What Emily Said….

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -
 
And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -
 
I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.
		Emily Dickinson
Yep, that’s what Emily said.
I beg to differ.
If it perched in my soul,
The cat ate that damn canary
Before it finished its tune.
 
And let me tell you,
I never heard anything sweet
During a pissed off hurricane.
That dang bird knew!
Away it flew
While the winds whistled
 Away my roof.
 
I sure as heck didn’t hear
Some sweet little bird chirpin’
As I froze my ass off in the northeast.
And all I heard as I sweated buckets
Under a southern sun was some damn
Squawking big ass crow.
In fact, I think hope isn’t a bird at all.
 
It might be a well.  That might be more apt.
Yep, wells aren’t dug or drilled deep enough,
Sometimes.
And I would imagine
Much more can go wrong with a well,
Like a pump runnin’ dry.
Oh, hell!  A well can even be poisoned!
 
But this here well,
It’s so dang dry
There ain’t even any mud
At the bottom.
Looks like some cobwebs too.
Whatever it had,
It done dried right up.
 
So whatever hope is--
A bird, a well,
It isn’t always there.
It doesn’t stick around,
Unless you feed it
Before the feathers
Drift,
Before the water
Dries
Away.
 
 

Elemental Breath

 From the shaking dirge cries of birth
 To the desire for ease in the between, 
 Before the elemental breath rattles at death,
 We are lost in cacophonous sighs of daily life, 
 Choosing to turn away 
 From moments appearing as iridescent sun rays
 As if God's fingers reached 
 Between the clouds 
 To touch the earth.
 Yes, we turn away,
 Notice nothing,
 Pick up kids,
 Fix dinner,
 Do laundry,
 A trip to Wal-Mart,
 And to work,
 The mundane of every day,
 Yes, it must be done,
 To hurry toward the waiting,
 While living holding sand,
 Until expelling 
 the elemental breath before death. 
   

She Carries

A lazy weekend morning dawns,
As I drink my morning coffee
Wishing for a morning cigarette,
Or more precisely, that I still smoked,
I think of the women I have known.
The beauty, passion, love, heartache of each;
Some leaving a bitter aftertaste,
Some a sweetness lingering in memory,
Some could ignite burning still,
Some inspire an icy chill
In a frostbitten heart.
Though none is as they were
So long ago,
If in a room
All could be collected,
An eclectic collection it would be
Of age and size and color,
Of eye and hair and skin,
Of butch and femme
And somewhere in between.
Each beautiful in her way
And in my eyes.
Each carries a collection of
All my would haves,
And should haves,
And could haves.
Perhaps three or four
Carry all my what if’s
And if only’s.
Two maybe three
Carry all my regrets.
One maybe two
Carry the burden of my sins.
One, just one,
Carried my faith.

But only one–
Yes, only one—
Too amazing for belief,
Carried, for a time, too brief,
My heart and my soul.

Trails

Set out years ago
Dropped breadcrumbs
Some no bigger than dust particles
Of the soul
Along the roads and paths
Thought I’d find my way back,
There’d be time
There’d be years
Be months
Weeks
Days
Seconds
Left before the sand
Absconded with the hourglass
To find the trail of dust and crumbs
Sweep and pour them
Back into the soul
Add a few ingredients
Create once more
From the beginning

 

But birds and squirrels
Feasted on the leavings
And I’ve no desire
To return to where I started.

 

 

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.

Creation

child.jpg

I carved you
from the stone of me
chiseled out your edges,
inside and out,
freed you from the depths
of my abyss,
while my ears
felt the sting
of the hammer pounding,
my bones felt the crunch
of the chisel chipping,
my skin felt the ripping slice
of stone shards flying
tearing through all
flesh and bone of me
until
there was you
sculpted better than
the worth of me
cast off from you
I absorb in finality
what it is
in the truth of God
and pray.

History

history image

Spun out from the centrifuge
Twisted in helix meaning
Strands entwined, twisted back
Stretching toward history within heritage
Search through the montage of time
Sift through pounds of truth and lies
For a few ounces of purity
Measured out within the mess
The now was the past
Where to walk
We travel back
On twisted helix roads
To the selves we were
So very long ago
And learn
The future braided
In the past
With the now
And made us whole

Trash at the Curb

Trash by the curb
Cardboard boxes nested
One within the other
Standing upright, resting
Against the edge of the smallest,
An old collage Walmart picture frame,
Matting included,
Old photos still within the frame,
A wedding, a first baby then a second,
Graduations and first cars,
Pictures telling a story of a family,
Colors faded by the sun
Having spent years by a window