The Great Heron

Image is my own

I greeted the Great Heron

With a hello.

Then asked for some wisdom

Or some secrets of the earth.

 

But the Great Heron

Didn’t bother with a no.

Just a fluff of feathers

Before turning away

Without being troubled

To even look at me.

The red wing black birds

Chittered away in laughter

As the gentle doves

Cooed soothingly.

 

The crows cawed,

Rather obnoxiously,

About time running down.

I said I knew

And was aware of the beauty

In lessons along the way.

Even in the lessons so painful

You thought they might

Break your soul in two

Held a beauty in the end.

 

The crows disliked what I said,

And they couldn’t disagree,

So, screaming out a caw,

Flew away.

 

Turning his eyes to me,

The Great Heron shifted on his log,

Before opening his wings

And flying away,

Letting me know

He had nothing to say.

 

 

			

All Things New

Image courtesy of Dreamtime

Storm clouds rode in

Upon a sky soaked in sunset red.

Wildflowers bowed their heads

Down on either side

As I drove by

Smiling, thinking of all things new.

Once home, I stood in the yard,

Arms akimbo, welcoming the new—

What the storm, the wind, the rains

Would bring—

As gently as their nature could—

All things new, clean, green

With spring.

Scars of Hope

Image is my own

I gather hardened scars of loss and damage
Braided into keloid beauty
That are not blossoms of bitterness,
But fragrant beauties
That make me who I am.
Even the bars of your barren garden
Called love could not steal away
The essence of my hope.
Instead, the black, barrenness
within sugar syrup words
Of one never able to love
Contain no acid
To eat away
My skin of hope.

Dear Robert Frost

Image is my own. Taken at the Hockney/ Van Gogh exhibit

VJ’s Weekly Challenge: roads – One Woman’s Quest II (onewomansquest.org)

Before this moment,

All roads coalesced into one,

The present, the now.

Then,

Seeing this wall of roads,

I cannot help but ask

Where each road would have, could have

Led.

Different places, people–

Certainly, yes.

The mind swirls,

Possibilities,

A Tilt-A-Whirl—

A daughter lost?

The fetal tissue of a son not lost?

A different daughter born?

A heart not broken by cancer?

All the rewinds and fast forwards

Of a life of lived down different roads

Of different choices made along each way–

All the differences of each win and loss

And every other thing implied by this wall

And dear Robert Frost—

 

The choices I’ve made

Gave me this now,

This daughter,

For whom I would give my life,

Rather than trade.

Baltimore

Image courtesy of Johns Hopkins Medicine

Pulled my anchor from this harbor
Years ago.
Yet the current pulls me back,
Some irritant speck,
Yet to yield a pearl,
In the soul,
Some rough edged
Needless need chafes away
Until confession is made
And a pilgrimage to graves
Must be paid—

There is no why to this–
This steel wrought laundry list
To be run down and checked through

A visit, a meal eaten
At the landmark restaurant,
Where new owners chiseled hieroglyphics
over a history of years when
the landmark lived across
A narrow brick paved street
And my family lived upstairs,
Erasing my mother’s sacrifice
Of bloody fetal tissue,
My fraternal twin,
On the bathroom floor there
While I hung on to be born.
But such bloody sacrifice
Doesn’t sell cheeseburgers,
Greek salads, and over easy eggs,
A fairytale of family ownership-
Sells well and makes for spots
On reality television shows.

A drive by the childhood home,
Sentimentality at its highest,
Revisit the torture chamber
It became—
A wooden yardstick and when it broke,
A metal one I had to buy to be taken
Across my back by a drunken mother
Until the skin broke open to bleed.
.
Why the drive by?
Who the hell knows?
When all I’d like to see
Is it all disappear—

Then the statue of Christ
In Hopkins Hospital lobby, a must see.
Where I stood as a teen
Confessing the darkest
Thing upon my soul—
A part of me wishing
My mother had died
In that surgery of fifteen hours
The other part thanking Jesus
she had lived.

Then the graves,
To place some flowers,
Talk a bit to the air,
Turn my soul inside out
To find it dusty and dirty again.
We can think our souls clean
Until turning them inside out—
That is where we find the grime
Of all the living done.

I visit my brothers,
The man who was my real father,
Then on to the man I thought was,
And then my mother,
The saint she was,
The monster she became.
At her grave, my soul aches the most,
Tweezing thorns left from her old rose bushes and my own,
Turning itself inside out,
Leaving all the grime and dirt behind,
Or so it feels.

Then on to visit with what is left of the living.
And though, I love the living,
There is little, so little–
To charm me into staying.
But the currents, the tides
Of some blood element,
Like an ancient memory,
Bring me back
From time to time.

This is Baltimore—
for me.

 

Periphery

Image is my own. Taken at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

VJ’s Weekly Challenge: peripheral – One Woman’s Quest II (onewomansquest.org)

Periphery

The whitest teeth

Of one brother’s smile.

Hair so black

The curls shine blue,

My mother’s hair

A forehead with a line

Of slicked back black hair,

My real father.

Clark Kent glasses,

The frames of the coke

Bottle bottom glasses,

My other brother.

The whisper of an accent

mingles with scent of Old Spice cologne,

the man I thought was my father–

Fleeting things—

Such imagery captured briefly

In the corner of the senses

Some strange trick of heart and mind—

The mind’s empty, missing parts perhaps

Playing the trickster

With edges of the senses,

So we think we see, hear, smell

The seeds of things we grieve.

Images of the dead

Cannot be real.

Such things as ghosts

Do not exist.

These ephemeral flashes

Of the senses share no breath,

No grace of God gives life

To them as they melt away

Before a half breath

Can be taken.

So, I stood

Still

Afraid to breathe

Afraid to blink

Or let the tears

That gathered fall

When I saw

A lion’s mane of hair

As you tilted your head back

To smile—

For six years—

I had not seen you

Felt you

At all–

Until

I stood

Gazing at Van Gogh’s

Field with Irises near Arles–

Your favorite flower—

Irises–

and art you loved—

the first time

in six years,

I feel you nearby—

I am stilled—

Until

Someone else moves

Beside me,

A distraction,

And you are gone.

But you linger with me

Like a wonderful and strong

perfume

The World and Technicolor Youth

Image courtesy of LearningRadiology.com
 
 

When colors bled into the world

Through the ice blue topaz of your eyes,

When we both dreamed dreams of kaleidoscope horizons

Blooming in colors too true to be real,

The universe grew beyond our measure

Where recall of dreams came so easily,

Happiness and joy found no reason to arm wrestle

With the stark reality of the world back then

In our younger times—

Before the world shrank

To this extra small size colored

In tones of X-ray grays

Now showing the long-healed breaks and cracks

Of ribs and jaw and clavicle

Yet in this time of a shrinking world and universe

Steeped in all hues of gray

With the amnesia of shrunken head dreams unbreakable,

The filter of your ice topaz eyes—

A small price to pay for wholeness

Of body, bone, and mind.