Poems at a Distance

Distance, figuratively through a lens or over physical miles, brings a focus and perspective to the human experience; particularly in my case to a sense of connection and disconnection. When I am away, in those first few moments and days of separation, whether I am leaving behind home or returning to it – I feel this tension of being pulled apart. My voice here is that between lovers, but really, it’s the cry of what feels like home anytime you are separate from those who welcome you, who bring you back to yourself.

So here, a series of poems at a distance and what it is like to feel that connection and disconnection over miles or through a lens, from that which we love and which calls us home.

i.

Kiss me one thousand kisses
A single drop at a time
Kiss me under moonlight, rain and sky
Kiss me sweetly in the morning
Graze my cheek as you come and go
I will count each one as offering
I will learn it we go
Kiss me to finish an argument then end it anyway
Your thoughts are as fierce as your lips sometimes
I am learning you best this way
Let me taste the kindness on you
Let me taste til I’ve drunk you in
When I am drunk enough on you at last, one thousand kisses done –
Then give me one thousand more,
Til kisses are breathing and words and knowing
Til you can’t take them back.
Kisses like water when they are true
Healing the dust and the ash of you
Kiss me with your mind in the morning, touch me with thought all day
I am yours one thousand times over, in each single turn through space.

ii.

There is a curve of you
Where the light rests and if I could
touch you there, quietly
just a caress of atoms and
feel you breathe, life within you
I would rest complete.
But though your body rests
beside my body during conversation
You are beyond reach just now
holding yourself together
just where I want to hold you.
Release yourself, I demand
But it is whispered like a prayer.
Oh, how I long to touch the light in you.

iii.

In my dream I am half of nothing
And whole of a whole
I am the tree and the bud
One round curve kissed by light
Another curve in shadow
Half of nothing is the difference
And the whole of a whole is complete.
It is a sweet dream to be touched by the moon and caressed by darkness
When one is your hand and the other is also yours.

iv.

Touch me again with your eyes
Let me soak in your voice
A little longer, a little closer
The timbre of your pitch humming in the air
Whisper closely and touch me with a word or two
But do not touch me
I do not want to touch you more than a whisper
Not yet, not today
Today is the long, slow luxury of not touching what I want to touch
After tomorrow, I will have only to remember what it was like to wait on you, fingers, hands, lips
The hidden corner between your shoulder and neck
I should like to live there a while
Resting on your pulse, rising on your breath
So, just – there.
Yes, your fingers are gentle and go no further

Touch me but do not touch me yet.

v.

This is the view of my weary heart
Another hotel room with crisp sheets
Only one side of the bed will warm
and I reach endlessly into white blindness in the night
It matters not that you do not share my bed when I am home
My mind is warm with the thought of you so the bed is emptier while I am away
My thoughts return to you, no doubt sleeping on the other side of the earth.
You are all imagination to me now, too far away to be real, a phantom in the night when I long for home;
I chide myself now home is something, someone I do not know.
I cannot claim to know how you would lie beneath these sheets
Or occupy this space with me
But you do occupy it, softly, insistently.
I push back against your presence in my mind and wonder if you feel me occupying your spaces or feel me in your dreams.
I still myself against this ocean of pristine cotton; think only what is real.
I will pass this day and the next one too; I have lived long not knowing you –
I can sleep alone.

vi.

I am sleeping under the stars in the Czech Republic
Which has known so many names
for one small piece of earth.
I too, have many names.
Long, short, punctuated and sentimental.
Soft names and hard names made of history’s sad stories.
Like this land I breathe and walk on, I cannot direct you north or south on it or point you to clear winds.
Like this body, I cannot whisper how to map your way through me, my great city of Names.
Perhaps do what no other has, carve me a map of myself using only your name; the name you choose for me.

vii.

Sleep, love but do not sleep –
instead dream.
Dream hard and long and wild, no pretend
that dreams are mild or mannered things.
No, a dream is a phoenix of the day passed
and dragon of the day to come.
A dream is what carries you to me in the dark
between oceans and thoughts.
More than an imagining now, you’ve left some
thread of yourself on me
now in the dark, my mind can paint you in a dream
one thousand times over.
I need never be lonely but to
dream and remember you.
Sleep, love but do not sleep
dream of me instead in whatever colour
I have left upon your chest
or written in your mind.
Dream hard and long and wild
and meet me there in the long dusky cloud.
Sleep so I can reach you in my sleep.

What do you think?