28 December 2010

We Are Such Stuff as Dreams Are Made On: A Review of "The Tempest"

Scene: Exterior - Broadway, New York City, two weeks before Christmas.

Four friends and I have set off on a quest to see Julie Taymor's interpretation of William Shakespeare's The Tempest. I've been looking forward to this day for months -- I took a vacation day from work so that I could see this film on opening night -- so we're driving 30+ miles, into New York City, on a Friday night, this close to Christmas. The potential for disaster is dangerously high.

The risk, however, is more than worth the reward. See, I'm a bit of a Shakespeare fanatic. I read the plays, I see all the movies, and I see the plays performed on the stage whenever I can. I know -- and celebrate -- William Shakespeare's birthday, I know the names of the three conspirators in Henry V (Act 2, Prologue), and I remember the name of Mercutio's brother in Romeo and Juliet. I quote Shakespeare to my four-year-old niece. Oh, and I bought her a copy of The Complete Works before she was even born.

Two of my former college professors -- one with a Master's degree and one with a Ph. D. -- have invited me into their classrooms for a day or more to teach their students about The Bard. This is, of course, an honor. An honor I could not accept (it's a long story), but an honor nonetheless.

I respect both professors, but if Dr. Nancy Hazelton -- a true Shakespearean scholar -- told me that William Shakespeare was the son of an illiterate glover, who smoked cannabis, and wrote the majority of his sonnets for a man, I'd take every word as gospel. (Wait...what?!?) If I have a question about Will or the Elizabethan theater, I go to Dr. H. So, when she asked for my review of The Tempest, I again held it a high honor.

Truthfully, I'm still wrestling with my feelings toward the movie. I want to like it, I really, really want to like it. And, overall, I do. The film was beautiful. The setting (Hawaii) was perfect. The actors were -- with one exception -- terrific. Helen Mirren did a wonderful job with the "Our revels now are ended" speech. (I doubted her not.) The film was a big step up from Titus.

That being said, I had several problems (three small, two large) with the film:

1. Although I realize Trinculo is one of the "low comedy" characters, I think Russell Brand was a poor choice to play that part. His accent -- compared to those of the others -- was jarring. I don't know how to explain it other than to say that he just didn't seem to "fit" the part.
My view on this point has softened somewhat in the past three weeks. I thought back to Kenneth Branagh's casting of Alicia Silverstone and Matthew Lillard in Love's Labours Lost, and realized that Taymor was probably trying to pull in the younger, "Katy Perry" crowd by casting Brand. (Brand is, for those who don't know, engaged to singer Katy Perry.)

2. Being a Romantic, I think the moment Miranda and Ferdinand first meet could have been extended a bit. I would've liked one of those cinematic "Their eyes meet and everything around them stops for a few moments" type of shots.

3. In a few places, most notably the shipwreck scene (Act 1, Scene 1), the music made the dialogue nearly unintelligible. That scene should be loud (men shouting, howling wind, thunder, crashing waves, breaking timber), but the music threatened to drown (small pun intended) much of that.

4. The masque (Act 4, Scene 1) was very short, and it resembled a cut scene from Taymor's Across the Universe. It consisted of computer generated graphics that resembled a geometry exam on LSD. (James I, who loved masques -- hence their inclusion in many plays once he became king -- would not have approved.)

5. My major complaint about the film is the epilogue. The epilogue was presented as a song (a very slow song) which played over the closing credits. If I hadn't known that an epilogue was coming, I would have missed it. When the credits began before the epilogue was presented, I stayed in my seat thinking perhaps Taymor was going to do something like Branagh did in As You Like It. Sadly, that was not to be.
I was a bit shocked. I mean, that epilogue wasn't just the end of the play, it was Will's farewell to the stage. It should have been a bit tongue-in-cheek ("Yes, I'm out here begging you to clap for the play"), and contain a little bit of sentiment for those of us -- 400 years down the road -- who know that Will is done writing (at least by himself).

Now my charms are all o'erthrown,
And what strength I have's mine own,
Which is most faint: now, 'tis true,
I must be here confined by you,
Or sent to Naples. Let me not,
Since I have my dukedom got
And pardon'd the deceiver, dwell
In this bare island by your spell;
But release me from my bands
With the help of your good hands:
Gentle breath of yours my sails
Must fill, or else my project fails,
Which was to please. Now I want
Spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
And my ending is despair,
Unless I be relieved by prayer,
Which pierces so that it assaults
Mercy itself and frees all faults.
As you from crimes would pardon'd be,
Let your indulgence set me free.

- William Shakespeare, The Tempest

26 November 2010

North Pole Announces Job Cuts, Kringle Appears Before Congress

A satirical look at the ever deepening financial crisis being felt around the world. (Written: December 2008)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Although surrounded by frozen wasteland, the North Pole has always been immune to cooling economic climates. Now, however, the world-wide financial crisis has reached into the icy expanse above the Arctic Circle.

Santa Claus Incorporated today announced plans to cut more than 20 percent of its elven work force, and nearly 25 percent of its flying reindeer staff. The cuts come less than two weeks before Christmas – traditionally Santa Claus’ busiest season – and were made in an effort to save money and streamline business operations, a North Pole spokesman said.

“Decades of increasing production and delivery costs, as well as steadily rising elf and reindeer wages and health care costs have compelled us to downsize our workforce,” said Yukon Cornelius.

As the job cuts were being announced, Kris Kringle, CEO of Santa Claus Incorporated, or SCI, appeared before the Congressional Subcommittee for Supercilious Affairs to request a nearly $250 billion corporate bail-out package.

During questioning by Rep. Barney Frank (D – MA), subcommittee chairman, Kringle claimed that Santa Claus stands in the growing shadow of a financial crisis.

“Without a substantial aid package from Congress, Santa Claus could very well cease to exist,” Kringle said. “We need an infusion of capital to sustain us while we re-vamp our operations.”

Frank pressed Kringle on the wisdom of his current business model and on repeated calls for cuts in management compensation.

“From time immemorial, we have provided toys to children around the world, in exchange for nothing more than good behavior, stale cookies, and warm milk,” Kringle said. “And, despite years of parental threats, we have never left a single child a lump of coal in their stocking. But, rising costs are forcing us to re-examine this generosity.”

“We must re-tool our plants and our workforce in order to produce toys more efficiently and at a lower cost, while at the same time, restoring the world’s faith in Santa Claus,” Kringle said.

The International Brotherhood of Elves quickly responded to the announcement of job cuts and Kringle’s statements before Congress.

“Despite decades of poor treatment by management, especially a lack of dental care, the Elves have offered SCI several contract give-backs in an effort to preserve jobs,” said a union leader who gave his name only as Hermey. “But, the problems at SCI extend far beyond our contract.”

“For years, SCI has been steadily cutting our workforce as they’ve outsourced more and more work to China and Korea in an effort to increase corporate profits. Unfortunately, toy quality has suffered and now consumers are turning to other sources for their Christmas gifts,” Hermey said.

Hermey cited SCI distribution of Chinese-manufactured toys containing lead-based paint as a primary factor in the decline in demand.

Representatives of the Federated Union of Reindeer could not be reached for comment.

At the White House, President George W. Bush said that he is watching the crisis closely.

“We must not misunderestimate this crisis,” Mr. Bush said. “If Santa Claus goes under, his suppliers and their employees will suffer as well.”

Several economic experts have warned that the ripples of SCI’s fall could spread globally; even as far as Hanukkah Harry Industries – the largest competitor of Santa Claus.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, (D – CA), Speaker of the House of Representatives, is among several members of Congress opposed to a bail-out of Santa Claus.

“This is not our crisis to solve…the North Pole is not U.S. territory and Mr. Kringle is not an American citizen,” Pelosi said. “He should petition Canada, Norway, or Russia; or perhaps even the United Nations for the emergency funding he needs.”

Kringle warns that without the bail-out funds, “Presents may not be delivered this Christmas Eve.”

06 August 2010

The Metamorphosis...or Not!

This morning, I intercepted a suicide bomber within an inch of my left foot. Normally, I keep a rolled-up newspaper handy in order to deal with such attacks. Unfortunately, my weapon of choice was not available this morning, so I grabbed my favorite biological weapon, "Ortho Home Defense Max."

I must take a moment to say - without prompting or payment from the good people at Ortho - this stuff is great! It kills any kind of bug, inside or out. And, it makes spiders "dance" before they die! Yes, I know that sounds horribly sadistic, but when it comes to spiders...

Let it suffice to say that there is now one more filthy, eight-legged fraker writhing in Hell, along with Shelob and her evil minions.

But, I digress.

My early morning encounter reminded me of two mock news pieces I wrote back in 2005; so I thought I'd post them for you, Gentle Reader. Stay safe!


Bud Forces Launch Offensive Against Insurgents
Disassociated Press
14 April 2005

POMONA, N.Y. – Forces for a Spider-Free Bud’s Room yesterday launched a violent basement-wide counter-attack, including the use of chemical and biological weapons, against eight-legged insurgents.

According to Brigadier General Sy Kopath, FSFBR spokesman, the insurgents have begun what appears to be a spring offensive to re-occupy the Free People’s Republic of Bud’s Room.

“We thought we had the creepy bastards beaten in the winter, but the warmer weather has brought a resurgence in the rate of arachnid incursions,” he said.

While traditional weapons such as shoes, napkins, and rolled up college newspapers have been employed with great success, Kopath revealed that Bud Forces have recently resorted to chemical deterrence in the form of moth balls, and biological weapons developed by S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc. to defeat the arachnids before they regain a foothold in Bud’s Room.

“Our forces are determined to stop the enemy at the border,” Kopath said. “Any that do get in will be terminated without mercy.”

Representatives of the God-less Communist Invading Spider Horde released a statement denouncing the use of weapons of mass spider destruction.

“The use of these weapons (WMSDs) violates multiple international treaties and the GCISH will not stand for it,” the statement reads.

The statement also alludes to The Horde’s alleged nuclear weapons program.

“Last year we laid down our legs in an effort to live peacefully, but no longer. We will not stand by while our women and our young are slaughtered indiscriminately. We will use all our resources to develop weapons capable of defeating the imperialist Bud Forces.”

The statement also decried the recent “April 12th Massacre.” On that day, three spiders and two spider-allies – members of the so-called “Axis of Weevil” – were killed by Bud Forces in a matter of hours.

“We cannot confirm or deny the events of 12 April, but rest assured that once the facts of the engagement have been established, medals will be awarded to those responsible for their valorous acts of Bud defense,” Kopath said, when asked about the incident.


Incursions Rise Despite Bud Claims
Disassociated Press
31 August 2005

POMONA, N.Y. – Despite recent claims of an end to major combat, Axis of Weevil incursions reached a 24-hour record yesterday.

Seven separate attacks were recorded in the Bud’s Room Province between Monday and Tuesday evenings. The Forces for a Spider-Free Bud’s Room response reportedly resulted in the deaths of four spiders, two beetles, and one centipede.

The use of a new biological weapon, Ortho Home Defense Max, and the dramatic drop-off in insurgent activity, led FSFBR Command to declare the Province secure as recently as last week. The new spat of attacks, however, shows that the insurgency is far from over.

“As the infidels bring in new weapons, we will modify our tactics in order to continue this Jihad,” said Harry bin Arachnid, a spokesman for the Godless Communist Invading Spider Horde. “We will drive the imperialist Bud Forces out no matter what the eventual total cost may be.”

Bud Forces Command claims that the rise in the number of attacks is not necessarily an indication of a less secure province.

“It should be noted that none of these attacks resulted in a single FSFBR casualty, or any damage to property,” said Brigadier General Sy Kopath, FSFBR spokesman. “In each case the insurgent was intercepted and killed before completing their mission.”

“These insurgents are not indigenous. They are foreign beings desperately trying to disrupt the upcoming provincial elections,” Kopath said.

Despite the lack of casualties some people believe that Bud Forces should abandon the Province.

“We should just leave. We’ve caused enough destruction and wiped out a generation of spiders there,” said B. Leeding Hart, an anti-war protestor outside a ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Responding to claims that the insurgency is causing a lack of sleep within the FSFBR, Kopath said simply, “The price of peace is eternal vigilance.”

08 July 2010

Sleep No More!

For Arthur H. Monigold

"Macbeth does murder sleep." Alas, I fear,
For all his genius, the Bard is mistook.
No, it was not the good Scot who crept near,
To steal innocent slumber, like a crook;
Nor did Claudius truly wrack sweet dreams
With "murder most foul" in Denmark’s garden.
'Tis but fiction, though foul indeed it seems
When guards prey upon moments unguarded;
In truth, 'twas one familial – one of trust,
That condemned me with his lies and incest,
Who used a child to sate his vile lust,
And damned me to endless nights without rest.
Weep, not for Dunsinane and Elsinore,
But for the child that lives, yet sleeps no more!

15 June 2010

A Simple Desultory Poem for a Friend

For Sonia

"To make it burn you have to throw yourself in." - Galway Kinnell

We are left with only memories,
and the bitter pain they bring;
like the gentle recall of a perfume,
sweet as the first breath of Spring,
and skin, warm as sun-kissed grass;
as the course of human events
ebbs and flows through our lives,
ceaselessly pulling us farther and farther
from the place of peace we seek.

While the mind can imagine new love,
taking delight in the unknown and
living in the vicarious illusion of dreams,
we awake to endure the cruelty of solitude
and the numbing entropy of hope.
Despite the desultory touch of discontent,
your heart, repaired, though brittle,
will love again; trusting, like Sisyphus,
in the eventual success of its labours.

What could I promise you
that you haven’t already heard,
from much better men than I?
(Though their oaths, long shattered,
now lie strangled in the dust.)
I can not erase my human flaws;
only endure a Promethean fate,
while praying for the pure flame
to finally free my body and soul.

I could love one such as you,
anointing you as my Muse
and spilling my ink in praise;
if I were not already broken,
and the world were not as it is.
I’d reach up to steal the stars from Heaven
and wrap them in a box for you,
but you’d only make me put them back
so that all the world can see.

07 June 2010

Confession, Memo, or Mission Statement?

Special thanks to Ian Blake Newhem, Cliff Garner, Dan Masterson, Nancy Hazelton, Travis Smith, Kristen Brownell, Annie McDermott, and "Her."


A poet should tell the world how he feels, not tell the world how to feel. – John Lennon


Recently, a friend of mine – a wonderful writer on the verge of publishing her first novel – revealed that she was, “sitting outside her writing instructor’s office, eavesdropping on a conference he’s having with a grad student. The grad student insists that she doesn’t care if readers understand her book or not – she’s going to do it her way no matter what.”

My friend’s tone made it clear that she disagreed with the unfortunate grad student’s approach, and several of her other friends proceeded to agree with her judgment. One commented that, “great books depend on a finely calibrated balance between commercial appeal and literary merit. If you’re trying for one extreme, better off choosing the former over the latter.”

Although I have, from time to time, been known to disagree with a professor’s evaluation of work, in this case – 3,000 miles away, having not read the manuscript in question, and without the benefit of hearing the entire conversation – my first instinct is to agree with the instructor who probably has much more education and experience than the grad student.

In the days preceding this exchange, however, I had been considering my writing; specifically why, what, and how I write. I’d recently watched a video presentation concerning nurturing creativity given by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love (ted.com/talks/elizabeth_gilbert_on_genius.html). In the video, Gilbert gives – among other things – examples of how and why she and several other writers create, and it started the wheels in my head turning.

My friend’s comment – and the responses from her other friends – served to crystallize some beliefs in my mind. As I said, my first instinct is to agree with the instructor over the grad student. But, as I thought more about it – and placed myself in the position of the grad student…or tried to – I knew that, if I believed in my work that profoundly, I would fight for it too.

This is, of course, a very slippery slope. Without knowing the quality of the grad student’s work, and with – I’m sure – a far too lofty opinion of my own, any argument is certainly flawed. In addition, in such a defense, one must be prepared to accept judgment, either in the form of a low grade from a professor, or in the form of rejection of one’s work by the public.

Although I am no longer in school, and therefore don’t have to worry about a low grade, I am a writer...and a human being. It is only natural to crave recognition for one’s literary endeavours. So, I – or any writer – must balance “doing it my way” against how much acceptance I seek/rejection I can bear.

Over the last five years, I’ve had to decide how much of my soul (“literary merit”) I’m willing to trade for economic success (“commercial appeal”). To date, I’ve turned down four opportunities to write for daily or weekly newspapers, including one Gannett paper. Please understand, I didn’t turn them down because I think my literary talent is too great to be wasted writing 100-word, back-page human interest pieces about Peggy Petunia’s prize-winning purple pumpkin, but because writing articles like that would hollow out my soul and make writing a job instead of a passion.

The larger problem is that many writers suffer from the same diseases: vanity and doubt. Both can be deadly for a writer, and it’s difficult to find a safe balancing point in between the two. I don’t mean vanity to the point that we think that every piece we create is a work of pure genius destined to supplant William Shakespeare at the top of the canon of Western literature. I mean taking great pride in our work and hoping that others, especially our peers, will like it.

If they don’t like it – hey, it’s mostly subjective – it can be merely painful. If they criticize it, however, it can seem as if they’re attacking your child. You could, of course, attempt to cater to the literary whims of others, but you’d be better off selling your soul to the devil rather than trying to write to please critics.

Doubt is, I think, more dangerous for many writers. It was for me. Doubt kills many poems, songs, essays, novels…and even writers. So, a writer needs either a thick skin or an abundance of perseverance…or both.

“How does a writer avoid being overwhelmed by vanity and doubt,” you ask? Well, I certainly can’t answer for every writer, but I’ve discovered what works for me. Truthfully, vanity about my writing is rarely a problem for me. While I believe I’ve written a few really good pieces – maybe even one or two great pieces – out of the hundreds of pieces I’ve created, I’ve always been my own harshest critic. And, I know that I have a few friends who are much better writers than I’ll ever be.

If, however, you find yourself getting a little too big for your literary britches, my suggestion is this: go back and read some of the stuff you wrote five years ago, or 10. Or, page through that Shakespeare research paper you handed in during your college years; you know, the one that you were sure would garner a Nobel Prize for Literature. Few things will humble you more than reading your old work. Just try to avoid burning down the house when you destroy the evidence!

For me, overcoming doubt took time and experience. I needed to realize that I don’t really write because I want to, I write because I have to. Words bang around in my head all day; they swirl around, clang together and bounce off the inside of my skull; eventually they begin to form a rhythm – usually it’s iambic pentameter – and until I put them down on paper I won’t have a moment of peace.

I once told a young writer enduring an attack of doubt, “We’re writers. The stuff that most people keep buried deep down inside for their entire lives…we throw it out there for everyone to see and criticize. And, very often – probably more often than we’d like to admit – we live and die by their reaction.” The thing is, if someone criticizing your work – telling you what you did wrong, or how they would have done this or that differently – is going to crush your soul, then you may want to look for another way to spend your time.

Long ago, I realized that the vast majority of writers were not “the cool kids;” the kids who had “it” all figured out in high school. They’re the ones that see a different path and are compelled to follow it. I quote Philip Seymour Hoffman (as Lester Bangs in the movie Almost Famous): “The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what we share with someone else when we’re uncool.” Maybe, just maybe, it is their uncoolness – their willingness to not follow the crowd – that makes writers cool.

Unfortunately, I never know when or how inspiration will strike. Far too often, my Muse pokes me in the middle of the night. I’m asleep and I don’t want to wake up, but she persists. She shakes my shoulder until I murmur and roll over. She asks, “Are you awake?” And I say, “I am now.”

Awake or asleep, I’ve found that inspiration is a funny thing. There’s no telling what’s going to knock something loose – it’s not always the depth of “Her” eyes, the slope of “Her” nose, or the soft curve of “Her” lips that inspires a sonnet. Sometimes it’s something as simple as a dandelion. Often, an idea falls out of a book, a magazine, a song, another poem, a photograph, or even something someone says. Other times, a single word – even entire lines – have appeared out of thin air.

You know that moment right after someone wearing the same perfume as the girl that broke your heart walks by, and you close your eyes, breathe in the scent, and she’s standing right next to you again? She seems so close, so very real, that you could just reach out and take her hand. But then someone bumps into you, or a bus drives by, or a taxi driver blows his horn to get you out of the middle of the crosswalk…and she’s gone. That, that powerful evanescent memory is what I try to capture with mere words. It doesn’t always work. But, sometimes, once in a blue moon, during a leap year, on the last Tuesday of a month – if it falls on an even numbered day – something incredible might happen, and I’m left with a little piece of that memory scratched out on a piece of paper. The only word I can use to describe it is magic!

Perhaps it is the mark of an immature or na├»ve writer, but I write what I want to write, what I believe, and what I have to say. I write what I write, the way I write it. If you don’t like it, read someone else, or pick up a pen and tell your own story. My work isn’t driven by “commercial appeal,” rather by my heart and my imagination.

Now, I don’t mean to sound like a petulant kid who thinks he knows everything and can accomplish anything by himself. I most certainly do not know everything, and – to paraphrase a true linguistic master – “I know what I don’t know.” I believe that the best way to become a better writer is to read other writers, and talk to teachers – old and new – to learn more about the craft. “You have to learn the rules before you can break them,” as a friend and professor once told me after a particularly ugly split infinitive incident. The simple truth is, like anything else, you have to work to become a better writer.

Again, being human, I desire acceptance and praise for my work. I’ve never tried cocaine or heroin, but I can’t imagine a higher high than the times that someone has complimented my work; telling me they enjoyed my article, or they love my sonnet, or that my essay really touched them. But, I don’t live for that anymore; I can’t. As terrific as that feeling is – and as much as I appreciate it – striving for that would only drive me crazy…OK, crazier.

So, for myself, I choose “literary merit” over “commercial appeal.” If that means that my work isn’t “popular,” and I don’t become famous, I’m OK with that. At the end of the day, it’s my work, my poem, my story. It is, in a very real sense, my life bled out on the page in black ink. And, even if no one reads it…I’m going to write it anyway.

26 May 2010

There's Nothing More to See Here

The chalk outline, white against the concrete,
Marks the scene of the crime, as a crowd
Gathers, like greedy vultures, in the street.
“Did someone jump?” a voice calls out loud;
“Heart attack?” “Yes,” a cop answers, as he
Unspools police tape to control the mob.
“Well…no,” he thinks to himself. “Not really.”
“People, move back now, let me do my job!”
As a cold drizzle falls, he turns to see
Initials scrawled inside the dusty heart
Blur slowly, then melt away in a sea
Of tears, as two lovers, now torn, depart.
“Folks,” the cop says, as a dream disappears,
“Move along; there’s nothing more to see here!”

19 May 2010

Poets Never Really Die by Suicide

The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry. – Ernest Hemingway

Poets never really die by suicide,
The sad victims of self-inflicted harm;
Though it’s often the cause the Times will cite,
In obits written while the body’s still warm;
They do not succumb to mere oven gas,
Single-car “accidents” on long, straight roads,
Exposure, starvation, or shotgun blasts;
Nor to drowning, slit wrists, or overdose;
Sadly, many fall long before they jump,
Or break their necks at the end of a rope;
They die when faith is lost and spirits slump;
When this mortal life leaves them without hope.
The cause of death need not be picked apart,
For poets only die of broken hearts.

12 May 2010

A Simple Word Too Easily Said

A sonnet for Kristen Brownell

Lord, how can so small a word cause such pain?
Indeed, the gift becomes too abstract when
Words, easily said, fall like drops of rain
On the ocean, and fool even wise men;
Oh, how the promises the heart believes,
When it dares to hope, break upon the rocks
Of high speech – but feelings only conceived –
Then sink down into the depths of self-mock;
Verses and oaths so quickly lose their worth
When once solemn pledges become dilute
Through casual repetition and dearth
Of the emotion real and absolute.
Even sweet words, spoke too oft’, turn sour,
And kill the root of this precious flower.

01 May 2010

yPad - the Latest Technological Innovation

Recently, a friend of mine suggested that if a patron of the arts were to bestow upon her an Apple iPad, it would help to "enhance her writing." My initial thought was, "If you need technology to 'enhance' your writing, perhaps there is a deeper issue with your work."

Cruel? Perhaps; but not intentionally so. My only meaning is: if the words, the rhythm, the rhyme, etc., aren't there to begin with, all the high-priced, cutting-edge technology in the world isn't going to truly help your work.

Despite my doubts, I set out upon a quest for a tool to help my friend. I have, Gentle Readers, succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. Below are images of the latest technological innovation for writers of every age and ability.







22 April 2010

Ethereal

For “Her”

You come to me again, ethereal,
in the gathering mist of my slumber,
a vision so vivid I reach out to feel
the warmth of your skin under my fingers.

I should be used to this dream by now,
but I am fooled once again; thinking you real,
as you float, always, just outside my reach,
like dust motes suspended in the afternoon sun.

Your perfume wraps around me like an embrace.
The scent wounds my unguarded heart,
but I close my eyes and breathe it in deeply,
as if the smell could help me hold you again.

I move closer to you, to look into your eyes,
to hold your soft body once again in my arms,
stroke your hair, and taste your sweet kiss…
and to find the answers you always had for me.

The world stirs and you slowly pull away
as I reach out to gently touch your face,
still luminescent in the dying moonlight,
one more time before I open my eyes.