Dried Blood Crust




we once discussed

what was more indelible

photograph or memory

which held the deeper truth

the image captured at a moment

that revealed the details

surface textures

shadow play of light

the look in the eye

or the lack of a look in the eye


once we start to wonder

what day of the week did we take that picture

we fall back on memory

which has its own tricks to play

depending on our emotion

at the moment of recall

the image changes

from one of happiness

to forced cheerfulness

to helplessness

to being held gently in the hands of the universe


how long

will the dried blood crust

on the pillow be remembered

the pale flesh


so that doctors can do their work

pale flesh

that on another occasion

is the inviting lure of intimacy

the cold hand

that at another time

was the hungry hand of love

how long will those be


without a photo


the unalterable image is

of the one I love

lying there

in that hospital bed

tubes   punctures

lips dry

teeth rimmed with blood

tongue searching for moisture

as they attempt

to stabilize the heart

stabilize the fear and panic

behind the eyes

that without glasses

find it hard to focus

I hold the cold hand

speak soft words of comfort

‘I love you’

‘I am fine’

‘There is nothing to worry about’


I part reluctantly


that all I can do is hold his hand

grateful that prayer

opens the heart of the universe

as it has opened

our hearts to each other

for all these mysterious years

I don’t want his pain

to last any longer that it needs to

I want him to know

I will rage

if he passes beyond by sight


I will never lose the image of him

reaching out for me

never forget the last few words

that passed between us

a small joke of love

a small gesture of companionship

and endless

bottomless memory


I would not want a photograph

I would rather the memory

because no photo can capture

the heart

the way the memory does


This is more reportage than imagined narrative. The conversation about photography was real. It was with my partner as we watched some TV show about the truth of images & memory. We did get as philosophical as I do here. In a way this echoes my reaction to how news manipulates images & facts for a specific reaction – reflections that aren’t relevant to the truth.

Memory can change a photograph if one is actually in it one can recall who took it, recall details that aren’t in the picture at all. Things lookers do not find out unless informed, then they rely on our manipulations to fill in the picture.


The dried blood image comes from when my partner had a stroke – I rushed to the hospital but by the time I arrived the surgery was over, the blockages dealt with &, now my memory fails, I think, the stop gap pacemaker had been installed. The pillow was pale green. I did not take a picture. Though I do have pictures of his later hospital stays.cage03

The events are pretty accurate as I attempt to create some sort of order & distance within myself & resist wallowing in fear or self-pity or creating a bathos to suck some sort of sympathy from the reader. Prayer plays its part but the nature is spiritual connection not religious pleading.


The poem collects moments & images from the event – emotional truths that haven’t changed & perhaps weren’t realized at that instant but which I can still feel now; which weren’t written about for a month or so later. Reading it now more than a decade later these images are still vivid to me. Some didn’t fit into the poem – his watch disappeared, never to be replaced. I felt the notion of time literally lost was too distracting from the emotional pull of the poem.


January 20, Wednesday: judging at Hot Damn! it’s a Queer Slam – featuring  Dominic Berry Supermarket Restaurant and Bar 268 Augusta Ave., Toronto, Ontario M5T2L9



June 3-5: attending: Capturing Fire 2016 – The DC Centre – 2000 14th St NW, Suite 105 – Washington, DC



September 1-5: attending FanExpo 2015expo16


November 1 – 30 Participating NaNoWriMo




Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees                                               & buy coffee in Washington – sweet,eh? paypal.me/TOpoet

Like my pictures? I post lots on Tumblr




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