Tag Archives: relationship poetry

On Aging

Lately,

I’ve been coming loose;

untethered.

 

Spiraling from my orbit,

and heading out

into forever.

 

How can this be,

.    I wonder?

That there

will come an instant

clapping me asunder.

 

And I will be no more …

Unwhole.

 

Everything that made me

will remain

But I

 

I will never be the same.

 

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2019. All rights reserved

Of a snapshot from behind; on the road in America

cropped-the-view.jpg

We look across the flat lands of New Mexico,

from a seat on the Sandilla Mountains.

It is near sunset and the whole scene looks red

and reminds me of a blazed clay shell

occasionally interrupted by the jutting of an

ancient cordillera spine. It is the backbone

of the native western earth; it is where the sun

was stored at night for safekeeping, away from

the Old World’s shores. We watch low clouds

cross below us, stoking the hard earth with

their shadows, and I imagine they must cool

whatever life there is down there. It is hard

to see anything but red, red earth. Hard to

imagine anything good growing here.

And she just sits next to me in silence, too.

Looking out and imagining who knows what.

She is quiet and unwilling to pose for a picture,

unwilling to participate in the pure illusion of a moment.

Instead she sits next to me looking out at the horizon,

like a person sitting at the bottom of the ocean

wanting air.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2014. All rights reserved.

* NOTE ABOUT THIS POEM: This poem was originally written in 1994 and is about one of my favorite personal pictures. The picture was taken by my friend, Camille Pansewicz, and it is of my future wife and I from behind, looking out across the horizon. There are too many reasons why this picture is one of my all time favorites to explain here. The poem is not one of my faves, but it is a reminder that writing is like taking a picture with words.

the sailor’s wake

There are shows nowadays

          that let us ride along

safely from our homes

          with the kind of people

who cast an imprint on the flat world

          that you and I travel on.

My uncle, the sailor, for example,

          who got a tattoo in the Navy

before they became crackerjack stickers

          or cheap substitutes for personality

was one of those who marked the earth

          with his work and left behind a hurt

now that he’s gone past horizons

          we cannot yet get to;

and we are left at the pier, standing by an edge

          measuring the air with everyone around

until we are met with what we can recall –

which are all the pieces of the world

          he scraped off with his fingertips

and nails to bring home

          and mix with the salt of our meals.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2010. All rights reserved.

The Road Away

I tried to walk the streets,

I tread when I was young;

stopping time and again,

reviewing what’s been done.

Remembered where and when,

the dreams I keep were born;

and began to comprehend,

where yesterday had gone.

 

I’d not remained to watch,

the changes going on;

and now on my return,

there was emptiness, not song.

The roads had all diverged,

and taken everything along;

and I was just one traveler now,

and very far from home.

.

 Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2010. All rights reserved.

Hic sunt monstra *

just as the water

dances up to the land

to form a coast

and the way

the sky and earth

pretend to meet

at the horizon –

every love

has its own geography.

.

a landscape mapped across months

outlining open fields

that stay in full bloom

where laughter calls out

from the crown canopy

shading the brambled edges

that are meant to be wild

and forgotten …

.

these borders,

the imaginary lines

that mark the province,

are boundaries

that shrink and expand

with the love.

.

a territory always in flux –

a country threatened by coup

and surrounded by dragons.

.

* Latin for “here are monsters” … a phrase supposedly found on old maps marking unknown or dangerous places

.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2010. All rights reserved.

Lovestruck

“All I wanted”,  

she says licking tears

that taste like the spray

of a tropical storm,

“was for him to love me”.

.

Hiccuping breaths,

she lowers her eyes

to keep from sailing

back to her memories;

but her swollen lids

press into her face –

and remind her of his hands …

so she cries some more.

.

“I know”, 

she says,

“he loved me,

but he had to break me too”,

and that was the wave

that washed her up on my shores.

.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2010. All rights reserved.

Flirting

When I ask you for your number

you joke and say it’s infinity.

 

I ask how I’m supposed

to dial that and you tell me

that you can’t be reached.

 

I laugh to check your

legs out and read what

everything else is saying.

 

You smile at me and I forget

the rules of what we’re playing.

 

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2009. All rights reserved.

Unmasking the heroes

Talking about numbers

and feelings as villains

and the hatred that

we have for the way

our responsibilities

have coiled around our

ankles and wrists; cut into

our necks and stopped

our breaths from shouting

for help. But it sounds

like anger directed

at each other and we

are left more alone than

ever. I speak another

language at this moment.

You are from a distant

world; a different

place where there are

words for all the things

you mean to say, but

cannot be translated

for me. I know how

we became such aliens.

You were always

different than the others,

and I was not the same.

We were infected as

children with dreams

and fell in love with

stories where we

would be the heroes.

But now there are

no escapes; we cannot

convene in some secret

cave deep beneath

our mansion. The only

power that you have

is knowing all my

weaknesses. The

only plan I can think

of is holding on to you

and being quiet until

the bad guys leave

the room.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2009. All rights reserved.

Robot inventory in the middle of serious writing

 In comes Alexander,

5, uninvited to my

office where I write

and where he’s

supposed to knock

instead of storming in

like his namesake would.

 

Want to hear about

my robots”, he asks

spilling a half dozen

mini sculptures made

of multi-colored legos.

 

Not right now, I said

and firmer than it sounds

on paper.

 

But he goes on

explaining that the

first one with wheels

is a rover meant

to explore the surface

and it sends back

information to

the second one with

panels that is an

orbiter which always

stays in space and

it, in turn, beams

down instructions

to the third robot,

a long spindly thing

that is a tower for sending

out directions to the

two battlebots,

clunky pieces that

look like squares with

blasters mounted.

 

I didn’t want to know

but now I’ve been taken in.

 

He animates the ones

he’s talked about

pretending that there

is some mission underway.

I can’t help but ask

what the last undefined

robot does or is.

Alex picks it up, the

most elaborate of the

bunch, it is made of

flat pieces with gold

extensions and tiny

white caps, resembling

an alien artifact and

asks me if I really like it

before explaining

that it’s art and it

does nothing at all.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2009. All rights reserved.

 

Call him Luis

                    for my cousin

In between sips

     he envisions vague outlines

of crescent moon asses

          melting into butter brown hips

curving and dipping

     into the darkness

                he seeks drinking malt liquor

and lighting a fire

     he keeps his cigarette burning

             while swallowing his dirty

desires and living as lonely

     as every delusion he

                   takes home on the weekends

         to quiet the demons

    that have taken the life

out of living and replaced

             it instead in his head

         with a scene from a time

in his youth when a

                 truth could still be discovered

       by sinking for moments

                to places where

we run out of air.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2009. All rights reserved.