Audience Of One

Pictures and scenery from years gone by flash before my eyes as I’m lying here on my deathbed. I’m simultaneously smiling and crying, wishing to be back in those memories as a more willing participant rather than just as a casual observer.

Who would have ever thought that the desire to experience those times again would creep into my psyche? Weren’t those experiences hard the first time? Now lying here, I realize accepting this unfulfilled life is much harder to endure than all the things I had to go through while I was still young or even middle-aged.

Before withering away to my end, I had only watched the days go by without me really participating in them or enjoying sharing good times with others. Now, it’s an even lonelier existence. A hospital bed and my dreams give me my only real comfort now; closing my eyes makes me an audience of one to my past.

I experience a rare joy when nurses or doctors come to call. I can smile a bit with them and forget the sadness I feel. Then they leave, and once again, I am by myself, alone with my physical pain and my emotional sorrow. The tears flow silently, streaking my face like tiny little rivers through the cracks of my aged appearance.

Looking up, the ceiling offers no hope for some sort of release. I find the only way to escape this dreary loneliness is to sleep and join those characters that brought me what was, in hindsight, the most joy throughout my life. Experiences that I didn’t really know how to appreciate or even understand at the time. Simple pleasures like just being with someone I cared about and truly enjoying the time spent together. Looking at the sunset and its beautiful shades of color as it dipped down below the tree line. Feeling the wind blowing and licking my skin with its light, feathery touch. The little tingles of love and appreciation I should have felt when my children looked at me adoringly. If only I had taken the time to really let all those good things resonate in me deeply. If only I had been an active participant in my life while I had the chance, then maybe the sadness now wouldn’t be so profoundly devastating.

I built a lifetime of feeling alone and preoccupied. Connecting to my existence, fully engulfing my experiences could have – oh, they would have – made for a richer takeaway than what I chose to be left with at that time. So now I’ll exit this world with only memories, their impact and meaning only now being revealed; a lesson of life learned much too late.

**Originally published on PhiloSusi 4/16/2014. Reposted with minor revisions.

Ken Gierke

Milestone

Well worn,
our path together,
though not

well-traveled.
Our destination
nowhere near

the one we chose.
Where we parted,
all that remains

is a milestone
of what once was
our life together.

Reading Between the Lines

Expression

Fine lines, creases
Framing the lips
Corners of the eyes

Within those eyes
A gleam of enthusiasm
The dull shade of weariness

Regarding those lips
The glimmer of teeth
A solemn line of doubt

Impression

A gleam in the eyes
Taken for joy
Or is it anger?

Teeth shown in anger
Or is that a hint of laughter?
The lips might say

Or is it all weariness?
The answer lies in both
Behind the mask

Shorter Still

Far from brief, the time left
when viewed in the past.
A lifetime to shape a future,
with no end in sight.

Shorter now, it seems.
The slideshow of bygone images
little more than a time-lapse,
details fewer each day.

Shorter still, ahead.
The end on the horizon,
while goals slip beyond,
their time misspent, gone.

Beneath the Waves

Nearly whispering, I say,
“Every wave that ever passed over
this shell is held inside for you to hear.”

Eyes wide, you ask, “When I get bigger,
can I dive with you and hear the shells in the water?”
And so your thirst for knowledge was born.

Yours is now a world of numbers,
but you have known wizards and knights,
poetry and prose, music and art.

And, from time to time,
you still hear the waves
washing over that shell.

In the Dark

What transpires in a week? In a month?
You show a different face, revealing more, yet less.

There is a cloud hanging over you. Below,
around you. Are there secrets you would share

under different circumstances? The greater the light,
the less I know of you. Are you more open to another,

while I am left in the dark? You make no promise
I’ll see you this evening. We play this game,

you keeping your distance as I try to read you, each day
the window ever smaller, till you fade from sight, again.

Passing Madness

There’s a madness to it
this rush to color

From a blanket of green
to red
yellow

blazing orange

and, finally,
to brown

We are seasoned in this experience

And so we wait
for the return of green

Until, once again,
the madness of color
that marks the passing of the seasons

Path to Winter

golden leaves
warm light on cold day
honeyed tea

maple leaf
on path to winter
will not wait

fallen leaves
carried by river
memories

bare branches
seen in fading light
shorter days

single leaf
clinging stubbornly
winter wind

~~~

Ken Gierke has been published in The Short of It, Vita Brevis Press, Silver Birch Press, and Amethyst Review, as well as in The Moons of Autumn from Word Weaving and easing the edges: a collection of everyday miracles, from D Ellis Phelps.  His poetry blog: https://rivrvlogr.wordpress.com/ Ken also had pieces selected for the first anthology – The Sound of Brilliance.

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Shattering The Hold

Redux

Intensity laced with lunacy; it’s seductively subliminal.
Past hurt swept away by the look masquerading as deeply in love.
It’s not love.
It’s danger.
And it easily has you.
If you are not careful.
Psychological warfare playing out in the depths of your mind.
Don’t be deceived by the charm of the snakes, the force of the demanding ones
or the egos of those where clever observation never occurs.
They will hurt you.
Maybe not right away, but they will.
The scars of learning are deep and never healing.
See it before it gets a hold of you.

Originally published 10/22/16 on PhiloSusi.  Re-posted with minor revisions 8/10/2018 on I Write Her.

Reblogs – DoReeMe & A Faded Romantic

The “hotness” of those who ignite us leads us astray but maybe down the path we need to be going? Only time will tell.

Left as Kindling by DoReeMe

For what it’s worth 
I no longer feel 
Unless, your touch alone 
Scorches 
Prodding me 
As deeply as a touch 
Once did 
Beautifully burning 
Serenity 
Uncontrolled 
And timid 
~Losing everything all at once~ 
And there 
In that space 
I come alive 
And ignite 
The air 
You exhale 

A World of You by A Faded Romantic

It only takes 
brief lapse 
in concentration 
a soft slide 
into daydream
a sudden shift 
into imagination 
an easy glide 
into reverie 
an idle fall 
into fantasy 
and I am lost 
in a world 
of you. 

Unobtrusive

Redux

Pixabay.com

I stayed in the background, letting you take center stage.

It’s what you needed.

It’s what I thought you wanted.

It’s what I thought I should do.

My needs took second fiddle.

They weren’t that important.

I was wrong.

You dick.

Originally posted 8/6/2018 on I Write Her.

Evolution

Redux

Image Credit – Unknown Creator

i slowly unwrapped the darkness from my shoulders
my future
in the cards it seems
the possible
what is determined by me it seems
but is it
i want the control
is it really mine

Originally posted on 8/15/2018, I Write Her. Published here with revisions.