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Caroline Shank Aug 2020
I see you every
night elongated in warm
dreams on Summer skies.

I touch my face with
your memory now still warm.
My fingers smooth tears.

I am sad in the
act of kissing you. Goodbye
is a sorry dream.

I see you every
day through the scrim on the
Proscenium stage.

Goodnight Sweet Prince I
knew you well. I hold you still
in my folded hands.

Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Nov 2022

I am tired of living
with your splayed try to
foist the spines of addiction

from me.  The weather
of your withdrawal is
unpredictable.  It talks
to the walls of silence
muted to the unfaithful.

Tomorrow is a deflated

You fall on your knees in
supplication to the god
of *******.  There lies
missed opportunity. There
is your unmade bed, cracks
of daylight

in the seams of
You, whom God made
is the unformed image
of life that lies on the

bed of unlove.

Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Mar 2020

is when we made love
the first time. The only
time really.  It was the
shadow of four o'clock.

I remember your welcome
voice,  my shy

Every day I wait by
the window.  Your tan
coat and brown hat
disappear. You
vanish and I run
head long down
the years.

You fall from me like
grace.  Your face the
mold I make with my
hands each afternoon
at four o'clock.

In the window above
the lamppost I wait.

the snow falls and
on my frozen
soul rests your

Caroline Shank

Prompt:. The word Afternoon.
Caroline Shank Sep 2022
is a circle.
minefield of

I inhale.

The rasp of a door


Gone to rust.

Pieces of

Jigged thoughts…

clang of

Soggy Days.

Lie wet


The air pushed.

Behind me a
young woman


Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Feb 2020
I have collected clocks, chickens,
plates and owls.  In this room where I
savored the sounds and sights of my
long ago dismantled fragments. I reside


should have been
passages to

this, my old age,

it's the clocks I liked the best. They
drove you crazy.

It was always the same.

I'd sail forth on my Journey
of Discovery.  Not for long.

You wanted me to be smaller.
Less involved.  Life to you
was a spoonful.  Rationed
in a war without things.

It was the ticking of the
clocks as they went away
this last time.

It is the ticking of my
soul you are left with.

I wait for the last
object to leave.  Then
we will be all but
a tick of time,


Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Jun 2021
My thoughts morph into
the stuff of a Summer

A long time ago, before
I grew white tendrils of age in my hair, and that still lone Gardenia softened our song,  you played with me in the sand. We opened up hidden evenings and my only thought
was to be touched by you.

Your rough skin was pocked with Marijuana seeds and the twigs of collaboration.  Sky-high and pinked our conversation was in your cupped hands on my soft walls.

Is it any wonder
that I loved your song?

Now I am stuccoed and old and it is in my heart alone that this explication of a memory
remains alive
in the


Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Jul 2020
I am the Audience.  I write
to hear what I have to say.
This jumble of verbs and
adjectives, this conglomeration
of images is my body.

These warts and crevices, the pocks
of my life roll up into
words.  I copy them in the winter
and I write with them in the
long summer mornings.

But you, you predate my vocabulary.
And I say to myself you Are.  I
make you from the letters of

How else to tell the world, and
I must tell the world, that I exist,
that you live.  You are the noun.
I write to keep myself formed
into the story we made.  You
are the Subject of this
safari through my bones and I
am the Author.

My pen spills, a diary of tight
lighting firing through the
ink.  I write to say you

I scribe this plot thralled
Gothic romance.  
The story is always the same.

You, you are alive somewhere
in the world of words
I create.

And I,
I am your god now.

Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Nov 2019
Not everyone believes in Angels
but I do.  Sweet singing below
hearing, at the heart of feeling.
Angels are wide white lace
that enfold me in my deepest
sorrow and my highest joy.  

I trust the whirl and whoosh
of them. I catch sight of them
on the side of my eye when
I am not even looking

Angels announced the coming
of Jesus and His going.
They whispered to me the day
my children were born.

I see Angels in the look of loved
ones.  They flutter above my
every day and lay me down
to sleep at night.

I see Angels in the corridor.
sweetly singing homecoming
to patients and embracing
Angels sylphing through me
as I work.

And in our sorrow Angels hold
our faces where tears fall.  Angels
kiss our souls with love and gently
bring us home.

Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Sep 2022
Blue carpet.  Stones
between toes. Sun
seamed afternoon.  


Salt foams on shores.
Wet kisses my dream.

Walk on. The
lights of South Beach
a kaleidoscope.  Moon
paths. Warm breaths
on my mouth.

Tide breaks.

Salsa brings the waves
to ******.

Daylight comes.

Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Jul 2022
It's a bad **** day here in
The winds are hot and it's
starting to rain.  

I cant find my coat.  It got
lost at your funeral.  Now
my dry cheeks are wet
and i cant see where to go
The cracks in my face
are artificial.

The frogs are jumping after
phantom bugs, drugged
on the arid silence

I dont know how to do this.
Alone is an art form. No one
said it was Easy.  Willie's song
playing in my mind like a
jumping blue frog in the desert
that has come inside

I crossed the line too late.
All of your self is in the
pillow i no longer use.

I think i will read through
the afternoon. I can always
Cry in bed.

Tomorrow is another anniversary.

Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Mar 2020
We are born in tide pools
and **** heaps minutes after the
Big Bang and Slow Drip.
We are remnants of some
primordial ooze.  

I have lost my tail.  
My call is
clogged with ages of
brittle shake.

I knew you before
the worlds were made.
Soldiers of misfortune,
we trip over fossils
and skree to touch
each other.  

The Flood placed a wave
between us and is the
moraine we travel daily,
barefoot and calling.

Echoes fall with a
dull thud, our lives
immemorial, our
love Jurassic.

Caroline Shank
There's an elephant in the room.
(Don't you ******* hate cliches)
It's growing around the furniture
up and over the years of careful


I can't pretend at last.  You need
to ride the carnival behemoth
out of here so we can breathe.
The pink lady waits for her


I want to go to that place where
emotions are colored and the
candy is not cotton. Where the
taste of chocolate rides my


Another dime in the juke box
please.  The circus is pulling
out and all the cliches mount
up to the wedding of Miss


Nothing else makes


Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank May 2022
I remember you in
the striped backseat of Tony's
car. The red leather seat's squeak
on my cheek,
and the pearl white ghastly plastic
door handles crushed my head.
I remember.
you with your duck tail
Haircut, dark brown, greasy
with Brylcream..  
It was widely known in
those days how your deep
broken brown gaze was
turned on me one evening
when I was fourteen.

The summer was over and
clouds were layered on like

a stripe of a
gray leather.
You used language,
harsh in hearing,.  
shallow in response.

The story
is an old one and people
told it of me, just the night when the
red plastic shined on my face,
like a stripe of a scarf.
When your second wife
was so sorry you died
before your silver dove flew
over and I  was waiting
for your


Caroline Shank
May 2, 2022
Caroline Shank May 2022
I remember you in
the striped backseat of Tony's
car. The red leather seat's squeak
on my cheek,
and the pearl white ghastly plastic
door handles crushed my head.
I remember.
you with your duck tail
Haircut, dark brown, greasy
with Brylcream..  
It was widely known in
those days how your deep
broken brown gaze was
turned on me one evening
when I was fourteen.

The summer was over and
clouds were layered on like

a stripe of a
gray leather.
You used language,
harsh in hearing,.  
shallow in response.

The story
is an old one and people
told it of me, just the night when the
red plastic shined on my face,
like a stripe of a scarf.
When your second wife
was so sorry you died
before your silver dove flew
over and I  was waiting
for your


Caroline Shank
May 2, 2022
I need help with this one. All comments gratefully received
Caroline Shank Feb 2022
You have walked into the destruction
of your mind and found a place there.
The detritus of a life lived in the face
of cancer, storms, and death abandoned
of the private letting go of acceptance.

You screened a life worth living
and found it wanting of love and

Someday we will meet and
our faces, full of knowledge,
will know the relief of a rest
realized. The
nourishment of a kindred
moment of unmitigated

I will be your welcome.  I will
solve the enigma of two
lives waiting for a single

We run now,
members  of the
cloister of our lives


Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Dec 2019
autumn golds the leaves
the cool breeze stirs the summer's
winding song to winter

Caroline Shank
Completes my seasons haiku cycle
Caroline Shank Oct 2022
Death exits the vomitorium
     the left.
The chalice rattles.
     The king is dead.

(It  slammed into my head
     one night,
         when you were sick )

Before the circle it was said
       were handsome and guileless.

(You attend again, your father, locked in
     in the sleep that has only one hand.
Tomorrow will solicit your stillness.)

My legs, old, are stumble, are
     shaken. I wobble

like a child.

(Watch the hands that hold
     yesterday.  Grip the rope. )

Wrench away.  Struggle.  I'm

     are bricks,
       I  tear my face.

You, beloved,
     gone in the morning.

Flowers, to the sun,


into your celestial orbit,


Caroline Shank

RIP Jim Shank
5.10.1938 to
Bard of my reading, no less
the trail to my heart's desire.
Singing in the crevices of
memory I love you.

Ode to the bark and green
you awaken the song.
Sing to me in the spaces
between rhyme and

I wait to hold the source
of song, the poem of
you driven to the page
to lap the signs of
tomorrow like evanescent
cotton when spilled in
the wind of your

Tomorrow the nascent verse
will spill like water on flowers.
Grow to the top dear Poet,
ride the board of memories

which sing in the lines of
your experience.

Teach me, Sweet Jesus, to

Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Oct 2022
Base Camp

Unseen from here, the
summit, in a cloud, anchors
the landscape.

It is said there are corpses littered
among the crakes and crevices along
the pilgrim's path to atonement.

Let me walk among the thoughts, the
footsteps, the crawling supplicant's
prayers to reach the place where
climbers found the unimagined,
the windblown, the face of God
that insists on another


Let me be where you are, the
subside of a mythic mountain,
among the survivors who

love in the scree of


Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Apr 2022
Before life ended, proof that
you can't climb the rope of life
with greased thighs. ( Surprise!
I meant that.) I slid to the ground.

You weren't there.  Being There, to plagiarize a title from Kozinski, is not
the act of a shuffled life.  You had
gloves to touch me with and I saw the
rubbed toe of your captoed still
shinning.  One foot up and hurry
now. Watch me watching you.

I slipped. Startled by the squeal
of your Italian leathers I fell off.
No garden here.  Far from
a successful climb I saw you
lurch in derision.  I couldn't reach
you anymore.  A simple mark, a
symbol perched like a poem
on sadness.  

I wrote this for you. My  
sadness wraps around
I make goodbye
go like the wind.

Caroline Shank
April 6, 2022
Caroline Shank Apr 2022
I have seen the moments of my
lifetime flicker and I was afraid.
I have won at love. My hair fell
long on your shoulders and I
laughed to see such a sport.

I have seen rhe souls of loved
ones shivver but I was young
then. I did not know your
Pain. I never knew you in your
lighter days. My heart pumped and
yet I sang then in my ununderstanding.
You were plaid in your dimensions
and red were the heartbeats
of our shared misunderstanding.

My feet then, a true size 8, were
made for dancing. I stepped softly
on your shoes and we were sway
and music.  The night's of our
repeatable dance's reps. Holy
in the church of our souls.

You didn't die then though I wish
you had. A million little deaths
over the years of sadness.

You were erased on a Sunday
by the ink of yesterday's


Caroline Shank
April 17.2022
Caroline Shank Feb 2020
It all happens between the cracks.
My life to be cliche.  Light barely
flickers between the shift lines
in the cracked ground.

I worked nights for many years
in a hospital of sunless windows.
I slept badly and spent summers
lying on the mostly deserted
strip of lake Michigan beach.

A suburban by choice, I felt no
real need for company.  Still
don't.  There is always the chance
of a thought misunderstood, a
glance mislaid on the face
of someone outside.  

Lives that are sunlit and brave
always try to haul me out and
unfold my wrinkled insistence.
I wear the pale gleam of darkened
hallways into old age.

I am, by choice, a crone of
undistinguished personality.
A poet peeking out between
the veins of life.  

I am chosen to, occasionally,
shine a little light from under
the sidewalk.

Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Feb 2021
I have a head full of bitter
change.  Shake me gently
or it will fall out.  Do you
like me enough to tally
the aged money?

You are a stream where
people go to pray.  The
Ganges of the soul.  Weary
of the candles floating on
the prayers of lesser sinners
you ask only for confession.

You send the lighted candles
downstream.  Forgiveness
is not for the weak, and
shy of life's detritus

you weary of all things that
I leave on the edge of
sorrow.  Oh! River of my
Old age why do you

need me?

Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Mar 2020
Bitter robs the night
of fortune.  (Send me to thee.)
Trick of my soul's tomorrow.

Bitterness resolves at death.
(Send me to thee.)
It robs the stars of light.

I am for sweetness.
This time it will not fail

Bitter is the crepuscular
time.  (Send me to thee.)
I choose the Sunlight.

The refrain of

time's repairing.

Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Nov 2019
(I've seen fire and I've seen rain.
No wait that's been used.
I always knew someday you'd walk through my door… no not that either.)

I walk downtown and there
you are.  I watch your long
unseen smile catch you
unaware when you see me.

There are fragments of that
smile in the shop window.
You reach to catch
my hand.

My memory flickers with the
walklight.  Four seconds to
caution.  Three, two, 1, I run
slowly to your waiting arms.

I float, no wait, I glide to
the other side of the street.
Trust is flung aside, the
movement of air on my face
brushes the air on your
face through the sunlit

I am a ripened Autumn leaf.  
I slide into the present
moment aware at last
I am a dreamer in a blue
lawn chair.

Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Nov 2022
What have I to say to you?
whose world is a spinning
Inn?  I want to stay awhile
where you are the boatman
for lost and lonely waifs.

Treasure me with your song,
I will soothe you with my
sighs.  Sing boatman?

Bring me
to my knees.

Sounds are the oar
with which I stay


Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Sep 2022
Boredom opens the door to walk-ins.
Floats, like spoors in July, little
umbrellas of disaffection.

Tomorrow is the tattered breath
of the day before I met you.
It is the same.  The film is
crinkled on the closet shelf.

I clean around the thought
of giving the lash to tonight.
It is the last resort to
things unable to disseminate.

The hero shrinks of yesterday
are gone for soldiers everyone.
It's the hymn that keeps them awake.

(My mother shrieked through the
night.  In Summer the frogs in
the back shrank.)

You left with the rain.  I have
said this before.  Late afternoons
dredge.  Not yet suppertime
the waiting for night's numbing
power is interminable.

Sit there where I remember you
so I can lapse into stillness

that will bring the words sliding



Into drugged


Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Sep 2021
I don't want you to find me
in these later years.  I can't
cry anymore when I think
of you.

We were young in the music
of our age.  We danced (so
closely) to "Me and Mrs Jones"
The top room of the familiar
bar where we were all alone
except for one couple playing

I'm broken finally. The white
hair, the pounds padding me
like Bart on the field.
I'm broken in my heart, the
one place you only have touched.

I am broken in the days and
nights.  The flesh colored
clouds slide over us
as it did so long ago.  
I can't sing even
to the  songs we loved
as each one of us moved in the
roiling grass.  Shattered, I
am veined with the silver of old mirrors.

Stopping by the road in the
summer rain I sigh the
loss of many things.  Things
chipped now and cracked.
My face falls, like shards of
failed glass.  I
cry out for you.

Words are frail bones.
I fail to reach them although
they stain my  
breaking heart.

As my husband slips in
the mire of Parkinson's,
he will not know me
very soon.

I write about you with
capricious longing. The
touch you gave  of
seeing me home.
The Marijuana was not
that strong.  

Don't cry for me
Alabama. I am
here where you
left me.

Caroline Shank
September 15, 2021

This is a new poem I am trying
to know.  A broken memory
that slides up and down
the heart of me.
Caroline Shank Jan 2021
I seem to be broken now.
Pieces fall as strangled
shapes to the floor.  
I toe them, looking
for the edges to rustle
back together.

Fragments fall.
Dried edges and shriveled
meanings.  (The torn
remains of my old age.)

I think I am broken.
My poems drift
off as blowing leaves
in a dry season.  
I rake them into
a pile.  The crackles
and snaps. The ends
of thought.

I write this to save the few
remaining poems I have.
Words fall from the
dustpan of dry letters
on a cold night.

Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Jun 2020
You write of
another love.  
You care not for the
tear of pain on a
bruised heart.

The past
cracks like shell. Poems
fall to the ground. There are
memories underneath my back.

Say nothing. Go to
the end of the day in your
safe place.

I release your voice.  I sing
to myself where you once sang,

Take me not to your happiness.
I drop down a rope
of words.
I will swing myself above  

Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Nov 2022
The fracture of illicit love
escape the seismic clash.
We enter into time.  A breech

butting of tomorrow into the
canal of forgetting, For who
can remember the slide of

We slipped like ice  
into the breaking curren'ts
urge to melt.   We canceled
the moment, repealed the
lesson. Stripped of

experience, we rushed into

love's last



Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Oct 2020
Can anyone help me? Is
there a minute particle of
a sympathetic soul in the
residue of a life loudly

I don't really have a
syllable of rain to tell
of the need of personal

Someone run to me with
an outstretched hand
that I may not flail
in the cold.

God knows of my need
and He cries at your

Go away from me, I will
struggle to keep from
showing you my unrequited

I am called The City of
New Orleans.

Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Jun 2020
Candles light the way to my worn
torn books.  I read every night.  The
covers loosened from the binding.

It is a fragile thing that I have come
here to write you.  I am a little out of
shape.  The company of great
writers intimidate me. I am wrapped around the stylus of an idea.  

In some way think of this as an
entry into my thoughts.  Are you
interested in the nocturnal rambling
of my old, my favorite phrases?

Something in me likes to hear you,
in your deep voice, read to me what
I write.  My imagination startles me.

The candles are burnt enough.  
You will not return to this library
which you began so long ago.

I write to you in my diary,
Harker, words you fling from the
runaway carriage window.

I will never die and I will look
for you in my books forever.

I listen to the wind through
the pages.

Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Dec 2019
It takes a long time to get here.

I almost didn't make it but

around every person is a

reason to get where you

want to be.

I want to get to the last minute.

To ride the carousel,

to grab the ring, walk the

soft sand.  Raise the umbrella.

Birds scatter on the beach.

Caw loudly.  I celebrate this

windshorn day.  I want to run 

through my life catching

miracles.  Godparticles

in the blowing sand.

Curl me in scent.

Lay me down.



of a life lived.

I am reflected in you. 

Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Jan 2020
Recumbent in my brown

velour reclining chair I

dream of Ireland.  Never

having been there at all.

My path through the green

hills of my father's family

county winds to the shingle

and thatch pub.  I meet

Kieran where there is

dancing and beer-o. 

Bagpipes and kilts.

In my reverie, 

I top off warm Guinness,

and tumble to the blarney. 

of the sweet, moving, man who

slides toward me with

Irish blue eyes. 

I cry out

the sounds

of a lost, lonely, song.

I wake in my chair,

a long way 

from home.

Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Nov 2019
Christmas is not going to perform
for me again this year.  Not going to send me to the five and dime for
shreds of tinfoil or hooks of candy.

Song sung blue over the white
and drifting snow.  I remain
dans la grotte.  Why?  You might
ask.  Tomorrow the Wise Men
start their slouch
toward Bethlehem,
unencumbered by gifts.

Joy is not running through
me.  Starlite, star bright,
I wish you would come
home tonight.

Far away you send sorrow.
I package it in used boxes.
I will sit for twelve days and
twelve nights.  Alone.

I will *******
another Christmas and
count to forty.  It's what
I do.  I am blistered with
the wait.  

When you come home I
will handstand myself
with joy.  It's been the
journey of my life to wait
for you. My face to the
Star, again.

Next Christmas I will celebrate
you.  Home from afar,
I will wrap myself in your
name.  You will open me.  


Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Dec 2021
The get together, the
conversation like snowflakes
melts to gin. The baubles
in the cake discarded.
Laughter, like a drunken
fruitcake, soaks in 🎭 ***.

We leave our coats behind.
The owner looks on in enebriated
unbelief and goes  to bed.

It is cold and Christmas contents
scatter behind backyard bushes.
We fall on the ice to gales of
hiccup and yelps of pain.

Our outdated traditions look
out on faces, missed at the party,
***** of belongingness.

Someone said that Christ is the
reason, but the customary
exchange gleaned
in moments, is glaringly
missed and the broken
heart turns over.
The sad neglect
which is mother of
this sadness, is seen
by the enebriate a tribute
to those who laugh.

Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Dec 2019
You wake in the morning
all alone.  There stillness is
like a quiet stone skipping
through thought.  You leave
the remnants of a life led
with noise and clamor at
the ends of yesterday.

There is time yet to resume.
Now is perfection.  For
a brief moment you are
all that is or ever will be.

Then sound begins to
penetrate the soul of
day and you fear the
reverie will not repeat
so you drink in the
remains of a moment
so fragile and evanescent
you fear the peace will
not come to you again.

The days are full of clang
and bother. You hang on
to the dawn, remember
the instance of salvation
is a wafer of  time.

Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Nov 2019
I used my heart to get close
to you.  I pounded the inside
of my world.  It was magic.
My heart beat a tattoo that
you could feel a thousand
miles away.  

You knew me from the
inside.  You never turned
away.  I held you in the
palms of my hands.  Your
fragile skin translucent.

I was born to be yours.  You
marked me with your
substantial smile.  It was
never too late.  You were
a breath away from dying.
I was in the air.  

I heard the cry, I was on
the verge of living without
the blue of your eyes.  You
turned  me to breathing.
You wheeled away unknowing
that under the blanket  I
placed a breathless wish
for your heart to beat
to mine.  

Child of mud and seawater
you came at last to the
shore of my time.  

I believe in you.

Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Nov 2019
I don't think you know about
the stain above the line of my
sight.  The colors that keep changing with each breathing,
the syllables that won't stay still.

There is a blot on my brain
that smears thoughts into a
puddle.  Did you ever see
yellow reach out like a
tentacle?  It grabs whatever
it can find.  Red is next, a
little less demanding but
still impenetrable.  

It's the blue that can ****.
Uncontained it flows over
my mind like a silent wave.

I can't show you because
I don't know the magic
phrase that makes the
inkblot go away.

Is it in the rainbow when God
said we are alone now?  I
flay in the flow of the thought
that we got on the boat in
the first place.

You cannot see what I hide,
from even myself.  You may
hold me, and if you can, find
the color of safety.

Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank May 2020
You left her
on the pale of an old wound. Just When She Needed You Most. It's
true that the world is a flat rockfilled

For years she worked a new garden.
Now the songs
are warped and the plants
won't grow.

Her ramblings stutter.
But  offer
a small breath in her direction
and she dances.

Combien Monsieur for some air
you breathed, for a flower you
grew, flesh to the perfect
old dream?

Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Mar 2021
Come and sit upon my morning.
Hold me close in sunrise arms,
whisper east winds
gently in my ear.
Wash my lonely night away.

Come and sit upon my morning.
Hold me close in sunrise arms.
Kiss me sunlife
through the window glass
between us.

Caroline Shank
Written several years ago
Okay Country green and faire,
the rival feathers of America,
the soft shells of Siesta Key
Beach, the roar of the freight
train as it turned belly up in
the anxiety of a post qualude

Marriage was the script of
the Land and grass the dress
the smaller stately Maples
wore spitefully as the red and
black Muscovy waddled up

looking for the crisps of bread
that Jim threw out every day.
The gospels of Sand Hills
displayed in the Red hills

The citizens of the Back Yard
smoked the tender joint while
I ran to the top of the hill, Jean.
The score my devastation wrote
on the billious worn sofa.  Green
toile soldiers armed with the
nets of armaments.

Toile was the pattern of my
tru loves coat.  Green were the
dresses flirtatiously spilling my

Then you lay my sorry self on the
deck of the ship Wisconsin.
My chair was missing and
we made clumsy love in
spite of the sway of the

Oh feature with me,
man of sorrows, to
the end of the play.
I will dance at the middle
and musk the top of my old

Bare my top and I will,
be the selfsame

sinner after all.

Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Jan 2020
Caught between spaces, faces

fraught with beginnings and end-

ings look backward, look forward.

At our age we spin.  The dance

of light is uncertain.  There

are shadows.  Perspective lies

just this side of the line

between the still world and

the moving.  We approach 

possibilities with prismatic


More certainly we move across

the floor, scatter and are caught

up in the skirts of mornings,

afternoons, evenings.  Free for

the first time we shed our skin

in anticipation.  Old age is

a filled stream.

The echoes of childhood, the rasp

of youth are replaced by a certain

smoothness.  We go forward because

some thing turns us like a level

in space, always that way.  We go into

our children’s maturity, wrestle with

the presumptions of our age, and slide

like something iced into

something waiting.
Caroline Shank Nov 2019
The wind is cold, the night is long.
I never sleep.  You are gone.
Swirls of pain
surround me and I leave my
body behind.

I cling to the fastness of thought,
somersault through millennia
to witness you through the
blinkless eye of light.

Time is an illusion.  We met
in the unformed moment of
creation, chased each other
around the universe.  A
cosmology of wonder.

Now, at the last,  
moments of my life
collapse down  
death like ivy on
winter bricks.

Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Dec 2019
To my toes.  To the tap tap
tapping of my toes.   I beat to the
rhythm of Willie and Conway.
I don't look like Dolly but
I know she knows me.

My moods swing to the bars
and guitars.  I am under the
swing of stars looking for
the song under the melody.

I want you Loving me Was Easier
than Anything you have Ever
Done Before. I want you to
Lay Me Down.  I Will Always
Love You.

Country music sings to my longing
for you to whom I come with
my strings on a song. I stand
here, tears fall, longing for you
to come and take me to the

Dance with me.  Swing me around
the moon.  Believe in me.  I am
the first it was to call you to
the floor. I am your Slow Hand.

Caroline Shank
Purely experimental. Let me know what you really think.  Thanks
Caroline Shank Apr 2020
You are the wind.
You are the words.

Down in the hollows of
my throat you are
the songs I hum.

Your growl sounds
take me out of me.

Lay me down.
Ta dumm

Strum me.

I am the riff from
your guitar..
Play me now.  

Turn up the radio.
"It's been a long long

"Play me."

Caroline Shank

Conway and Neil
and me.
Caroline Shank Apr 2022

I am thrown pieces of virus's
scalding puke that took me
down into the warehouse
of lost memory.

My head shakes for the tears
which pour from hollowed eyes
the lack of simple names,
numbers and the wrinkled
lists of my failures.

I am overthrown by my own
mystery.  My long list of
minutiae trips me.  I am
unconscious.  Nothing
that is me is the cling on
that is all I have or am.

Covid rakes my mind taking
with with it the night in the
hospital.   The nurse who,
I am told, joined me when
her tasks allowed.

It is too much  To be so
erased until you have to call
the bank and plead for your
self in the numbers behind
the buttons which charge
our lives with permissions.

I sent my self on a journey
to sound the deeps of my
sorry mind.  I cannot know
the contents I do not know.

I am forced into redundancy.
I repeat names
of people and things I cannot
hold. There is no place at the
table where I presided before
the colorless spread of sickness
took up residence in the days
of my 75 years.

I am wiped on the arm of
illness.  I sneeze at the
passwords that are lost into
the soup of confusion.  You don't
know the shapes of the
sick citizens of my aching
head. The red blood cells
which lined up only to

I cannot remember you. I
try to fill in the narrative
of the several weeks

I am pulled ahead by
you who have loved
me.  I take the minutes
of this experience with
you my listener into
a frail future.

Caroline Shank
Your not so slender form stands
in the bedroom door. You yawn.
I remember you before the
drugs took you to the ends
of my life.

Old now, the reckless
times are gone. Still you try,
hanging onto the threads of
yesterday.  Tangents of

You strive to steer your
way through the long sleep,
the crash after
the burning addiction gets
you. You climb into
tomorrow like a crawl
Into infancy

and you tell me it's all
right Mom.

Caroline Shank
Caroline Shank Mar 2020
Long ago I was born.
Generations have grown
up around me.  I am
reminded of this by
a recent escape from


I have loved as well as
I have been able.  But
I am not full to the brim
of life just yet.

I offer
crepuscular years,
roses that grow
in the shade, and
warm wine at

Please forgive
the imperfection
of a soul survivor.
The choice was
made by God.

Caroline Shank

"I cried for madder music and for stronger wine,
But when the feast is finished and the lamps expire,
Then falls thy shadow, Cynara! the night is thine;
And I am desolate and sick of an old passion,"
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