July

Image courtesy of O’Conner Mortuary

 

I’d nail all the windows in that month shut.

Board the place completely up.

All closed and shuttered,

Leaving it to the dust and rot.

July—the only summer month

I’d abandon

The month forced me to abandon you—

How is a starving  child forced to leave

A mother who sold herself

So the child could eat?

Thus, I cared for you

Until I had to reach out and close your eyes—

Then I dreamed

Dreamed–

I nailed the windows in every room shut

And I boarded up every room.

I took a hammer to that floor to ceiling avocado green tile

Of the kitchen tomb,

Shattering every single inch

Of mirror green shine.

I brought the garden hose in

And hosed down all our scars

Until yours and mine

Nearly disappeared.

Then I woke

And buried you

Under roses

In hot, steamy July

Shuttering you away

Until I thought there’d

Be nothing left of you.

But you are always here.

I pick the good of you

From the rubble,

See little bits of you

In each of your grandchildren.

I see bits of you in my daughter,

And our legacy is not only

One of scars.

Catacomb of Colors

Wikipedia image of Rosh HaNikra grottoes

I can hide in catacombs of colors and never look to the sky.
My blood shed, bled out in tiny droplets of all the years of parting,
dripping, draining in the darkness
And carried away, scattered to the winds,
Leavings upon the ground, seedless seeds,
Sprouting up in colorless flowers of summer without colors,
Without the dreams of sunlight on their faces,
Without fragrance sweet, divinity in scents we can never forget lost.
We learn to live with regrets taken, earned, packed away
With the mortgage of things within our hearts, within our lifetimes of meaning,
Within our trying just one more damn time,
Drifting up in clouds of long-ago cigarette smoke.
Crush this dried out husk of me,
Scatter those particles of dust to the wind
And see if colors sprout once that dust settles upon the ground,
See if there’s meaning left within their regrets,
See if there’s fragrance, some elegance of divinity within a scent
To be remembered when there is nothing,
Nothing left but this wisp of memory
Within your breath.
Let go my hand, love. Leave me wrapped in the shroud
Of all my days and regrets shared along the way
To here, this time of parting. Leave me to hide away
In this catacomb of colors.

The Garden

I gave you all my roses,
The many colors I had.
Cut them all from the bushes.
I knew there would be no more,
And I cut them for you.

The last few dozen blooms
I cut them down for you.
The bushes are dead now.

They will bud no more.
I double, triple checked.
The limbs snap crisply in dryness,
Easily between my weakened hands.
No supple green within.
A single snap finishes each limb.
And so finishes each bush.

I am done, a gardener
With nothing left to tend.

The Passing of Summer

 The wind and rain stopped by last night,
 Had a few minor temper tantrums outside
 As I stood watching from the door.
 They slapped the trees limbs around a bit
 And kicked at bits of loose trash in the street.
 Nothing more violent than that.
  
 No pushing down trees.
 No pummeling hail.
 Rather calm for a storm.
 Yet it killed the heat of summer,
 Murdering it without a hint of passion
 And ushering in a cold windy day 
 To begin the fall to winter.
  
 At dawn,
 I stand here,
 Warming myself 
 With this cup of coffee,
 Mourning a summer
 That passed without passion.
   

SPIN

 

 

Spin the world back
Align the planets
In time and place
Before terms of “modern history”
Before debates of definitions
And the numbers swelled
To defy all meanings
Coalesced of horror and terror
When men hadn’t lost reason
Or eaten seductive fruits
Of celebrity and hate.

Spin the numbers down
Beyond all the eights
Of Miami, Louisville
San Francisco, Omaha,
Carthage, Appomattox,
Manchester, Seal Beach

Spin back the nines
In Jacksonville and Waddell,
Red Lake High School,
Charleston and Roseburg

Spin down the ten
Of Alabama
That added yet more

Spin down the even dozens
In Aurora, Atlanta,
And the Navy Yard

Spin down the thirteens
Of Camden, Wilkes-Barre,
Binghamton, Seattle,
Fort Hood,
And Columbine High

Spin down the fourteens
At San Bernardino
And the Edmond Post Office

Spin down the eighteen
Of the University of Texas

Spin down the twenty-one
In San Ysidro

Spin down the twenty-three
At Killeen

Spin down the twenty-seven
Of Sandy Hook

Spin down the thirty-two
At Virginia Tech

Spin down the forty-nine
In Orlando

Spin down the fifty-eight
Of Vegas

Spin down
To a time of innocence
Before blood
Of four hundred eighty-nine martyrs
Soaked the second
Before tears watered
Graves of the framers
Spin, spin us back

Or

Spin, spin us forward
To a new time
When no hate fed madman
Can attempt alchemy
With gunpowder, iron, and blood.

 

Two Hours

Two hours waiting
Two hours till death walks
Across your domain, your Eden
The longest two hours now
Will be the shortest two hours
After
After you no longer chase squirrels
Or kill snakes to lay as trophies at my feet
I will hold you as you
Dream and drift away
Wrapped in your blanket,
The one you’ve had since a pup.

After you are gone
Taken from my arms
Both of us limp
You will dream
Of running and running
For the joy of it,
Of chasing and catching
The geese you love to swim after,
Of digging and ridding
Your yard of moles,
Dream my friend, my companion,
My comforter, my furry kid
Dream as only angels can
Until we meet again

Disowned 

More delicate than our dying Earth,

The fragile blood of our children dries,

Blistering in a baking sun

While we watch 

Our babies gasping 

Like hooked fish.

Our humanity broken,

We are wooden pawns 

In the game of masters,

Men who would be kings

Posturing outrage 

Over plans known

By them alone

Made in black secret rooms,

Selling us all to Mephistopheles,

Trading on the fragility of our attention 

With the lives of our children,

Who made us human. 

Nothing is left to wonder at,

But if this is the day 

Humanity made

God tearless.