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Word(s) . Light . Life

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Cycling, surfing clouds of air

Crossing over somewhere

Lost voice in time. Rushed.

Hushed waters. Sun on chrome.

Next stop? Her words held close.

Carefully pondered as beach pebbles

Against a thirsty landscape. She said,

Two friends = Two happy people.

True. So, what was holding him back?

He knew. He couldn’t say. Limitations

Her in her chair, for one.  Gentle. Tough

Not for a second could he get away easy

Because it seemed she was walking to him.

Facing Everest. Waiting. Listening.

While he’d lost his last ounce of courage

Long ago. Could make a man cry

Which is why he knew he loved her

And let her know. Possibilities.

©2013 S. Michaels
Blank Canvas – Hugo & Nancy

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Opening Lines

Part of the miracle
And wonder of finding Nancy
Had been trusting his intuition.
Leaping off a cliff in blind faith.
Believing life could fall back
Float into place at last. Erase ‘past’.
Disappointments. He knew she knew.
Somehow. Seeing into his soul

Connecting, listening. Knowing.
Then parting. He promised to call.
Felt soft eyes burning through him
Knowing. It was most unlikely.

Guessing he was a man of rainy seasons
Roads of rhetoric. Storm-washed. Familiar.
All about reality checks and balances.
Nothing to do with her, he reasoned.
Or her inability to walk and run.

No. Something scarier. Knowing.
Even in that chair she’d soared
Had touched freedom and heights.
That her spirit kept pace with grace.
Something beyond him. Beyond the dark.

A peace that scared him half to death
But finally, when he’d dug up nerve.
And called the # on her business card
Dug out of the back of a desk drawer
# disconnected. Served him right.
Ahhh, yes.  He’d done it again.

Taken too much time. Analyzing.
Perfecting another flimsy house of cards.
Rebuilding a repertoire of opening lines
All the world a stage. And no one to talk to.

©2013 S. Michaels
Blank Canvas – Hugo & Nancy

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Nancy’s Footsteps


First impulse. He wanted to run
Race out the door. Saw her wheelchair

Then her signature lime green
Nancy. He wanted to leave

Caught a light in her eyes
That reeled him in. Squirming
A fish caught in a net

Her laugh floated. Put him at ease
Wanted to hear his story
And then he asked about hers
Late dinner. Way past eight
Too late. For theatre tickets

But he wanted to know. Hear
How she’d grown up on the east side
As a teen. Out on the streets
One day darkness took her. Down
And later, light. Woke her up
In a hospital. Unable to walk

Simple story. Nothing religious.
Darkness. Tears. Light. Joy.

Told him the Lord was the first One
To truly love her. Just as she was

And she lit up then. Like Times Square.
Hugo had nothing to say. Shifted. Stood

A little too much food for thought
He was comfy with ‘as is’
Preconceived whatchamacallit
Ideas, ideals, notions, ‘same-old’
Nice person. She’d got him thinking
About stuff. Losing baggage.
Throwing it out the window

A lady good at losing luggage
She ought to know what he felt
He left her there. Felt her smile

Blazing behind him like footsteps
As if she’d walked this way before

© 2013 S. Michaels
Blank Canvas
Seven Love Stories – Hugo & Nancy

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Lost Luggage


They connected as easily
And unassumingly as a blue wave
Which had bobbed him along
On an airtight rubber raft
As he dreamed of sailing
South Pacific. Until he got tangled
Held hostage by a red buoy
Something inflatable…
Upon closer inspection
On a flat tidal beach
It was rather fine luggage
Swiss. Totally waterproof
Locked. Plastic tag with a name
Nondescript. Nancy J. McNee
A blurred street address
Somewhere in Poughkeepsie, NY
Which he deciphered, then wrote…

Returning your luggage…
Found at sea…

Puzzling over it all awhile
He hoped Nancy J. ‘whoever’
Was safely home. And forgot her.
Until her small parcel arrived
A glass paperweight
‘Schooner under glass’
She had written neatly
How had she guessed?
Tagged him for a dreamer
Nancy J. ‘Mc-whatever’
Seemed to know a lot more
Than most people did of him
She urged him not to worry
(As though he had been…)
Assuring him she was quite well
As was her indestructible red luggage
Which had gone astray months ago
On the way to Penn Station

‘I’ve never been to sea’

The back and forth began
A few little things in the mail
He wasn’t exactly imaginative
With words or gifts. Hoped she liked
A paperweight with two butterflies
And French words, under glass

‘réservé  à deux’

It must have meant something
She returned him two tickets
For a play somewhere Off Broadway
In late May. On the ‘off chance’
She suggested he might want to go
Assuming he was available

Nothing about being ‘interested’
Or willing. He laughed.
And began to imagine her
No social media. She insisted
Age. No matter. She dismissed
’40 is the new 50…isn’t it?’
And asked him to keep an eye out
For a woman with a distinctive air
Of sunshine. Wearing lime green

You will know me. I am buoyant.

© 2013 S. Michaels
Blank Canvas
Seven Love Stories – Hugo & Nancy J.

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Il Regalo


Surf pounding at his limbs
Throwing him on strange shores
Oceans drumming inside of him
Too wide to cross. Seeing Eliana.

On the road, waiting for him
Almond eyes. Russet hair
A half moon smile he loved
He reached out. But it wasn’t her

Eravamo gemelli…

We were twins, she explained
Elizabetta. An identical sister
A revealer of Eliana’s sorrows
A child left behind. Eliana gone forever
Prompting Elizabetta to write to him

The year after Eliana died
il documento ufficio, in her hand
Naming Ilario a benefactor

She had left him…un regalo…a gift
A small cantina. A patch of land
Nothing magnifico, a fattoria
Elizabetta paused. Saw his disbelief
The anguish tearing him apart
Eliana, who had been there for him
And who had needed him. Now this
A land forgotten. A love lost

Elizabetta. Silent. Wondering
Would he stay…for the bambina?
For the girl. Eliana’s daughter.
No answer. No words. He left
And returned one evening. A month later
Elizabetta’s eyes, Eliana’s asking
Will you stay…?

i sarà…

When he and Elizabetta married
It was a quiet wedding. Famiglia.
Followed by a desire to begin again
A new home. A villa near Orvieto
They agreed. The child, Fiorenza happy
And jumping up and down with questions

Was this my mama’s gift?

sì piccolo.

Il regalo… Eliana’s gift.

un nuovo inizio
A new beginning.

© 2013 S. Michaels
Blank Canvas
Seven Love Stories – Ilario & Eliana

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Vento Destino

flagwallpapers.com, shell against sea

Le Parche, nella mitologia romana
Vento destino, fierce winds of fate

Drove him, Venice to Catanzaro
La Roccelletta di Borgia in springtime

Bellabella. To be where Eliana had walked

He had never left everything behind before
But she was gone. Cosa ci riserva il destino? 
Nothing was left. But to keep going

He spoke of this journey as affari, business
But he knew better. So did everyone else

Amico di un amico, he spoke reservedly
To an avvocato femmina at the other end

In return, she spoke as if she was snow or ice
Crisp and cold. Asking how Eliana’s famiglia knew him
And how it had been Eliana’s last wish to find him
To bequeath to him a gift to be received di persona

Naturalmente, ovviamente, he’d said from somewhere
In a strange land. Unable to breathe. Unable to speak

Sleeping in his car on a roadside, tossing as the sea
He heard Eliana’s young happy whisper in his ear

I asked the winds to send you to me…

But not this way. Never like this.

© 2013 S. Michaels
Blank Canvas
Seven Love Stories – Ilario & Eliana

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The Weight of Water

scenery-wallpapers.com, venice grand canal

It was always a game for him
A quick study, a survivor
Mastering the art of escape
In his city it was easy to wear masks
At carnival, as a Venetian knight
Letting crushing crowds sweep in
Chasing shadows. Leaping gondolas
Racing across the Piazzetta
Refusing to be taken out of life
He promised himself. One thing.
To love. Not hate. To believe.

And then he found her.

A scampi of a girl. Smiling.
About his age. Wide toothy grin.
Long bronzed hair pulled back
Selling spiky pink blooms in the sun
She spoke of distant country hills
And gathering exotic armfuls
Of antoniettas, cardoni,
irises, lilies, and sunchokes

He invented things. To impress.
Cover up. She listened. Nodded.
Followed him home. Crouching outside
A silent interlocutor, praying as he fell
Blows crashing. His papa’s bottle. Striking.
Making him take the blame for his mama
Dying. Because she’d given him his life
Ilario’s guilt solid as steel armour. Taking it.
The girl always wanting to let him know
She cared. But fearing if she did. He’d break.
For she understood the weight of water
Encroaching on the foundations daily
A strange destiny. Bound by tears.

It was only long after his papa died
That Ilario awoke. La vita bene
Owned up to mistakes. Held onto dreams.
Took nothing for granted. Learned to laugh
His Ristorante Impressario overflowing
Crowds rushing in and out as tides
He held it close, like a baby. Seldom left.
But when he did, sipping a Brio
At night, staring towards the lagoon
He thought about her. His girl.
Saw her take his hand long ago
Making him run like the wind.


© 2013 S. Michaels
Blank Canvas
Seven Love Stories – Ilario & Eliana