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.

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?

the season is here once again.
this time of year,
it holds the memory
of such transformation.
i remember it was
when the hummingbirds left,
when they began their
great migration.
the air was changing each day,
just a little cooler,
a little
cooler.
before the hummingbirds departed,
they came,
wings a blur in such great motion.
“give us the skins
you’ve shed,
the pasts
with no place here and now!”
they said.
we took off skins and
layers of self,
all the fragile surfaces
that took our breaths,
that hid our eyes.
then we let a stillness come.
a tranquility in which we could say,
“this is how i will remember you!”

a tree is patient;
with gnarls about its
trunk, like old fingers.
it is sun-beached and
long since passed.
the days and nights
move around it.
we witness the blue sky,
so rich and clear,
and mistake our needs.
we forget tolerance
and say,

get out of the way
you old tree!
i want to see the blue sky
.

but the tree is patient.
by day
it marks the earth
with the movement
of the sun
across the sky,
not rushing it,
letting it be,
moment by moment.
at night it stands
almost sentry-like,
keeping watch,
waiting.
it never says,

you are gray today,
bring back
your blue sky
!

if it is unable
to mark the earth
as a sundial would,
it just waits,
gnarled and old,
like it was yesterday
as it will be tomorrow.

i speak a foreign language.

a million syllables and a thousand vowels,
and i speak it alone.

all i want is the pleasures of body and the connection of soul,
but i am tangled
in this language only i speak.

when spoken it holds a weight i don’t understand,
and intentions not desired.

i withheld my longing for the pleasures of body and the connection of soul,
frightened by the weight
of my words.

then gentle fingers fell upon lips and took the sounds.

a mouth came to my mouth and took words.

every syllable and vowel was swallowed whole.

as every syllable and vowel was held,
a voice in my language said,

i hear you.
i know your intentions.
I understand.
speak without fear.
speak honestly and
open fully.
rest here naked in the flesh
and
free of concerns.


my longing for the pleasures of body
and the connection of soul returned to me.

with the language we speak,
the language we share,
we will reveal ourselves.

we will draw letters with our tongues
and with soft breath upon our necks we will write stories.