Schadenfreude

A glance out the window
Revealed a fender bender
And I, I felt mirth?

Again, from inside,
Viewing the street below,
Another’s pain
Curled my lip toward my eye?

Why? What hag has hexed me,
What sorcerer stole my concern,
And left schadenfreude
In its place?

Were sights that brought me joy
Absent too long;
My eyes need to find delight
Some other way?

Numbness crushing my compassion,
Squeezing out my sympathy?

A sight that a month of Sundays past
Brought me to tears,
Now brings but numb tingling
To my limbs, my reins, my heart.

So I take up my schadenfreude,
Since I can’t convince myself
Of my fraud, that I’m happy for you
(Though your happiness I desire over mine).

Copyright © 2017 H.K. Longmore

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Stopping the Spreading of a Lie

The lyric heard while working in the yard
Echoes around inside my brain:

I don't care now
For what might have been;
The heart of darkness
Closes in on me.

I sang the refrain out the second time
The playlist served up the song,
But in my heart I knew,
I knew it was a lie.

This lie, oft repeated,
Would advance from lie
To realm of the believed.

So it is with hope,
Hope for what may yet be,
On this playlist the song
No longer has a home.

Freeway Exit

She glances in her mirror,
She’s taken with what she sees.
At once she feels the need to clean—
A cloth or tissue at hand,
Red light gives time
For her to clean the dash,
Clean the controls,

She tosses her hair,
Checks the side mirror
Lest he is not watching;
And seeing he sees,
Resumes.

She tosses her hair,
Then rinse and repeat,
With a few mirror checks
Thrown in for good measure.

Light turns green,
She sees he sees,
Tosses her hair,
Advances.

Light turns yellow,
She goes through;
Her eyes bid him follow
Despite the red.

Follow he would,
But she is not you.

Silent Witness

She looks to Sir Moon,
Wondering what he’s feeling
She pours out her heart.

Full Spring Moon listens,
Reflected in the river
Beside which he plays.

If He had a mouth,
Sir Moon would surely reply,
Would tell what He knows.

Of what would He tell?
He would sing what the bridge hears,
What the river sees.

The river sees brass,
Its appearance like silver,
Twelve feet, conical.

The bridge hears a song,
Improvised and repeated,
A song from his heart.

Sir Moon would replay
What the concrete barrier
Echoes to the reeds;

What the ducks and geese
Mistake for a lullaby
As they seek out sleep.

But Sir Moon stays mute,
His heart moved by maudlin song
Played to still her heart.

© 2017 H.K..Longmore

Three Fictions and a Truth

Enters, man on call,
A symphony concert hall.
Opens laptop to appall.

Keeps phone on silent,
But screen? It remains alight,
To receive alerts.

Unshaven, unkempt,
They would fain have thrown him out.
Then comes the call: server’s down.

Unshaven, on call,
Now I stand with phone in hand—
Alone, let snow fall.

©2017 H.K. Longmore

Cordelia

Oh Tragedy, that binds the tongues
Of those who love best
But can speak nothing;

Nothing more
Than the loquacious praise
Of those who love less.

Remove thy maudlin mask
From thy cheekbones high,
Wash the paint from thy skin—

Reveal thyself!
Let poor Cordelia see
At whose hand she suffers.

Let poor Cordelia see
By whose hand the beloved
Becomes the blind;

And please,
Deliver a message
From me?

Let my beloved know my love,
If from she or I thou dost take sight;
If from sight we are deprived.

©2016 H.K. Longmore

Out of Sync

Eyes embrace,
Instruments in place;
The time has come
To make strings hum,

And brass bells
Resound
Throughout the space.

In sync, on beat
Or syncopated;
They act as one.

But now no clear path,
Out of sight,
A glimpse of bow or hand,
But no eyes to lock—

Notes fall off the page,
Rests refuse their wage;
Extras join the fray,
Heard when none should play.
outofsync
©2016 H.K. Longmore

Grape Harvest

If it doesn’t work out,
If I don’t get to have her
In my life,

I will save myself from despair;
I will go to the grape vine,
Find some grapes out of reach.

I’ll tell myself lies to ease my pain:
“It would have never worked out.
She’s too young for me.”

If she is taken from me by another,
Or if she is taken from me by fate,
I’ll cherish what time we had;

I’ll make sweeter still, and keep near,
My fond memories of hands and heart;
The low-hanging fruit: I’ll recall the butterflies.

Harvesting Grapes, Finding Spider Egg Sacs

Harvesting Grapes, Finding Spider Egg Sacs

If she is taken from me by fate,
Or if she is taken from me by another,
I’ll soothe my heart trying to harvest sour grapes.

©2016 H.K. Longmore

Forbidden

How do you speak what you’ve been forbidden to speak?
When you dearly want to let the secret out,
In hopes of bringing relief to aching hearts,
Or understanding to confused minds?

Were it a mere mortal that forbade,
I would speak it anyway.
But when the forbidden is from above,
I can only ask, and hold my tongue.

©2016 H.K. Longmore

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Music Moods and Alternate Views

As I was heading to get dinner after a community orchestra concert, I found myself pondering how I listen to different music depending on my mood, or the mood I want to be in:

Hard rock, usually performed by Australian bands, for when I’m agitated or want to be, or when I care too much, so I’m building a hard wall around my heart to keep me from feeling the pain, in an “I am a rock” way (and yes, I have my books and my poetry to protect me, in case you hadn’t noticed 😉 ).

Jazz for when I’m in a happy-go-lucky mood, or wish I was, or whatever I’m feeling, it’s like water off a duck’s back, and it’s not that I don’t care, but it’s all good, “everything is awesome, everything is cool when [you’ve got that swing]”.

Classical for when I’m at peace inside, or am trying to be, or when I am willing to let my heart feel those feelings that are flowing through me instead of building a levy out of back beats, distortion, and power chords to turn them away from my heart.

As I pondered, and decided on where to get my late dinner, I found myself driving to the place of my most serious accident. I didn’t do my annual pilgrimage on the date of the accident this year, so I figured, “why not?” I usually follow the path I rode my bicycle on, but tonight I came from the other direction. A whisper in my mind said, “Tonight you are the car.” I knew it wasn’t meaning I would hit someone, so I drove the path the car took. As I passed through what must have been the point of impact, I was hit with emotions (I was listening to classical, letting myself feel emotions) I hadn’t anticipated.
Auto-pedestrian accident

Grief, for how frightening the experience was for the driver. Relief, that to the driver, it appeared everything was fine, that despite the force of impact and despite my lack of a helmet, I was not unconscious, I was not comatose, and finally, that I was not dead.

I’ve always considered the miracle it is that I lived through that from my perspective (but of course). But now I realize there was a miracle performed for the driver as well! Tears escaped from my eyelids again, and I was glad I was taking the long way to Kneaders, so perhaps my eyes could merely be moist when I arrived at the counter.Sun shining over trees in park

© 2016 H.K. Longmore