One Night in a Cold Sweat

Contents Copyright 1997 by Elizabeth A. Lear

I would like to take this opportunity for a dislaimer: this is nearly 20 years worth of stuff (mostly 1982-88), and the quality varies wildly. Some were class assignments, some were experiments in form or content or message, some were cathartic. No warranties expressed or implied, enter at your own risk, here abide dragons.

A Love Gone

my Galahad

buried there in pleasant spring a late snowfall hides the grave from curious and loving eyes alike yet melting swiftly to wash away the scars when sun again appears for a while a weeping mourner kneels by a muddy mark longing to hold a beating heart again but separated by God's earthy depths lear 4/18/83

A Midnight Summer

Once upon a dream I wrote while shadows were passing and time was crawling you were there it was so easy to see you then frozen like a photograph in my eyes it all seemed so real In the aftermath I was confused the already too fine line became blurred and I balanced on razor ribbon holding my breath waiting for you to embrace me or deny me lear 8/11/86


warm breezes blow too hot when skin touches skin rustling leaves a symphony overhead soft grass a caress in the wind drowsy in the heat birdsongs tickling in the sunshine all these things a background the world merely a stage well set so far away so far alone lear 6/12/87


he walks alone touching a blossom here and there caressing the petals with a memory soft silk strokes his skin each colour holds a thought in a moment of existence he wishes for her there to share and see the harvest of her inspiration he can feel her touch at his fingertips she is music on the wind brushing his cheek with her aria but he is solitude and the breeze dies as quickly as it rose waiting for him to beckon once again lear 6/12/87


a hot night in early summer the hum of distant fans comes as she sits on the porch listening to the trees breathing the air like nowhere else on earth fragrances that mean home on the gentle air no one about no cars passing through no lights but the simple streetlights marching down the street to the town line from where she is sitting with the house on the hill above the town she can see the moon reflected on the lake miles away and she can see uncountable pinpricks in the sky on this cloudless night as she looks toward the border the northern lights create a green patch of fantasy to share the night lear 6/15/87


a cold dawn she sits alone on the curb looking for solutions in the rain spray trails behind passing cars a tainted fountain distorting the sights of the city in a sparkling rooster tail of motion a window open in a brownstone across the way slight movement of a pale curtain someone else who can't sleep tonight with a leaf and a stick she builds a boat guides it in a puddle then sends it sailing to the sea as the drizzle fades the boat is grounded but a small white paper plane floats down landing silently in the empty street lear 6/14/87

Beautiful Lady

Radiating white and crystal purity but touch her and you'll violate her virginal vitality lear /82

Behind Closed Eyes

could fetch a hundred miles or more through rain and freezing snow to look once more into your eyes to feel how it is to be held in the circle of your arms here I am making plans regardless of what appears it's unreasonable to be sure when a dream holds you in its arms lear 6/6/87

beside the lake

the diamond dappled water beckons me into her cold depths here i sit cat-like sunning and the warmth begins to oppress me i feel the sensuous draw and my resistance weakens just as i am about to discard all troubles and concerns and release myself i look up and see diane and baby and i reluctantly belong to the land again lear 6/26/82

Blue Doll

Look at that doll on the dresser there - Since when did she ever face away from me? I must have in my own mind turned her; I can't stand to meet the gaze of my past. Will I and when will I ever be free? That doll used to sit there with her friendly stare Meeting me eye-to-eye Though she couldn't see. Now she is turned away just like you were. But as I sit and think A thought occurs at last: Maybe all along it was me who couldn't see. lear 1/12/82


a castle on the soft horizon above the trees the towers peer at the lands below a river winds its way to the shining sea lush gardens form a carpet to the courtyard edge inside small footsteps echo on flagstone spoken again by smooth stone walls heavy tapistries splash colour on the grey sturdy pieces dot the hallway with mirrors multiplying the embroidered rainbows arches and hallways appear on each side leading to oversize rooms full of comfort soothing fabrics bind overstuffed furnishings carpets create islands of silence but she walks blind to the beauty the painful work of ages of artisans no longer touches her at the base of a gently curving stair eyes meet eyes across empty time framed by an ornate arch he sits alone near a dead fire marking his place with a finger in the book he looks twice his young years as she turns away mounting the broad steps she reaches the tower in a niche of the parapet she turns her back to the skyscrapers gazing over the waves in the quiet depths he sits reading unspeakably lonely and ever hopeful as she sits in the sunshine dreaming of lords and ladies and lovers lear 6/16/87


Walking alone on the streets of the city Passing by people I thought that I knew So many memories from so long ago Rise to the surface now that I am alone I turn my mind to the house on the hill It is my castle, my sanctuary All alone in an empty room I start to smile lear 3/29/82


he sits in a vacant chair staring at the things that he can't see remembering things that never happened loving women he never knew too deep in his own mind to think too aware to sense at all he's invisible in plain sight infinitely counting things that don't matter lear 6/4/87


She looks - longing, reaching to hold, to comfort, to share, to love, and feels the cold of impersonality draining her warmth with no return but still she continues knowing love does not expect and crying silently at her own lack of reason lear 4/2/84
city breezes night traffic the wail of a distant freight train shattering glass sudden darkness as the power dies an almost physical line divides the light and dark buildings without strength blank streetlights black billboards no footsteps on the secretive streets an age-old fear of the dark fostered by the city that traps them worried about the 'fridge bored without the tv citizens hide inside until the dawn lear 6/17/87
rusty patch of pain in the sea green field of sorrow crooked limbs under burdens over the hill and out of sight lear


I'm not ashamed to be afraid; Now the feeling is truth though the sentiment is false. Misbegotten knowledge of a mired world fading into immortality through the drugged dreams of the soothsayers. Can you see through blinded eyes? The truth is all too often told in lies. Youth is dying while aging and I am crying of fear in the dark of honesty. lear 10/28/84

How's This? ...

Here I sit breathless waiting for you to think of me Listening for your words to me and only me Is this anticipation futile? Have you cast me aside with your resolutions? Ah, so soon - and not even the new year! or am I exaggerating? Perhaps. What? All right, I agree. I shall put up the pencil and put out the light softening the pillow pulling up the comforter sinking deeper into the dream with you. lear 12/30/86

I Sleep Now

I'm lost wandering aimlessly in the dark and steaming jungle of memory while vines snake toward me trying to wind their tendrils around me to drag me down and lose me forever in their leathery grasp and as I gasp and struggle not wanting to give in I hear you calling softly with your siren song lear 3/21/84


A green and dappled forest lying in wait for a spirit that flees bringing to it a quiet contentment and the peace of an untroubled world. Running through the silence like a song through the mind playing gently on the wind secure from the terror that follows I withdraw into my mind. lear 2/19/82


(a sonnet) A young girl seeks the shelter of the trees. She needs to leave behind her sheltered town and find the truths behind the fantasies before the pressure builds too much. Her gown is torn and tattered; grasping branches twist her hair and whip her skin 'til tears come to her frightened eyes. The maiden can't resist a chance to quickly rest, but morning dew lies 'round when rising comes. Awake, she finds her night-time fears are groundless. Beauty's strife before her finds response in searching minds that once were closed to wondrous life: for anguish, tears, and love all strike the note which hearts may sing, but cannot learn by rote. lear 10/22/82

Memories of You

Warm images of moments past Playing over like a favorite movie in my mind A laugh and a smile shared here, then a lonely tear in the darkness. Dreams of impossible moments fill my nights As much as treasured moments trouble my days Often I just sit and think of you and love you as a saxophone plays softly in the distance lear 12/8/82


Music sings where I have no voice It flies with the doves while I am grounded Music doesn't need sound to be heard It exists everywhere there is love unbounded Something can exist and still not be heard (like the age-old question of the tree falling in the wood) but the song of Life is not always joyful and the song of Sorrow can be misunderstood lear 3/9/82


he speaks like the river no conceit to him his words shining dappled by the stones and stirred by the wind I drink of him a dram of the Lethe and we walk along the shore together, untouching I offer him amaranth and his eyes catch my breath I am undone his hands are halcyon raising my fingertips to his lips he breaths in the acrid fragrance lear 6/12/88


I let my love soar above the soul into the distant skies it took wing and was gone before I realized Now I reach to gather it back but it is beyond my grasp and I ache with effort the heart cries for things past but withholds the tears for the knowledge that I am now grounded is a pain and a delight lear 12/20/80 (8/11/86)

Once Again

give me a note and I'll smile for you give me a hope and I'll sing tossed and churned thrown against the reef where once there was security striving for sand and touching only surf if I could only see the shore I could reach it if I even had a clue I would swim lear 7/10/86
To dream To sleep To be free In the kingdom of the mind With unfelt restrictions and Boundless imagination. Yes I will think of you I could not but help it As it conquers me with subtlety Leaving desires plain and sentiment Unvarnished in its troubled wake. Wake? That I would not wish to do As it leaves me alone with memory And that is the unkindest of all. lear 1/13/85

Passing Time

A newborn babe wails mournfully a cry to waken slumbering man Ancient movement rustles to comfort innocence and youth cradled in aged hands Softly sings the faded voice telling tales both old and new slowly grows the childish form adding strength while losing youth Songs are sung of worldly cares bearing down and grinding dust melodies of hope lie pleasant refreshing with the merest touch The child stands on his own two feet now crouching, bent, and twisted small Spirits new skip joyfully under watching, rheumy eyes lear 11/29/83


All you survey is yours as you recline in silk and velvet luxury with the ruins of the world about your feet. lear 7/3/83


wide open bright sky eyes clueless when you've gone ad-libbing at the encore when a speech was well-rehearsed - or was it a monologue? anticipating a heckler from the madding crowd auditioning all over again for a part played to perfection even the critics applauded sincerely yours looking for an audience lear 6/7/87
there is a small thread hanging off the world with a simple tug you can unravel it all once reality is loose it's easy to lose its grip pulling and pulling 'til limbs disappear everything we built disolving as the pile grows at your feet the texture changes as buildings fade cars vanish the world turns slower on its axis technology reverts the wheel is gone the jumble grows in your hands the square a concept undeveloped the circle it moves faster at the end the line at the end of the thread the last thing in existence is my heart humming softly lear 9/2/87
when she left work he was there with memories in his eyes and it began again though she tried not to touch him embers sparked to flame when they met the old emotions were strong when they talked face to face he became more the man she'd known and less the machine his fortunes had made him but he was headed in a direction she couldn't respect or follow and she was lost her time was short the best way to show she loved him was to prove she was serious and when he left the place she was there with sadness and pride in her eyes he met her gaze and cried lear 7/8/87


When I shook you you looked at me like a toy and I watched the snow as it buried the brightness you ran for shelter and I was a daemon shattering your world you ignored my offered hands and thought you pleased yourself I wept as I watched the last flakes fall I held your world in my palm and the glass orb fell to the pavement lear

Stepping Back

cold clean glass a simple reflection revealing too much ice bites like steel in her eyes knife sharp and untold times more dangerous no soft edges no blurred lines no hints of the animals fighting any more he stands cut by a razor blade wondering when the woman left and why he hasn't he's still living in the garden lear 6/3/87
longing to feel your arms around me holding me feeling the warmth of your body and your cheek against my hair standing alone in the center of an empty room my thoughts are the light radiating through a solitary window there is no door no escape no struggle only the sad realism of solitude lear 10/1/82
Put your arms around me Pull me close and shelter me from angry fists pounding the sky while shouting anger in sparks. In your arms I fit so well that I never want to leave and if the storm should end we'll face the fear of separation together. lear 8/7/84
There was a time when I loved you so much there wasn't anything I could reach that I wouldn't share with you And I felt all the more alive for it. But now you seem far beyond my flailing attempts When I think of you, and of us, and of times past I'm thoughtful and maybe just a little sad. I wonder when things changed - just when did we decide this? We followed our ambitions but the thread of contact was cut and the connection faded. When I speak to you now you say I sound different. So do you. My reason is that I have been growing up, and without you except in my foundation. Now I wonder where you are and who you are And what do you think of when you think of me? The bridges we once worried about seem to have collapsed from neglect. I am far away and I dial the number at the tone, the time will be lear 12/21/85 In Loving Memory of Steven Michael Chabot August 19, 1962 - October 30, 2001

Tell Me A Story ...

How easy to lose a world; through life or through death Moving on creates a life destroyed by the need for moving on New hollows of space on a spinning world clawed out in desperation Look through me and realize history is pressing us deeper while we struggle for a new order again a perfect world again simply to fight and kill again lear 5/23/84
From this forgotten land of dreams I will call and the sadness of my song will sting your eyes the mournful melody aches in my soul the creaking floorboards of memory underfoot to remind of loves long past and far gone beyond reach of time and space physical thought is gone and emotion is all that is left to me to us we are alone in the havoc of the ruined world lear 3/19/85


empty rows shadowed chairs leaf gold braid snow white sunshine softly watching petals fall too young to fall green leaves blown from the tree it's wrong no, it's right but how does it feel? crimson and scarlet jade and jet diamonds too cold ruby fire emeralds falling to the lawn myriad flowers buried under her eyes and all she holds in her hand is an empty rose lear 5/30/87
Dagger. Light like shards of glass slicing through air with a whisper of sound. Cloak. Dark like shrouds of death smothering reason with a soundless finality. A duality of self, a yin-yang, each needing the other or needing death. A partnership of necessity that is so much more that it is less. A madness that is reason when complete. For we are Cloak and Dagger and this is what we do. lear 11/27/85


give me your warmth and your spirit your fleet hooves carry my dreams and your presence gives me strength to continue when my heart is bleeding and sanctuary becomes torment lear 11/11/82

Wind Rider

In my younger days the tumultuous seas crashed above me As I struggled for survival in the wind-swept arena And lightning flashed in arrows That threatened my sanity Dancing out of reach like a fabled prize. But as I aged so grew wisdom And through blinded eyes the visions came Of wondrous worlds of fantasy Evident in the reality I knew And I soared with the winds And beckoned the waves And summoned lightning with a single thought. Knowing this you know me as well Accepting this you believe When the wind blows I will return to you Cradled in outstretched arms of rain. lear 11/8/84

where can I find

a gentle touch a stillness a sense of quiet and inner peace of deep and swift waters of sunning on a rock by the river quicksilver flashing sunlight in the green of the trees confidence and laughter warmth and comfort and willingness a strong sense of self and an openness to others a hot fire of need and desire for me lear 8/20/96
I let my mind wander - do I see a friend in front of me? I turn my life to the sun to nourish, make my pieces one. A shattered soul once held no hope but by surviving learned to survive. I'm reflected in a mirror. No one but I know what it took to keep on living. A thousand shards of glass now reassembled without a visible crack into a much older and wiser reality. The sunlight warms me. No matter what happens I have to remember how good it feels, how strong the likeness, how weak the ghosts. lear 8/28/96

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