My Heart Still Hears

2 12 2012
Copyright © 2012
by Derrick Robinson
dancingtrees
 
 
 
For my wife Susie
and sons Wescott and David;
I am richly blessed.
 
 
_________________________________________________________________________________________
 
 

Ten Haiku 1970 – 1992

 
 
 
Restless heart, would you
forsake an oasis
to pursue a mirage?
1970
 
 
 
Waking in the night,
reaching for the fleeting
image of a daydream.
1975
 
 
 
Taking pride where pride
is due, making peace with my
memories of you.
1982
 
 
 
Your face, your voice,
your laughter sound a distant,
lingering chord in me.
 
A remembrance of you,
of someone like you,
or simply déjà vu?
1983
 
 
 
Amid the ruins of
my garden, I came upon
one lone daisy.
1990
 
 
 
Under the guise of helping
you, I fed my own needs
and obsession.
1991
 
 
 
God bless the hands
that wiped away the smut
from the fresco of my mind.
1991
 
 
 
A foundling, a deep pit,
a loose cannon, etched
forever on my heart.
1991
 
 
 
Reflected in your
mirror, I saw myself in
a different light.
1992
 
 
 
One day, this long-stemmed
hothouse rose will bloom
in a garden in the sun.
1992
 
 
__________________________________________________________________________________________
 
 

Ten Haiku – 1993

 
 
 
If I am dreaming
let me awake; if I’m awake,
then let me sleep.
 
 
 
The greatest wisdom
is knowing when to seek
the counsel of others.
 
 
 
One day he’ll come for me,
with his gentle, gloved hands
and his body bag.
 
 
 
A car passes slowly
and brake lights flash –
a loaf of bread, a week’s rent.
 
 
 
Fear not, beloved son;
death is but a dreamless sleep
through an endless night.
 
 
 
Holding Wescott for
the first time, I held
first myself, then my father.
 
 
 
My son David – the
newest float in the
pageant of generations.
 
 
 
All summer long,
a spider tended its web
on my son’s bicycle.
 
 
 
The beating of my heart,
the sound of sweat dripping
onto my pillow.
 
 
 
When I said goodbye,
she said she loved me
and offered to help me pack.
 
 
__________________________________________________________________________________________
 
 

Ten Haiku 1994 – 1995

 
 
 
You are a song my heart
still hears, a dream
from which I never awake.
1994
 
 
 
Yes, it is sad that
he died, but isn’t it
wonderful that he lived.
1994
 
 
 
To stand with Morphy
and fight for honor on the
checkered battlefield.
1994
 
 
 
When it comes to Ellen,
the most I can hope for
is to be hopeful.
1995
 
 
 
Bury me with my glove
and a ball and a
Louisville Slugger bat.
1995
 
 
 
The first rains of August
remind us that summer
won’t last forever.
1995
 
 
 
Captives on the same web,
we sought sanctuary
in each other’s eyes.
1995
 
 
 
Not again… Maybe
if I don’t move… Oh well,
it’ll be over soon.
1995
 
 
 
October – when nature
treats us to an orgasm
of red and gold.
1995
 
 
 
Christmas Eve – eight years old –
shining my flashlight
on the neighbor’s chimney.
1995
 
 
__________________________________________________________________________________________
 
 

Ten Haiku from Israel

– 2004 –

 
 
 
At our journey’s end,
with open arms Tel Aviv
rushes to greet us.
 
 
 
Pale grey clouds settle
on dim hillsides, and one lone
rooster hails the dawn.
 
 
 
Slow to awake,
Israel stretches, and
kicks off the cover of night.
 
 
 
The donkey cries, “O please,
won’t somebody come
pay attention to me?”
 
 
 
The ghosts of Masada
still roam those ancient streets
whispering, “To arms!”
 
 
 
I couldn’t sink in
the Dead Sea, or float
in the Sea of Galilee.
 
 
 
At night across
Galilee, the jewelry box
of Tiberias.
 
 
 
Land of hill and stone,
palm and cypress; cross, crescent,
and star of David.
 
 
 
Goodbye, Israel!
Next to the land of my birth,
I love you the best.
 
 
 
Your gates and walls, your
Temple Mount, still call to me,
O Jerusalem!
 
 
________________________________________________________________________________________________
 
 

Twenty Haiku 2002 – 2005

 
 
 
The yucca flowers
bob and sway, and after the
thunderstorm: laughter.
2002
 
 
 
Her face uplifted
and arms outstretched, a young girl
dances in the rain.
2004
 
 
 
The November leaves
swirled around the newspapers
at my father’s door.
2004
 
 
 
One by one, night
after night, they visit me –
the women of my youth.
2004
 
 
 
The bounty from my
mother’s tomato plants lay
rotting on the ground.
2004
 
 
 
Let’s be honest with
each other; anything else
is a waste of time.
2005
 
 
 
I understand your
leaving, though some days I still
wake up with longing.
2005
 
 
 
I work in a world
of faceless men, pointless chat,
and counterfeit smiles.
2005
 
 
 
Be careful… You have
no idea how much I
hate and adore you.
2005
 
 
 
I learned too late that
I could never win your heart
by giving you mine.
2005
 
 
 
No longer my sons,
now my cat sits on the
vanity while I shave.
2005
 
 
 
For my beloved father,
a simple epitaph:
He used his time well.
2005
 
 
 
After drinking from
this well all these years, am I
now satiated?
2005
 
 
 
At my age, falling
in love is just one option;
I think I’ll go home.
2005
 
 
 
The young grow up, the
grown-ups grow old, and the old
grow vegetables.
2005
 
 
 
After Hawaii,
even heaven might turn out
a disappointment.
2005
 
 
 
Down I followed, an
awkward tourist in the land
of the sea turtles.
2005
 
 
 
Land of hibiscus,
monkeypod and mango,
poi and goddess Pele.
2005
 
 
 
I am so much like
my Dad; was he like me
in ways I never knew?
2005
 
 
 
My mother nursed me,
read books to me, and taught me
to say, I love you.
 
God bless Mummy.
I know that’s right.  Wasn’t it fun
in the bath tonight?”
2005
 
 
________________________________________________________________________________________________
 
 

The Time Machine of My Memory

 
 
 
It’s time for the marching
band to yield, and let the
players take the field.
2005
 
 
 
If you doubt that life
is precious, talk to someone
whose days are numbered.
2005
 
 
 
On Seventh Avenue,
you have to take the bad
with the not so bad.
2005
 
 
 
Wescott and Heather,
separate yet together,
like the dancing trees.
2005
 
 
 
I went to sleep
thinking about you, and woke up
dreaming of April.
2006
 
 
 
A fleeting thought while
holding my new granddaughter:
My work here is done.
2006
 
 
 
The curve of your breast,
the touch of your hand, and the
scent of Jean Naté.
2006
 
 
 
Do not weep for me,
any more than for the leaves
that fall in summer.
2006
 
 
 
In your classroom of
the night, what would you teach us,
patient Orion?
2006
 
 
 
She smiled and whispered,
“Do you think that strawberries
taste sweeter to me?”
2006
 
 
 
What was I seeking
in your embrace – to forget
or to remember?
2006
 
 
 
Transported across
the years in the time machine
of my memory.
2006
 
 
 
I was an actor
in the last scene of a play
I had never read.
2006
 
 
 
If  had known then
what I know now, I would know
where you are tonight.
2006
 
 
 
I saw her today
at Starbucks, without her wig
and make-up and boots.
2006
 
 
 
You loved me more
when I needed you less,
less when I needed you more.
2006
 
 
 
Front paws on my chest,
Jenny arches against my hand,
purring, purring.
2006
 
 
 
Suddenly the spell was broken:
“Hey tiger,” she said,
“they’re just my boobs.”
2006
 
 
 
“Don’t cry,” I told her;
“this isn’t really goodbye.
We can still be friends.”
 
“My love,” she paused,
“until we say goodbye,
I can never love again.”
2006
 
 
 
I dreamt of a race,
and of you waiting for me
at the finish line.
2007
 
 
 
My latest haiku –
is it personal and true
or merely clever?
2007
 
 
 
“Talk dirty to me!
If I wanted to make love,
I’d screw my husband.”
2007
 
 
 
Like water from a fountain,
love bubbles out of you
and over me.
2007
 
 
 
A late summer’s day:
when I first said, “I love you,”
you replied, “I know.”
 
An autumn night: we
zipped our sleeping bags together
for the first time.
2007
 
 
 
If I could live forever,
I’d want to spend forever
loving you.
2007
 
 
 
If my arms never
hold you again, well then,
what good are they to me?
2007
 
 
 
How many men?
Her body doesn’t remember,
and she doesn’t care.
2007
 
 
 
It isn’t passion;
I just don’t want to grow old
alone in this house.
2007
 
 
 
Dividing my time
between Fantasy Island
and Simpson’s Divan.
2007
 
 
 
“You’ve really got me,”
you whispered, when we could breathe
normally again.
2008
 
 
 
Was I helping him
into the boat, or shaking
his hand as he drowned?
2008
 
 
 
“Oh, Mother!
I didn’t go to Japan
just to sample the sushi.”
2008
 
 
 
One thing I like
about button-fly jeans:
you can’t forget to zip up.
2008
 
 
 
Closet door open
just a crack: how long since I
slept with a light on?
2008
 
 
 
Peering in at me,
what does the squirrel conclude:
Peanuts coming soon!
2008
 
 
 
Alone with my wife
in a darkened theater,
I feel a tear fall.
2008
 
 
 
Atop the Ferris wheel,
Johnny wanted to kiss me,
and I let him.
2008
 
 
 
How many different
faces has the demon:
there is only one.
2008
 
 
 
What do they say about us –
the lies we tell
and the secrets we keep?
2008
 
 
 
So hungry was I
for the sweet taste of honey,
I bought a bee farm.
2008
 
 
________________________________________________________________________________________________
 
 

Come With Me

 
 
 
Rachmaninoff is
a state fair, and Scriabin –
a Fourth of July.
2009
 
 
 
You think you’re so damn smart,
but one a these days
you’re gonna get busted.
2009
 
 
 
Give them back to me –
every unkind word and deed,
all my squandered hours.
2009
 
 
 
The nerve of some people!
“You must have been something,”
she said, “in your day.”
2009
 
 
 
You winds that blow past
the window of my beloved,
in peace let him sleep.
2009
 
 
 
Watching myself closely,
to see where I’m going
and what I’ll do next.
2009
 
 
 
Like all living things,
if you feed it, it will grow;
starve it, and it dies.
2011
 
 
 
It was a long time
from It’s all right to It’s over.
At least, for me.
2013
Life is a lesson
in humility, and I
haven’t learned it yet.
2013








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