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April 12, 2015 / douglasnyback

The Morning After Dinner

By: Douglas W. Nyback

 

My fingers brush the handle of my
coffee cup, absently, as though it
were your hand.
Such an unconscious gesture
this is
to think poetically of touching you.

How broken we both are,
with only two smiles between us
laid bare in laugh lines, cut into our
skin
by love’s half truths
perhaps, together, made whole.
If only for an evening.

It wasn’t moonlit when I walked you
home,
but the cocktail of city lights painted
you perfectly, all those people awake
at the witching hour. How silently
grateful I was to them,
that they lived so I could see you.
You promised me nothing and I
reciprocated.

We talked so deeply of God last
night,
like two rain drops falling over a river
and landing
into all that everything.
“Oh!” we exclaimed,
when the image struck us,
“That must be what heaven is like.”

 

 

April 6, 2015 / douglasnyback

A Letter to Lady Optimism

By: Douglas W. Nyback

 

Dear Lady Optimism,
There is a pane of glass in me
behind my eyes
which I look through
seeing everything
while giving nothing of myself.

Brutal honesty?
Last night I raised a glass
in a room alone
nothing left but a piece of paper.
“May I write like a younger man.”
I charged,
never believing I would.

I hope for different things now,
kindness having abandoned me.
These things we take advantage of,
my God.
How beautiful you are,
Lady Optimism,
like you were painted with a brush.

You are to me
rain on London streets
a memory we’ve yet to make,
and perhaps never will
your inconsistent anatomy
pressing through your lips
and into my imagination
so I can make it limitless.

Ever the foundation of love,
fiction is.
I have an insistent impression of you,
sweet Lady Optimism,
an untrue extension of my own ego
begging to be proved wrong.
For I am powerless against them, aren’t I?
All these ghosts of how I’ve been loved.

March 30, 2015 / douglasnyback

The Banshee

The Banshee

By: Douglas W. Nyback

John stared down the barrel of new love.

The battle, he thought, was between the unbelievable insistence in her eyes and his own private fear of how little soul he had left.

“The soul is currency.” He told her. “We have a finite amount and I think I’ve spent all of mine.”

He’d known Andrea for years but he’d only known her for an evening. One night, lit under the zigzagging permanence of Edison’s electric invention. The culmination of a perfect storm.

One day he’d seen her out in the world, on stage, in her element and falling in love. For the eighth show that week, but brand new, impulsive and exciting. He hugged her afterwards, telling her he loved it and meaning it. He stepped back, hands dropping to his side and suddenly he was aware of her. All of her. How she smelled like the beach, how her hands felt on his back and how she held him, just for a moment as if it were permanent.

Back in the room with her he breathed deep, old cigar smoke and a solitary meal.

“I’m all out of candles.” He explained. “I never light them alone.”

The way the soft glow played across her delicate fingers watered his eyes a little. Never before had he seen a woman look so like an angel.

Her eyes never leaving him, she angled her head, just a bit to the right, her dimples dancing, not quite into a smile but almost.

“I can see it in you.” She said.

“See what?” He replied.

“Your soul.” She put her hand on his knee. “It’s still there.”

And suddenly he was far away, like Billy Pilgrim on his bookshelf, he became unstuck in time:

It was nineteen ninety two and Johnny had the covers pulled tight over his head but pulled down at his face so his right eye and nose were exposed to the chilly air. He always went to bed at this awkward angle, head arched toward the window at the far end of the room.

A couple of months prior it had been Halloween and while all the adults played adult games upstairs, Johnny and the rest of the kids had been relegated to the basement to play floor hockey and watch Disney movies. Johnny had been getting set for his turn as goalie as the light from upstairs was broken by the descending frame of one of the Older Kids. For some reason they were given the freedom to go from upstairs to downstairs without any ramifications or loaded looks and Johnny envied them terribly for it. This particular Older Kid was named “Eric” and more than any other Older Kid his pimple ridden and bespectacled visage struck fear into the heart of Johnny. In his hand he held a VHS copy of “Bambi” and on his face he wore his best shit eating grin. 

“You kids ready for some riveting entertainment?” He said.

“What are we watching?” Johnny asked.

“Bambi.”

“But I’ve already seen that one—“

“Shut up, Johnny. You haven’t seen anything like this, I promise.” He popped the tape into the machine. “Enjoy.”

And with that he was off. His bedroom door closed and “The Offspring” blaring from the caverns of his bedroom. Johnny and his friend went back to playing floor hockey until the opening music started up, the sharp strings and haunting melody quickly told them that this was not Bambi.

Thus was Johnny introduced to “The Banshee”. He couldn’t take his eyes off of it, in a daze he removed his goalie pads and sat himself in front of the ever changing muted color pattern of his first ever horror movie. The demon Banshee was the most terrifying thing he’d ever seen. A creature that, upon hearing one of it’s shrieks, would turn you stone. It wasn’t the creature itself that scared him it was how helpless everyone was against it. How did a seven year old kid protect himself against a Banshee?

He didn’t know a lot but he knew two things:

1)  He loved hockey and he wanted to be Wayne Gretzky when he grew up.
2)  Banshees are terrible horror demons who will kill you before you fall asleep if you’re not careful so you must be vigilant in all the moments before you fall asleep lest you be turned to stone.

And this is how he found himself, fighting back tears, eyes glued onto the window at the end of his room, just waiting for the Banshee to appear and turn him to stone with her terrible shriek. He clutched his teddy bear “Tough Eddie” tightly. Of all of his stuffed animals he was the biggest, the enforcer of the bunch and although even “Tough-E” couldn’t protect him from a Banshee, Johnny felt he’d at least die trying and that was some small comfort. Just at the moment the tears threatened to overtake him, at the second he was about to be swallowed by the sheer authenticity of a child’s imagination, a light played across his face, followed by the soft creak of his bedroom door.

“Honey?” His mother’s voice asked.

“Uh huh?” He replied in his most “I’ve been a good boy and have definitely been sleeping” voice.

“You asleep?”

“Uh huh.”

“You don’t sound asleep.”

He knew this was a trap, having revealed that he was in fact awake but he was too scared not to say anything:

“I was asleep.”

His mother walked into the room, sitting down on the bed beside him. She’d worked a double shift that day, he could smell the hospital on her, somehow the scent of sterilizer and that horrible pink soap comforted him. Those scents were her. Those scents were home.

She brushed his face with her hand, “You scared again?”

“No.”

She smiled. “It’s ok to be scared, Honey.”

“I’m not…”

“Is it the Banshee?”

At the mention of the ancient Celtic Demon’s name he couldn’t help but tremble.

“What if she steals my soul?” He asked.

To his surprise, his mother laughed. “Honey, a Banshee might turn you to stone, but she could never steal your soul. See, your soul isn’t part of your body. It’s this infinite thing—do you know what infinite means?”

“Never ending?”

“That’s right.” She smiled, “Such a smart boy.”

And it made him so happy to hear her say that.

“Your soul is older than you. It’s older than me. You see, one day you’ll learn that we’re all made of matter, and matter can’t be created or destroyed. Matter is what gives us weight, you see?”

Johnny nodded.

“But when a person dies, or is turned to stone by a Banshee, they lose twenty one grams. Do you know what those twenty one grams are?”

He shook his head, “No.”

“They’re your soul. And when you die your soul whooshes out of you and flies all the way up to heaven and there God says, ‘Welcome, you’re home.’ and until that moment happens your soul is never ending and nothing ever can diminish it or take it away from you. Not people, not Banshees, not monsters, not anything. You understand?”

He nodded sagely, “I understand.”

“You think you can go to sleep now?” She asked.

He regarded her gravely, “I think I can, yes.”

She kissed him on the cheek, the scent of the hospital filling him and he had never felt so safe and so loved for he knew that his soul was infinite and nothing could ever take that away.

And with that he was back inside himself. There in the year two thousand and fifteen, looking deep in to Andrea’s eyes.

“You sure?” He asked.

“Positive.” She replied.

He kissed her then, eyes closed and for the first time, marveling all the while at how these great loves, no matter how new could remind you of who you were, back when you were whole.

“So much of all of this is timing.” She said, rekindling his soul.

Out of breath he prayed that time be on their side.

He kissed her again.

March 27, 2015 / douglasnyback

Love Poems From a Roller Coaster – 16 of 16

Thank you all so much for coming along this sixteen part journey, the readership has been consistent and amazing. Though this trip down a poetic memory lane has been wonderful and extremely nostalgic, I’m also very much looking forward to putting up a few new poems I’ve finished over the past couple of weeks. So stay tuned, follow and share. It’s so appreciated.

Truly,

D.

“Sunshine and Lonesome: Love Poems From a Roller Coaster”

Number Sixteen:

May/27/2010

It’s Over

 

“It’s over.”
Soft words,
final
but
right,
leaving an empty room,
almost,
save the leftovers,
the
remains of
scent,
bobby pins
and
your socks that look like mine.

Here,
with tears in the morning
as I
wake to the hard reality
of
you
no longer in my life,
I breathe,
first and finally
a
sigh
of sorrow,
of relief.

Too long
I
carried a torch,
leaving me
cold
and
closed,
before you
never open and broken.

Then
your eyes,
your inexplicable magic,
your light
entered me.
And alive,
for the first time,
I find myself
with
soft words
spoken
hushed,
over a pillow,
reading truly,
the
end of a letter,
written
in earnest
but
Impersonal
never quite ending
in a
walls down
face to face,
“It’s over.”

 

 

March 26, 2015 / douglasnyback

Love Poems From a Roller Coaster – 15 of 16

“Sunshine and Lonesome: Love Poems From a Roller Coaster”

Number Fifteen:

May/24/2010

Why?

 

This isn’t the blues,
it’s fury.
It’s red
and
it
is
ugly.

It would seem
that every hour
spent
without
her
is
spent in a web
of
tension,
filled to the brim
with fear
that her lack of thought
for anything
other than herself
will come
crashing down on
the
Meek Moronic Me
with such
suffocating force
that
I’ll
draw
my
last
breath
in
protest.

Anger,
the ugliest kind
specific and defined,
slapped in the face,
clearly the bitch of
all these hours spent
at the ready to
do
anything
she might need,
let alone what she
actually does.

I
have
written
too many poems
about
it
being
the
last
time
I write a poem like this.

Today
we watched fireworks
from my rooftop.
Peering through the
trees,
we saw
a
sprinkling of light,
but really,
nothing.

 

March 25, 2015 / douglasnyback

Love Poems From a Roller Coaster – 14 of 16

“Sunshine and Lonesome:  Love Poems From a Roller Coaster”

Number Fourteen:

Apr/8/2010

Voices

 

I lift moonshine to my lips
with my elbow
and say,
“Fuck this day with a tire iron.”

I’m tired
of being this guy.

“End this life.”
Out of the corner
of my mind
a
Voice
says.

Not mine
and
Not God’s.
Leaves me wondering
who’s left.

 

 

March 24, 2015 / douglasnyback

Love Poems From a Roller Coaster – 13 of 16

“Sunshine and Lonesome: Love Poems From a Roller Coaster”

Number Thirteen:

Mar/29/2010

Epic Day

 

I don’t want to go home
yet.
Testament to a day,
dealing with people
not
wanting to.

All of this
plus
new love
and
no sleep
wears on a body.

Somebody,
cares deeply
(too much)
about me,
in bed awake
while my
Epic Day
comes to a
Shot And a Beer Close,
Her eyes,
blink open
to the gentle
strings
of her cell phone ring,
hope on her side
and
exhaustion on mine.

I love her.
Bottom Line It.
She has me.
I have her.
A wonderful thing, that.

 

 

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