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
back field in motion
Chose, chose, live grow leave! GO!
Leapt from heaven's gold
Jump started into a human mold
White clapboard poverty with tiger lily blooms,
blueberry rake poverty woolen looms.
Riffs of Emerson, Whitman, Longfellow dawns,
mothers’ hazel eyes, father Davidesque form,
chosen to drive twixt a Jew and a screw.
Magnet of lunacy...
Tumbled like an agate into the stream of life
part of the dream lesson
Abuser of power, one who had once roared,
Eve shaped now, weak and mewling
between the weeds of woe.
Care taken by lovers torn.
Watched over by pedophile uncles.
Befriended by lewd Father of sons.
Adult child, searching amongst the Word
for the Word is God and GOD …
There are so many words
Root ripped scenes from beauty to horror
Shiksa* taunts seep in with the smell of borsch.
A pumpkinseed amongst the pricks of Brooklyn
A wild rose planted in the asphalt soil
Jew’s bop to a Dago harmony,
bagels, bialys and the French twisted strands
of great grandma’s hair.
Clipped, stripped of family shoved whole
into yet another new mold.
True believers, ah yes, fanatics all.
The struggle to survive whole healthy
dipped in, dripped in, a bath of acid and thorazine.
Polish priests pedal platitudes to the sisters of St. Joseph
behind the gilded glory of the Church.
Raped by trust and betrayed by lovers,
a rose married to a prickles thorn,
so empathy is gained, and a healer born.
Metal must be formed in a crucible of fire
A healer can not be born without tasting the pyre.
*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
Cleaning out my refrigerator, an ice cube slides to the floor
startling the cat, and interrupting a locomotive of thought
that often tracks me down in a beam of light---
Today it streams through a window, where everything seems marred,
by doubt, and dust, crusts of ice and sticky jello spilled on a glassy shelf.
Oh, not the first time, this revelation of light,
I've had it before while kneeling on the floor as I do now,
and many times that I've knelt on a floor,
praying for forgiveness...
knelt on a floor to clean up my messes...
and now on the floor to sponge up melting ice, the water and tears
Raising a young family...a life so demanding...
Caring and nursing...two sides of the coin...
My father and children....my husband caught between...
We did what we could...but never enough...
Those years took a toll....but now turns my blood cold....as cold as the ice
I would have thought twice.... I could have been stronger...
A little while longer....
Am I shivering with memory,... or is it guilt, and regret?
Is it only the chill of the open fridge door?
Or is it more?... So much more?
Hmm, interesting metaphor, "a open door"..........
did I leave it open long enough,... wide enough?
Did I do all I could? All I should ? Was I patient enough? Was I all I could be?
Was I tough enough to watch someone linger,
...strong enough to watch someone die?
How long it seemed, at the time...oh I tried, ...tried and cried buckets of tears.
Yes...difficult years........but just a fraction of my life, is how it appears, now...
Looking back, looking back.... black and white, fades to gray..but it comes back today
Funny somehow, how simple it seems now...it was a matter of days,
that was all that was left him...I wish I had known ....this regret..... how it owns me
I could have kept going on.....I could have kept him at home...
A little while longer.....
I should have been stronger....
For Frank's Contest: "Regrets"
In-between sleep and wakefulness,
when my dream still lingers,
entwining free-flown fingers
with the morning rays, dancing across my eyelids.
It is in this state of in-between layers
that my inner-eye blinks its prayers,
and I can move backwards
through all of my many memories
until about the age of three -
the time when my imagination was truly free.
When I was three,
there wasn't one God for me to believe in.
There were thousands of Gods and Goddesses
hiding inside of each and every living thing:
Deities in the woods and wind.
Deities hiding beneath the surface
of our goldfish pond,
water nymphs kissing the feet
of the Lady in the lake.
One of my most vivid memories as a toddler,
was the day I caught a huge, black cricket.
My Father seemed shocked at the size of my catch,
punched holes into the lid of a mason jar
for me to keep the cricket inside of.
He had never seen such an enormous cricket before.
I was so proud.
I remember looking into its mysterious eyes,
believing for some strange reason,
that a loved one, was now inside of this creature.
Such strange thoughts for a three year-old to have.
But at the time, I truly believed in this.
This was sort of my first inner awakening.
My inner-eye was beginning to speye.
The first night with my cricket,
I listened to its hypnotic song,
and realized it sounded similar to the music
that the old Chinese lady listened to, down the street.
This was sort of my second inner awakening.
I didn't know about the Dao back then;
or maybe I just didn't know the labels?
But I did know how I was altering the destiny
of this creature....altering my own being.
The next day, my Father made me release the cricket.
He did not want it to die,
for it was the biggest cricket he had ever seen.
That was still the most proud I had ever been.
Reluctantly, I opened the jar,
waited an eternity for the escape.
That night I swore that I could hear
a distinct "Chiiiiiiirrrrrup" much louder than the rest.
This was sort of my third inner awakening -
my inner-eye, beginning to speye....
....just as I am awakening now,
the morning rays dancing across my eyelids.
I had yearned for it all my life -
That simple gesture
That finally healed
The open wound
That for years
In a silent stream
That fell Between
The cracks in
You and I
When with a gentle sigh
Into my eyes
Held my hand
And kissed my fingertips
Before you died
Author: Elaine George
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.
I saw a burial with a bugler playing taps;
I turned to my father, “what happened?” I asked.
He clutched my hand and with a quiver in his voice,
he began to explain and his eyes became moist.
“My son,” he said, “this is rather difficult for me;
for an old veteran like myself this is tough to see.
In that coffin lies a genuine patriotic warrior,
an honest-to-God hero, an American soldier.
I appreciate that soldier and the service he gave,
and I honor his sacrifice as he’s laid in his grave.
He was honorable, selfless, courageous, and bold;
please remember him son, as you grow old.
The value of his service, I must explain,
if not remembered, will be lost in vain.
As a nation we’re nothing without soldiers like him;
and failing to remember would be a terrible sin.”
I listened in awe as my father spoke,
it seemed as if his heart were broke.
I suddenly remembered when he went to war,
and when he returned I thought nothing more.
I never asked why he walked with a limp,
and I didn’t care about why he was sick.
I was too busy enjoying the life that I had,
to realize that I had it because of dad.
I finally understood what my dad was about,
and it hurt so bad I cried out loud.
He sacrificed so much so I could be free,
and his battle scars were suffered for me.
It was my father’s spirit that spoke to me that day;
thank God I finally understood what he had to say.
I saluted his coffin as they laid him to rest,
and I thought about the medals pinned on his chest.
That I didn’t honor him sooner, I will always regret;
and I pledged that day to never again forget.
I’m proud that my dad was a patriotic warrior;
I’m honored to be the son of an American soldier.
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:)
"Slipping into a coma, the emptiness of a dreamless sleep.
Nightmares filling your head, where nothing is what it seems.
You're underground, desperately tryna' find your way out,
tunnels all around, but doors are no where to be found.
The ground has no traction, and you're floating above air.
Tryna' hold on to something, but there's nothing there.
And then you fall, and all you can hear,
is the rippling of your clothes, and the wind in your ear.
And just before you hit the ground,
you feel something grip you, without making a sound.
The next thing you know you're looking into a Man's eyes.
You feel safe but afraid, all at the same time.
That's when you wake, but you were never asleep.
And you're lying in a bed, with the Man at your feet.
He welcomes you to His kingdom, and into His heart,
and He finishes his drawing, another of piece of God's art."
This poem is about one's struggle to find God. About having to search, and feeling hopeless. Like we aren't really traveling through Hell, but we are searching with no idea which way we are going, blanketed in a coat of black. Like an infinitely deep hole with a small stream at the bottom, and you've just got to hope to find that stream. Then when you think all hope is lost, you realize that He has been sitting there, waiting for you, pulling you out of the darkness Himself, knowing you would look for Him. He accepts us into His kingdom. It's as if we are a piece of art, and he is adding on to us everyday..