Splinters and Ash

 

Splinters these things:
A Cherrywood vanity
Of fine detail,
Queen Anne legs
And dovetailed drawers,
A square ring left in the surface of the finish,
Where perfume dripped down the sides
Of a stoppered crystal bottle;
A dull walnut jewelry box
With red velvet lined drawers,
An attached mirror
Makes it too large,
Ungainly, for today.

These things, leavings,
Leftovers of a life lived,
For remembrance, for reverence,
Symbols of the intangible
As spring greenery
Is glimpsed and seen
Through a sunlit dusty screen
On a late afternoon,
Containing a muted gold softness
One can never touch.

Lackluster as they are,
They are her, her leavings,
The leftovers of the grinding times
She spent between
Rocks and hard places.

You will have her splinters
And my dusty ashes:
A picture or two, photo albums,
Old fashioned things to look through,
No links to clouds but to history, yours;
Some pencil scratching and ink splatters,
Words hurled, tattooed, etched, brushed
Upon page after page,
Notebook after notebook,
Drive after drive;
Yet you will never know or guess
How many were destroyed,
Burned, ripped, broken,
All trashed over my years.

And if you should read my leftovers?
Press your lips together,
Drawing them thin?
Sigh and raise an eyebrow?
Roll your eyes then burn it all?
Or simply, send it all to the trash
In green plastic bags?
Or
Find one old photo,
one written line
Worth the keeping,
For remembrance sake?
Perhaps, perhaps

You will find something
Among my dust and ash leavings
Of the grinding times I spent
Between rocks and hard places
And view it
As spring greenery is seen
Though a sunlit pollen dusty screen,
Void of vibrancy,
But containing a muted gold softness
One can feel yet never touch
Then know my damning sin,
Like Jonson’s, “was too much hope of thee”
Then find your heart softened and free.

For You

 

Words drift
Settle, pile up
In drifts and banks
Over the rocks
In my mind.

I walk through
This blizzard of words,
Watch them settling
On my shoulders,
For a moment, perfect
As exquisitely delicate lace
Before disappearing,
Melting into the wool of my coat,
Gone, lost to me forever.

But not you,
Never be lost to me.

When I’ve had nothing else,
Words were always there,
Trusted and true,
Counted on, relied upon,
Supplying all I needed,
When there was nothing and no one.

But for you,
To always have you,
I’d watch them all–
Drifts, banks, flakes
Melt, dripping away
Into spring
And you.

Words Fail

 

Feast on a meal of bitter herbs
As you sit in the old rocking chair
Witnessing eyes like your own
Staring at you with murderous hate
You cannot sit where once you rocked warm softness

You stand, pace a bit, perch on a stool
And think of all those years ago,
Had you known, had you known–
Smeared the lamb’s blood on the lintel
And waited in prayer
For the cloud of contagion to pass

Faith becomes a sour cup
From which to drink,
And the writer’s ink dries to dust
Upon the page,
Swept away
By the winds of age.

11:12 AM Picture Sent

 

Such discarnate words
have no power, life–
struggle so for air, color–
to capture some tell-tale sign
of the animate.
Letters swirl and dance
in some perverse pretense of desire
to procreate,
to mirror a thing
resembling the beauty
in a picture sent at 11:12 AM
of yellow irises,
wandering purple jew,
privet sprigs and blooms,
purple sage flowers,
and rosemary sprigs
in perfect arrangement.
But these letters,
these words
never find
that perfection,
that beauty,
that touch upon a heart, upon a soul
as flowers chosen and cut
from your yard
and arranged
by your hands.

Purged

 

all the words have been emptied out
scrubbed cleaned
some were trash and tossed
into a bin
walked to the curb
to be hauled away

and of those cleaned
no sparkling diamonds
no lustrous pearls
just words
of dulled cut glass
nothing to catch the eye
inspiring a heart or soul
to take flight
nothing to hit the gut
twisting in recognition
of human frailty
nothing to batter against the lid
of a mind or soul locked away
freeing it finally from a prison
so it is best perhaps
to end at the recycle bin
and then to rest after such cleaning

Useless Things

My words are useless things.
Their journey
from soul to heart
to brain and down the arm
to the hand to the page
is a time too long spent traveling
to retain any sense, any power.

As I read all the words
I’ve written for you
or because of you—
I am shamed
at all these words do lack
of elegance and grace
in their tangled broken threads—
they’ll never be the banner
I wish for you.

I know if only I could find
the right words
to weave the right patterns,
the turn of phrasing within the fabric made—
you would know,
completely understand
Everything—
See all the beauty I see
when I look at you—
Then there would be nothing,
nothing
you did not know of me.

Saw Dust

Excuse me, please
While I sweep these words
From the floor like the saw dust they are
And toss them to the wind
To scatter in their ineffectiveness.

For nothing can be made
From such dust as this
No table, no chair
No house,
No tower, no bridge

They have no substance
To support any weight
Let them drift on the winds,
Return to earth as if sifted through,
Inconsequential as they are
Hidden in some tall, overgrown weeds
Somewhere out of sight
To rot in some organic way
Providing nutrients for soil.