So, I Forgot

Yeah, I was going to post all my poems, as I wrote them, here. Well, someone goofed. That notwithstanding, here are the recent ones commanding my attention. Here are #13 through #16:

Poem #13 of the 30/30 challenge for Poetry Month


I have lived far
more than half
my life with the
same woman
who, far more than
half my life ago,
I asked to
share her life
with me.
When I look back
on the considerably
less than half my
life before she
became my wife,
I realize why in my
early years I felt
a little empty,
a little alone,
a little incomplete.
It was because
I needed her to
fill the emptiness
and cure the
And it was
because she
completes me.

Poem #14 of the 30/30 challenge for Poetry Month

A Shoulder

He seeks a shoulder, any shoulder,
to help carry the weight of his
unnamed burden that
threatens to bury
him under its
It’s hard for him to ask someone, anyone
to share this clump of piercing
pain that’s hidden from
sight and which
words refuse
to name.
So he secretly searches, in silence,
for the prescient angel who
will know of his pain and
help him heal from
invisible opaque
Anxious for relief, even a brief respite,
he imagines in every nod a signal,
a sign of understanding, loving
energy that will embrace
him, replacing pain
with love.
If only he would look beneath his neck,
stare at his own strong shoulder, he
would see it is strong enough
to carry even the burning
weight of pain, the
When you see him in the street, take his
shoulder in your hand and show him
the sinews that can tame an ugly
world. Lead him on a path to
find that he need not share
his pain.
Teach him he is not so very alone,
not a unique man in unique pain
but just another man taught
to fear his own emotions
as if shameful
Be that man’s shoulder, the one he
can freely cry on when he needs
to cry, the one he dares not
freely seek for fear of poor
judgments that distort

Poem #15 of the 30/30 challenge for Poetry Month
Your Birthmark

Your birthmark is my anchor
to what was, what is, and
what always will be a home
even in the roughest seas,
a sacred place of refuge
from the froth and ferocity
of waves of emotion,
driven by shrieking gusts
of fear and rage.

That sweet birthmark, that
figure of Neptune etched in
the small of your back,
a cream-colored tattoo,
keeps me sane, swelling
with gratitude that you accept
me though I am not a god.
You do not need me to be
Neptune. You have your own.

Poem #16 of the 30/30 challenge for Poetry Month

Blame for Being

Tonight’s dinner of cheeses
and olives and
sliced apples,
complemented by
sherry and
wine, did not
seem unusual
until I realized
potential olive
trees sacrificed
for my meal. And apple
trees that might have been
will never be because of
what I had for dinner.
And vines that might
produce extraordinary
grapes will never have
that opportunity,
thanks to tonight’s
fortified wine and merlot.
Milk that might have fed
baby goats and sheep
and calves striving for
viability went, instead,
toward satisfying my
desire for exotic flavors
in exotic cheeses.
The explosion of guilt
building inside me, a
volcano of incense without
atonement, is reason enough,
henceforth, for me to forego
eating, thereby sacrificing
my gustatory satisfaction
in favor of a long period of
fasting and pleading
for forgiveness from the
leaves and livestock
I have heretofore eaten .
And, now that I think of it,
I should feel the pain, the
incomprehensible pain,
of what I have done
by failing to allow my
own seed to lead to
progeny. Countless children
simply never were because
of my selfish vasectomy.
And what of those unborn children
and the unborn children of their
unborn children who, save for
my selfish childlessness,
might have become doctors
or lawyers or junkies or
hookers or unemployed arms
dealers or real estate sharks or
presidents of corrupt regimes
responsible for the unjustified
murder of thousands of civilians
whose only crime was birth?
You see, the directions our flaws
and successes might take are
limitless, so we are obliged to
take credit and blame for what
might or might not have been.
What might have happened
to these words tonight had I
not had wine and cheese?
Might these words have morphed
into other equally poisonous
accusations of blame?

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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