My Dad is here
I walk along the empty beach
kicking bits of jagged shells
grand old man lying in musk of time
setting sun ushering the darkness
My Dad is here
I crawl bereft into bruised dusk
salty tears mingle with Dad’s streams
sea of solace stretches out her arms
still, I scream mournfully at deaf sky
My Dad is here
balmy winds breathe his kindness
glazed stars of his wide smile
palms up, he waves his sweet goodbye
my grief blends with the soft rain
My Dad is here
I see the back of his head
slumbering in billowing clouds
thirsty tides have waned
he has floated into new ripples
My Dad is here
the crested waves swell
forming stiff meringue peaks
broken shells washed out to sea
waters unassuming and deep
My Dad is here
the peaceful sleep of angels
on calmness of ocean floor
casting his beloved shadow
upon my azure memories
My Dad is here
carving a path in the sand
through the ups and downs of life
surging currents to remind me
that he is not lost in my sea
My Dad is here
a life buoy to hold on to
smooth water fingers
cushioning me from grief
the soothing sound of silence
My Dad is always here
Visiting Hours are Over
So muscular and handsome, my boy is.
His hair is so soft and smooth. His legs are
so white and beautiful. The shape of his
feet are identical to my father’s.
My son’s feet were always cold, for his warmth
was always concentrated in his soul.
But I cannot leave…not now, not ever…
The moment I leave I will no longer
have a son. Right here, right now, I have come
to claim his body…I am visiting
my son…I -am his mother. As long as
I hold his flesh beneath my hands, he is
still here, with me, in the room, spending time
together. I love you, son…And even
though I, was your mother, You, were my best
friend. It almost killed me to bring you to
life, and now it is killing me to let
you go. I didn’t leave you then, and I
can’t leave you now. Son, even though you are
lying here motionless and weak to the
eye, give me the strength to Live! I want to
crawl up this refrigerated metal
slab and lie with you. I’ll sing you songs, and
read you bedtime stories like I did when
you were just a boy. Even though you’d sleep,
they were unforgettable times between
both of our souls. But I refuse to leave…
I just won’t do it…not now, not ever.
Copyright © 1986-2017
All Rights Reserved
Born amongst the winter months, when warmth is far forgotten
When life is but a rotten seed, or so I’ve thought so often
Grisly thoughts of memory past, which now so brightly loom
The wind brings mist from farther north, where I will be bound soon
What hath become of brighter days, with song and merry sight?
For now I roam through darkest crypts along this endless night
Where shadows grasp with lustful sights, to quell such dire want
Their glasses brim with foulest drops that turns the stomach daunt
What vile deed I abruptly struck for sternest punishment so
In all the years I’ve faced the worst, I’m still my darkest foe
And when the stars come crashing down upon my shaken frame
The man who comes to take the retched, will surely call my name
The bones do ache and nerves stay clenched, such age without the years
I’d hung my eyes from others sight, the gallows made of fears
Always less than those I’d gaze, and less than those I don’t
So cruel those gods who’d curse me so, so pray to them I won’t
No desire to lead the hearts of men, nor follow the brightest light
I’ll wander now, till sorrow comes, and all I’ll see is white…
The Lime Trees
The house was falling apart. You know,
shutters hanging, closet door off its tracks,
some wide blinking
brown eyes through the jagged hole
in the middle. Someone kicked it.
Chipping paint shaping a new Pangaea
across the walls. I got lost
peeling it like I would dead
sunburnt skin on my shoulders.
Leaks from where the roof was flat,
a crack curving down the center
of the porcelain tub that we used to
fill with hot water and soak
together in overflowing bubbles
like nothing was
wrong. The end always
us fucking on the damp blue rug
beside us. Once I tried to blame
the hurricanes, but they never came,
only some heavy rain. In truth, the wind
had been calm for a long time. Some nights
were empty, not just the lot
of empty bottles around, beer,
some rum. Part of an old poem was taped
to the fridge. It said
the art of losing isn’t hard to master
before you ripped it down. I learned
about the difference between love
and attachment from a book first
and then from you.
If I could hate, I could hate you
for kicking the closet door
that time you tried to kick my dog,
for that time you kicked my dog.
Then she started hiding in the closet
every time you raised your voice.
You even kicked
the two baby lime trees
which I bought just before you moved in
and perched with sticks until they were strong
enough to hold themselves up. You never kicked me,
because as much as it might seem like I mentioned
the lime trees to serve as a metaphor for me, they’re not.
I left the day you threw a glass jar of coconut oil
at my face, which was only a day after you started
all the kicking. I can’t say I didn’t
cry a lot, or that it wasn’t excruciating
to walk away and so fast.
I did, and it was.
But the way memory works
is not so easy.
I still remember how you'd
hold me in your metal arms
like a magnet.
Teach Me How to Come Up for Air (imperfect thoughts in the throes of grieving)
at first I constantly awoke
I, who cannot swim.
the horror of your passing
flickering in my mind
and letting go
are a messy affair no one is ever prepared for.
in our short lives,
one receives no guidance.
good and horrific memories are entwined
pain is a daily companion, a loathsome one,
but also an unexpected friend. I've learned
to allow it in. It has become
part of me like sinew and blood.
there are good days, and on those days,
I feel you in the rumble of your sibling's footfalls,
I hear you sigh and rustle through the leaves,
I see you in each face that smiles
kindly, vaguely, in my direction.
watch over me.
I never thought myself a strong person,
but I was stronger when you were here with me.
I am adrift.
you wouldn't want me alone and frightened.
you would want me to go on.
I am not angry that you left me behind, but maybe I am more than a little angry that I let you go so easily.
who didn't yet know you were gone,
but who loved you very much, is so very hard
who don't know you,
and those who knew you well,
but who are indifferent at best, is harder still--
it fills me with spite and rage.
you wouldn't want me bitter and filled with hate.
you would want me to live on.
many things had gone unsaid,
but give me a solitary chance to utter
just one more long breath
before you are one
with the stars saying good night:
I loved you the brightest.
I loved you completely.
something in my bones aches just at the thought of you
of your arms, those skinny arms that always held those hospital bracelets
(how could you possibly bear that weight?
I know I can't)
and you are radiant, you are more than human, you are angelic
but now replacing every "are" with "were" seems like a chore
so I'll sit here staring at the words I wrote in love with you
and relish them in the pain of your absence
the most beautiful part of you was your joy
your bravery, how you could laugh in the worst of situations
how you could look right past my prying eyes into the great beyond,
you knew you were going to die but maybe you were okay with that
you died as you lived, the cancer was never yours
it was my love that fell upon you as a burden
I am the rainstorm and you are the blizzard, couldn't we work out?
no, we could never have worked out
I speak of you only in honor
and in the fact that I didn't deserve you
it seems to me you never existed
you're there, in a corner of my mind, radiating the same life they put into you
in tubes, trying to fill you up
when you were already so whole
and maybe your almost-fourteen years were enough for you
so I should stop crying, as if they were my loss
A Mist Shrouded Path
In solitude I roamed a mist shrouded path
where thick icy fog swallowed every faint sound,
a victim of loss, and it seems, heaven’s wrath.
In my heart a sharp pain I had carefully bound;
numb feet took me deeper into the damp gray
as if some enlightenment, there could be found.
I stopped near a spectral tree, kneeling to pray.
in answer there came to me only deep gloom;
in anger, I’d cast my faith blindly away.
My wife and child, lost before new life could bloom.
Alone now, consumed by this unending pain,
the fog encased silence reflected my doom.
No solace would my shattered heart now obtain,
as slowly I choked on this black, evil grief.
Ah! Trapped in this lonely hell, I would remain!
The pain in my core had dissolved my belief;
now, without my family, I’d nothing to lose.
If God was in heaven, then he was a thief!
From all of mankind, why would my loves he choose?
All hope has been lost in death’s poisonous bath,
the future holds naught but bleak days and gray hues--
with no way to vent all the pain my soul hath,
in solitude, I roamed a mist shrouded path.
(c) 2017 - dustygrein
** This form, the terza rima, is one that was made popular by the Italian poet
Dante Alighieri, with his classic poem The Divine Comedy. I have found it a great way to tell narrative stories to the rhythmic cadence that is metered poetry.
—Are we not the open wound?
Sharing in an endless celestial vein
Sensation that cannot be feigned.
Ache! do you not feel the same?
In this streaming empty solitude of day
A single collective conversation-dream,
In abstentia partaken, ever to convene,
Towards mutual silence of self-esteem:
I hold you where you’ve always been
In the center of my imagination,
Where I mentalize your name.
I feel your loss, yet know how
Much we gain.
Wrapped in continuous monologue,
Diverting obstacles with dialogue.
Till we are indeed quite at home
Having already spent this Alone,
It is how I will expend now forever,
Within thoughts outside my stealth.
Love is what we’ll find for Our Self
In the presence of some one else,
I am taking you away with me.
It’s Us, neither big nor small;
We divide, and multiply, and
Always Earth carries us over
I’ve no illusions of seeing a face,
In some other time or place;
When we come together,
There will simply be
Same, as we really are; Synapses in the Mind’s Eye,
Which recreates and re-creates a seamless base for all.
With infinite generosity can any of us this Life decry?
Be comforted in thus Being…We mustn’t grieve…
Truly, seeing how it is that we only Receive!
I am standing at the edge of a cliff-face,
my feet planted firmly in the ground.
My hands tightly gripping at nothing,
as if nothing was, somehow, going to help me stand firm.
Wind is gusting behind me, pushing me,
pushing me, pushing with such intensity.
I remember the weight of you as you pinned me to the floor and how I felt less of a person at the loss of my person. You stole from a child and you were a man. How could I stop you?
The ground beneath me is crumbling,
as I peer over the cliff edge beneath me.
The waves begin to form.
I remember London - 'the big smoke' I remember the call. "Everything is okay" Of course it is, I thought, then I caught the first coach home.
My best friend resting his head softly on a white pillow as the stench of day-old blood directed my eyes to the wound in his head that exposed his brain and my pain as I lost mine.
The waves grow but I stand firm,
un-phased and smiling still.
My false face, unchanged, hasn’t noticed,
that I am now closer to that edge. I hold on.
I remember the five years of solitude. The rusty little key that unlocks the book of my heart so I can pour out its contents is kept only by myself.
The cliff is leaving me now but I have not fallen.
Instead, I have constructed an arc.
A bubble surrounding myself,
it’s delicate walls seem so easily broken.
Inside there is a breeze-less calm.
I float high above an ocean in turmoil.
Towering waves typhoon, twisting and crashing,
a torrent of emotions sway my tormented mind.
But... I am safe. This bubble has kept me safe.
I float peacefully away from foaming giants beneath me.
I feel... untouchable.
I remember lighting the wick. Burning the candle at both ends. Trudging down a path I never should have taken. Searing a new route is no easy task when dragging the burden of times that just weren't right. Losing a passion.
That last shift.
Sailing home I could feel the winds of freedom,
escorting me there; when in front of us,
suddenly, in the middle of the road,
a car is turned over a women screaming.
The ambulances, the fire-fighters,
the unrelenting tiredness,
that engulfed my bones and my brain.
When I finally got home I deserved that bottle.
I slept like a log.
Until the next morning; my first day off.
I remember thinking "who rings this early?"
I took the call.
My mother shrieked.
My body crashed into the bed.
My brother is dead.
and I am floating now but the waves are so strong.
So violent that I bring myself higher and higher.
I am imprisoned in a bubble I could pop with my pinkie.
Only, bursting it would mean braving those waters.
Feeling those things I have so detached myself from.
Fear holds me in this bubble. I had not noticed,
that all the good in me has been draining out slowly.
Mixing into those waves I fear so much.
I am calm but I am detached, I am losing myself,
and the only way out is to let myself fall.
As I write this I am locked in internal debate,
and the words I use must be forced out,
because they have emotion.
I must not feel emotion.
And if I fall into that ocean.
I could easily go under.
I could easily lose.
As I lost so much before.
I should feel sad.
I feel so little now,
but I still remember.
The Grass Grows Over
Once you have left me alone
when our days have grown old;
once you have whispered one last
goodbye and I peer into the depths
of a shadow you have left;
will I see your staring eyes glinting
back at me with the light of a
love that I can kiss and caress,
or will I find a darkness emptied
and vacant of all but the
feelings of sorrow and grief?
If I stare long enough will I find
something more to hold and to touch
or will I find only the bitter taste
of a broken heart and loneliness?
Once the grass has grown over you
and you are covered up by the snow
and the rain has washed away all that
you were, and once the ocean sweeps
over me and there is nowhere
to go and no one around -
What will await?
What will be found?
*This was an old and unfinished poem that I posted on here a while ago and have since deleted, so if you are experiencing a mild case of déjà vu, that’s likely why. It has been tweaked a little and extended by a few lines for the Prose Challenge #67.