Saturday, June 01, 2024

Poems From the Heart

 —Poetry by Mike Hickman, York, England
—Visuals Courtesy of Public Domain

Oh, I can text good morning,
And I can wish you well,
For the—what?—several-hundredth day in a row,
And I will always care for you,
And I will always love you,
(Oh God, I will always love you)
And there are so many “ands”,
And—no—I will not edit one of them
Because they are so indicative of where we are.
Of where we are.

I will wish you well,
And, every single day, I will say goodnight,
As I will long for that one night
And I will know that there is so much you are not 
telling me,
That you are holding back from the truth of the matter,
The many truths.

And I will know what you are avoiding.

And perhaps I need you to avoid it.

Because I love you,
And I want you so very much,
And if good morning is all we have,
From here to every one of the goodnights,
Then I love you enough
To accept those moments alone.

(prev. pub. in Know Thyself, Heal Thyself)


Oh yes, the chest compressions hurt,
Or their after-effects do.
His ribs ache,
If ache can describe the knife-twist
When he breathes,
And the pressure that does not relent,
As if he is still being resuscitated,
And maybe he is.
Maybe that was the hope.
Someone’s hope.
Those who thought they could bring him back to life
After all that has happened,
And what he suffered even prior to the event.

Maybe this pain, they believe,
Can be exchanged for what went before.

A different form of suffering, that also did not relent.

But he did not suffer then,
And he does not suffer now,
Even when moving,
Even when he hears his sternum creak.

He has not, in fact, suffered for a great many years,
Even before they brought him back.
For that, you see, would have required what they have,
And what they have, it seems, for him still.

That would have required hope.

(prev. pub. in
Know Thyself, Heal Thyself)


The morning after the night before,
The supermarket flowers already wilting,
The service station chocolates long since bloomed,
The wrappings abandoned to recycling,
As much as the sentiments are, too.
We read the words, every year, festooned with 
Cupid’s arrows,
And adorned with love hearts
On cheap cards produced for quick profit,
As quick as the profit some of their senders might 
well have hoped for,
On a date that too easily stands in for every other day
When love might well be spent,
Might well be earned,
Might well blossom beyond the tawdry
Into something that carries meaning
Beyond the well-worn and the lovelorn.
We risk semantic satiation,
The phrases, the gestures, losing their meaning
With the careless repetition
Encouraged by a calendar devised by card companies,
By chocolatiers,
By those for whom the meaning is never love
But gain.
Which is where we came in,
This morning after every previous Valentine’s night
When we put out the rubbish,
When we behave as if it is only ever about one day,
When love should be that one day forever more.

If we love ourselves, we are owed nothing less.

(prev. pub.  in What is Love to You?)


Isaac said that time runs at one second per second,
The same rate everywhere, the same rate across 
the universe,
But then came Einstein, and he said
That time is relative,
That the passing of time at the start of the universe
Is slower than the time passing now.
That the ticking of the clock would seem the same
To citizens of the universe at that time,
But to us—now—it would be slower,
That the seconds to them, as experienced by us,
Would be attenuated,
Would be stretched,
Each one held for extra beats,
Each one expanded.
And yet.
And yet.
And yet.
I do not need to travel back in time.
I do not need to be transported to the cosmological past,
Because one second with you,
One second with you,
One second with you,
Is worth tens of minutes with everyone else on this Earth,
Is worth a lifetime of minutes and days and months
In my own span.
One second with you
Is the birth of the Universe,
Is the expansion of time and space,
Is the moment held in the moment held in the moment
Of the start of everything.
Never doubt it, my love.
One second with you
Lasts the lifetime
I would give you
If you wanted it.
Is the lifetime I would so happily give you.

(prev. pub. in What is Love to You?)


Maybe it is the capstan, the capacitors,
The belt, still with some life to it,
Though so many of this vintage have degraded to gunk.
Maybe it is the wow and flutter,
The inconsistencies absent from the digital copy,
The unpredictability even of the tape as it is
Pinch roll pulled across the heads,
Whether it will survive its journey from one spool 
to the next,
Whether it will become entangled in the workings,
Never to play intact again without audible signs of 
the damage.
Maybe it is the worn stylus, the self-destructing 
pressure pad,
The direct drive no longer so direct,
So driving.

And yet,
There is, they say, warmth here not found elsewhere,
Something genuine even with the deficiencies
Introduced by the aging mechanism,
The magnetic tape,
The quality of the vinyl.
There is warmth to be found in the imperfections
In manufacture, in materials, in the analogue recordings,
Although not everyone can hear it.

Perhaps not everyone wants to,
Happy with digital copies always identical,
Always first generation,
Always perfect,
At least as far as the medium is concerned.

Perhaps not everyone needs the warmth,
Or appreciates the beauty in the blemishes,
Perhaps some are blind to it,
Even in their own mechanisms.

I am not.
I need the warmth,
Even the inner-groove distortion,
As the amplitude increases,
As we get closer to the centre,
As we reach our physical limitations,
As we love each other for our imperfections.

I love you.
I will always love you.
I will always love you for every imperfection
You feel you might have…
The supposed imperfections are what make you who
you are,
And I love you for every one of them,
For every jump in every groove,
For the wow, for the flutter, for the analogue deficiencies.
I love you for who you are.

I will drop the needle,

I will always listen,

I will be here always.

I love you.

(prev. pub.  in What is Love to You?)


Today’s LittleNip:

I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.

—Vincent Van Gogh


Mike Hickman used to visit the Kitchen regularly with his jaunty, accessible style, writing in his caustic way about the world around him. Then he disappeared.

Now he has written to say that, in the meantime, he had serious health issues (cardiac arrest). And now he has sent us these fine, heart-felt poems, for which we are most grateful. Take care, Mike. Hearts are so easily broken… And yet…

Check back into the Kitchen on Saturday, June 8, for more poems from Mike.





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