David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   

December 19, 2018

C'mon, peeps, abandon the shorthand,

Trash the #hashtag#, drown the tweet,

Enough with the moth-eaten mean meme,

Pithy posts that litter the LinkedIn Facebook feeds.


Life is measured by the vapors

Lingering as people leave the scene,

The party, the building, the body,

Those contrails containing the bits

Lodged in our minds mete the memories,

Propelling us forward.


The convertible awaited her

As she bid her adieu.

When even her perfume remained,

Hung around and reminded me

Of the congestion that closed in,

Suffocating me beyond the reasonable

Expectations she envisioned for her and me.

Her satin dress swayed as she sashayed

Out the door, half-turning with a wave

And a wink to say she'd be back 

But not anytime soon, certainly not 

In the sense I presumed.

I sat there nursing the beer, 

Well after the night concluded,

Well after I was no longer deluded,

Well after I had long since been suited

For something much more stable

And appropriately reciprocated.

Not sure I would even recognize the scent

If it wafted back in again,

But there's no doubt the loitering legacy

Of the vulnerability and desperation

Can still rear its ugliness when 

Nothing is desired beyond the desultory

Compulsion to practice longhand.


I've made my own terminal transitions

More than I wish, more than I could control.

What remains must lie beneath

The tales the survivors have told.

I'm not foolish enough to affirm

My will made any mark 

Beyond some writing on a wall,

Perhaps triggering the associations

Comforting in times of silence

As people wander by.

At the time the separation rift

Feels so piercing, stinging 

And as wide as the universe.

In time the turmoil will shift,

Shaping the expanse in front of us,

Leaving behind grains of sand

Ground under the longhand.


Eventually we all will pass

Into a plane we can't contemplate,

Leaving us little time to elucidate.

We can walk their empty halls,

Survey their love all over the walls,

Construct new conversations not quite

As destructive as they really were,

And that's fitting because their final forms

Are all that's left to push close to our chests.

A spoon, a tiepin, a handkerchief,

Whatever we are left with,

Carries the story that starts when you come in.

Now obsolete are the leather-bound volumes

That their generation could generate.

Stories now get carried on through 

The jut of a chin, the catch of a laugh,

And their gift of the longhand.


Whenever I move on,

Regardless of bullet,

Breath or stroke,

I vow to leave

My dower longhand.