Passing Relations

We found each other for a while, for a moment

That should’ve lasted longer, while we searched

For a new life amid ashes of ones already lived

With frailties and fractures and losses in each.

We stopped for each other- a bond too briefly bred-

And in delighted ignorance planned out a future

As inseparable as sky from sea or water from land

Yet time, in all its wicked wisdom and wily wit,

Proved us more porous than primarily perceived.

We began as shadows; you the night and I day,

Serving distant Eire abroad in separate solo shifts

On Chevelaret’s street, coaxing coins from 13th

With pints of the black stuff and stirring them with

Fine fiddles and fanciful folklore long before Bercy

And Bibliotheque created culture and credibility.

But I felt drawn to you, caught by your secrets

And intrigued- as if you were a rendering of me-

Born earlier though arriving later- same baggage,

Same story; that free-falling flight from home-

From the fields and folk, the gossip and groans

That somehow led you here to this paltry place

That must have rang out, upon first impression,

Like the end of the Earth or, at least, last stop

For long shots and last chances.  Eventually

The first rays of summer found us at home

In this quirky quarter- all cozy and crouched

In Chinatown’s shadow, settled into life, the bar

And each other- blind to what lay in wait for us

Beyond the horizon. How did it happen, then,

In that single summer, in that glorious summer

Where we’d promised to make it the best of times,

That we ended up losing each other? I sat there

On foreign steps, covering them in foolish tears

As passersby watched on with worry and waited

For explanations that I didn’t know myself,

For I knew not, that day, how we’d failed each other.

We’d been no more than oil and water all the time,

We’d foolishly deluded ourselves into thinking us

A more compatible blend. But I admired you then,

In that time, in that interim as spring fell to summer,

I admired you then for all that you were and for all

That you tried to be, for the wounds you revealed to me-

Wounds you could not cure and so I lifted you

And carried you and feared for you and wondered

How to get in and worried, later, how to get away.

But, of course, you heard me too and cared for me,

You carried me and cured me too, for a while,

Within that fickle and finite time we had and shared.

Was the mix we made too explosive from the start,

Were we faithed before we’d begun, did we share

Too much on opposite sides of a sacrifice, in a bond

We made, loved and let break- brother and sister-

For a spell and, once in a while, Mother and son?

I was the adopted boy, adapted to be your brother,

I was given up where you’d given up, the follow-on

You needed to see and you the listener I looked on

As a mother never seen and you cried for all you’d lost

And all that could never have been.  We tried to heal

Together broken hearts- ones we thought we’d left

Back home- but memories came flooding back,

Shadows we hoped the past would file to forgetfulness

But time was not willing so we looked to each other.

It was, for but a precious moment, a way of letting go,

Of moving on. How little, in the middle of it all,

Did we know how soon we’d let go of each other.

For we would never be enough and nothing could cure

The washed over lines the hours neglected to bury.

I was not, to you, the lost child found and you,

Not for me, the shadowed mother returned. Was that

Our downfall; we’d hoped from each other too much

And found not even a whole summer on that street

With its towering temples, viewless windows and lovers

Who came to divert us from what lay uncovered?

Brother and sister; sipping coffees, learning French,

We taught each other a lot but failed to learn to hold on.

Where are you now and do you ever, for a moment,

Wander in your mind down that street to the bar

Were we talked and laughed and cried till dawn

Before heading home together, to lie together,

In our tiny home, gossiping and giggling in separate beds?

I see you sometimes in my mind’s eye- smoke in hand,

As always, and eyes lit up with excitement as we danced

Through that bar- our bar on Saturday nights as we simply

Entertained the audience perhaps just as simply as we

Entertained each other. In my mind we will always be

Dancing like that before closing the bar and finding comfort

In a drink and each other; Brother and sister for almost a summer,

Dancing in the ignorance of what autumn had in store for us.


The Irish Rose of Paris

You fancied yourself as a writer, I think,

So many tales fell, so breathlessly, from your memory.

I am sure it was upon a sweeping staircase

Where we first met, long before foreign men tempted

And twisted us with foreign tales and foreign lips.

You, with your cascading curl’s,

The color of chestnuts in autumn,

And long belted coats- always off and running,

Oblivious to the inmates that surrounded us.

You perfected aloof while I, too shy to say no,

Was dragged to the dorm’s salle-a-manger

By the tedious herd, to partake and party

Until I could peter out unnoticed on hand and knee

To avoid what seemed like another Irish wake.

Later, after introductions, we chain smoked

Life stories in the TV room; those early days

When your smoking choked even me and I wanted

So much to be everything that you effortlessly were.

You were my wild eyed Catherine,

Moving faster than time allowed the rest of us,

While I, your Edgar, looked on in awe and tried to keep up

As Paris turned into our very own Moors.

We prided and congratulated ourselves on our ability

To acclimatize with our newly loved surroundings

Unlike our neighbors; only content with Irish jokes

And Irish bars while in the heart of a city that offered

\So much more than the dung-filled,

Mud-trodden fields which they so missed.

You were my breath of air; my mystery and adventure.

Once, I even questioned whether we could fall in love

And I believe we did- though in no conventional sense.

I was your confident in the College

And your beloved friend as we carved ourselves,

As much as we were allowed by the citizens

And bureaucracy, into our city of light.

Do you remember that wet, dull and far too normal day

In autumn and our train ride through town?

You sang me the love song from Irish shores

And I reveled in how it never seemed to end.

I watched you as you swam through that life

Barely needing to rise for air.

You are mother now

And still forever the rambling teller of tales

While I, still a traveler on this unending road,

Am ever grateful at how seamlessly our paths still cross.


Human Nature

There are moonlit nights

On sandy shores-

Barefooted and barely clothed,

Worries washed away on waves

And troubles left for other days.


There are soulful nights

In firelight lost-

All Red-wined up and caught in kisses,

Drunk in love and wrapped in arms

And blanketed in each other’s charms.


There are lonely nights

When loves away

And nothing known can soothe you,

Till comfort calls you on the phone

And reminds you that you’re not alone.


There are other nights

Dark and distant-

All sleepless in the shadows,

As silly, stupid, stubborn slips

Cause listless lies to leak from lips-


Those long dark nights when tongues are tied

And troubles start to tremble,

When sanity is cast aside

And the sense of self dissembles.

When the one you thought you knew so well

Can look to you a stranger,

While the world no longer looks the same

Before the truth of human nature.



Paris- Within Me

What is it about you that daily replaces you In front of my eyes

No matter how far from you I travel?

Were you the first one I saw from above

With your grey slates,

Smokeless chimneys

And laddering towers to the Gods?

Specs of gallant green

Among your columns and follies,

Your marching boulevards

Like lines of proud soldiers-

Brandishing the Tri-Color

For fear the memory of Marie Antoinette

May fall forsaken.

The whitened Sacred Heart

Upon your butted highest spot-

Where Saint Denis fell to martyrdom

Long before the painters-

Doused in Absinthe-

Captured the high-kicking,

Rouged-up damsels

Amid the Moulin’s endlessly turning sails.

Your very own Taj Mahal-

Not so in keeping

With your concrete corinthian cornices

And grotesquely glaring gargoyles

And yet so missed when no longer in view.

And there,

Standing as proud as your citizens,

By the far reaches

Of your once bohemian Left banks,

Where cheers of toasts were often heard

Amid the enlightened quarrels of Sartre,

In praise for the flat-shoed Stein

And sorrow for the almost exiled Wilde,

Lies your most celebrated folly of all;

Your monstrous clunk of iron-

Within who’s restaurant Maupassant

Would willingly dine to be excused

From the very view in which he sat,

Which melted itself into the heart of me.

More than a dozen times

Have I scaled your heights

To always draw a fresh breath of awe

Upon the sight from your summit,

Like the minute memory of the goldfish;

Immeasurably forgetful

But struck again and again

By the beauty of its surroundings

As if witnessed for the first time.

Your streets planned out before me

With cars racing onwards,

Inwards and through-

So much like the blood

Pumping through the entangled archeries

Of my beating heart.

I am a million miles from you again,

On top of the world of another city

And yet you are next to me

Wherever I stand,

In front of me

No matter what I see

And beating

Still so fresh and fervently

Deep down

Within me.



I am me but sad,

So recently and gloriously happy,

Now still me- but sad.


I am me- but have loved,

Made love and gave it,

I still do, but now angry.


I have screamed to deaf ears,

No one listens- deaf ears.


I have dreams but not wings,

If i did I would know where to fly,

This is not my dream-

Here and sad,

Here and angry,

Here, where no one listens,

Here, alone while others are flying



Yesterday, I had wings,

Once upon a time

I knew who I was,

Here, in this present-

Who knows?




I am sitting in a cafe

In a city now called home,

I’ve travelled many roads to get here-

And most all of them alone.


There’s been multitudes of languages

And a million changing faces,

Solitudes of silences

And unforgettable embraces.

I am eternally the estranger

In a land of other locals,

Externally the optimist

As my now grey hair reduces.

I’ve found all the answers

To questions never wondered,

But have yet to find the answers

To the questions that I’ve pondered.

I am happy more than tearful,

Alone more so than lonely

And happy that my insanity

Has never toppled my stability.

I consume myself with worry,

Awake myself with doubt,

But take comfort when the laughter

Drowns all darkness out.


I am sitting in a cafe

In a city that’s now home,

But as every car passes by

I wonder where next I’ll roam…



In Absence

In your absence

It’s not that there’s less

Laughter to life,

There’s not less love

Or even less light,

Not all comfort is lost

Or all joking discarded,

Not all happiness hushed

Or all joy deserted.


It’s not that I’m saying

The sun won’t rise,

That darkness descends

And sorrow arrives,

I won’t pretend

That all color has faded-

That we have been robbed,

Ransacked and raided.


But your laughter’s now missing

And your goodness extinguished-

Your connection to me now

Has been truly relinquished,

I’ll remember you always

As the gentlest host,

Not the tallest of men

But of heart- you had most.


It’s so long since I’ve seen you

But I’ll never forget

The kindness you showed me

That will long outlive death,

You were funny and folly,

Caring and kind,

A gent of distinction,

And wickedly refined.


The Judgment of the Shadows

Did we smile at each other,

At least, at all,

Before the bond broke

That day, that morning,

After the dawn rose

In all its innocence,


Of how it would part us,

Ignorant of the virtue you’d lost

And the sadness it would cost.



And did you feel the judgment of the shadows?



Did I know you at all,

That day, at least, back then,

In the thin thread of time

That we borrowed briefly,

In that deceiving dawn

That polluted the promise

Of the morning’s light

As so-called Elders

Counted constantly

The limited hold we had

Over each other,

Over the past, on the pain-

You- bleeding fresh in convent bed,

And I; still too ignorant to the wounds of this world

And the life we could have had.


And did you notice how they judged in the shadows?


I wonder, if in your crying-

And I’m sure that you cried-

Did your tears caress my face,

In all that wasteful

Wailing and wrenching,

Baby was born

And little girl grown,

Did the pain erupt

And submerge us-

Did the situation swallow us in,

Stirring the sorrows of a too-soon mother

In the birth of a so-called sin.


And did we hear those judging in the shadows?


Did you ache afterwards-

Alone, without me,

After the morning crippled all connection,

Did you ache all alone-

In that room without me

After your sacrifice that saved me,

Do you understand the gift that you gave me-

Your body that housed me,

Month after month,

Amid the swelling and stares,

The Jeering and sneers.


While all the world judged you from the shadows.


Did it change you, at all,

That day, that time

In that place

Of penance and prayers,

In that sacrificial suffering,

In that final goodbye,

In that giving up,

In that letting go-

In the loss that followed too quickly

From our very first hello.

Do you feel me still,

At all, after all, On holidays and birthdays,

When babies cry and mothers run

Do you wonder that happened

To your little baby son?

Do you remember us today

Right now, as we were

So long since our separation,

So deep in separate lives,

In ignorant oblivion

And an opposite direction

Since the hands of this world pulled us apart,

Since the judgment of the world forced us apart


Nothing, Beyond the Sea…

‘Nothing can be done,’

She said

Almost smiling,

Her clothes and skin

A lighter shade

Of hospital white,

‘Nothing can be done-‘

She said, ‘Head up,

Eyes forward,

Grin and bare it.’


Nothing more to do,

Nothing else to see,

Not a single reason to cry-

No ocean flood will bring them back

For strong currents have stolen them,

No tide will ever return them-

Not now, not at all,

Not just for you

While forsaking the rest-

The ones who’ve gone before

Since time began

And life found its end.


Nothing could be done,

He knew

With an intake of breath,

Sweaty palms, blurred vision

And a bag of belongings in his hands

And then it’s empty-

The contents on the table top-

Motionless and mournful,

Detached and dislocated

From its owners,

The hands ticking ever onwards

On the watch-

Time still moves on,

Even now,

Even without them

Breathing through this world,

And yet the tides still return to the shore

After deserting it,

And then desert again

And then return

And all the while

Time stops for no one,

Takes no pause,

Bows not it’s head.

We are as the waves-

One chance to rise and crest

Before that single fall

Into eternity-

Once chance

To reach the highest height.


Nothing now to do

But sit and wait

For the calls and prayers,

For the nodding heads

And compassionate stares,

For the toasts

To the end of the road,

For the handshakes and hugs and tears,

For the long lost beggars

Wanting something from wills,

The placing you in the ground

Amid the shivers and chills.


Nothing left but nothing now-

A barren emptiness,

A sudden silence,

A sea without water or waves,

An aching that you can’t quite place,

A sinking sensation

That sucks on, seeps in

And seeks you to surrender

And suddenly all light is painful

All color is faded,

All laughter riles you

Like nails on a chalk board

And the nothingness settles in

And leaves you

Longing for nothing

But more meaningless

Days of nothing-



And nostalgic

For the days gone by,

The lives now lived

And the faces now fading,



Losing their clarity

Their scent-

Surrendering to the passing seconds

And their touch

Never more to be felt-

Carried off those unreachable sunsets

That sink beyond the sea…


The Blissful Wake

Before my eyes open,

My body senses you and slowly

Accepts the breaking light

In the shelter of your arms,

Beneath the scent of our lust

Still lingering in the room

From the night before,

I begin to stir

And your body wakens to mine-

Aroused as our legs find ways

To entangle and entwine

Like branches bending together,

Toes running along calf,

Tickling down tiny hairs-

Touching, tempting and teasing.

My eyes open to find you

Next to me,

To let my lips find yours

And allow you be my first sensation,

The first taste of the day,

The first yearning-

Opened and explored.

This is how the light finds me, now,

Today, tomorrow, for evermore,

This is what it’s now like

To lay in the light

Instead of solitary in the shadows,

This is how it is-

Nestled deep within you,

Cosy all around you,

At a loss as to whose hand is whose,

Whose kiss came first,

This is the all clear

Present and future,

This is how the days

Will furthermore begin-

This is the reoccurring dawn

I have dreamed of in sleep-

This is what we make

Of the blissful wake.