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I’m fairly confident that my heart is in fact an idiot.

My friends tell me to follow it, that it won’t lead me astray,

But boy would I beg to differ; my heart is a drunkard,

And if I heed its word one more time I may never recover.

The last time I succumbed to its siren song,

I wound up drinking malbec wine in a Mexican restaurant at noon.

Not to say the food wasn’t good, but when you play, Volver, Volver

A half dozen times on the barely functioning jukebox,

as you savor the last drops of glass number four,

it’s safe to say you’ve reached the lowest of lows.

At least from there I had nowhere else to go,

but up… until my heart had something else to say.

I swore that the first time you broke my heart would be the last,

Yet here I am trying to find the words to defeat this loneliness,

That follows me again as I try to give up on the thought of you.

You tried to give me hope where you knew none existed,

that’s what cuts the deepest, the feeling of chasing a ghost.

Some ethereal nothingness that you somehow gave life to,

Feigning just the right amount of affection to keep me hooked,

Planting words like seedlings that spread their roots,

From my heart to my fingertips like a fatal ventriloquist.

But your veil could never last forever if it faced resistance.

I started to question the smoke you’d cast over my doubts,

Massaging them with promises you never meant to keep,

Until I wrenched myself from the grip of your influence.

Still, I sit here not vindicated but somehow feeling guilty,

Because I should have known where this road was going,

I knew all of the signs and cautions along the way,

Yet I still thought I was strong enough to break through

To what I thought was the real you.

It was your graduation party.
I remember pulling up in my used car,
Taking in the mass of luxury vehicles,
Lining your street.
Each one went up in value,
The closer they got to your house.
“I’m out of my league”
I thought.
But I guess I knew before,
I arrived.
You said you wanted me there,
The reason why,
was questionable.
Told me I helped you get through school,
With my minor edits to your essays,
And the occasional last minute ride
To class.
Really, it was all you.
Always said you were smarter
Than you gave yourself
Credit for.
You sought knowledge,
Unlike the others I had known,
Whom thought they
Had it all figured out.
You are not like them…
It was hell to be there though,
With your family, your new lover,
Whom I don’t remember,
He didn’t last long though.
Then there was me,
The old baggage.
My gift to you was our favorite wine,
After I explained its history,
A couple years before,
On your birthday.
I remember you were fascinated by it.
That smile you showed then was,
Intoxicating,
More so than the wine itself.
My heart has been
Hopeless since then.
I didn’t want to stay
For the bottle opening,
But you insisted.
I felt a pain like nothing
before or since.
It wasn’t just the sickness,
Slowly taking over my body.
That was something else
Entirely.
But this pain was formidable
Enough that I gulped my glass
Of stars
Like an alcoholic
After the cork popped.
Then I made my escape.
Said I didn’t feel well.
It was the truth.
Not long after,
My mom rushed me to
The emergency room:
Atrial fibrillation,
Among other things.
I was almost grateful,
If I’m honest.
It was a good reason to
Stay away.
And so I did.
I healed up nicely,
My mind even felt brand new.
Only took a few
years.
But you didn’t forget me,
It seemed.
And so the cycle renewed.
It didn’t take long,
For those old embers to reignite,
The rusted furnace of
my soul,
At a dinner you arranged
For us, and oddly, your mother.
She didn’t help the situation:
When you excused yourself
To freshen up,
Your mother told me she,
Wished you and I got married,
Because apparently,
You spoke mighty highly
Of me,
Quite often.
Ain’t that a hoot?
Didn’t know what to say,
A timid “Thank you?”
Is all that came out.
So I concluded that
Our relationship,
If that’s an appropriate term,
Wasn’t ending anytime soon,
And there was no point in
Running away.

In the last four years I have experienced pains that I never thought would come to me. I have felt the searing flames of over-active nerve endings fire off throughout my body. I have taken steps that felt like red-hot coals replaced the cool hospital floors. I have felt the sting of countless needles failing to find their mark, wriggling around in a futile effort to find the crimson life. I have felt the clawing ache of ruined joints, making an effort to dissuade my every move. I have felt the burning sensation of medicine meant to eradicate invasions, slowly atrophy my veins to uselessness. I have felt what happens when the needle meant to find the fluid, finds the spine instead. Through all of that, never has anything hurt more, than loving a person that will always try to keep you close, yet make you feel so far away.

You might have loved me, for a moment,

That day you read what I wrote to you,

when you were beside yourself with

happiness.

You’ve never been talked to that way,

you said to me.

“why are you always so good to me?”

you asked sweetly.

“Because I love you”

I said, with a swollen heart.

“I love you too!”,

You beamed with emphasis,

but it must have been,

only for a moment.

Because all things fall apart,

When they’re held together with,

Stars and heavy heart.

You can snap my heart like a twig if you please,

It lies in your palm, awaiting a fatal squeeze,

A thought that never fails to bring hope and fear

equally to a soul longing for your voice in its ear.

How sweet it is when I can taste for a moment,

The compliments you give, to which my ears are bent,

Stretching the curative balm of your sonic clarity,

To last another week as you juggle my heart with verity.

Never committing yourself to the love I hold so close,

Yet giving enough to keep my heart in quiet repose,

As it sits in your hands praying for the day,

When you restore it to me, and with you I stay.

I saw you for the first time in nearly a year,

It was bittersweet, as most moments

Have been since the clock struck midnight,

Sealing the fate of the world indefinitely.

I couldn’t see your smile, but your eyes

Sparked a fire in my heart as of old.

Your warmth from six feet away,

Could set ablaze even the iciest soul.

It took everything in me to not close the gap,

to be the irresponsible one for once.

For so long I hid behind that veil of virtue,

Because I was terrified,

Of what might lay beyond the truth.

And yet here we are, in limbo,

Waiting for the sirens to die down,

And the world to speed up again.

For something…

If it must hurt, let it be quick.

And if it finds our hearts entwined,

let us not waste a moment.

Yet here we are, six feet apart,

So close to the answers,

Yet insufferably far.

She walks among us, taking sips of the sweet breeze,

savoring the aromas of the meadow brushing her knees

As she wanders from grassy plain to a winter roost 

Trying to find the right soil before she takes root.

It isn’t a matter of riches or splendor that beg her to seek

A home where she can rest if she ever grows weak,

A place she can feel as free as the birds above

where there is nothing but unconditional love.

As she was born to be among the flowering cherry trees,

the dandelions, the ferns and the sweetest honeybees,

her soul begs to dance with the flowers as they sway,

to glide with the wind, every which way.

Her destiny is where she ends up with the brightest smile,

where there is no doubt it was worth her while.

I was wandering in a war-field when it happened,

Bleary eyed and alone, stumbling over debris,

Curious as to why the canons of my ramparts ceased.

The once lush green landscape I cherished, now blackened;

deep gashes and fallen oaks lay in splintered heaps.

Yet in spite of all that remained in utter disrepair,

all that seemed disastrous and rife with despair,

A reincarnation of Athena arose from afar

ascending a hill to the East like a phoenix

Rising unscathed from the ashes around her.

Her hair caught in the breeze and streamed

like dark chestnut flames setting the air on fire;

each tendril struck the ether like flint upon stone.

And the deep brown in her almond eyes alighted

Like twin beacons of hope to the lost and the stranded;

They drew me in without effort, I found it futile to resist.

______

At first it was blinding, her inimitable light,

the ethereal gleam cast by the setting sun

Reflected like Archimedes’ fire from her armor,

A burnished silver suit with ornate engravings

flowing like intricate streams of gold from head to toe,

Forcing my eyes to adjust to her otherworldly glow.

______

She rode atop a white stallion with a red bridle,

Studded with sapphire stones and polished silver rivets,

its silken mane flowed like the finest threads

Spun by the nimblest hands of Olympia’s best.

The rider then surveyed the ashen wastes strewn

About her by the gnarled hands of the misled,

yet she showed no sign of reluctance, no urge to flee

instead, she called across the field, beckoning

With an outstretched hand, and a beaming smile.

______

Swiftly it shattered my inhibitions, that simple flash of teeth.

And as I grew closer, a warmth began to bloom within my chest,

At first like a candle trying to illuminate a vast and empty room,

slowly growing into a vibrant torch alighting every corner.

I felt my body relax as I was pulled closer toward the hill,

Enveloped in a tender warmth this body had never know before.

My eyes grew heavy and before I arrived, they had all but closed

allowing myself to fall under her spell, with her hand now upon my head,

and a whisper in my ear that “destruction never revives the dead;

hear me now, you cannot let the dark times rule your kingdom

For the sun does not shine on a mind with closed doors.

Let the light filter through, tear down those towering walls

And allow your soul to live free of such poisonous pride.”

______

 When her hand raised slowly from my head, my eyes opened;

the world had regained its color, the ancient oaks now stood tall

The upturned earth now settled into grassy plains,

And the songbirds were filling the air with their avian twang.

The divots and the shrapnel embedded in my walls disappeared.

And though the rider had vanished, her influence remained.

This is a bit of a random story for me to post here, but with the way I’m feeling, this hit me where it counts and I hope it produces a little bit of a good feeling in everyone who takes some time to read it.

             Going to work this morning, eagerly listening as Sinatra worked his way into my head, trying to knead out the knots of consternation with his lofty airs. But today he was just falling short and traffic wasn’t doing much to ease the mood.

          Along the road there was a construction crew doing work on the center divider that separates the east and west-bound lanes at an intersection where a BART railway crosses the road. The sky was dark and grey, the breeze blew frigid daggers at your cheeks, and the sun wasn’t out to warm the laborers who probably just wanted a hot cup of coffee and an hour more in their own beds. And with it being rush hour their work was halted every time a group of cars trooped by because of how small the divider was and they had yet to set up a barrier.

          As it was my turn to drive by, I looked at every one of them standing on the divider, each one grimacing, perhaps at the work they had ahead of them or something else troubling their minds. Their shoulders were slumped, eyes diverted elsewhere, some took a seat on the railing to wait out the passing autos; then I got to the final one in the row. She stood tall with her arms crossed and perched atop a spade that she drove into the loamy earth of the island divider. She showed no signs of reluctance to do the job at hand, no annoyance at the flood of cars making her job more difficult. Instead she smiled wide and directly at each passing car. I don’t know why she was smiling of course; it could have been for anything, or nothing at all. But I could feel the warmth it radiated in the moment, I could feel it seep through my driver’s side window and envelope me with the comfort of a thousand tender embraces and as I passed I couldn’t help but grin like a fool because no matter how terrible things get, no matter how tired you may be of a situation, there is always a silver lining out there. And although it may seem like a small thing to many, for me it was something I had to see, and was glad to see this morning.

Best wishes,

-Your Humble Author