“Mirrors would do well to reflect a little more, before sending back images.“ —  Jean Cocteau.

A stranger told me I looked 50 today

I colored my obsolete tongue with halting restraint

the shame of puncture, a tired battery unable to re-ignite.

Cousin I am envious of your shrug of melancholy

how at 28 senectitude, you, flat footed in the medallion of sun

watching yourself gather eon fire, a barracuda.

For at your age I was a mosaic pit, without meaning

smoking alongside you, but my edges became Gordian Knot

I didn’t have your enthusiasm, the limit of wisdom: madness…

I carried pain; a quill of knives, strapped to my back

their rust turning white hair red, catching flame

I grew with grief a constant, feathered companion

choking off air, quince in rain, replaced by soot

how do you loose, la pesanteur, and finding wing

gather pewter reflection and strike cloud play anew?

I want so much to manage that potence; though now

my hands are roped with veins and I don’t believe I can set

down those worn habits; evading so long, neon stretch

of hope, she has ruined her pretty elastic mouth

too long on regret.

Teach me then, if it is not too late, if birds still claim flight

to master the art of self-belief and though I am

senescent, much older than your gleaming airy youth—

perhaps if I am kind to myself; instead of seeing attrition’s lash

staring at my regrets through unavailing wet disposition of

silver, find instead, one more burst of energy to spark

onto quiet, willing molten wick; let myself affirm the chance—

lend permission her key, the providence to run forward

fleet of foot, glad and smiling, into future, at any age

without fear, reprisal be damned—drink my shame

I hold your galvanizing breath in mine

our legacy become a river, we rush unbridled—

reckless, giddy, one-and-same, the urging

metal of our genes, sprouting over time’s craggy face

red poppies in wasteland, pregnant with seed

surviving against all odds, unstoppable, resistance falls.

Only then I see; it was only myself, holding the reins

too tight for flight; letting go, the pinching blemish

where leather pressed unwilling against flesh

dissolving with every recommenced step.

A stranger told me I looked 50 today

years yet come, still endurance turns to gold leaf

a waking spell, shakes off fatigue, gathers her mystery

old things that are still around, grow bold

we who remain extant, still stand—

undestroyed and glorious.

9 Replies to “Undestroyed”

  1. I love your mini poems so much – so when’s your book coming out? Need any help? 😉

  2. I got a bit stuck in not knowing how I want it to look, the cover design, really feeling clueless about that, not picturing it. And distracted by other issues in the world. I think I’m going to have to turn that part over to somebody and get over my, “I have to do the whole thing.” habit. So, I’m open to suggestions.

  3. I agree – investing in a designer for the cover is very important and an editor. Those two things will help enormously. Depending upon the design you’re thinking of – Mitch Green is talented and I really like Tara Caribou’s covers – what if you submitted your manuscript to Raw Earth Ink? She does the cover as part of the contract. I recommend her and I know you respect her too. She produces fine books and really puts a lot into them.

  4. In truth I recommend her over everyone else I know. She’s so good at what she does. I wish I had published by poetry book with her. But I’d already been signed with FLP but I was dumb. She’s better. You won’t be disappointed. If I can help in any way LMK? I mean it.

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