A Mother’s Day

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A Mother’s Day

Honesty politely asks I remind you
How often we fought over absolutely nothing.
How I held the needle that brought you pain,
But also made you laugh in the face of the Reaper
Who sat politely by the bedside, waiting.
Love was the undercurrent under our arguments.
We did not live in flowers, we did not bring hearts to each other.
We clashed as Amazons, and snarled like lions.
And when you left, I could not bear the joy of others.
Their sentiments made me wretch.
Their sugar hurt my molars.
Because they denied the truth of love,
Which is it survives and thrives in the blasted furrows
And binds the sharp edges of broken hearts.
Yet in the passing of time, I can take their flowers and hearts
And recognize our truth within them.
How we fought.
How we loved despite it.
Happy Mother’s Day.

Time Upon a Hill: A Halloween Poem

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Time Upon a Hill

I lay upon the ground at night
Upon All Hallow’s Eve
And set my ears and eyes aright
So that they would perceive
The spirits walking through the sky
Or roaming ‘cross the ground
With eyes shut gently by and by
With ears shut to all sound
I waited there so patiently
Out on the grassy hill
But not a soul came near to me
The air was light and still
Alas I realized too late
Why I was all alone
I came to recognize my fate
I saw my aged bones
Through empty and unseeing eyes
I heard with deafened ears
There’d been a lack of mournful sighs
For the past thousand years
I lay upon the ground at night
A thousand Halloweens
Just waiting till the time was right
For my spirit to be seen
Perchance you’ll be the lucky soul
To see me when I rise
And dance upon the clouds that roll
Across the purple skies
But luckier I think you’d be
To die and rot away
Then you can come and dance with me
Until the end of days
But fear not me, nor death my sweet
You’re young and full of time
So go and carve and trick-or-treat
And I will pause my rhyme
For I remember well my rest
Upon the hill of green
Someday perchance you’ll join me
On a blessed Halloween.

All that a Writer Can Do

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All That a Writer Can do

When my tires went flat
I mused and sat
Out on the grass of a hill

By the freeway’s shoulder
Upon a boulder
I took out my modern quill

And composition
In such a position
Is all that a writer can do

To pass idle time
With humor and rhyme
Until the tow truck comes through

When my heart got broken
I pulled out your token
And promised never again

Reclining in bed
With an angry head
I took out my ballpoint pen

And composition
In such a position
Is all that a writer can do

To soothe the hurt feelings
With drama and peelings
Until the heart mends anew

When the sun shone upon me
I walked in its bounty
Through parks and fields fair

And out in the flowers
Spent carefree hours
Writing my musings there

And composition
In such a position
Is all that a writer can do

To capture sublime
In meager rhyme
Apologizing when through

And when I die
I will not cry
I’ll hand the journal to you

To write me with care
Be I foul or fair
So long as you write me true

And composition
In such a position
Is all that a writer can do

To send me on
To the great beyond
Where I’ll write something new.

Setting a Table for Death and Memory

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A mirror near a wine glass,
Black iron forks and knives,
I set a table brimming full
Before the guests arrive.

I need not write out place cards.
My guests will fall in line.
They know their roles and stations
At the table that is mine.

I string the beads and baubles,
Lay hyacinths and vines,
Put out the pats of butter,
Warm the bread ahead of time.

I set a place for Memory,
Who needs a silver cup
To better hold her many tales
And fill the goblet up.

Grief asked for nothing on her plate.
Lust asked for cherry wine.
Love wished to never sit alone
So that she would not pine.

For Pride, the gold-flecked salad plate.
For Wisdom tea and grain
Creativity required all the spoons
For Reason coffee plain.

I paused a moment at the chair
Of jeweled gray stone and sand,
For Death had asked for nothing
But the pleasure of my hand.

A lifetime’s work completed,
The table long and fair.
And all the guests arrive in time
Each is awaited there.

Memory sits at the far end.
Death sits at my right.
The guests discuss and chuckle
Bathed in beeswax candlelight.

The mind is a proper hostess,
And so she bids them stay.
But as the dawn commences,
The ghosts they must away.

The body then awakens
To the calmness of the light,
Without a thought to all the work
That went on through the night.

—–

GRRR – Ok, I know I have a better ending in my brain somewhere. This poem is wily, and does not want me to put it down.

Soon though, it’ll come to me.

Your Grouchy Old Cat

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Your Grouchy Old Cat: Form 1

Old man, old man, sitting in the dark.

Eyes wide, teeth tucked,

Waiting in the dark.

Old soul, old soul, eight times out of nine.

He will not beg or whine-

Eight times out of nine.

Old tom, old tom, death’s a callin’ you

You hear it in your whiskers.

An old soul’s callin’ you.

Old man, old man, the mice have run away.

The birds have gone to branch.

The prey has run away!

Old soul, old soul, I see it in your eyes.

Confused, upset, resigned,

I see it in your eyes.

Old tom, old tom, death’s a callin’ you.

Soon you’ll be the hunted.

The old man’s callin’ you.

 

Soon you’ll be the hunted.

Death’s a callin’ you.

 

 

 

****

Yeah, it’s a bit of a downer. This cat is an odd mixture of understanding and anger. He can tell he’s old – he’s lived a long life for a cat. I think he gets the sense that he should be dead and is not, and yet he also thinks he should not be dead because no animal wants to be dead. Then again, he could just be a bastard.

 

I like to give cats the benefit of the doubt.

 

Anyway, here is the other way I saw this idea going:

 

****

 

Your Grouchy Old Cat: Form 2

He doesn’t hate me,
He doesn’t hate you.
He’s looking at his ending
And wondering what to do.

Could we ask for humor?
Could we ask for purrs?
A gentle snuggle fluff ball
Of warm, inviting fur?

How could we be so callous?
How could we be so blind?
He’s got his end before him –
Death is on his mind

He’s wrestling with the cosmos.
He’s fighting tooth and claw.
He’s blood and pulse and claw marks.
He’s no widdle thing at all.

So before we go pass judgment
On his twitchy tabby ass
Let’s recognize his struggle
And give those bites a pass.

Yes, feel free to be a bastard,
It might be just as well
That you get a little practice,
Before you go to Hell.

Chairbound

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Chairbound

 

This chair is making me shrink.
In my calves, in my thighs I can feel it.
I’m growing a hair’s breadth shorter.
It’s a death to do nothing but sit.

This chair is making me tight.
In my back, in my arms I can sense it
My bones are forgetting their rhythms
I’ll be turning to mud in a bit.

This chair is making me dull.
In my fingers and toes I can name it
My blood oozes on in frustration.
I chomp an invisible bit.

This chair is making me blank.
In my eyes and my mind I do fear it.
I hear the sun calling my name
Under each monotonous clock tick.

This chair is making me shrink.
I better break the chair into pieces
Better run through the wild grass fields
Better tackle the nephews and nieces.

I know that we’re all slowly dying
Of the inevitable fate I’m aware
But I’ll not go out without trying
To get out of this god-cursed chair!

But alas it’s my job to just sit here.
Stagnant, with nothing to do.
So I’ll write up a quick ode to freedom
In the hopes it will inspire you!

2.5

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The Death of Sardanopoulos

Musing on the tension of his betrayal,
The master observes his orders wrought before him.
The first of his women braces against finality,
Arching against the unrelenting adherence.
A knife resolute in action,
A man resolute in obedience,
Terror and confusion –
Dismay discordant in the opulence.
In the center, calm,
Or perhaps death.
The women draped,
The horse reeling,
The men armed,
The wealth burning,
And above, distanced, the Lord,
Disinterested and observant.
For surely there will be no world once he is gone.

***

For a long time, “The Death of Sardanopoulos” was one of my favorite paintings. It is by Eugene Delacroix.

“The Death of Sardanapoulos” by Eugene Delacroix. I’m very drawn by the tension expressed by the pair in the bottom right section. His arm and her whole being opposed to each other, but symmetrical.