Tag Archives: love

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April Fool?

Author’s note: this was written 01 April 2015. I mention this only so the phrase “this day” is more easily understood.

A memory,
Somewhat faded now;
It happened on this day
Some years ago.

An aspirate tied to vibrating vocal chords;
Next, the tip of her tongue
On her superior alveolar ridge soared,
Air passing through her nose from her lungs.

This was not the end,
Only the middle.
I give you no riddle:
To utter a glide her tongue did bend.

No palatal approximant in her head,
She expressed instead
An anglicized Greek upsilon,
A fine sound to end on.

And thus his name
Passed o’er her lips;
Each utterance that o’er them slipped
Increased her power to tame.

©2015 H.K. Longmore

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

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

Nothing to Say

Author’s note: Carly Simon asks in the song Angel from Montgomery (written by John Prine): “How the hell can a person go to work in the morning, come home in the evening, and have nothing to say?” The situation described by those lines is rather sad. But it occurs to me that there are many reasons why one might have “nothing to say.” This poem is an exploration of some of those reasons.

When the cubicle is empty,
There’s nothing to say.
When it’s too hard to speak
You may think
I’ve got nothing to say.

When what I want to say, I don’t want to discuss;
Or the time or place don’t fit the content,
I’ll stay my tongue,
And I’ll think,
“I’ve got nothing to say.”

When my head fills with warnings:
A seizure may be imminent!
To avoid a repeat
I’ll have to retreat;
Catch my breath,
Guard my driving privilege.

When saddened by news
Or burdensome views,
Unless you’re my spouse
Or have lived in the same house,
I’m a startled field mouse.

When I want to slow
The gushing blood flow
From the mark of Cupid’s arrow,
For reasons above,
Hand in black glove
Covers my mouth.

When a loved one is leaving,
My sighs are my lungs heaving,
I want to shout “don’t go”
Until my voice fills the sky;
But the sorrow I feel
Drains my brain
Until my words
Are no longer therein contained.

And when I just want to sit—
The landscape moon lit—
Enjoy the view for a bit,
Silence is a hit
If you’re in it.

©2015 H.K. Longmore

The Hardest Prayers

Some may think it kind
To pray for others success.
But one may come to find
In that prayer, distress:

He wishes her success in her goals,
He prays fervently for it, but there’s a toll:
Much to his dismay,
Her goals will take her away.

Can he secretly hope she fails,
While praying she gets that letter in the mail?
No, ’tis selfish, ’tis not love.
He’ll send a unified message above.

Each time her departure is spoken of,
Part of his heart withers,
And though it goes against his druthers,
He’ll hope for that which sorrow comes of.

©2015 H.K. Longmore

Seven Year Pursuit

She sees him below,
The one she desires.
She finds he inspires
As her heart closer grows.

He doesn’t know
It has taken a year—
But it is now clear,
She desires to be friend, not foe.

Year by year she closer comes,
In seven, she perceives,
Her goal she’ll achieve.
With delight she softly hums.

Six have passed,
She draws nigh,
And lets out a sigh;
Leans in to be kissed.

Excited for gifts next year will bestow—
She’ll have him aye, by and by.
In anticipation she finds the right tie;
She’ll decorate herself with matching bow.

But the cycle is done,
Her goal upheaved.
‘Twas quite naive;
Still, her heart is numb:

To Aphrodite Cupid will confide
That Valentine’s will have to abide:
The day for George and Abe set aside
Will never with her coincide.

©2015 H.K. Longmore

Free Agent Actor

He is the only free agent actor;
All others just playing a part.
They look at him when news is given
Of another’s eventual departure:

Their eyes say,
“Have you forgotten your lines?”
The energy vibe he gets says,
“You jerk; just because you’re free,
Don’t ruin it for the rest of us!”

But no one gave him a script,
And some actions were expressly forbidden
Twelve moons ago; around the time
He was socially blocked.

And so he remains: blocked, forbidden;
No conversation as they go,
Signals not much different than before.

Hamlet-like, he utters a soliloquy:
“To stay, or not to stay,
To speak, or not to speak.”

He tries to stay this side of madness,
And allow Ophelia an escape,
Perchance to France with Laertes,
If her only other option is to climb a tree.

But he’ll not say, “Get thee to a nunnery,”
And he’d rather not boast of love
Greater than 40,000 brothers:
Philos is not eros, and it’s a rather grave boast.

Copyright© 2015 H.K. Longmore

The Cupboard in the Corner of My Atrium

My Atrium is no ordinary shop:
No wares are peddled,
We don’t do consignment,
There’s no cash behind the counter.

Here behind the fence
Of my serous pericardium,
You’ll find, if you request,
Emotions—free of charge.

But if you want an emotion
From my Atrium,
You’ll have to step up;
Step up to the counter and ask.

But if you want jealousy,
We’re fresh out.
Well, that’s not right:
We no longer stock it.

Jealousy is messy,
It gets in the cracks,
Turns the grout green,
Stains white things black.

Jealousy does not produce
Manliness nor masculinity;
Those are both best
Grown internally.

So when we find
A trace of jealousy
On the floor
Or oozing down the stairs

We fetch the mop
From the cupboard
In the corner
Of my Atrium.

So, what will you have?
What will it be?
You’ll have to step up to the counter
And make it known.

If you’d rather get your fill
From some other,
That’s your choice.
There are other customers at my till.

But the portrait I painted
While you stood outside
Window shopping
Is etched into the wall.

And there it will remain—
Whether you give your wants a name,
Or never come to my counter again—
In the middle of my Atrium.

Now, where’s that mop?

©2014 H.K. Longmore

What Profit?

“Rings and jewels are not gifts, but apologies for gifts. The only true gift is a portion of thyself.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

I wanted to give a gift to someone. Nothing particularly fancy, but getting it involved a lot of personal effort, and finding something appropriate required a lot of thought. Having selected what I felt would be a good token, I waited for the right moment to give it. I had planned to give the gift without any wrapping paper or other covering, but on the spur of the moment, just seconds before giving it, I changed my mind and decided I wanted to cover it. I used what I knew I had available: a facial tissue paper. I probably would have been better off to stick with my original plan. The moment came that I presented my gift, with a customary greeting for the occasion.

Nothing in my history of giving gifts could have prepared me for what happened next. She looked at my poorly packaged gift and after a moment of silence said, “I don’t think I want your gift.” Hurt, enough that I could have cried had I not been in a relatively public place, I said, “Okay.” I thrust my extended hand into my pocket, dropped the gift in, and withdrew my hand. Calm as a balmy summer day, a trembling puppy frightened by thunder, I walked away. It took all the focus I had to not run, not cry, not look back. I turned a corner, and put on a façade of normalcy as I interacted with those in the vicinity. Returning the gift to the place it was obtained would be impossible, so I put it where it would be available but out of sight.

When I was in junior high, an object lesson was taught using a slice of cake to represent the gospel of Jesus Christ. The cake was shown to the class, and the question was asked, “Who would like a piece of cake?” Several hands went up; one was selected. The person selected went to the front of the class to get their slice of cake. However, before they were given the cake, it was mashed up until it looked like leftovers retrieved from the garbage. The analogy made was that you might have a wonderful gift, such as the good news of the atonement of Jesus Christ, but if you present it poorly, the person you are giving it to may reject it. Thus, you need to take care that your life and your presentation of the gift match the wondrous quality of the gift, to reduce the likelihood that the gift will be rejected. Perhaps she was rejecting my gift because of how poorly it was presented.

There is another possibility. “For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift? Behold, he rejoices not in that which is given unto him, neither rejoices in him who is the giver of the gift.” (Doctrine and Covenants 88:33) Did the presentation of the gift matter at all, or was she really rejecting me? If I was on the other end of such an exchange, I would at least receive the gift, and if I didn’t like it or didn’t want it, I’d throw or give it away. But I have forgiven the rejection and the rejector.

And now I think of all the times God offers His mercy to us, and we reject it, either by refusing to apply the atonement to our lives, or by choosing to apply it for a time only to backslide our way to rejection of the gift. I think of how sorrowful He must be at our rejection of Him. His hand is extended in mercy, ready to deliver us from all the chains that bind us captive; it is extended all the day long, and yet we do not listen. And unlike imperfect me, who ran from rejection of the gift or of me on account of emotional pain, He feels but stands as before, His outstretched hand yet offering the gift. His gift is no apology for a gift, but the truest gift of all: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” — John 15:13.

© 2014 H.K. Longmore

The Anonymous Burden

If you determine in your heart
To carry out an anonymous act
Designed to bring happiness
Or a smile to the recipient,

You must be prepared for the part:
Fully accept the burden of facts
Known to you and God—and security cameras—the madness
Of the temptation to tell, to take credit, your new companions persistent.

If you would walk the unidentified way,
You must quench the thirst for recognition,
Bury deep the desire to reap rewards; in sadness,
Leave not fully formed the hunger incipient.

When others comment, your tongue you’ll stay.
For leaving no clues you’d better have a knack;
Wipe that smile off your face at their gladness.
And it’s best to not write about what you’ve brought to fruition.

© 2014 H.K. Longmore