THE VOICES

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I hear the voices all the time.

Not the ruminations of a madman,

Though the teetering between that and this

Does blend equally. This syncopation between life

And death. The symptomatic fodder from loss.

 

All the voices I’ve imprinted of loved ones,

The cavernous chasm left from which to pluck

—A raucous laugh, an intimate’s whisper,

—The shading and tenor of familiarity.

 

There was a time when the orchestrated sounds of living

Were all around me. Lived. Felt. Even aspirational,

If love can do that… Does? Did?

 

Now there’s an island of silence before me,

Ghost whisperers floating in and out,

Glad-handing as they trespass.

Hola, Mari. Adiós.

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I look out at the stars tonight

And you are absolutely not present.

I know you can’t be gazing at

The constellations. You cannot.

 

You’ve journeyed onwards.

Skipped the light fantastic.

The carbon matter you once earned

Has returned to energy. Transformed

Into new matter. New space. New body—

One which I will never recognize.

 

Though my eyes and heart will never stop

Searching for your smile, the joy you

Brought to this party of life.

Hola, Mari. Adiós.

THAT SINGS

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The beauty of summer will soon disappear

And with it, much like with the loss of our youth,

We will lie partially in wait, wondering how to cope

With the harsh realities, the comeuppance borne of time.

 

The freezing rains that will change to

Sleet, then to snow. The ice covering the ground.

The death of leaves as they scatter.

The geese whose bearings will lead them south.

 

In Canada, the winter silence is not so ugly as it is long.

The shifting mindset that carries a longevity gene

Our forefathers passed down to us. Kindred. Aloft.

The resurrection mythos that girds our loins. That sings.

THE PASSAGE OF TIME

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The retreat in old age comes as a surprise,

Its highs and lows that continue,

Which get mired in random expectation.

 

No more excitement from love and fornication

No attractions unless the soul is addressed.

The saturation that defines aging has more to do with

The solitude, this finiteness glaring back at you in the mirror—

The torpor that lines your face, that time has scored you with.

Where once was exuberance, now patience subsists.

The only erudition is fleeting, insights you’d like to share

Though no one truly cares nor bothers to listen.

 

The augur of decades is no more revealing than this:

The ticktock that tinges,

The trailing whispers that memory permits,

The evolution you counted on that amounts to very little.

 

Time well-spent. Loved, won and lost.

The eradication of useless banter,

Old fossils contemplating the passage of time.

 

A Meandering Peace

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Once you’ve departed the premises

The years of habit-forming find

The emptiness to the rooms disorienting,

Slightly hazardous to one’s mental health.

 

The historical clutter we’ve engaged in,

The hierarchy we’ve learned to ignore,

Not so much a “who’s on first” routine but,

On and off, we have kept each other laughing.

 

The screaming and the crying—all long forgotten,

The repository of recrimination wholly deflected

By time, the erosion that time graciously elicits.

In its stead, we’ve created a permanence. Of sorts.

 

The telltale struggles two humans have fetched,

The inventory—be they memories or mementos,

All the lost and found, and lost again,

Tucked away in our ergonomic drawers.

 

Who can ever imagine in childhood

Such connectivity that draws us so near,

The evolution that unites kindred spirits,

Allows for a peace that meanders, bright, ever clear.

TRIUMPHANT

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I’ve always loved the smells of summer,

Like greeting an old acquaintance from afar.

The languorous lulls that warm breezes intoned,

That carried our imagination long into the night.

 

Of stories that were lent to us as children,

That cradled and cuddled our ids

Before our ids had a name. That promontory

From which we gazed at life in safe abandon.

 

The pleasures of July and August when no rains

Could keep us indoors. Those inimitable flavors that

Kept us attuned to the infinite grace which immeasurable

Time collapsed before our very own eyes.

 

Every day was magical. Every day we seemed triumphant.

THE LAST ROOM

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Is it so morose to envision my last room,

The sanctuary where I’ll breathe my last?

Can I choose what might not be chooseable,

What might be at the mercy of happenstance?

 

I’ll know it when I know it…or will I?

Will I be caught off-guard or simply too sedated,

Will dementia have interfered, robbing me even of

Life’s finiteness? This last room is a gamble.

 

How often have I said goodbye upon parting,

Exchanged glances with spaces that have been conduits,

Shelters that supported my goals and ideals. Saw me in love

Or quick to anger, observed my despair that lingered for days.

 

Too many rooms to call my own. All borrowed

Apartments and houses and childhood bedrooms,

Each, harbingers of futures unimaginable,

Less fire and brimstone, more salutary if capricious.

 

I want my last room to exude the verve of freedom,

Letting all the love flow effortlessly in the air.

I long for a breeze from wide open windows

So that the sun may satiate my bones in a final caress.

 

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