The tree and decorations
that we bought last year in celebration
of love blooming like spring in the icy air
will remain packed away this winter
Neither cards nor gifts will be exchanged
not a word will be said within these silent walls
not feast nor drink nor cheer to enjoy
in the lonely season of unfestive cold
I still got you a card, of wistful wishes
which will join in seclusion
the one for your birthday that I have kept safe
never to be given or read
neither shy smiles nor affectionate embrace
over frozen threshold to warmth within
shall bring joy to this prison cell
dispirited spirit of unrealized dream
the company of your ghost and memory


At the hospital they demand
a contact for emergencies
or next of kin
once I named you, in days gone by
but there is nobody
they asked how I arrived
I could not drive
I told them of the rideshare
and they wouldn’t treat me until
I gave them a person
so I invented one
with a false name
and an unused area code
an imaginary friend or lover
a wisp of smoke in my mind
a vacant lot in an empty city
an acceptance of abandonment

Self Portrait #3 Acrylic on canvas

This is what happened when I had to go to the hospital following my stroke last weekend. In my state it was more than frustrating.


The chill spreads in my veins in the autumnal air
the lone crow speaks my name in tones
of mocking austerity
One foot followed the other in counted paces
as my dog trots devotedly at my side
the trees still show green in September morning
dripping verdigris and malachite from their heavy limbs
waiting patient for the fire of fall foliage
Crow follows me in full voice tinged with hysteria or sadness
and is the only other soul we hear
My dog glances up, his brown eyes meet my hazel,
I let his desire to explore carry us in meandering steps
along the yellow road and beside the icy water of the creek
I light a cigarette and draw deep, the smoke becoming
one with my lungs and bloodstream
an old habit frowned on in polite company
Crow caws his plaintive tune through the stillness
of the sunrise sky
and our feet tread the graveled path in contemplation
The frost in the air touches my face as we turn for home
this road well-worn with our footprints
in the distance the clock strikes the half hour
as the sun lights the sky and opens
the lid of the vault of the night
Crow calls us home


The loneliest place, on the printed page
is the empty space
for next of kin, where people write the names
of those who love them

The emptiest place, in this hollow house
is that distant spot right
next to where I lie in that too big bed
where you used to come to me

The hardest time, and all time breaks
is the present moment
when it all stands still, and I smash the seconds
with crawling apprehension

The most desolate spot, in these homeless lines
is the space between the syllables
on the scribbled pages and tattered book
where lofty words once lived

Time stands still
moments stretch into agonized eternity
the familiar is lost
in bewildered distress
and I stand and I fall and I break and I darn
I’m an old pair of socks, waiting
for you to wear me that one last time