Monthly Archives: February 2014


Raindrops fall
Fast, wet, calm.
My vision is clouded,
But my car knows the way home.

I miss the exit,
Then take the wrong one.
My vision blurs,
But my car knows the way home.

My heart descends
Into sorrow and sadness.
At last, with no connection,
I must have found my cocoon:

The crawling of my skin
Must result from falling in.
Clouds cry,
And I shudder.

And my car returns
To where I would have been
Were the day drier,
The weather fairer.

Trying to numb the pain,
I miss my turn
When my focus falters.
But my car, it knows.

With the press of a button,
The shelter called home
Opens to protect
My car from the falling rain.

Inside, wipers run
To clear the remaining
Drops of rain
From the windshield.

Another button press
And the door descends
To shield and protect.
I turn off the engine,

Keep the music playing,
And release the pain.
I let it course
Through my veins,

Overwhelm my brain.
I feel wetness in my eyes
Streams of water on my cheeks.
For tears I’m too vain;

How can the wetness be explained?
There must be a leak in my house,
A leak in my car,
Letting in some rain.

I head inside, the moisture stops.
Sitting in my writing chair,
I put down some thoughts.
Writing done, I discover another leak.

© 2014 H.K. Longmore

An Ode to Paul

An ode to Paul, Paul who was Saul, I write.
I write in free form because
Paroxymal Choreoathetosis
Is too long for iambic pentamemter;
Too short for haiku,
The subject too serious for limerick,
And not yet requiring elegy.

Paul was given a thorn in the flesh
“Lest he be exalted above measure”.
Some say his thorn was seizures.
Paul bore it well, in adversity took pleasure.

If only I were as upright as Paul!
Perhaps then my thorn
Would not fill me with gall.

After I did my time
In magnetic medical caves,
And doughnuts crossed with x-rays,
Sleep-deprived, electrodes on my scalp;

The diagnosis was given:
Paroxymal Choreoathetosis,
Or some other paroxymal disorder.

Nine years passed
Before a medicine was found to control it,
Too late for the lass
I took to the Christmas dance.

As we danced, a seizure struck.
We left the dance floor,
Roamed the school halls
While I explained my condition.
We returned and danced some more.

Dance over, headed home,
She was dropped off first.
She got out, I was to follow.
I tried but twixt the car and ground
Another seizure took control.

I could not move,
Was near to falling.
My friend, the driver,
Grabbed my coat,
And pulled me in;
Kept me from a serious fall.

Seizure ended, I looked for the girl,
And found her as she realized
I was not walking her to her door:
She ran the remaining distance.

My heart ached for her.
But too embarrassed,
Too socially awkward,
I did not call, write, or visit.

I did not heed my parents counsel
To select one of these to apologize.
Instead, as time wore on,
Through mutual friends I planted
Seeds of information,
Until the thing was understood.

I once found a dictionary
Sufficiently large to define
Paroxymal and Choreoathetosis.
I remember now only that
It had to do with seizures
And lack of oxygen.

Three medicines later, life seems normal.
You wouldn’t guess I could be
Just hours of sleep deprivation
Or poor nutrition,
Or too many forgotten pills away
From a return to that life.

And still my thorn threatens to return;
The threat now seems most often to come
When I’m about to do something
I know deep down I shouldn’t.

But the knowledge that oxygen helps
Means you’ll know I’m battling it;
You’ll know by sudden changes
In my breathing depth and pace.

I ask not for your sympathy;
Your empathy retain.
I tell you so you’ll understand
Should you see the threat of my thorn.

What you won’t know, I’ll never tell
(Not unless we talk of it),
Is the pleading in my mind:
“Oh, Lord, please, no!
Don’t let me have a seizure now!
My God, help me breathe,
Don’t let me lose control!”

Oh that I were as upright as Paul,
And my thorn was to keep me from boast.
I could then glory in affliction;
Privately enjoy my views of heaven.

Copyright © 2014 H.K. Longmore

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What lies beneath

Uncomfortable in his skin,
He vowed it would never happen again.
He claimed mostly he was disappointed in him.

But allowing time for reflection,
It turns out he lied.
Yes, he was disappointed—
Even in his self—
But more than that,

Disappointed he didn’t act
When the timing was right,
Sorrowful for the confusion,

And heartbroken at missed opportunity.

The Cocoon and the Butterfly

Oh, return to me, my cocoon!
In days gone by I tried to flee
Thy protecting wall;
Enticed by a beautiful butterfly,
Beautiful, smart, and cunning;
Who passed by to catch my eye.
Confident you were holding me back,
I tried to flee, but it made my skin crawl.

One day I fled, I pushed through thy barrier;
I was free to pursue the dazzling beauty.
But it took time for my wings to dry.
As I waited she passed on signals,
Intended or no, that she fancied me.
At long last, my wings dry, I tested them.
They felt strong, they felt beautiful.

I sought an answer to the paradox
That to know whether I’d like to fly
On a long journey with her at my side,
I’d need to spend more time with her;
Yet making the request could rend her desire.

I forgot lesson learned, and sought
A simple answer to a simple question.
I fluttered and flew ’til I came to her;
The air around was warm,
Warm as the day man discovered fire.
I asked if she would for a time fly with me.
But lo! I took too long, or she forgot,
Or she was filled with treachery, I thought.
I play no games, words at face value take.
My beauty was sufficient, she had already revealed,
But by her words she chose disinterest,
And I, I nearly froze.

Come back to me, my safe cocoon!
Bring back the crawling of my flesh.
Protect me once again, and I’ll grow,
I’ll grow more beautiful than before.
Let her do whatever she will;
I will emerge when metamorphosis completes,
A grander thing with prettier hues.

Can a butterfly enter a second time into his cocoon?

I spent a sleepless night, defenseless;
Vulnerable as I tried to find you, my cocoon.
I carried on with my life, sad, solemn, painted smile,
Until time and circumstance provided that simple answer:
Her response, “Why would you ask me that?”
May have meant something else to her,
But for me it is the pointing finger of rebuke:
By asking that simple question,
I lost a slice of honor, and with it beauty,
As the missing honor reveals my inner caterpillar.
Treachery it was not, but her wings fluttered
More true than mine, flailing and ripping from caterpillar me.

I look about to find she has fled,
Distancing herself by degrees;
A dream I had while still cocooned,
Before I ever saw her, stands partially fulfilled.
In the dream after she fled, I could not find her,
And I became a creature most reprehensible.
Oh take me back, my cocoon,
Heal my self-inflicted wound!
Let me not arrive at the fate foretold.

But can a butterfly enter a second time into his cocoon?
I can’t seem to find you, my cocoon; gone as the butterfly.
So I seek building blocks of water and bread, flesh and blood.

Copyright © 2014 H.K. Longmore