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Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

sure we are like gods
we created a machine 
that fears its own death

(more…)

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in the passenger seat,
on a narrow country road,
my window rolled down,
the scent of warm grass thickens the air

beyond a low fence,
a gathering in black wool,
silent but for ritual words,
meaningless intonations of finality

as we draw near,
time congeals like aspic,
heat rises in dreamlike waves,
flowers wilt in reverent clumps

the surrounding faces
are strangers whom I know,
fugitives on the same path,
dogged by the same relentless pursuers

pain, sharp-edged,
a new reality that dawns
as the loved one stolen
is set into the receiving earth

near the center
one mourner stands,
brow blank, eyes questioning:
Who am I, without you?

as we pass
time releases us,
our hearts resume their muffled beat,
and we yearn for the peace of simple things

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Grief is a small room

one door: closed
one window: shuttered
four walls
ceiling

room enough for
me
one chair
a thousand thoughts
and a million questions
that begin with

Why . . . ?

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My youth plays out in monochromatic Super 8, all shadows and light, soundless but for the clacking whir of the projector, each jumpy image spattered by specks of dust that flash past, gone before they even register in the mind.

Around me, I see the shining, sun-bleached hills behind our houses, wild land laced by the trails I hike in adventures that are my haven, my freedom, my escape. I see the black-and-white blurs of schoolmates as they race their Flexi-Flyers headlong down the sloping streets. I see my family—mother, father, sister—wave and laugh, speaking silent words to whomever runs the camera, as they go about their daily lives.

All is shades of grey, wan and distant.

In my home, though, moving past the dark stain of lawn, the walls of pale grey stucco, and the brightly trimmed opening of the doorway, beyond the shadowed living room where children dare not tread, through the kitchen with its charcoal-colored wood, and into the chiaroscuro of the family room, there is a red chair.

It is red. So red.

It stands in the ashen jumble of the room like an open wound, colored the red of blood, bright and arterial, shiny as a skinned knee. Upholstered leather is nailed to its frame by rows of brass tacks that glint in the streaming sunlight, their rounded heads faceted by the hammer blows that set them.

It is an old chair—I do not know a time when it was not there—a holdout from days before my birth. Wing-backed, claw-footed, it is large, its arms stained by the grip of a thousand hands. Here and there the leather is a bit dry and has cracked, revealing tufts of excelsior and batting. It creaks when I climb up, as if complaining, as if I am an unwelcome intruder, and perhaps I am, for it is my father’s chair, and his alone. I curl up in its empty embrace, breathing in its captured aromas of Old Spice and Bond Street.

And on this day, this one day, it is the chair in which my father sits and, for the last time in our lives, gathers me up in his arms, in his warmth, in his scent. It is the chair in which he tells me of my mother’s death. 

After that day, I do not know what happened to that chair. I still see the wall of books, the ancient davenport, the old B&W television on its tubular stand, the corduroy love seat, the sliding-glass door that opens out on the too-bright patio, all these I see in the flickering cinema of remembered youth, but there is a dark spot, a lacuna, a patch of emotional blight where the chair once stood. After that day, I do not remember it being there. I do not remember my father ever sitting in it again. I have excised it from my past, wished it out of existence. 

In my experience, time does not heal, but it does teach. Sometimes it teaches us to understand and adapt, while at other times it teaches us how to cope and survive. The disappearance of that red chair is just such a lesson, learned during the sixty years that separate me from that day. That chair, the cauldron of my earliest grief, has bled out, its color used up, the power of its memory spent.

And I can live with that.

k

 

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We Are

We are:
falling raindrops
drifting snowflakes
crystals of ice

Alone:
insignificant
small
powerless

Together:
an ocean, carving the earth
an avalanche, felling all in our path
a glacier, grinding stones to dust

We do not havthis power
We are this power

Do not give it
to those whose thirst
exceeds their capacity
to care

We are

k

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I am made mute,
the words struck from my mouth
by the unfathomable.

The world’s gyre spins,
casting lucid reason
into the dizzy vortex.

We cannot see,
having doused the light
for what it might reveal.

Fear is our all,
leading from temperate sense
to blistering fireworks.

Answers are lost,
along with their questions
as knowledge becomes foe.

Bereft, I reel,
accompanied by emptied thoughts
about the stolen same.

Tears are useless,
for I am wept out
and the world is a sponge.

I long for sleep,
for dreams untroubled by dark terrors,
a retreat from what I cannot control.

But wishes fail,
and the tragedy of this circus
continues unceasing.

So I hold tight,
cherishing bits of trust
and blink at each morning’s sun.

k

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crocus blooms explode
blue/gold beneath grey spectra
the sun remains hid

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