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167 · Feb 2018
After
Philip Lawrence Feb 2018
your smile, and
standing on tiptoe
to brush a wisp of hair
from my brow
166 · Dec 2020
Wordless
Philip Lawrence Dec 2020
promises unheeded,

fidelity unspared,

deserted, until rumor of another brings

a squeamish smile, a tearful display,

wordless performance for an audience of one
164 · Jul 2017
Years
Philip Lawrence Jul 2017
Seasons whirl.
Thoughts, moments retrieved.
An invisible sweep of the past.
Effortless, expected,
Until no longer so.
Images ephemeral,
Words shimmer beyond tether,
Pawed at, occasionally stilled,
Then, lucent as crystal.
Joy.
A diamond, treasured.
164 · Oct 2017
A Marvelous Choice
Philip Lawrence Oct 2017
Two, side-by-side,
Standing, silent,
Awaiting our decision.
We choose the smaller,
the younger one.
Hooray!
Excitement, commotion,
A readying of things.
Congratulatory words
alight upon us.
A marvelous choice,
You are perfectly suited,
the kids will adore him.
The gate unlatched,
whisked into another room.
A bathing, inoculation,
presented flawless.
A modest sum tendered,
a signature penned.
A dizzying,
back-seat free-for-all.
We speed away.
New family member,
new best friend.
Each of us curious.
How big will he grow?
What tricks will he learn?
Who will be his favorite?
The questions abound,
except for one:
What of the other?
162 · Dec 2020
Chance
Philip Lawrence Dec 2020
Deep breath, then another. I held my drink steady and began to walk

an awkward walk, a little too deliberate, my steps conspicuous,

almost silly as I feigned nonchalance until a fictional cough as I

neared you. Your attention caught. Was it also feigned? I didn’t want

to do any of this, this wasn’t me. But a promise if I ever saw you

again, a promise to oneself, that must be kept. And so, it was. How

could I have done otherwise, leaving you to chance.
156 · Jun 2020
June Swoon
Philip Lawrence Jun 2020
The chill breeze, long awaited, finds its whisper
in the tall grasses,
tilting the hydrangeas, full and round, pink and purple
as the hewn lawn, more fragrant as dusk nears,
cushions the fawn,
the newborn to again perch precariously
atop unsteady spindles,
to weave through his mother’s legs as she pokes,
then slides through the brush.
And as I raise my brow over the hammock's edge,
the squirrels hunch and chew and hop in unison
as they laugh quietly, my idleness risible,
before a third and final turn of the paragraph
renders me drowsy, the tome now abreast my breast
as a lazy arm falls without the swaying catch in surrender.
154 · Nov 2020
Trek
Philip Lawrence Nov 2020
The search for kindness can be difficult.

Ease the journey.

Let it be found at your doorstep.
139 · Dec 2020
Crafted
Philip Lawrence Dec 2020
they whisper to one another as they lie on the cricket-green

shoots of spring, where delectable images are conjured and

crafted into place, and together they dream of the pale,

white heat of summer, and blue curls of ocean water rushing

sun-bleached grains, and the sudden flash of autumn, always

a surprise, the most radiant leaves to be collected and pressed

between forgettable pages until sheafs of white lay atop

the country cottages, their bejeweled eaves sparkling for holiday

as the snow-laden pines lining the rural lanes frown under the

weight, a seasonal banquet expected, promised…hoped for
137 · Dec 2020
Tumult
Philip Lawrence Dec 2020
I find the river when I am kept awake by thoughts of you, and

at the railing, despite the numbing grip of wrought iron, I can see her

surface ripple in the winter wind, and I watch as the undercurrent

appears to churn and switch back in the twilight, unpredictable,

unknowable, a breadth and impulse powerful, resistant, and when

her path is curbed, finding her own way in a tumult of discovery
134 · Feb 20
Jolted
it seemed inconsequential, at first,
an innocent reminder, a party next
week brought a quick turn away,
as if she had spotted someone across
the street, or perhaps jolted by the
thought of an oven left on

of course, it was neither, and
her gaze quickly returned, her visage
now sullen, acquiescent to the moment
“I’ve been meaning to talk to you"
125 · Dec 2020
Circean Dance
Philip Lawrence Dec 2020
Winter is near, and night drapes quickly over the city, a black satin

sheath to be decorated by the early stars. But the skyline is

different, the glass and stone soldiers that elbow for prominence at

the river’s edge don’t shine bright until the river blackens out of

sight, not until the soft whoosh of the final ripples from the ferry

boats lap up against the pier pilings. No, the skyline sleeps late,

then awakens not for the city, for it stretches and smiles brightly,

before an open-mouthed inhale of cold night air, all show, an

opening number, a roaring, leg-kicking first dance for those who

stare and yearn, who pine in nervous indecision on the far shore,

tantalized, pawing at the ground before, perhaps, bridging the

pitch water to join the city splash, for if one stays put, feet planted

at a distance, beyond the parquet floor, well….
118 · Jul 2020
Blink
Philip Lawrence Jul 2020
Elusive, mischievous feline, you confound me,

you are stardust, quicksilver,

a pink-nosed rogue, indifferent to beseeching,  

oblivious to the outstretched palm,

and as I lean near to listen with all attentiveness,

you withhold even the momentary purr,

choosing only a quizzical look and a single blink

before the paw lick and scamper,

and the search to grace elsewhere.
113 · Apr 2020
Hope Untethered
Philip Lawrence Apr 2020
The breakfast nook brightens,
suffused with impertinent sunlight,
arrogant, intrusive, disrupting dystopian
anticipations to dare yield the repressed,
now untethered from their despondent moorings:
grinning, chubby-faced sunflowers
electing a cadenced dance,
the pump, pump, pump of Hip Hop
thumping behind bodega counters,
the ponies of Assateague,
slick with lather and hope,
denuded thighs shifting in languid heat
atop hillocks of powdered sand,
the Jack Russell hurtling skyward,
disc clenched, her smooth white coat
suspended against nimbus curls
tossed carelessly upon a blue-black canvas,
Aquinnah, hallowed, striated escarpment,
resplendent at the shank of day,
fireflies, ice cream, and the irresistible beckon
of the evening pines that rock to the day’s completion,
whistling, familiar, reassuring.
112 · May 2020
Embraceless
Philip Lawrence May 2020
Days once lived in anticipation, anxious for love,
yet ever hopeful for the ever lorn,
now lost to a world wary and frightened,
proximity the new Devil’s door,
the prescribed chasm much more than the height of a man,
as hope for a brush of lock, a goodnight caress, are abandoned,
leaving the embraceless many.
111 · Jun 2020
Patient Heart
Philip Lawrence Jun 2020
A patient heart never tires,
as it sees all is yet possible,
dare believes all eternally imminent,
as it skillfully contorts the truth,
happily feeding the delusion
until the heart finally beats irregularly,
straining from ages of neglect,
famished from the absence of reciprocity,
the denial unearthed,
rendering the muscle damaged,
no longer capable of the largesse
which had long infused hope,
the brittle harmony broken, leaving
only the memory of what might have been.
109 · Dec 2020
Weighed
Philip Lawrence Dec 2020
her gaze,
a place of verity, uncompromised by
words that seek to betray,
uncorrupted by gesture, a place
where the gritty cannot be smoothed
with a smile, a precise machine, a scale
where each grain of assessment is properly
weighed, the result forged and steeled,
a place unmoved by desire, impervious
to manipulation, a place in which
to find oneself
109 · Jan 14
Impulse
She pushed the last button through, her fingers dallying over her heavy wool coat before she swept her hair and tucked it under her collar.

She rapped on the door. Twice.

She brought her other hand behind her back, the one holding the humble bouquet of flowers, the small bunch purchased minutes before from the sidewalk vendor three stories below.

Does he even like flowers?

The door swung open. She smiled briefly, her gift coming round.

These are for you.

Her gray eyes flashed with delight as his hand took hold of them.

She dashed from the landing without another word.

Who are you? he called from the railing.

Only the echo of his voice returned from the stairwell, and another smile.
108 · Nov 2020
Parked
Philip Lawrence Nov 2020
I find the rough-hewn bench where we once met,

where my anticipation led to scribbled notes,

read and reread, each time returned to pocket,

only to be exhumed, unwrinkled, and memorized

once more, and sufficient to cause me to pace about,

to mutter, to rehearse hackneyed platitudes, fumphering

again, and again, until at last you arrived and laughed a

consoling laugh at my ineptness, enveloping me in a warmth

I had never known


And now, as I shift about, a gray spot alone among

the burgeoning reds and yellows and golds of the cool

autumn, I search the faces of passersby, knowing well

you will not be among them, yet wondering if I will

ever see you again
107 · Oct 2020
Shelved
Philip Lawrence Oct 2020
I exist only in memory now, and as the shoebox lid is lifted

and my photo is raised, the effort brings her a smile, and as

her thoughts turn, the splinters of light flicker as if the start

of an old projector, then rat-a-tat images, the poorly spliced

film sputtering until I appear, a sepia vignette, my face

amorphous, gossamer, voiceless, until I am set down, placed

once again inside the cardboard container, the cards and

photographs, and old key chains and lucky coins and the pack

of loose razor blades gently moved aside by a careful hand,

the box destined not to be opened again until one yet to be born

lifts me to the light, the curious pencil inscription faded, yet

visage familiar, sufficient to return a smile of recognition

before I am lidded once more, a curious forebear, and as the

tenuous threads of connection sever, I suspend over the trash can

until a sentimental hand slides me back upon the shelf, the detritus

blown clear before I reclaim my perch, awaiting my chance to be

raised to the light again.
100 · Aug 2020
Breakup
Philip Lawrence Aug 2020
I wait, seated behind the arched letters of the cafe window,
riveted by others who move urgently, soundlessly, beyond the thick
glass, scurrying along glistening sidewalks,
winding between glaring headlamps in the slick night,
to lovers, to friends, to family, to home.
I remember no words, only the sting of hot coffee,
a hurried gulp to stanch the welling pain, and to quiet
the certain quiver of my voice if left to speak.
Yet once into the dampness, standing together for a last time
in the crystalline night, the balance is seared into hard memory
as I watch you lift a speck from my collar,
grooming me, as before, and then a smile, wistful now,
and you rise on tiptoes to brush a wisp of hair from my brow.
Silent, hood now raised in the misting dark,
you find the corner of the red brick building and
vanish.
97 · Dec 2020
Tactile
Philip Lawrence Dec 2020
there was silence after she finished,
she thought he would say something,
expecting that, but she was
unprepared for silence, not now

she waited, just as she had
a thousand times before,
waited for a response, some
recognition of the moment

she closed her eyes and
she waited in the dark,
hoping his words would
call them open

the only sound came from
the noontime chatter of
the cafe, then a waiter
dropped a plate

startled, her eyes flew open,
and when she looked across
the table, his were now closed,
shut tightly, distorting his face

all she could think to do was to
slide her hand gently over his,
a tactile farewell, before she rose
and abandoned the thought of them
82 · Oct 2020
Cast
Philip Lawrence Oct 2020
The grains fall through corseted glass,
time squandered, regretted,
opportunities irretrievable,
a life whispered, then silent.

Listen – do you hear the music?
It plays on.
Strut, leap, beam wide-eyed,
ignite a soul ablaze to

inhale the aroma of the lush
severed blades of late summer,
grin at the smiling sunflowers,
sway to the music of love,

broad-hearted, full-throated,
spear the brass circle, then cast it into the sea.
“Oh, that. That was nothing.”
A life to see.
“Synesthesia. I have synesthesia.” She pulled her sunglasses away and leaned forward. “You know, the senses thing?”

“No, not really.”

“It happens to some people. Two senses become interlinked. You know, tangled together. Like hearing sounds when you taste certain foods. For instance, when some people associate a sound or color with objects. Like the sound of a voice might be orange? Some people envision numbers in colors, like me. I guess other people hear Mozart when they eat a banana.”

She giggled, and her coal-black eyes softened. “It’s kind of cool. I like to think it lets me see the inside of things. And there are no rules, not really,” she said. “Except infinity. Infinity has no color, of course.”

Her hair was dark and full except for a crescent scar above her left ear where her hair was clean shaven.

Behind them walked two white-haired women. The women stopped and laughed, and then they snapped selfies and then continued to walk and laugh as they looked at the photos.

“I wonder what I would have been like at their age. Just like them, I should hope.”

“What do you mean, would have been like?”

“Come on. I see you glancing at it when you think I’m not looking.”

“I didn’t.”

“It’s a thing.” Her face brightened as she widened her eyes and tilted her head to one side. “Besides, it isn’t real.”

Her hand made a sweep of the city. “It’s too nice a day. And I love it here. You’re a part of everything here. You know, some people believe that’s what happens. The good, the bad…the ugly, the gorgeous. You become part of all of it.”

She threw back her head and closed her eyes and reached up with both arms and wiggled her fingers at a single white cloud, twisting slowly in a tight circle. “This place is as beautiful as the sound of sky.”
53 · Mar 16
Pane
the rain beats against the window and I see the

drops amass until each dotted soul swells, then

bursts into a rivulet seeking a path against the glass,

and some will pass through other streams, and I follow

their brief intersects, these capillaric rivers that fail

to merge, while others course boldly, seeking to

join, to find a parallel stream on likeminded journey,

and off to the corner of the pane there are drops

that fill and run, and then halt, and bump, and skitter

about, those carving a solitary course

— The End —