Tag Archives: heart

A Memo to Andrea

My heart got stuck under the wheel
Of a slow moving Chevy
On the Kennedy this morning
The half-blind driver didn’t even flinch
You saw it out of the corner of your eye
Maybe you felt a little sad for me
For just a moment

And She Wept

She died of a broken heart which really isn’t new these days
But that doesn’t make it hurt any less
While she slept – dreaming of new carpets and laundry rooms
The angels came they hoisted her up under her arms
They took flight up past the clouds – past the stars
Upward and upward they soared until her weight was too much for them
They deposited her at the foot of God’s throne – her broken heart in her hand
And she wept

My heart is as heavy as my head tonight.

My heart is as heavy as my head tonight. I am sure it is equally hard but the weight is what bothers me the most. There is no explanation for the condition I am in – not tonight.

There are times when my heart becomes unbearable – too precious. There are times when I can’t even stand to listen to the broken-hearted balladry that pours out of my heart when I smell something that reminds me of something else – when I hear a snatch of a melody from a song my father used to sing.

Some times my soul will trip over its own feet as it steps up onto the curb by Laundromat. Maybe my soul skins its knee. Maybe there are some teeny, gray, dirty rocks embedded in my soul’s hand. My heart watches – helpless. My heart begins to cry. Each tear a precious vessel absorbed quickly back into the fiber that is my heart. Each tear means more weight, but my heart will not betray itself.

My soul brushes itself off and goes to put another quarter in the dryer. There is nothing as sad as missing the mango man with the white cart, but my heart can’t reconcile being helpless. My soul is practical even when my heart is heavy and sad.

Some days my spirit soars over the neighborhood. It careens off of the odd turrets and architectural antiquities decorating the façades of the crumbling building. It breezes through the trees insinuating itself in between the feathers of the soft-boned birds living there.

When my spirit gets caught on a stray branch – maybe a big antenna – my heart just looks up and watches – still helpless. The sadness of the spectacle overwhelms my heart even as my spirit struggles to free itself from whatever has captured it. My spirit is intrepid even when my heart is heavy and sad.

My mind has never betrayed me. My mind has never stopped long enough to get a good look at what my heart was doing. My mind was last seen heading south on a cool slick highway with a bottle of dreams and a sack of promise slung over its shoulder. My heart wiped its eyes and waved good-bye, but my mind never noticed.

My heart is as heavy as my old work boots tonight. They hold about the same value to me right now. The boots sit in one corner of the room where they collect dust. My heart sits in another corner waiting to be told what to do.

Because You Look Like Her

I could only want you for how you look
Because you look like her
And she will always be
This thick wedge of lead
Buried between my ribs
Gouging out my heart

I could never want you for who you are
You are too strong to be her
And you’ll never understand me
Keeping this thick wedge of lead
Buried between my ribs
Gouging out my heart

I could never have you for myself
Because you dance just like her
And now you – too – have learned
How to push this thick wedge of lead
Into the space between my ribs
Where it gouges out my heart

One Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas in my new first-floor pad
The second-floor walker had me tossing in bed
The little red Christmas tree burnt its last candle
Shopping for more was more than I could handle
Directors and actors still ran through my head
And all of the plays that still had to be read
There’s comedy pieces I pray they’ll find funny
There’s another one witty – I hope not too punny
When out on Milwaukee – it might have been Tripp
I heard a loud clatter – someone driving ripped
Away to my window I shuffled and stumbled
I could almost make out a squat form with a bundle
The bright safety lights from the Schurz parking lot
Lit my tiny courtyard and half of the block
I peered so much closer at the form with the sack
It was little old man who was straining his back
The little old man smiled up at the light
His eyes kind of sparkled in the still of the night
More rapid than camels the cruises pulled up
The blue stripe a blur – but the bright lights lit up
“Don’t move!” one guy yelled and he pulled out his gun
“It’s been a long night. You’ve had way too much fun!”
To my front door the old man sprang with a stride
I – quick – hit the buzzer to let him inside
As crippled-up sprinters the cops tried to soar
But the old guy made it in and slammed the big door
So up to my stairs he carried himself
I opened the door to the out-of-breath elf
And then like a movie the bull horn did roar
“Send out the old guy or we’ll break down the door!”
I returned to the window and what did I see
Twelve service revolvers all pointed at me
The old guy just sat down and pulled out a smoke
“You got any whiskey?” I thought it a joke
“I lost all the toys. They’re out there in the dark,
Now who’s going to deliver to Jefferson Park?”
His eyes looked so tired – a bright shade of red
His cheeks were so sunken deep into his head
His mouth was so wrinkled it looked like a prune
His beard was so threadbare there’d be nothing there soon
The butt of the cig he held clenched in his teeth
Smoke circled his head like a smelly death wreath

He had a sad face and a pasty white tummy
His death rattle laughter just wasn’t that funny
He sat on my nice couch just creeping me out
There was something pathetic about this old lout
With a turn of his head his old neck gave a creak
Something told me he was ready to speak
He spoke just one word – he whispered the rest
Those words hit me hard like his boot in my chest
He took one more drag from that damp cigarette
He thanked me and told me, “It ain’t over yet.”
Then he got up so slowly heading back to the night
“I’ll leave you alone now Kid – this is your fight.”
I heard his words echo as I watched him just leave
“I’m nothing these days if the kids don’t believe.”