Divorce, Single Parenting, Dating, Sex, & Self-Recovery


virtual check-in

OFF-virtualkisses[from strange horizons poems]

the ongoing love poem
as a string of text messages
just to say
you remind me of love
i’ll remember to let you know
each time
(well, not each time)
i’ll let you know frequently
(not disturbingly so)
that you are close
even when you are at a distance
that you remain here
i will jiggle your phone
if you’ll indulge me
and when again
we touch hands
instead of digits
when at last
this digital foreplay
has played out
i will


true colors


image: reach out and kiss someone, rich frollini, creative commons usage

if you are her


let’s say
for example
that i’ve written
i want to pour my love into a lover
i’m not speaking metaphorically here
i’m talking about

i electrify with the sound of you
and carbonate with imagined smiles
if you can contain all this
stand in the flame
if love poems don’t terrify
and delusions of grandeur
are also in your dna
i wonder
if we’ve found something

fluid and open
skipping along the flight path
what we cannot yet know
what we dare to dream about
yet leave unspoken

let’s just imagine that i’ve spoken
some of it
i know not of what i speak
i’m imagining
but if you are you
and here is now
let me set alight the maps
and look into the fog of the future
fearless and emboldened
grabbing your hand
racing the rain away
that has followed so many attempts

if you are
and ready


image: hand in water, walt stoneburner, creative commons usage

what if i

OFF-smiling[from strange horizons poems]

a touch
creaking open
this dusty
space of


this time
some mystery
take hold



image: she fights, melania brescia, creative commons usage

she says yes


[from strange horizons poems]

and when she says yes
and pleases at the touch
remains calm in the middle of the fire
when she arrives
with flexible thinking
and she says yes the second time
enough to make you imagine
you’ve heard her correctly
she might
just at the right moment
in time
to answer
more time



just imagine


[from strange horizons poems]

just imagine for a moment
that i have offered maps
keys to my heart
all across the internet
i have simply written the instruction manual
for myself

imagine a woman
smart, single, desirous
coming across this tangle of tantalizing verbiage
sketches out an overlay
puts her plan into action
swiftly establishes contact
and mutual attraction
adding intellect and a racy pair of legs

she would have the entire plan
pre-wired for success
all that would be required
would be that spark
some flash of brilliance
and she had the idea for that as well

imagine the mutual surprise
when her arrival sets off a jolly chain of events
a delicious amount of banter and carrying on
along with a touch of honest

like that it’s a match
it’s a hit
there’s a piercing spotlight
illuminating the road ahead
no longer apart
but some new connected path
and the laughter
on both sides of the bed
at all times of day
rings in the new year
with a satisfying


image: running, yoann jezequel, creative commons usage

all around me are smiles


[from strange horizons poems]

all around me are smiles
and youth-beauty-organic-produce
all around me are potentials
but all points of contact are
more like flurries of snow outside
like the young boy who sits on the down escalator
only to jump up and run back to the top
over and over
until somebody gets hurt
but that didn’t happen
neither did she


the distance

thigh[from strange horizons poems]

the distance between her thigh and my finger
tonight, feels unmanageable
other nights i’m prepared to stretch forever
not tonight
something is off
the signal is being lost in the noise
i can’t imagine her
from this place
i want to


dialing back desire


[from strange horizons poems]

let’s say the universe works in mysterious ways
and imagining that
what if a woman showed up
asked to play tennis
not an ordinary woman
not just anyone
a friend

and let’s also imagine
the universe in her mystery
is also capable of delivering you
right at the moment you are ready
whether you think so or not
and just as you’ve said
the woman stands up
with a beautiful smile
and some historical knowledge
that could serve as a catalyst
a familiarity
even when whole lifetimes have happened
between your last greeting

so even before the first ball is struck
or skirt worn
there’s a flight of fantasy
a scenario of seduction
and being seduced
there is no waiting
no lines
and no other moment
like this one

what if
she’s showed up
the universe has finally spun a complete cycle
and brought you back to the restart
try again
listen, look, observe

what if there’s nothing
just an acquaintance
and some new fuzzy yellow balls

that is more than enough
the idea

i am hopeful
even when letting go
this is no different
this is just a turn of events
a series of events
that hasn’t happened yet

there’s no hurry
even if she is the one
if she is
she’s here
hurry through


image: spent tennis shoes of the author, cc 2014, creative commons usage

somewhere she’s laughing


[from strange horizons poems]

i can’t imagine what she looks like
but i see her every day
her smell and smiles are everywhere
i can’t imagine what she feels like
my memory fades and ebbs
with time i hope to take hold
of someone with plans
someone with dreams and sparks
someone i can cheer on
and adore
i can’t imagine where she is tonight
but i’m writing her into existence
right now
where ever she might be


image: winter afternoon walk, cc 2015 the author, creative commons usage

she surrounds me now


[from strange horizons poems]

i’m going to sit here until i believe again
in honey and yogurt and girls
i’ve got plenty of italian bubbly water
with a hint of lemon
and wifi and a plug
so i’m good
but of course i’m not good
i had this moment
where everything came together
and love and god and everything appeared right
and now what, now where is everyone who loves me
in this passing throng there is love
in the eyes and patchouli laden scarves there is hope
might be nearby
she is probably puttering along somewhere
not to far away
i hope she is happy
but not too happy, i hope she’s looking for
an ache of joyous proportions
that might bring us together
as the next year has dawned
and the rain has stopped
and even the chill has pulled back for a perfect night
and i’m here
something sinful
chocolate or
i don’t know
it’s not some *thing* i want
it’s her
i can see pieces of her
as the happy couples stride by
shining eyes
a smile and a laugh with arms hooked together
oh sure
i’ve known love
and birth
and death
i’ve felt it all
and tried to leave tiny trails of words or songs behind
so i might pick up the pieces at a later time
as if
even as i had it
i was aware that it could be
and it was

something has survived
an idea
a hopefulness
i’ve always come back to every situation
on the flip side
opening up
attempting the repair
and tonight
i suppose
that peace needs to be made with myself
and the heart that beacons and beats
in some rhythmic cadence
of verse chorus verse chorus bridge chorus out
in two and a half minutes
i can make you fall in love
the hope, is with me, but i’m not picky
nor hopelessly romantic
far from it
the passionate vibes are being broadcast on all channels
laser hot and direct
only… there’s no focus
at the minute
at this minute
i am not tracking well
i claim to be listening, but i’m preoccupied with something else
a downward glance at myself
and the ideal i have in mind
i’m more flexible with her
she could come in many variations
i see that here, tonight
i have vast tastes in women
imaginary women, that is
up close i tend to overestimate beauty
or is it underestimate
i’m more joy-driven
more aligned with a spark of creativity
and flash of brilliance
and even in these words
i refind my path forward
she’s around
and busy with something else
at the moment
me too




[from strange horizons poems]

in many ways you are a visual poem
opening and smiling
greeting warmth with warmth
in my mind you are always nearby
as i hope for you in the coming days
to travel where ever you are
to here, where i am
to listen and hear my song
i need a new cello for the symphony
a new timbre in my life
resin and vibrations
chest pressed against me
i am missing you even now
as i curl alone
in this bed
composing you
on my


image: cello, steven depolo, creative commons usage

love will find us


[from strange horizons poems]

like a vapor trail
i knew she was close
not here
but i felt her
in the chocolate aisle
and near the greek yoghurt
contemplating ph balance
and organic yoga wear

she shops alone
at whole foods market
of course she does
the intersections here
of everything we eat
drink and breath
the potently scented oils
the luffa sponges
and honey lip balm

and how will i time our arrival
or know if she’s vegetarian
or just paleo
does she bring her own bags
that last question was
of course she has bags
that she will fill
with damp kale
and grass-fed butter

i’ve been watching
as couples, families, kids
bums, yoginis, hipsters
move in and out
watching their slow
descent from above
but so far i have been distracted
my research slightly amiss
until today
after i dropped off my daughter
and came here
to watch

watching is not fulfilling
but i have learned
more than you might think
about couples that fit
and others in transition
but most people are happy here
weaving through the healthy food
seeing other health minded folks
with money and time for fancy fruits
and bubble baths
made from dead sea salts

if it were up to me
she would’ve been seeking a pinot
just now
as our eyes crossed
smiled and asked
is there one you prefer



image: wfm 2014, cc the author, creative commons usage

calling all lovers


[from strange horizons poems]

doesn’t your soul love to travel
isn’t your heart ready to soar
and in these moments when you are grounded
can’t you still taste the salt
remember the heat
and anticipation of a kiss
memory of the burning
and skin worn glow


image: secret kiss, kristen, creative commons usage

physics between us


[from strange horizons poems]

i’m keeping an eye out
and ear to the ground
putting my love on the air
crafting words and notes
running harder
eating less
hoping bigger than ever
and yet…

somewhere out there
she is feeling deeply
smiling happily in spite of it all
imagining romance will eventually return
hoping for the best
being mindful of her body and spirit
in a content place

like a positive and negative electron
we are already bound in our spiral
while our trajectories are unknown
their eventual intersection
is a matter of physical law
and time
plus energy

there is no waiting
there is action and motion
momentum and improvements
aspirations and accomplishments
joy and the awareness
of another’s love

it could be close
it could be far
the eventuality is certain
the anticipation is delicious
if i can remember
to strive less
enjoy more
and be


image: particle physics, kevin dooley, creative commons usage



[from strange horizons poems]

i’m struggling in the dark again
striving against feeling alone
and failing
a long night ahead
and how your ear should be curled about
and whispered into
sweet poems
a kiss


image: dark, ekaterina nosenko (katia), creative commons usage

The Self-Regulation of Poetry and Longing


I understood something tonight for the first time. It came about after I wrote a post on depression and the artistic temperament for one of my other blogs. As I was explaining how my art is often a form of self-soothing, I cracked open a tiny window into my own current situation. I’m not depressed, but I am highly activated and in an artistic spurt. Tonight as yet another love poem (or poem of #desire, as I’ve come to call them) surfaced I caught a glimpse of myself, doing my thing. And I noticed the effect. The poem of longing seemed to relieve some of my suffering. It gave me a lift even as I was expressing my dismay.

In touching the sadness in words I can begin to unlock and feel them in life.

By telling my story, even in poetry, I am giving voice and awareness to my inner voice, my inner pain. I don’t admit my sadness or loneliness much these days. I’m too busy, too creative, too “happy.” But tonight, something in the back story of the love poem signaled from my subconscious creative brain to my rational and self-assessing brain that there was a problem.

Again, it’s a poem. But as I look back on the two books of poems that have come out of this period of my life, I began to understand, tonight, that these were as much a narrative as my prose. When read in sequence, you can see the arc and trajectory of my heart out of darkness and into hopefulness. I even achieved several moments of “love.” Even when the relationship couldn’t hold the feeling, in the poems I captured a tiny sliver of the potential.

Women of potential. My muse.

And tonight, as I was writing this poem, about something as simple as noticing a woman’s dark shiny hair, I was also able to hear a bit of the ache that I long to medicate with a relationship. And barring that, a love poem.

In the act of desiring, in the writing of a romantic epistle, I am releasing some of the tension I feel. In touching the sadness in words I can begin to unlock and feel them in life. Again, I’m not sad, but I’m lonely. As creative and inspired as I am, my seeking is consistent and unanswered. I have learned patience. I have learned the language of love. I have taught myself to compose songs. And yet… I’m alone.

Another moment occurred this weekend that opens up a bit more of my thinking about relationships, and “what’s next” for me. I had taken a long Saturday afternoon to drive my daughter and two of her friends to the local outlet mall for her birthday. That afternoon, when I got home, alone, I was exhausted. After a quick nap I arose and felt inspiration hit as I was trying to put down a song idea with my guitar and computer. An hour later I was one song richer, and again, slightly exhausted.

And at that very moment what I wanted was someone to share my song with.

It’s sort of romantic, and productive, all this being alone. But it’s not a condition I aspire to, it’s merely where I find myself at this moment.

I contemplated going out. There was a local band playing, and I knew the woman who books the club was newly single… But I was tired. Fulfilled somewhat with my creation. And still, aching for connection. So some of what I am longing for is simply being seen. Having someone to share my new book of poetry with. Or even a new poem. Sure, I’d like someone to come along who can trigger some of the “loving” sides of my poetry and songwriting, but I’ll settle for a confidant. Well, perhaps a cuddling confidant.

I know that I don’t want to become addicted to this state of longing. It’s sort of romantic, and productive, all this being alone. But it’s not a condition I aspire to, it’s merely where I find myself at this moment. And clearly, for a few moments more.

All is well. A new poem is written. A song released inspires yet another. My creative heart flows and flies.

And. Longs. For. Connection.


The Off Parent

related posts

image: the author, kristy duff wallace, creative commons usage

dark falling


[from strange horizons poems]

i fell into the black hair of a woman today
and i couldn’t get back out
i followed her for a bit
but as she got into her car to leave
i knew i was in trouble

it’s not working
whatever i’m doing
the winter chill has arrived
and passed right through my bones
and the bed is colder and wider
than i can ever remember it being

she’s moved on
in some unknown direction
towards her loved ones and family
it’s the family time of year
and i’m stuck in the dark
whistling to keep myself company
wishing i knew some secret
for calling in a lover
or even a snuggle bunny

of course
i’ve sworen off the pursuit
of course i have
it’s easy
don’t feel
don’t think about it
eat well
see movies
work hard
and forget about the lump below the breastbone

there’s no time like the future
when she arrives
i’ll have to contain my enthusiasm
so as not to scare her right back on her way

it’s been a while
you see
not as long as i has been before
but long enough
that i’m beginning to thrash
and fall
into passing shiny lengths of hair
passing by
she could’ve been 100 years old
i only saw the sway and shimmer
of the deep place
where i curled up
in the seconds as she passed by

i can still feel my hands and feet
so i know i’m still alive
this is no dream
and i am still wanting
and smells


image: lonely places #3 – anticipation, leda carter, creative commons usage

shooting arrows at the moon


[from strange horizons poems]

i have work to do
and i’m thinking about women again
the absence of them, actually
in my life
in the romantic sense
i’ve got sister, daughter, niece, and mom
and not a single bosom to lay my head
this time of year
it’s a problem
or at least a hardship
of course, it is no different than last year
except i’d just come off a deep jag
with a beautiful young mom
who had a penchant for silences
and filling them with music videos
fancy meals and drugs
i couldn’t sustain
the celebration
long enough to understand or feel
how our connection might evolve
into a higher…
a more solid…
it wasn’t about that
let’s be honest
she was 11 years younger
she was beautiful
she was willing
is there any further explanation needed
i would do with her comfort today
tonight, rather
and yet, i wait and hunger
with intention
it *is* the evolution i’m seeking
a transformation of some sort
of me
of my trajectory
and flights of fancy
my arrow is aimed at the moon
and i will settle for nothing less
than overwhelming joy


image: goldion moon, johnathan leung, creative commons usage

unanswered letters

Screen Shot 2014-12-10 at 9.45.22 PM[from strange horizons poems]

can a woman love as deeply as i imagine
do poetic phrases wash around someone else’s pretty head
can i be matched
will the song i’m spinning
be heard
kissed back

as the vapor trails of my last lover
dissipate and dissolve
i forget
how good i can feel
smells and smiles
and moments
missing another person

i seek
because i
i call
because i hunger


i am i

iami-jmac[from strange horizons poems]

i don’t think i have made my case very well
either that or i’m not who i think i am
maybe a little of both
maybe you can’t see me
the me i am becoming
that’s the trick
we see who we want each other to be
we imagine who we’d like to be close to
and we just don’t know
from a distance we see
but nothing about the inside
unless you can look for that with your heart
i think i sense a person’s energy
their joy is either ON or OFF
mixed states are too ambiguous
i know who i am
i know what i’m putting out
i learn all the time
that i have a very limited understanding
of who i present myself as
what i’m putting out to the world in my mind
is different to what people (women) are receiving
maybe i think too much
maybe i talk too much
one thing i know
i think too much
release and relax
i am
transmitting on all channels


image: the author performing in dec. 2014

easy escape for us


[from strange horizons poems]

let’s meet a new girl
and do some new things
find a new roll
open up some new veins
like a jazz song
in the middle of the night
when the music is so good
you can’t help but dancing
let’s do that together
see where it takes us
and find a weekend
drive to the beach
feel the heat and sand
crisp rough white sheets
and mediocre coffee
waking up your eyes
and our smiles


this is not about her

OFF-purple[from a second wave – poetry]

in the brilliant purple top
her eyes are tired but happy
dreamy almost, as she contemplates
her coffee
her boyfriend
not me
noise canceling headphones
are piping in songs of loneliness
i’m not here for her
nor she for me
but there she is
with him between us
and a longing of memories
of a girl
once mine
with eyes that watered
with joy more than sadness
but that’s long ago
i’m not interested in that
repeating old poisons
and women who can’t
don’t know how
or won’t
dive down deep
to find the heart
something about her
the woman in purple
this morning
trips me up
gives me pause and flutter
even as her man is blocking my view
because it’s not about them at all
or the woman from long ago
it’s about me
this bottomless cup of coffee
and emptiness on a winter morning


she overtakes me


[from a second wave – poetry]

i saw the girl smile
and i can’t think of anything
to make it go away
so i try
for a word
or two
to loosen her grip
and imagine
we are swimming
off the coast of spain
without wifi
or proper beds
we’ve got pineapples
and guitars
and all the sunshine we can take
it’s in this moment
that I know
not to settle
for anything
than full-on
and a smile
that simmers my mind
any and every time


image: beautiful women, ray lopez, creative common usage

she is late, or missing, or lost


[from a second wave – poetry]

it is not the kiss i miss
nor the hand in pocket
heart-shaped mind bending love
it’s all of it
that’s missing
the bed of great size
still made up on one side
the coffee for one
and reading aloud to myself alone

she’s taking her own sweet time getting here
perhaps my notes are not making it through
or maybe i’m not ready yet
for the explosions in the sky
to rip smack the smile off my face
and leave me breathlessly chasing
every second together
and aching with anticipation
any time we’re apart

i’ve known love
felt the deepest ocean of loss
at just saying good-bye
as we leave for work
i want you to be my
be my

something’s broken this time
as the poetic and the authentic
are vastly distant realities
and this hole in my heart
is also a joy
a love that i long to give again
more than words
and love letters
more than aspirational longing

a love poem without a receiver
is an arrow shot into the night sky
hoping to bring down a star
exclaiming to god and the whispering trees
how love is good
and how i am ready
and she is late
or missing
or lost

this night she is not reading love poems
she shines and sparkles with friends
while my missiles land around her
without voice or sound






and sharpening

each vowel

for impact

i let go yet another


image: new years 007, timber tank, creative commons usage