The heart’s hot climate- a hometown
Of obsession’s hurricanes. The eye
Of rejection’s self-pity never passes
Quickly enough. But in the throws
Of wind and rain, ripping apart homes,
And flooding road ways- rebuilding
Is encouraged. Progress forced upon us.
Obsession’s path of destruction paves
The road for summer’s affectionate breeze.
The heart’s hot climate- a hometown
It’s small, trouble-free and understated.
The fountain is nothing to write home about.
It’s just trickling water in unpolished granite.
It is dwarfed by the rising white and black basilica.
As the wisteria flourish in the shade of le Sacre-Couer,
Few, fortunate lovers and friends sit
Under the ivy-wrapped columns.
It is stuck in a city known for the more beautiful of its kind.
Les Jardins: des Plantes, du Luxembourg, des Tuileries…
This one pales in size, in acclaim, in traffic.
This is where I came then. Young, but jaded. Alone.
This is where we stand now. Still young. Hopeful. Together.
Finding this garden then, where we find the best view
Of this house of prayer, may not have been like winning life’s lottery,
But it has been like a first job-teaching me to make
My own soul’s fortune, my own future.
Returning here now, where we pose for time-lapse photos,
May be what I need to learn what to do with
The riches it taught me to find.
The fruit smoothie just exploded
From the blender across white tile floors.
Dripping mashed, half-chopped fruit covers
My favorite old pair of jeans.
I drop to my knees to glide a wet paper towel
Over the slop. But the berries and milk
Have a way of forming your eyes and tight jaw
Just right. To let the white tile shine through again
I have to wipe away a banana curled lip
And strawberry cocked eyebrow.
I stare, letting the paper towel wilt in my hand.
Maybe salty tears will clean it all for me.
But secretly, I hope it’s a lasting stain.
In the kitchen, crack some eggs
Into the sugary goodness of cookie batter.
Glance out the window to be sure
No fairies, mailman or nosy neighbors are watching
And indulge in the raw goodness.
Slide across the linoleum in mismatched socks
And carry the dough
Up to your personal playground.
Find the perfect hairbrush
With a handle soft in your grasp
That you won’t drop when, enthusiastically
You hit that last big note.
Make enough room
Between your bed and dresser
In front of the full length mirror.
Put on, or just imagine, something glamorous.
Choose your song carefully.
Belt out a Whitney ballad
Or give your stuffed animals
An earful of George Strait twang.
Show Aretha a little Respect
Or turn to your Ryan Reynolds poster,
And invite him for some fun
With the words of Marvin Gaye.
Maybe the girl in the painting isn’t lonely.
She’s not standing on the cliff contemplating
How small she is- her insignificance.
The darkness of the night isn’t bearing down
Suffocating the flame of her hope.
The crashing waves below aren’t violently
Reminding her of nature’s power over her.
The stars aren’t unattainable, distant souls
Of people she’s lost, leaving her alone.
Maybe the girl in the painting isn’t waiting.
She’s not standing on the cliff anticipating
A person, a friend of much significance.
The darkness of the night isn’t a comforting
Privacy, protecting their personal world.
The crashing waves below aren’t lovingly
Forming the beauty of the cliffs like he does for her.
The stars aren’t infinite opportunities for wishes
Of a comforting future for them together.
Maybe the girl in the painting is happy alone!
She’s standing on the cliff reveling
In the vast beauty, external and internal.
The darkness of the night is a canvas
For her to bring her smile’s bright paint.
The crashing waves are her personal symphony
Creating a soundtrack to her night-walk reverie.
The stars are hopes of so many like herself,
Perfectly content out in this shared gift that is the world.
Everyday since I have found you,
My eyes open upon the sun.
Not to sound ungrateful,
But this happiness you have given me?
Take it back. Regift it.
Now that I have warmed near it,
I’ll always have the flickering candle
of hope for its return.
Give it to her.
I will gladly walk through storms,
So that she may have the sun.
The mere memory of it will be my umbrella.
Make her see it’s possible.
You gave me friends-
Channels of your love.
Use me as a tool for her.
Teach me to pull her into sunlight.
She is trusting me to trust you.
And I do.
The singing of the choir girl
Calmed the gathered crowd.
We walked in, in white robes
Of clean slates. We sat in
The unworn upholstery
Of the front row chairs.
We sat. We stood. We knelt.
Then stood again.
A dear friend placed his hand
On my shoulder grounding me
While lifting my excitement higher.
I bent over the font of cleansing waters
That quickly mixed with tears of joy.
The same hand, now Godfather’s,
Reached white cotton out to wipe
The water from my eyes to see
The colors of new life sparkling
Through the artist’s window.
We sat. We knelt. We stood.
The choir sang an antiphon.
Peace was given with hugs
And smiles from old friends
And future friends. The oils
Crossed my forehead. And blessings
Crossed my mind.
Welcomed finally. Officially.
Loved by my friends
And by my family
And by my God
And by myself.