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.

No Art

This was written after I completed 
a five mile hike and then picked up 
a volume of Elizabeth Bishop's poetry 
to enjoy once again on a sunny afternoon.  
My answer to Bishop's poem, One Art.
 In this thing called losing,
 Bishop said we become masters
 And that losing isn’t a disaster.
  
 No, Not a disaster.
 Losing socks and such stuff.
 I’ve lost earrings, bracelets,
 Expensive ones too, didn’t care
 Beyond maybe a minute or two.
  
 And no pain beyond a stab of nostalgia
 Did I have upon saying goodbye 
 To three houses and two cities.
  
 And yes, it was no disaster
 To bury my mother, 
 A father who really wasn’t,
 The man who really was,
 First one brother, then the other,
 Then lastly, a wife.
 With each, my body and soul
 Savaged by a hurricane, catastrophic, yes.
 But no, no disaster.
  
 Except perhaps, yes, I’ll admit, 
 A tiny bit of soul eroded 
 From the waves of each hurricane
 Breaking over me as I buried each.
 And nothing, nothing did I master.
  
 Except, maybe this—
 I did not look for them
 Since they were gone,
 Emptied of this earth.
  
 Now, there is you and
 I look for you
 In everything I do--
 Every sunset
 Every sunrise
 Every in between time.
  
 I look for you in strangers,
 In cars I pass along the street.
 I look for you at festivals,
 In films I see.
 I look for you in places,
 In the sky of Ruidoso,
 In bars,
 In restaurants,
 In the eyes of strangers, 
 I look for you.
  
 I look for you in all this.
 And in this thing
 Called losing, 
 In which I am well-schooled,
 As are we all, 
 I have tried to make an art,
 To make an art of all this loss.
  
 Yes, this may be no real disaster,
 But Bishop lied.
 There is no art in losing,
 No art at all,
 That I can find to master.
   

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.