May - August
2012 Poems May thru August
We hitched to his joy
In Between Print this poem only
How often I miss the in between
focused as I am on the goal
instead of the here
in between last night and tonight
the yesterday's tears for my injured brother
and my desire to call my dying cousin
you are here
this eternal moment.
Written May 28, 2012
Pink Exuberance Print this poem only
From the heart of its Mother
surges up its slender limbs
explodes from the tips of its fingers
shouting with joy
the budding pleasure
and pink exuberance
of crepe myrtle.
This Sadness Print this poem only
This sadness weighs heavy
its tentacles reach into my body
suck my energy
into its darkness.
shallow, tentative, halting
unsure of the way through
this thick and stuporous fog.
I fall into it
fearing its pain
its creeping tendrils
will find me
wherever I go
To Carmen Print this poem only
I wanted to try to express my own appreciation, as a cousin, for Carmen, Gary's beloved wife, for her dedication to
and love for him on his long journey through cancer to death. As I started to write something down, it came out in
Gary's voice. I hope Carmen doesn't mind my attempt to get into Gary's head about what he might try to say to her.
The content of this poem comes from my own admittedly limited observations and knowledge of their relationship,
and of course, it is essentially what I would like to say to Carmen. I wrote it out of love and great respect for Gary
You worried about me
in your face
a moment without hope.
You held my hand
in the horrible minutes
after the doctors left,
no trace of horror on your face,
just a quiet waiting ---
while I paced back and forth
in the halls of my mind
just trying to find
a piece of the map
some chart or scrap
of where to go next.
You watched me fade
from my joking fun-poking self
into foreign states
where I'd never been
and from whence
I would not return,
but you never faded
in your gentle kindness
and silver shining soul.
in the company of angels
I cannot find the words
to give you even a feather
and the joy that abides
from the priceless diamond
of our special alliance.
But... making my own prayer
from a glorious church hymn
I say to you
my dear love:
“I will raise you up on eagle's wings,
bear you on the breath of dawn,
make you to shine like the sun,
and hold you in the palm of my hand.”
When I got to the end of writing this poem I recalled standing in the church at the wake/rosary for my mother, many of her friends gathered there to grieve with my family. We were singing "On Eagle's Wings." I was weeping, hardly able to carry on. But then almost as if in a vision it seemed that Mom was trying to say to me that she was free now soaring with the eagles and she wanted me too to be free from worry and concern about her.
["On Eagle's Wings" is a hymn written by Catholic priest, Michael Joncas, and is loosely based on Psalm 91 and Isaiah 40:31]
Upon waking from my nap Print this poem only
Somewhere beneath the soft but insistent urging of my hunger
is a layer of gloom,
heavy and sticky
on my legs and back,
unwilling to raise its head
enough to be seen clearly
in the light.
This gloom with its gnawing teeth
hollows out a void
from the pulpy abdomen,
the vital but hidden organs
of my mind.
I am Edison, Eastman,
Jobs and Gates,
Inventor of a thousand
mechanisms of escape
from the normal pinches and prunes,
from the wrinkles and burns
of desolate afternoons.
So here I am again
searching for a word or phrase
to capture in the haze
an ember or ash
from the cauldron and steel
of the real...
from my nap.
We hitched to his joy Print this poem only
It was late and I had fished too long
the sun was setting fast
twilight bay singing its song
would the boat's old motor last?
Back toward home I sputtered
Would I beat the end of day?
Limping along I muttered,
"How will I find my way?"
And then a quiet came over me
and in that still I looked out.
Just ahead I could barely see
a man landing a speckled trout.
"Hot dog!" he shouted with zing.
Then he glimpsed my little craft.
In Cajun brogue: "Cher you like fishing
this bay like me, yeah!" he laughed.
I hitched my boat to his joy
then saw the smiling face
I've known since I was a boy
in that glad New Iberia place.
How many of us have hitched our vessel
to this man and felt the surge of his life,
and spoken to him when in a wrestle
with our problems and our strife?
Who of us have taken flight
as a passenger in his jet
or trusted him through our night
or... sat down with him to bet?
Have you been hooked
by a joke or a story or a listening ear
or eaten fresh fish he cooked,
drank his cold Corona beer?
He managed to find a little more gas
and touch of humor in his steep hard climbs
Or exclaim "Kiss a fat man's ass"
in the fishless times.
In good stretches and bad
in calm of lake or fury of ocean
as husband and dad
he taught us devotion.
People kept him going.
it was his goal to make us smile
to get our energy flowing
and enliven us for a while.
For all who were family or friend
he trained us in the art of love,
to respect, to learn, and to bend,
to ride with the Guide from above.
He knew how to really hear
with compassion and kindness
our letdown, anger, and fear
till we could see our own blindness.
We are sad that he is gone
from the bays and lakes of our earth
but the ocean of his love lives on
and in our moments of joy - his rebirth.
So let us all sail
and let us all carry
let the spirit prevail
of our dear precious Gary.
Author’s Note: Dedicated to the enduring spirit of Gary Reed who passed from us Thursday June 7, 2012.
While stomping around in the desert Print this poem only
What harm will it do to believe
that goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life,
that he prepares a table before me in the presence of my enemies?
Next time I stumble into that desert
I hope I can remember
to look for my loves, writers and poets
to encourage, challenge, and inspire me.
I hope I can make my way into their presence,
sit a while
I was stomping around
out in the desert the other day
avoiding the cactus
lost in doubt
wondering if there was a god
who would help me avoid
binging on the delectables
that promise rewards
I think I deserve
I can step into that desert
at any moment:
two hours after I have prayed
or read Rumi, Rohr, or Thomas Moore,
believed their visions
and felt a smidgen of their ecstasy,
or ten minutes after orgasm
the naked leg of my lover touching me
and I feel sad and lonely.
creep up like flood waters at night
eroding months or years
of confidence, and tranquility,
two hundred mornings begun with "Dear God..."
that I thought
were well-rooted in me.
Then at a funeral the other day
the preacher reminded us of the 23rd psalm
and I knew that God was right there in that place
in the mourners
and would deliver us from our grief
or at least hold us as we walked through it.
I remembered what a sage once told us,
my wife and I
as we struggled through a rough time,
that love is a decision.
I must choose belief and acceptance
as surely as I must choose my beloved.