Out of Reach

Always just slightly out of reach,

on the edge of the bed, the edge of his seat,

hand on the doorknob, warm spot cooling,

always about to be, maybe already, somewhere else,

but there’s no transporter, no vanishing-cabinet,

no magical disappearance, still here in his way,

and so you reach, you’re always reaching,

arm extended, just inches from a hand to hold,

a foot or two from the full embrace

that you need so badly, and maybe he does too,

if only arms were longer, space less infinite.

 

Copyright 2019

T. Allen Culpepper

Eden Falls

edenfallsphoto.jpg

It must be an ancient place,

the way the mountain has eroded,

maybe sacred once to one tribe or another

in a time when life was simpler, more elemental,

and still it feels like a sanctuary–cool, dark, and silent,

but for the soothing fall of holy water,

and the avian choristers’ anthem.

Translucent green leaves filter the sunlight,

dark branches like the leading

between colored pieces of stained glass

telling old stories too distant to easily believe.

Like an empty cathedral, a tranquil, reflective space

that fills with one’s own belief or doubt.

But these stones were never hewn by human hands;

there’s no need for a preacher’s pulpit or bishop’s chair,

or even the allusion to some lost paradise

from which this place takes its name,

because divinity comes here

to touch the earth, to breathe the air,

to mingle with the waters.

 

Copyright 2019

T. Allen Culpepper

 

I’m attempting to learn Danish, so just for fun (bare for sjovt), here’s my attempt at a translation into Danish:

Eden Vanfald

Det kan kun være en gammel sted,

på grund af hvordan eroderet bjerget,

måske hellige en gang til en stamme eller en anden

i dag da levet var enklere, mere elementære,

og stadig er det som en helligdom—

kølig, mørke, og næsten stille,

selvom den beroligende falde af helligt vand,

salmen sunget af fugle.

Gennemsigtig grønne blade diffunderer sollyset,

deres mørke grene som bly

mellem stykker af farvet glas

at fortæl historier for lang væk til at tro nemt.

Som en ledig kirke, et roligt rum som fyldes op

med mands egen tro eller tvivl.

Men disse sten blev aldrig skåret

af menneskers hænder;

der er ikke behov for prædikants eller biskops stol,

eller for allusionen til nogle tabte paradis

hvorfor den tager dens navn,

fordi kommer guddommelighed her

til at røre jorden, til at trække vejret i luften,

til at blande med farvandet.

 

 

 

Disturbance

On unstable days, the atmosphere

bears down, humid and oppressive, pressing

tightly in, constricting breath and movement,

scrambling thoughts, intensifying moods

gloomy and depressing, building up

tensions and minor irritations until

anxiety renders me dysfunctional,

and I can neither focus on a task,

nor sit still with my constant jitters.

It happens often enough that it can’t be

mere coincidence, and yet I don’t

know what to call effect and cause, whether

emotions take a barometric turn,

or the same gods’ grip shakes and strangles both.

 

Copyright 2019

T. Allen Culpepper

Never or Now?

Cutting his eyes over his shoulder,

he checks whose gaze burns him from behind,

lusting after his youthful beauty, which smolders

as he raises eyebrow in an inviting sign.

Muscles ripple along his lean, smooth back,

neck arching gracefully as his head turns

and both imagine adventures in the sack,

the hot sex for which they  hotly yearn.

But will lips touch and hands fondle flesh,

each the other invite to come inside

as their bodies and souls intermesh,

or will they miss the moment, let it slide?

The moment lost, their chances to regain it diminish,

but if they seize it, they could take it to the finish.

 

Copyright 2019

T. Allen Culpepper

It’s Not My Fault: A Drinking Song

Verse 1

It wasn’t exactly love at first sight,

but there was something, and we got on well,

co-travelers through the days and nights

until it turned sour and went to hell

for reasons that remain unclear…

 

Chorus

Oh, it’s a motherfucking shame

that our lives are such a bloody mess,

but don’t even try to cast the blame,

‘cause there are no crimes for me to confess.

 

Verse 2

No doubt the therapists would claim

that there are lessons to be learned

about when to shut up and when to say

what’s really on your mind, what hurts,

and, yeah, mental health was not our strength…

 

Chorus

Oh, it’s a motherfucking shame

that our lives are such a bloody mess,

but don’t even try to cast the blame,

‘cause there are no crimes for me to confess.

 

Bridge

I guess fucked up love is better than no fucking love at all;

it takes two to play the game, but a lucky draw for both to win.

 

Verse 3

Sure, I failed, but Lord knows I tried

to heal the wounds and make things whole,

to wipe away the tears you cried

and bring comfort to your soul,

and so it hurt when you sent me away…

 

Chorus

Oh, it’s a motherfucking shame

that our lives are such a bloody mess,

but don’t even try to cast the blame,

‘cause there are no crimes for me to confess.

 

Repeat and fade slowly and quietly into despair

 

Copyright 2019

T. Allen Culpepper