To see the author read this poem, here is the link to Poet’s Choice on YouTube:
Brilliant but crazy, creative but self-destructive. You know her. Her breath comes out like broken chess pieces, all their strategic importance gone, like the dust on an abandoned game board. Sweat in crevices pooled in the matted hair behind her neck, soaked through, she is imagining the pillow stains – they are salt licks of remembered dreams. Sleep is always hard to come by, searching for the owner’s manual. There must be some instructions for nights like this. Elusive Mr. Sandman, furtive, dispelled from the shadows by the light required to write. This time for sure, when the light is extinguished, this time, he won’t be coy.
Random thoughts swirl and spin in the eddies of your mind, Hard to catch, hard to ban They flit or hunker down, looping like audio tape. Repeating like that scratch on your favorite record that jumps the needle, retracing the same lyric over and over. Decades later you cannot sing that song without the skip. Despair is like that scratched record. You have to get up and lift the arm of the phonograph and place the needle past the crack. You love that record, those songs of your youth.
Happiness was just there, skittering briefly through neural pathways like mercury without the poison. You grasp it and work it into the defiant fur of her favorite cat, banking the glowing embers of a warm contentment. Knowing that even in the land of endless summer, storms will come.
In the morning you and she will dance to the tunes only you two hear. She listens. She lingers. What a luxury to be heard! Dancing in the rain, swinging on a lamp post, no longer relegated to the spry guy wearing sensible shoes. Let go, love, she has put together a mix tape. Locking in the light with a liberal sprinkling of libation, limbs akimbo they will morph into a mambo. Enough of loss lessons, love wins by a landslide in this daintily possible tomorrow.