44

{ Ananke }

day exhales,

deep from her belly as she sighs,

her gentle breath

sweeps across the grass,

ushering in the night,

tickles the gossamer wings of young maids on a nearby swing,

they giggle and writhe with glee.

summer leaves rustle impatiently —

wink in my direction.

bluebirds and robins whistle down stream,

whispering to each other between melodies,

a secret from another place,

songs of innocence

and of experience

tease my hair and kiss my cheeks

with the affection of tender moments that were never mine,

calling out to be remembered,

in exchange for more time.

fireflies don their evening garments,

the sun, sinking behind clouds,

oozes oil painted rose petals,

sweet sounds of honey

drip, drip, drip

into the wind and rush along its rivers.

a rogue wave subsumes the glow of evening.

how full of stars was the world that night—

open arms of eternal summer

stretched out to catch me just in time;

how kind was destiny that night.

[ photo: Harri Peccinotti, 1969 ]

34

you’re gone, and

you took your love with you

on your way

out the door.

you were my last cigarette,

now,

i don’t smoke anymore.

what a shame

it is to be human,

what a burden

is the heart,

love is only

beautiful,

when it’s

portrayed in art.

robbed of my vice,

with nothing

to show,

except a hole in

my chest

where your love used to be,

not long ago.

how easily tender memories

are swept up and away

like smoke, or a cloud

on a windy

winter’s day.

how quickly love is

betrayed by fearful

gluttony—

you left with my last cigarette,

not even the ashes are here

to comfort me.

[ photo: photo by Shana and Robert ParkeHarrison ]

27

{ bathtub meditations }

like an object quivering on the horizon,

it lingers there—

in that empty space—

nebulous,

on the edge of consciousness.

i pull it close,

aware only briefly

that it’s the idea

of some moment

to which

i would like to return,

but cannot.

i loved you in that moment:

when i first saw you,

before you saw me.

i watched you

searching the crowd.

you weren’t looking for me,

but you found me.

looking back, there’s

something romantic about that

mingled sensuality

and despondency;

something endearing about

the way we loved each other so recklessly

that we hurt each other in the end,

when the moment passed, and

we had no choice

except to leave it behind—

and leave each other behind—

because stagnancy is more dangerous than heartbreak.

[ photo: from photographer Logan Zillmer’s ‘365 project’ ]

24

i went to the place where

we used go,

but you weren’t there;

and even though i knew you wouldn’t be—

still, i looked for you.

hope is the cruelest illusion.

back to the beginning,

when the flowers were blossoming and young

and so was our love.

back to those days in the middle,

all muddled and out of order,

a story born of the confusion between

imagination and memory.

back to the end

when the trees were bare and black with flocks of crows,

and the flowers had withered.

with your eyes you said:

i loved you in the summer,

but it’s winter now, baby.

but i won’t forget you yet;

because after winter comes the spring when

even after it’s all gone rotten,

all it takes is

one drop of rain and

ray of sunlight

for everything to revive.

hope is the cruelest illusion.

[ photo: Tipi Hedren from ‘The Birds’, Philippe Halsman ]

22

i watch the sun rising.

observing the intensity of

naked existence.

reality

recedes into the background and

i forget my self.

if i am quiet enough,

especially in my mind,

i can hear the rhythm of the morning;

a smooth saxophone.

in this moment,

it all makes perfect sense

because it makes absolutely no sense.

photo: @neilkrug

16

{ nostalgia }

i knew you once and you loved me then.

the years went by and i changed,

but so did you.

we spoke on the phone

a few times later on,

but it was strange because

we were strangers.

some more years passed.

why do i still think about you?

not all the time, but sometimes.

it doesn’t hurt,

it’s there for a moment,

then it leaves again.

nothing,

literally nothing, about you is familiar.

you don’t even look the same.

i heard your voice again, today.

your voice gives you away.

it’s still the you i knew before,

all that time ago.

it’s the same voice you had

when i loved you and you loved me.

at least when i thought you loved me,

but maybe you never did.

or, maybe you thought you did,

but you couldn’t because

you were too fucked up.

maybe it was me that was too fucked up.

maybe you wanted to love me,

and so you sort of loved me.

you tried to love me.

and i tried to love you.

that’s something i’ll settle for.

photo: Eliza Cummings for Ponystep shot by Louie Banks @louiebanksshoots

10

{ an exchange }

the story begins as i’m on my way somewhere,

it’s not important where.

waiting, waiting, waiting for something.

always waiting,

waiting for nothing.

aware of things, but unaffected by them.

by chance,

my eyes meet yours.

you smile at me invitingly,

we are strangers to each other.

you must have sensed my insecurity.

with graceful subtlety,

you whispered to me with your gaze.

a silent exchange.

in an instant,

i’m full.

struck by a realization.

a mighty tsunami wave crashes down on the beach of a sleepy consciousness,

a fresh awareness cleanses my spirit as i share this subtle moment with you.

two hearts with no names,

content to live this moment together.

you depart suddenly when the train stops and i feel no regret,

no sense of longing or discontent.

i’m still full;

still satisfied

with the memory of your star,

the remnants of our silent exchange.

i see now that this fullness,

this satisfaction,

is more than enough.

how could one ever desire more?

greed is the only source of unhappiness in the world.

someone i never actually met taught me that.

how strange.

photo: NYC subway – 1980s