undeniable as dawn and dusk upon the still horizon
as tulips reincarnate in bright hues on blue grass gardens
so is the scent that lingered in the folds of your leather coat
as it catches wind on someone else’s skin….so wrong….
familiar…just like my breathing….obsession in the air
aching like a thorn in my heart it bleeds a refrain of pain
remembrance should be buried in the earth where you lay
yet it haunts me still and taunts my soul in turmoil (indelible)
like midnight slaw mangled in a bowl of noose and weeping
somewhere you slumber (buried asleep) as my throat chokes
I still miss your laughter when that cologne hit’s a June breeze
if I close my eyes I still see your crooked grin in mid day sun
as tangible as wisps of smoke my fingers reach your smile
I toss the solemn words “I miss you” on the lakeside silence
I will see you again….this I know….and the scent assails
always like footprints dried in concrete….forever with me
*R.I.P my friend…..
Inspired by Sir Brian’s contest “Indelible Impressions”
One night a guy & a girl were
driving home from the movies. The
boy sensed there was
something wrong because of the painful
silence they shared between them
that night. The girl then asked the boy to pull over
because she wanted to talk. She told him that her
feelings had changed & that it was time to move on.
A silent tear slid down his cheek as he
slowly reached into his pocket & passed her a folded note.
At that moment, a drunk driver was speeding down
that very same street. He swerved
right into the drivers seat, killing the boy.
Miraculously, the girl survived. Remembering the note, she
pulled it out & read it.
"Without your love, I would die."
'I want you to use all your powers and your skills
I don’t want his mother to see him like this
Look, look how they massacred my boy'...
Don Corleone (Marlon Brando) in “The Godfather”
Playing the game. It's a game isn't it?
Life is but a game, but a dream isn't it?
I drove home by that road many, many times,
that very same short-cut country road that you drove
that road where our lives crashed, exploded and shattered
shattered in jagged shards of Silver-Saturn pieces
(This is where you must have seen the swerving headlights
What were your thoughts? Were you worried? Were you alarmed?
This is the spot, oh God this is where, where it all hap...
What were your LAST thoughts? What were your last words
when that pick-up jumped, jumped and flew out of that ditch?
You always said "WHAT THE!"... Yeah, you must have said that)
Driving myself to madness playing the 'what if' game
What if you had driven just a little faster?
A little slower? Stopped to pick up something?
DIDN'T stop to pick up something? (Did-didn't-did...)
Stayed at work a minute longer, or left a minute early?
Just what are the odds? Just what are the chances?
2:AM? Maybe one car, one car every 2 hours or so?
It was 'perfect' timing, a 'perfect' flash in time
I drove home by that same road many, many times,
that very same short-cut country road that you drove
that same short-cut road, that road you were driving
innocently driving....trying to get back home
Yes, playing the game. It's a game isn't it?
Life is but a game, but a dream isn't it?
*Note: A 60-year annual tradition that involved a mysterious visitor leaving three
roses at the grave of writer Edgar Allan Poe on the anniversary of his birthday
ended in January 2010. Curators of the Poe House and Museum are at a loss to
explain who left these gifts and why they stopped. On many occasions people kept
vigils near Poe’s grave during this period that began in 1949, but no one ever saw
someone leaving the roses. In the morning, however, they were always on his
grave. Poe is considered the father of the American short story and
his poem The Raven is one of his best known works.
Once upon a midnight dreary, Poe heard a tapping at his window
While grieving the loss of his young bride, a maiden “angels named Lenore,”
A radiant teen whose long, black hair in gentle breezes would billow,
Tapping at the window ceased, but suddenly it was heard at his door
Upon opening it, a Raven flew in repeating, “Nevermore”
At first he welcomed this odd visitor until Poe whispered, “Lenore”
When he heard his word echo, the strange Raven he began to abhor
He asked if he’d see his bride again and the bird replied, “Nevermore”
Though Poe died in eighteen forty-nine, a mystery evolved much later
A century after his death, his grave had an annual visitor
Roses were left on his birthday by someone whose love appeared greater
Who had left these floral gifts forever stumped the Poe House curator
Perhaps the answer can only be explained by reincarnation
Did the Raven embody the spirit of Poe’s beloved Lenore
If so, perhaps the Raven returned again in a life rotation
In human form she visited to lay roses on the earthen floor
And upon her death in two-thousand nine, she took to the skies once more
A Raven who now joins the flock circling above her late husband’s grave \/
Could it be her spirit remains with Poe, as it did in life before \/ \/ \/
Bringing him in the afterlife all the roses a poet could crave \/ \/ \/ \/
For those who consider this possibility totally absurd
Just consider the fantasies Poe created with the written word
By Carolyn Devonshire
Contest Title: “Among the Dead,” sponsored by Constance LaFrance ~ A Rambling
"I heard an angel speak last night and he said "write" - Elizabeth Barrett Browning
that was the last word he whispered before his eyes closed forever...
I close my own eyes, bite my lower lip, 'til I taste tin, stone angel crying with me...
The wind sends chills through me, as the heavens threatened to weep
brown leaves skittering between my feet, seeking for shelter.
How I related to those leaves: dry...brittle...dead.
I look at the Angel that watches over him,imploring for answers,
begging this Guardian to take pity on me, help me remember.
She only looks at me, with tears in her eyes, her beautiful face
always looked enigmatic to me, for she was smiling...
and yet those tears hinted at sadness,
seemingly reprimanding me with her look.
I bow my head in shame, and reach for her hands,
but I only feel cold, hard stone...not unlike my heart
My throat catches, I can hardly breathe--
I loosen my grip, feeling it might burn this time
...from guilt, for forgetting...
I glance at her magnificent wings, and wished I had them, too,
if only to fly away, but my feet are stuck on the ground,
with a heart buried in regret.
I whisper one word: "Sorry":spoken so softly, I think I only said it in my heart;
I say it louder, my body wracked with sobs, my heart bleeding crimson tears of anguish.
I look at the Angel and notice something on her sash--
One pristine white feather lay there-a stark contrast to the moss covered stone.
I take the feather, notice wordings etched on the sash--and scraped off moss,
Tennyson's words go straight to my heart...
" 'Tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all."
The memories come back like a flash flood, assaulting me, bringing me back to that day.
He told me he had an angel carved to be with him at his grave,
since I, his angel, couldn't always be there for him. And that he understood,
that it was okay. I shrugged it off, told him I love him forever.
I still do, that's why it shamed me that I also love another now.
Seeing those words, I felt such a sense of peace, like he was embracing me,
smoothing out my hair like he used to, telling me it was all right.
I blink back tears, and say "Thank you" this time...I hug the Angel and I felt warm.
Drizzle and sunlight bounced off each other as I walked away.
I turn my head around to his grave
--and the Angel looked on with a smile.
Constance's Angels in Cemeteries contest
June 18, 2011
here, where I walk,
confused silence swirls around my feet,
and the anguished summer leaves
are lingering limp, waiting for autumn...,
waiting to crumble and mingle with earth
drunk with the morning dew
somewhere beneath them
under the thunder
earth wears the scab of a fresh wound
in a place that will not be forgotten...
corrupt with mourning
sprouting with questions
immersed with regret
hollowed with anger
and shadowed by trees of despair
birch-bark faces, heads bent low, shadowed eyes
stone-cold voices, carried in the wind, behind disguise
while mute birds watch without a song
the leaves will decay, green goes, and the eye forgets
while pawing on the hard and bitter earth
of reason, is impossible...
and autumn goes
I will live in hope that baffled minds
will clearly see a winter sun
and give up blaming ... who?
the fire rages on….
smoke hot and murky
(like sodden dank old whiskey)
burns the backs of her brooding eye lids
as she watches fires power frolic
like a mesmerizing ghost
it consumes with licking fingers
the aromatic lavender and the intricate lilies
destroying so slowly
the dark hard leather
and delicate white lace
(it could be gone in an instant)
the quiet like a devastation spills into her
like bodies of the long passed
eyes like cheap gin
on a Saturday night
begging to be borrowed
in someone else’s head
forms of faces out of tune like an old scratched record
replaying into a wiped out ancient black sky
breeding dismay between what should be kissed lips
burrowing into flames she sketches with her ruby red
and shadowed pink mouth
(had it always been this way?)
she….with fragile fingers
twining and untwining
(with temptation of a rose thorn)
unhealed with lacerations
does she own the capacity
on her own
to block the fierceness of the sun?
beneath the stale sirens
(pounding out a raucous rhythm
on her heart)
of a raw and frantic flutter
she hears the wild piercing
of wings beating in futility
against harsh walls
rat tat tatting….rat tat tatting….
battering and scattering
trapped inside a cage
“fly free….just fly free!”
she pleads to the lady she visits every Friday
“why the hesitation?”
as she whimpers from the wounds
old and dead and long buried
in the ground beneath a willow
and still the fire rages and rampages
steals the flower petals
while ripping through the forest
as she trips on tender heels of the never fast enough
smoke still burns the backs of her brooding eyelids….
I looked up at a silver moon
Peering through a cloud of misty gloom
As we sailed across the Atlantic Sea
That fateful night in June
And as I stood upon the bow
A furrow crossed my troubled brow
When I saw a dying star fall from the sky
As the wind out of the north
Began to cry
'Twas then with fearful heart
I came at last to realize
That we were sailing
On a wave of ill-tidings
Known as 'The Devil's Tide'
For no omen of the sea
Brought more fear than thee
A fallen star - a silver moon
Together in the month of June
If legend true would surely bring us doom
So with no trace of land in sight
We sailed onward through the night
I - the Captain 'Louie Lou'
With my faithful crew
Aboard the 3 mast schooner 'Angel - of the Blue'
On canvas wings we flew
Upon the wailing wind that blew
Then suddenly a hush of malaise
Crushed the summer night
Filling all the crew with dreadful fright
As all the stars in heaven lost their light
And the silver moon dipped completely out of sight
Leaving us to drift without guidance
To our unknown plight
An eerie sound began to roll out of the west
Growing louder and louder as we held our breath
Until it was upon us and the ship began rise
As we looked in horror into the Devil's eye
As the Angel of the Blue began to fly
Up the Devil's breast she climbed 20 fathoms high
One by one the Angel's wings were torn away
As she fought to save us from the Devil's rage
Screams of horror falling from her timber sides
As the crew fell into the Devil's tide
And I - tethered to the helm - watched them die
As we climbed even higher into the Devil's eye
And as the Angel's body creaked and cracked
We finally scaled the crest and rode upon the Devil's back
Just before I fainted and my world went black
I woke up in the morning high on a mountain side
Never knowing just how I had survived
knowing only that my Angel and my crew had died
Many years have come and gone since then
And I am forever haunted by each and every one of them
My faithful crew and my mighty 'Angel of the Blue'
I see their faces in my dreams
As I awaken to their screams
Wishing, too - that I had died
But someone had to live
To tell the tale of the 'Devil's Tide'.
Author: Elaine George
Entry for contest: Legends
Awarded: First Place
The night shone for the full moon,
Sky brewing a coarse monsoon,
Bolted were windows, locked were doors,
The frequency of death frighteningly soared.
But who was this infant high upon the hill?
He denied the storm and just stood stone still,
Eyes shut like blinds and fingers dug into ground,
Felt he could move no muscle, for was sadly street bound.
Shutting his eyes, arms wrapped tight round
His skinny body, battered and browned
Praying for the sake of friends, family and all
However imaginary, he imagined them call
“Boy, come to us we love you most”
“Our love for you is bigger than the Canadian coast”
“Do not cry, remember our love”
Joining their gaze in the beyond above,
He softly mumbled a song to forget,
The once daily song that was always a duet,
Alone on that hill without any feel,
Of an afterlife he finally accepted, wasn’t real
Tears met the floor, now bathed in yellow light,
As lightning struck him too quick to fright,
Child lay on the floor, dismembered and black,
Though his mouth was smiling and his happiness had come back,
As re-joined with family, head held high,
He waved his tortured existence goodbye.
Hugging his mum and his dad the same,
Somehow put an end to the incessant rain,
The natives emerged from their homes, safe and sound,
The boy crying for happiness at the new life he had found.
Soul peering at his body, dead at age eleven,
Holding family’s hands they could finally pass on and join heaven.
The touch of their skin brought old emotion,
Parents who were torn betwixt war and devotion,
A child whom they gave their best shot,
By train to board and bomb to not.
The grave of the boy with the electric crown,
Who carried a burden he couldn’t live down,
Stood proud in the yard of cobbles and stones,
For everyone knew those were a heroes bones,
When you look into the sky on a stormy night,
Remind yourself of the boy’s plight.
As he is the clouds that damper weather,
Out to protect his town, children altogether,
He wanted a life for them around,
That didn’t consist of being mentally wound,
A life that he could never possess,
But he did not bathe in spiralling depress.
Life is sacred, upon that hill,
Those cobbles and stones bring great goodwill,
For the sun only shines on that grassy land,
Still holding marks of the boy’s humble hand,
Some say that the yearly rain,
Is him up above, the tears of a chain.
The chain of the tears shed on that night,
Of the fear and happiness’ conventional recite,
Up above, being tucked under the covers,
Is a little boy with an injury he recovers,
Mother kisses his head and says her goodnight,
Father over bed, comforting a nightmare fright.
Drifting off, the boy could hear,
A little rhyme to calm his fear,
“Boy, come to us we love you most”
“Our love for you is bigger than the Canadian coast”
“Do not cry remember our love-“
The young man rose slowly in his bed,
Opened his eyes and smiled as he said
I wept upon the news deployed
For now within, exists a void
My heart has stopped, it’s turned about
For life with love is now without
Now cast away, the physical form
I await the fate, to be reborn
To one day greet you there, again
The Gates of Heaven then let us in
Hand in hand, we move ahead
As souls permit, though bodies’ dead
A smile to you I then will give
For past our deaths, I know we’ll live
She sits alone
She draws her knees up to her shoulders, hugging them tightly
She shivers in the icy wind
Her teeth chatter and the stream of tears from her eyes, sting her cheeks
As she lifts her head towards the heavens,
Her eyes burn with pain and her piercing scream, barely human, expresses her Excruciating
suffering and anguish
She is gripped by immense sorrow, the most powerful and destructive emotion
It roughly envelopes her, throwing her into a pit of darkness, filled with evil shadows
The shadows claw at her, ripping into her flesh like daggers
She shakes violently, tasting blood as she bites down hard on her bottom lip
But she feels no pain, her body is numb, numbed by the demons of sorrow, who,
Are slowly overpowering her, devouring her heart
And locking her in an eternal web of pain
She is engulfed by fear as the intense sorrow surrounding her, compresses her
She gasps for air as the merciless hands of sorrow close around her throat
She fights in her lonely vacuum, with everything she has
She reaches for her only comfort, her fingers coil around the blade
As she stretches her arms out in front of her, her void eyes gaze upon her pale skin
Her skin is etched with scars
Her scars an eternal, entwined, tattoo of her excruciating suffering
As she runs the jagged blade over her skin, its cold feel calms her
The compressing sorrow surrenders
This is her saviour, the one who can release her from this life of pure hell
Her skin begins to open, the river of blood flowing strong
Her pain is flung into the open, through her wounds,
Leaving a sense of tranquility in her distraught heart
Her red stained fingertips caress her raw wounds
She is mesmorised by the life force flowing from her, as it paints
Her tragic story on her body
Painful tears bleed from her eyes as regret shudders through her
She rocks backwards and forwards, lulling herself into a sense of peace
Her body is drained
As she lies back she becomes limp
Her eyes close and her whispered prayers fill the open air,
Creating the painful melody her heart sings
As she slips away
Thunder roars and the starry heavens open
As God’s tears rain over His beloved daughter,
Healing her wounds and piecing her broken soul back together
As the sun rises above her,
It illuminates her peaceful expression
Her earthly father collapses besides her
His silent tears wash over her beautiful, pale face
As he lifts his dead child in his arms,
Vicious sorrow rips his heart apart,
Creating wounds which will never heal
Stumbling Through a Bewildering Maze,
Of Thoughts and Dreams, He Finds Emptiness.
The Over-exhuming Haze of a Comfortable
Life Exhausts Him, And He Sinks into Himself.
Words From His Brief Interactions Are Destroyed
By Him, Not Absorbed. It's Killing Him.
Water From His Dusty Satchel, Glints as
He Spills it onto His Lap.
-You're Losing it -
He Feels The Stares From Countless Eyes,
And Shrugs it off with Solitude as his Shield.
You've Become The Guy Your Parents Used
To Tell You To Avoid in The Street.
- You Wanna Hurt People -
He watches the Cliques of People Enjoy his
Insecurity. No-one Takes him Seriously.
He Picks The biggest Guy, His Shank, more
Powerful Than His Fist, He walks towards Him.
- It's About To Go Sour -
His Feet Crunches Aeons Beneath Him, And
Stamps Out His Future Genetics.
The Shank, Concealed in his Sleeve. Here it
Comes, This Was his final mark of Respect.
- His Veins Pump Hard -
The Adrenaline Sends Tears to his Eyes,
And Weakens His Legs, he'll Fight or Cry.
The Shank Slides Like Threading Silk Into
His Victims Stomach, Eyes Locked.
- Control it, Stay Calm -
There Was To be No Assistance, Retaliation
Was To be Swift, and Effortless.
He Smiled as They Withdrew Their Weapons
From His Chest.
- Fall To Your Knees -
Choking on Muffled Screams, behind The
Blood and Mucus Filling his Mouth.
- Close your Eyes -
The Light Seemed To Bend in and out of The
Dark patches, It hit his eyes, and blinded him.
- This Makes Sense -
His Face hits Sand...
Don’t you remember, love, how we danced that first night;
beneath the sun’s rays, toes dipping in the cooling sand,
to the tune of our favorite song –
with me humming the best I could –
(I sounded terrible, but you told me I sounded divine, remember?)
while falling all over myself, and your delicate feet;
and you, trying so hard not to laugh as I made such a fool of myself!
Did you ever think we would go
from being love-sick teenagers dancing on the beach,
to a couple of old-timers reminiscing
about our best years – our long ago days together?
If there is any part of that teenage girl
left within that beautiful head of yours…please;
please, just look in my eyes as you once did…
look at me, sweetheart…
Don’t you remember?
My love, do you hear?
They’re playing our favorite song…
*Inspired by Izzy Gumbo's Solfege Contest
I really hope I did this right! :)
My heart was in such pain
I felt like I was going to go insane
I just don't know what to do
And my eyes full of tears that distort my view
I fell to my knees and felt the urge
My muscle tighten and pin needles struck me like a surge
My body was warm and with feelings so confused
My mind felt sadness had fused
I could not conquer my fears
I just sat down and fell into tears
When some close to you passes on
It felt like a warmth has gone
So I raised my hand towards a box that was empty with no tissue
I first was embarrass and had a little bit of issue
All my friends hugged me and said sorry for your loss
So now I cry in my bed and toss
April 14, 2013
On the edge
of the evacuation zone
Miyuki holds her daughter
tip-toeing in pink sneakers
her small hands fragile
to the man with the beeping wand
They were outside in the karesansui
washing and raking
rocks, when the school
then pressed into silence
voices rising inside
So now they wait with strangers
in ordered lines of sorrow
for bread and drinking water
as an adolescent, eyes downcast
sees the small pink laces and
offers up his only ration
of precious onigiri
Hooded and white masked they walk
three days and bed-less nights toward
Ishinomaki by the ocean
to family, friends, and home forever
The landscape jumbles unfamiliar
with plastic wreckage
detritus flooded in a field
where Japonica once grew
while moon-suited men
and women gather
albums for the living
And after sunset Miyuki moves
her little girl away
from a white-taped blue-bagged
toward the humming black-robed Monk, his
prayers for light
and workers burned
exposed to radiation ten
thousand times too high
And in the shadows one old man kneels
beside a fetid pool and scoops
rice to carry back to neighbours
moved to higher ground, un-opens
one last bottled spirit
bows his head and offers
Miyuki and her first and only
everything he has
At last they reach the shelter’s glow
beneath the starless robe of night
not used to wearing
Miyuki helps her daughter fold
sheets of painful news into
an origami box to hold
her last and only pair
And in the morning as they face
the stretch of road for home
to unknown love and losses there
they turn and gaze toward the east
spring’s warming breeze
to rise with brilliant red once more
new light of wondrous dawn
'karesansui' is a Japanese rock garden or 'dry landscape'. Rocks are often washed.
'onigiri' is the emergency rice being distributed to survivors in Japan.
'Japonica' is a type of (short-grained) Japanese rice.
for Debbie Guzzie's contest, 'Tribute to Japan'
Love is a season.
And holidays mark the seasons, and years like signs in the road,
reflecting the bumps in our journey, but showing us a way back home.
Sixteen, in pajamas, watching the rain pelt down,
it was long past midnight, Christmas eve.
Twinkling lights on one house across the road, stared back at me.
It was if they were trying to fill our dark house with color.
The block was filled with a hundred lighted windows.
But the blackness of our own, somehow, seemed more appropriate.
There was no Christmas tree in our house that year.
I suppose Dad felt it was too soon, or perhaps just the effort to get through each day
had taken all the strength he had.
We had stayed up and watched a Christmas program together.
Perry Como, I think it was, for I think I remember he sang "Ava Maria", and Dad got teary eyed.
My brother had come home from the Air Force earlier that week,
trying to help bring us a bit of cheer,....at least, for awhile,
but he had been called back to duty, and I missed him terribly.
The house was silent after Dad had gone to bed.
I wasn't sleepy,....and it was lonely looking out at the cold night
It seemed the whole world was sleeping, waiting for Christmas.
As I finally headed for bed, I noticed a light had been left on in the front coat closet.
I opened the door, and looking up, to pull the chain, I noticed the box.
The shoe box that had kept the sugar cube house, safe, dry, and out of harm's way.
A sugar cube house that Mom and I had made together when I was 8 years old.
Little sugar cubes stacked into walls, and a roof, glued together with red frosting.
We had copied one out of her Good Housekeeping magazine that year,
and had surrounded it with little trees, and a oval mirror pond, and items we had found at the 5 and 10 cent store. She had carefully packed it all away last year.
After her last Christmas.
Late into the night, I sat in the dimness of the house, laying out the sugary scene on the fireplace mantel....just as Mom would have done.
When the freckled morning moved into day...I woke on the sofa...Dad sitting next to me. He had covered me with a warm blanket, and had fallen asleep beside me.
After breakfast....he disappeared outside, and soon came in carrying a sorry looking branch from our old evergreen tree.
We decorated that bedraggled branch...it wasn't the most beautiful tree we had ever had, but it brought Christmas back to my family.
For Deb's Contest: A Christmas Tale
(Inspired by "The Match Girl" By H.C. Anderson
Your face and rotting teeth and heavy jowls
and sunken breasts with bulging waist and
Your image of laughter, lovemaking, seeking
bourbon tweaked philosophies
of life begins
The hands that tremble as you tilt
the glass that begins another
Tirade thoughts, empty lies, money spent on
lipstick coated leeches who prey on
Through these wintry days pass faces long past
into what was then
while with the coming spring ...
at last! at last!
One can remember
and want no more
what could never be:
They listened to your clever lines,
Felt guilty when you gave them blame
Bought in to your stick man stories
The anecdotal evidence you proclaimed
So now adoption is the enemy
Christian families are a villain
Gotcha day is doom's day
A horror story of joy killing
They believed you, "He was trafficked!"
But if that was true then what went wrong
The dollars would have moved me out of there
If these books were credible I'd have been gone
Of course you knew the true reality
Your agenda was so thinly veiled
There isn't this army of rescuers
For years adoption numbers have fell
I'm not copy for your editors
Don't care about best selling lists
I wasn't a child for any Catcher's
Those kinds of children rarely exist
You'd think there was an evil industry
By the awful things you wrote
You created your desired fiction
The fact is agencies are going broke
So don't imprison me with narrow labels
I'm just a hurting human being
I'm not a product or a talking point
I'm a somebody, not a something!
No one shopped for me like it was Walmart
I'm a fatherless child, now an aged out orphan
I have a name, hopes, and fears
You sold me out and made a fortune!
Sponsor: Chris D. Aechtner
Contest Name: Anything Goes
The 18th of December was her last day;
she neither knew the date nor cared to.
Gathered at the hospital, keeping vigil,
we couldn't overcome her fright, or ours.
The pain, too great to be driven away,
was only "managed" with IV drips,
needles stuck in bruised appendages --
bony things -- arms and legs, hands and feet.
Above the medicines and washes, we sniffed
her scent, which, more than her yet familiar
face, to us identified our mother --
a smell we never would mistake
for any other. It went quickly
as her body cooled. The rouged and pickled
carcass they displayed was more a statue
than a person. We planned to bury her
with homely tokens, like an ancient mummy:
a family photo, a brooch she liked,
a pink hairbrush, and the brass bell she rang
to call her keeper during her last years.
But, when the time came, I could not bear
to see her leave so finally;
I took the bell from her metal box.
And, now, I ring it -- not to bring a keeper,
but to recall my mother on her birthday,
and on many dark days when I need her.
Summer of '99
How ironic. There I was, waking to a magnificent kaleidoscopic sky
and I had no one to share it with. I thought you'd be there but I knew
that it was too good to have lasted. It was too perfect--
you were too perfect, all the way down to your cheesy pick up
line... "Steamy Summer Love" indeed...
But what is steam anyway? I guess the love that we shared
that summer literally evaporated. All at the heat of the moment.
How cliched. But it sure burned me, now I realize how true it is
that steam is way much hotter than boiling water.
Was it all a dream? I tend to think so, but then
I finger the bracelet around my wrist,
and realize it was true after all.
Breath on breath. Skin to skin. Heartbeat to heartbeat.
Soul to soul? I thought so.
I've come back here, to this same spot where we were a year ago,
just for me to let go.
Literally bottling up everything...
this write goes in this bottle, as well as some sand here
and your joke of a bracelet.
I'm tossing this out to sea, because that's where it belongs--
those memories to be swallowed up.
by angry waves...
Was it a fantasy? Maybe, but then I hold him close to me
and realize it wasn't. I named him Nicholas, you know.
See, I remembered your name.
Summer of 2008
I've come back to this place to mull over something rotten
I did a decade ago. And remember-- that gorgeous face,
those mesmerizing eyes and smile... that amazing spirit.
And hit myself on why I was such a fool.
Then I see this bottle, and in it is some sort of letter,
and what is this? A bracelet? An all too familiar one--
holding it in my palm, I get a chill not brought on by the sea breeze.
Reading the note, I burn up, ashen.
I then weep till my eyes and soul feel like dying.
I have a son.
and her name has escaped my memory.
** July 18 2010r06262012
Sunday night Apr. 8, 2001:
the night I slept in relative peace
foolishly, naively believing and
falsely assuming that all was well…
But then the morning after:
though not the worst morning after
still the numbing, paralyzing morning after
the morning his voice seemed far away
as if it were an eerie, drug induced dream
the morning he regretted to inform...
(For a precious few weeks
one hibernates, wrapped up safely
in that protective cocoon
of sweet denial and disbelief)
No, the worst morning after came:
after all had been said and done
after basking in the glow of sympathy
after the admiration of my iron will
after all returned to daily routines
after I found myself alone again…
Oh no, the worst morning after:
was the morning I startled awake
to find that monster standing there
that monster who pointed at me
and told me the bitter, brutal truth
the awful and merciful truth of God
the truth that you are really gone
and are never, ever coming back…
* This poem placed in a few other contests but got an N/A in several others, including the contest 'Last night...This morning' on 12/7/2013 which it was specifically written for
My favorite of songs is The Old Rugged Cross.
The most tragic of days was the worlds’ greatest loss.
For sinners that day were all given their chance.
His Father in heaven could not even bear to look not even one glance.
Forgive them He prayed as His life’s blood ran down to the ground.
Can you picture Him there wearing that thorny old crown?
On that hill so far away, sad but precious memories were made.
Born of a virgin mother in the tomb He was laid.
Death could not hold Him, death would not last.
Three days in that tomb, so long ago, death too it would pass.
He arose and was seen by many it was said.
Our Savior arose from the grave and no longer was dead.
As He gave His final words to His apostles and friends.
He ascended to the clouds but they knew they would see Him again.
He made us a promise He would rule once again.
I feel that day is coming we’re reaching the end.
The prophecies that abound.
With each new day they seem to be coming unwound.
Are you ready my friend for the Millennium Reign?
Are have you sunk to wearing the mark worn by Cain?
Sacrifices my friend we all have to do.
Just look at Jesus and the sacrifice He made, was made just for you .
So on that hill so far away I kneel at the thought.
With His precious blood my cleansing was bought.
And what have we learned, or did He die just for nought?
I look to Jesus and His love I have sought.
He must come first in all that we do.
And when the day comes you’ll see I speak true.
America, why did you stray from the old way.
A constitution put forth, the foundation of our land,
barely recognizable what was originally Jefferson's hand.
Tarnished and smudged by misinterpretation,
overindulgence and greed, to satisfy political,
judicial, and journalistic need.
Once majority rule, now bordering on ridicule,
the law of the land, ever changing, meeting demands,
of whoever takes a stand.
America, why did you stray, parents unable to discipline,
fear children undisciplined now rule, school in chaos,
students unruly, guaranteed to pass, unprepared for their future,
parents unsure, wish for the past, hope the next generation,
won't be like the last.
America, why did you stray, streets used to be a place to play,
neighbors knew one another, socialized every day,
doors left unlocked, nothing to fear, families stayed close,
helped one another, took care of mother.
Now drugs rule the day, hate and crime more common than play,
multiple locks symbolic of today, rarely talk to a stranger,
living in fear; life no longer precious, taken away,
day after day, the bloody count rises, a country in crisis,
victims pay, guilty appeal, courts give them the best deal.
Nobody protests for victims rights, put a murderer to death,
they scream all night.
America, why did you stray, hatred and bigotry alive
and well today, nationalities split, long for the old way,
when an American, was just an American, now hyphenation,
the accepted way.
America, why did you stray, once an industrial giant
you gave it away, too high a standard for industry to pay,
moved out of country, the new American way, unemployment,
poverty, homelessness rapidly increasing, ruined lives,
while billions are spent on so called allies.
America, why did you stray, what's written today,
barely address the wrongs building every day,
religion is accepted, God is not,
country divided, politically split,
presidential bashing provides journalistic wit,
hatred and bigotry, live for it.
America why did you stray, new chapters every day,
really a damn shame.
It was the first day of the new school year
The children of Beslan had no need to fear
In anticipation they eagerly left home for school
Some walked hand in hand with Mom and Dad
Others skipped along the well known path
Excitement filled the sidewalks and the streets
As fleeting thoughts collided in mid air
Some thought of new friends to be made
Others of old friends with whom to play
A little sister left at home
Of baby brother asleep in his crib
Much too young to run and play
Some favorite lullabies which Grandmama sang
As Grandpapa played his violin
The first day of the new school year
Mothers beamed with such pride
How their little ones had grown
Never would they ever want to let go
Others gave in to their children’s cries
‘Mamma, I do not want to go to school.
May I stay with you today?’
On wings of hate evil had already arrived
With diabolical plans and bombs in hand
To maim and murder the children of Beslan
Who became captives in their little school house
After the dastardly deed was done
Dreams and aspirations lay splattered 'cross the floor
Childhood innocence forever vanished!
On the day of internment the sun in his temple hid
Earth wept pouring rain, her bitter tears
As Mothers’ voices cracked and strained
Cried out loud, their children’s names
While others pleaded in vain for death
Fathers in a state of shock stood stoically in the cold autumn rain
Wearing faces carved in stone
The blood of children cried out to Heaven
Where at the throne of mercy
Sits a God who is just
Though their bodies lay broken in tiny white coffins
On angels' wings their souls did ascend
He will judge all men and their deeds
All, on one appointed day
A tribute to the children of Beslan, No. Ostetia, Russia 9/1-3/ 2004
If I rewrote the story and somehow are paths
did not cross.
In temptations fire.
We would only know the cold of others.
Freezing in the silent agony unable
The statue remains its meaning erased.
As into others we will seek.
The emotions we no longer share.
Alone I am now inthe isolation of many blank
The jokes are but a wall built to conceal.
All that I am.
That I could never reveal.
Use the substances to keep you numb.
And let the voices take you to another place.
Beyond the madness there lies
beauthy in pain.
And always truth.
Destruction breeds art.
I light up in a room of vacant stares
and empty lives.
To blind in addiction to know the other does exist.
In this den like some scene from a opium parlor from the west.
Ashes hit the floor along with my pride.
This battle im losing with devilish glee.
All but nothing is left.
so in the shadows I confide.
Sometimes wisdom can come from great acts of stupidty
sometimes pain brings us closer to the truth
nothing stays buried it just lays in wait.
From the bottom of an abandoned gravel pit
behind my childhood home, seated,
leaning against its hardpacked sandy side,
he watched the July sun set,
the empty prescription bottle at his side.
Did he walk that day to his unnatural fate
slowly, shoulders rolling like a big cat,
alternating first one, then the other,
forward, head bent, one black errant
curl tumbling across his troubled forehead.
Did he hesitate or did he hurry
and did he think of me, just 12,
soon to be fatherless, before he
began his two weeks of decomposing
in the hot Texas sun until
the man on horseback found him
while looking for a lost calf.
I couldn't blame my mother
for the divorce she filed.
I had wanted him to leave, too,
and hadn't I prayed he would die
when he dragged her over the yard,
by a handful of her hair clasped
tightly in his fist,
because she had cut it without his permission.
Especially the next day when I found
the clump of auburn hair caught in the lush
purple blooms of the wisteria bush,
I wanted him to die.
He played his harmonica for me,
and I sang, "Daddy's Little Darling,
Don't you think I'm sweet?"
But I prayed my dad would die,
and though I asked God to ignore those
prayers of terror, I will never be able to
love enough wayward men to save my dad.
"Love comes in many flavors....but the taste of it, is unforgettable"
It makes a very large batch.
And when I finish, there will be
Enough for my family, my friends, and quite possibly
Everyone who lives on our street.
On my tiled kitchen counter
I have gathered..according to the recipe,
The butter, the sugar, the corn syrup,
Nuts and chocolate...all the necessary delectable
Ingredients to make my mother's
Melt-in-the-mouth butter toffee.
I make it every Christmas, a family favorite,
Like a legacy that must be passed on...
A futile attempt to lighten a dark hour ...of long ago.
A new bride then, with inexperience my middle name..
In a tiny kitchen of blue and white
I was frocked in frilly yellow, wearing the apron she had sewn
An apron with color as warm as the butter assembled before me
My task, was to follow the step by step instructions
A recipe, written in her hand
Letters so blurred by tears that had taken up new residence in my life
The curls of her handwriting
Wrapping 'round me like the sound of her voice...
A little page from her vast collection..
Wrinkled and yellowed, with speckles, and splatters
Yellow splatters, reminding me of days of my childhood
A childhood of naivete', believing still, in a sun that would forever shine for me...
When I had so much yet to learn
But this was that ghastly year, ....that first Christmas,... without her...
It was up to me, determined to carry on
...A simple recipe, ....couldn't be that hard...could it?
My novice effort, in those first months without her
Was a disappointment. Just not the same as hers,
Faintly scorched, the taste...no delight, in the offering...
People were polite, accepted it, and ate it to be kind.
They smiled, patted my head, gave compliments...
But I knew.
And, as time passed,..experience taught me. Experience heals.
My toffee is good. Quite good...delicious, actually...
Still not the same as hers, but my family thinks it's fine.
I, however, know better.
I Have always known.
Today...I melt the butter, I add the sugar, and the syrup
Stirring while the mixture turns to amber. It won't take long.
My family waits....waits eagerly to savor the sweet flavor
The flavor of butter, the flavor of chocolate
the flavor of enduring love..........that was my mother.
The oath spilled over my lips
If you hurt me, said she
I will never forgive you!
No, it was not the words
Probably the pose, or the voice
Or was it the silence between?
But there was power, and I swore
A daunting spirit
In Between, Silence!
Today, I awoke to the mocking bard
I am sorry, said she
Forgive me, forget me
It was the words, no pose, no voice
And the sinful silence aside,
There was power in the words
The daunting spirit.
Suddenly a very soft and familiar voice spoke to her conscious saying “Lovely”
“Yes” she replied
“Tomorrow you are coming back home”
“OK” she said breathing heavily
The conversation ended right at that instant
Seven minutes later the unpredictable happens and Lovely dropped into a short comma.
A new day arrives.
Ding dong, ding dong, sounds the door-bell
Lovely wakes up; open the golden windows the sun is raising
Knock, knock someone is at the golden door
She didn’t know what was going on this time
She walks all the way to the door not noticing that her house was made out of the finest
marble, and the finest gold that ever existed.
Lovely answers the door thinking is the mail man with the missing letter.
When she finally opens the door instead of the mail man was her husband with open arms and
a smile on his face.
Saying “welcome home baby” “I had been waiting for you”
WE ALL GOING TO A BETTER PLACE SOMEDAY. OUR REAL HOME.
Tonight I thought I shook off a roach. Swore I felt it approach. Imagined it crawling down
my throat. My Dad came out from the den and asked What’s Wrong? I said, Nothing, I’m fine
when I still felt bits of dead roach nesting in my spine. That’s Divine.
I feel the Holy Spirit in me tonight. Jesus Christ! I must have done right! Don’t come
near me, I’m contaminated, clearly. Oh, God, need me! So that the sky doesn’t turn black
every time I look up to seek your advice. My chips are stacked, I’ve got them wracked.
Roll the dice six six six every time. On my Dime. I think I may have crossed the line.
Maybe I’m sick. Maybe I’m not hip to this.
Maybe I just need to settle down. Take a breath. Take a pill. Sit real still. Stare until
I become comatose blare my music so loud that my eyes become brazen and I can’t hear what
Do roaches bite? I wonder at night. As I hide beneath the covers that used to shield us
from one another. Protect us from the evils in this world, bring no harm to little girls.
Now they just cover up old condoms and dirty food crumbs.
Numb. Numb. Numb. Can’t move. Limbs feel numb, limbs feel wrung, limbs feel slung,
stammering and slurring like grandma after her stroke.
This is a joke. The world’s a joke. We’re a joke.
Then why aren’t we laughing? Why aren’t we guffawing until our paws fall off, our mittens
become smitten and we cough up our dirty lungs with joy.
Oh boy, here I go again. If this is a joke why aren’t we laughing? Why aren’t we guffawing
until our paws fall off, our mittens become smitten and we cough up our dirty lungs with joy.