Agnes’s Wave

This was actually inspired by the first chapter of a Milan Kundera novel I just re-read – Immortality.
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She lacked grace, her attempts were laughable
As she desperately tried, to follow
instructions. Her frustration palpable,
covered in wry smiles, she didn’t once wallow

in self-pity while learning to swim, for fun.
They didn’t need her now, the nest was empty
a chance to live for herself, not for son,
nor daughter. Time’s sudden generosity,

left many hours for minor indulgences
long denied. I watched her, no doubt thinking
of Two Thousand Twenty Six, dulled senses,
arthritic bones and a stature shrinking,

When she raised her hand in a girlish wave,
Twinkling eyes signaling she wasn’t time’s slave.

Muse

Poetic inspiration is often
a word, a stray thought, a captivating
image. An idea that takes hold when
your head’s clear and you’re least expecting

to deliver a message succinct, brief
yet speaking volumes with elegance
and style. Metaphors emphasize belief
and imbue complex thoughts with eloquence

when on a whim, her unexpected grace
lifts your spirits and sends your pen flying
across the stark blankness of virgin space.
Yes, the Muse is often lost, left vying

for attention with a million distractions,
louder voices and dissonant actions.

Winter Blues

Same time a year ago, snowy driveways,
frozen roads, icicles on naked trees,
for several dreaded despairing days.
I dreamt of July and a summer breeze
as the dreary darkness wore out its stay.

But even through this darkness bleak, I sought
a break in time. I did not want these days
to end, ’tis the passage of time I fought.

And so it’s true of our fondest wishes:
Of highs, of moments of joy unsurpassed,
that trail gloom toward weary finishes,
where we choose to let go or to make it last.

Awaiting seasons’ ends and new tomorrows,
we watch each sunset with immense sorrow.

Table for Two

Table for Two
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It isn’t the cardamom or cumin,
nor the rosemary, sage or thyme,
there’s a hint of oregano but the taste
is mostly undefined.

You spent several hours over it,
Stirring it to a smoothness divine,
Then offered me a taste from a ladle,
And laid out my favorite wine.

Now we sit across from each other,
Candlelight shining in our eyes,
I ask you for your secret recipe,
And the “je ne sais quoi” it hides.

But some questions are rhetorical
Asking them a pleasant routine,
We both know the answer’s love
it’s richness felt but never seen.

Minesweeper

It is like the game at which you excelled,
Broke all records, found all those mines
In 30 seconds flat. Ready to go again.
All set to win every game, ready to outshine,
Our counter-strategies always in vain,
As cold logic got you there, your luck held.

But life my dear, is not a computer game,
Just like relationships don’t run in binary.
Something you never could fathom.
As you went on believing her in a hurry
Discarding their complaints as random,
Scoring points and passing around blame.

Now there’s no turning back, no amends
possible. Each loved one is on the brink,
teetering at the point of no return.
While you watch, incredulous, and think
of numerical equations to soothe the burn
of seared souls and blazing fences you can’t mend.

Now the logic of ifs and thens leads to walls
of stony silences or acrimony. Tread light
my dear, to find your way out of this minefield,
there’s much to lose to the darkest of nights.
Where no one is prepared to give or yield
Or help you gauge whence duty calls.

Boredom Haiku

Intense boredom
Boa constrictor
Swallowed me whole

On Letting Go

These years will go by in a blur,
I’ll find myself in a lonely room somewhere,
Living in the past, ruing lost times with her.

Voices raised in song, the trilling laughter,
Frills and laces, ribbons in her hair,
These years will go by in a blur.

I’ll think of eyes full of mischief and wonder,
Monsters in the closets, the dolls in her care,
Living in the past, ruing lost times with her.

Her sweet kisses that made me feel better,
The adolescent fears, her thinking I didn’t care,
These years will go by in a blur.

Shadows will grow long across a barren shelter,
Its every corner yearning for her appearance rare,
Living in the past, ruing lost times with her.

Unless, I learn that its mind over matter,
Our gentle togetherness, a brief affair,
These years will go by in a blur,
Living in the past, ruing lost times with her

Escape

I had wondered at this proximity,
an intimacy of thoughts, like a nakedness,
unimaginable, a union supreme.
Distances were irrelevant, propinquity –
a word that applied, when our oneness
amazed, silences weren’t rude.

It’s said we seek mysteries; an escape
from the banal but in a meeting
of minds, could banalities intrude?

Perhaps they could if on barren landscapes,
mirages, mere illusions, had sated a longing
undefined. They could serve as preludes
to deconstructed lives scrambling
for slivers of reason to conclude:
the enchantment’s as real as the escape.

Palimpsest

It’s time to leave the screaming sirens,
the grime and the stench behind.
Her important papers, other bits of junk,
last few boxes, secure in the trunk,
no doubts, no regrets, her mind
made up; she bids adieu to jaded environs.

Country roads, creeks and meadows,
with lakes and streams at every mile
of the lazy turns in the Appalachian Trail,
showing tackle, bait and antiques on sale.
Shining eyes, bright smile,
full of hope, her pleasure grows.

She’s moving to a house built
in 1883, that’s nestled in a valley,
and a copse of old oak trees. Walls
of ivy beckon, the chimney smoke calls,
“Come inside dear, fall in love madly,
with the halls, the walls, and the sonorous lilt,

of the whispering shadows”. They’re lying
in eternal wait for just such
an unsuspecting visitor who would glean
their anguish, hear their tortured screams;
for this house of 1883 has seen much
grief , loss, death and incessant crying.

The house is elegant, the settings ideal,
a “fixer-upper” they’d said, at the price
of a steal. She is eager to fix and renovate,
all the breaks she’s spotted in her life of late.
So she signs the deal, against all advice,
trades her old life for a place to heal.

She clears the cobwebs, gets a fire roaring
at the hearth, wraps herself in a blanket,
slipping into a languid trance. Dreams
of dances and lavish soirees, suddenly screams
rent the air – a death at the banquet –
utter confusion, commotion, guests fleeing!

Startled awake, wondering what she witnessed
– a waking nightmare, an optical illusion?
It looked so real, unfolding before her!
Days turn to months, she sees them gather,
each time death, illness, tragic hallucinations,
bring her to her knees and leave her distressed.

This house has a history, several layers deep,
generations of tragic souls that can’t find rest,
and crowd her space , just as she feels
she inhabits theirs. Their past reveals,
her unfolding future, just like a palimpsest,
reveals each concealed layer underneath.

Car Wash

A friend had asked me to detail some expatriate experiences and this is one of those isolated, scary memories:

“Yes, what do you want?”, he shouts
in a hate-filled,menacing tone,
“Isn’t this a car-wash?
Isn’t this what you’re all about?”, I ask.
“Yes, ma’am that is our task”,
he sneered,
and suddenly I felt afraid,
all alone.

“You want me to wash your car?”,
a flash of bad, gold-capped teeth,
stressing ‘me’ and ‘your’
he seethes,
as he violently kicks in
my door.

“I had a job! I had a life!
I drove a fancy car,
Now you’re in here,
You demand a wash,
When I’d rather
Slash a tire,
with this knife!”

“This is my country,
my home!
Go back!
From where you came!
Leave us alone,
leave us in peace,
go back
where you belong!”

I step out,
feigning calm,
Examine the dented door,
note down his name,
and warn him
in a steely tone,
(I barely believe)
of the next legal game
of charging him with
a minor misdemeanor
and a call
from my insurer!

“For this is my home
as much as yours,
and the law is,
on my side,
take control of your
so called life,
and carve a niche for yourself
with your knife!”

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