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Trash

Written on my IPhone while wandering in the cemetery on a particularly painful day in my life…

I wish I could stay here forever
Wandering at twilight among the people I loved
Commiserating with the broken up pieces
Of the lives they led
Dismissed summarily with a hammer
And not a thought to the worth
Of the broken bits and pieces
That were once so beautifully laid
And the hopes and dreams
Expended by the world
and tossed aside like a soda can
Only here can I be at peace
Living with the rest of the trash

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A final goodbye

My father in law passed away this morning. He was 91. When he was born the roaring twenties were yet to be. He was the best man I’ve ever known outside of my own father. Truly a giant from another generation, another world. He leaves a hole the size of the sun. I dedicate this to him.

The summer breezes die
The green in the leaves fades away
An old farmer sighs, hangs the lantern on the hook
And heads in for the night.
He knows this is his last crop, the plow will run no more.
Nothing grows like it did in the fertile days past.
The fields are parched, the barn is empty,
and the wells have all run dry.
With a last great heave he slams shut the barn door
and watches the sun fade from his eyes.
Exhausted, he lays in his favorite chair,
and slips away to dreams of golden corn, fat potatoes,
and the green leaves that await him in his heavenly fields.
The lantern flickers and the farm is a farm no more.
It has lost its master to the fields.
A rooster crows and the skies weep rain as the vines come in to heal.

This one is about the drive to get to the other side where the lights shine bright, usually culminating for those so drawn in a maddening fit of moth head-banging against the glass wall that protects the chosen ones and the ever changing doors..

On the Inside

A chilled heart in a vain case

Dragged around by a half kempt neglected shell

Bedecked with the stripes and badges

Of everyday urban valor

And the jewels and the bangles

Of the night life fantasy dream world

Glimpsed through heaven-beckoning ads but somehow strangely never touched

Scenes that glimmering define life real

But never real interesting

As you change the channel

And search for another place you haven’t gone

Another box not checked

See the sun setting, set the alarm

Wake to the sound of the outside world

Or is it

Told you I write nothing but depressing stuff.  This one was written about my ex wife, who was diagnosed with a very bad psychological condition about the same time we divorced.

Valentine’s day

The beating of my heart

and its echo off the cold stone walls

are enough to remind me of who you are

and how you ripped my world in two

The bloody rivers from the thorns

that you so carefully placed around my chest

are living memories etched like acid into my skin

reminders of the dire consequences of your love

The bruises on my soul

are my memories of your brutal love

and the way it hammered into me your will

and told me I would never be alone

And the ashen salty trails

clinging like vines to my swollen cheeks

are the remains of the tears that I cried

When you left me for another

A new place to shout your name

The floors at work bother me.

Not in any sensory way – I love chocolate terrazzo.  And they’re not damaged or slippery or haunted by the ghost of Elvis.  It’s not like they sneak onto my property and leave burning bags of dog crap on my steps.

What bothers me is that they exist.

These floors were laid in 1955, when my mother was in her twenties and my father was in his thirties.

They were there when my parents got married.

They were there when my brother was born.

Also when my sister and I were born.

They were there when my grandmother died.

They were there when my father developed angina, and also when he had his bypass.

They were even there when his heart finally gave way and he died.  And during the wake.

And when I got married.

And when my kids were born.

What bothers me about the floors is this.  While my family went from my mother and father living separately as young single people, to a married couple with kids, to sick elderly people, to a widow, to an entirely new generation, those floors were always there.  And they always looked virtually the same.    And they never changed.  Through all the birthday parties and detention sentences.  Through  all the new gardens and job changes.  Through everything.  There are spots on the sides of the stairs where I don’t think anyone has ever even tread.  Those floors haven’t changed a damn bit and my father went from a young man to an elderly sick person to ashes.  I don’t understand that.  I can’t ever sit and look through a photo album with my father again.  But I can walk on the same floor that he did once.  And it will feel the same.

It makes sense to me that people age and die.  Bodies, after all, are just flesh and blood.  People change, relationships end, new ones start, politics and trends adjust.  All that’s fine.  But yet there are a lot of silent sentinels in this world, objects that sit idly by and watch the world, and they never change a damn bit.  Just look at the beautiful paintings unearthed in Pompeii – they sat untouched for centuries while the people who painted them changed to volcanic ash fossils and the entire empire crumbled.  The people who created  them would not recognize 90% of the world we live in.  But the paintings look the same.

There is an entire group (“once was home”) on Flickr devoted to documenting the trivial, the meaningless, the thoroughly unnoticed artifacts of everyday life that remain long, long after the people have gone.  A spoon on a shelf.  A calendar turned to the current month (January 1978).  A pamphlet for medical care.  Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, all move by and these things remain, perched on a shelf waiting for their owner’s return like a dog left in the country by an overwhelmed family.

I would almost feel better if mine disappeared with me.  It’s creepy.

I’m just saying.  Those damn floors mock me.

Welcome

Greetings.  Yes the site title’s a bit ambitious.  Seeing as I am such a lazy bastard even if I was your supreme overlord you’d probably never know it.  Ruling anyone would require getting off my couch and talking to someone, two things I am loathe to do.   One thing I’m not too lazy to do is write incredibly depressing poetry.  So here’s installment one:

Are you my mother?
I remember once I couldn’t move.
Swathed in fever, crying at the pain
You soothed me with your calm voice and your expert touch
You look so different now.
Your voice is tired and unsteady, your gait is slow, your shoulders hunched
But still there’s a shadow of what used to be
A weird haunting glow
shining out from under those drooping lids
An echo of the past
Bouncing off of my father’s sad eyes
Captured under glass
So on a scale of one to Mom who are you today?
Will I meet the bold adventurous soul
Who traveled cross country with her friend,
Sleeping bravely under the stars?
The widow, living with the shock,
Quietly but desperately sorting through the bills?
Or the calm quiet confident parent
Who, with a washcloth and a caress,
Soothed away the worst of the ailments
I think you are not any of them
but all and none.