No Art (Revised)

.image courtesy of istock.com



I first wrote this a few years ago after reading Elizabeth Bishop’s work once again.  Well, after revisiting Mary Oliver and gaining familiarity with Pablo Neruda this summer, I once again returned to Bishop’s work and then had to re-watch Reaching for the Moon.  So I decided to dig this one out and tweak it and revise.  

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 never was it a disaster.

And no pain beyond a stab of nostalgia
Did I have upon saying goodbye 
To three houses and two cities,
And never did I feel it a disaster.

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 catastrophic hurricane, yes.
But no, no disaster.

No disaster is it, I’ll admit, 
For a tiny bit of soul to erode
As I buried each.
But nothing, nothing did I ever master.

Except, maybe this—
I did not look for them-
Looking to forget them
Since they were gone,
Emptied of this earth.

No, I did not look to forget
While driving home
In darkness under a full moon
Lighted with regret
Of a new unfamiliar scent.
Yet the swirling of this sad scent
Is no, no real disaster.

No real disaster is it—
That I look to forget
A lost return now.
A return to life
Captured, fleeting, lost--
Filled with a scent 
Of hope or a fool’s thought—
Matters not but now lost.
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.


Honesty

Image courtesy of Wallpaperflare
wk 222 glow

sammiscribbles.wordpress.com/2021/08/14/weekend-writing-prompt-222-glow/

to feel that glow,

let it flow within

and know in peace,

the truth held within it,

rolling slow warmth

like the sun in springtime–

that glow, that warmth—

nearly, yes nearly extinct, 

such a rarity to be found

though some try incandescent tricks

in mocking mimicry

its rarity rivals the hunt for new alabaster,

which always served a cold master

and there are no dreams glowing still

of truth to be held within the fragile

beaks of hummingbirds forever

searching the lush gardens of Babylon

for a heady nectar that does not exist

The Gargoyle

Foggy Night and Moon Light over The Gargoyles of Notre Dame in Paris (Courtesy of istock.com)







When the prowess of early morn

And the touch of dawn’s fingertips

Overwhelm my heart and soul,

I am reminded of some story

I heard somewhere as a child—

From a book or cartoon

Or some sitter’s wild

Imagination of bedtime tales,

The story of the gargoyle

Who was beckoned

To a place in heaven

By an angel fair.

 

And there the gargoyle stayed

For a day or three or more

Or maybe a week or three.

For a moment,

The gargoyle knew sweetness and joy,

Thinking, perhaps, for once, just this once,

The universe had smiled down

Upon one of the gargoyle race,

And felt the cracking of stone begin.

 

But the gargoyle, being a gargoyle,

A somewhat silent, stony creature,

Soon bored the angel who withdrew,

Having angel business to attend too.

 

The gargoyle knew. Knew from the start too,

But had hoped it was not to be held true–

That angel and gargoyle were not a pairing to be made.

Such creatures being out of each other’s realm

Cannot last but a season or two.

So, the gargoyle fell to earth again

To crouch forever upon a building,

 Keeping watch upon the city and the sky. 

 

The gargoyle knew this was the nature of things

And thought itself blessed for ever having known

The sweetness of an angel.

For what angel had ever doted upon a gargoyle?

The gargoyle asked.

 

For years, the gargoyle crouched,

Watching the city and the sky,

Remembering, reliving the sweetness

Known of an angel.

Yet wishing such sweetness had never been tasted,

Never been touched,

Forever was too long to remember

The memories encased in stone

Where wind and rain would never touch,

Would never wear them away.

 

Thus, the gargoyle paid the price

For allowing stone to crack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

Guarded Trail

Image courtesy of Sue Vincent
Thursday photo prompt: Guarded #writephoto | Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo (scvincent.com)

Give me a minute.

Let me have another cup of coffee,

Will you?

Before I slosh on after,

Down the trail–

Again– maybe.

You say, a guard now stands there,

Of the newer variety,

Who advises of the locust thorns,

The kind that pierces the shoe

And can go straight into your foot?

Could have used that advice–

Once or twice

Maybe thrice

In life.

But now I’ve rubbed my thumbs

Over the sharp tipped thorns of regret

Until callouses formed.

Then I moved on to other

Fingertips until bloody, raw,

Proving to myself the sharpness of thorns.

So now, you say this stony guardian warns

Of all the thorns

Along the paths and trails?

Might this guardian advise of a thornless trail?

I really wouldn’t care, but the soles of my feet

Are without callous, and I’d like to keep them so.

Send me down a muddy, sloshy trail where

I might just fall and break my neck.

That would be simply fine,

If the soles of my feet

Remain as soft and unmarred

as a baby’s behind.

A Witch Among the Willows

Image courtesy of fast-growing-trees.com

Sit among the willows,

drifting in ghostly silence,

each wrapped comforted

by misery’s blanket.

Except I am no longer,

listening to words

 

carefully scripted,

tumbling into deceit’s

delicious dishes

 

easily prepared

by your thin lips mouthing words

filled with ghost meaning.

 

Regurgitated regrets

bitter in the soul and heart–

I can tell you that.

 

A thing you would not

ever know, catalyst of misery,

your starring role.

 

Except–

 

tell-tale signs of age

now crackle through songs of your

sweet, deceitful voice,

 

makes harder to catch

victims snared in misery

of life trials made.

 

Stop floating among

the willows, thinking yourself

Calypso casting

 

spells of delicious

deceit, when you’ve aged into

Macbeth’s witch drifting

in the ghostly fog of ego.

https://godoggocafe.com/2020/10/20/tuesday-writing-prompt-challenge-tuesday-october-20-2020/
https://onewomansquest.org/2020/10/19/vjs-weekly-challenge-117-except/
https://amanpan.com/2020/10/19/eugis-weekly-prompt-ghostly-october-19-2020-%f0%9f%91%bb/

Schooled

Image courtesy of Daily Hive
https://amanpan.com/2020/10/12/eugis-weekly-prompt-foresight-october-12-2020/
https://godoggocafe.com/2020/10/13/tuesday-writing-prompt-challenge-october-13-2020/

 

In the fading light,

My hindsight schools, lectures, drills

My foresight

In how to take steps,

In how to look away,

In how to live hopeless,

In how to heal with saltwater dreams

Overflowing with hope.

Yet still with foresight

In how to guard,

My scars, my wounds,

My picked at scabs

In this

fading light of days

Unfilled,

Lived,

Cheered,

Flowering with dreams,

Left

Of life remaining.