No

“No” seems like such a simple concept.
It’s kind of like “mine.”
It doesn’t have a half life.
It is terrifically influenced by context,
It is something everyone controls or no one does.
You’re supposed to know it when you’re five.
Some people don’t seem to learn it before they’re 75.
There is no bravery in it.
There is no stupidity in it.
It bounds the definition of things.
Like “you” and “me.”

Deep down we know when we lie about it.
But we don’t admit why we lie about it.
You’re not a slut because you don’t use it.
You’re not a prude because you do.
It happens between consenting adults.
It matches my expectations more often than not
Because more often than not I deserve it.
It’s a complicated thing that is so simple.

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Boy in a Mason Jar

What a crazy quilt collection
Just a kid, they say, he’ll get better.
Just give him time they say.
Daddy does not approve
Doesn’t understand or believe in what Al wants
Respect
He tries to be such a good father
Al would like to please him, but not like that
Or is it just more points he wants
Another comparison he can hold up
This crazy kid ain’t gonnna be your trophy Pops
Is his approval worth the cost?

He sets a fine example, he’d like to be him, someday
He has hurt a lot and it didn’t come easy
Can’t you just taste the prize
Respect
But it’s hard to cope and it should be
So damn simple – easy to understand
Why can’t it be easy? Isn’t it his job to make it easy?
Why does love slide into hate like a handshake
Made always to feel like a boy in a dress
Not any way for Al to be

Al is a dead cool dude really
Not that anybody’ll let him be
To be himself – makes you want to puke
In a closet of other people’s dreams
hurling pretty like an insult – daddy’s little something
Somedays it would be so much easier
Give up, give in, give over
Respect
So many people – the applause sign is ready to light
To hell with them or to hell with me?
Not ready to make that choice
To stealth or not to stealth, that is the question

Grow up? Into what exactly?

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Tricks

So many ways ways to fuck up, Jesus.
Did I miss a single trick? Nope, not in this life.
No one trick pony here, that’s fer sure.
I know all the tricks, every last one, damn it.
Not that any of them work, not even a single one.

And you know what I know?  Not much.
I know a lot of things I don’t know, so many things
I know a lot of things I can’t do, so many more things
I know all kinds of things that will never be, like that’s a surprise
And I know that it’s all my own damn fault.

So what good does any of this do? Really.
She won’t believe me if I try, not again
She won’t believe me if I don’t, like she can tell the difference
There’s no great mystery here, just the odd lie
Can’t ask her for any more, not no more no how.

Mother, you should have loved me with a more critical love
You could have prepared me to understand what I didn’t get right
Yeah, it was all your fault when I was 10, maybe
But that was a long, long time ago – more than a generation ago
In the last millennium, before I wanted to die.

It would just be a lot easier for everybody
To take the burden of me off the universe, a real bargain
I have no great excuse really, just about everybody else does better
I do worse, same as always, nothing to see here.
It’s no surprise she’s given up on me.

Maybe she forgave me too much and too often.
But I can’t fault her for that, or anything really
She stood by me past any kind of common sense
And now when she’s come to her senses
I have nothing, hell, I don’t even have a reason to complain.

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Broken

Each moment follows    without mercy
Challenging the resolve to cling to life
It doesn’t really matter, not really,
Nobody cares, no one notices
Smile, smile, smile and pretend
Pretend you don’t care
Pretend things will be OK
Pretend to look forward to what’s next
Pretend to pretend

The pain is not new
It is self-inflicted anyway
So there’s no one to blame
No one to hind behind
You’re not even deserving of pity
Someday you’ll get to die
Someday it will be over
Something to look forward to
After all.

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Speaking

When everything you say is disbelieved
When nothing you say is right
When nothing you can do make things better
When nowhere you can go gives comfort
What’s left to say?
What’s left to do?

Every day the road gets steeper and my back hurts more
By the day, by the week, by the month it doesn’t matter
What a pointless waste of time to sit and wait
Unable to do better than to welcome mediocrity
As better than total failure

I’ve done wrong and harm to everyone I have loved
In that I am not unique, just another ordinary moron
Too afraid to die is not a very good reason to be living
Perhaps I’ve lived long enough.
Maybe the world would be a better place without me.

Who am I kidding?
Who I am isn’t worth living
Who I want to be isn’t possible to be
Who I want to share my life with doesn’t want me
Who is it left for me to be?

Desolation is an old friend who doesn’t give a damn
Regret is a dry meal that satisfies no hunger
Self-pity and self-loathing share the same bed
I gave you every thing you asked for
I kept nothing for myself
It should not really surprise me
The nothing I have left.

All I want is Us
And you tell me time and time again there is no us
It’s just the latest fantasy I have seized upon, you tell me.
You’re the only hope that keeps me alive
I will always believe in you
There’s nothing else.

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Keys

The keys to her soul
Stroked ivories played
To sync her whole
To heal What’s frayed
Should be a role
For which he’d trade
His own soul

His eccentric heart
Taut stretched harp string
Hold tensions apart
Cause his heart to sing
should be her art
To his soul bring
Her own heart

Together they play
Rhythm, melody and rhyme
Sung fresh each day
In perfect time
This is their way
In love, sublime
Hearts, souls, at play

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Voice

Why is there a voice in my head
Telling me nothing I want to hear
It starts when I wake up
And never lets up
Until I fall asleep
And all my dreams are done

Inside voice inside my head
It never shouts out for you to hear
It hides behind a face
That will never face
Another inner voice
With all it’s dreams and life

Stay away, keep out of my head
These are not the words you want to hear
My inner voice will lie
Better let it lie
There isn’t any truth
In dreams that are disturbed

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Father

My father was a great man
Or so they tell me
I can’t really remember him
Just scenes like from a movie you saw as a kid
I was just four when he died
When he fell, when he departed, when his life was ripped from him
By unyielding gravity on that narrow concrete path
Suddenly
Like a descent from heaven to mortality
Suddenly

He sure had a temper, my father
He could yell so damn loud
Your ears would ring and he didn’t stop
Not until you started to cry

He died mad.
I wonder if he had time to be frightened

He always had the best intentions under his rage
Like mother when she beat me with that boar bristle brush
Crying because I made her do it
It was me who made him mad
He died mad at us for being so incompetent
For needing his help

Such a handsome man was he
I never stood a chance to emulate him
He was the saint in our house all the time I was growing up
He was the reason and the example held up before me
Like some precious icon stand-in for a father
The presence from the grave watching me fail

And when our mother died, we had her ashes flown
To be buried beside him, our father who was with us
Every day until she died and then they were both gone
Our dear and departed parents
Who loved us so much every day they lived

So now we’re getting older
Nearer day by day, mother
Closer every week, father

I love you, I know I do, but I don’t know why
I wanted to be you, but it can never be
It isn’t me, never was, never

So I make my peace dear father, dear mother
Knowing at last that it is me that has to make me special
(like it’s some deep revelation!)
Not my father, not my mother, not my country, not my education
Not what I do, not what I write, not what I think
Not my gender
Just me, just your child
All alone, daddy

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Pet me

There is a cat
Sat
On my keyboard
Tail swishing
Pet me
I’m your pet
So why aren’t you
Petting me

She is the cat
That
Is most demanding
Of my time
Feed me
The bowl is empty
It isn’t
She wants more

Love from a cat
Flat
Out is the best
Reward
There is
Overall in life
Freely given
Love me back

Move over cat
Scat
I’m done petting
Need to write
A poem
About a lazy cat
That
Is sitting on my keyboard

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Liar

Liar
Begone
Fabricate a life
To live
Alone
Elsewhere
Liar

Find yourself someone
Other
Complicate your life
Live on
Without
Someone
Liar

Tell yourself untruth
Compose
Pathetic, dead life
Live with
Yourself
Untruth

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