I have a special story I wish to share
About a seamstress beautiful and fair
She would fade away turning into smoke
Of her amazing beauty, no man would joke
The spiraling smoke would then re-form
I know only an angels face could be so warm
Before her a beautiful quilt was spread
Upon it the story of my life was said
As she once again started to dissipate
She said, “Mike this quilt records your fate”
As the smoke traveled over to a new place
And then formed together creating her face
Looking over her shoulder back at me
She said, “This area will hold what has yet to be”
Most of the quilt looked like twisted evil tattoo
Simply because, my life’s quilt was quilted true
I looked the quilt over and then met her gaze
She was so beautiful in so many different ways
The last part of the quilt way over to the right
Showed the beauty of someone changing their plight
Upon her beautiful hand, which seemed so nimble
I noticed she was wearing my grandmother’s thimble
From a young maiden so beautiful to see
My grandmother appeared right in front of me
I guess up in heaven we return to our youth
My grandmother was beautiful; such is the truth
I thought of the price grandma was asked to pay
The shame of knowing I had turned out that way
I thought of her sitting there stitching my shame
My grandmother didn’t deserve an eternity of pain
She said, “Michael be still with the pain in your heart,
Your story encourages others to make a new start.”
“The deeper the wrong the stronger the right
I always knew my boy would take up the fight”
With a smile much brighter than an ice covered sea
She said, “I love the man my boy has grown up to be”
As she turned to the quilt and started to sew
She said, “Michael, its now time for you to go.”
“Believe in your story believe in your truth
For Salvation is the true fountain of youth”
One night in a dream, which I’ll hold forever divine
I learned; my Grandmother is now,” The Seamstress of Time”
When I was a boy I would help my Grandmother roll
her quilt, find her glasses, as well as, her thimble. I
never thought about how amazing her art truly was.
From a pile of rags she would make the most beautiful
quilt's. I sleep under one of her quilts to this very day.
God created hands for building things. Sometimes before you build something, you must first destroy something else.
Wildfires are never supposed to be put out. Their sole purpose is to burn the entire forest to the ground, transform living things to fertilizer, making room and preparing the soil for new growth.
It is almost paradoxical,
that there must be death before birth
My hands have stared the grim reaper’s reflection inside the pool of my best friends blood. An old student I used to tutor told me that I am the best brother she could have asked for
She said she will always love me
This was after I burned every bridge that traversed the gaps between us
Stared at her from across her desk
Told her that she will never be my sister. That our bloodlines will never match.
Our gene pools are just strangers that made the same wrong turn.
I spent so much time trying to find my way back that I never realized I was home in being lost I found something comfortable, without expectations. I only corrected myself after she spoke,
because I heard something familiar in her voice.
She sounded like family.
I have the scarred and wrinkled hands of a senior citizen
I’m only 22 years old
I once got my palm read
This gypsy woman told me that my lifeline should have been cut short when I hit 17.
That was a year ago.
What do gypsies know anyway
I have defied the odds my entire life.
Been broke down and built back up too many times to count
My fingernails chewed raw to the cuticle out of anxiety
I enjoy the taste of my own pain
Sometimes I use my own hands to destroy myself just to see who my real friends are who will build me back up when I can’t do it alone
My hands have a desire to learn how to cook, but I’m not that great.
So when I am alone,
I tend to be hungry, not just for food though.
I starve for someone to talk to
It never satiates, because it’s not you.
I know what it tastes like to completely give myself to someone.
My biggest fear is being abandoned.
When I look into your eyes, I am not afraid.
I need to cook you up a feast of myself, then feed it to you every day for the rest of our lives
Please tell me what I really taste like,
Years after my grandfather passed away, my grandmother moved into my aunt’s house.
Since I was 5, every time I speak to her she asks me:
“Spenser, did you thank God for waking you up today?”
I think to myself, I never did tell my eyes to open themselves. It just happened.
So I don’t know how to respond to her correctly.
I tell her that I love her, that I am writing a lot.
She tells me that she puts her hands together for me every night
Prays that I will get the job I want
I guess some prayers do get answered.
Sometimes two hands in the right position, matched with a conversation with God,
Can change things.
I even accidentally call that place home sometimes.
My dream is that my hands evolve into wolves, become part of a pack and work together with other hands to make a difference
Some days they will be the alpha male.
Full of confidence, at the head of the pack
Other days I need someone to show me the right way to go
Because if I’ve learned anything
It’s that I am not always right
I can not always be in control of everything
The only thing I have ever really wanted is to know
That my hands were truly
A part of something.
Born American, sixth generation of great-grands all German,
not much liking sausage or sauerkraut, English speaking all the way,
except the Germany of my ancestry was fought over and broken
so I’m a bit of France, Germany, Poland, Hungary all the Holy
Roman empire, dissolved down, fought over, egotized, horrified
and remade Into some new state where English is as common as German.
We share a love of flowers in the face of cold and rain, I drink less beer
and wine, meet up somewhere, anywhere around the world on a beach.
From my parents and grandparents, I know to serve up too much food
seven sweets, seven sours and drink and whirl the night away to a band.
Hardworking sorts, unafraid of a little dirt, loving dirt, the turnover
and young sprout brought to fruit, wearing overalls and then washing up.
To sit before a pressed linen table cloth, served up on the finest china,
the cha in my father’s name, the uff da, and other exclamations.
The morning rosaries, the blessed churches where we give thanks for all good
and the setting aside of pride while we work together to make our food.
Sure there are aprons for cooking. Shorts for summertime. A dive into any pool.
What do I know of being German, not much, it's just somewhere in my roots.
I do not know?
written 10th Aug 2013
I am God's child, first and forever
I am known by many different titles, a daughter
I am a wife
I am a mother
I am a grandmother
I am a poet
I am by several ways, known as a sister
I am an acquaintance
I am a loyal friend
I am a stranger
I am a cousin
I am an Auntie
I am a niece
But who is this person, they all call "Denise?"
She is a child to God
She is a niece
She is a cousin
She is a stranger
She is a loyal friend
She is an acquaintance
She is known to many, a sister
She is a poet
She is a grandmother
She is a mother
She is a wife
She is known as a daughter to many
She is everything, she'd ever dreamed her life to be....
She is happier than she ever imagined possible
SHE IS "DENISE"
I do not know?
(for the countless women, names unknown, who bore the brunt of Apartheid, and who fought the racist system at great cost to themselves and their families, and for my mother, Zubeida Moolla)
Pregnant, your husband on the run,
your daughter, a child, a few years old,
they hauled you in, these brutish men,
into the bowels of Apartheid's racist hell.
They wanted information, you gave them nothing,
these savage men, who skin happened to be lighter,
and white was right in South Africa back then,
but, you did not cower, you stood resolute,
you, my mother, faced them down, their power,
their 'racial superiority', their taunts, their threats.
You, my mother, would not, could not break,
You stood firm, you stood tall.
You, like the countless mothers did not break, did not fall.
You told me many things, of the pains, the struggles,
the scraping for scraps, the desolation of separation
from your beloved Tasneem and your beloved Azad,
my elder sister and brother, whom I could not grow
up with, your beloved children separated by time, by place,
by monstrous Apartheid, by brutish men,
whose skin just happened to be lighter.
You told me many things, as I grew older,
of the years in exile, of the winters that grew ever colder.
You were a fighter, for a just cause,
like countless other South African women,
you sacrificed much, you suffered the pangs,
of memories that cut into your bone, your marrow,
you resisted a system, an ideology, brutal and callous and narrow.
Yes, you lived to see freedom arrive, yet you suffered still,
a family torn apart, and struggling to rebuild a life,
all the while, nursing a void, that nothing could ever fill.
I salute you, mother, as I salute the nameless mothers,
the countless sisters, daughters, women of this land,
who fought, sacrificing it all for taking a moral stand.
I salute you, my mother, and though you have passed,
your body interred in your beloved South African soil,
you shall remain, within me, an ever-present reminder,
of the cost of freedom, the struggles, the hunger, the toil.
I salute you!
(for the brave women of South Africa, of all colours,
who fought against racial discrimination and Apartheid)
Strange or not
Odd and fun.
That’s not all
And still are
Strange and odd.
life is life.
Not is lies.
Truth seeps from
Lies, lies, lies
Move, move, move
Lies are life.
Lies are death.
Lies are homes.
Lies are pain.
Lies are truth.
Truth is life.
Truth is death.
Truth is home.
Truth is pain.
Truth is lie.
Truth is that.
Lies will die.
Lies will cease.
Truth will live.
Truth will be.
Now that I'm retired
And know I can't be fired
I'll do anything I damn well please
And I don't give a hoot
Who hears me when I toot
For I have grown acustomed to the cheese
Old women and old men
As they grow nearer their end
Really just don't care what people think
Say and do what's on their mind
For as they age they find
They kinda like to raise a little stink
The Black butterfly waves away her adorations
All she seeks is seclusion, subsuming slave to mortification
The Dear Air is all she can breath, captive of imaginary dreams
The Beacon resonates, but the hope isolates
The Wasteland's silky fingers caressing the virgin's face
So she is now, the covet of the damned
Programmed to every victim's pain
Carrying the weight of every sorrow
Drowning in wrongs she does not know
But paradise is at loss; she must go
Nature sighs after the bite
All my hopes fading
Don't look at me with those sorrowful eyes
How do you know exactly what I'm feeling?
I'm just the ghost flower passing by
And you can hear nature's sigh
On Memorial Day I am haunted and flooded with so much grief.
My Mother lies next to my Grandmother and they next to my Great Aunt.
My Fathers name is there, too, but blessedly he’s not there yet.
Such great memories are restored as I look at each stone.
Once again I’m a rambling child with no kids of my own.
I remember the safety they afforded me, and all the treats and their love.
All their little sacrifices they gave, when I was still too young to know.
Why did I chase after a kitten when Grandma was so close by my side?
A simple tug on her skirt and she would of hugged me and smiled with pride.
Why was I discovering butterflies, when my Great Aunt was close there too?
She made the best pies EVER from scratch while I played in another room.
Why did I take Mom for granted… when as a child she gave me so much?
What I wouldn’t give for her gentle touch… and another soothing hug…
And Grandpa lies by Grandma… he was always repairing something or by her side.
And now there are all my aunts, uncles, and cousins that are all scattered around.
They made Christmas my favorite time as their talk and laughter rang out.
They’d laugh, talk, and enjoy each other’s company, as I’m sure now they do.
I can’t imagine them in any other way, than at my Grandma’s on those wonderful
We’d sit down to a holiday feast with everyone all around and it all seemed like play.
Were they then thinking of others that they knew from long ago?
As I walk around the graveyard picking out old friends, I remember their wistful
They did the same each year, as they talked about the past even back then.
Perhaps its time my stone goes there, though I’ve a few more years to go.
That will help my children when it’s also my time to go…
And surprisingly it makes me feel I’m not leaving the older family alone.
It’s like a kiss, and a tug on a skirt to leave that something behind.
It’s a promise… they’ll be remembered until it too, is my time…
Until then I’ll bring my children and tell stories from long ago…
One day a year can’t be too much since it’s memories that I bestow.
And they all simply add up to the life that I have known.
What I imagine is beyond my years,
An equilent stare
And an equilent ear.
A sombre mind
Is what one ought to have, but I foresee
What plays in my head
Is a movie
Of such great distress,
I see a young girl,
A good girl,
And the other side
Of the mirror
Is a different
Sort of girl.
More like the one before
In the image the mirror gives off.
If one would say the mirror lies,
Then that one would realise
The only thing that stands between these two girls is the thin membrane called glass.
Yet with the absence of such, they are merged into one. And when they come out to play
A tiny piece of each stands out like the small glow of the paraffin lamp my grandmother used to forbid us to use
Their memories of each other
Are like the memories
Of one individual person,
Yet seeing them
Side by side
Would greatly outline
Their stalk differences
But in world of fear
You can only love one
And their tears are the only thing that mimics their distress.
She has seen so much before Her eyes
they have lost their sparkle
She sits in Her chair to watch the hummingbirds
flit and sip at the bird feeders She has prepared
She has made those for years
i remember sitting with Her and talking
about boys and schoolwork
and how beautiful the hummingbirds
sounded as they zipped past the screen door
we know they will return
Her taste for pecans never
prevented Her from collecting them
off Her land for pies and candies
Her legs hurt from walking too long
how i miss picking pecans with Her
as i grew time was lost
and i visited Her less and less
with regret i think of
all the talks and fun and laughter
while we canned fruits and jellies together
i wish i could bring back those years
the summer before i was married
we talked of love and happiness
and i was privileged to know how
Pa and Ma met when she asked,
"Do You Believe In Love At First Sight?"
we stayed up 'til morning talk of
mike and how She believed he was an
angel and how She met her first husband
and the birth of mimi, i know She has
always love me
i am Her pride and joy
She has lived a long life that was hard
but worth it because She has produced
a wonderful family
that babies Her in Her old age
oh, how She hates that
She talks about Her last days as if
tomorrow Her soul will take flight
and wonders why God hasn't sent for Her yet
perhaps She is not done
or He wishes Her to see something precious
i wonder if it is for me (how narcissistic)
to see my wedding or the birth of the daughter
that will carry Her middle name
She cried when i told Her that
but that's how much She means to me
i vainly pray that She will live long enough
to see these things that are important to me
when She will be able to hold
with Her middle name
Her great-great-granddaughter, LEE ellen
now She sits in her rocking chair
watching the hummingbirds
Her soul takes flight upon a gentle
breeze that carried Her far away in time
when She could pick pecans and can jellies
when She and Pa met
or when Her children were born
i know many stories from Her past
and i am proud that i am the only one
that has taken the flight with her soul
on one of those gentle breezes
I have seen the pretentious woman residing within my minds hologram….
She believes herself to be a wise messiah…
She teaches her apocryphal beliefs to other seekers…
She has deep roots of stubborn illusions planted within her intentions…
She teaches to be revered actually living with great fear…
She wants to be loved, her demise being forcing her will of fear…
She consumes shots of green gel calling it her breath of life…
The divine grandmother challenged the false inner profits message…
Enraging her with threats of revealing to me real truth…
She chanted, pounded her mislead fists together, manifesting a sword of crystal and light…
Piercing through her own throat refusing to evolve her beliefs…
Creating again all of her low vibration grief…
Why is she here covering her veil of confusion over my eyes?
Preventing me from believing the light of oneness god exists…
Why does she desire to create suffering within the temple?
What is her mission’s purpose?
Working for the Cabal; a mental program construct of peace destruction…
Consumed with greed and power wishing to feel divine…
Poisoning everyone from birth with this tainted sour wine…
I banish you…
You scared old stubborn crow…
I swim within my god’s love light of truth…
So take your pathetic self and go…
Go to the white light, transforming your tyranny within my being into delight…
I shall try to explain,
but the world is not logical.
the bank notes are old and crinkling.
your face appears like it's own negative
the wind glows and the sun howls.
why is the rain blue?
i wanted a new weapon but the rainbow was
too long,i need something small and portable,
like a pen i once had.
just a pencil and paper will be fine,
but please look round.
we're all related in the DNA
but the fighting goes on, for what?
does it matter my great grandfather was a Viking
who killed when necessary
or my grandmother sang in Gaelic
and swooned over dead children?
i can't see but i hear their voices murmur.
a blue and a brown will go together
like Harris tweed.
shall i give you some needles to patch yourself
before it's too late?
i have long threads and connections for you,
if you will listen.
you don't need the A to Z of London
in this world
it's not relevant any more
to know exactly where you are,
just use the finger tips to feel the cave walls.
do we know whether to go back or forward
or even upside down?
trust the sense of bones and nerves
and the sea in our veins
linking us all
into a human whole.
There are moments in my life
when I think of my past.
Wish I could bring them back
I remember the time as a child,
when I used to play with my friends;
Our home was a place for fun,
with my siblings doing their share.
When school days come,
I would always have an extra hour,
for my homework and other plans
that comprise my studies at that time.
When summer whizzes by,
more excitement to be with friends;
to play with them and visit other places
make a deal for a wholesome year.
Whenever Christmas comes,
preparations are at hand,
like decorations, singing, and parties all over,
to make our celebrations happier and significant to all.
I still remember how we pray together
with our grandmother in her bedroom
a rosary or other memorized devotions
to lift up to God so many intentions.
With the passage of time,
changes have championed the best;
with Christian values to reflect
and thus incarnate throughout the rest.
Birthdays come but once a year
A day we celebrate, a day to cheer
We all know the day we're born and our age
For birthdays bring us joy or change of stage
The day I celebrated my fourty-ninth year
On the other side of the world fear
Horror for a young girl named Heather
Who was swimming in ocean waters from boat tethered
Swimming around the ocean deep
Working up an appetitate for something to eat
Was a great white shark fourteen feet, whopper
Jaws powerful enough to bite through copper
At home I thought I had turned fifty
I figured this year would be very nifty
My father who was in his nineties
Reminded me that I was only fourty-ninty
In a land way down yonder
A girl named Heather was pulled under
Great white figured she was good meat
Nice and tender a very tasty treat
A girl named Heather was saved
That very day lived to be one to praise
People who worked to keep her alive
She praised God who lives in hearts and on high
Sara lived many years
Saw her grandsons through tears
She was the strength and glue
Who saw her family's problems through
Just in recent years in a land down under
A fourteen foot great white shark did blunder
Caught in a fisherman's net
He'll probably live this mistake regret
No, the fisherman cuts the lines
Frees his catch and shark from bind
Now the shark he named Cindy
Follows him around even when windy
Follows him everywhere he goes
Let's him pet her on her nose
Rub her belly and dorsal fin
She even grunts and tries to grin
Which of these do you think is the most grateful
Heather who is now disable
The shark who was spared his life
Or Sara the mother, grandmother, and wife
(The story about Heather is true. The shark circled and bit her right leg. Then circled and
grabbed her left leg. The people on the boat were hitting the shark and try to pull her into
the boat and the shark took her whole left leg off. She was only attended by a nurse who
was on the boat and radioed a doctor on shore as to what to do. She was 20 hours away
from the nearest doctor. She was lifeflighted to a hospital in California where she had to
have multiple surgeries and now has an artificial leg. The story about the shark caught in
a fisherman's net was really not true. The grandmother here was a true story.)
On those cool summer evenings when coyotes haunt the night
And the campfire is dying—burning low, then flaring bright,
A cowboy plays harmonica while others sing and hum
While down by the chuck wagon a lonely guitar does strum.
A few pokes like Lon Stonecipher stare silent at the fire,
Imagining old friends and folks in times both dear and dire.
Lon sees and talks to faces that flicker in gold flames—
He asks them of the weather—remembers all their names.
“There’s Delton and Rosella, old Burlin and Rob Alcorn,
There’s that sweet Renata Robins that kissed me one June morn.
There’s Cal Shirlo and Spud Scanlon, that both died in the war,
And Addie Belle from Abilene that said she’d love no more.”
Cowpokes yawned and nodded—on this wild words did not dwell—
They knew the man he used to be, but this was just his shell.
The faces in the fire gave him comfort and offered hope,
They were his last salvation—without them he could not cope.
Lon stared into the fire for many hours before sleep—
His rest was fitful, frenzied—never calm, peaceful or deep.
And often he’d awake and gaze mournfully once again
Into those glowing embers in search of friend or kin.
“I can see my last saddle pal, young Mathew Leatherwood
And a Dodge City gambler that I shot right where he stood.
I see my dear grandmother and my sister Anna Lee—
My grandpa and brother Jim, who died at the age of three.”
The fire burned low and so did Lon out on that prairie bow,
But this was as it always was, at least until just now.
“I see you, ma—I see you, pa—your faces smile at me,”
So said old Lon one last time, drifting upon a prairie sea.
They buried Lon Stonecipher right out on that cold, dark land—
And right beside him built a blaze as hot as they could stand.
Then they watched the flames dance, and stared long into that pyre,
And to this day some still swear, Lon’s face was smiling in that fire.
In your restless slumbers you feel me,
I know you feel me.
Always by your side like an iron rusted sword
Dull to the touch and stranded to the length of your back.
Your sudden sighs will be the ocean churning and
The waves that collapse against the shore.
Every ache you undergo will emit a moan
So loud and locked away that even the sky will mourn
And it’s rains will fall for you alone.
Each dripping drop will attempt to match your insides
From the moment the first moon beams hit your windowsill
Till the sun ascends in an incandescent dawn
That pinkens the walls of your chambers.
You look beyond a naked field to
A moon which eases with every passing moment.
Beckoning you to dreams and thoughts that lay like scars and stains.
Come, they whisper.
Come listen to the symphony of our affairs.
Come watch these green waters turn to gold.
Travel the world and reach the end
Only to find that you still want.
But here, with no one around in this volatile room,
With no eyes peering but the licks of lighted candles,
You’ll plead no to a nameless fear
As you swallow the back of your mind.
Let an open mind in,
Allow it to listen.
And as you glance over to vacancy from
Your worn and heated side,
The skies will shudder with every hope and every lie
That even Socrates cannot deny these tries.
But in the half light of my own room
I wish to be your broken record
Or the lead singers private microphone.
Kiss my finger tips and drink in the residue of fountain pens.
I will plaster each phrase to my bedroom wall
Where I live to see that the writing never flows.
That each excerpt is choppy and final.
That every quote is bold and blush.
The frayed and shredded nursery wallpaper,
Shimmering pink with sudden audacity,
Will reflect moodily and ambiguously of my shattered thoughts.
With kudos to a grandmother Mary,
I slowly lift a frozen face from underneath a pillow.
After a minute of self doubt and realization
That settles like pin pricks on the palms of my hands,
I slide the idle face back into it’s sheath
Then contemplate the curiosity of my own slumber.
While ignoring every hope of sleep,
I’ll thread two nimble fingers through an open flame,
Stare provokingly into the shadows on the ceiling,
And think of you.
Alive with tone
Yet sharply censored
By a mind's take on years
Of historical notes
Tongue no longer sweetened
Or spiced with
Suddenly all I taste is
So predictably dull
Night steps forward quickly
Like a woman whose
High heels carry her too loudly
Over hardwood floors
I hear her sharp
And definite approach
Darkness surrounds me
Soft to the touch
But cruel in creation
I lay my head down
And begin to dream
My lonely place in the
Like a curtain
To reveal a carnival scene
Where pale pink cotton candy
Weaves itself gracefully
Around paper cones
I taste the
Its pure reminiscent aroma
So filling with the
Portrayal of childhood innocence
A time lost and
So light in texture
I draw the moment in deep
To remember it well
My grandmother is with me now
Baking her rhubarb pie
Picked fresh from the garden
I'm sitting at her table
A bright-yellow vinyl tablecloth
Neatly drapes itself around
Loud carnival music
Compliments my meal
I open my mouth wide
Grandmother, serving the perfect balance
Of sweet and spice,
And then walks away
I see the faint outline
Of a crowd in the distance
Lining up to take their turn
On the Ferris Wheel
I'm driven to the
Perfectly straight horizon
Vividly painted beyond
And to them
A wise-cracking clown
Telling off-color jokes
And showing me "the ropes"
On how to effectively
Cut in line
I see my lover
Jeans torn and hair
Perfectly backlit by
The midday sun
He is at the front of the line
He is waiting
All those behind him now
Have grown impatient
The clown presses my hand
Firmly to my lover's
Like a rose forever saved
Between brittle pages
And with a wink
The crowd is cheering now
As brightly-colored balloons
They have found
Their rightful place
In the sky
I do not know?
My grandmother from this life
She taught me how to laugh
The dreams that she inspired me
A world that is only myself
almost 10 years since departed
It brings a tear down from my eye
Lonely and afraid
Cold with fear
Nobody could face YOU like she could
Come up to the smile and tell you what she thought
It is easy to miss the beautiful things that were planted
100 years in the Garden for her
Through the Depression
two World Wars
Rock and roll's first flirtation
Kennedy is shot
Vietnam and the rot
The rest you know already
As I said before,my fellow poets
it is easy to miss
A clear blue sky
Birds who fly