Stolen Moments of Passion

Glancing, my lover in bed
barely beneath naked sheets
veils her thoughts behind white cotton
from this passing traveling fool
who watches with a bit of suspicion
for something hidden inside.

But soon a songbird comes to mind
for his lullaby’s truth contains
some promise of sweet release
from the weary trail long tread.

So I go instead and lay with her
where she weakens my restraint
by holding the top of my head
all the while knowing to let go
at just the right moment in time.

~Richard Summers

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For Anna

Compare water to love
it flows, always seeking
its own level
ebbing, rising, receding
from above

~Richard Summers

For all those damaged psyches

Your weary soul
has abandoned hope
of ever knowing itself

the truth is that
you recognize the lowly hand
which you were somehow dealt

the mind is but a fleeting thing
which like a burning welt
gave substance to
an unknown pain
that you have ever felt

~Richard Summers

The explanation (years removed)

The five featured release factor
which was forever being opaque
culminated in a blaze of darkness
when the doctor of the opera
tried to combine it
with the transparent substance
in his mixing bowl.

Afterwards, legions of undesirables
began screaming pink flamingoes
which filled the air
with fallen feathers and seeds
from between their topaz teeth.

~Richard Summers

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Epiphany on a sand dune

The pelican is impossible to describe,
while his friends, the marsh grasses
are no better; with amphetamine eyes
he telegraphs his shrieks
which are lost on a blue wind.

Swaying in the sunlight they imagine
I am Doom itself
fluttering up and away before my stride.

But I am a lowly caterpillar
just rolling over the sand,
my thousand tiny toes
hardly leaving an impression,
and never one which lasts.

~Richard Summers

To the unborn one:

you took shape,
divided, and multiplied
within the womb
but died before you saw
the world for which
already your brief moments
foretold the history
of those who came after.

~Richard Summers

Dancing (above the fray)

When I most truly knew you,
you were in some other lifetime
one which I could only know
by the faint echo of your laughter
as though from another room
which I thought vacant.

But don’t be fooled
by my clever attempt at bravado,
as though I had some insight
into what was really going on;
see it as the dance one does
unbalanced, when
on the edge of darkness
one hastens vainly
to not be falling.

~Richard Summers

A sonnet for the Jesuit in me…

The dead man’s scrapbook
was full of anecdotes
from more than 100 years
of lives passing, loves found,
families being born and moving
on toward their futures,
and their own scrapbooks.

This is what he left behind
along with our memory of him
playing out the role he had
in all these moments captured
and now gone, never
to be played again by him
until we turn these pages.

~Richard Summers

Poetic Distance                                                                                                                                                   

beneath the concrete foundations,
and the brittle surface of our lives
are veins that carry that which
powers our culture
and its residue of waste.

beneath the vessels that sustain us,
be they full of wine or song
is the very substance, the littered ground,
upon which we had hoped to build
the very dreams which slay us,
though we find them full
of hot air and steamy breath
from the twentieth century and beyond.

love and hate seep up
through the asphalt flesh of our lovers,
whose promise, now decaying,
is preserved as best we know how
somewhere in a wax museum
or an old northeastern cultural graveyard
where we all become caretakers
of each other’s broken hearts
by sustaining poetic distance,
knowing that if we touch each other
we will die.

~Richard Summers

The air is dense with moisture;
an ancient wicker rocking chair
long broken and now unused
waits proudly on the ocean’s shore
where a man watches daily
as the sun rises, and sets.
He hollers at the seagulls
chasing them up and down the beach
often stopping to converse
with a stranded jellyfish
or gaze silently at the water’s edge
as if at some infinity.
A chill breeze warns of coming weather.

~Richard Summers