Somewhere there’s a line
Between memory
And misery

Memory reminds us
Of joys left behind
Of bliss that exists
In the mists of the mind

And memory returns
Us to misery too
The worst of our years
The anguish
The fears

My pesky memory
Teases with scenes
Of her and me
Scenes I extract
From that happier past
And recreate on a stage
Of hope and dismay

But that play has run
For we’ve come undone
And all my memory
And all my thought
Withal produce naught
Save the catastrophe of her loss

Just need to get
From sunrise to sunset
Lay down my head
Lie like the dead
Have dreams in that bed
Where she once slept
Pretend that instead
Of those bare cotton threads
Beside me she rested,

But nonetheless
I’ll wake in distress
Because she really left.

I’m just a crabby hermit hull
Without the crab that made it whole.

Every day I create
A new figure to convey
The pain of
The angst of
The loss of my love

And yet

These metaphors of misery
And similes in meter
Have done nothing to ease
The suffering within me.

a haiku

I can no longer
See the light that used to shine
In my reflection.

Your height and poise when first I saw you stand;
My eager knee so subtly touching yours;
Across the table stroking arms and hands;
The way you walk beyond your office doors;
Behind your building waiting for me there;
That aspect of surprise on our first time;
The hair cascading down your shoulders bare;
You lying in my lap, your face so bright;
Advancing down the escalator nigh;
My helmet on your head so awkwardly;
You at the bottom of my stairs at night;
And sitting on the bus right next to me —

These memories unending fill my head
With flashes of my love and happiness.

What wretched crime did I commit that I
Must nightly lose my comely muse to time?
What god did I offend that when the end
Of evening comes, alone I bide again?

What sin of mine belied my innocence
That daily I should bear this punishment?
What little known commandment did I break
That every morn without you I awake?

What court of justice tried my case and ruled
My days to thoughts of craving naught but you?
What jury found me evil, bound and left
Me in this prison cell of thee bereft?

The suffering and woe unjust ensue
That moment to my love I bid adieu.

her name hangs
from the tip my tongue
like an icicle
waiting to fall
a cold hard thing
once the elixir of life
now fixed in time
building its weight
its burden
its heartache

and forever hanging
from the tip of my tongue

The pain is so great
I can’t help think
The heavens are telling me
Something’s terribly wrong.

But then again
It could be
The heavens telling me
She is forever gone.

Take the angst of losing everything
And multiply a thousand thousand times
Then place it on your aching chest
So with its onus it can press
Relentless woe into your flesh —
Distress that never rests —
Then send it on a privy tour
Of landmarks in your privy world —
The one she rules without dispute —
Then check a box for every thought
That ends with her
And save a mental souvenir
For every time your forlorn ear
Mistakes a noise for her sweet voice
Then let the darkness fall and feel relief
In sleeping —
Not that sleep can ease the pain
But sleep brings hopes of never waking —
Toss and turn and sweat all night
Then rise to greet
That morning grief
Of seeing her pillow
Without her head’s crease
Then start it all…


James Lewis Huss

American poet in Taipei. Linguist. Atheist. Mystic.

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