Watching Nana read her Bible…

Grandma BibleNana’s Bible

She rocked, never sat, her
hands only paused as she traced
her arthritic fingers over the
words of her Bible, her lips mouthing

the stories of faith – she
remembered Lot’s wife, cried
over Hagar’s pain, ached with Ruth’s
losses; when others disobeyed
it was as if Walter Cronkite
was reporting it on the CBS evening
news and it just happened today,
she winced and shook her head
whispering ‘Have they no shame?!’

as she closed her eyes to mull over God’s
mercy; she remembered her lost
sons, their letters from the War
read over and over again, tucked
into the back of her only book along
with a faded photo of her wedding day
and her Johnny, ‘He was a good man,’

she would say – ‘no saint,
but a good to us’ as her
thumb washed over his shoulders
and face – this photo and a dark
blue tie of his hanging in her closet
are all she has left of her good man;
and she rocked, never sat, because

idleness is her generation’s deadly
sin, responsibility its chief
virtue, and she rocked with her
head back and eyes closed, mouthing
the words, ‘Yea, though I walk
through the valley… yea….’

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The reason I was born…

The_First_Thanksgiving_cph.3g04961Thanksgiving

Thank you, blind luck,
the binary chance known as me,
the accidents we call history,
when Mom and Dad were where
and I became here instead of nowhere
in the geography called home
for now, but who knows next year
where this might all be I fear
like those who first tried surviving
in the someone else’s somewhere
of those indigenous Wampanoag
thankful with others but not sure why;
may I be at least as unaware
and thus grateful as I don’t care.

Keeping a bag packed…

Keep a Bag Packed

Some days it just isn’t worth trying
but I do
because that’s how Dad told me to,
it won’t make sense when you do
he’d say
but trying is its own reward one day,
that, and keep a bag packed always
he did,
but never said he was going away
until it was too late for me to say
not to,
but that’s between me and you.

Priestless…

Priestless

In a fit of frenzy
(is there any other kind?)
I gave thanks without pausing
without ceremony, without stopping
to smell roses, coffee or spring perfume,
because unlike the behaviorally manipulative
life is my sacrament and no priest slows me down.

Does anyone remember the human race?

human raceThe Human Race

It’s been a long, long time
since I’ve heard the expression,
‘the human race’ like I once
did from my father who
invoked it in the ‘60’s
vernacular of our one,
global world, nations
united and east and west
divided so clearly
all was known, though
all wasn’t safe. In his own
way I was chided to
behave civilly and not
gad about as an unevolved
Neanderthal breathing
through his mouth;
the future of the human
race depended upon my
sitting erect, listening
politely in a play at
détente, opening doors
for all types of women,
regardless, and not wasting
food because children
were starving elsewhere.
And there was, apparently,
a membership care to
this human race than
I was continually in
danger of forfeiting
through my mostly slovenly,
sometimes disrespectful,
manners which fell to
my father to supervise
as his role in bettering
said human race
inasmuch as he was able
and I was pliable.

Object permanence is a problem…

peekabooObject Permanence

Object permanence is
my greatest enemy;
it teases with the hope
that what I once had
remains, lingering
somewhere behind
the back of time past,
sleepless nights, empty
days, memories dancing
across a screen in my
heart; hiding from
troubles doesn’t make
them disappear, but
the love lost fades
and the only remedy
worth remembering is
I refuse to remember.

Beetle me this…

BeetleBeetle, Beetle

Alone, still and solitary
this beetle clinging effortlessly
to the brick of my garage
on a hot summer’s night;
you don’t move, even
when I wave a finger close,
no response, nothing.

Where do you find others,
a mate, a friend even
(maybe beetles don’t
need friends, but that
would be too sad), where
are the others beetle?

Jet black back, sleek
and looking fast but
for naught; you haven’t
budged a bit as I revisit
you hours later for no
reason but to see if
you’re still there beetle.

S L O W down… or else…

To Be Read S L O W L Y

Don’t you hate
being told how to
read, how to enjoy,
how to be; it’s like
being told how to
breath or piss,
both as necessary
and both as problematic,
eventually,
so do try not to hate
being told to do
the things we will all
forget one day soon.

Renting my way through life…

Renting, Just Renting

I am a tenant
but with roots,
a wanderer
but with reason,
a renter
but with gladness.
This was not always so,
the pleasure
of residing nowhere long,
the inconvenience
of constantly forwarding,
the uncertainty
of where to lay my head.
I was raised in a house
and moved just once
taught to buy, not rent,
to earn and possess,
to save, store and spend
only what was saved,
that credit was a debt.
But somewhere
along the path I chose
I became a lost man,
never to be found;
somewhere became
nowhere and that
was fine, just fine.
This earth is my home
but my addresses
are only where I’m found
at one moment or day;
and since I cannot
be found
I must never be lost.
I am home
wherever I am
a friend
to all who wander
a companion
to all who dream.
I am a renter.

Talking death to death…

On the Gift of Speech

They say that you start
to remember when you
start to speak; my question
is does it matter if one never
shuts up? I’ve run on and on
since I could and plan to
continue until I can’t (and
even then I imagine a good
fight to get the last word in).

So, if speaking is memory,
volume is excitement,
slurring too much of a
good thing, and I’ve been
told I don’t know how to
whisper, then my plan is to
talk death to death with
determination which is the
Irish in me, don’t you know.