Monthly Archives: March 2015

Restless in Bed

Another Friday night where sleep won’t come.
One per fortnight, reviewing what’s been done.
Tossing, to avoid turning.
Yearning, to avoid learning.
Turning at last for the pain in my heart.
Now, don’t think I’m waxing poetic,
It’s a physical pain of which I speak.
Desires of the heart
Left undone for too long
Have brought it on.
Don’t fret; it’s no heart attack.

© 2015 H.K. Longmore

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The Nearly Departed

An elegiac ode

The time has nearly come,
Her next phase now looms on the horizon.
We can feel her excitement: with it the air hums.
She counts the days aloud; one chokes on a tisane.

“What will you do when I’m gone?” she inquires.
Comes her friend’s reply, “I’ll be sad.”
“The person who replaces me will be so rad,
You’ll forget me in a month.” Aye, if that were desired.

Nay, not even then:
Life of the party, the party planner;
Infectious energy, flirtatious manner;
Always in memory, e’en if not in ken.

Another swallows hard, hearing;
Her mannerisms still endearing,
Even as she is heading out the door,
Perhaps to be seen nevermore.

He’ll likely have to leave soon thereafter:
Ghosts of conversation, lingering laughter,
Conjured up at every corner, echo ’round his head;
For his body and brain become lead.

His absence will start with a change in lunchtime venue:
In the break room he’ll become persona perdu.
Lunch hour will be for music instead of food,
A means to dampen his brooding mood.

And yet that won’t be enough
To fill the void, to try to forget.
He’ll still have to hang tough:
No paillette can steal the vignettes of this brunette.

Some might say she would have stayed,
That he could have made it so;
But to her desk he no longer strayed.
His head says he chose wisely;
The pain in his heart betrays a “No!”

In a month’s time you think he’d forget?
Au contraire, mon chéri;
Forgive the expression and be not wary:
In this matter I think you’re all wet.

©2015 H.K. Longmore

Backup Plan

She needed a backup plan
In case what she really wanted
Started to look a little wan.

He wouldn’t change his current plans;
As long as she was working on her backup man,
He would have to resist, ignore as she did fawn.

And so she needed a backup plan.

©2015 H.K. Longmore

While the Sun Still Shone

While the sun in this hemisphere still shone
He liked to be where her rays could warm his bones.
If the day was cloudy, he’d still hang around,
With hope that a break in the clouds might be found.

But when the sun left this hemisphere, bringing on the night,
All hope of receiving radiated warmth faded with the light.
But the night time is music time in his world,
So he went in search of a score to unfurl.

©2015 H.K. Longmore

Checking a Pulse

Author’s Note: the following came about due to first hand experience with the subject matter, which I discuss below the links. This discussion will be somewhat Kunderian, i.e. giving up a small portion of my privacy of my own free will. Feel free to skip it if you don’t want to know me any better.

To some it’s a number,
The rate at which atrial and ventricle chambers
Contract and expand,
Supplying oxygen to feet and hands.

To others, it’s that but more:
They want to know systolic
They are interested in diastolic;
These three form the western core.

The western core
Is but a faint shadow,
A distant memory
Of Oriental grandeur:

Nearly thirty modes,
Taken at several nodes;
The modes must be learned
Before experience is earned.

Using three fingers,
At the nodes they linger,
Evaluating Qi until the practitioner
Is satisfied with his role as diagnosor.

Some modes can indicate the reaper nears,
Others can indicate fear,
Fear of things outside one’s control:
Anxiety is the name usual.

And some indicate good health,
That the patient is generally well.
If you doubt my tale,
I don’t mind if you quail.

©2015 H.K. Longmore

Links

My experience with Chinese medicine

I went to a Chinese doctor that is also an MD, to get some treatment for bronchitis (or rather, to prevent a cold from becoming bronchitis, which is what has happened far too often over the past six or seven years). The treatment worked: my cold that was starting to become bronchitis went away; the beginnings of bronchitis subsided. Almost a year and a quarter later, I went to him for something that had been bothering me for a long time, but I just figured, “It’s a single symptom, there’s nothing wrong with me otherwise, I’ll just deal with it; Western medicine won’t have anything for me, and they’ll want to run a bunch of expensive tests, with the best result being that they give me some drugs to manage the symptom, not treat the problem.” I finally decided to see what Chinese medicine could do for me.

I told him of my condition (excessive phlegm in the morning, and sometimes during the day—ew, gross! I know, right?); ultimately he gave me some herbs to treat it, and I started doing acupuncture as well. After I told him of my condition he took my pulse, once on the left wrist, once on the right, basically following what I described above. He said, “I detect a phlegm pulse, but also a slight depression.” (On my next visit, he added some other conditions that I had not told him of, that were a result of auto accidents.)

“A slight depression!? How could he tell that from my pulse?” I asked myself. It was at that moment that I realized he was right: I had been in denial about it, but I’d been dealing with a mild depression since the end of January / early February 2014. It was brought on by something that went drastically differently than I had expected, and some of the aftermath of that event. Many times when I did things that I hoped would put an end to the depression (though I wasn’t calling it that then), things still went differently than I expected, and ofttimes just brought me further down (sometimes because I’m just too sensitive, which is why I usually build a wall around my heart and don’t let people in). But now I realized why most days since then I give a sigh before entering my workplace; why I sigh every time I leave the building. These are just outward expressions of my depression. So, there, I said it. I’m mildly depressed, and I have been for a while. I had a nice reprieve on a couple of vacations, and there have been days when I have thought things were looking up, and days that most definitely were looking up; nevertheless, it’s still there. But, “I have my books, and my poetry to protect me,” and I treat with exercise, with drumming, with playing other musical instruments, learning new ones, and with listening to music. Would that I could reverse what brought the depression on, but that is outside of my control. Thus I’ve also been feeling anxiety related to all of this, which the good doctor also detected in my pulse on my second recent visit.

Okay, that’s enough voluntarily giving up my privacy for one night. I’m going to go back into my “fortress deep and mighty” now, tell myself I am a rock and an island, despite the fact that “a rock feels no pain; and an island never cries,” and I’ve felt enough pain, and shed enough tears over the past while that I know it’s not really true. Yep. I’m going to go lie to myself. And maybe shed a tear or two.

In Passing

A brightly-colored bird,
Top half white,
Bottom orange bright,
Flits to and fro in the third.

In the third hour since noon,
A gorgeous bird sings a tune,
Seeking attention from a potential mate;
With desire she’ll sate.

She wins his eye
As he splits his focus
With some hocus-pocus;
Or at least, tries.

She returns to her perch
Not made of birch;
Waiting patiently,
Poised gracefully.

But when he draws near,
He is focused
On another locus,
No time to play, he fears.

He passes by,
And in passing,
He hears her cry
A sound everlasting:

An interjection surpassing mild,
An objection with Eternal Magistrate filed,
Feeling all her charms could not beguile.
Upon hearing, his heart turns about, wild,

But his head controls his feet.
While his blood increases in heat,
His heart tries a compromise to meet;
His head would not be beat.

This was in hour four;
The lovely orange-bottomed bird was seen no more.

©2015 H.K. Longmore

I’m Sorry That Happened

Confusion.
Confusion and hurt reigned
As his words echoed back;
Altered in content,
In timbre, changed.

“No, he just said,
‘I’m sorry that happened to you'”
A higher pitched voice
Had exclaimed.

The gist was the same, the gestures were not.
The deltas puzzled him;
He thought
He was being mocked.

Puzzling, sorrowing;
Sorrowing, puzzling,
He made his way
To his destination.

Along the way a realization hit:
The differences came
Not from mocking tongue,
Nor from unfriendly desires;

A reflection
Of the differences in
Hopes and expectations
Of the direction
Of the conversation.

Soon only the echo remained,
And he wished his could have been the same.

©2015 H.K. Longmore

Altered Path

At the crossing paths,
To help with another’s task
I’m politely asked.

Planned words left unheard,
I answered yes and turned left,
Compliment unsaid.

©2015 H.K. Longmore

Handle With Care

Balanced carefully in her hands,
Every step fraught with danger,
A cup of hot beverage controls her focus;
Undulating fluid level influences her gait.

Taking great care not to alarm,
I walk slowly behind
For my path the same way lies.
Useless is my effort to go slower; I patiently wait.

Laughing at myself, wanting to greet
Hello or happy three-quarters birthday,
And yet saying nothing:
I don’t want to startle her,
Resulting in her being badly burned on this date.

© 2015 H.K. Longmore

Broken

“Have I finally broken you?”
She playfully asks
As they stop in the hallway.
“No, no,” comes his reply;

Long on the vowels,
upward inflection—
As his eyes smile
And his lips break
Into a knowing grin.

He thinks to himself,
“Broken me, yes,
But not the way you wanted,
Not the way you planned.”

© 2015 H.K. Longmore

Unanswered Question

She asks a question of him, but of the group.
He cannot answer: mouth full of bread or soup.
Her query is met with silence,
Until another breaks it without violence.

Her left foot is propelled
By unmet expectation.
Her right spurred on
By hopes dashed, hopes felled;

She leaves the room gracefully,
Then passes by, looking in mournfully.
Another pass with greater sadness,
And finally, donned a coat for pass number three.

He wonders why the passes,
Why the sadness on her face;
Beautiful among all the pretty lasses,
What’s gone wrong in this case?

He finishes his meal, pondering.
His mind, wandering,
Comes to a clearing
Where he finds some meaning.

With haste he departs,
In search of this sweet dame.
He realizes in his heart
The coat means he is too late.

©2015 H.K. Longmore

Etch-a-Sketch Memories

I trace the lines
One more time.
And again and again
I review the details.

They are all there;
No minutia missing.
Memories that keep me up
Etched into grey granite.

Not afraid of the future,
But afraid of repeating the past,
I store them safely, securely,
Where they can govern future actions.

Sometimes I wish I etched them
On an Etch-a-Sketch.
I’d repeat some mistakes,
But the granite gets heavy.

A year or more
Peppered with granite memories
Will weigh me down;
A millstone around my neck.

Weighed down by granite
For a year or more
Will bring me to
Depressed.

Head hit pillow
Two hours ago.
Sleep deprivation
Should have won by now.

It’s nearly four o’clock,
The lines still etch.
Can I just throw away this granite,
Or trade it for an Etch-a-Sketch?

© 2015 H.K. Longmore