Tag Archives: poetry

Tragedies

It’s been a long time since I’ve written something for the Three Word Wednesday site. I’m sitting in Bluegrass Airport, STILL waiting for my flight to Tek11.

Tragedies

May 24, 2011

Out in the waiting area,
my flight delayed yet another two hours,
the television tells us,
unrelentingly,
of a mother accused of killing her
angelic daughter.

She stands under the barrage of accusations,
evidence,
and the hateful stares of a hundred million watchers,
as her stupidity is framed as malice,
and her malice framed as tragic mistakes.

Too much tragedy.

A beautiful girl,
the same age as the long-gone victim,
cavorts among the chairs
shrieking gleefully.

Three boys,
just boys,
can’t be more than 15 – although I suppose
they must be, since they carry
camo bags with their name on them
and combat boots and official-looking envelopes –
sit hunched quietly in their seats,
stoically staring into their
all-too-certain future.

In the bar,
the only drama is the unexpected
upset of John Isner
and, more immediately,
what flavor I’ll choose for my chicken wings.

Back at the gate,
the trial continues.
The young former mother stands,
silent,
endures the caustic words,
her attorney sacrifices her dignity
in exchange for her freedom,
saying, yes, she’s a terrible mother
but not a
killer.

The tears roll
down her cheeks.

The press calls her a crocodile
and practically glows with excitement
at her tragedy.

Scree

Scree

Mt. Longonot, 1987

Pebbles, clattering
into the crater.
We, laughing, sliding,
generating avalanches
beyond our ken,
beyond our influence.

We had climbed all morning,
now were running ahead,
our friends taking the more leisurely
way around
watching the clouds from above.

Not for us, this introspection.
We dashed on
leaving the rockslides
to do what they would.

(For the weekend wordsmith.)

Pockets

Pockets

From the pair of socks —

every boy must some time succumb
to the need to run barefoot,
sink his toes in the mud and feel the grass
tickle his toes —

to the small toy gun, slightly chewed —

some lego hero, in his last throes,
squeezed off a last round before being eaten
by the alien invaders
come to enforce their new tyrannic rule —

there’s a map of the weekend in his pockets.

A stub of pencil,
number 2, Ticonderoga,
sharpened all the way down to the eraser,
no doubt in preparation for writing
the great novel to displace Harry and Percy
in the hearts of millions.

A rubber band, a flashlight, and a keyring,
part of elaborate plan lacking only dynamite
and a fishhook
and perhaps a few small bits of string
for the construction of the doomsday machine.

And a misshapen blob of beeswax,
a tribute to hours spent listening to theological proclamations
less interesting than candles.

Assorted other nicknacks,
a carabiner, a small canvas strap,
a bottle cap, a length of chain,
several scraps of paper and plastic,
paint a picture much more vivid
and active than he tells himself.

What did you do this weekend?

Nothin’.

Don’t Postpone Joy

For several weeks before Elise was born, I had been writing her short letters, and compiling them in a book for her to have when she is old enough to appreciate it. This one is a response to the Sunday Scribblings post from a few weeks, ago, “Mantra”.

Letters to Elise

June 12, 2010

XV. Don’t Postpone Joy
(“Mantra” – SundayScribblings.blogspot.com)

Your great aunt,
for whom you were named,
my beloved daisy,
adjured us daily
by her actions and her smile:
Don’t postpone joy.

And so I pass on to you
this wisdom,
and will show you every day:
Don’t postpone joy.

There is joy in everything,
if you just look, expecting to find.
Not that we close our eyes
to suffering and sorrow,
but that even there, we search
for the joy.

Until you can, and thereafter

In response to Until I Can by my beautiful, and very pregnant, Beloved. (Go read that first.)

Until you can, and thereafter

May 27, 2010

I’ve gotten used to him
unfinished
with his hat labeled “Brown” and  “Dark Brown” in pencil.
I think of myself that way, sometimes,
wearing a hat marked to fill in later,
and a face contently hiding in the shadows
beneath the broad brown-not-brown brim.

Is he asleep?
He smiles enigmatically,
dares you to guess.

I’m sure you’ll finish some day,
but until you can,
I kind of like him this way.

And, even when you can,
I think this is how I’ll remember him.

Safe

Safe

April 29, 2010

I wonder if Dad was ever as frightened
driving along the escarpment at night
as I am now, the road almost invisible,
far more treacherous than the roller coasters
we spent the day riding.

We slept quietly in the back
of a green Kombie, inches from the edge
of the Great Rift, avoiding car-swallowing
potholes and juggernaut lorries
barreling by with no headlights.

And my boy sleeps in the back
as the rain sweeps the lines
from the road, and the wind snatches
the Wrangler, tries to fling it
into the oncoming traffic.

A father’s job is
to scream like a girl on the Drop Tower,
but endure the monsoon
with quiet dignity.

Descant

Very belated, for the Weekend Wordsmith

Descant
April 8, 2010

I imagined that one day,
when I was one of the big kids,
I would get to sing the descant
in the Christmas service.

The titchies would sing the easy bits,
then the elevated Older Children
would burst out with the canticle of the angels,
towering above our mortal efforts.

And then, we were far away from home,
where nobody sang descants,
there weren’t any student Christmas services,
and Africa was an epithet
used to deride our lack of culture,
our ignorance of the things that
really mattered.

And all these years later,
at the last lingering notes
of every Christmas melody or Easter hymn,
my heart lifts on the wings of an ibis,
cries out the eucalyptus-scented descant
and longs to return home.

The Sketch at Victoria

The Sketch at Victoria
March 25, 2010

They stubbornly refuse to sit still,
and so this man’s body,
that man’s legs, and another’s drink
combine to form an awkward whole.

The drink, easiest, goes first.

The face, so difficult, left ‘til last,
redone so many times that
I don’t remember whose it is.