it’s 3°f outside.
the house seems
to be moaning;
it’s releasing these
sounds i have never heard.
“i understand,”
i say aloud,
consoling the empty space.
it’s brutally cold outside.
i was thinking
that maybe
i should build a fire.
i should do
a lot of things –
a lot of things.
but instead
i just sit and drink coffee.
it is tepid;
black,
and strong.
from the couch,
under my blanket,
sipping coffee so strong
it could strip paint,
i look at the fireplace
and think about the things
i should do.
but doing
often takes saying
and i hate my words.
too many thoughts,
too many feelings,
and a distrust
of my mouth and
that which will fall
from it.
so i sit and
i sip my coffee.
and listen to the house,
as the frigid day
takes its toll on her.

the raspberry tasted of youth.
‘how truly simple
this is’,
i thought, as i waited for
the coffee to brew.
it is raining today,
a cold rain,
a december rain.
it is only a few weeks away
from the solstice.
the days move so swiftly,
chasing something with such haste.
as i stood watching the rain
and eating the raspberries
that tasted of youth,
i tried to understand
this movement of time;
this day that runs ferociously
to some unseen end.
it was never like this
in my youth;
time moved with a gentleness.
i’d stand amongst the raspberries,
free from care,
only being mindful of their tiny thorns,
and eat, and eat, and eat.
i began to understand,
breaking myself away from reverie
and pouring my coffee,
that the raspberry patch was
my kingdom,
i felt safe there
tucked amongst the tangled bramble
and the thorns.
the world outside
was one of turmoil;
it held a man of such fierceness
that a few scratches
from the inside of my kingdom,
my sanctuary,
paled in comparison
to his anger.

i had words that were pretty.
oh, i think i wanted
to dress this up,
to make my thoughts
rich and potent.
but this isn’t a topic
that needs it,
though it enters my mind often.
now it is midday
and a nap is calling.
my eyes
are watering with tiredness,
the gentle bobbing
of my head tells me
that i should rest.
but i am here
wondering about age
about time
and the our experiences since we
last met;
about the gray hairs
you have now
and my baldness.
i wonder about wrinkles;
mine from life, from
living hard,
the trials found within.
and yours from living
just living – boring living –
age without knowledge.
you see,
your corner office
has emptied you.
the shell was there
but the existence emptied you.
the love you proclaimed
was not love,
it did not nourish you
as love would.
the hands that would’ve
held yours through every trial
are rough from age,
and now they are holding
those of another.
soon i will rest.
these thoughts come often;
usually before my naps,
when my mind and heart
are tired and
begin to wonder about age,
time, and about a life
that i once desired to embraced with you.

where is my destination?
is this path
the path?
i watch the sun
pass along the wall.
it is a fall sun
moving with haste,
and i have not
yet found my shadow
within its weak autumn rays.

a shadow,
there on its own.
questions of how and
of why
remain quiet and still.
i am sure
that breath expelled in day
and sighs released at night
will be out of curiosity
or longing.
perhaps just fleeting thoughts
in quiet moments,
then moments that become hours
and then days,
will nag.
the figure of flesh and bones,
now just a shadow.

i have seen your eyes.
i remember them
as they spoke,
as they replied without words
telling me of your pleasure.
now, what do your wrinkles say?
what do your tired eyes say?
lines can speak,
but i am not sure anymore,
they are different.
i want age.
i want old age;
its beauty even in worn skin,
in wrinkles around eyes
that tell of everything
words will not.
but your eyes?
i don’t speak their language.
and your wrinkles?
they speak of the arrival
of old age;
not of beauty,
of loneliness.

today i learned what geese talk about
when they fly,
when they fly,
when they fly away for the winter.
i said,
“no, it can’t be,
they have it all,
they have it all
all figured out.”
from the ground,
gazing up,
up – up – up,
their direction seems so true,
their flight is seems pure,
their lives lived with intention.
but now i know what they say
when migrating –
when migrating away.
it is not the view they are talking about.
not the horizon-line stretching forever.
it is not a life of freedom that they speak of.
rather:
“i need to keep moving –
if i stop i will start to think!”
“will i be attractive
when i get older?”
“i think i’m lovable,
but maybe i’m not.”
“am i integral to this company
or just kidding myself?”
“i pushed away another beautiful soul
and i made it look like their choice.”
from where i stood down on the earth,
without shoes,
with blades of grass between my toes,
i stood looking up,
shocked and amazed
as they sang these songs overhead.
how – how – how can it be?
but a part of me knew,
a part of me understood
that gilded arrows seen from afar
can only fly – fly – fly straight
for just so long.

when last we met,
when was it 2012?
you built me up.
have i told you that?
walking around Budapest
in the early hours,
sharing stories,
sharing the blissful madness
of brotherhood.
you rebuilt my foundation,
it had cracked here and there,
did i tell you this?
we are older now;
balding with wrinkles from living,
from knowing.
i should’ve come after treatment.
when i was told i would live,
i should have come.
before my back was stooped,
before i was frightened,
before the happiness of others
was more important than my own.
when did you teach me to speak?
when did i start walking
with shoulders squared,
and my eyes up,
fixed intently ahead?
when did you explain
that the pain in others
was not mine to heal?
when did you teach me
that my sensitivity
was a blessing, but also a target
for the weak and the hurting?
my shoulders are still squared,
brother.
my eyes are still burning, straight-ahead and direct,
brother.
you would be so proud;
with a word
i can turn away
those seeking my sensitivity
to heal them;
those wanting me to hold the weight
of their pain.
how aged will we be
when we meet again?
will we look younger?
will our wrinkles reveal more
about the lessons we’ve learned?
will they tell of living
and how we lived?
will mine tell you of the peace
you helped bring me,
the calm you brought an old man
with squared shoulders
and confidence-filled eyes fixed intently ahead?