flawless
Without dying first.

Waiting to Die

I’m waiting to die
It’s a process
Being born comes first
Harsh light and sound
Emerging from within
Seeing from without
Life in extremis
Known to few
Knowing even less
Yet growing firm
And waiting to die
The trick is breathing
Inhale and exhale
That complex dance
Between breath and air
Until two become one
Over and over again
Thoughts also multiply
Numerous and varied
The girl passes by
My eyes follow her path
But that’s okay
While I’m waiting to die
Trials follow in order
Like dominoes we fall
And get back up again
Until we don’t
The cycle of life
Folding in on itself
Neverending nuance
And shifting perspective
While the way is clear
But I can’t see the end
And I’m eternally grateful
For this life I get to lead
While I’m waiting to die.