Sunday, February 13, 2011

Coming and Going

Coming and Going

Brown eyes full of gold.
that wink like a bird’s in wholehearted wariness,
rapid as a bird’s heartbeat
as you tip up your head to laugh
like a man upends his bottle
  for the last swallow.

We sat in the bar and you talked,
Canada and Molson’s cool on your lips,
my hands sweaty under the table in case
something I said might give it all away.
No part of you was safe
that day.

Like Doolittle’s magical beast
half of you is always coming toward me
and half of you is going away.
You can’t be told how much I want
or the coming half will become an ass,
merge into its mirror self and disappear.

I can’t say
 that I want
your voice in my ear so low
not even the mosquitoes can hear it,
your body a fever melting me to the bed,
memories burnt to ash
by your laser eyes.

A thousand birds may be chattering in my heart,
flowers may spring from your palm,
but I can’t say:
Love me again before it’s too late.
Instead I wait
to see whether you are
coming or going

July 1991
Molson export case24

Image: Molson Export Ale, Case,
By Molson Coors Brewing Company (Molson Coors Brewing Company) 
[CC-BY-SA-3.0 ( or GFDL (], 
wikimedia commons


  1. Yeah, sweaty hands always gave me away.

    Loved this. : )

  2. Yeah, the old love tug o' war so beautifully expressed, hedgewitch.

  3. Ah, love and a Molson's. Next thing you'll put in there is a moose, hockey players and a mountie.

    Great work with this my dear hedge, the unrequited love angle is always a tough one (especially due to my own personal history).

    Here's mine for the Potluck:

    I'd be interested to hear your feedback on my heart breaking in this piece.

  4. lovely.. happy valentines.. here’s mine..

  5. The uncertainty, the sweaty hands, are you coming and going--one of the most realistic pictures of love that's not yet sure of itself or on its way out. Wow.

  6. 'Tis the equivocation of that two-faced Eros to say Yes and No at the same time, the one hottest for what the other refuses to give. 's why Cupid's arrows were barbed alternately in gold and iron. And the erotics of it have everything and nothing to do with love, IMO. The speaker seems to know this and consigns herself to the dance anyway, the opiate too heady to refute as fizz. -- Brendan

  7. Ah, the "come here; no, that's too close" lover. The uncertainty, the unspoken-ness of love comes through so poignantly in this piece. As for me, I've known too many who are always coming and going. As usual, your imagery astounds. A perfect Valentine!

  8. Gosh all--posted this just before bed and it was full of typos and odd bits and pieces--an old poem, a rough draft, really, from long ago. I cleaned it up and apologies for the rough read.

  9. Cheers for the ups and downs of love ...

  10. "No part of you was safe that day"..There's something so head over heels in this it!

  11. Oh, I SO relate to this kind of poem. I always was with asses that were walking away.Till I stopped. This is beautifully written and is perfect for Valentine's Day for the disenchanted. Hee hee. I loved every single word. The last lines are perfect.

  12. Oh....

    I didn't even know this was here until this moment.

    I turned on the Krall and read this. It went straight to my heart and pierced it. That's the second time your writing has made me cry. Are you trying to win a stuffed animal or something? I know what it is to love a push-me-pull-you. It's hard. But they are such rare animals, sometimes they are also completely irresistable. "Go to him, stay with him (or her) if you can, but be prepared to bleed..."

    I keep coming back to the sweaty hands under the table. *sigh* I'll have the codependence and swiss on black bread, please. But such a jargon-y term takes the romance out of it, and it is nothing BUT romance, desire, sex, attraction, despair and love. What I mean is, I love this.

  13. @Brendan: indeed--you've nailed the essence of both the poem and the relationship with your comment.

    @Sherry---Yes, eventually you learn to stop--not easy tho. Glad you appreciated that line.. there just wasn't another way to say it.

    @FB--so glad it spoke to you. Believe me, at the time when this piece was written, I couldn't count the tears, but they were a small price to pay even for the ashes I got to keep.

  14. Ah, know THAT feeling well. Nicely done, my friend!

  15. The line "No part of you was safe that day" gave me chills in a good way.

  16. Ahhh Coming or going today.. so beautiful and so softly said...

    ॐ नमः शिवाय
    Om Namah Shivaya

  17. What a great expression of that tug and pull that romance can be. Very nicely done.

  18. Definite visceral response of an array of emotions. Thank you for sharing!

  19. Cool imagery, and sort of a merry go round of perceptions , great write!

  20. loved your poem so much--raw , unpolished and sensitive . loved every sentence of it. you write powerfully well. I am in awe!


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats