Tag Archives: resilience

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

Protected: Game Clock Time – With Links

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Game Clock Time

I’m told in certain circumstances in tournament soccer play, it can be advantageous to lose a game so that you play a weaker opponent next, and a stronger opponent plays a stronger opponent, possibly losing, thus allowing you to play the weaker team and win. I suppose it is possible that under certain circumstances, a tie would be advantageous, and possibly a 0 – 0 tie. That supposition is a required backdrop for this poem.

The hour appears to draw near
When the game clock sings
And the crowd will cheer;

And I will leave the field a victor,
Despite the score being zeros.
Not by my being a hero, no.

By: my fear of the unknown,
the strength side of my weakness,
my ultimatum uncommunicated, unfulfilled.

All shots on the goal missed;
Some deflected, others poorly timed,
And some badly aimed.

And though time remains,
I’m like a quarterback
Kneeling after the snap;

I must keep the ball
Centered mid-field
And watch the clock expire,

For fear a warning dream
Becomes my future,
And I don’t wake with a scream.

I must watch the clock run out,
From self-respect on a two-way street,
Where what’s good for the goose—

You may think I’ll be tired,
Running around in circles
Trying to keep the ball away;

But the only circles I’ll be running
Will be the ones in my mind.
There’s but two on the field:

The goalie and me.
Guarding the goal, the goalie won’t yield;
Never engaging me to take the ball.

I cannot enter the goal box,
So I set the ball at mid-field,
And slowly back away;

Still, the goalie won’t engage.

© 2014 H.K. Longmore

Sand Castle

Two children meet on a beach;
For their sand shovels reach.
A castle they build,
With dreams it’s filled.

But the filling of the moat
They leave to the sea.
And the sea is pleased:
On the castle he dotes.

He reaches the moat with each high tide,
With each high tide, the moat is complete.
With each low, the heat competes
For the castle’s mastery.
Continue reading

The Leper and the Doctor’s Couch

She has deliveries to make.
She rounds the cubicle walls,
Her voice lilting
As she greets each person.

Sometimes by name,
Others with a hello,
Always with excitement;
Her enthusiasm is evident.

I consider plugging in my headphones
So I’ll not know when she arrives;
But no, I know what to expect.
I choose to leave the clutter on the desk.

She enters my domain,
Not a word is spoken.
Gingerly she holds the booklet
Between two fingers:

I am a leper,
My disease flaking from me;
The fibers of the booklet
A transmissive medium.

She must minimize her contact
With that filthy rag
Lest she contract
What I have.

So I seek the doctor’s couch
In the spinning iron ore
Spread throughout the globe;
I inquire to find the prognosis.

But the diagnosis accurate
Comes from the heart;
It is as I presumed:
I am not a leper.

© 2014 H.K. Longmore

The Cost of Comfort

“Oh, my pillow, my soft, absorbent pillow!
What words of comfort have you for me today?”
Cheer up, all is not lost.
“And what will be the cost?”

Two drops is all.
“And what can I get for five?”
You are loved, even if some mistreat you.
You can have the pair for six.

“And how much for a verbal hug?”
Now that’s a tricky one,
A difficult task for a pillow.
What’s it worth to you?

I’ve saved up a lot,
Over days, weeks, months.
I wonder how much I should offer.
Would a cup be too much?

But as I start to pay
The dam bursts,
The stream won’t be held back.
“Is this enough?”

©2014 H.K. Longmore

Avian Life

Oh, birds!
If I could but fly with you today.
A simple life, to be sure:
We’d hang out on the power lines,
Take turns fluttering to and fro,
Chirping and singing and cooing.
We’d race and glide in the sky.
And when hunger struck,
If ever prey we spied,
We’d carefully descend
To take it by surprise.
If I could but fly with you today.

©2014 H.K. Longmore

Related Posts:

The Land of Red and Green X’s

In the land of green and red x’s
No dance is ever in step;
Every good deed can be overturned
By the next misstep.

In the land of red and green x’s
Disappointment is par.
Human frailty guarantees
The tally can’t reach the bar.

Red X's, Green arrows
In the land of red and green x’s
The chroma of the red implies
The focus it will have:
The red gains control of the eyes.

In the land of green and red x’s.

Take a little trip,
It’s not too far—
But you can’t get there by car—
To the land of seventy times seven.

In the land of seventy times seven,
Even when a relationship must be severed
That does not diminish the love that grew.
Though the love may change form:

Eros may become Philos;
Either may become Agape,
But surely love
Will yet endure

In the land of seventy times seven.

© 2014 H.K. Longmore

Aggression

This is an older piece, from what seems a lifetime ago, if not a different life. It describes in part the difficulty of returning to a place where all that you thought you knew about a person and their relationship with you was turned on its head. In the “Aggression” alluded to, I managed to hold my tongue, and prevent an assault from becoming assault and battery.

I returned to the place of Aggression yesterday
Though it still seems like today,
As parted have my pillow and head been, torn
Since yester-morn.

The Aggressor was not there.
If he were, to go I could not bear.
Forgiveness he would have feigned
For a time, on a day I felt alienated.

In his heart
Real forgiveness had no part.
He wanted to keep his reign
Of tyranny.

He called that day to apologize
For the way he antagonized.
Wishing to talk to no one, warned by caller ID,
I left curses unsaid and receiver on hook.

The place is haunting now,
Full of darkness and shadows
Everywhere I looked.
I tried cursing a chair
That it might break—doing no harm
To the person who’d sit in it.
Let the La-Z-Boy die in retribution
For my suffering.
No pattern or form to follow,
No magic incantation—

Only me, my mind, my movements, imagination.
Break or not, I don’t care—
I did it, that’s what matters.

Enough about that, lest
My heart get left
In the darkness in the basement, in the theft
Of my pleasant memories,
At the time of the Aggression.

©2000-2014 H.K. Longmore

Related Posts:
  • The Shame of Going Back – Henry Lawson (I love that the Google search for “henry lawson the shame of going back“, without the quotes of course, currently has my old page from my undergrad days at the U as the top result.) Lawson’s poem describes a different situation where returning can be difficult.

Fruit and Fruitcake

“A potluck! Whatever you bring, bring fruit.”
The announcement came as no surprise:
His brother was on the planning committee.

Aiming for some humorous response,
He tried to say he’s a little bit crazy
“Can I just bring myself, because I’m a fruit?”

The room filled with the laughter
Of men, mostly twenty-somethings,
And the few women giving the announcement.

“That worked better than expected,” he thought.
Then, too late, he realized it was “fruitcake”
Not “fruit” he had intended to say.

Too much time had passed,
His explanation too feeble.
The label stuck.

Many moons passed;
A certain few still this label used
For far too long, until—

At long last, another opened his mouth—
The jaws of hell could open no wider—
And inserted his foot and leg, up to the knee.

Those who used the label still
Agreed this last faux-pas was far worse,
And bought the burial of the label.

On the Transmogrification of Pain

Emotional pain I truly disdain.
To feel it completely would crush my heart;
The resulting torrent would fill my lungs
With that saline solution from my eyes.

So I aim to transmogrify the pain:
Change its form, numb the ache, preserve my heart.
I run ten miles having not run for months,
Just my muscles and bones, sinews and fat:

There’s no water station for hydration,
And no supplemental source of glucose.
At eight-point-three my quadriceps seize up;
My pace is so slow I switch to a walk.

With every step my pain turns; legs now burn.
Sun gone down, the air grows chill, my hands numb.
But let this not raise a flag of concern:
The pain tastes better the second time down.

©2014 H.K. Longmore

Descent

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