Pain Lives in Both Misery and Joy (with Commentary by Billy Thomas, M.D.)
Pain lives in both misery and joy, respectively
it is the volume and projection that differs among them.
Meet me after midnight
at the place all lovers go
at the edge of names and words
and of everything we know
Those shoes have traveled far
And borne their wearer well
To tend to newborn cries
And lift where others fell
What I Know
She ties a string around my shoe
to remind me what day it is,
I try to hold on,
knowing right from left – memories.
I didn’t think she’d be here
for the birth of her first grandchild,
but you never know what a ghost will do
Mid afternoon, bright winter’s day
A string of headlights coming my way
The deliberate solemn caravan gives pause for reflection
when you got with me I had no idea
it could be a life-sentence you’re an
armed robber holding me under false
imprisonment in my own body
In the Dark
They turned off the lights
in the hallway and area where I was seated.
The maintenance man was working
on some problem he
was having with the lights,
so there I was,
in the dark,
like I had been my whole life.
Elegy for Eight Words
The barricade was built on my car
dashboard during my daily drive,
petit Gavroche shot
in the forty-fourth CD.
Cutting Out Paper Stars
So now she cuts out paper stars,
stenciled onto construction paper.
Light refracted to reveal our thoughts and fears
Perhaps too much so.
We are naked to one another’s stares
As if we can no longer conceal the vulnerabilities within.
COVID and Other Blue Moods Tanka
Always up for schwitz
In sauna, hot tub or springs
To rid self of bad
Humors/tumors, dread virus
–I would rather not be dead.
Whatever else may happen
to a man on his back for six months,
at least he must become expert on himself.
(His Mother Said) That She Was Eating Cherries
Cancer had chewed away half her mouth and face,
carving the soft palette, chiseling the jawbone,
cutting her cheek out, slicing the tongue lengthwise.
His age and comorbidities were now rehearsed and repeated without effort daily,
His short years of existence now condensed to a list of clinical diagnoses