Lessons in Listening

image courtesy of Dreamtime.com

 

https://onewomansquest.org/2020/08/03/vjs-weekly-challenge-107-listen/

My lessons in listening:
To a mother’s final words—
Always remember I loved you and was proud
Tossed off, too rushed to leave work
To get to the hospital, to see her,
Always thinking of more days, time.
Not thinking all I’d see,
Her dead eyes.

To all my dogs– little tells
Of cocked heads, whines, barks,
The ways of wagging tails,
To know what meant what–
Hunger, pain, desire to play,
A need for love or to go outside.
Those I’ve always learned well.

To students, the teens I taught,
A puzzle to figure of pieces and placement
What each meant for each—
The lift of a shoulder, how the eyes met or did not meet mine,
The head upon the desk, the work done or not,
The things said, not said—
To figure needs-
Some basic, some not so,
Requiring other safety nets,
Bruised and broken,
Some I could help repair.
I knew what to listen for,
Almost by instinct,
Since I had not been listened to
When I was one of them.

To my child, a whirlwind of cries,
Hunger, diaper, cold, hot, sick—
Each cry different
A knowing, animal instinct,
Some primal thing beating
Inside knew the way
Of my infant’s need.
When a teen—
A different thing,
A new species of need,
My animal and her animal
Had no common language
Of smells, signals, or cries
In the darkened tunnels
We went through.

To my dying wife, my dying wife—
So hard to listen to, to understand
a language no longer including
My daughter or me.
Never knowing for whom
The last coma spoken words–
I’m sorry, so sorry—
Were spoken.

Now, I learn the final lesson of listening,
A lesson sixty years in the learning, 

To myself, my own heart, my own soul.

Gratitude

Image courtesy of Flickr

August–

The resplendent month,

Of sun’s heat and blinding light.

The lethargic month

Of jealousy’s blight,

A thing of loss, not fought.

August—

The milestone marking month,

Of anniversaries, holidays, tears.

The flaming month

Of ashes where freedom,

A rising thing, held dear.

https://amanpan.com/2020/08/03/eugis-weekly-prompt-august-august-3-2020/

Ink and Fire

Image courtesy of Sue Vincent
In response to The Thursday Photo Challenge at https://scvincent.com/2020/07/30/thursday-photo-prompt-worn-writephoto/

I look for worn comfort

in finding unfamiliar pieces

that used to fit,

make sense, even if only of a kind,

but turn to no message

in the candle’s long drips.

The slippery steps of words

in letters slide from the drawer

of my desk once more,

and I, admiring the art of bloody cursive,

think the quill wore out,

dipping so often

into the inkwell of my bloodied soul.

Did this art require such red ink?

Now, indeed, I think, is the time

to find the perfect vessel to spill                                                

these worn, oft used slippery words

and provide a cleansing of fire

from which will arise

a heart and a soul

I recognize.

On The Horizon

Image courtesy of Sue Vincent

Thursday photo prompt: Vista #writephoto

Gazing at lush greenness as it travels

along this vista, a soul emptied of itself,

shrinking away to dust

for all the of giving it had done,

breathes in fullness and begins to glow.

Only here in green wildness breathed,

can pinhole prick holes and jagged slashes

be sealed in a soul emptied of itself.

The Watcher

Image courtesy of Sue Vincent Thursday Photo Prompt Challenge
For visually challenged writers, the image shows a flower-strewn cliff-top above the sea, where a rocky outcrop, seemingly shaped into many forms and faces, looks out over the waves.
This week’s prompt ~ Guardian
https://scvincent.com/2020/05/28/thursday-photo-prompt-guardian-writephoto/

The guardian watches the sea,

Waiting patiently

For the return of old ones

Who long ago slipped away

Out to sea, speaking

Words of promise,

Words of return–

Not unlike your words to me.

Like you, the old ones

Will not return,

Lost in an ocean

Of time long forgotten.

They found new homes

Where to light their fires,

Burning away old, shriveled desires,

Burning away the salt of the sea,

And the dirt of old known shores.

 

The guardian waits,

Like a widow upon her widow’s walk,

Staring out to sea.

But as I have finished waiting,

 I must walk away.

Color Dreams

https://godoggocafe.com/2020/05/26/tuesday-writing-prompt-challenge-tuesday-may-26-2020/

Today’s prompt: End a piece of prose or poetry with the phrase “I miss you”

 

Don’t know what to do

when I dream of you.

Waking, I want to drench

my brain in pure bleach,

soaking it through,

until all the colors of you

out of my soul leach

and no longer do I miss you.

Walking to Race Point

Race Point Lighthouse Sunset Photograph by John Burk

Sleeplessness always told the story

between the back when and now,

what she once thought a game,

tracks leading nowhere.

This last section of living

something not well lived.

A swirl of memory

piercing through knots

too tight to be undone.

She had lived without a plan,

having a heart that spoke in tongues

she had yet to understand.

Jagged

Written in response to:

https://onewomansquest.org/2020/05/11/vjs-weekly-challenge-95-bits-and-pieces/

Pieces broke away,
pebbles and stones
chipped from a boulder.
The edge of a pane of glass
broken off, no longer smoothly square,
but rough ridged like a broken thumb nail,
begging to be filed away.

Pieces broken away,
missing in wordlessness,
cannot be found.
Jig saw together the rest,
glue, duct tape,
what is left,
never to imitate new, unbroken.

Broken, hollowed parts,
make for an ever incomplete,
an always abyss
to fall headlong into,
always a scratchy roughness to scrape
a knee, an elbow, a hand.
Always a sharp edge to slice open
an abdomen, an arm, a femoral artery, a throat.

No. No. No.
Everything, everything
at once, best kept at arm’s length.
Never can such wounds be allowed
in the here,
in the now.

Drift, Taste, Memory

image by Ivy Schexnayder on Unsplash

Written in response to Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge on

https://godoggocafe.com/2020/04/21/tuesday-writing-prompt-challenge-tuesday-april-22-2020/comment-page-1/#comment-48478

I drift
Drift in purpose, direction,
Resolve in question.
Telling myself on repeat
I’ve no need, no want
Of soft skin against mine.
To feel another’s heart beat
Against my chest.
Though I remember,
Though I can still imagine,
When I close my eyes
What it is
To close my hand round the soft hand of another,
To fall asleep embracing—entwined, entangled,
To wake and smell sleep warmed skin,
To touch and take and give and kiss
Before coffee should touch my lips.
Such hunger is not a thing I allow myself to taste,
The risk too rich, too great to let it touch upon the tongue.
I am not young enough for a taste of what
Should bring me to my knees—
Of what I imagine
That she’d taste like memory.