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David Adamson Sep 2021
Staring at the first cup of coffee
Reminded me of my favorite color,
Darkness, where for so long,
Shapeless I grasped after form
Through unending nights.
Adding cream, I see the mocha
Of your skin
And my shape molds against it
As the sun rises.
David Adamson Aug 2021
Dance is the shape that body gives to music.
As your dream unfolds, words fly backwards at the speed of sleep.
He disliked the word “stalker.” He preferred “scientist of solitude.”
Leaving a message to his former self, written in pills.
His muse turned out to be mere longing in ordinary darkness.
This was the choice:  hear the music or feel the cold at the base of your spine.
I asked your heart, “Sit next to me?” You apostrophized to a tree.
Order cannot contain itself. There is always remainder. Flecks float in sunlight.
Stop laughing at my jokes and let me get on with this suicide note.
You stared at a white index card, waiting for a prayer to appear
A rhetoric of purpose is a philosophy of decay.
Keeping darkness at bay with the failing light of poetry.
David Adamson Aug 2021
Seeing someone every day
is not seeing them,
not in the way of knowing
ourselves, marked by a milestone on a rocky trail
or a spring growing back with azaleas and pollen
and a canopy of elms.

Instead the confetti of moments we’ve traveled together
whirl into the patternless vortex of now
and we don’t know where we find ourselves.
Yet I thought of you the other day
and a painting you gave to me when we first loved.
It showed a man diving into the ocean toward mermaids
Who sat on an island, watching.

Next to the image were words from a Jerry Butler song,
“Isle of the Sirens,” about a ship’s crewman lured by temptation.  
"The voices got louder
They sing beautiful things in my ear
I must go to that island of women
I must see these creatures I hear
Love is blind and desires have no fear."
The captain warns him that surrendering
to the siren song is a betrayal.
"Keep course, cried the Captain
Ignore them and let them be
Straight ahead, cried the Captain
Set on by and stay free
Remember laws of mutiny"
The man jumps anyway.
"'Old man, you know nothing
Of temptation
And desires are heaven to me.'
And off he leaped into the sea."

When you showed this to me, at first I thought I
was the man, giving in to temptation.
Only later did I understand that you were the man,
A black woman hearing a siren song
from a white man who lured her with desire and love.
We know the fate of those who leap at the sirens’ lure.
You broke the laws of mutiny.  

Something in my daily cogito has kept this memory close,
reminds me that you leapt
And you’re still here.

Here we are now, in the time of COVID-19,
alone together, shut out of the world,
sleeping in each other’s shadow
bored by each other’s demons,
walking past the blank of each other’s  mirrors.
But I still hear that song.  
Can you still hear it, love?  
Would you still make the leap?
David Adamson Aug 2021
Fiery light from a dying star
Cools against your mocha thigh.
Desire formed like fingers
Rustles your hair’s dark light.

Body to body and breath to breath,
We are here and nowhere else.
Unposted selves,
Love without likes,
Hands without keyboards,
Voices in air,
The absence of absence.
David Adamson Jun 2019
I stand at the flagstone fountain in the park and gaze across the street at the red brick bungalow where I lived as a child. Am I supposed to intone something? Summon a spirit? Or perhaps I’m the one who’s been summoned? Ghost of myself.

Set into the steep hillside, the house faces west. A boarded-up plate glass window makes it blind in one eye. In the summer, from that window, I watched postcard sunsets. I also learned watching there that the world was TV.  You watched it. It didn’t see you.

On the opposite wall, on a sofa, our family watched on a 15 inch portable Sears black and white with the collapsible rabbit ears men first walk on the moon.  We welled with pride in the space program. I ate Space Food Sticks and drank Tang.

Around to the side, behind the rose bushes, through that small basement window was my bedroom when I was 10. A tiny square of sun on the brightest summer day was all the daylight that ever got in.  There I first felt inside the base of my spine a small hard coldness. The night before, my three best friends had slept over to celebrate my 11th birthday.  Tonight I was alone.  The coldness grew.  It tendril’d into an icy tingle that radiated up my spine and through my arms like a metal cage of disappointment.  

Years later I learned the name of depression. But then it was just  cold inside my spine. And the cold spoke to me. “Davy, this is how it’s gonna be. It’s just you and me. Make room.” “You’re wrong,” I said.  “You’ll see. I’ll meet Ruby Tuesday.” I turned up the transistor radio and pulled the music close to me.

Through that bay window just above, the dining room table, my father and draft-age brother late on summer nights had it out over Vietnam.  

“Immoral, unnecessary, we should not be there,” my brother said.
“You know what happens if we’re not there?” says dad. I was in Korea. When the communists took over, in came the guys with the clipboards. Anyone who spoke English or taught school or owned a business was lined up against a wall and shot.
Yeah, well, we should not be … dying … bombs…bloodbath…reds.

Drowsing I no longer heard the words, only rising and falling pitch, a duet of bitterness, anger, wistfulness, probing for connection And into the night as darkness took hold and the voices merged with the rising and falling rhythm of cricket sounds, harmonizing like sleep.
David Adamson Jun 2019
A long time ago I tried to write
A love poem to a girl of my dreams.
I was burning and I was burning
For her. Instead, it seems

I wrote something about amnesia
And forgetting how to feel.
I wanted to win a dark mistress’s heart
Only the burning was real.

Or a different story:
The gulf between objects and desire.
Like the soul in Emerson’s tale,
We can never touch our beloved with fire.

Or loss. A long-legged beauty
Disappeared into echoes that I can’t explain.
Still burning with thirst
I wrote about ashes and pain.

Then I met you on a blooming campus path.
You had sinewy curves and a powerful flame
In your eyes that left me burning
To give your pleasure a secret name.

But it turned into a different plot.
You told me I set something inside you free.
It was new and I was still learning.
I told you, “Come burn with me.”

I think I know what the problem was.
I needed to learn a language from you,
The wordless speech that tongue teaches tongue,
Eye glints to eye, that skin lets through.

And our bodies coiled together
And your brown skin and my pale skin
Entangled in the heat of unity.
The burning flowed from outside to in.

There has to be a word for this,
Something enduring, strong.
Come close, I’ll try to whisper it.
Though I might get it wrong.
Dedicated to my wonderful wife, Vickie.
  Jun 2019 David Adamson
Risa Njoroge
She wore a long black dress,
That showed off some of her dark skin,
And a little bit of her *******,
Her hair was pulled up the top of her head,
And she had on thick reading glasses
You would think she was about to take a test,

He wore a light blue shirt and dress pants,
And wore a golden watch with thick leather  straps,
He asked her to sit by the big wide window,
So he could look at her under the golden sun,
When his hand touched her skin,
"Cafe' con leche" she whispered to him,

Before today they only existed in each others dreams,
Exchanged many letters,
Where they talked about many things,
Fears, hopes and secret needs,
They spoke about Wishes,
About lack of kisses they both now seek,

She shivered as he touched her lips,
His cold white hand lit fire to her dark skin,
They wanted more than the wishes and horses,  
They wanted hugs and kisses,
A fine romance
Where they could both feel safe,

Wishes and kisses,
Dreams and Desires,
Beggars wishing to riding horses,
Me and him hoping to stop time,
Cafe' con leche their fingers marry,
Tonight they will live out their dreams!
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