Poem: Stronger than Vows

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Stronger than Vows

She stands at the edge of the water.
Her dark hair blows in the wind.
The ceremonies are done and
now she is more than the woman you love.

She is your wife.

How is it that beauty grows
when nothing has changed except a day
and the exchange of vows?
How is it that you feel less alone,
part of something larger than two souls?

It is enough to renew your belief in God.

Birds sing above the beach. Seagulls.
Not music, but music, counterpoint
to the rhythm of the waves.

You take her hand as the tide rises.
Let it come.
Together we are stronger than we deserve,
walking together on the beach.

This is what you remember,
more than music and ritual,
company or canapes, white dresses
and grey vests. All that is captured in pictures
and memories. The stuff of anniversaries
and smiles. You treasure them

almost, but not quite as much as this moment,
she and I on the beach, just us
and the wild blue horizon.

About this poem. 

I am married less than a year now. Unexpected and unsearched for, she brings joy into my life I never expected again. At times, it brings me to tears. The good kind.

The picture was taken on our honeymoon.

Tom

Poem: Are You Happy, she asks

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Are You Happy she asks

“Are you happy?” she asks.
A tendril of dark hair drapes across her face
and her green eyes are clear.
Her shoulders peek out from the covers.

“I am.” I say. “But it is not that simple.”
Few things are, you have learned,
despite a life spent simplifying.
It is a battle for the moment, this thing called happiness,

A battle against traumas long past
and the chemical stew gone mad inside your head,
a watercolor wash of indigo and fog designed
to color all you see.

It is a battle fought inside the mind, invisible to onlookers,
A war fought for focus, for the ability to see deep into the night
and see light. A fight to claim each moment as it is,
to quell the voices in your head that have only one color,

and replace it with a palette of primary colors,
A battle over who chooses the colors, who chooses
the lens you see through; who chooses
whether you can see the moment in all its glory, or not; W\who chooses

the music you listen to, who chooses
what to do with the wild beauty around you, who chooses
even the taste of the coffee you sip early in the morning; who chooses
how you will live the next moment, and no more.

Distance scares you. That is the truth.
So much can happen. Much of it has.
And while you have survived the accidents
and wars that have fallen in your lap, you still feel the scars.

“You looks sad.” she says.  And she is right.
Indigo blue colors my world.
A sad clarinet in the night plays background music.
I could lose myself in their seductive whispers.

But I do not. Or at least rarely do. I take the drum
and pat out a rhumba beat.
I dance as I toss splotches of yellow at the canvas.
I brush aside the tendril of dark hair,

and savor the firm warmness of her presence.
These things are real. They are here, in this moment.
And they are alive, even when the moment passes
and we begin our day.

“Are you happy?” she says.
I smile as the tendril falls back down between her eyes.
I feel her lips as I kiss her gently. They taste of salt air and morning.
It is complicated. It is simple. It is, I realize, true.

“Yes.”

About this poem.

Being in love and fighting depression is a complicated stew. When someone enters your life that simplifies the recipe, it is a miracle.

Dancing at the diner,

Tom

Poem: Luminosity 

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Luminosity 

When I was a child I dreamed of attics and cathedrals in the night.
cobwebs lit by a vague moonlight.
A haunting trumpet calls you to the altar,
to a rusted worn trunk in a distant corner.

Enchanted, enslaved by the wavering music,
I was drawn to those dark corners,
hair raised, fear palpable, a soul torn
between disquiet and desire.

I would wake, shaking, sure I had escaped
with my life.

The dream would not let me go.
that certainty of being the prey of something ancient,
the prey, yet still drawn as if survival would bring treasures untold.
All in the dark.

After you came, the dreams continued, these pastiches from childhood,
with one difference: Luminosity,
a golden candelabra, a certainty of light
surrounding you like a shield.

Still, I wake before opening the last trunk, before reaching to the altar.
I wake, but without the dread, that moment when I am certain
the dark spirits of the night are about to make me their own.
I wake now,

the treasure just out of reach,
your warmth next to me, soft and true,
the dream continued,
the treasure found.

About this poem.

I really did have that dream as a child, over and over.

Tom

Poem: A Broken Man’s Love Poem

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A Broken Man’s Love Poem

And there I was,
nearly undone,
the inside chipped away,
the weaknesses unseen
even by those who lived there, secure
in the belief that I was immortal,
that bits and pieces could be pulled away forever
without effect.

And there I was,
unaware myself just how close I was
to becoming ruins,
the work so long done coming
undone in almost invisible increments,
waiting, dreading, sure of the final wind.

And there you were,
more aware of my foundations that even I could be,
your gentle hand strong,
your touch, healing,
your words God-breathed, an unexpected,
grace-filled inspiration,
no less than a miracle
in this old man’s life.

About this poem

A love poem. Years into my relationship with the woman I love, I am still astonished and grateful for her presence in my life.

For word nerds who perhaps are not steeped in faith words, inspiration comes from a base word meaning “God Breathed”. Grace means the “unmerited favor of God.”.

Tom