Forty Years Ago

personal image of sunrise in Ruidoso, New Mexico

For forty years,
We walked days through,
Asking strangers known, “How are you?””
Without really wanting to know.
Our answers in kind,
A litany of fines
And greats and couldn’t be betters.
All the while,
Parts are chipped away.
Our edges rough
Like antique china tea cups.
It is thus
Life becomes measured out
In phrases,
And we speak of it
In stages and ages
Of what is next for us.
Told to be grateful for what I have,
I never mourned the losing
Of what was wanted once
Now forgotten,
Or regretted,
Or never attained
In the first place.
Until forty years have flipped
Through the fingers
Like the pages of a dusty book
With yellow crinkled pages
Written in faded ink,
An anthology of years,
For each of us.

On this southwest horizon,
We meet once again, and
We watch sunrise and sunset.
Our heads bent toward each other
As if in prayer.
Our hair a tangle of silver and white
In the winds of New Mexico.
Only time will tell
What comes of this
Tangle of loneliness and longing.

Silver and White Under a Ruidoso Sky

 Here, under a Ruidoso sky,
 You remind me:
 An extraordinarily warm spring day
 Spent in a field somewhere
 In Lancaster County, PA.
 Where exactly? Well, now,
 I could not really say.
 I’d never find it again,
 Even after taking the memory
 Down off the shelf
 And dusting the cobwebs away.
  
 I remember the day in snapshots
 Before we trampled, stomped, burned
 our youth:
 The drive from Baltimore
 In your little black sports car.
 The top down.  The wind
 Running its fingers through
 Your copper hair.
 The glitter of your crystalline eyes
 In the morning sunshine.
 The softness of 501 jeans washed
 A thousand times.
 Your artist’s soul looking for the
 Perfect spot, rejecting several
 Before perfection found,
 A sun-drenched meadow amid
 Pine trees.  No Amish around, you said.
 The care you took with blankets
 And picnic basket and, of course,
 Your ever-present sketchbook.
 Cheeses, bread, fruits, and wine
 You packed.
 I read.
 You sketched.
 We ate and drank.
 Then, I posed for you,
 The first time.
 No one was around.
 No one could see,
 You said and so
 You shucked me
 Of clothing and
 Arranged me
 And my long black curls.
 You sketched me
 And said you wished you
 Had your paints.
 Copper and black hair
 Tangled together.
 And the sun low
 In the sky.  We
 Packed the basket
 And folded the blanket.
  
 Some 40, 41 years ago.
 Snapshots of that day.
 Why remind me now?
 We trampled, stomped, burned our
 Youth down.  Oh, yes. we could tease
 "Here come and sit, where never 
 serpent hisses, And being set, 
 I'll smother thee with kisses."
 We’d do nothing better in the
 Here and the now were we to tangle
 Silver and white together.
 Lies were told, I know.
 For once, I wanted to believe.
 Your truth telling services,
 I do not need…
  
 And the tangling of silver and white now, just--
 The braiding of loneliness and longing
 Leaves us soulless. 

Heart and Soul

 Tell me a truth 
 of burning flames.
  
 Better yet,
 Chant me all the truth
 Of a holy rosary.
  
 Or would you whisper a truth
 Of a head on a silver platter.
  
 Perhaps, you’d like to
 Express the truth
 Of a dance through the city.
  
 Or act out the truth
 In the washing of your hands.
  
 Could you do all that,
 Plus destroy a temple or two,
 And it be the truth 
 Of your heart?
  
 I know you say it would
 But no bushes burn,
 No seas part,
 No lepers heal, 
 No dead rise
 When you know nothing
 Of your own heart and soul. 

Trails

Set out years ago
Dropped breadcrumbs
Some no bigger than dust particles
Of the soul
Along the roads and paths
Thought I’d find my way back,
There’d be time
There’d be years
Be months
Weeks
Days
Seconds
Left before the sand
Absconded with the hourglass
To find the trail of dust and crumbs
Sweep and pour them
Back into the soul
Add a few ingredients
Create once more
From the beginning

 

But birds and squirrels
Feasted on the leavings
And I’ve no desire
To return to where I started.

 

 

History

history image

Spun out from the centrifuge
Twisted in helix meaning
Strands entwined, twisted back
Stretching toward history within heritage
Search through the montage of time
Sift through pounds of truth and lies
For a few ounces of purity
Measured out within the mess
The now was the past
Where to walk
We travel back
On twisted helix roads
To the selves we were
So very long ago
And learn
The future braided
In the past
With the now
And made us whole

Truth

What truth is there but this?
Contained within the sand, wind,
An inky blue sapphire sea
Watching whales and seals play
As they sing their songs of joy
I listen
Their language so foreign to me
A vocabulary of rejoicing
In all that God has made
I can neither interpret nor define
Within this human construct
That it seems God forgot
Yet I seek to know
What they say
Of love
Of grief
Of play
Of joy