Sunday, April 27, 2014

why not pretend ...

why not pretend ...

why not pretend
to love me
and imagine your hand
drifting through dusky space
to entangle my hand
like a veil of silk
stitched into and over
seams of torn leather
and together
we will cross
the steel-girded bridge
from reluctance
to consent
and find our way
to the other side
of desire

why not pretend
to love me
and follow the dream
through to its end
before the sound
of midnight's creaking door
splits the darkness and sends
a crack of fractured light
that wakes you
and breaks the hope
into fragments
of broken gray tiles
so completely shattered
that no one should have
to fit the pieces together
ever again

why not pretend
to love me
and turn the killing
bullets of displeasure
into carefree butterflies
drifting skyward
in an unexpected
summer's breeze
higher and higher
until at last
they become the dust
of stars
in a twilight collage
of petals
floating beyond the moon
on the deepest blue night

why not pretend
to love me
and let the armour
of your icy resolve
melt into the softest bindings
of threadbare lace
unravelling in a heartbeat
and falling in a heap
at your feet
leaving you there
in the candlelight
expectant and sure
undressed but not unwilling
to discover
the end
of pretend

© Kennedy James. All rights reserved.



Sunday, April 20, 2014



Hippity-hop ... hippity-hop ...

Ah, yes, it's that time of year again.


And I see that damn little rabbit has been around already. Not that I mind so much. I mean the chocolates are great, even though I can't really eat them, well, not more than about half-a-dozen of the little foil-wrapped nuggets. The rest I just save for my grandchildren.

I'm not a big fan of the rabbit poop, though. You'd think that whoever dreamt up such a cosmic creation like the Easter Bunny would have left out the urgency in the little critter to leave little round crappies all over the place. Some folks, who are getting on in age, may not be able to tell the difference between what are chocolate "eggs" and what are pods of poo. One bite and the difference should be obvious. If it's not, then, yes it's time for the "home," where someone can monitor your every move.

Of course, Easter is a big-time religious celebration for some folks. It's the day of Christ's resurrection and all that. I never figured out what the deal was with Saturday. After all, it seems odd that He would have to wait a day for the express bus to Heaven, but there you go ... maybe it's another one of those lessons in patience that I've been hearing about so much lately.

Patience ... one of life's great virtues.

Not many of us are really very patient. We seem to live in a world of instant gratification, and we hate waiting for anything. In fact, most of our modern conveniences are designed to speed things up. Instant coffee. Instant messaging. Instant oatmeal. Instant replays. Instant karma. Cup-a-soup. Minute rice. Then there's the microwave. No one wanted to wait for dinner, so we invented that faster blaster to cook microwave dinners and a bag-o-popcorn lickety-split. And let's not forget the airplane. At some point, we got tired of trekking across the miles in a stage-coach, so we invented a way to fly. Now we can get almost anywhere in a matter of hours. It's a cool gig, as long as your plane doesn't do a U-turn and end up at the bottom of the Indian Ocean.

Worst of all, I suspect, is that we have no patience with ourselves. We fuss and bluster over things like being happy, having enough money, making friends, ticking off those items on our bucket lists, falling in love ... well, you get the idea. Hurry, hurry, hurry. We're always hopping around like the Easter Bunny, sometimes without a clue where we going.

Hopefully, you still have your wits about you and enough self-control not to leave a trail of little turds behind you.

So, Happy Easter ... enjoy the chocolate ...

© Kennedy James. All rights reserved.



Saturday, April 12, 2014

Looking Back ...

Looking Back ...

You said to me, "Shoot for the stars, boy, there is no limit to what you can do."

When I crashed somewhere close to Jupiter, you said to me, "Land on the moon, boy, you've still so much to be proud of."

And here I am, looking back and remembering what you said.

Looking back? Looking back ...

Sort of a summing up, I guess. Sort of a post facto judgement on a life. Really, not something I am inclined to do.

But here I am. Looking back.

So much effort exerted to make things work, when I knew things were not going to work.

So many emotional commitments, reaching for that invisible connection, and so many broken promises.

So many hours, days, and months spent alone, testing the spirit that burned inside of me, and watching that spirit soar and crash, crash and soar — the repetition over repetition of experience.

So many people wandering in and out of my life, and so many who left their baggage by the door for me to find an appropriate means by which to dispose of it.

So many best friends, and so many lost friends.

So much time, so much time filled with wonder and excitement, and so much time wasted from simply wandering aimlessly in search of something tangible, something to hold on to and grasping at air.

Life bleeds from every wound we suffer.

The miracle is that we continue at all. But we do continue, because that is what heartache and failure teaches us to do. Continue. There really is no other option, at least not a suitable one.

And still I remember you saying, on a dark and foggy night, "I can't continue without you."

And my reply was glib, when I said, "You managed well enough before me, you'll manage now."

Life bleeds from every wound we inflict on others.

And we expect those we hurt to continue as well, to survive the dissolution of their faith in us. It's not cruel, because sometimes it's absolutely necessary, but all the same, it's heartless.

Looking back, I suppose I wish that I had been kinder, more forgiving of those who trespassed when I left the door open to trespassers, more honest with myself instead of second-guessing and mistaking the intentions of others, more ready to recognise that those I thought had come to help build a house and a home were those who came to burn the house down instead. I have never suffered fools easily. I am amazed that I was, too often, the fool.

Life is a series of invitations that arrive in the mail. You are invited to take part in a series of celebrations, in a calendar filled with joyous events, with birthdays, graduations, weddings, the birth of your children, the successes of your career, the beginning of your retirement. You are invited to love and complete yourself in the arms of another. You are invited to embrace every moment as if it were your last. There hardly seems room for sadness.

And yet ...

... there is sadness.

© Kennedy James. All rights reserved.



Sunday, April 06, 2014

girls divided by girls

girls divided by girls

i fell in love
with girls adorned with
freckles that crossed
the bridge of their noses
like the dabbled spots
you see on a newborn fawn
frozen in fear and lying
so very still
in the woods
girls with the same camouflage
draped across their cheeks
and even some
with a gentle splash of pepper
running across
and down
their soft tummies
but those girls
if i remember correctly
did not lay still

i fell in love
with girls who wore bleached
blond hair
piled high
and held in place
with scented hairspray
like a crown
on their heads
girls with baby-blue
eyeshadow smeared slightly
from the flutter
of their lashes
with skin draped in peach fuzz
and with the whitest smiles
that beckoned for attention
and mistook every passing desire
for love

i fell in love
with girls in denim dresses
who smoked rolled cigarettes
and on occasion
let a swear word
slip through their chapped lips
girls who hated
rules and expectations
and who traveled across
the country with nothing more
than a small backpack
and a thin sleeping bag
who ran from day's end
and only rested
late at night
in the crook
of my arms

i fell in love
with girls who wrote pretty words
in beaten black journals
and with a turn of a phrase
and a mixed metaphor
condemned the world
that they were sure
had spit them out
girls with a conscience
but who could never decide
right from wrong
and instead searched
for the ambiguity
of some dreamy
universal love
even though they did not know
or allow themselves
to feel the passion of
love at all

i fell in love
with girls who gave me joy
and girls who left me heartbroken
girls who offered careful promises
and girls who offered only recklessness
girls with stars in their eyes
and girls who hid behind an endless pain
girls disguised in the colourful costumes
of a childlike fantasy
and girls who stepped from empty shadows
to embrace enlightenment
younger girls and older girls
quiet girls and loud girls
dull girls and bright girls
girls breathless with longing
and girls moaning with pleasure
and through it all
i never found the love
never ever caught the heart
of you
the mystery of my life
the one and only girl
who slipped like the wind
past the hopeful reach
of my dreams
and vanished
with the best of her spirit
gone forever
from the best of mine

© Kennedy James. All rights reserved.



Thursday, April 03, 2014

this is me ...

this is me ...

this is me
waving goodbye
see me there?
over there by that
row of corn stalks
on my uncle's farm?
maybe you don't
since that was some
fifty years ago
when the family got together
and we cracked corn
from husks
and threw it in a
giant pot of boiling water
and Sherry burnt her hand
trying to scoop one out
for me
and when i offered
to kiss her fingers better
her father laughed
and mine said "NO"
in a voice
even more giant
than that pot
because someone
had said
someone had told
so there it was
the "Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum"
of condemnation
and all i could think was

this is me
saying goodbye
you may find it hard
to hear me
because i've been smoking some
fifty years now
and my voice is
a little ragged
these days
well i see the word
form in my mind
and i send it down the chute
but it just doesn't
connect with my tongue
at least not the way it should
gets a little muffled
takes a swan dive
but ends up like a
still it's there
if you want it
not a big deal
just two simple syllables
did you hear it that time?

this is me
thinking goodbye
and isn't that the worst of all
not a wave or a word
but a thought
and so much more powerful
in its finality
as i step through
the red front door
pause by the matching
red petunias
that smell a little
like death
if you linger
by the white brick planter
long enough
no one bargained for this
no one really believed
i would leave
but there i go
down the stone walkway
out to the road where
the Rudnick's dog
got squashed by a car
its eyeballs popping out of its head
one hot summer's day
and maybe that's what happens
to those who go
where they should not go
but it's on down the road
down the long dusty road
walking away from
all those years
all the crippling years
and hurrying with some certainty
because going is everything now
and home is such
a long ways
such a bloody long ways

© Kennedy James. All rights reserved.



Tuesday, April 01, 2014

stealing another day ...

stealing another day ...

i've been thinking too much lately
searching for a safe harbour
where i might rest
from the storm of daily living
too easily forgetting
that the agony of loneliness
simply tests the waters
that ebb and flow
along the shoreline
and blur the line
in the sand
that divides presence
from absence
and a last embrace
from certain departure

i've been calling in favours
settling the imbalances
of a life lived
on a skiff lost at sea
tossed and turned over
with salt-encrusted eyelids
and hands rippling
with blisters
only on the rarest occasion
catching a fresh breath
from a cooling breeze
that like a childhood dream
disappears in the
next instance

i've been letting go
passing worthless trinkets
off as priceless treasures
and offering them
to son or daughter
who watch in desperation
and dismay
it hardly matters
that my feet are wet
from the flood of
a father's sweat
that my hands shake
from reaching out
and catching hold
of something even
less substantial
than air

i've been hoping for the best
buoying up my spirits
when the crest of sadness
washes over me
and leaves me drowning
in the depths
of crumpling regret
but i remember
to carry on
and steal another day
and maybe it's because
i can still hear
your voice
warming my spirit
with the simplest words
that remind me
how after every crash
after the heartache
of every shipwreck
there is still a someone
in the wreckage who
whether alive or dead
needs tending

© Kennedy James. All rights reserved.




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