The Love Poem I Can’t Seem to Write (Songs for My Tribe)

The Love Poem I Can’t Seem to Write (Songs for My Tribe)
06/29/2017, Deon Mumple

It’s still not good enough, I’ve written the same poem four times now.
I keep trying to say it just right, keep trying, but I don’t really know how.
How do you say this thing, this feeling? What are the right words?
I don’t want to say the same sounds I know you’ve already heard.

It didn’t turn out those times before, when your hope needed fulfilled
And those last two times, when you swore, no more, after the dream was killed
I don’t want to be that way,  I want to be different, and never see you hurt
But I know the times I’ve failed before, don’t trust me,  trust me, you’ll get burned

I’ve written this poem five times now, just trying to say it right
I want to make the promises and keep them, so we always win the fight
I want to be superhuman, and be heroic, but at the same time, be real,
But I don’t feel real; I’m up and down without flying, can’t even control how I feel.

I’ve written this poem six times now, and it’s never going to be perfect
The same as I know about you and me, but I’m not, and you’re not, and we’re not.
I’m afraid, you’re afraid, it’s not going to work, but I hope you’ll give it a shot.
Like this poem, I’m trying to write it right, and keep on writing it wrong,
Me versus verses that don’t have choruses, and a form that’s far from correct
Sometimes even the best composers build a bridge to write a decent love song.

I’ve written this poem seven times, this is the last time, then I’m through.
It may never be exactly right, about like trying on the wrong sized shoe,
But if a hope is just deferred but somehow I know it was meant to come true,
Maybe mixed up words will make the longing fulfilled, so I can win and keep you.

Progress and Practice (Fear, Faith, & Medicine)

Progress and Practice (or, Fear, Faith, & Medicine)

I held very still in the palm of her hand, waiting;
I wanted to feel warmth, and give myself completely;
Alternately heard and then muffled, her, debating,
As her hand opened and closed, surrounding me softly…

He shook with tears, blew his nose, I waited, bottled, trapped,
He knew firsthand what doctors knew he’d feel, like dying,
Except, not reaching the end of dying, living, sapped,
Wondered if they’d like a taste of what he was trying…

The terror of being the lab rat, experiment,
So caringly sympathetic to my stress, illness-
To my face, a clinical, practiced sentiment. Then,
I’m observed distantly: measure blood, symptoms, careless…

Somehow this is supposed to cure, while making me ill;
These too expensive bottles, white-capped, an ocean’s wave,
Clean, belying coughing, vomit, blood, and worse, they spill.
Dispelling “bad symptoms,” but pushing me toward the grave…

When medicine was spiritual a shaman might
Try to drive the evil out with inhospitable
Circumstance, ending by ending the poor patient’s life.
The new “practice’s” toxic stew still may be fatal.

I wish you could understand, see that I’m not crazy;
Discover the root causes, extract only what’s bad,
Without, in treatment’s process, nearly murdering me ,
And adding symptoms that are far worse than what I had.

I waited, a poisoned bead, slow-built fatality,
Or, harsh key, ill-fit, but closest to miracle cure,
In the bottle, in the fist, trusting in chemistry.
Despite modern progress, still, much is faith, to be sure.

She told herself the little dots would make her better.
He told himself the side effects were worth the benefit.
She smiled, mouth dry, wishing that water could feel wetter.
He swallowed, knowing, thinking, “Here it comes.  Wait for it.”

06/27/2017, Deon Mumple

I wrote this after hearing my mum talk about certain choice symptoms of some of the medicine dad was prescribed, that she had to clean after, and after watching “The Bucket List,” a charming movie with Jack Nicholson (The Joker) and Morgan Freeman (God) both dying of cancer.  For the record, if the question ever came to your mind, I like good coffee, but I won’t drink Kopi Luwak or its cousin Black Ivory.  Thanks for sharing, mum.

I Learned This

I didn’t write anything at all on Father’s Day,
But rested instead, in a quirky, working way,
I did everything just like my dad showed me,
Before he started to lose the man who he used to be.
I pray that the harder struggle doesn’t happen to me,
But I see clear signs all around me already.
He used to be so strong, and worked so very hard,
At his job, at church, for friends, or strangers, or in the yard,
I can see that more than he loves himself, he still loves us,
His kids, his wife, and surviving friends, He’s my image of Jesus,
When he was younger and stronger he set the tone
Expecting respect, demonstrating grace and love, until we had grown
And always showing love for my mum that still gleams in his eyes
Despite the frustrations that can still make them both cry
I learned this.

So I worked in the yard and the house on Father’s day
Resting hands in the dish soap, in the garden, at play
And I flirted with her;  ’til it hurt when she pushed back,
But I loved past the point when I felt her attack
And I don’t understand how, but I love the same way
Sometimes it works out, it’s what dad would say
The kids disrespect and the wife says things harshly
And occasionally she sees me hurt, says she loves me,
Then offers something different than she knows I really wanted
Because love sometimes translates, and sometimes it doesn’t
If I only know how to speak love with the tongues of mere humans
Ending with surrender, I miss the mark by even farther then
I have to do more than say it to make it really count
Say I’m crazy, but love’s worth blood and pain, any amount
I learned this.

Instead of intent and accomplishment, I gave up and spent
Time to show love, and then our time came and went
To say it, to be it, an example to my kids, and proof to her
That I meant the words of my vow, just like my father
Mum’s frustrated; He says he can’t do it, I feel his discouragement,
As strength that once filled him is replaced by bones, bent,
He gets tired easily instead, now in slow, aging decline,
And his legs hurt sometimes, I’m sure much worse than mine.
She and I did mundane things, held hands, being together
I missed my chance to mow the grass, caught by stormy weather
I can’t get frustrated.  It’ll have to wait until another day
Another time, because love’s worth the time, and any price I’ll pay
I learned this.

A kind word, and laughter, are stronger than strength
I want a legacy of love that outlives my life’s length
But I begin to realize the things I can’t do still
That I used to just do; now I still try; I always will
Offering guidance with a gentle hand, a story, a joke meant
To distract but discipline, train by encouragements spoken
There are and will be days when I want my way, for me
But more often that’s not how I hope to be in their memory
They see me, discouraged, and I get up again, disappointed by
Life, and I get up again, I smile, fall and get up, trying to try
And fail, and try until I win, or die, I want to leave this
They see me discouraged, and angry, I cry, shoot and miss
The mark, but I keep on trying, fighting my pain with rage
Because I’ve seen deep meaning behind trying as I age
I learned this.

My dad is old and sometimes, too tired to try again,
I’ve seen him want to surrender, depressed, and then
To spite the lie, the warrior’s glint in his eyes flashes
Rage to raise to his feet again, teeth grind and gnash as
He tries anyway.  Despite all the negative-he may fail
When he feels disappointed, left alone after betrayal
“A righteous man falls seven times,” and gets up again
I may never be righteous; failure feels like all I’ve ever been
But I want to get up, love, and fight, when I remember his life
She doesn’t speak his language well, but she’s still his wife.
Not all of this is shown perfectly, by either my father or me,
But it’s worth the effort, if generations grow, learning to see
That noble struggles with life, with their personal humanity
Are the ongoing examples they ought to choose to leave.
I learned this.

Thanks, Dad.

Pieces (Songs for My Tribe)

Pieces, 5/26/2017, Deon Mumple
(for Pieces of Bipolar)

My life, my love, my heart and soul
Endure, carrying on somehow,
In spite of everything.
I’m fracturing.
Time takes a steep toll.
Each stolen treasure leaves me less whole,
And I started out already in Pieces.

I hold on, seizing hope, and praise
The beauty common to every day,
And notice it in you.
No, don’t!  It’s true.
I see your love, strength, brokenness, sadness,
I feel your spirit’s touch, through joys, through madness,
And I have the courage to carry on, in Pieces.

My brain only betrays sometimes,
Wait, don’t speak!  Oh, nevermind,
Those inner voices scream
Unfiltered streams.
Sometimes I’m too tired to control
What’s said. Oh well, that’s rock and roll-
Rock to stone me, break Pieces to Pieces

I want true love and solitude
Acceptance, even when I seem rude.
Not impossible,
Nor my expecting honesty-
Don’t you dare ever lie to me,
This wall protects me, all these shattered Pieces.

My heart’s hiding with me in here,
Behind the meds, the moods, my fear
Longing to be coaxed
Afraid of another hoax
My mind might be brilliant,
But don’t ask me to think when I can’t
Can’t trust, can’t love, can’t heal these crushed Pieces.

Don’t tell me that you understand.
Just love me and hold my hand,
Watching while I smile.
Or let go for a while,
When the rage takes me by surprise,
Or sadness of losses brings tears to my eyes.
I’ll come back when I can re-gather my shards and Pieces.

So I’m not everyone’s portrait
Of “normal.”  So what?  Look what you forfeit
When your love’s tied to strings
People aren’t puppets that sing,
My love’s more true than I am any day:
I push away, but then wish you’d stay.
Love could be glue to fix these broken Pieces.

Remember, I’m not writing these in any particular order, unless you tell me to.  But I’ve written this poem today, to celebrate a beautiful living soul, who blogs under the name Pieces of Bipolar.  I hope you like my tribute.  She is one of the first bloggers I encountered since I started blogging.  And, in my humble opinion, she’s brilliant and a great writer and poet, so I hope if you don’t know her, you’ll check out her writing.

We met as mutual friends of another blogger, whose tribute I wrote as the first in my celebration series, Songs for My Tribe.

I love her to Pieces. 🙂 My mum used to say that.  “I love you all to Pieces, and then I love all the Pieces.”

Fallen Angel

When words fail us, our tears fall like rain.
Should we feel anger mingled with our pain?
When there are no answers, and right feels wrong,
The tears are the silenced words to our love song
When I remember, they play all over again.
My fallen angel!

I’m not alone hearing a love song play
With no music and no words left to say
What we have left are wishes that won’t come true
And our grief, deeper than any shade of blue
And words we wished we could have said…
My fallen angel!

No one can answer the questions we ask
But guilt never resolved chords dissonance
What’s left when there are no more words?
And she’s not here if they could be heard?
I don’t know anything left to tell
My fallen angel.

What can I say that wasn’t said before?
When I said “I love you,” I loved her more
And the tears fall, singing my love once again,
For mixed up hearts and lives. My friends
Should know love’s much deeper than pastel.
Don’t fall, my angels!

05/21/2017, Deon Mumple

I wrote a poem before about my Ulla, when I found out she had left us.  And now I’ve written this one by request because too many people fall to depression, bipolar, and other mental health difficulties.  We lost Ulla, and then we lost Johnna who wrote sweetly about how Ulla touched her, and honestly I just don’t want to lose any more of my people.  More famously, and more recently, forgive me for taking it too personally, I lost my favorite male vocalist Chris Cornell.

Sorry for being selfish, but please, all the rest of you warriors, please just don’t leave me here without you.  Ulla said “You matter.”  We need each other. And I don’t want to write any more poems in memory.  I want to write poems of celebration.  Ulla was an encourager of others, and the wish I wished the most other than my prayers for her to be healed was that I could encourage her enough, be a good enough friend, to help her and make her want to stay and keep writing, and keep fighting.  And neither were granted.  I fear for myself, and I fear for all of you.

Here is a short, beautiful tribute written about Ulla by Pieces of Bipolar, quoted by Johnna:
Blahpolar had an immense effect on my life. I doubt she even realised how much. She walked beside me on my own journey even as she carried the weight of her own demons. She said two words that redefined my life – you matter. Two simple words that changed my life. And now, I am at a loss for words. Because she mattered to me, and to you and to us. Words escape me. All I have are tears…

A Song for Chris

I want to cry, don’t want to cry,
Fuck you, death, Why don’t YOU just die
I’m tired of grief, and time, the thief
I want to kill death, watch it die.

I sit trained like a dog, to wait
For food, my own death, festering hate
Afraid to walk outside the gate
A rabid temple, a sacred fate.

I’d scream to find a higher truth,
Louder than love.  We’re caged, in pain,
We waste away so much of youth,
In saddest days we can’t explain.

The garden’s sounds frighten my soul
Loud and confusing, silent toll,
No sleep, justice is misaligned-
I find a dream, and miss the goal.

I want to cry; I wanted more
Than cloudy feelings, sad and sore.
If life were ever not unfair
In this life we’d settle the score

But we just die, and there we lie
Until we crumble, rot or fry
It’s not the way I would decide
What I want: I want to cry,

I want all my lost treasures back
So many people I’ve lost track,
Nearly forgot my broken heart-
I want it healed, and not attacked,

Black days to go the fuck away,
Starve death until it’s dead and lean,
and Rage Against the Death Machine.
Don’t want to cry.  I want to cry.

R.I.P. Chris Cornell, 07/20/1964-05/17/2017

Alone in Crowds of People

Did I choose this, or did it happen, chance, or a deliberate accident?
I’m with people all the time, who act like they care, but they don’t.
When it comes down to it, the crowd doesn’t care for the crowd,
Only the one cares for the one, the megaphoned silence says out loud.

I’m alone at work with my stress, my work, and there’s always a little more work,
If the counters counted my value, my boss wouldn’t have to be a jerk,
I’m alone when at home, surrounded by drivers who thrive
On my silent drives: duty and responsibility, their manipulative connive

I’m alone at my church, good enough to work and serve, but not good,
Until I worship, alone, a God Who has turned away, and well He should,
Alone, surrounded by my crowds of strangers, I know, and want to know
Alone, while they dare to claim their care, I think it’s a hell of a show

I’m alone, surrounded by significants who ignore my insignificance,
Alone, wondering if everyone else feels they’re alone, in a trance,
Or if they’re really not there, why they seem so real, while they’re ignoring me
Did this start because I wanted to be left alone, or through emotional injury?

All I know is I don’t like what I know about being alone any more,
I’ve been pushed away,  until I learned to push away, and my heart’s left alone and sore
It’s been a long blur of lonely, I’m a stranger to myself, alone long enough to question-
I begin to wonder if I pushed first or they, and if, maybe, it’s time to try to trust again.

Are you lonely only because I left you alone? If I left you, I’m truly sorry.
But I’m terrified from being hurt before, if you look close enough to see.
I’m sad and tired from loneliness, but lonely’s a safe place to stay
So I’ll leave you alone forever again, if you hurt me and push me away.


When it reigns, it poors, says the old cliche as old as old winds ever blue,
Wear it seams every mourning I watch, helpless, yet another storm bruise;
When it reigns, it poors, hiding the gilt staining there hearts in full view,
We all hurdle through, some say pleas, some trip, some float by without a clew.
“Friends” don’t help- they cant as they cell me “knew” words thinking I do knot no,
As with free quince see bitterness’ throne, words fillet heart until its’ groan
Proud wen they prey profit tick seize sum site out of heir weight new bourne
How can my faith prophet? They prey for my piece calm err words too worn
Taut, attuned, here viol, retch, kneed missals lessen, caws my soul to feal a frayed,
I’d rather live without fere, then halve the hole, and look heaven-Word forrayed.

Thirty Seconds

Thirty minutes becomes thirty seconds in just a few blinks of the eye,
Thirty seconds, a shadow beckons; we can’t hide from time, but we lie,
Makeup, plastic surgery, thirty thrice wrinkles, all covered, and we still die

Thirtyseconds, a fraction of fractions, a miniscule piece of a pie,
Thirtyseconds, blurred musical motion, I can hear it, but not count that high,
A bite, a taste, a tiny tease. I want much more of both, please!  Can I try?

Thirty seconds and only one winner; after first place all others are not,
Thirtyseconds, three and one eighth percents.  Math in a poem?  Why not?
How much of a fifth is a thirtysecond? I’d give that problem …a shot.

Mostly Cloudy with a Chance of Crying

I forgot all about that it’s April,
I forgot to compose poetry
Not that my poetry is a big thrill
I feel cloudy.  Who wants that to read?

When I’m down, does it have to be raining;
Like the sky agrees I should be sad?
Everyone’s tired of all my complaining,
But they would be with the life I’ve had.

There won’t be a daily composition,
I’ve already missed several days,
I could race, challenge all competition,
But that’s not how Deon Mumple plays.

It’s another way that I’m a failure,
Says my accusers, with examples
Of the other ways, they’re right, I’m quite sure,
I should try!  Should my soul feel trampled?

Not faithless.  Like Lazarus’ Mary,
I believe the end will be just fine
In the middle, I’m doubting, life’s scary,
Til faith’s blessings finally align…

While I wish I would be more victorious,
I’m too tired to stand, much less, fight,
I am stuck where I am through my own choices,
Near transparent, fading into night.

Sometimes I wish that no one could see me,
And I wish they would, on other days
See my crushed heart, my shattered soul, clearly,
Help me, or let me just fade away.

April clouds live in my spirit, feasting,
Leaving me broken, hollow, worthless,
Hail and fail, rain and pain, grey and wasting
Hoping this isn’t good as it gets.