Brandon K. Nobles – Josephine

The absence of the flowered smell,
hovered in the air:
above the chair, now vacant, where-
Josephine, her brunette hair,
her absence is a presence there,
the cigarette smoking ghost.
The words, the tenderness, and the notes,
the motes of dust dance in the smoke.

Unspoken words, how sweet the tone,
soft as the grass of dew soaked dawn–
where often we together walked,
smoked our cigarettes and talked,
and that, the touch, the warm caress,
is gone:
How awful for a man in love,
to sleep with his jeans on.

Lying there awake he thought,
of trasured moments that he lost
The sound a kiss makes, can’t be told;
the sound a pen cannot express,
the warmth, the breath, upon the neck.
At the table, tears they stole:
over the cheek-bone and into the bowl.

How awful for a man in love,
to go to sleep still dressed.
To toss and turn, to look above,
and never get to rest.
And in the vision on the ceiling
was at last complete:
his angel wrapped in satin sheets.
Who long ago had left the bed unmade-
and there he laid, with greasy hair,
his face unshaved.
And languished on the couch all day.

How terrible for that same man,
who knelt before a candle stand,
absence is a presence,
and sometimes stronger than,
the feeling of a fluttering heart,
the joy of holding hands–
It can be more powerful,
than anything you can see,
the stars the way they dance at night,
the gardens in the spring.

The absence of the changeling hope,
the bringer of despair.
As he was walking up the stairs,
he met someone who wasn’t there.
And like an addict, who in vain hopes,
he prays:
for his misery to be assuaged:
to hear that voice, to see that face;
In the heart there is a place,
where the blossoms of a romance blooms:
in the foyeur of an empty room.

The things you miss, when you’re alone,
over and over playing that song-
even though not comfortable,
together on the couch,
he’d sleep on a bed of nails,
to sleep with her right now.

To miss her is too long, to need,
a letter, call, or anything;
Without the rhythm of the gentle breathing,
it is quite hard to sleep.
Every fault that has been found,
is cherished when you’re not around.
It’s hard to see, to know how come–
you thought the zero was the one.

Circles in the Sand

Where’s Waldo when he isn’t there,
And when the page yields not a stare
He’s gone, not here, nor on the page;
It was said he had no face,
And yet he has to be somewhere,
And where I’d not venture dare.

You bought the games, just for the kids,
they thought,
If they looked so hard and long,
Their Waldo would appear;
And for but one print’s mistake,
Waldo wasn’t on the page.

What a joke that it should be,
Nothing there, no glimpse to see,
And looking thus neglects what’s seen,
The people of the world in need,
What’s there of which can be observed,
The stories of their lived unheard.

You’ve seen those pictures, as a child,
One face a midst a crowd beguiled:
The children looked, yet could not find,
Amongst the trees, against the sky,
no glimpse of Waldo walking by.

What if that man, in red and white,
Whose painter gave no alibi,
When left him off the page,
Wondered if the children playing,
Would give up or cease to play—
Or would they some false statement make,
And swear that they had seen the face.

The face in all its glory, theirs,
Free to name and twist the words,
And pass it onto unto the heard,
Until the Seer overheard,
And turned the group of gaggling geese,
Into deaf mute mockingbirds;
Mute they sang their silent songs,
Undisturbed strangers walk on.

And now they but repeat,
What once they so selfish preached;
Just whistles on the road, at dawn,
In a language by no one is known—
And pluck about at chicken feed,
On the windswept gravel roads.
The blind rooster crows at dawn,
As dogs will find their own way home.
The light that guides them in the night,

By their faith, the stars, the land,
The nomads in their caravans,
Go in circles in the sand—
And endless search in vain.
Perhaps they should just let it go,
And care about each other
more than rumors of Waldo.

Through the torrents and the rain,
the men and women yearn and strain—
to look to find something their mind,
won’t let them see—
for what they pray
is right before their face;
if only they would look
from fifty feet away.

Brandon K. Nobles – Temporarily Lost at Sea

Flashing words once lit the page,
then dimmed and blurred away each day.
The flame, though weak, the muse remained,
to wane and burn out in the rain.
The stories of the streets,
the smoke,
rose amongst those lost who go,
down narrow roads, each alleyway,
is another story told.

The outcast men who coughing pass,
the shadows of some tragic past
downcast;
hands in their jeans, they see the ark,
of gasoline rainbows in the dark;
passing bums push rusted carts,
and artists with their beggars bowl;
they paint themselves into a hole—
a frame around them, and they’re trapped,
the page—
becomes the starving artists grave.

They may as well be lost at sea,
the lost Madonna theirs for free
as lost ships passed by in the streets
each other rarely seemed to see,
themselves an island in the stream—
Lost love passes by unseen,
déjà vu of some old dream;
when the night comes,
mute are the birds;
their mating songs above unheard.

Fleeting moments thrown away,
the drafts:
one after another—trash,
a pen in hand, still waiting, and,
on empty streets the gutters string,
There are no u-turns in a dream.

Were artists robots to convey,
their dreamlike musing during day,
with what they’ve seen,
and what they’ve heard:
The artist learned, if to return,
to the past and Eden save.
only to have to have a portrait
of lost paradise on page.

Something true, before the fall,
if only it’d be seen by all.
What is it for the writer, then—
oil on canvas with a pen>
The vibrant golden orange groves,
to only be transposed to prose,
and neatly filed away by page,
They the lost souls blindly stray,
into a self created maze,
they look and strive; they peek, they pine,
and yet they find no peace of mind.
There is no piece to find,
just daily drives, down memory lane,
still cradling the infant flame.

The silent highways dying pale
rose up from the streets a wail
the trash the cans the cups,
dying crying cigarette butts
stubbed out not needed, not enough
The Mona Lisa turns to dust;
and that lighthouse with no shore,
the light the beggars all strive for,
confused Arjuna in the war,
lost in the dreamscapes of the mind,
out of space and out of time.

Driving down the dusty roads,
music up and both eyes closed,
visions of Madonna,
of Loretta on the stairs—
her arms around the Christ child bare:
before her knelt two sinners lost in prayer.
And languid lays the muse,
the queen with golden hair:
holding a heart electric in the air.

A moment, just one minute please
From her hand the neon flame
was eaten by the Beast.
To search, our raison d’etre,
to wander is our creed.
And finding nothing,
in the end—
we’re left with nothing but a pen.

Brandon K. Nobles – 8 ½ Behind

Dawn was in her overcoat,
In the acrid air of cigarette smoke,
Drowsy the clock struck ten, she yawned,
The portrait was beside the phone,
Roger in his uniform on the wall
Then she thought back, inside her mind,
For that dusty smell, to find,
That army coat of wool was warm
just like that faded flag and, worn,
folded in a triangle
inside a bureau drawer.

A soldiers life the price for war,
for freedom isn’t free.
it costs one hundred thousand lives
They should just let it be.
The foundation of a nation
Is more than bones and slavery.
The hope is faint but hope is there,
That in the future, someone—somewhere,
the whole world shared, the whole world free.
Perhaps the eldest man will see,
A world he would not disavow.
The question why replaced with how.

Perhaps someone will someday come,
To see the earth with no divisions,
If only this deaf Earth could listen.
Earth has no ears, no sound,
the last lines he ever wrote:
Three months later Vera found
a ragged flag left by the door,
along with an envelope—
the last words that he ever wrote:

I should’ve brought my coat, it read
The one you always wore.
I left it on the coat rack by the door.
They gave me a replacement,
But it doesn’t—hell,
But all I have is this.
It’s one of you sitting in the boat,
With Molly’s dog and overcoat,

Your scent was with me when I left,
And every time I took a breath,
I saw you laughing in the bed.
And if that’s all I have, I guess,
I could be better off.
I love you very much, my Dawn,
I’ll see you when I get home.

It was simple in its prose,
and when she read it there she broke
into pieces like a glass;
She lay there as a shattered mirror,
Memories flitted past;
She heard him laugh,
and saw him smile,
walking toward him down the aisle—
that spark of light that once burned bright,
Inside her dimmed and died.

Wars are not always of land,
Or conquest, genocide,
Sometimes the worst of battles,
Take place inside the mind.
An early night, a glass of wine,
A night alone, the curtains drawn—
One chance to live, one chance to die,
To peek and pine away the time,
And wander night-time like a stray,
The moments die and fall like flies
And you are eaten by the day.
Some hope, some wish, some kill themselves,
Some just to get away,
And they all sing the same old song,
It shouldn’t be this way.

Diane became a shrieking wreck,
Crying wrapped up in that jacket,
Popping pills and drinking vodka
Playing with a loaded shotgun—
But when she slept she saw him young,
When they loved each other dumb
She slept in front of him at night,
Listening to his breathing quiet,
Waiting on him for a while.
To hear him sleep to see that smile,

Euphoria mornings on the beach,
From here to Eternity—
Then she got the news,
He was just another letter,
His wife she dared not read;
but when she saw the folded flag
She fell to her knees and screamed.

Every day she washed the clothes,
But never Roger’s coat.
It smelled like him, his must,
And in the end that was enough.
They rolled around and played
When they were young under the sun
When the future waited warm
They wrestled on the trampoline,
And pinched each others arms.
Of his embrace, and that old coat,
Still in their old room brushed.

That future dreamed of them had flown,
As daffodils in the wind are blown—
Once there for the taking,
Once right there in your hand—
Until the specter Death arose,
And sent you down another path,
Just another unknown road.
You can resist, you can persist,
But you know you have to go.

That old coat was in his room
Still with a man’s Old Spice perfume.
She tried to see the good, their past,
Not Roger in a grave.
Between them all the best they had,
When together holdings hands,
Such a beautiful life to come;
After a pint or two of rum,
She talks to him at night,
And if she’s drunk enough,
She hears him say goodnight.

Soft are the petals when they fall,
And beauty too grows old.
It’s going to be all better,
In the next world we are told
and if that story’s true,
I might see you again
I’ll return that worn-out coat
If Heaven lets us in.