in candlelight

the candle flickering
the shadows
on the wall
bring back a memory
of you dancing
in candlelight
in that house
in Cleveland
the dog curled up
on the shag rug
the only witness
not so drunk
not to know
that life
would never be
any better
than this
you dancing
in candlelight
for me

4am in Moda: what lingers still: for JEP

here, old friend
5000 miles and more away
you appear still
scotch whiskey
in a glass
ice cubes
bumping shoulders
your deadpan delivery
pinball and burritos at 3am
in bars 3000 miles apart
those Texans you antagonized
tears amid the laughter
the mischief in your eyes
this is what
lingers still
your ghost refusing
to fade into the darkness
one more shot
for to you
to comfort us
and to keep the wolves
at bay
while you wait
for me
to join you
in that honky-tonk bar
in the sky

your words

didn’t quite catch
your words
that night
as you woke me
from my slumber
on the couch
the record still turning
on the turntable
the dog looking up
as I struggled
to my feet
my mind a haze
your words lost
like water
slipping through my fingers
like you
fading gradually
into the night
those words
still nagging
my memory
decades later
ten thousand miles

old pictures

there you stand
bent over slightly
your hands
on the dog’s neck
you both looking
at me
camera in hand
taking this picture
which now sits
on a bookshelf
in my den
a stick lying
at the dog’s paws
that I
most likely
use for play
with him
both of you gone
relegated to a memory
of a time
when we were young
and not yet wise
to how it would
eventually end
he to ashes
in an urn
on my desk
and you
lost to time
and old pictures
and me
with this ache
in my heart