All shapes of brutish violence,
written in sprawling spray
of innocent blood.
Did Eden ever exist?
Every rain of bullets instills doubt.
Pray heaven exists
for the sake of parents grieving still,
their children, bloody sacrifices
on an altar to the 2nd amendment.
This is an older poem that I’ve dusted off and changed around a little. The end is entirely new but in keeping with the hike in Colorado that inspired it. I was so struck by seeing the one tree leaning upon the other I did not think to whip out my phone to take a picture of the sight. In that moment of observation of the trees, it seemed a violation to do so.
In the woods
two trees stand,
firmly in the ground.
Yet, as if deciding
it a curse of solitude
to try and touch a Sky
who never reached back,
to touch the other,
leaning its trunk
against its forest mate’s.
And so, I found them,
standing as lovers,
one resting upon the other,
limbs entwined in embrace.
I lowered my head
out of respect mingled
with a bit of embarrassment
at glimpsing their
walked down the trail,
crunching dried leaves
beneath the fall of my heavy boots
as I continued on among the trees
in silence and solitude.
As a child,
I survived the explosion of dreams
that left hot greasy remnants
dripping down the four-inch squares
of avocado green ceramic tiles,
marring their mirror like shine.
As a grown woman,
I survived the eruption of dreams
that poured down an encasement of hot ash
over all of life’s plans in the moment of diagnosis,
leaving monumental statues of grief.
Thus, I chose to live
where silence drones,
a rumble in the ears.
a hole, a void
made by echoes
of desires held long ago.
So, I have taken a corn broom
to dance with me
in time to music
only I can hear
to sweep away the dust, the cobwebs,
the fuss of other’s opinions and ideas
of me, my doings, my words.
Yes, from my words,
I shake loose all the years of dust,
the years of ash, the years of grease.
All words, oh, so many words
I never loosed upon the air
to float free upon the winds,
tumbling away, up, around,
then returning once more
to spring up as wildflowers
when things turn to green.
I begin to loose them now,
freed to scatter where they will,
root, spring up where they
find a place to rest.
It is the time
of grey skies
and dead brown grass
along the roadsides.
The time when the trees
are seen shivering,
their limbs quivering in their nakedness.
When even many of the evergreens drip down
brown, bloodied from the lethal knife wounds
of a sharpened frenzied freeze
as they sag into their deaths.
Yes, it is that time of year
when I yearn
for the green of spring,
for limbs to wrap myself within,
for a renewal of promises
I once longed to make.
The time of year
when I empty forty years
clay slapped on the wheel
shaped from spinning motion with
the control of hands
form, substance given
before the heat of the kiln
then give years of care
secured from breaking
ends in sharp edged shards broken:
mosaic in form
In the early morning hours of January 3rd, 2015 my wife, Karen passed away from ovarian cancer. On this day, the eighth anniversary of her passing, I decided to repost this poem. While no relationship may be perfect, I’ve come to realize perfection is found in the things people share. Karen and I shared our love of dogs, so of course, in a dream, I met her as I walked the dogs, and one day I’ll meet her again, but when that happens, she’ll be the one walking all the dogs.
I thought to find you on the path
between the heather patches.
You were not there.
I thought to find you along the roads
from here to other places I traveled,
but there were no traces.
I thought to find you along the routes
where I walked the dogs.
Of course, there you were,
ready to laugh and say they loved you best--
as you always did.
Taking treats from your pocket,
you fed and petted them.
Looking up at me, you said I had more
grey than last you saw, but it didn’t look bad.
Your idea of a compliment, I know.
I killed the weeds of anger over things like that.
Now I must learn to trim back the hedges of grief.
Get electric hedge trimmers, you laughingly said.
Then whispered I should learn from the dogs
and you’d meet me along the path
between the heather one day.
And that was all.
You were gone.
in half-remembered dreams,
dirtied by ghost footprints
upon the waking
to muddy tread marks ever present,
no matter the hours spent in scrubbing—
the marks indelible—
tattoos of mud.
Leave her to the simple tasks of morning,
to her daily reckoning,
preparations of covers and cases required,
all the hiding away,
layering as if for winter,
this bandaging of tender spots.
shattered on the floor
my favorite coffee mug
nothing big, not much of a thing,
just my favorite coffee mug--
sunshine yellow, with coffee beans,
and a coffee spoon printed inside at the top
along with a line from my favorite poem,
“I have measured out my life in coffee spoons”
yes, trite, you might say, emblazoned upon a coffee mug
but still, yes, I loved the mug, love the poem.
and there it was—
shattered upon the floor
there she stood,
saying she’d buy another to replace it.
But it was not to be found.
Of course, the store didn’t have them anymore.
The mug was the first broken thing.
The first of a few, if it wasn’t liked,
didn’t fit into the ideal
of what could be
forged of me
if pinched in the grip of tongs
and held in the fire long enough
to be broken down to a molten,
malleable state, pounded upon the anvil,
shaped, dipped in water to sizzle cool enough
to start the process over again—
for easy fracture.
Many things ended up broken,
shelved, stored in closets—
pictureless frames and frameless pictures,
parts of me
hidden away, never to be seen
sitting on shelves
in black closets—
until I emerged
chipped but no worse for wear
unbroken into the light.
To participate in the Ragtag Daily Prompt, create a Pingback to your post, or copy and paste the link to your post into the comments. And while you’re there, why not check out some of the other posts too!