JUNE 2021 = YESTERDAY
On a lazy sunset noon; recalling
memories whirl up the mind
the fairytales you chattered with sweet wine
the sandcastles we built up; with shining sand
matters most with nostalgia
your blinking eyes recall our "secrets"
seashells collected; with bonds of promises
the fragrance of you; still up in the air
it was " Yesterday " we attached to our hearts
THE TENANT’S FARMHOUSE 1908
With windows open,
the smell of manure from the tie-up
passing; an accustomed announcement of
hardship through bad times.
It spoke for all who slept there, and an acceptance
of those who express pain by shrugging
Poverty— a sore they wore, had only a few words.
I have little value,
but I always show up.
PORTRAIT: MAMA OCCLLO HUACO, FIRST COYA
She wears alpaca wool against Andean chill,
layers of handwoven melkkhay skirts. Unique Peruvian
genealogy is told, anonymously painted, worn
as patterned prayers embroidered into puyuta bands.
Her richness, village residence is known
by how she wears her headdress, wields her power.
Daughter of the Moon, portrayed as Spanish royalty,
is she goddess, queen, or consort? All, or which,
depends upon who postulates her genesis. Unknowing
conquistadors tell theirs in masquerade. She does not
carry food, nor warm her baby boy, in K’eperina shawl,
but bears in tupo pin a scepter, mirror of her mama’s face.
Smug, smiling, burly youngster shelters her, this Mother,
who lives to gossip his maturing personage to leadership,
distorted Old World vision of intrigue awakens.
I REMEMBER YESTERDAY
Julie A. Dickson
Once I sat with glee on Grandfather’s knee
as he told me stories of yesterdays
I listened intently and then inquired,
“Yes, but do remember tomorrow?”
He smiled a knowing grin at me, a child.
Thoughtfully he pondered and finally spoke,
“Tomorrow will be a time to wander.”
Grandfather wove me a yarn of intrigue.
My eyes opened wide, and I could not hide
the surprise at hearing what life might bring.
“You’ll grow and learn, perhaps even explore
far off lands where mountains touch the sea.”
Shifted my eyes to a window, I drifted.
I’d journey to the north to see glaciers
or south to Galapagos to find turtles;
I turned back to hear his tales of Mexico.
Years have progressed since Grandfather professed
his wisdom, dancing eyes opening paths
I did not follow, never saw his mountains;
Galapagos turtles long forgotten.
Reading to my son, leading him through geography,
to ask me questions – we explored maps.
my thoughts returned to Grandfather’s stories,
Places like Mexico I’d never gone to see.
We talked over the atlas of far-off lands; my son asked,
“Do you remember tomorrow?”
I saw my Grandfather’s smiling hazel eyes and
hoped my son would see his mountains.
It's not hard to close your eyes
And find yourself a child again
Small and insignificant
In a world of adult voices
Carrying on conversations
Literally and figuratively
Above your head.
Someone asked me once
What my earliest recollection was
There are three or four
I don't know which came first.
All are of the apartment my parents had
In Astoria, where they and I
And my brother were born.
The apartment was at the end of a hallway
On the right-hand side
Of the first floor
The kitchen sink was a large white porcelain farm sink.
It doubled as my tub
Sitting in it, I listened to the comic strips
Read aloud: Blondie, Lil Abner, the Katzenjammer Kids
joined Prince Valiant, Dick Tracy, and Little Orphan Annie
While my mother scrubbed my back and washed my hair.
Our two cribs were on either side of my parents' bed.
One night,, when we refused to go to sleep,
My grandmother threatened to leave us alone
If we didn't stop taking.
We didn't. She did.
Or so we thought as she walked
Loudly to the door, opened it and shut it.
My brother cried but I was unafraid
Telling him we'd be safe in our cribs
Until our parents came home.
Discipline was different then.
Traumatized children wasn't even a remote concept.
I can still recall my grandmother's voice
And the smell of the food we ate.
I spent the first four years of my life there.
I don't remember many things, but I have seen the photographs
Black and white and gray and glossy.
I remember Steinway Street and the walks on
Sunday afternoons, window shopping after midday lunch.
On quiet evenings in summer's soft breezes
Or in winter's shrill howl,
Something will remind me of what my life was
What used to be
What remains somewhere I suppose
In an incomprehensible universe
Time may be a continuous loop
Where my family lives in the places I remember
Eats those Sunday meals after church
Hears those dear voices
Stilled now for decades.
IT’S THE GLOWING LIGHTS I REMEMBER FIRST
T J Barnum
the way they sparkled in a semi-lucent ball
around each streetlamp soft rain-spattered dirt
steam rising from hot sidewalks in the dusk
horns blaring spray from impatient cars
too late for our shoes we hugged the shops
hoping to spare our jeans water dripped
down the sides of our faces and we
shook it from our hair like dogs
in and out of shops we followed a steady
flow of people aroma of alcohol and coffee
you held doors for me dim lights in local eateries
good beer soft jazz overpriced sandwiches
then the long walk-through sweltering streets
everything damp and strange from infrequent rain
laughter from hard partiers I’m waylaid
by a bedraggled mongrel matted fur weighed down
by rain and abuse the dog too frightened to come near
we were quiet after that I was slightly drunk and sad
you squeezed my hand until I could find my way through
thoughts of abandoned animals abandoned people
after town center we walked faster porch lights
shining on painted doors gloom surrounding dark houses
as if civilization ended a mile back with honking horns
and drunken laughter in bars
then we were walking on the cracked sidewalk
up to my bright red door light shining
from the stairwell window we stepped into cool dry air
removed wet shoes I brought you a towel
you found two beers in the fridge
I remember we stood in my tiny kitchen
just looking at each other then you reached for me
the full beers gone flat sat on the kitchen counter
the next morning
WHEN LIGHT FALLS ON A PHOTOSENSITIVE SURFACE
of time-worn photographs;
capture the colour
SWEET MEMORIES OF YESTERDAY
Kathy Jo Bryant
Sweet memories of yesterday
How they in my mind, replay
Now I keep them in my heart
And never let them e'er depart
Simple childhood pleasures grand
Are flowers fragrant, in my hand
Stamped forever upon my mind
Are the precious moments of past time
Stories I remember well
That happened long ago, I'll tell
I hold them dear, and always will
Circling my mind, like a merry windmill!
I REMEMBER YOU.
when i was little. i remember you. and some of the things that you used to do,
we would play "buckaroo" and you were our horse... i would
hold your belt tight... but soon fall of course.
onto the pillows of the sofa, you made... you could make anything. that was your trade x
we all laughed so much and waited our turn...
each of us having energy to burn... you were so patient giving us go after go. the bucking would "stop" only when mum had said so!!!
you took and gaz and me fishing for our very first time... two 'proud young anglers' preparing our lines x
we caught rudd and roach one after the other... it doesn't get better than this i said to my brother x
it was a day i will never forget we just kept on landing them, and half filled our net...
we both carried on fishing all through our lives... and our sons do it, so the family tradition still thrives x
going to work with you was always such fun... and that's were my being handy with tools had begun. now this is a hammer "don't" hit your thumb!!
this is a saw. let "it" do the work... a nice steady rhythm. no do go berserk, that's why the blade is starting to jerk.
you're not in a race... just take your time, it will come out just perfect.
ah there you go, looks exactly like mine x
i have vivid memories of the pram race... you and your friend colin “always" came in first place x
dressed up like babies and wearing a nappy x seeing you win it, always made me feel happy. from the red lion pub. then to ten others, downing a pint pot in each and beating the others x
once i recall you throwing up... then you gathered yourself before lifting the cup x the trophy was yours when you won it three times, i was boasting in class!! so, teacher gave me lines x
we both love our foot ball both playing and watching and playing, duck under the turnstile a can still hear you saying.
you sneaked me in free quite un-ceremonial as we went to see alan mullerry's footballing testimonial.
an old england eleven against eleven old scots... the ref, i remember pointing to both penalty spots x
it was friendly but i didn't look that... against our old foes is always a scrap x
the holey grail was when you took me to wembley.
against switzerland... again, it was only a friendly.
that did not mater is saw kevin keegan can't remember the score , but i think it was even.
being played under floodlights was the high point for me... never seeing them before really filled me with glee x
riding the tube train with you, i think that was the best. we had to walk the rest of the way home, when we hit hounslow west x
i have many memories together with you, dear old dad
mostly all happy not many are sad x
so, enjoy this poem that i've penned for you ,
this talent i have is also from you!
like many things that i poses , you gave them to me ... now you know the rest x
THE RATTLE OF THE DOOR
Some call it the wind but I know it is ghosts.
That clatter of plastic cups
spilling like dominoes onto the floor—
that’s not the wind. That’s Randy,
Randy always coming home drunk.
The rattle of the door, the endless rattle of Marianne
who never was able to master the house key.
And the rustle you say is the wind in the drapes?
That’s Grandma in her gown, because she was old
and just couldn’t sleep so she wandered the house
looking in darkness for people she’d lost.
Looking for ghosts.
There’s a very soft padding you’re not sure you hear.
That is your cat, the one you called Trixie
whom you loved with no reason, whom you loved
just because, and hasn’t been with you for such a long time.
She, too, is a ghost you think is the wind.
She isn’t the wind. She is a ghost.
She’s the sound of balled paper; a swish in the dark
that moves down the hall as you lie in your bed
trying to sleep. The sound of a cat as it plays in the night.
It isn’t the wind but the slipstream of ghosts;
currents of yesterday. Ghosts of those loves we never forget.
Those loves that we loved and went into the night.
Those loves that we loved, who live in the wind.
In the rattle of the door. The rustle of drapes.
The clatter of cups that always is Randy coming home drunk,
and the hardly-there padding of paws.
The swish of balled paper as it moves down the hall
when you can’t get to sleep because you are old,
and that’s very hard. Old is so lonely.
It is filled with those ghosts that some call the wind.
On that afternoon standing by the Sein
When the pale pink cherry blossoms swayed:
And the vernal breeze brushed against her cheeks.
She vacantly gazed at the Bateaux- Mouches
Submerged in the waves of saudade profuse!
How a place, a person, or an event,
Teleport one to a certain time frame!
And all those moments of the past
Stand in front and squarely cast:
An inexplicable feeling so intense and deep,
The desire to rewind those hours as reminiscence seeps!
Sometimes an empty wrapper of chocolate
Can revive those cherished childhood bit!
The days of Noddy and Famous Five:
Into them the heart plummets and dives!
Those days of budding adolescence when Nancy Drew was a constant friend!
The fervid desire for a Darcy or a Lochinver!
All those moments of impish fun and cheer!
How the yearning for yesteryears erects like a mountain huge!
While listening to the most favourite songs, the mind behaves and waltzes like a stooge!
At times, a novel may fly you back to your exotic days
When melting in his arms, passion blazed.
Amazing how man encages himself where the days of glory repose.
Time over time hopelessly for the lost hanker and grope!
ENGAGED TO BE MARRIED
I feel life setting,
and very deliberately,
like a barge hooked against
a canal. the dirt
of the motors. the rising
of pondweed. the slow
of rats. engaged
to be married. an apartment.
a dog. all things which,
younger, I said I'd
never do. this evening
I picked out
a font for invitations.
what ever became
of that courageous
Today is pretty much just like yesterday as nothing much has changed. Racism, prejudice, and hatred against members of humanity continues to be the narrative of the life we chose to live. The senseless deprivation of resources and dreams to all is a travesty to the positive advancement of humanity. Yesterday like today is pretty much the same. Embattled citizens are taking it peacefully to the streets protesting this form of brutality. They are equally met with the same force imposing their validity. Members of a certain ethnic group, background, and skin are persecuted just like back then. Yes, today seems just like yesterday and it seems like nothing has changed. Political leaders still busy lying in the embittered citizens faces while behind closed doors in the sacred halls of justice devise laws mainly to oppress the inferior races. The same people that they consider inferior, they want to fight. Their wars have motives of evilness, subliminal, and ulterior. The same United States that flooded neighborhoods with the fire water and dope which broke up families and took away a whole generations’ prosperity and hope. Yes, today, and yesterday are pretty much the same and nothing or little seems to have changed. There’s so much in comparison to that of both yesterday and today. The solution to the problems is that we need to live together in love, peace, and unity. We need to forgive and move on to a better place and not end up in the never-ending stagnation and vortex of our yesterday.
NEXT FATHER’S DAY
He handed the thick envelope to the man he had not seen in thirty years.
“Before Sunday. Agreed?”
There, it’s done.
He’d never have to buy another Fathers’ Day card.
WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM LIFE?
What do you want from life?
To be heard and understood.
What do you want to do?
Just be interpreted as good.
How do you want to be?
Calm, happy and true,
Not question every action,
Approach each day brand new.
Where do you see yourself?
Anywhere I feel at home,
What do you wish the most?
To never feel alone.
Are you happy right now?
It varies day to day,
Do you have any regrets?
I do but cannot say.
What do you deem as strength?
To be self-assured and bold,
How long do you want to live?
Until I’m very old.
Can money buy you happiness?
No, but it stops a lot of stress,
Unless you are free soul,
I’m not, I must confess.
What wisdom have you got?
To know things always improve,
When frozen with grief and pain,
You’ll soon learn how to move.
What do you fear the most?
To be misunderstood,
To lack the tact I need,
To make the point I should.
When do you write the most?
When strong emotions pour,
The ones you can’t keep inside,
Because they really roar.
Where is your favourite place?
In my dreams, the peace they bring,
And when I’m with the ones I love,
Who give me everything…
Sitting on the bench
Barren park beyond my view
The clearest picture I could see
Dying trees, scorched grass
I wanted to laugh although
It’s the greatest pain I could feel
I found my soul, wandering around
I tried to ask, all I got was mocking-jay
The game is on again
My sanity or my emotion
Tell me what’s it like to survive out there
Without me steering us together
When I was born, we were one and eternal
Broken link, my insane self
Put the wall up between us, I feel empty
I miss being in your arms
Being able to laugh
All I wanted to do is to bring life
Into my mind, to feel things
I want to laugh without feeling empty
Emotionless emotions, to feel full
So my world can light up again
Those mornings enveloped...
In ivory dripping tenderness...
She would wait for his words,
After cleansing herself as a cerulean sky.
She wouldn't let anyone intrude
into their hallowed confinement.
Albeit the fencing was done using
From those frayed clandestine knots,
That she stealthily kept knitting.
Those that none of the velums
sighing in her knew...
She is still bewildered...
How such willowy motifs could excavate that deep.
That it created a lair there...
Somewhere there, that she still can't fathom.
Since then, her lungs feel mowed under a combustible iron box.
Since then, her gullet is parched,
Even as she is bathed in pummeling deluge.
Since then, even her neutral neurons have begun to palpitate.
Since then, it feels as if...
Graphite clumps crawl from her arteries instead of blood.
Wrung and vanquished, she is now being skewered in that lacuna.
HIGHWAY OF LIFE
Heather C Holmes
Blue ’46 Mercury
feet on the dashboard.
Holding hands at the
Drive-in on a
White ’57 Thunderbird
down the freeway.
Hugs from grandparents
and laughing with cousins,
Summers by the shore.
Green ’65 Galaxie 500
Herman and his Hermits
wooing Mrs. Brown’s
daughter on the radio.
Son heading to Vietnam.
Daughter protesting it.
Older dog missing them both.
Worry, love, pride
crowd the heart while
anxiously waiting for letters home.
Burgundy ’77 Lincoln Continental vinyl bench seats,
Ashtrays full of
memories and ash.
Son suffering battle fatigue.
championing the underdog.
Grand-kids spilling ice cream. No more dog to bark.
Brown ’86 Tempo
cranking the engine,
Tougher than you think. Like the owners.
No more kids
to taxi around.
Grand-kids too busy to visit. Lonely.
Needing more time
to make memories.
Blue ’46 Mercury
on the drive.
Dreaming of a
Stars in their eyes,
Love in their hearts.
Partying over the
—after a walk through fifty abandoned acres in the center of Cape Ann, Massachusetts
Sometimes even a town falls in upon itself,
but in spring, when the dead wander at night,
you may find its abandoned heart, toughened
by tears; women defeated by hunger, by grief,
a war hero bleeding in a harbor’s August light;
sometimes even a town falls in upon itself,
in the shadows of a glacier’s rocks and rifts,
where cellar holes and silent roads are anyone’s right.
Here now, in spring, find this town’s heart, toughened
by recalcitrant fields and a battlefield’s slight,
men scraping by on berries, on waylaid wildlife.
Sometimes even a town falls in upon itself
and cries: a granite doorstep worn by life’s
fickle tread, prosperity gobbled by blight:
come spring, you may find a town’s heart, toughened
by ridicule and scorn, by history’s rebuff.
Time, please bless us now, as is our right,
for even a town may fall in upon itself.
Open this once noble heart for us, softened.
EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE
on the edge of yesterday
I stood at the crossroads of my heart
and killed two loves with one stone
God has forgiven me
you would forgive me too
on the edge of today
I forget myself
I cut my hair and shamelessly
put on a white dress
the priest forgives me
on the edge of tomorrow
the sea of sadness
will come under my feet
I will turn my back on memories
God will forgive me
on the edge of life
in a black dress
I will finally
and forgive myself
GLIMPSES OF MY MOTHER
Deborah L. Staunton
My mother met fear in the devil on a store window in the Bronx.
And scared my grandmother to death in a bungalow in the country, when at four, she wandered down the road and disappeared.
Later, her older brother taught her to throw fistfuls of watery mud at frogs in a misguided attempt to catch them.
And convinced her to let him carve her initials in the back of her neck in case she got lost. She changed her mind at the bottom of the first line of the "B.”
Back in the city, she cried tears of disappointment into her pillow when a baby doll vanished from another store window, until she felt the small foot of the doll beneath her head
That summer at the bungalow, he cut her hair with six-year-old abandon. My grandmother, her eyes swollen shut with a trio of poison ivy, oak, and sumac, was left to feel the devastation with her hands.
When rain pelted the city skyline, she coaxed her baby sister into the closet hiding together as the sky lit up the world outside their fifth story window.
She snuck drags of her mother’s cigarette behind her brother’s back at a wedding and hid from his disapproval.
At seventeen she hid from herself at her own wedding to a boy she thought she could save.
Seventeen years later she came out of hiding to save herself.
SPRING OF DECEPTION
Seasons come and weeks go
Yet time begins to rainbow.
Warming hours and no more snow
Help the trees and flowers grow.
Nature awakens, and songs echo
Around the frozen scarecrow.
A reminder of yesterday’s Eskimo
Smothers the green and yellow.
It’s Spring and yet a dark shadow
Covers the freshly sprung willow.
The temperature swings mild to low
Keeping us in this wintery limbo.
Here today, and gone tomorrow
From the numbing and the sorrow.
The icy grasp had one last show
Killing things from down below.
The sun shines with its bright halo
Blooming to Spring’s ebb and flow.
ONE WEEK A YEAR
Kassie J Runyan
the sun is setting
in hues of purple and red.
your thin legs fold up
underneath your body,
trying to stay warm
in the cooling evening air.
it’s hard to remember just
how your skin burned
under the blazing sun
as you ran full speed
down the old wooden dock.
it creaked beneath your small weight
before you launched awkwardly into the water
trying to cool off.
dunking quickly under
just before your brother dove in
laughing and splashing.
mom looking up from her book,
the third one this week,
as she lay catching the rays of the sun
on the other end of the old dock.
looking anything but awkward,
a smile curling up the edges of her lips
that were spotted by summer freckles.
now the summer heat, a memory
as you push closer to the dying fire,
trying to stay warm.
licking the stickiness from your fingers,
the remains of melted marshmallow
that was cooked crisp over
the previously orange flames.
something buzzes by your ear and
you swat at the air
trying to shoo it away.
your eyes grow heavy
from content exhaustion.
i watch you from your future,
remembering the summer nights.
the promised week each year
where i felt more happy and childlike
than any other week.
i watch my young self
drift to sleep
in the memory of the past
just before dad leans over and lifts you
like you are nothing more than a doll.
snuggle in his arms
while he takes you to the safety inside
the small cabin
that sits next to the dying fire.
a loon coos in the distance.
you drift to sleep…
of what would come tomorrow.
where you will create more memories
just like this
to last the rest of your life.
Both SENT and INBOX are cluttered.
SENT nags the most, with its corpses.
More than a decade after her death,
my mother is not likely to read email.
Nor are other friends and relatives who,
as we are wont to blather, have passed,
joined the angels or other euphemisms.
The alleged afterlife appears without
laptops and email. Yet somehow…
I cannot bring my mouse to highlight
and to delete those ignored messages.
I also lack the sangfroid to winnow
my contact lists to remove the dead.
Sometimes, auto-fill pops in one of them
and I confess I like seeing the familiar,
if unreachable — deaf and blind to me.
FROM WHEN I WAS TWENTY-ONE
You were my yesterday -
from when I was twenty-one.
You wove a gold thread around my neck,
wrapped a bracelet of charm on my wrists.
I return to when I was twenty-one -
my future when you promised yourself as my love.
I did not know the landscape of memory
where you would float in a cloud -
a fog, a mist from my past.
Your eyes still stare into mine
with a love that I believed was true.
From when I was twenty-one
when you were my yesterday -
I remember you.
Life surpassed my yesterdays
in a frenzy -
more of you in everyone I met -
I looked but you had gone.
It is twenty-five years since those yesterdays
when you cast your spell of promise.
I never saw you again.
All my yesterdays and tomorrows
circle in what could have been.
The twenty-one when you promised a future of love -
was not to be.
My passage of youth has faded
for the twenty-one years that float in a frenzy of tomorrows.
You were my first poem -
the shock of abandon,
oh, so sudden!
tore my heart for a
what could have been if you remained.
Your bewitching eyes as hazel drops -
The rose that you laid at my feet
in a yesterday -
from when I was twenty-one.
A kaleidoscope of colour
whirls from yesterdays of love lost -
I am no longer twenty-one -
you remain a memory of melancholy
for a future that could have been.
I said, “Goodbye” -
bid you farewell from my heart.
Regret taints yesterdays
for the future of tomorrows
when for all my past years
rotate with each day,
revolve around a sun
when every year of my yesterday
is locked in a memory of you.
YESTERDAYS ARE REAL
They generally say yesterday has gone,
look forward to today and the future.
But surely things of yesterday
shape your future.
That's where all your memories are.
Forgetting yesterday can't work
how do we learn from our mistakes.
Perhaps those not wanting yesterdays
have ulterior motives for not
advocating past memories.
I'm sorry I am who I am
due to my yesterdays.
Understanding memories of family
and friends have developed
the person you see in front of you.
In my conclusion memories
and yesterdays have a place
in our society.
How to love and forgive was
learnt in all our yesterdays.
I’ve grown older
since he died,
married and moving on.
I try to let go
of so much sorrow,
focus on better
memories of a lifetime.
From his wedding pictures
he looks back
at no one in particular,
his sad, ambivalent smile.
THE DAY AFTER THE CLOCKS GO CUCKOO IN THE FALL OR THE UNEXPECTED INQUISITION OR WHAT A DIFFERENCE A DAY MAKES—25 LITTLE HOURS
The throng implored in earnest
as they stalked me to my chair,
why supper wasn’t ready
(they were feeling rather heady
and their legs became unsteady);
at this hour it should be there.
I pointed to the grandpa clock
which stood watch in the hall
and to the cuckoo which would mock
from high upon the wall,
then to the lady, very bare,
whose clock obscures her groin
(a gift my mom-in-law put there,
which she was told was very rare—
the one for which we still don’t care—
a fire-sale in Des Moines).
Three clocks concurred, one more, one less:
there was an hour to go:
the first was just a trifle fast
but by the morning came in last;
the third was always rather slow
(its second hand swung to and fro);
but in-between I’d always seen
the cuckoo clock would hold the mean—
a drop of oil mixed with caffeine
ensured a finely-tuned machine—
before their food arrived at mess
come rain or shine or snow.
I had no choice and so I changed
our clocks the night before:
just yesterday I rearranged
our lives forevermore—
that is, until some months from now
we’d move them back again,
or is that forward?—anyhow,
it’s odd that we, such mortal men,
have magic which can move the sun
upon our will, and fast,
though none of us, alone, can shun
the laws which men have passed,
demanding that we change the hour
our minds and bodies sense,
by means of some uncanny power,
to thither from its whence.
But dogs and cats and chickadees,
the aardvarks, rabbits, bumblebees,
all snarks and sharks and chimpanzees,
and every camel and its fleas,
plus alligators, manatees,
the gentle cows who give us cheese,
our poltergeists and families
are made to feel quite ill at ease—
the Universe itself agrees—
when mealtime brings them to their knees,
delayed, in spite of earnest pleas
by whims of their trustees.
And so, in comfy chair’s embrace,
assuming the position,
I sink into profound disgrace:
another hour I’ll watch them pace—
an hour which I cannot replace—
the longest hour, in which I face
my spaniels’ inquisition.
About the moon and the stars,
Over late-night dinners
When you smiled.
We drank whiskey together
And talked about the sunsets
When you told me that you like me.
So we became the Moon
And the Stars.
Addicted to each other.
You would hold my hand
And tell me all about
The universe, the planets,
We will count the stars and make wishes.
I liked that.
The people around us
Were like the rain,
They would try to flood us,
But we would swim our way to the shore,
Underwater, with one single breath.
One night, one dire night, the doorbell rang.
There was no more moon and stars,
There was no more us.
Only pain, excruciating pain.
Pain that indicated you were real.
Lingering pain, till today.
All because yesterday you chose her.
I wish it was yesterday
When I was with you
It seemed as though
far too long
Touching you is
My heart alive
in your eyes
Hours on time of
Feeling the closeness of
without many words
When you will come
Longing for yesterdays
How not to remember that August day,
the wild lake lined with spruce?
A time can come to reject the tether
of parents and brothers, worn paths, shared air.
I was twelve. My parents had sensed
that they should let me loose.
I’d entered a cabinless cove of what
was to me an enormity of lake.
Before this sharp turn, I’d braved subtler ones,
following the reedy curves of shoreline.
Few boats marked this first solo cruise, just one
or two drifters catching sweet-fleshed lake bass.
The lake shimmered in fickle shades of blue.
My outboard motor coughed its soft putt-putt,
echoing in the cove, as I piloted
slow (slow, in case of shallows), watching the
water more than the woods. Muddy swirls, gold
glints of bait-stealing sunnies. Yes, not deep.
Then to my right, some movement more steady
than fitful gusts of summer breezes.
My eyes were pulled to shore and to the log-long
nose of a grown female moose.
I stopped the boat (near sure I could restart).
She froze, ears flicked, then stepped again.
I traced her outline in the shade. I was
but yards of lake from her half ton of life.
The trees were less tall in her presence.
We were breathing together there, staring,
and I wanted to tell her that it was
wonderful, and frightening, just a bit,
to share this sharpened moment with her
the trees, the sunnies, the lake. Ah, that was
what she wanted, of course, the cool lake water.
I nudged my motor into hushed rebirth,
suddenly thirsty myself, gentled out
of that cove, sped towards our cabin dock
still feeling a commingled life in me,
the lake, the sky—and wondering too if
maybe we’d all toast marshmallows that night.
WASH, RINSE, REPEAT
Wash, rinse, repeat.
I follow the rhythms of the day.
Is today yesterday or tomorrow?
Each day’s footprint the same.
The rhythms of the day follow me.
I run from them, but
my foot prints, the same each day,
like assembly line snowflakes stamped in stone.
So I’m running away
to a place where the days can’t follow me,
where the stamp of days become like snowflakes
etched in ice, glittered with sun,
where only you can follow me,
where today is neither yesterday, nor tomorrow,
where each day is etched in fresh, glittering icicles.
Wash, rinse, repeat.
YESTERDAY IS YESTERDAY’S NEWS
(Yesterday, 1143 W. Addison Street.)
In Chicago, there was a yellow shack,
in Wrigley Ville, since 1976.
It’s been demolished, not coming back,
it’s been torn down brick by brick.
It was originally owned by an 88-year old,
Tom Boyle, who died in December.
Sports memorabilia and antiques were sold,
replaced by a three-flat, who will remember?
Just one block from Wrigley Field,
the store was known for top-notch collections.
Something for everybody there appealed,
now it is just a saddening reflection.
Sports memorabilia is worth a lot of favor,
but it’s the memories themselves that we savor.
It's like yesterday,
When you were here Papa.
Holding my hands in immense care.
Who knows, there will be a chapter
Who knows there will be trauma & tears!
As we pray to God,
To wipe away all your pain,
To enfold you, embrace you,
Comfort and bless you in heaven.
I succumb to the feelings of extreme agony and despair,
As you are physically not here,
But blessing me in abundance from above.
When I completely unfazed by the events, Happening around me,
And fail to realize,
The bitter yet eternal truth of life,
That death is inevitable.
Today I can feel the wisps of hope,
Fluttering into my heart.
You taught me how to start,
When you are apart.
Take the words that they say yesterday.
I still want you back today,
I know, you are looking upon me.
With a grin on your face.
When the brightest star shine
Up above the sky,
I know, it's you
That similar smile,
You smiled yesterday.
You were the phenomenal father!
That I will remember.
Letting the embers,
Of my fire, fly away to you,
How I miss you,
My prayers for you.
Letting your divine love,
Be my guiding light,
On the path of spiritual quest and salvation.
It was like yesterday,
When you were here Papa.
NEW JERSEY YESTERDAYS
After eastern cold,
Warm west coast winter. I miss
Writing on windows.
Beside a west coast
Pool, I remember fireflies,
Their lit reflections.
I shot targets at
Kid’s camp, then in the Army.
No more shooting now!
Still in my closet after
Sixty silent years.
I turn the key, put
It in gear, begin to move.
Ice slides off the roof.
Ice coated tree limbs
Littered the town’s central square.
Our hardest winter.
I don’t miss those cold
Dark days coal slid down loud chutes
To dusty basements.
No one wants coal now.
What will idle miners do
If they don’t read well?
I remember the
Ferris wheel, her lips.
Milk bottles froze on
Porches then. We skimmed from the
Necks. Voila! ice cream.
Rocks, hellgrammites, mussels,
Trout, bass, sunfish, fun!
Perfectly smooth stones
Lined the riverbed, I’ll bet
Most were once sharp-edged.
All around the church
He chased me with his Christmas
Bow. Minister’s son.
The plane fell among
Cows. Behind an electric
Fence we watched it burn.
When freighted limbs dripped
Melted snow, we kids threw hard,
Defended our forts.
Lovers kiss on the
Dark footbridge. Frogs below croak
Hopeful mating calls.
In a wooden box,
All that’s left of a childhood---
Camp medals, small stones.
Summers I recall
The long days when little boys
Could play forever!
I meet three young boys
With long reed spears they blithely
Hurl at each other.
Walden Pond larger
Than I thought. Then the light touch
I lie in this canoe
Gazing at a calm blue sky.
Water’s slap, slap, slap.
In a blue hammock
Viewing stars, the moon, sudden
Bright meteor trails.
Where I used to swim. Mussels,
Hercules Powder Plant.
Every floor had escape chutes.
Sometimes I wish that.
Somewhere under this
Snow there must be a stream. I
Hear a faint gurgle.
Please don’t disturb that
Harmless blacksnake sunning. He’s
I remember Dad,
His unsurpassed strength.
Five handfuls of ash.
Mother’s window to
The world open. But I saw
Dead bees on the sill.
New Jersey fireflies
Blinked on and off, on and off.
Her transient love.
I know there’s a white
Rabbit in this morning’s snow.
But where can he be?
Fall colors the most
Beautiful of all. But where are
The oldtime scarecrows?
I lay in bed unable to sleep, feeling lost and bereft.
A childhood memory plays over and over in my mind.
I’m five years old in a motel room with Mom and Dad.
I lie in bed and touch the nubby texture of my teddy-bear, Ted.
I stare at the coarse black threads crisscrossing his back,
a gaping wound Mom has closed.
We wake early the next morning and pile into the car.
Miles down the road, I realize Ted is gone.
He must be at the bottom of your bed, Mom says.
The maid will find him
and give him to her little girl.
I toss and turn, touching Ted’s texture in my thoughts.
My wound grows wider.
I yearn for comfort.
Mom is gone.
Yesterday was the restless
First of a week off, where
I had not yet detached
Work still nipped at my
Pyjamaed ankles, as I
Yawned and blundered
In the fug of fatigue from
Sofa to kitchen, toking
Coffee, in a smoky haze
Of half-formed poems
That smouldered in my
Ashtray brain, like spent
Cigar-butts. I could not
Light up and inhale their
Potent vapour, or draw
Upon cogent thoughts
Sharpened by the tang
Of coffee. I had not written
For a week and it left a
Bitter aftertaste; an
Uncertainty that the
Urge of ideas and clarity
Of focus were lost forever
In the fog of tiredness:
Even by mid-morning where
I was reproached by my
Cluttered rooms and a
Slumped body that was
Just a couch-potato, still
Muddy in its unwashed
Skin, shoots of intention
Towards the light, lost
Behind grey sky and
Blustering, chilly wind.
But it was still the breeze,
Slicing through the
Open window, which
Chivvied me to act; to
Martial drifting scraps
Of thought into gradual
Actions which spoke
Forth as words on the
Day’s empty page.