Friday, October 31, 2014

I Am From

I am From

A slow dance on the shoes of father
into the ocean’s crashing waves
baskets of peanut butter and jelly
and the sand of warm days

The man hiding behind walls
where dimension's invisible hand
weaves lines across a meadow
to my heart that understands

A woman’s still simple warmth
holding porridge with grape jelly
four leaf clovers in her hand
to show me the magic bone from which
my cheek and chin and smile began

The silly shingles of a roof
outside my window’s openness
where I hid my precious things
don’t tell the rain
forgotton now the darning egg
not watching rocking chair take age

From each tiny blade of grass un-kept
as morning glory’s crept along the fence
with continuation circle’s way
regardless of the weather
I came from that kind of day
and midnight's petticoats around the room
ballet dancers as I slept

From the sky laced with wings
gliding on thermal highs and lows
dipping into the pictures in my mind
that grant passage into a poem’s flow

I am from a peacock’s colors
and the sound of doves on phone lines
the cozy keeper of the children of the children
and the soft hand of a teacher

I am from the number of stairs in a house
the timber of their music’s rhythm
the piano of my shouting spirit
and the view from the upstairs window

I am from a grandfather with hair thinning
that loved with unwholesome hands
and sent me wondering into the stars beginning

I am from Sunday questions and gold stars
games of canasta and paper dolls
hand made kites and scooters
flapping sheets and running boards
skate keys and Lassie Come Home

I am from lollygagging and that’s not like you
the ice cream man and Saturday Matinee
coloring turkeys with no feathers
and rubber band fights for play

I am from stick horses plum trees
and wrong choices
from late night wetting
dreams of tidal waves
and loud voices

I am from the time before I was
and in charge of every minute’s
layers of poetry and music
and creating myself within it

Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Magnitude of her Unfolding

She stayed out late one day in spring
whispering sighs into the fragrant sky
for she was sixteen and dreams danced
down the dusty weed choked path with her.

It was dinner time
and the air had cooled
but her pounding heart and footsteps
blazed in youthful ardor.

She turned and was bathed in twilight’s glow
floating down a street oh it seemed like floating
of houses stained pink and mauve
against the light of sunset.

She could feel the secrets
that touched her from the window’s glow
of mother’s rocking children’s laughter
and those nesting families touched her soul.

She could feel the undertow
pulling her up into a woman
and she couldn’t say why
she cried into the darkening sky.

A girl is a mighty strong thing
she thought and started running
her bright hair dancing back and forth
and her feet echoing fast go fast.

Her breath felt clean
and her colt legs leaped bursting
bursting was her spirit
on that evening in early spring

the night she glimpsed
the magnitude of her unfolding.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Wall of Time ( in memory of my mother and father-in-love)

They are sitting on black and white
stairs made of ordinary cold cement,
their faces turned towards each other.
Her bare legs in shorts are a dancers
and a scarf only partly hides pin-curled hair.
His pompadour turns up as does his mouth.
They are in love and it is 1951.

Fifty years have passed since that day
that hangs with other years in the hall.

The creak of the floorboards calls out the change
in the way they walk in the morning,
changing, changing from nylon stockings to slippers,
work shoes to sensible, eager to tired.
They wear it with pride.
They wear it with contrition.

The basement echo saddens this listener
knowing time gives and takes,
and holds love accountable for each gruff word,
each wild embrace, every I’m sorry.

The skin grieves, cringes and curls,
and they weave lotion into what might seem harsh
until softness sits with them into the evening,
watching the flickering living room walls
lit by television and the steady rise and fall
of falling asleep early.

On her way to turning down the sheets
she touches his hair and says, “come now”
as he smiles into a dream
and she straightens his black tie on the wall
on their 50th anniversary,
knowing it is more than the walls breathing
that makes a picture crooked,
and much more that straightens it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Loss Ladder

The ladder is lost in the slow creep of vines
laced to the seasons with rain keeping time
forward the laying of names and their place
enhanced with engravings that memory has traced

Reminders drift down from the trees each new year
delighted the waiting is no longer for tears
change turns the leaves of October to blazing
and the sadness of mauve has fallen out of my daydreams

I remember the feel of the brush in my hand
down her tangle of curls in the dampness of morn
still the length of her smile in my dreams after midnight
can still open the time of that long ago storm

Now smoke and ashes dig into the hillside
and fasten the rocks from out of my past
yet will always be present in my still breathing chest
where the cradle still cuddles with my once aching breath

I can see now how dying is another beginning
the song sung within life's cadence is a test
as a lullaby bubbles and rock a byes others
I've learned each new step on the ladder is the best
With loving thoughts of my daughter Michelle who died of Reye's Syndrome in 1974 when she was 8.  October is her birth month