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.

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

Cleaning

To clean a heart and soul,
the way we clean a house:
scrub away
the grime and grease,
bleach away
the mold and mildew,
polish away
the dusty dullness,
vacuum away
dirt and dust
and leaves and grass
tracked in on muddy
dog paws,
who then shake wet fur
all over the floor,
yes, even vacuum away
all the hair shed upon the floor
by dogs and you,
then mop away
dried dirt,
straightening and organizing
as you go.

Then rest,
enjoying the gleam and shine
before opening the door
to visitors once more.
Yes, if only a soul
Could be cleaned
So very easily.

Joy (for my daughter)

Joys in the morning
Coffee and a cigarette
Then a run
Under the blistering
Texas sun
Simple things
Coffee, cigarettes, a run

Yet another year looms
And older I become
A year stretched out
Like a blanket
Of meaningless days
Thoughts of what will be
When my blanket of days
Is folded and finally
Put away

To rest
Content
Having found
Some thread of meaning
Unraveling from all the threads
In this blanket of days
To pull the thread,
Letting the others fall away,
Hold it close,
And say,
“This was enough.
Yes, this was, indeed,
Enough.”

Truth

What truth is there but this?
Contained within the sand, wind,
An inky blue sapphire sea
Watching whales and seals play
As they sing their songs of joy
I listen
Their language so foreign to me
A vocabulary of rejoicing
In all that God has made
I can neither interpret nor define
Within this human construct
That it seems God forgot
Yet I seek to know
What they say
Of love
Of grief
Of play
Of joy

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.

Moment of Destruction

In the moments before
The destruction of a life,
The slow breath
And calm heartbeat,
Without hitch or skip,
Do not warn
In those moments
Before the devastation hits.

The volcano’s eruption,
The tidal wave’s wash,
The comet’s smashing,
All apt metaphors
For the destruction
But for the warnings
They give.
For the destruction of a life,
No warning is given,
No alert, no alarm
Blasts to ring in the ears
Before the crash
Before the hit,
Before the strike
Of a doctor’s news
In a sterile
Waiting room.

Words blasting away
Futures planned
For years yet unlived,
Routines lived
In the present,
Day -to-day.
All thought
Exploding
Fanning out
Like twisted metal
In rolling clouds
Of cement dust,
That is
The instant destruction
Of Lives.

In the Flutter of Wings

In the morning light
I watched the hummingbird
In the butterfly garden
When a monarch stopped by too

What a spectacle and spectrum of wings
These two do present
Feeding upon the nourishment here
The Monarch, a slow, tender flutter
The hummingbird, a battering blur of the air
In this spectrum of movement
Is there some secret knowledge,
A truth they seek to share
Differing by vast degrees
Of the same elemental force
Against the air
The aloneness within the movement
A thing that cannot be shared
For I have never seen
Either fly in tandem
With another of their kind
The journey to this garden
Each one took alone
Each seeking the same nectar
Each hungering
Yet alone in the seeking
Is there something profound
They wish to say
With each flutter and flap of wing?
Or is the message simple and concise?
Yes, perhaps it is just this—
We each journey in the seeking
Alone.