The house seemed smaller, now seen with older eyes...
The street seemed narrower, the trees taller..
Where once were open fields across the road
New construction had bloomed
The small fruit orchard had disappeared
But somehow we knew it would still be there....
Strangely different, ...yet much the same
There was an unfamiliar young child's tricycle
On the flagstone path that we laid...
In front of this little house that lies
Beyond the curve, where the old sycamore grew...
Suddenly, thirty years faded into that autumn day
And quickly had become a springtime of our lives.....
...of first Christmas trees,..of first anniversaries...
...a place where I cried night after night when mother died...
...and spent long, starry nights holding newborn babes....
Yes....it is all still there, in the little yellow house
Funny, but I'm glad they kept the yellow...
It has the same white shutters...
The little yellow house, with a flagstone pathway that we laid
That sits beyond the curve, where the old sycamore grew...
I carry my mother
like a rock in my pocket
that I just can’t seem to throw away
It serves me
it just weighs me down
When I first found it,
when I first picked it up
and started carrying it with me,
I thought it so beautiful –
I could look at it for hours
But, like my mother,
it never looked back at me,
never grew warm under my loving gaze
For the longest, I was blind to that,
Blind to anything but the beauty,
blind to the cold, hard,
beyond-remote nature of the rock,
of my mother,
I carry my mother,
a thought without weight
And she’s heavier
and she’s colder
than all the stones
By the time I recognized her
immutable, emotional unavailability,
I had run out of joy,
felt depleted of hope –
But I could not,
for the life of me,
stop seeking a beauty, a warmth,
inside her heart
Could not stop
that one day this stone,
deep inside my pocket,
Might just become
its own opposite –
Change from hard to fluid,
from cold to warm
But my rock, my hard burden,
will only turn to water
When my mother
Visited you today
as the sun set in the horizon…
the orange tinged carnations
were a perfect complement
for the skies
and for you…
orange and blue
always remind me of you
the winds softly blew
and I just sat there
staring at the grass,
well more at your name really…
what I am looking at,
that it’s been seven years
of missing you,
of just putting that reality
at the back of my mind…
But there are days,
such as today
which make me
confront that reality—
I see your smile,
remember your laughter
celebrate your spirit
and your love
Tears, I tell you I have
the most stubborn tears
maybe because they
make it so real for me?
I look around me
and look for that sign
Nope, not there…
I say a prayer
and speak to you
thankful for the life shared
I kiss the date that you were born
and walk away
my reflection on the car window
One last look around,
and then I see it…
a cat, as we drive away…
Skies now streaked purple and pink
**My brother would have been 40 today, May 6…
Your house still smells like you:
Warm shortbread and lavender soap -
Comforting and agonizing.
Your plants still bloom,
Perched beside the window
Where the kettle waits to be filled.
But your rocking chair is still
And all is quiet.
I could have fallen to pieces
Like a hand-blown vase
Hurled against green walls
Or dropped on old floorboards
Through fingers slick with shock.
But you sewed me up
With words gone by.
Your remnant thoughts
(So similar to thoughts I've had)
Penned in your slanted scrawl,
Filling pages with perfect rhymes
And clever observations.
Here you'll live forever
In vibrant verses and lilting lines.
And I'll live here too
Until the last salty drop
Lands on the final page.
Things that seemed poetic were always sad,
though I yearned for sparkle
and my dad's guffaw, which never came.
Familiar things were always drear --
repeated motions in the same old game.
There were only distant glimpses
of budding spring, fleeting views
of daffodils. The strongest
poems dealt me death and dying.
Yet I always hoped, never went under
to gray despair, always dreaming
of a garden of love that we could share.
But those forbidden delights faded
quickly away; the only reality
I understand is the ever-looming
and final one. Nothing's changed.
The strongest poems deal death and dying.
See the woman.
See the face behind its age.
See the beauty of her form.
See the way her way becomes her.
See past her once taught skin, as it was
when it enflamed many a man.
See the way she holds her head;
the tilt of her neck, the ease
of her being.
See the strength that binds her jaw,
unrelenting in its flex.
See her hurt displayed, as shadows
fall like night upon the earth,
eager for rest and resolution -
for the one she could not save.
See her darkness. See it very well.
See it shatter like glass, glinting,
when she giggles like a girl.
See her shine.
As the shades of dark days rise,
See the years that grace her eyes,
like rays of her own sun
exponentially shining forth.
See forgiveness in her patient hands
as they weave memories with a touch.
See the breadth of her breasts,
for they have quenched her children’s hunger,
soothed their frantic cries,
and became the safe haven for her beloved.
See her empty, scarred abdomen –
round and perfect in its imperfections,
once holding the essence of all things;
carrying creation within –
see the divine home of God.
See the innocent baby,
the impetuous youth,
the voluptuous woman,
the devoted wife,
the selfless mother.
See the wisdom of the grandmother –
the epitome of every moment lived
for someone else, and the realization
of the circle.
Hear the acceptance in her sigh.
See the gifts she has given –
see the woman!
See the goddess!
The beginning and the end!
See the infinite that bares the name,
See her for all that she is and isn’t.
Smell her scent and know you are home.
Taste the strength of her words on your tongue.
Hear her experiences like your own.
To touch her soul is to touch perpetuity!
See her face in your mirror.
See the tears that fall proudly
upon the woman you’ve become,
and hope yet to become
when you have lived through all that has been
set before you –
tasted each woman’s tears as if they were your own.
When you enter that perfect union,
when you become,
when you come
you will see yourself in all things,
and your journey, will see you back
*Reposted for Chris's Get Your Rebel On, Contest! This was written with my Beautiful
Grandmother in mind. She saved my life in more ways than one. love you, Gran. This one's
for you. (and every woman, and woman lover, here)
In the drawer
Behind all the white t-shirts
Packed away in the corner where
It is safe, I keep you.
You are hidden
No one knows you're there,
I take you out to see your
Smiling yet depressed face.
I realize the trouble you went through
Just to make sure I live a better life
Than you did.
Here you hold your baby one last time
Before sending him off to a
Life without poverty.
He doesn't say goodbye because
He is so small and innocent.
You give him a little kiss and say
Goodbye my sweet child.
So I thank you
Sweet, sweet, lady.
I'll put you back
In that safe little place,
So that when the time comes
For me to meet you,
I will find you before
You find me.
I count my walks through herbs and shells
never knowing how old bones can be fleshed
from a heart bound on scrolls of endings,
and here I am among rows of an orchard…
feet like dust sanded by twelve months
of famine and feast ; somehow the maple boughs
wither from the laundry of evenings’ regret.
Often times, like the gypsy rose,
I climb into the lattice of my family tree
smelling its tar and citrus that knit arms
glossed by twilight’s love,
then raked by froths of autumn’s debris.
Closing a fence as another year shuts off,
I am between silence and scream…
eyes groaning with the music
of an anonymous breeze sheltering
a collected beauty of tragedy and the comedy
of drama: trials pinned by veiled nights
when kinship endures the flood of weather's hands.
It is so, I mean, the certainty of taming
the last ride before new seeds from a new year
twirl upon unborn fruits…
I disrobe the old bones to greet the unknown.
"“In times of test, family is best.” – Burmese Proverb
Charlotte Puddifoot's Open Free Verse Contest
I had waited for you seemingly forever
So long did it take before you were to come into my life
But in so many ways you had always been there
Your hair so white more than once people
Said that you glowed
Your eyes blue gray
Soft but piercing.
In the spring we’d plant flowers and you quite the digger
Would never tire of ‘replanting’ oh the control God blessed
Me with that summer
On the porch we would swing and sing until my throat would be sore
And still Id manage one more
Lavender Blue, You Are My Sunshine, Red River Valley
I can still hear the wee small voice
In the summer under the big maple the front walk
Would flood and we’d run back and forth barefooted and splashing
Your face, pure joy, your eyes animated, your smile so wide
And those cheeks I could tweak them right now
Is there any better sound than giggles and splashes
Autumn we would take long walks and picnics down in the woods
And sit on a fallen tree. We’d find ants and worms and spiders and rescue the most
Precious of treasures. Feathers, milkweed fuzz, acorns, so much
Bounty for the taking. We’d bring them home and glue them
On paper or cardboard or make touch books
Winter oh please let’s have snow for winter. Snowmen
And snow forts, snow balls and mmmm snow cream.
I remember the look on your face at your first bite as
If you had just made magic.
We read books by the fire, books and more books
Then you would touch my lips and ask me to
Read one with my mouth, which meant to make
Up one just for you.
You have been blessed with intelligence
You have an uncanny ability to fix things
You’ve never seen before
Your sense of humor can put me away
Until I beg you to stop
You have a sense of logic beyond your years
You will sit on the floor for hours and build block towers for babies
Most importantly my son
You have been blessed for an unquenchable thirst for God’s own heart
At eighteen our time together will be changing but sitting here
I remember the words from a book we used to sing to each other
“I’ll love you forever
I’ll like you for always
As long as I’m living
My baby you’ll be"
Sitting here, on these old porch steps, that I have always known
A weathered stoop, with gray-painted floorboards
The creaks and groans, the flaws and chips, so familiar to my hand
I've come to some conclusion,
and I'm surprised to understand,
how well I know each board, each slat,
the shape, the size, the warps, the cracks
each rusty nail, ....
but not the facts of you.
Oh yes, ........I've seen a glimpse or two,
in photographs, I have a few...
I see a robust man, in yellowed hues, of vintage stock...
There's a house, a barn, where land is strewn with stones to move.
You stand behind a horse and plow, in coveralls,... a mustache too .
I do recall, so vaguely gray, as gray as slats beneath my hand...
a jolly man, your wrinkled face,
with a smile, a laugh, a loving way
A dream I have, or is it real?
Is that me when I was two? Sitting here, beside you then?
Or is it just my wish to know... more than just a trace of you?
I never knew the man you were, your hopes your dreams...
the thousand schemes that brought you to these rocky slopes
so far from where your hopes began
Where those steep cliffs rose and the seas were blue.
Here, I look beyond these furrowed rows,...
where grasses grow in amber waves
and I ponder how it came to be....
that I am me,....
who came from you;
a man I never knew.
(To watch the youtube video recitation:)