Passing through framed windows like ours,
I recall your tales of reckless war and lost friends
that burned your innocence at 21... and though
you claimed flashes of courage, moist eyes
poured vulnerability looking calm, undaunted.
We both searched deeply into our souls
as a father is to his young daughter, that I wanted
to let you know, it was alright;
but that mound of shoulders turned away.
Down the years as officer and gentleman,
Time stole long weeks, absent from your dining chair,
leaving me resentful and bitter on hardened sills
until you arrive under crawling dock of stars.
But in free moments, how you cherished
me so; waking my cheeks at 3 am to race the winds,
to fly with a shooting neon, laughing with a blue moon.
You spoke of faith and honor if life dared a shame, oh
mild scent of your arms cuddling my girlish dreams...
until off you rode suddenly on heaven’s wheel.
I see you through all framed windows like ours,
that even if my iced breaths needed you more
as small flowers thirsted for rain, my anger was a cry
for love’s company... “ I have adored you
in moments of distance and nearness, if not
always, then for all eternity.”
Have I forgotten to open this, my soft, broken sigh?
Dad, everything is all right.
The Confessional Contest
*GRANDMA WAITS IN THE GARDEN*
Hi grandpa it's me again!
Your dentures sit in an open glass
Do you remember the tears grandma sang before she passed?
The way she looked into your eyes,
Moments before she said her goodbyes
Grandpa, I found a note from grandma, she doesn't want you to cry.
Hi grandpa, it’s me again!
The rocking chair is old and dusty
Do you remember the way grandma sat me on her lap?
Read many stories before I took a nap
How she enjoyed brushing my hair with her hands
Love the way she rocked me to sleep every night until I grew.
I stored your hearing aid away
Do you remember that special musical box in grandma's drawer?
I opened it last night, to watch the ballerina dance
I wish you could hear the tiny chimes grandma lived in
I hope you don’t mind, I’m keeping grandmothers favorite scarf.
I'm caressing grandma’s picture frame
Do you like the way she looked in that pretty sundress?
Grandpa, I miss the things grandmother did for you
I like the walking stick she handcrafted, the day your needed support
It kept you in balance every time we took long hikes in the woods.
Hello grandpa, it's me again!
Here I sit holding your hand
I have no more tears
Soon you will see grandma
Please tell her hi, and I know you will be there the day I die
Give grandma a kiss, and tell her I miss her
You ripped me
One word at a time
Shredded my smile
Pulled at my sensitivity
I was never strong enough
To pull back my paper heart
You took the pieces of me
Arranged them in your perfect order
I prayed for the wind to come
Hoping I would be carried away
Flutter to a new more loving home
Instead, I endured your paper cuts
I became your paper mâché
Shaped into the image of you
Glued with your inconsistancies
Coated in your endless smoke
Sarcasm and beer
I marinated in your endless tears
You painted me with a retarded label
Your stupid failure of a son
Forced to endure that brush
It was with your eyes I learned to see
Everyone else was better than me
I was a failure times three
My inside empty
I became light as air
As time went on I ceased to care
It happend slowly you weren't aware
Until one day I floated past your stare
No longer raw and bare
I clawed and ripped
Rewrote my page
coming of age
Not your puppet on a stage
Contorted by your rage
I have lost you to your death
The air much clearer, still I feel your breath
Within my doubts your lies still hide
Yet within me a new strength resides
Your image of me no longer applies
Doubt and fear reduced in size
No longer your "DUMMY"
On faith I rise
For Charlotte's contest, heart and soul confessional.
Written, September 1st 2014.
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.
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:)
When I'm alone I wonder why you didn't fight for me
You get more credit for being a dad that you deserve to be
All the times you gave your word and left me standing in the rain
All the promises you broke and left my heart with pain
Even as a little child I never could understand
How you could ignore me all the time and still call yourself a man
All the times you said I love you and never backed it up
All the love you never showed and all your lack there of
I only wanted you to care, I longed for your attention
All the mistakes and problems you caused, I won't waste time to mention
I wanted you to be there for me, though you never were
So how can you still say you miss me, you've really got some nerve
Others made of for the loss of you, but it's never been the same
I now have the only man I need, I hate to even speak your name
I have someone else who makes me feel good, it will never be my dad
I just wish you would have been the father I never had
Struggling through the Great Depression
Growing up fatherless in the care of a loving aunt
Losing her husband, his weary mother could not cope
Working for the Civilian Conservation Corps
Trying to support his family
Attending school at night to provide a better life
Playing his sax and clarinet
Resounding notes of joy cast blessings
Filling our home with happiness many children never know
Loving eyes and deep, gentle voice
Drawing admiration from all who came to know him
Speaking softly, never in harsh tones
Accepting life’s challenges
Forgiving when his children seemed ungrateful
Nurturing, caring, standing by our sides
Picking us up when we fell
Offering support in every endeavor
Being the kind of father he never had
Teaching us to work hard and achieve
Reminding us that life offers no guarantees
Encouraging us to rebound from challenges as “come-back kids”
Gathering at his hospital bedside New Year’s Day 2009
Astonishing nurses with the depth of our love
Never leaving his side, three grown children rested hands upon his
Lingering six days in a coma, perhaps his soul already in heaven
Speaking to him, hoping he could hear
Wanting him to feel our love one last time
Siblings who rarely agreed
Concurring just this once
Feeling blessed by our father, the brightest star we see in heaven
* Dedicated to my father, Arthur Schwarz, who died January 6, 2009
It wasn't because he brought her flowers....
It wasn't because he wined and dined her....
She loved him because he spent hours on the computer
trying to track down the 1970 Brooks Robinson baseball card
for their oldest son's birthday
She loved him because he played with their kids, even after a hard day at work...
baseball games in the big front yard...
cheering them on...
not getting angry when the youngest son
knocked a homer
straight through the living room window
By chance, I found them, there...
Three pressed leaves, with brittle veins of delicacy
Tucked between the pages
Of a tattered book of poems
Overlooked and gathering dust,
A cover worn, with broken spine
It had your names, an autumn date,
With script inside, a faded time...
Caressed in yellowed tissue, these three from ancient trees
Discarded long ago from russet crowns
A memory, kept, of time, so keen,
Of a long ago, brisk autumn day?
Where leaves had fallen so bold and gay, then twirled on down
From breezes that gently made the Sycamores sway
A place you walked and held his hand, and knew forever your love would be
Perhaps beneath those trees you made a plan for me
When winter's chill and stolen years had not yet come
Where fragrance of fall and new young love was found
From soft carpets of scarlet, red and brown
You chose these three from all the rustling hordes that grew
A tree had finished using them, in remembrance of you
They were yours for awhile...for your love, perhaps a lover's bed
now....here in my hands they lay....
They are mine to to keep, pressed leaves,
To keep for now, close to my heart instead...
Brother of the Quill
Join me in a dance
For mother sings nightly
And father sleeps within a trance
they'll never hear our steps
Through hemlock and the fields of wheat
All night long we will dance
Moon Mother lights our way
And our ancestors shine as bright stars
We will run as the wolves
And sing from our hearts
Brother of the Quill
Join me in a prance
We will shoot stars with our arrows
And wish for another dance
They'll never hear the swish
Of when we sneak back in
And fall asleep before Father wakes again