Wednesday, October 9, 2019

I Sing the song of my father

I Sing the song of my father *

I sing the song of my father
every particle of my being
today infused with him as
though he stands beside me
and has never left – though
he did vanish one hot
August morning - sunlight
burning through white
coverlets – though I felt
His heart beat three times
Once – Twice – Thrice
under my palm and
then stop – he did not die

I sing the song of my father
Who left with black hair
glinted with silver in his
Sixtieth year – slipped from
any coil mortal or otherwise
but for the coil that holds my
heart pounding my soul still –

I sing the song of my father
He turned my head to
the first cloud in my first
sky - to the wind in the shimmer
of sun filigreed leaves to the
sea rippling – as he drifted sand
through fingers and we sat
Together watching a tiny flag
on the top of a curlicued  
Castle tilt and fall into the
Onrushing tide. 

I sing the song of my father
In the eyes of all who work hard
and deserve respect and those
who cannot find work through
limitation or exclusion.  In the
wonder of all that sprang natural
and all that rose from the mind
of men and women –

I sing
The song of my father who turned
my face to cobalt and burnt sienna
the shock of turpentine on a clear
morning a blank canvas holding all

I sing the song of my father
in the crabs that poked from
the mud on the day on the pier
while he painted and the sun
began to slip below gilding all
In that silent sacred place to
Which he granted me entrance.

I sing the song of my father – to
Sun burnt ribs that rippled under
Young flesh – to his ebony hair
To the taste of salt on his young
Flesh as he carried me far out
Into the sea. 

I sing the song of my father
to that crinkle nose secret
smile he passed to my mother
as they sang from song-sheets
To his eyes closed in ecstasy as
Music shook the walls around
and I peeked from my own
encouraged experience to see
A tear trailing at crescendo

I sing the song of my father as
I feel his hand in mine strong
Ever present – singing in the
Shimmer of leaves in a willow
Rustling in chestnut blossoms
Soaring on the velvet tip of
A blued jay on a clear day
Returning caw for call

I sing the song of my father
As he stood watching my ride
On a carousel light slanting
Through high window – calliope
Playing waiting for me with
Open arms to jump – I jump
I sing – the song of my father
Holding my newborn son
in aquamarine waters high
above his head – diamond
droplets falling about them
I sing the song of my father
Coffee cups before us
Words flying as red cardinals
soaring from- between –above

I sing the song of my father
I sing in memory, in reflection
In honor, in dedication and
In love – I feel his presence in
the air that brushes my cheek
In every particle of my being
and though I thought it a wonder
that he left when his hair was
mostly black and his back straight
when he could bend and rise
From the earth of his gardens hands
rich with fragrant loam – Left still
young enough
I see him now – hair white –
The slightest stoop as he stands
Shining in the blaze of sun
Beams shooting dancing rays
For it is from
His lips - I sing his song
Forever with the life he
Lent to me.

published in Bards Annual Anthology 

the ketchup wars

the ketchup wars 

whooping warriors of bloodless pretend wars

we ran, mugging fierce faces at each other as

we fell, graceless as bowling pins in faked suffering
the kind seen in the silence of marble chilled cinemas 

the kind of ketchup killing 

where rugged men rode ranges of firing rifles
stuffed with celluloid splendor of grace and always 
always lived to ride home with clean hands 
to some sweet lady holding her hair off her face
and their cows safe in the fence she had fixed 


Cat on windowsill - A Haiku

Cat on windowsill 
Folding boneless in sunlight
Origami breathes


Girls in Plum Sweaters

Girls in Plum Sweaters 

what can girls in plum sweaters
be expected to know of loss
as they pass the shovel among friends
unorated letters on pretty stationary drift
in the wind - as earth hard-hits the coffin
inside sweatered pruning friend on white satin
outside they, fresh as dropped stitches 
from a single skein of yarn
creating a forever hole
in matching plum sweaters,
dirt under fingernails
cold wind in their fresh washed  hair


Red Dust

Red Dust

On the steps behind the garden gate he sat, 
small dark eyed boy 
compact and steely as a newly minted dart 
coiled in the exile of his mother’s dubious fear. 
Outside others shouted, kicked unseen stones 
in the red baked earth – 
he watched as billows of joy drifted through the latch 
until a boy chasing a soccer ball came to the gate and  
waved him on - petulant, dubious, rebellion puffed his
sparrowed chest and dark eyes dancing he quickly 
lifted the latch and ran onto the red rousted dust 
as fuses sprang and all was glinting metallic,  
a boy arm, a shower of red rock, a sneakered foot,
that soccer ball, all collateral damage,
scar on the land – 
this now gone boy 
once safe behind the grated gate 
now mixing
with the red dust.

 New Myth  5-29-12 

In the center of the eye

In the center of the eye

In the center
of the eye
that can no longer
fragile sense of certitude in
nothing beyond Now
Crescendoed crash
light smash
shifts all in shades of shimmered
tide pulls
tremulous tempestuous

Indio Rising - 6/19/12

Papa’s Box

Papa’s Box

Mandated for centuries a plain pine box
raw wood unadorned slipping easily
into the earth from whence he came
But Papa loved mahogany
spent lemon scented Sundays
oiling the whirls in the towering breakfront
the cornered Victrola on its own fringed carpet,
the twin side-tables at which he knelt to polish each
claw footed toe in turn with his white cheesecloth
and soft sable mustache brushes

In the soft late afternoon Sunday light
glowing golden he’d smile at the gentle shimmered
sheen of his burnished mahogany
and so – when it was time – there in place
of that mandated raw pine was Papa slipped
into the earth in solid mahogany shining
as his smile lowered into the soft earth of
that final Sunday a scent of lemon oil drifted
a filament of pure white cheesecloth lifted into the air 

*scissors and spackle 8-23-12)   

I am haunted

I am haunted

by the tumbled toss
of cosmic die that
flung my speck of
soul “here and now”
full bellied and free
rather than there and
who knows when –
burkaed, beaten,
starving, perhaps an
ash blowing in wind –
cosmic toss of good
fortune – haunted by
echoes of the others
beseeching bloated
arrogant far too for-
me – I stumble on in
too much good inten-
tion and far too little
action -this languid
legacy of legions of
“there but for some
grace go I” haunted
by unearned privilege