Friends who have taken an interest in my writing as far as 2006 or who have listened to my spoken word CD, Words Strung Together, might recall a longer version of this piece. In fact, the poem that exists here is less than a third of that original piece. That I have published this part right here without the other parts doesn’t mean that those other parts have been excised for good; rather, all of those parts played into the building to an ending that I have never been comfortable with. I do believe that parts of what is not presently here will be recouped in time, but that’s a project that needs to be shelved until time allows me to just sit down and work it out. I can’t imagine that’s going to happen anytime too soon.
Still, when searching through the archives for pieces that represent my writing well and that I’m fond of, I hate to not have these first stanzas of that piece out there.
Unless I’m wrong, this is the last important poem that I wrote in the apartment in Charleston before I moved to Pennsylvania, and it is the most important poem that was inspired by my relationship with Becky in those early days.
I’ve called this “Part 1,” because parts of what it was will be restored later, and I’ll find other words to go with them, in order to come to a more satisfying ending.
So, for now you get these first words. They mean so much to me, and the writing process that brought them about was part of that divine thing that sometimes happens when the barriers between me and everything else break down and some of the good stuff that exists where we join can be brought to light.
I so hope you’re well today, dear friends. This day is going to be filled with so much great promise and I hope you grab every little spec of it. With God’s speed. Until soon.
“Nonexistent Beaches” Part 1
I’ve written my dreams in the sand of nonexistent beaches
and watched tides that never were wipe them clean.
I’ve seen those waters roll back,
just standing there meekly as they called me a liar.
I did nothing. I said nothing.
I stood there listening to their accusations.
I’ve pinned my hopes on breezes that blow no leaves
in a land without seasons.
I’ve waited for the cool and the calm
that I tell myself they’ll bring.
Surely, they will ease this nervous feeling.
Surely, they’ll be just perfect for late nights in outdoor cafes
that lie at the bottom of widely-set stone steps.
We’ll have wine and coffee and dishes that contain avocado,
and we’ll coax each other into believing
that this world can still be saved.
I’ve danced with the moon on so many nights
when no other partner presented herself,
because no other partner presented herself.
Her name is Diana, the moon; a three-syllable word,
it is poetic, and she never shies away with a shiver
when I whisper it in her ear.
She just holds me tighter,
gains a closer sense of our rhythm,
and dips a bit nearer to the Earth.
This is so much more than feeling Bohemian,
so much more than playing that role I sometimes play
or wearing that face of a man who isn’t me.
Sometimes all I can do is cry inside;
despite the true bliss even
that I might be feeling,
inside it’s all tears of want
for all of us.
How on earth did we get here,
so far off course?
Sir Isaac probably wouldn’t have thought
that an apple could fall so far.