That Orange Smell of November

Inspired by a long walk in Berlin, and Synaesthesia/1 by Barbara Ryan and Annette Stahmer
Tuesday, January 1, 1980

I have traveled far afield,
so distant from my kind
Twisted warps of life that yield
a window to my mind

Far from start and far from end,
anchor-less astray
Endless travels do portend
I may have lost my way

Our differences are stark, well
it was expected of course
Different lives like parallels
that have a single source

Not decades but centuries,
a canyon not a trench
Cleaved by age and seven seas
that we have to transcend

A day of walks along the shores
of thoughts and histories
Dredges back up to the fore
the sub-dermal unease

Words can’t say what stones portray,
the steps that sidewalks bore
Left a print that poets pray
can’t capture in their lore

Screams of anguish serpentine
that echo in our ear
Where their blood like Sunday wine
enriches the terroir

Past that hangs like heavy capes
and modulates the skin
Bares our minds, our throats and napes
and hearts that beat within

Impatience creases our brow
to start another new
We do not know yet when or how,
but we might know with who

Then a spark, a silence shared,
words tentative that grow
Strands of hope that gasp for air
so frenzied life can slow

We sit on ancient ledges
tossing stones in pools of words
And watch the ripples fade to edge as
sentences in thirds

Darkness flashes, rivers dance,
I hold your hand in mine
In that light I catch a glance,
your lips curled like a twine

Run your hand along the bone,
your senses are askew
You think that you fall alone
but I am falling too

A walk of thousand steps is followed
by a thousand more
Adding to the thousands that had
taken place before

Health won’t come from a single walk
nor guarantee us love
But it colors hundred talks
from red to blue to mauve

Wane then wax with elation
like a pendulum
Powered by infatuation’s
surging momentum

Sputter, surge, simmer, boil,
overflow once more
Falter, tripped by doubt and foil,
back to lives of yore

A journey that is broad and deep
is necessarily long
Buffeted by doubts that creep
but dykes of faith are strong

Like glue that holds this crumbling land
this faith is not in vain
Just as footsteps fade in sand
but walks remain in grain

Make some space to grow or see
thoughts inimical intrude
Turn the noise down so we
enjoy the quietude

Standing at the edge that falls
look up at sky we must
As the act of flying calls
for a major leap of trust

I untie the knots that bind
and trust my heart's refrain
Walk with you so I can find
my way back home again

Plans nor fate predict the state
that walks so well foretell
Shifting winds will end our wait
for November’s orange smell.