Pulsing with Promise

Five poems
by Michael Nemchick
what is to be said
of the woman in the corner
who never claimed
or wanted more
than the corner
the numbers I total
the words I count
all their worth
is lost in thought
of events
all over
of theories
to my mind
they are vague
and unsown
pieces to a puzzle
of a thread
to a shirt
that I will never wear
to a party I will never attend
my words in their number
will only matter to one
less than their own
though a heart is placed
on this card
that allows my face to grace it
this brain will never be studied
or kept in a jar
all I should look for is a place to lay my shoes
a house
and a woman
that doesn’t mind who
sleeps next to her on the cold nights
when her tears can’t be explained
all that is offered is a tightening of a grasp
that will never loosen
for it knows what it found
but not what it means
or how
an echo is heard
in the dimness of everyday
and most nights
possession of such a thing
is part of living
like a boot to a soldier
only the size of it changes
we all share
this culmination of presence
this exact register of impact
like markers on a trail
meant as a reminder
of all that is behind us
a moment becomes an event
when given the vastness of time
to bask in
they will know it too
his exit was no different from any other
except in the way it felt
the collective breath
of those who I share it with, sighed
out came a pouring of feelings
that are wasted on me
genuine gestures wrapped around him
as he went
his body barely able to go a foot
without words trying to stop it
not understanding they were merely words
crushed against the inevitability of time
and its business of pushing on
back to the coldness he went
alone to clock the time
and suffer the loneliness
that watching it go
Maybe he’ll think of her
all the ones like her
that he thought to use
for his own means
and maybe
he’ll someday read this
I hope so
for then maybe
he’ll see
the words and how they fall into order
and know exactly what the word “her”
holds a place for
can’t expect any of this to wash down easy
all the places we go are just places to hide
in this life we seek shelter
to see anything else—
would be a lie
the streams that collect at a public pool
from the legs of complete strangers
are as odd and strange to me as the motivations they possess
what possibly
brings us together
at all?
each of us possessing some different interest going forward—
a collection of water
on pavement
I admit
may seem as erroneous
as a person’s ability to walk past a piece of art
as soon as they stop to look
but there are patterns
that demand attention
every crack and every slight divot
affects the water differently
eyes peeled to the ground
the stream moves from my hairy leg
down and toward the side
I look up
once more
and see others coming straight at me
all these faces
with all their endless number of emotions
I become overwhelmed
and focus back
that lone stream of water
starting to fall down my leg
is now part of a large collection
already stained
upon the concrete below me
I follow the ground
into small breaks in the pattern
laid by the workmen
years ago
from there its life continues
without me
I see others doing the same
so many streams
that have nothing to do with each other
outside of the ultimate ending
It’s a shame I wasn’t more awake
to the times spent circling around
these girls
their breast plates
some pillow my face can’t quite figure straight
only hazy are the moves from your left shoulder
to your furthest hip
trying to recall your supple features
is like naming off some laundry list
that slightly exposed
a pale tummy you’ve yet to be told to lose
comes to mind as do your hands
they defy reasonable rates of rest
you let them go like you do your mind
full blast
a vestibule
for the greater
all-encompassing idea of you
it’s hard to keep up
feel up to task
to approach it the next day
as we do now
I’d like to
feel those lips against my skin
I wonder if you do too
the pain isn’t so much in the wait
for it all to come around again
but rather the likelihood it won’t be with you
it was never permanent
or a start to an end
for you it was a mistake
or some moment just past
your tolerance for vodka
I accept that
taking the memory for what it is
looking for you
somewhere else
My veins pulse with the promise
of something greater.
It’s an unwarranted desire
but there they go.
These hands turn into fists
as a pre-meditated exercise
for their growth.
They grasp at things greater
than they know.
They long for a sensation
that eludes them.
Their tests and trials over the years
have hardened them
but still they remain
inherently soft and weak.
A woman’s hands
could easily be compared,
though mine lack the compassion
the silkiness that soothes even the sickest of wounds.
Maybe the similarity
is that we both forget the power they possess.
As the fists fall away
and open back up
they come into contact with yours.
Seemingly what they shared
was only a small path
to a predetermined exit.
They continue to harden.
They crack in the wintertime.
I wonder how yours stay so soft.
Is it the number
or the quality of others
they are shared with
that give you such a texture?
Maybe they are just confused
misled by an equally flawed pair?
Michael Nemchick lives for solitary discoveries, bourbon, and one of the newest art forms around: cinema. He studied film and loves it still today. He was born in North Beach, Maryland but currently lives in Los Angeles, California.

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Scott Thomas Outlar hosts the site 17Numa.wordpress.com where links to his published poetry, fiction, essays, interviews, reviews, and books can be found. He is a Best of the Net and three-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Scott's poetry books include: Songs of a Dissident (Transcendent Zero Press, 2015), Chaos Songs (Weasel Press, 2016), Happy Hour Hallelujah (CTU Publishing, 2016), and Poison in Paradise (Alien Buddha Press, 2017). Scott serves as an editor for The Peregrine Muse, Happy Hour Hallelujah, and Novelmasters.

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