Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Waves Become Wings...


As kids, we took turns dragging behind the farm truck on dusty dirt roads singing out the Indiana Jones theme song - dee, de, dee, dee - dee, de, dee !

We'd hold onto a length of rope, turning our bodies left and right, trying to avoid puddles and rocks. I'd drag like that until I lost my grip, well beyond the point of rope burn and pain. Not letting go was important. It was more than just endurance, it was a kind of faithfulness, your true measure as a man.

You can't hold on forever though, even if you want to. Especially if the driver of the truck has other plans.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

How could you know?

Salvage and Waste

There aren't many days like this lately of staying in bed too long listening to silence, an occasional passing car, a fleeting bird call. But anxiety about waste, passing time, massing debt, and no particular direction creeps in before there is time enough to notice you have some time to yourself.

Let your soul heal, one voice says.
Get off your ass, says another.

Some of the things she gave you early on, you didn't return.

The shepherd's hook and platform feeder, empty and deserted now, hold memories of the color, life, and magic she brought into this empty place. She said you'd lost your brilliance. You said, I'm almost dead.

The solar powered daisy with the butterflies for hands moves happily when the sunlight reaches it. It's one of the first things she gave you. She placed it on the window sill without explanation. It was medicinal, and its effect was immediate. When it starts to move, it looks just like her, light and free. You wish you helped her stay there.

And the chimes - the sound of them is what love felt like between you. It was a beautiful dream. A great gift. How can you be sorry now?

Monday, March 21, 2016

When she takes a hold of you...

Spring Snow

Snowing on the first day of Spring, you drive to work reciting your list of new priorities. Life is so much bigger than her, you tell yourself.

She affects you like the blowing wind affects you, that's all. She's only passing,  just like everything else. Here and gone. There's no difference. Do the breathing exercise and think of that.

 I stand here as you blow past on your way to wherever you must. I trace you with my finger tips, breathe you,  feel you in so many colors and sensations, until you've passed completely, leaving the silent snow swirling and me looking after.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


The Jesuit said, you are never in love with anyone. You're in love with your own prejudiced and hopeful idea of another person. That's been rattling around in you for days now - a shutter banging crazily in the wind. You  can't sleep.

The hope is slowly bleeding from your prejudiced idea. She once kept a few of her things here in your drawer. You open it. She doesn't keep them here anymore. You do not keep a gun in the drawer either. What, you never think about it?

Your hair is more salt than pepper now. It's seven o'clock, might as well go to bed.

You think there's something wrong with your breathing when she leave this way. Almost asthma, you can't fully exhale or something. You are without rest or peace.

You removed her from your contacts again the last time. Changed the ring tone, and the text tone, so hers would be indistinguishable from any other. Now, that tactic has you checking every time something comes in. So you rename her number, assign a distinctive tone for calls and a different one for texts, in order to manage that problem. You hear it now - the sample, not the real thing - and your senses flood. Some of it was so good.

Now you are just waiting, not even pretending not to be.

They can tell you there's no magic, and that this is only a game you're playing with yourself, but they will have to do so more than once.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Chase the Dark Away...

A Morning, Not Where I Left It

Time change, it's an hour later
Sprung forward, but time enough yet for listening to birds
while walking up to the front door
(saw a red-winged blackbird on the roadside)
the boys are sleeping, the clock is ticking
try not to think about the blurred vision and
other things slipping, waning, while looking through
the window from kitchen to backyard  remembering
when the birds meant so much
harbingers of magic
thinking of missed cues, moments - sacred to one but not the other,
memories, keepsakes, special one-of-a-kind items or occasions,
treasures carefully kept, tumbled by winds when your back is turned,
stolen by encroaching tides, in half-sleep
left jammed between wall and bus seat
later found by an ignoramus
too coarse to discern its meaning
lost, mistaken for jetsam
a spectrum of tragedies like these
always rolling

Saturday, March 12, 2016

French Restaurant

Wake to pain, annoyance, silence
something is holding it's breath
what are you waiting for now?

The only birds here are mourning doves
scan the mental landscape for direction
there it is - family life
a day in the city, a special day

You can't always think dreadfully
despite the rest

Friday, March 11, 2016

La la la la la la la la, it's a wild world...

Seven Days in Early March

A week slips by. She's got that puppy now, and I haven't seen her since. I'm busy working two jobs, commuting, making tiny installments on large bills, trying to get a bad neck fixed- but I notice and sleep poorly. What it means is what it means, I'm not chasing her.

Spring is trying to arrive. I saw a peeper last night hopping across the wet road. It seemed either optimistic or foolish.

This morning, outside my front door, a mirthless robin and I stood facing each other. I don't feel like a parade either. I'm not exactly walking on sunshine myself.

It's never easy, this changing, even when it's for the good.

They say another person can't make you feel anything - not happy, not sad - that you do it all yourself. That seems, right now, rather trite.

Sunday, March 6, 2016


The crated puppy, a tiny Welsh Terrier of about 8 weeks, cried alone in the air freight office having just flown across the country. She stopped for a moment when she saw me. I talked to her and she licked my finger tip stuck through the gate which was secured with zip ties. The attendant asked to see an ID. I showed her my driver's license, and with very little scrutiny she released the puppy into my care.

She didn't like the car ride much either. I thought maybe I should have put the crate in the front seat where she'd be closer to me and feel less abandoned, but now we were stuck in traffic, and there was nothing I could do about it. I talked to her, then sang to her, then sang to myself in order to keep the rising negative emotion at bay. Something else demanding of my attention, something loud with urgent needs. My body remembered a particular kind of tension, the anxiety and responsibility of raising very small children in a world that doesn't make it easy.

I wanted to stop somewhere to let her out of that crate, to give her water and food and the chance to move about, but I had to get off the highway first. Before I was able do that, a combination of the sound of the wheels and exhaustion from all that crying probably made her fall asleep.

We rode in silence for the next hour. I found myself worrying maybe the puppy had been crying because she was hanging or stuck or something, struggling to free herself and crying for my help, and I ignored her cries until she was exhausted, stopped struggling, and asphyxiated. How would I explain this to the woman texting every fifteen minutes for a status update?

Thursday, March 3, 2016

A Call From A Far Away City

My friend just called from a far away city. He called me last week too, but I didn't answer. The last time I spoke to him, he was anticipating bad news regarding his wife's prognosis. They had an appointment at the hospital the next day. I intended to call him back to find out how it went, but I was busy and didn't.

She's dead now. Cancer took her very quickly. It had spread everywhere, and there was nothing for it. He told me how helpless he felt sitting with that knowledge and with his woman. It took ten days.

He had to get away from his home town - from the rooms they occupied together, from her clothes and photographs, from their grown children and family friends. He flew off to a far away city, a friend let him crash there. You don't know what it's like, he said, I was lost.

He sunk into the city for ten days and nights. It's better to be lost in a strange place than to be lost at home. He found perspective among the street people there, saw that being lost was a matter of degree, and that it could get worse. Far worse. Now he's talking to me, ready to go home and try life without her. Their children have packed up her things.

I can see him unlocking the front door, stepping inside. No fire burning, no sound, no light. The absence of her. The hole in himself. Forcing his feet to move - courage, despair, courage, despair, courage...