Paul Freidinger                                                                               

In the mountains the echo
     of the mountains

is the mountains, the gauzy bent
     toward blue, the hour’s slow

curve into timelessness. August
     lulls with hot sun and bees’

buzz and breeze stirred to a stop.
     Eyes raise to the horizon’s line,

multilayered to forever, hiking
     trails mazed into forgetfulness.

Whatever lies beyond is a tired dog
     with its head down on the grass,

the body drinking paralysis.
     The mountains have a door

no one has yet found though
     everyone’s looking. I am peering  

through the aperture of this poem  
     until the sky becomes cerulean-white,  

still stuck in aesthetic pause,  
     wondering why I haven’t moved.

Paul Freidinger

I told her we were stunned by the sea
and the jade foliage, at ease
in this small town where everything was easy,
by the simplicity of our lives.

I told her it was empty and how guilty
I felt to be alive, meaningless
to live with such opulence
while others suffered,
embarrassing not to have experienced tragedy
like the ancient Greeks or World War II Russians. 
Addicting, too, it was,

to cling to fear it could be taken away,
that cancer or dementia would intercede,
a superfecta of terror, whether bombs
or bullets, crashes or disease.

How much I loved the emerald fronds,
warm sun, breeze in the trees,
magenta blooms on oleanders,

to acknowledge our lives aren’t worth much
when in fact they are worth everything.

I understand time stops here,
and time stopping is a metaphor for death.

This is how I became a ghost,
refusing to die,

not remembering how it happened. 

Paul Freidinger Pic.JPG

Paul Freidinger is a long-time Chicago guy who has relocated to Edisto Beach, SC, where he also has a long history. He has published over 200 poems in journals around the U.S. and has poems recently published or forthcoming in Atlanta Review, Basalt, Evansville Review, Folio, Florida Review, Grist, Kentucky Review, Isthmus, Pacific Review, Portland Review, Reunion: the Dallas Review, Subprimal Poetry Art, and Triggerfish Critical Review. After digging out from two hurricanes in the last twelve months, he can attest the ocean is rising. That thought keeps him up at night.