The Kiss (1961)

by Dee Newman

From the moment I first saw her
enter Mrs. Shaw's fifth grade classroom,
I had wanted to kiss her.
For six long years I waited
longing for her to want to kiss me.

It was not until the summer
following our sophomore year in high school,
after she and Doug had been going steady for nearly a year,
that I finally found the courage
to whisper to her, "I love you."

She was standing alone in the dark,
just off stage, waiting to make her entrance
into the Norris Summer Players' production
of Bell, Book and Candle.

Later that fall at the Church Bazaar,
I was able, in spite of my trembling uncertainty,
to ask her to go for a ride.
Driving out along the river through the mist,
we parked at the overlook above the dam
and talked about nearly everyone, but us.

On our way back to the Community Building,
I pulled into the parking lot of the Episcopal Church
and turned off the engine.

There was a long moment of silence
(when all I could hear was my heart)
before she pulled from her coat pocket
an old Chinese finger-cuff
she had purchased earlier that evening
at the White Elephant Booth.

It was then, as our fingertips touched
within the interlocking weave of that ancient willow,
that she looked into my eyes and asked, "Will you kiss me?"
And, for some inexplicable reason, all I could do or say was, "Why?"

"Because I want to know what it feels like," she said,
"You have such beautiful lips." And then, she kissed me.

Do You Remember?

by Dee Newman

Do you remember that evening we tried studying together
While your parents watched television in the other room?
How we kept forever changing our positions –
From sitting cross-legged on the floor, facing one another,
To lying innocently, side-by-side, on our stomachs,
As our anxious adolescent bodies moved, ever so slowly,
Together, until they were, at last, touching?

Do you recall how they flinched when your mother
Walked in on us and found you lying on top of my back
With your chin on my shoulder softly reading to me
From that American History book that lay, fortunately, opened
On the floor in front of us, and asked, rather dispassionately,
“Are you sure you two are getting much studying done like that?”

A Summer Rain

by Dee Newman

There was a faint rumble – far off
As the summer sun vanished
Behind a billowing cloud,
Shoving its shadow across the commons,
Crawling cautiously over our bodies,
Invading her dreams,
Opening her eyes with a smile.

Suddenly, as a rush of swirling gray
Rolled over the Simpson’s woods,
The trees began to bend in the wind.
The rain came quickly,
Skipping like a child across the meadow
As we ran, reaching out
To greet its coming.

Trying to Forget

by Dee Newman

Lengthening like shadows fleeing from the light
Memories seem to grow as they reach into the night,
Mixing dreams with desire hidden by the day
Glowing like fox-fire as the twilight fades away.

    Yes, it’s hard to know when you’ve been left alone
    Just how to let her go when she’s already gone.
    For nothing’s quite as trying tangled in the knot
    As trying to forget what you never quite got.

Appearing out of dreams like a dead and distant star
Memories often seem much brighter than they are.
For what’s sweet to remember was so bitter to take,
A dead and dying ember should never be raked.

    Yet, it’s hard to know when you’ve been left alone
    Just how to let her go when she’s already gone.
    For nothing’s quite as trying tangled in the knot
    As trying to forget what you never quite got.

Remembering My First Love

By Dee Newman

My eyes fill with sorrow as I remember when
I loved you like no other, or I ever will again,
But that was long ago when love was young and new,
Nothing last forever, 'cept my mem'ries of you.

In the shadows of moonlight, beneath bright skies of blue,
I’ve had my share of lovers, and more than just a few.
One day there may be others who I may well pursue,
Yet, nothing will ever alter my desire and love for you.

If Only Life Were a Dream, Sweetheart

by Dee Newman

I wonder, what would I do now
If I saw you running towards me, telling me to wait?
If I saw you through a blur of sunlight
With your hair flowing behind you
As when we were young and innocent
And I was dazzled by your beauty?
Would I reach out to you,
Or turn and walk away, as I did then?

Oh, if only life were a dream, sweetheart
If only I had taken you to paradise up above (sh-boom)
And you had told me I'm the only one that you love
Life could have been a dream, sweetheart

All our precious dreams would have come true (sh-boom)
And I would have spent my whole life loving you
If only life were a dream, sweetheart.

With Just the Twilight of the Dawn

by Dee Newman

An affair, once it’s been fed and nourished,
Invariably becomes less intense.
Affections soon fade that once flourished
When desire dulls into indiff’rence.
And though, passions frequently perish
Once lust’s sordid longings surrender,
All that we truly love and cherish
Will, forever, stay warm and tender.
For true Love is not like the morning dew
That glistens on the meadow and then
With the sun’s heat disappears into
Thin air, as if it had never been.
         So why, with just the twilight of the dawn,
         Must the love we shared forever be gone?

A Prelude in D Minor

by Dee Newman

Somewhere,
among the unchangeable patterns of pomp and circumstance,
reflected in the fragments of yet another out-of-tune,
now late autumn afternoon,
pride, befittingly hides its supercilious head
within a corrugated carton of crackers and cream cheese.

And from the wall of the rose garden
a mockingbird sings . . . a worthy tune, indeed!

There –
through the evening's shimmering haze and hues
of blues and grays
a frail, veiled moon appears . . . and reappears
and for a moment, just for a moment
I start to take the easy-way-out.

When suddenly, I realize
(recalling that women from Boston
Irwin thought he was in-love-with a year ago)
that there 's absolutely nothing to curl-up and cry about.

Absolutely nothing!

And so, as one of those buried grins
begins to break beneath my manly disguise,
I bow to a more delicate defense
and laugh my ass off.

Dreams Mixed with Desire

by Dee Newman

There, on Brighton, as the foreplay began, I thought . . .
This is only the prologue, the start of it.
As we talked I became aware of being caught
Up in her life, of becoming a part of it.
In reality our lives were merely crossing
Paths. She was in need of compassion and comfort –
Certainly not some unrestrained and exhausting
Affair, disguised in part as impassioned support.
Later, as the evening’s twilight began to fade
Within that second floor apartment on Acklen Park,
A promise made earlier that day was betrayed,
As dreams mixed with desire there in the dark.
         Perhaps, if I had not been so impetuous,
                So young and wild and free,
         And she had not been so lovely and sensuous
                Good friends, we would still be.

Expecting Nothing, Wanting Everything

by Dee Newman
I kissed her cheek as she turned it to me. I think I would have gone through a great deal to kiss her cheek. But, I felt that the kiss was given to the coarse common boy as a piece of money might have been, and that it was worth nothing. – Charles Dickens
True enough
I went to considerable trouble
(in vain)
to get myself involved
And was, perhaps
playing some variation
of "Great Expectations"
But, the facts remain
the fire burned
and the cauldron bubbled
long before I realized
there were contacts
in your eyes

Yeah, long before
the Art was unveiled
or revealed as artificial

Believe me though
if I'd suspected for a moment
from the outset
if I'd had but the slightest hint
a mere, yet
clear inkling of your intent

. . . if I'd had only known

I would have gladly
brought them to you, myself
upon a tray
and we could have forgone
the humiliating foreplay.

When We Were More Than Dreams

By Dee Newman

In the morning light
Of another long and lonely night
I think of when it all seemed right
When we were more than dreams

Along this narrow ridge
The traces of our passage
Still hold my heart hostage
From when we were more than dreams

In this lonely place
I still long to be in your embrace
To feel your breath upon my face
When we were more than dreams

Beyond the rise, on the downward curve
The twists and turns test every nerve
Though we rarely get what we deserve
We never know what fate will serve

From the hill country
To the foggy depths of destiny
You’ll still have the best of me
As I go reaching for extremes

Through the mist and twilight
Of this cold and lonesome night
All seems fixed or finite
Now that we’re no more than dreams

I suppose, I always knew
You were too good to be true
Too young to pursue
And that one day we’d seem
No more than just a dream

For Those Who Long for Love

 by Dee Newman

Though love affairs that are forestalled
Are played out, more often than not,
In prose, they’re often fervently recalled
As poetry – sensuous and hot.


For those who desire and long for love,
The passing of time seems like eternity.
Perhaps, it is true, I wouldn’t’ve
Waited for you so long and willingly
If you were not so lovely, young and fair –
So breathtakingly beautiful. Who knows?
And yet, when at last you were standing there
In the evening’s golden glow and shadows
In that extraordinary quiet
Calm before passion’s impending storm,
I realized, as the fading twilight
Attached itself to your exquisite form,
There, captured in my eye’s reflection,
Was a radiance so stunningly rare
To describe it as less than perfection
Would be utterly unjust and unfair.
What, I wonder, did I do to deserve
Such a precious and valuable prize
And what must I do to protect and preserve
Its loving warmth and prevent its demise?
Why, oh why, I ask, is it that time slows
And seems to stop for those who long and wait,
And appears to accelerate for those
Of us who have reason to celebrate?

I Never Shall Forget

by  Dee Newman

From April through September
Till Life’s last refrain
Always I’ll remember
Both the sunshine and the rain.

Through the passion and the sorrow
The joy and the pain
Now, until tomorrow
Yours, I’ll always remain

    For though I’ve been driven
    Beyond all hope and regret
    I have at last forgiven
    Yet, I never shall forget

Now, the truth is never art
When it’s easily revealed
Though hidden within your heart
It never was concealed

You needn’t feel ashamed
Or guilty for your part
If anyone was to blame
It was I who chose to start

    And, though I’ve been driven
    Beyond all hope and regret
    I have at last forgiven
    Yet, I never shall forget

Love

by Dee Newman

Love is something for which all of us yearn.
It is complete, transcendent, pure and free,
A gift, demanding nothing in return,
Bound not by any measure or degree.
Neither to be thanked, nor to be praised,
Love offers care, affection, and goodwill.
With no wish or need for them to be raised,
True love seeks only other’s cups to fill.
Though it’s immeasurable and endless,
Much like the light from the heavens above,
The source and sum of human happiness
Comes more from giving than receiving love.
        So, when our feelings seem hurt and denied,
        Is it love that bleeds or our wounded pride?

I’ve Been So Lonesome Since You’ve Been Gone.

by Dee Newman

Below, the river’s running slow and lazy,
There’s a wild flower fragrance on the breeze.
I’m feeling a bit foolish and crazy
As the morning mist rises through the trees.

Some relationships end without a care,
Others, in heartache and despair.
Life’s an awful lonely affair
In the twilight before the dawn
When the curtains have been drawn.
Oh, I’ve been so lonesome since you’ve been gone.

It’s true, I could’ve stayed with you forever,
Felt your mouth and breath upon my face,
Held you in my loving arms and never
Grown tired of your warm embrace.

I'd been in love many times before,
I had heard the slamming of the door,
And felt the heartache of wanting more,
Yet, when the passion feels so strong,
It must be right, it can’t be wrong.
Oh, I’ve been so lonesome since you’ve been gone.

Can’t help wonderin’ when I’m listening to
Nilsson or the Gentle Side of Coltraine,
If what we had was real and true
Or just an illusion in my brain.

Of all the women who I have loved,
You’re the one I keep dreaming of.
I still see you in the clouds above
And wonder, what was it – that went so wrong
With a love that seemed so right and strong.
Oh, I’ve been so lonesome since you’ve been gone.

Haiku for You

I'd rather the wren
Forever sing from afar
Than caged in my heart.

Bemused

by Dee Newman

It’s a strange and wondrous thing
(a little disconcerting too)
that after all that thoughtful self-reflection
to realize, just when you think you finally
got it all figured out,
free, at last, from the fire
and cryptic innuendoes of your left mode,
some bright brown-eyed desire
can dance across your well chosen path
and pause just long enough
to tantalize the toad
right out of your pant’s pocket
leaving you, once again, bemused.

Jennifer

by Dee Newman

For awhile it all was ours
Trembling leaves against the sky
Wild as a field of flowers
Touched only by the eye

And though it sure seems love
Has falling with the leaves
She's all I ever dream of
Can't help but make believe
And I long to see her freckled face
And I long to be in her embrace
For I miss so much the scent of her
The kiss, the touch of Jennifer
She was all I ever wanted
Far more than I will ever need
Left me lost and haunted
Like the lonesome tumbleweed

And though I missed my chance
Lord, it was worth the try
For there was magic on the distance
Where the earth touched the sky
And I long to see her freckled face
And I long to be in her embrace
For I miss so much the scent of her
The kiss, the touch of Jennifer

Beyond the Nets

by Dee Newman

I’d been down awhile and yet
Was still reaching for extremes
Out there beyond the nets
Where the long views open to dreams.
With no hope of belonging
To anyone but me,
I had, at last, released the longing
And found some serenity.

It was then I saw her
With Tjitska by her side
And my heart swelled within me
To much to hold or hide
Yet, May turn to June
And then June to July
And when, at last, she’d found me
It was time to say good-bye.

But somehow, the night bound us,
Together and alone,
And as heaven fell around us
She rolled away the stone.
Don’t know how it happen –
Can’t help but wonder why.
Was it stardust or an illusion
That opened up the sky?

If only I had held her
In time and not in space,
If only I had chosen
To climb and not to chase,
Perhaps, we’d both be wishing
For another time and place –
Perhaps, I’d still be kissing
Those freckles on her face.

Yes, I’ve been down awhile and yet
I’m still reaching for extremes
Out here beyond the nets
Where the long views open to dreams.
With no hope of belonging
To anyone but me,
Will I ever released this longing
And find some serenity?

Perhaps, it is Necessary

by Dee Newman

Perhaps, it is necessary
to enjoy an occasional sense of superiority over oneself,
and yet, frankly, though necessity can be consoling,
I’d rather sit cross-legged in the grass and cry.

How, I wonder, can such a desirable quality
be so intensely unpleasant?
No doubt, there is some sort of
rational explanation for the absurdity.

The upshot of it is that it lies
somewhere between reason and rhyme,
and I have neither the inclination nor the time
to establish the precarious equilibrium
between such opposing impulses.

In fact, I’d rather be poised on the end of a pin
than to maintain that kind of serenity.

My Foolish Heart

by Dee Newman

Oh, when my foolish heart was made aware
of your free flowing form and grace,
your fair and lovely face,
I felt that with them nothing could compare,
could measure up or displace.

But, before long another was defined,
as beautiful to behold,
no less flawless or refined.
Even more rare and radiant and bold
than your body is your mind.

I Want to Know All About You

by Dee Newman

I want to know all about you,
What makes you feel warm and happy,
What makes you feel sad and blue,
What makes you feel warn and crappy,
All the secret wishes you want to come true,

The moral stands for which you will die,
The attitudes that turn your nose up,
Questions which may compel you to lie,
Where to touch you to curl your toes up,
And make you want to wail and yell and cry.

I want to know who you really are,
And yes, who you would like to become.
I want to know if we’re similar
In any way that would overcome
What visits may lie between few and far.

I would like to know a fantasy,
Your most recent hidden mystic dream,
One that really tickles your fancy,
That makes you contemplate the extreme
Of tumbling head long into ecstasy. . .
(with someone, perhaps, a bit like me).

Though, it’s you I want to know about,
All of you, the in, as well as, the out,
What will make you smile or make you pout,
What will make you sigh or make you shout,
What will make you trust or make you doubt,
What may make you want to do without,
Something, only your journal knows about.

I want you to know my tenderness.
The ease of my touch upon those spots,
That are tight and taunt and tense with stress,
Those seemingly untie-able knots,
That so need an affectionate caress.

Above all, I cherish my friendships.
But, I want you to know what you’ll miss,
If my hands and arms, my mouth and lips
Are never there to comfort and kiss
You – when the pulse of life so tightly grips.

Time Matters Not to Love

by Dee Newman

When given no more than a backward glance
And abandon without reason or rhyme,
Healing’s more likely a matter of chance
Than ever merely a matter of time.
Though Love’s foolish heart has tried to move on,
To understand and accept the absurd,
Time will not destroy what has come and gone
Even though silence is all that is heard.
Like the breeze that blows out a candle’s flame
While it proceeds to feed and fan a fire's,
Absence will arouse Love’s longing and tame
What were merely capricious desires.
    Yes, time matters not to Love. Love is blind.
    Though out of sight she’s never out of mind.

The Old Weather Vain and Other Haikus

by Dee Newman

The old weather vane
vainly awaits the sunshine
as mist becomes rain.

Fear of approaching
the edge is as disabling
as falling from it.

A streak of sunlight
slowly climbs the old oak tree
and then . . . disappears.

From one brief moment
of shapes and shadows the mind
perceives perfection.

When two chemical
substances come together
they’re often transformed.

Lured like a wild goose
with treachery and decoy
just to be shot down.

Both careless regard
and habitual negligent
foretell the future.

What was once so warm
and inviting turns to ice
and then . . . melts away.

The old moth tatters
his wings against her screen till
she turns off her light.

Clinging to the past
will surely limit future
possibilities.

May I forever
dance free of expectancies
including my own.

No flower can live
picked and pressed between pages
of discarded books.

I should have known from
the beginning that she was
too Good to be True.

Though I may be free,
I feel like a dry dead leaf
blowing in the wind.

A Gift Without Expectancies

by Dee Newman

Though often mistaken for desire,
Love is a gift without expectancies.
Having no wish to profit or acquire,
It aspires only to protect and please.
If they were judged by their consequences
The gifts that some proclaim to freely give
More nearly resemble mere pretenses
Of the heartfelt and the affirmative.
Shakespeare was right. Love will never alter
With time. Change cannot poison what is true.
Love at the edge of doom will not falter
Beneath stormy clouds or a sky of blue.
          If you think this to be untrue, I trust,
          That what you think is love, is only lust.

If You Love Me

By Dee Newman

When, at last, my life has run its course,
Sing me, my love, no graveside hymns of praise,
Let there be no sobs, no pangs of remorse,
Bring me no lilies, no floral bouquets,
Leave me no tears, no kisses on my brow,
I will not feel them when I am dead and gone,
Give me your warmth and passion here and now,
Sing for me while there is yet a dawn.
Why, oh why, my love, must we live apart?
If you love me, then show me, soft and slow.
Hold me now within your arms and heart,
Kiss me on my mouth so that I may know.
    Give me while I am still alive and strong
    Your love and laughter, your flowers and song.

Despite the Distance

by Dee Newman

Oh, where is the relief that was promised?
Time nor distance have eased me of my pain.
The longing thirst and hunger yet persist
As another season retires in vain.
The Summer awakes with a fresh new dawn;
The sun arises and descends again;
The year’s longest day has appeared and gone;
And still, the memories of you remain.
Soon the sun will celebrate your birth again.
The days will grow shorter, the nights lengthen,
The moon will wax and the moon will wane,
But my love for you will only strengthen.
         For despite the distance, despair and pain,
         You still live in ev’ry cell of my brain.

Do Not Dare Call It Loving

by Dee Newman

Write sonnets to men you find appealing,
Tell them their embrace makes you think of spring,
Declare that your heart and mind are reeling,
But please, oh please, do not call it loving!
Swirl around, bare your buttocks to the band,
Take to bed one of your partners of swing,
Call it amazing, fantastic, or grand,
But, for god-sake, do not call it loving!
Unless you know at the end of the dance
That no other moves as well with the rhythm,
That your life has no meaning or substance,
No purpose or passion without him;
         Unless you can swear it’s more than a fling,
         Do not ever dare to call it loving.

My Little Dance-Machine

by Dee Newman

Advice comes even when it isn’t sought.
I once read on a Chinese fortune cookie,
“We are all fools whether we dance or not,
So we might as well get down and boogie.”
It was the highly witty and clever
Samuel Clemens who said, “Work like you do
Not need the money; Love like you've never
Been hurt; Dance like nobody’s watching you.”
Yet, in the intricacies of the dance
We call love, nothing matters as much
As maintaining our sense of balance
While responding to our partner’s touch.
         Sweetie, I know, you know what I mean
         'Cause you are my little dance-machine.

Your Lover

by Dee Newman

If your intent was to break my heart,
To make me cry and feel unneeded,
If it was to drive us farther apart
And leave me lonely, you succeeded.
Though your assessment and rejection
Of my character has more than strained
Our relationship, my affection,
Fondness, and love for you has not waned.
You are an exceptional person
And I feel blessed you chose to share
Your life with me. Though your aspersion
That I’m a fanatic is unfair,
Insulting, offensive and untrue,
I refuse to let it diminish
My regard, respect and care for you.
Though it seems nothing can replenish
          The warmth we once had for each other,
          I will always remain your lover.

To Be With You

by Dee Newman

On the steepest slope or the desert plain,
Whatever the scope, the scale or terrain,
Be it small and profound, a vast allure,
Safe and sound or ruggedly insecure,
In the cool of the night or the heat of the day,
Beneath sunlight or the milky-way,
Beyond the shore, the sea cliffs and caves
As the gulls soar over white-capped waves,
Off the asphalt beyond the tossed-debris
Where the Great Fault meets the Joshua Tree,
Among ancient pines older than history,
Gnarled shrines veiled in moonlight and mystery,
Along a wild remote alpine expanse,
Scenes of mountain goat and flowering plants,
Toward a towering quest of ice and snow,
Lit from the west with the evening’s glow,
To share a perspective, a point of view,
Ah, what I would give to be with you.