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Jun 2021 · 344
Knowing How
Sean Critchfield Jun 2021
“I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; So I love you because I know no other way than this: where I does not exist, nor you, so close that your hand on my chest is my hand, so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.”
-Pablo Neruda

Though this is beautiful, it is wrong.
I don’t want your chest to be my chest.
I don’t want your hand to be my hand.
I don’t want your breath to be my breath.
I don’t want your eyes to be my eyes.
I don’t want your sleep to be my sleep.
I want to exist apart from you but with you.
If you’re chest were mine, I could never offer it to rest your head upon when they day has been long or listen to your heart beat as we lay together in the soft morning light.
If you’re hand were my hand, I could not hold it on long drives from place to place or adorn it with rings.
If you’re breath were my breath, I would have no breath to be taken away when I wake and see you sleeping, cast in the blue of night, like art. I could not hear you singing softly in other rooms of our home.
If you’re eyes were my eyes, I would have no place to get lost as we chip away the time talking under blankets to the smell of coffee. I could not see them soften as you kiss me on the tips of your toes.
If your sleep were my sleep, I could not dream of you and all of our futures yet to come. I could not hold you to me on cold nights when our shivers match.
I do not want that love.
I want to love you full of knowing. Practiced. Perfected. Artful. You deserve nothing less.
I want to love you full with pride for the complex extraordinary creature that you are and are becoming.
But I do not wish to be one. If you were not you and I were not me, this love could only be half as good.
And no poetry could make that beautiful.
You are beautiful.
You are perfection, separate from me. And we are perfect together.
Apr 2020 · 277
Sean Critchfield Apr 2020
Maybe, before this, I was wood smoke.
And maybe even then, I stung your eyes.
Mar 2020 · 278
Not so long.
Sean Critchfield Mar 2020
It was when the bitter rain was falling against your bedroom window. Tapping out a chaotic rhythm like a heartbeat gone awry.
It was when you sighed. So softly. And pushed your head deeper into my chest, like you wanted to kiss my heart goodnight.
You were only moments away from falling asleep with only my rising and falling chest as your pillow and my arms wrapped tightly around you as your blanket.
It was when you lifted your head, eyes hazy with wine, sweet nothings, and half sleep and smiled.

“I should go to bed. But can I see you again soon?”

That was the moment... That was it.

And it was only a moment ago.
Mar 2020 · 253
Sean Critchfield Mar 2020
She carries constellations on her arms. Visions of light in points on skin that tastes like milk.
Cascading upward to visions of heaven and hazel eyes, like caramel sunsets.

This one a kite.
This one a compass.
This one a whisper.
This one a secret language.
This one is a sacred thing.
This one. Right here. In the center.
This one is a single star that feels like North.

I will be fluent…

And from the start my boyish heart wondered
what your lips taste like stained red with wine and dripping with poetry like honey.

Haunting stanzas in the pauses between the notes of your voice.

These days we all need to carry a phoenix on our back.
These days we all need to be reminded that we can rise from ash.
Like high tides and crashing waves. Furious and poetic. Serene and powerful.
And at your core sits the eye of a beautiful storm. You are mighty. And mysterious.

You are serene and powerful.

And she weaves her hands around those strands of time gracefully. Casting spells like ripples, carrying outward, unaware that the pool stares back, jealous of her reflection. Her candle is lit.

“And what are you conjuring?”
“Subtle magic of the ancestors.”

The divine sits slyly in the moments between the moments. If god exists, it must be right now, with your head on my chest. Your hand in my hand.

The red and fiery windswept canyons make me think of her. And I. Earth that has accepted the kiss of fire and blushes the length of mountains. To crash against a sky so blue you could drag your knuckles across it.

And in that breath, I watched her take between the sips of wine, I felt that old and timeless ache become the days behind.
The moon is high now. The stars have danced from her arms to the satin sky, and some have even chosen to live as the shine behind my tired smiling eyes.

Tomorrow is dawn. Her smile will sing the sun up like an ovation. Cracking the horizon open with potential. And we are forever changed. Facing that horizon, eager to see what may lie beyond it.

I predict laughter. And adventure.

Perhaps I do believe in magic…
Feb 2020 · 255
Your Heart
Sean Critchfield Feb 2020
I have these old grey mitts.
I want to use them to hold your heart.
The are worn and scratchy. But they are warm.
I can’t promise that my care of it won’t leave marks. But they will all be made from a loving touch.
My hands have callouses that run deep. They are cracked like stone.
Your heart deserves a softer touch.
But I only have these old grey mitts.
You heart deserves a birds nest. A place to wait and dream of flying.
Your heart deserves a silk cocoon to rest in until it is fully transformed.
Your heart deserves a heart to sleep in. A beat to match in time.
But I only have these old grey mitts.
I’d like to hold your heart. And if you’d let me, I’d protect it like my own.
For when I saw your heart, I spun my own into yarn of blood and bone and wove it into something soft.
I’d like to hold your heart.
But I have no heart.
I only have these old grey mitts.
Sean Critchfield Nov 2019
The sign said "Danger".
I only saw the river.
I would gladly drown.
Sean Critchfield Nov 2019
Fair warning. I am coming for everything they said I couldn't have.
Nov 2019 · 296
Schrodinger's Haiku
Sean Critchfield Nov 2019
Schrodinger's Haiku
Everything exists at once
While our eyes are closed.
Apr 2019 · 424
Noon-day Memory
Sean Critchfield Apr 2019
Whisper it.

Like fingers tracing cotton.
Whisper the gentle scratches of pen on paper. Percussive poetry to punctuate the moments. All written down and tucked in pockets to be read and recited.
Read and forgotten.

But still that single look lingers on.
From across the ceramic mug, hot with sweet tea and fortune telling leaves.
Framed by late morning light.
Wrapped in billows of steam.

I was too young to know then what I know now.

We write our own future.
Mar 2019 · 366
Sean Critchfield Mar 2019
Distant phantoms that shake my bones and make me wonder at potential.
And potential energy.
As if the things that once were, now  drive the things that are.
Like windmills waving spiral arms
as mad as


The words that play on the back of my eyelids, seldom make it to my mouth.
And if they do, they hide behind my lips. Begging to be read, like braille.
Jan 2018 · 942
Sean Critchfield Jan 2018
If we are a story, we are a timeless tale.
Weathered pages that smell of dust and vanilla.
Leather spines and oil fingerprint stains on well thumbed pages.
We are timeless.
A story that lasts.
A happy ending.
A myth.
A fable.
Legendary and beautiful.

And you.

You are the Author.
Jan 2017 · 1.2k
Sean Critchfield Jan 2017
The water had fallen. And then it rose. And finally, it was green again.

And it was as I descended into the river bed,
through the streams and bramble,
beneath the lush green canopy,
that my peace came back.

It was wild and alive.
And it would fill my soul to be there.

The rich smell of the soil, like something primordial and sweet,
set my memories into motion.
With each step I followed my history backwards,
eager for the lessons that the rain and wind would bring.
And I thought about what was and what is now.
And I recalled so many who had once wandered these wild ways with me before.
Those that have begun to tend their own gradens.
Rows of flowers, orchards, roses, and ivy (trained to grow along ivory latice, like castle walls).
Each thing in its place.

Watered. Nurtured.
Painstakingly cared for and thriving.

But not you.

You are still the winding creek, filled with life and lined with secrets. Ready to rush with fury and beauty at a moments notice.

You are the tall cane and alder making a canopy thick enough to halt the light.

You are the seep willow and the cottonwoods drinking the river bottom directly in to your soul.

You are the raven caw. The calling falcon. The cooing dove. The scream of the hawk. The sound of the sky in every brush stroke note of your voice.

You are the thick brush that touches each bank, powerful and unruly, like bookends to sacred wisdom.

You are the mighty things. The ring of mountians encapsulating the horizon. The clouds that lay with silent fury. The crashing lighting and the echoing thunder. The deep and silent woods.

You are not the garden.

And I prefer you wild.
Mar 2016 · 1.2k
Sleep Music
Sean Critchfield Mar 2016
And these things that we speak of shall be written on walls in our minds. Our graffiti. Terms that only we understand. For it is prophecy. A prediction of what is to come and a promise that it will be good. Good like revolution. And leaflets. And protest signs. Good like fires and flags. Good like anthems and marches. Good like songs on our palms. The sheet music on mine. The lyrics on yours. And music when they touch. So, shall we go? Hand in hand into the subway tunnels to the rest of this? We'll have the truth to keep us busy as we fumble for the next word and step. Awkward like children, dancing around fires. Foot before foot, until we match rhythm and run from it all. Because running away is as much my blood as poetry and red wine. And you are not only the journey but, sometimes, the destination as well. Listen to my hand on yours as I pray for peace while you sleep. The walls of the tunnel passing behind us as we forget who we are for what we will become. This will evolve. This will evolve.
Sep 2015 · 1.6k
Sean Critchfield Sep 2015
She is descended from strong women.
Bronze women. Stone matriarchs.
Pioneers. Immigrants. Fighters.
Hand in the earth, sun on the brow,
salt in the sweat, beautiful strong women.
Her ancestors rode ships to new horizons.
Forging destiny for their children's children
by riding waves to new lands.
Her grandparents tilled earth.
Beat back the scorching sun
and grew life in rows.
They sowed a future like seeds
for their children.
Her mother provided.
Giving hands full with
life wielding cast iron pots like
weapons. Fighting back
hunger and want.
She kept full bellies so her daughter
might have a full future.
She has given her life to loving her family.
And has been lifelong devoted to that endeavor.
Never failing a step.
She has walked through foreign shores,
trailer parks, brand new hearts, and broken cycles.
She has cobbled together Christmases,
shattered hopes, family meals, lunch money, and hope.

She is tested.
She has walked the path of her ancestors.
She is a Pioneer.
A tiller.
A provider.
A fighter.
A warrior.

She is my mother.

And she will beat cancer.
I figured I'd let you all know why I have been gone for so long. This is why. She is doing fine. Thank you for reading.
Dec 2014 · 12.3k
Poem by Chance
Sean Critchfield Dec 2014

Settle yourself.

Try to understand.

We were meant to love.

And if we can not love, then we were meant to try to love.

And failing that we were made to breathe.

And try again.

-Sean Critchfield
This is the product of an exercise. I was instructed to grab the 7th book on my shelf, turn to page 7, and use the 7th line as my first line. The poem was restricted to seven lines.
Sean Critchfield Sep 2014
I now view my mortality as a foe.
And I think I can win.
I know. I know.
The title is as long as the poem...
Aug 2014 · 10.9k
Sean Critchfield Aug 2014
Place your hand upon my chest.
It reminds me how it feels when it's mended.
Then use it to cradle your head while you rest.
The worst of it, like the day, has ended.
May 2014 · 1.5k
Palmers' Kiss
Sean Critchfield May 2014
You know in the late afternoon when the light turns gold and bronze? And it seeps into windows in striking shafts that look like oil paint? And thousands of little points of light flutter and dance in it like tiny angels? Yeah... That... That is how you make me feel.
May 2014 · 33.7k
Sean Critchfield May 2014
Give them to me.
All the pieces of your broken heart.
Give them to me.

I'll take them.

All the rough-hewn misshapen bits of your shattered dreams.

Give them to me.
I will take them.

Give them to me.

They are wanted here.

All the parts of your misspent childhood. All the regrets of ticking seconds behind you.

Give them to me.

And we will build a cathedral. A stained glass window of who we are as tall and as beautiful as it should be.

Let me have them.

And we will make a mosaic that stretches as wide as the sky. Showing every color your heart gained from the bits and pieces left on the ground.

I will take them.

And forge a sculpture of how beautiful the ideas are that we cast out in our failings and we will cast it in our failings.

Let me have them.

And we will ***** a monument of all the small things in the shape that you remember them.
Towering. Looming. Striking. Beautiful.

Let me have them so we might bind the words said and regretted, (or worse) left unsaid in leather and call it scripture.

Our Psalms. Our Proverbs:

“The tip of my finger dangles like my tongue. Wanting to touch something beautiful.”

“If it were not for him, it would have been us.”

“You were all my brightest colors.”

“I wish I were more like you.”

“I wish I were less like me.”

“I am sped.”

And we will read them at dawn like litany.

Stretching our voices to the corners of the universe. Asking for the wishes you make when you are scared. Or alone. Or both.

That we may take them.

And make a blanket.

A blanket to cover our childhood and let it rest at last.

I will take them.

All the parts you no longer want.

Give them to me.

Because they are what make us beautiful.

Give them to me.

That I may forge them into pitch and feathers and craft mighty wings.

That I may take flight from your worry. And soar on the updraft of your misconception.

Give them to me.
I will take them.

Because I would rather burn like Icarus than to have never dared to fly.
This was a birthday gift to myself. I am giving it to you.
Apr 2014 · 1.5k
Sean Critchfield Apr 2014
Let us not be slaves to our fears.
But servants to our hearts.

My body, now, is an old mansion.
Iron gates and heavy oak doors.

Your kiss. Your touch.
Sacred phantoms.
Lingering and supernatural.

Oh, that you would haunt my home once more...
Apr 2014 · 2.5k
Sweet Nothings
Sean Critchfield Apr 2014
It seems
that the moon is

Mars must have
whispered something
Apr 2014 · 689
Haiku: Lunartic
Sean Critchfield Apr 2014
He may have your heart.
But he'll never have our moon.
Our beautiful moon.
Apr 2014 · 682
Haiku: (R)evolution
Sean Critchfield Apr 2014
I understand now.
A midst my glory, I had
Forgotten my cause.
Mar 2014 · 1.7k
Haiku: Nefarious
Sean Critchfield Mar 2014
I secretly hope
She doesn't learn from our past
So she'll repeat me.
Feb 2014 · 1.6k
Big World
Sean Critchfield Feb 2014
Big World

Our hands met in a mess of rust red. Pressing the clay into heart shapes as they reached into one and other for something to believe in. But our journey began before then, in fits and starts. In passing scenes of first act exposition. My wondering eyes and yours of gloss and experience on summer nights of velvet lines.

We would be forced together, it seems, by happenstance and wine, like a passing note on a harmonica that you hit just right for the first time. And we would become fluent in our own drunken language of 3 am metaphor and sadness.

So many times, my lips began the journey to yours before we crippled them with “what for’s”. But still we’d share winter constellations and whispers and moments so perfect. Me on my knees, drawing your portrait on the path with handfuls of sand.

Even half a world away, my drink still seemed to rearrange itself into letters spelling your name. And then you asked me.

If the world seemed smaller.

And my mind was.

And my hands followed suit.

And then my frame began it’s descent.

But my arms stayed the same length. Just long enough to hold you.

I’d written the answer on the inside of my forearms, so I could press them to your body when I held you.

And my own joy of words, that only you would understand, I scrawled on my palms to serve as affirmations to myself when I covered my eyes to see no evil. Words like:




And these words sent their letters to my mouth, asserting themselves in phrases like:

It’s a big beautiful world.

It is a big beautiful world.

And still we dance around our imaginary fire of ‘not good enough for you’ like a binary star. Beautiful but incomplete.

So, I loosened my tongue with women and foresight and raced the blood from my eyes to my core and pealed back my layers, until I could find the answers written in God on the insides of your forearms.

And now I know the answer to your question about the big, beautiful world.

And I don’t mind telling you.




Strong, stunning woman with hands covered in soil from the roots of the world she tugs on…

It is in your stride. Leaving wakes of timelessness behind you.

You seldom see, dear one, that you are the world. Not the child. And if I ever stoop to lift you, it is only due to the mountain you’ve erected beneath me, so that I can always see you. Across any distance.

You are reserved for made up words.

The story of your life is written on pages of gold.

I breathe honestly into the wind in hopes that it will touch your face somehow far away.

Tonight, I write by moonlight. My fifth glass of port wine is by my side, turning my blood to something sweet. I have no time for less.

I would whisk you away with me, but you are where you need to be and I haven’t found that yet.

But if you ever want to go, I would take you and show you the whole strange world that I see now.

No, my heart.

The world looks bigger.
Feb 2014 · 1.7k
Chimney Sweep: Redux
Sean Critchfield Feb 2014
Sometimes we are made aware of beacons in the rest of the dark.
Like stars littered across the attics we trap ourselves in.
Sometimes we chase rainbows with beggars eyes and wishes like children.

Some people are like soup soaked bread crumbs and wool mittens with the fingers cut out.
The rest of us are chimney soot.
And they are ‘chim chim cheree‘.

They are song filling every corner of the antique shop.
Silver under tarnish and weights and measures
balancing on the hands of the scale
suspended from the spear of a woman in white robes
with blue eyes that match the sky when we stare at it
and it usurps the corners of our eyes
and we are made aware of how small we are
as we get lost in how complete it is when it is with out clouds
with silver linings that never seem to follow through to rain.

And some of us?

Some of us are rain.

And thunder that shakes your soul.
And images of gods in black and white that burn themselves onto our minds
for us to study with our eyes closed.
And some of us are doing the best we can.
And some of us are not us.
But are the others.
And we would be lost without them
to point beyond red sails on sundown ocean horizons,
just before the world turns blue.
And some are the pops and cracks between the notes of Coltrane on Vinyl.

And you.
You smell of confessional walls and a nursery.
You smell of camp fire blankets and bruised roses.
You move like corner of the eye shadows
and windshield wipers with no chance of beating the rain.

You write like stone tablets and feathers.
Blown bubbles and spun webs.
And you feel like chance.
And love.
And strength.

You change like ropes on ship decks and tarot meanings from gypsy to gypsy.

And you are beautiful.
And beautiful.
And beautiful.

And everything.
And everything.
And everything.

Strong like ropes on yard arms of old ships in ancient seas.
And you go and you take us there.
And we go, because we want to see too.
And we want to be full on wild flowers and raspberries.

And we want you to show us the line on our palm
that separates the dark from the light.
And we want bed time stories and lullabies.
And with my eyes.
And with your own too.
And more importantly.


You are the place where there is hardly no day time and hardly night. Things half in shadow and things half in light. On the roof tops of forever. Coo. What a sight…
This was an exercise. I enjoyed writing it. Sometimes it feels a little too obvious. Forgive me.
Jan 2014 · 786
Sean Critchfield Jan 2014
I wrote the song when I had no voice.
Made the decision when I had no choice.
Played the music when I had no hands.
Danced along when I could not stand.
Wrote the words when I was confused.
And wasn't looking when I heard my muse.

The lyrics now are the final thing.
So we will wait to hear Marsha sing.
Jan 2014 · 965
I Could Do More
Sean Critchfield Jan 2014
I can bottle up some sunshine
to better light your purgatory.  
I can write a happy ending
if you need one for your story.
I can offer a tender moment
and a chest to rest your head.
Or a gentle reassurance
that someone hears what you have said.
I could do more...
If you'd ask.
Jan 2014 · 2.0k
Love Song in Sepia
Sean Critchfield Jan 2014
I remember her hands turning the knitting needles like mercury. Beating yarn into fabric.And in her wisdom, she'd spin her words into gold. I studied each line on her brow for truth. Reading the creases like India ink. Dark. Permanent. Earned. And she hums along with the record, knowing each warm pop and crack like lyrics. Like history.

We skip generations like the songs on the album and I am more like her than I'll ever know. A vinyl copy. Pressed and shiny. But she was gone before such things began to stick.

She is like the smell in a well used kitchen, even when the oven is off.
An afterthought.
A sweet recollection of a melody you hum under your breath.
But I am drawn to her like warm covers.
Like a soft glow.
And me, mid-life, and still with wet wings.
And she prepares me for the world with these moments. Keeping each second accounted for.
One pearl stitch at a time.
We listen as the room melts to afternoon sepia. the song lifts and sways. Kissing my ankles like the tide. Stroking my face like wind.
The woman makes the music sweeter with each rock of her chair.

"Why does the album skip sometimes Grandma?"

She laughs. Doesn't look up.

"Because it is old and eventually it won't play anymore at all."

I knit my brow up like her blanket.

"Then why do you listen to it so much? Won't you use it up?"

She organizes her work, spreading it across her needle as she does the same with the words in her head. The album sings out to her.

"Because it tells the truth."

I listen harder. Looking for hidden words between the notes.


"It doesn't talk, Grandma."

She smiles at how little I know. Sad for me. And says,

"Yes it does."

"What does it say?"

And our game is done. I now have Grandmas eyes, smile, and attention all to myself. She sets her labor in her lap and fixes on me. I am now her project and she will knit me together with the same love.

"Listen. That part says that your friends won't forget who you are. Even when you do."

And they won't. And you will.

"Ah. This part says, You, My Love, are the prize. Not them. Remember that."

And I am.

"This part says that Men don't cry. But if she loves you. If she really loves you, she'll hold you when you do."

And she will.

"This part knows that God is not counting on us as much as we are counting on him. He knows we will let him down and loves us regardless. Remember this part of the song when you are a father."

And I will.

And Grandma sat quietly. Her fingers still seemed to be a blur of motion. Her mind, even faster.

"One day Grandma will quit playing too. I've already begun to skip."

And then we sat together. Quietly.

And sepia became blue. And blue became black.

And all at once, the music stopped. Replaced by a motor whir and a methodical thump.
A one legged tap dancer, facing finality.

"What do we do now, Grandma?"

We sat, listening to more time pass like music. Clickthump. Clickthump.

It was in this moment that I would finally se the jigsaw puzzle for the beautiful picture that it was.
All creases and landscape and hello goodbyes.

Grandma reached over and cast magic as the years in her hand settled the needle into the groove once more.

She answered all of my questions as the music whispered it's truth to me a new.

"We let the song play out."


"Because it's romantic."
Jan 2014 · 1.9k
Far Away
Sean Critchfield Jan 2014
The sun had not shown its face for a few days. But this morning he greeted me with angel kisses. A snow storm of tiny floating messages danced through the beam of light from my window to my bed. A path I walked the night before alone. And I watched as he said, "Wake up, Sleepy head. It will be over before you know it. So take in this hug from the world. It is your own. And dance the dance of knowing. Because somewhere far away, someone is thinking of you. Right now. And you of them. And they know it and you know it and in some places built of poetry and ink that is the same as kissing on the wind. So write your song, Sailorboy, and listen to the seagulls. They know best."

And I made my way to a place that tries to be French in China. And had crepes. And now I will go to the beach. Pray until my hands are chalk white and my arms scream for release. Come to some agreement with a rock that is older but not as stubborn as I. And learn that we can bottle memories. But not in photographs. But in poetry. In hopes. In potential. And in potential energy.

I am sending you the taste of foreign salt water in the air. I am sending you the sting of good sweat in your eyes. I am sending you kisses on the wind. I am sending you potential energy. I said hello to the sun today. He said to tell you he'd see you soon..
Dec 2013 · 2.2k
Wouldn't Chest
Sean Critchfield Dec 2013
Turn the wheel into the sun. Forget the stars. Forget the wind. Forget the way the waves are weeping. I am not coming home.

We are never again what we once were. And I am not sorry for it.

Some of them end before the music can even start. And we are left somehow, like monks, pinching book spines like vertebrae. Seeing if we can find our ability to
In words.

Most days.

I am only words.

But some days, I am more.

Some days, the thought of those ivory temples run me up masts..

I am stretched out. Arms wide. Accepting the storm. Ragged.
(Stronger for it. Unafraid to unravel more.)
Inventing time. Investing it back.
Some days. I am yards of cloth, fighting history.

And when my sea is calm:
Puff your cheeks and blow on my spine.
For motion.

I am still.

I am calm.

I am still calm.

I am still calmly waiting.

It's worth mentioning that we never made love.

Now. Everything is different.

I am listening to an ***** grinder, playing my heart on his sleeve. Taking light from my future and shedding it on my past. Saying, "What happened? Where did you go?"

And I try to answer back but find my throat dry and only able to mutter, "I can't feel you, Lord. I can't feel you."

Some days I am lost.

Is it fair, when asked what happened, to say, "She did. Calliope happened to me."?

Start the music. Let the carousel turn. I am not coming home.

Is it fair to say that I am better now. But not always better for it.

I am walking a tightrope of strength and..

Something else. Something else entirely.

Now, I am tired. I am at a loss for words. I am sinking into the oldest crimes in the oldest ways and creating my own wooden chest. You are on it. Carved. Etched. Playing in my mind like laughter on the really cold days. Your fingerprints matching the grain. A petal for each flower I picked trying to fix it.

And this is how it will end. It was this way before it even began. When we found our faults on the back of each others lips with our tongues.

Thank you for teaching me the opposite side of love.

And this is how I will end it.

I will be words. And action. And learn to touch with passion. Learn to make love, like sounds strung together. Masterful. Seamless. As to seem less important. like lyrics. Like an aria. Rising and falling like tides to my mast. Lips pressed and cheeks puffed. And arms outstretched like a horizon to sail into.

And all wonderful happy lies.

I will be more. In hopes of forgetting that briefly.. I once more allowed myself to be less.

And found my self wondering, If it was me who slipped through your fingers... or you who slipped through mine...

I once allowed myself to seem less.

I guess...

I just needed to get you off my chest.
Dec 2013 · 1.1k
Villagers Prayer
Sean Critchfield Dec 2013
I no longer wish to create.
I no longer wish to write.
I don't want song, or word.
I have no need for art.

I am sounding out my request to any God that will listen.

Give me a foreign beach.
Give me a sunset.
Give me a hand to hold on to.

I wish my life to be poetry.
Every action a song.

I want my days to be the paper I spread my ink upon.
I want 'lost' to mean 'home'.

I want the salt water on my cheeks to be the sea.

Give me mountain tops.
Give me blistered feet.
Give me a mouth that knows my own, like voice.

Make me a villager.
Make me a vagabond.
I no longer wish to be a warrior.

I am sounding my request out to the universe, like a lighthouse.
Come to me.

Make me forget.
Make me forgotten.
Make me to be overlooked.
Make my days count.

Make my days count.

Let this life be poetry.

Give me someone to read it.
Give me someone to understand.

Give me someone to add a verse.
Dec 2013 · 1.7k
A Little Thing
Sean Critchfield Dec 2013
And the secret things she whispered to me.
Beneath the limbs of the baobab tree.
I held to my lips like molasses and wine
And dreamed of her kiss with the promise of mine.
Dec 2013 · 3.8k
String Theory
Sean Critchfield Dec 2013
String Theory. A theoretical framework in which the point-like particles of particle physics are replaced by one dimensional objects called strings. In string theory, the multiverse is an idea in which our universe is not the only one; many universes exist parallel to each other where all possibility has potential as the universes are theorized to be infinite.

When I heard this for the first time, I imagined us all on this giant carousel, spinning in the infinite, to the ***** music of fate.

And the possibility was sweet, like cotton candy. And the potential seemed to rise like tidal waves and I was filled with joy for the other versions of myself doing great things out there somewhere.

Writing lullabies to star children. Kissing ink blotches on to skin like paper. Replacing the light bulb in the moon. Dreaming love into reality.

And I began to imagine the strings stretched and rotating, propeller like, in a theoretical game of double dutch. Fighting back my desire to move too quickly.  Feeling my body sway and rushing in too soon.

And I was sad for all of the versions of me that are struggling. Failing to see the beauty in the gutter. Walking alone in the rain... still. Writing quarky signs on information superhighway off ramps, like:

Quantum Mechanic.
Will tune your Hadron Collider
for food.

And I began to remember the geometrical string patterns we would draw on graph paper in math class. And knowing somehow, even then, that they stood like a veve for infinite possibility. And I began to wonder what would happen if I'd chosen differently at key moments in my life. The infinite outcomes circling like ashes falling down.

Would I be bigger? Smarter? Stronger? Easier to Love?

And the web began to stretch until it was bigger than my simple mind.

And I began to wonder at the insignificant moments. The moments overlooked. And I began to toy with the possibility that our fate is truly ******* in these moments. It was these choices that determine how easy we are to love. And how it would unfold into a chess match of a million different decisions until it was so far out of reach that it was painful to consider.

And these strings, interwoven and bundled “bigger than the sky”. Marionette strings to just as many possibilities as stars. Or more.

A universe where these strings are ropes binding sails to boats and time is the ocean.
A universe where music is medicine and I could sing your broken heart back to hope.
A universe where we could leap from place to place so I could find my young self and say,
“Listen. Don't try so hard. It gets better. And you become so much cooler. And though it seems so important now, it isn't. And guard your heart a little more than you do. And a little less.”

A universe where touch is talk. And to dare is normal. And our hearts are fluent in every language.

And then the notion of the strings as veins. Veins that form a complex system in a beautiful body of flesh and possibility and star dust so much greater than ours. With limbs and hands and heart and eyes and tongue and soul. And this body of possibility is not the only one. Other possibilities are forming other bodies. And this greater celestial body is interacting with other bodies comprised of infinite possibility all making decisions at light speed which will cause it all to reverse or go round again.

And in this framework.

We are you.
And he and I are we.
And once is always.
And never is nothing.
And I am everything.

And we are all the same celestial body.
Made from the same strings.
The same gift of possibility.

We are the carousel.
And anything, anything is possible.

And through it all. All I can do is wonder how...

How do I get back to the version of me where you didn't leave.
*Quick Note. Sorry. I wrote this awhile back. This little beast was angry. I needed to put some distance between he and I before I posted him. But here he is.*
Dec 2013 · 1.3k
Sean Critchfield Dec 2013
My hands would find the notes hidden beneath the skin of your lower back. Pressing into your spine like piano ivory. Taking care to avoid the black keys. Breath to carry the melody past your ticking mind. Warming your belly like fire and hope.

You are so silly sometimes.

Unaware that the song was written all along in the sheet music stretched behind your eyes. I play by ear.. because I see it. And I hear it. And I've heard it before.

It's caught in you. Owned like the tide in the shell.

It is a secret song. Something sweet and strange. Nostalgic. Honest. Beautiful.

When it isn't a siren call...

It is a lullaby.

In the key of "we".
Dec 2013 · 881
Phoenix Stanzas
Sean Critchfield Dec 2013
Burn. Burn like wild fires.
Burn like pages. Burn like leaves in autumn.
And send smoke signals.
Curling around my branches like a cat tail greeting to my leg.
I am a carrier pigeon, sometimes.
Other times, an arrow.
But either way.. I'll get there.
You are too big for the spaces between stones.
Be the infinite space between the lines.
And burn the rest to ash.

You'll need a place to rise from.
Dec 2013 · 946
Tree Song
Sean Critchfield Dec 2013
Where ya been hiding, lightning bug? Screen doors and porches at dusk are just not the same without you. I heard that song that plays when the wind blows through your tree tops again, a Cyprus chorus, the other night. Just a verse. This one:

"And woman. This is where it all begins. Kissing the door **** before the next turn. And woman. It may be where it ends. Letting the bridge smolder, and smoke, and then burn. Shine on. Shine on. Again."

I love it when your wings sing.
Nov 2013 · 695
Sean Critchfield Nov 2013
Upon the roots
of the Oak
I sat.

Joined by
the works of
Whitman and Kant.

Where I ate of the wild
until my heart grew fat.

And whispered,

"Yes... this is where I will hang my hat."
Oct 2013 · 741
Haiku: remiss
Sean Critchfield Oct 2013
What is the point in/
being a poet, If I/
can't find the right words?
Oct 2013 · 1.1k
Haiku: Stoic
Sean Critchfield Oct 2013
I am sorry that/
my cave is so deep sometimes./
The light hurts my eyes.
Oct 2013 · 844
Haiku: Absence
Sean Critchfield Oct 2013
How many can say
They would labor for your kiss
If only once more?
Sorry for the flood of Haikus. Brevity is the soul of my busted heart it seems. At least right now.
Oct 2013 · 1.3k
A Haiku in Sharp Focus
Sean Critchfield Oct 2013
I sometimes wonder
If my last regret will be
the things left unsaid.
Sep 2013 · 740
Promises in Chalk
Sean Critchfield Sep 2013
Though I know we spoke these words as children.

The little boy in my heart holding the hand of the little girl in yours.

I truly believed that you loved me bigger than the mountains.
Aug 2013 · 1.3k
Melancholy Musing
Sean Critchfield Aug 2013
I got caught caring again.
I got caught believing the little lies were light and that they marked the end of the tunnel.
I got caught letting my mind slip to the hairs on my pillowcase turning gray but always smelling like her.
I got caught believing that beautiful things last and promises are things we intend to keep.
I got caught hoping.
Hoping that my forever wasn't the losing half of a wishbone.
Hoping that storms passed and the sails, though tattered, would be true.
Hoping that my brand of love was not a fools errand. Not folly.
I got caught up.
Caught up in all the things we said we'd do.
Caught up in plans and promises and kisses and contracts.
Caught up in a ball of yarn so dense that it felt like a forest in my heart and I with no way to see the path for the trees. Until I saw the trees for the path.
Caught up in every should have. Every would have. Every childish want for a do-over.
I got caught waiting. Biding time. Angry. Jealous. Hopeful. Discontent. Capitol. And sipping wine with Etheridge Knight when I knew the Knight was darkest before the dawn.
I got caught in the middle. The rope in a tug of war between my head and my heart.
I got caught gnashing my teeth in futility. Clawing the roots, begging the tree to move.
I got caught wandering a path around the outskirts of the hole in my chest like a crater.
I got caught lying. Trying to convince myself that I was better off and better for it and better when the soles of my feet touch open road.
But the wine is sour. And the trees are burnt. and the dawn has come.
And I will not be caught again.
Jul 2013 · 633
Haiku Full Disclosure
Sean Critchfield Jul 2013
The calmest place that
I have ever been was in
The eye of your storm.
Jul 2013 · 637
Sean Critchfield Jul 2013
And though the bells may ring their last,
And the dark of night is coming fast,

I'll sing the song of every kiss
and make the most of the things we'll miss.

Until this present becomes our past.
Jun 2013 · 730
Yes. And Forever.
Sean Critchfield Jun 2013
Yes. And Forever.

We have not yet given ourselves a chance to miss each other.

These days. It smells like bliss.
These days the nights are so perfect they feel like pumpkin pie.
These days I am dumbstruck at the phantom in my bed.

Her voice is a paintbrush.
I will make this love my masterpiece.

I love her laugh.
Because it is the sound her smile makes.

She is a shining star. A heavenly body.
I am a mongrel dog, howling at her light.
Jun 2013 · 1.5k
Recycled Images
Sean Critchfield Jun 2013
Even now, as we lie here, heartbeats like a metronome for the coming storm, I write songs in my head for you. And though my voice will never sing them, they are the soundtrack of your kiss. Each record scratch on my heart like a pressed vinyl love letter. Shaping my sinking chest into drum skins that my pulse beats against.

If I were covered in magic dust, you would be my happy thought. And all my childish notions of what it means to be romantic would be written down the sides of Chianti bottles in melted wax, like an oak. And in that bottle we would keep our hungry mouths.

And still I find my heart adrift. Ripped sails and ropes leading skyward like veins. Split and tattered and stitched haphazardly together, waiting for the lightning to strike twice and bring it to life. My throat a bricked flue, leading to an open mouth, spitting smoke from the torches my heart fears but always seems to carry.

And I stretch my spine skyward. Trying to wedge my head back into the clouds but manage only to cast the shadow of an orchid that has begun to lose its color and wilt at the edges of its wingspan. Coming to terms with the idea that it may never be picked. Not even its petals, even numbered like a deck stacked against it that it might lose in a game of being loved and loved not.

We want for a little more time. Arm wrestling clock hands into submission with god like fury. Ticking tongues to dampen the prophecy of false mediums. We practice fighting so we may fight for each other. Fight for the greener grass on the other side of the pavement walls we draw our chalk hearts on.

The clock tower is a lighthouse. The lighthouse is a windmill. The windmill is a giant. The stories never end.

Even now as we lie here, heartbeats like a metronome for the coming storm, I write bed time stories in my head for you.
Jun 2013 · 4.1k
Father's Day
Sean Critchfield Jun 2013
My Father used to buy cars. A lot of cars. Broken down, busted up, P.O.S. cars. Usually VW's. Always on the door of the great rusting field in the sky. He'd park them on the side of the house in a long row. This area was technically off limits, but rest assured that many battles were fought against mythical beasts and imagined armies.

It was a fort, a hideout, a giant clubhouse, and where I saw the inside of my first ***** magazine.

But the landscape was always changing. Evolving. This time line of rust and oxidized paint.

The cars would move forward one by one into the future like plate tectonics and more cars would be added to the past. And each one would make it's way into the garage. The land of curse words and flying tools. It was in the gladiator arena that smelled less like sand and more like grease,  that I learned to be a man.

Busted knuckles and loud music. And these cars would raise up on stands, and my father, like a surgeon would open their insides and make them whole again. Slowly. With the time that he had. And the cars would heal and eventually purr to life. And then, one day, they'd be gone.

Some would stay longer than others. Some would be displayed like show ponies. But eventually, they all left. And all the while, I would watch from my graveyard of cars on the side of the house.

It wasn't until I was older that we talked about it. Those cars. I always thought that this was just my dads hobby. Fixing things. It made sense. Anytime I needed something fixed from a toy to an angry heart, I'd take it to my father. And, I suppose, in a way it was.

I asked him about those cars once. Why he did it? Did he miss it? Why didn't he keep them?

He told me that he never intended to keep them. That in his eyes, they were not cars. They were insurance policies. Rent. Food. Emergency house repairs. Peace of mind for my mother.

And it all became clear. My family struggled in my youth. A young couple. A hairdresser and an airforce airplane mechanic. With two kids. Trying to make ends meet.

It was this line of rusted cars that made those ends meet.

It was ****** knuckles, loud music, curse words, and air heavy with sweat and grease that made those ends meet.

And any time the ends would not... quite.. touch...

One of the cars would go.

My father doesn't work on cars anymore. He doesn't have to. He and my mom are successful. Comfortable. They worked hard to become so.

And I am proud of them.

He has traded in his wrenches for other hobbies. Traveling. Collecting military memorabilia on ebay. Watching movies.

But that row of cars will always live in my heart as the example of what it means to be a good man.

My father loves his wife. He loves his family. His knuckles have healed. And the cars have gone.

And he is still my hero.

My dad is a husband, a fighter, a survivor, a mountain man, a war hero, a father and grandfather to dozens who didn't have one of their own, a firefighter, a medic, a collector, a wicked good shot, a teacher, and a friend.

He is also a mechanic.

And he is a good man.
May 2013 · 2.0k
A poem about love
Sean Critchfield May 2013
Written as a wedding gift for two dear friends, Gregg and Lisa.*

This is a love poem.

This is a clashing skylines over mountain tops love poem.

This is a desert wind kicking dust clouds off of the earthen floor like time love poem.

It's a phoenix rising from the ashes again and again, smoothing every rough edge to make them beautiful, burning faults like paper lanterns love poem.
It's giant monument cascading down in a rainstorm of embers as the lone giant tumbles to the earth in a offering of solidarity.

This is a love poem.

It's wind and water and trees bowing limbs in genuflect out of respect for the hearts combined.
It's wild and fierce, like great beasts and flashing storms that match the primal song of the passion of two souls aligning.
It's hanging by a single chord from the tallest of ancient brothers. It's laughter echoing off of canyon walls and echoed back like majesty.

This is a love poem.

This is an urban jungle alive with life and color love poem.
This is a chain link fence and beat pounding to vibrate two heart strings into a single rhythm, striking a beautiful chord love poem.
This poem is spinning lights and a body of hundreds. Legion, moving as one, rich with the scent of joy and effort.
It's late nights and early mornings, adorned in affection and whispers. It's music and dance and holding tight and holding on.

This is a love poem.
This is a timeless love moving at the speed of thought, pushing clocks to keep pace in futility love poem.
This is a hand touching skin, like ink touching paper to record the poems of your past, present, and future, to only be recited with a kiss love poem.
It's a forever has too few letters for how long this love has been destined and how long it will continue on love poem.

This poem is learning the other like morning prayer. It's tasting each goodnight kiss like Eucharist.
This poem is sound and fury and steadfast through every storm and letting the wind of your whirling dance fill the sails of the wooden ship you build together.

This poem is aging. Building monoliths of your past. Tearing them down and using the stones to build the cobbled path of your future. It's a new laugh. An innocent laugh. Fresh eyes glimpsing a future made from the hearts of two that will carry the love forward so that it can remain forever a wave giving back to the shore. Rich. Tidal. Steady.

This is a love poem.

This is a wrinkles and cracks forming like cuneiform. Making the sculpture more beautiful with time love poem. A lines spreading out across the cover of the book, wrinkled to resemble a road map of the winding path of the journey of two, circling one and other like a binary star. Bright and radiant.

It's a patina heart. Showing through with red and blue. Lines lit by fire that warms aching bones on even the coldest nights of our minds.

This is a love poem.
This is a celebration.

This is a gathering of witnesses who checked their wings at the door, that we may stand below and watch the dance above. Quaking parishioners glimpsing the face of God and beauty. Jaws agape eyes shining with tears like morning dew.

This is a love poem trying in vain to describe the beauty of soul mates finding their way back home. For sometimes home is not a destination, but a person.

This is a love poem.
This is a poem about love.
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