I have landed in a field of never ending grass
Leaning back in conversation with a breeze
Whispering your soft spirit into my ears.
And so I sit very still for a minute and try
To listen with my teeth and skin and feet,
Toes pushed into the soil at the roots of it.
You lips brush by and your eyes settle in
Level with mine, not down at me but into me.
We roll onto our backs and the deep blue
Arching overhead lies so still I blink.
You laugh and I find that somehow funny.
And without expectation you slip your hand
Into mine and fingers laced we lie silently.
Imagining a Mother
In writing to a mom I barely know,
I’m thinking of friends who brag
of close-knit bonds and late-night talks;
our Kentucky way was not so warm.
After school talks were one-sided;
I talked, mom peeled potatoes.
No bedtime stories of childhood.
No reminiscing of days gone by.
Scraps of past lives usually left on
grown ups’ bridge party floors
were either never dropped or
quickly swept up in our house.
Mom sat sternly ringed with women
aged by circumstance, resigned to
speaking sparse-determined words
of no real consequence or meaning.
Pen held still, I wonder who she was
before I bore witness to her landscape.
The blank page holds my emptiness,
as my imagination floats above.
Did she feel empty winds in sheets
flipped crisply in the breeze and
hung to dry on lines in suffering,
beaten backyards, time forgotten?
Or reaching up with clothes pins
in hand, did midday clouds
distract her from the ladybug
in mid-crawl on her thumb?
No, I think she saw a northern wind
lift fresh dead leaves off rotten piles
of tear-kissed Autumn grass,
and set her life down low to rest.
We drop into life with no choice in the matter.
A fisherman at the wharf in Baltimore.
A grocery clerk in downtown Louisville.
A banker past his prime in Manhattan.
The fisherman ties lines to the moorings.
The grocer brushes off his produce.
The banker checks the Dow and sighs.
One wore canvas shoes.
One played Hot Wheels in the dirt.
One dressed dolls and stayed inside.
One may marry the other,
or work for the other,
or kill the other.
Reflecting we believe we changed –
dyed our hair red (but dyed it back);
lost weight (but gained it back);
found Jesus (only to lose him).
But like dry leaves blown along a sidewalk,
we move in random circumstance
and come to rest through circumspection.
salt breath brown crusted lichens
slick streaked moss on rocks
sea licked and sun baked
kite watched beach
form landfills for
in baseball caps
and flip flops
So odd to be winding down but
still thinking that importance lies
in things around me.
I would smell summer rain
and hear blackbirds screeching overhead.
I remember Christmas days
with silver tinsel on flocked trees,
coffee perking, and the crackle
and buzz of a clock radio.
These moments of life
are all I carry now
to pull out and inspect
and shape my self and fears,
and in the end to watch
as time withdraws
I’m taking a break from poetry to celebrate my favorite day of the year: St. Patrick’s Day. Ever since I was old enough to walk about in this world it has been my favorite day. Strangers would smile at me and wish me well. Many would rub my hair “for good luck.” I even started getting free beers in bars when I got old enough to drink. A redhead on St. Patrick’s Day; you just can’t beat it. Of course, the assumption was I’m Irish because I have red hair. I kept it to myself that I’m not Irish.
I was always told our family on both sides was Welsh-Scottish. My ancestors came over in the great migration. They hit the Appalachian Trail and didn’t stop until they got to West Virginia. They felt at home there apparently. My granny and grandad left at some point and wandered over into Kentucky. By the time my dad was born, they were living in far West Kentucky on the Mississippi River. My dad was born in Fancy Farm, Kentucky. Later they moved back east and settled in Lebanon, Kentucky. Right smack dab in the hills of central Kentucky. Through some strange turn of events my mom and dad were living in Louisville as a young married couple, which is where I was born. So I’m really just a Kentuckian I guess.
Some years after I graduated law school in Texas and was working in-house at a company, a redheaded co-worker wished me a Happy St. Patrick’s Day. I went into the explanation of my true heritage. She laughed when I was done and said “Oh, like there’s a big difference! Our ancestors were separated by a small channel of water. You don’t think they moved back and forth? You’re going to let politics and arbitrary borders define you?” She had a good point. So I guess in a way I’m Irish after all.
Then last year on vacation in Spain, a woman in Norway saw me and exclaimed, “my God, what a perfect Viking look you have!”
We were perched on a precipice of angular frustration
that was pushed into place by tectonic forces.
And we watched from on high like drunken spectators
as life inched clawless across the floors of seas.
To stay or fall was inconsequential –
One happens to the other’s exclusion.
Oh, taste grew bland with time,
so we set it aside to age
or harden (or become irrelevant?).
Our hunger is now unfettered by taste.
We post “yummy” and watch
the likes to know how good it was.
Is this the April resurrection?
Has the cruelest month passed?
Will we datta dayadhwam damyata?
“Oh, just Google it; problem solved.”
Should I browse?
Or type messages
to my friends?
Or my mother?
Or my wife
who sits beside me?
Why bother when
everything is packaged?
I wake, shower, and leave,
breakfast tucked under arm,
meat, but no harm.
By this verse I know
I’ve forgotten my code,
or personal ID
in all the clatter.
But does any of it matter?
Should my poem end here?
Have I asked the wrong questions?
No soil remains or toes to burrow.
Birds and bears and even dogs have left
in search of food and peace and safety.
And HR waits for an etherized patient.
There is no overwhelming question here.
Just never-ending scrolls
and likes and links and blogs and bites
‘til rules and guidelines scatter into bits
of information for my imagination.
So click here if you agree.
Or click here to go back.
Or click here to order now.
Will half-time pyrotechnics,
dumb-lit and short lived,
bemuse and drive the game,
or tickle emotions like a maître-de-café?
The gods await the mist at concert’s end
and walk hand-in-hand offstage,
leaving reruns of reality TV.
“This call may be recorded after all!”
“This call may be recorded for training purposes.”
Take solace that wild dogs may still return
and viruses claim babies’ lives
and couples stroll to blood sunsets
and death be welcomed once again
I’ve been away from writing for some time. I was called away to have a bit of surgery. That surgery was a kidney donation operation. I gave a kidney to my brother. The surgery was January 15. My recovery will be about 4 – 6 weeks. So when I’m finally recovered let me tell you I’m going to write write write! #surgery #KidneyDonation #Recovery #brothers
Poem # 14
My thoughts float like filler paper
dropped from a balcony.
No, let me be forthright;
they flutter like confetti
tossed from a merry-go-round
(cheap arcade prizes) –
serenade of circus tunes
doppler swept in the wake –
and never land as projected.
And a catalogue of things I taught
(or told or said) lies scattered under
midnight’s feral terrors.