and whirling eddies
hide a wisdom
that has endured
Someone told me once
in gentle hopes
of cheering my
for a reason.”
That’s the human
condition right there.
“For a reason” is what
drives man mad in misery
when it is simply
I’m going to leave you here
Just as you did me
I’m not going to look back
And maybe finally I’ll sleep
There’ll be nights when it feels
Wrong but in morning I’ll breathe
Some girls will almost get me
But in the end I’ll just leave
With my new way of living
I’ll waste all I’ve got to give
I think you’re most who you are
in some ways
right before you fall asleep,
and all those times
right before you fell asleep
you were in love
Just write from
Your own journals with
Sheer amazement that you are
Yourself and a dreamer with wonderful
Crazy saints all around you paying attention
To sacred nature secrets passed quiet,
Given through living soul’s eye
To grow and become
True prose of
I pulled my cigarettes out of the breast pocket of my jacket and left the din of the reception for a silent smoke. The water’s edge was cool and the air was salty with the coastal spray. The lighter took three tries before producing a light. The first drag was release.
Exhaling, I looked back at the wedding reception. Little girls in sleeved dresses were running from suit and bow tie boys, as their parents crowd around the open bar. Somewhere in the crowd, a brunette with a short white dress and white flats is walking around thanking guests and family and friends and strangers for coming to celebrate with her.
”Honey, come say hello to the Doyles!” she shouts across the crowd. A tall, dark, and handome type bounds over to her and lifts her, spins her round, and sets her down with a kiss. They start talking, and they’re all smiles. The Doyles, our friends, everyone.
Me, I just smoke alone at the edge of the party thinking about all the reasons I shouldn’t have come. I flick my butt into the sand, and ready another cigarette, guarding from wind as I light. The first drag is melancholy. What reason was there to show up anyway?
I started searching the sand for larger stones, and threw them as far as I could into the inky blue water. My thoughts jumped around, and I thought of how I could leave without anyone noticing. I also wondered if Jacky (everyone calls him Jacky) really made as much as everyone says. No wonder they got hitched, I think.
A voice startles me from my calm rock tossing. “Can I toss a few with you, Mick?”
My heart sinks to hear her voice. I turn and extend an open hand with a few stones. She smiles, and her small fingers graze my palm as she wraps them around a marble sized stone. She turns and gives a short flight to the pebble. She laughs, and I offer a chuckle. I discretely toss my cigarette on an impulse—I didn’t smoke back then, though it shouldn’t matter now.
”The wedding was nice,” I say as I throw another stone.
”Thank you. I was actually surprised you came.”
I thought, “Me too.” Instead, I said, “Oh, I wouldn’t have missed it.”
We were then consumed by the silence that overcomes former lovers thrown together in later days by circumstance, as happens in the social lives of overlapping friend groups, or in this case, a marriage within that overlapping friend group. To them, I was just the object of scorn in the end of a relationship that threatened to put a rift right down the middle of us all, before I bowed out. To her, I was now just a detail to be left out of stories that dated back to that summer two years back.
”Well, thanks for making it out. Take—yeah, take care of yourself.” I don’t know what to say, so I say nothing.
I start walking along the edge of the water, determined to avoid people on my way out—away. I lit a cigarette as I neared my car, and inhaled deeply. The first drag, was just smoke. I walked to my car, and drove the long highway back. I thought the whole way home that I was only a chapter in a story much bigger than my own.
That moment when a major change in your life totally changes certain songs.
That moment when smile inducing ditties instead incite pangs of remorse.
That moment when understanding is found in a long forgotten tune.
That moment when the refrain feels like a punch in the gut.
That moment when meaning arbitrarily seeps in or out.
That moment when memories stain notes forever.
That moment when we no longer dance.
That moment when you sing alone.
That moment when I do too.
I finished fastening a flag to the aft-most railing
wondering about the oceans of the Asiatic world,
and how they must hold secrets even our wildest
ancient New England mariners must never have
even dreamed of in all their days, and I heard the
thumping beat and yawling vocals of absurd
electronica, and turned to face the pull:
Hundreds of people, volunteers and participants,
showed up for the Pride Festival. I ran the lines
for the ship, and as I was looping the last length
of rope I watched as all sort of folk walked past
our dock and into the festival—and confident
young girls in thigh high stockings and short
skirts and bright tops laughed as they entered
with arm around curly-cued girls in vintage
dresses; or unseemly boys who never new the
comfort of belonging sliding secretly into the
ranks of their own people for the first time since
birth; or weirdos not part of the crowd, but not
part of any crowd, so why not?
A queen on roller disco styled skates in tube socks
singlet and donning big angel’s wings skates by
as I loosen collar and stare first toward the two
lighthouses that guard the harbor, then toward
the festival’s tents. Queen Disco slides by and
asks for the time—”Oh, it’s just about seven.”
He says, “Bet you’re not used to seeing people
like me ‘round here.” He was non-plussed by
He rolled away as I walk toward the port lot, and
he linked arms with a man and smiled at the
“Man, nobody’s that different from each other.
”This isn’t different?”
”I’m older than you!”
”Like I was saying, we all have our challenges,
and we’re all just trying to live well as we can.”
”Nah, that’s it. Just don’t sweat the differences,
we have too much in common to think like that.”
In the small park opposite the ship of my employ,
people learn not that they are different, but
that they aren’t alone, but if only we all knew,
like Queen Disco, now.
The view from
the stern of the
ship as the
day slips into
night is not
from the orange
and purple sky
that we sat
watching years ago
—the one I said was
just for us.
They all are,
now that I
think of it.
There’s a town
in the sky
and a dream
in your eye
when I look
how much time
it had took
for the lights
to dream love and laugh.
Art in window
Coffee with a
friend whose name
I don’t know.
the loser’s city—
Sunset on the lake—
my god it doesn’t matter,
The wind was razors
slashing against skin
though great stars
before anyone notices,