The dark side

The faces of the dead in the clouds
as our fates pursue phantoms
She buys me a small jade Buddha
which I turn over and over
in my hands
What happens to their faces when
the wind blows into rain?

It’s true then isn’t it?
You’ve a dark side

Ever more beautiful when
she believes herself beautiful,
she thinks any compliment paid her
is a literal statement of truth
The voices that arise from the deep,
the unconscious, know far more than me
of her magic

I don’t make sugar blocks
across our dark side

Matt when young
would get mad at his acne
So he’d rub it with alcohol
until those pimples hurt
Now I feel the same way about
my sore shoulder— I’d punch it in
the nose if it had one

Their stringent beliefs
in the dark side

Like a bear without her cub
she doesn’t know what is missed—
It’s like an empty presence
deep within her heart
We could be together, I said
We’re together now, she said
Only we weren’t

Not now, not then—
on the dark side

Then there was Don who decided
to stop smoking
Before each cigarette he’d suck
on a saccharin tablet as punishment
It didn’t work
He kept smoking and
developed a taste for saccharin

Like a trauma we didn’t forget
near the dark side

How can that ordinary looking man
(He looks like my Gramps in that photo)
with that old-fashioned fifties beige suit,
his unfashionable girth and that friendly,
preoccupied stare, write
such finely wrought stuff?
From where?

The rumors fly
along the dark side

A base man, his cowardice
has him uneasily acquiesce
to harsh treatment
and insolently respond to kindness
I saw someone old who barely looked like
the George I knew, walk gingerly behind
his walker—each step a separate push

He gazes at the forbidden
deep within the dark side

We hear from the next table
the pop of a champagne cork
Our waiter smiles and says
“There’s no better sound
in the world”
We swagger and brag
We lean in together and laugh

Nothing can sparkle like wine
from the dark side



-July 16, 2016-