May - August
Poem List: 2022 May-August
The Wake Print this poem only
I like wakes.
Seeing her body
revealed her latter-day unsettled life
and her female beauty.
It was a final goodbye to this woman
whom we had not seen in decades.
But the wonder of that gathering
was the friends of a previous season,
the smiles, hugs, and laughter,
together recalling memories seared -
some by pain and others by joy.
Meeting husbands, wives, and children
of people we had last seen in their youth
in just a moment told the sum
of their maturing.
hearing the minister lead the rituals
with humility and gentleness,
reminding us of her life and love,
of hurts long heaped up with the church.
This gathering of souls
mystically bound -
in an instant -
pierced layers of scars
with the balm of forgiveness,
waking our spirits.
Maybe that is why it is called
Author’s Note: Last night we were gifted with the wake of Linda Gail Fehmel who was the daughter of an old and dear friend, Paul Fehmel. She died at age 40 from a tragic inherited illness as well as other factors. I’ve had the good fortune of participating in numerous wakes, but this one was special and soul-lifting for me.
On the Road Print this poem only
So many “road stories”
from the Odyssey, and Kerouac, to Augustine.
Each rich in emotion and spirit
most of the stories
have the hero hitched to a fellow traveler
to bathe the soul in word and mood
to throb with the music.
I have recurring dreams.
I’m in a hotel looking for an elevator
can’t find my floor or room
or can’t find my car downtown.
I wander streets, and lots.
Are there road stories hidden in these dreams?
Why do I trip, fall
stay misplaced and lost
The Birdfeeder Print this poem only
There’s a concert in my back yard
solos and duets all day
a circus with acrobatics
clowns painted with reds, blues and browns
just feet from my perch
here as I peck on the keys
the stars fly in
then flit away with ease
as if to tell me:
you can’t hold me long
with your seeds and your eyes
we are free to dive the skies.
Author’s Note: With gratitude to John Wiley and his poem, “Kookaburra” - https://hellopoetry.com/poem/4547160/kookaburra/ - the inspiration for this poem.
Wading the Sun
Print this poem only
The sun is wondering
if it should dive into the sea
while two wanderers still play
on the edges of the dark
beckoning it to stay
just a little longer.
For just a short distance away
the bright gold lingers
in the shallows
where they could tiptoe
into the iridescent rippling.
The shimmering surges
on the margins
where the waves have lost their energy
and the tide is a glassy placid.
I am wondering
like the sun
if it is time to set
or if I should wade into the rippling light.
Author’s Note: Inspired by a photo on flickr.com commons:
Gestas and Dismas Print this poem only
Supposedly they were the thieves
dying to the right and left of Jesus,
Dismas sorry for being a bandit
The admission sent one into the light
the denial kept the other in the dark.
The facticity of the depiction is in doubt
but I find truth in the story,
for sometimes I am Dismas
Momentary honesty about my darkness
but more often I delude myself
so I can hold my head up
my nose skyward
in ever so subtle ways.
This puts me in the Gestas camp.
In fact I might always be his ally
blissfully unaware of the pride
ever lurking just beneath the façade.
I need to be Dismas
free in my honesty
about the darkness in me.
Invisible Wife Print this poem only
He was introduced to her
all the while looking through her
to see someone who mattered,
who was smart and degreed enough
for his time, after all, she was just the wife.
That gathering and others awakened her.
Now she insisted hubby’s clock hands
be wrapped around the kids’ small fingers.
He’d learn to tick with their hearts as he lingered.
The volume of her voice turned up a click or two
her own determination gently gliding through.
Not hawklike but now with a new edge
she, with fresh wings was no longer a fledge
as she declared she too would make the grade,
have her career, no longer invisible in the shade.
And… now she’s in demand as a speaker of note
with expertise surpassed only by her heart
she leans and listens with wisdom to impart,
life’s struggles and southern roots lend a common touch -
soaked in family love - no need for titles like doctor and such.
Author’s Note: Dedicated to Dr. Melanie Durand Grossman, gerontologist, author, and speaker. This poem is based on her memoire: Crossing Bayou Teche. I would imagine many women can relate to her story. She is still happily married to renowned cardiologist, William Grossman, with three grown children as well as grandchildren. Her story will inspire many wives who are still invisible.
This poem is part of my Teche series - also included on that page
Thick Strings Print this poem only
The music of the day
plays silently in my psyche
and without noticing it -
on my better days
I bring it alive -
a bright piccolo of a smile or kindness.
On my shadow days
it is the bass fiddle in a minor key
begun from depths of pride
played in the lower register,
the bow slowly sliding hubris
across the thick strings.
Claude Vignon painting of Joseph explaining his dreams while in Pharaoh's prison
Joseph Print this poem only
Open-spirited was he,
close to you, he was free.
When jealous brothers betrayed
he was not swayed away
from your embrace.
Imperfect but moored in innocence,
he slept and dreamed
and like seeds
he planted them in fertile soil.
From his honest toil his wisdom rose
and flowered in the halls of power.
Abundant rewards poured on him
could have corrupted his heart
but from your side he did not part.
Reunion with his betrayers came later
after he proved himself a gem in the land.
Carried in your warm rugged hand
his love multiplied beyond borders
Author's Note: I recently read the stories of Jacob and Joseph in the Hebrew Testament. I was taken with Joseph's character and personality. I identified with his enthusiasm and creativity. He was kind and had a firm relationship with God, following His guidance.
The Climb Print this poem only
I am above ground
a canyon or sink hole
where people are gathered around
a shiny Rolls Royce deposited on the ground
by some unknown force.
Somehow I make it to the floor of the hollow
but soon I fear being caught there doomed
and look for a way out of the gloom.
I see a pathlike outcropping on the southern wall
a few others follow as I walk to it to make the crawl.
One old foot at a time
I carefully climb
but eventually I must stop
the outcropping severely narrows near the top,
grass and dirt within sight,
but too far for a safe berth
I cannot pull myself up to flat earth.
I look down the steep side
the fall would be two hundred feet if I slide
I feel dizzy and scared, a void in my groin.
So close to success, near safety and normality
yet now discouraged
wrapped in doubt and fear
where to go from here?
It seems nowhere but in the abyss
all my difficult progress amiss.
Author’s Note: This is from a dream, the meaning of which I soon figured out. I’ve been working on a personal project, making some progress, but afraid I will far too prematurely declare success. I must remember: “Progress, never perfection.”
Last Day of May Print this poem only
Today I say goodbye to May
you say hello to the eternal now.
How sweet it is to be in your company,
dear Lord as each day proceeds in time.
Oh to be one with you
in eternal space
to swim in your grace
each moment without moments.
How hard it is for my tiny mind
to make my way into your Divine
into that sacred Presence
beyond cathedrals and sanctuaries.
But it is a blessing to try.
I love you, Lord.
I am grateful for this time -
as limited as it is -
for me to be
in my humanity
to saturate myself
with as much of you as I can.
blind man Print this poem only
i still remember him
his skin a shade of black
eyes off kilter
his red and white stick
propped between his knees.
but here we were in the same group
so i had to look at him
listen to part of his life.
he had the beginnings of a smile
but an overall sense of sadness
as if part of him was in rebellion
against his blindness.
if i had passed him on a sidewalk
i would have wanted to look away
to avoid dealing with his reality
and my own.
or unable to notice
the hole in someone’s life or vision
seems so normal.
after all, we can only take in so much
from moment to moment.
but it’s so easy for me to escape
knowing the pervasiveness
of my own blindness.
author’s note: every time i walk on a sidewalk and notice the cast iron grating around trees designed to warn the blind of a hazard i think of this man who made me aware of the obstacles the visually impaired face in everyday life, obstacles the sighted never think of. yet all of us have internal obstacles we can’t see because we don’t want to. is ours perhaps a voluntary blindness or rebellion?
Walking Wire Print this poem only
Yesterday I worked,
deliberately moved about
doing the chores of the house
how did I generate that joy inside?
It was as if I were a walking wire
charged with electricity
moved by my recall of her
washing clothes, cooking,
all the while her body in pain.
Her love inspired mine.
The surging power of Love.
Rejoice: to feel joy again.
What a delight!
Rain d r o p s Print this poem only
Gentle arrhythmic plinks
down from the plumbing vent
through the stove hood
then plink-a-plank-a-clank clank clank
clank clank clank clankclankclank
the roof rumbling now
soft flashes beyond the blinds
the deep throated distant thunder
tumbling over clouds and air
into our living room
I am grateful
for a dry pad and pen.
Middle See Print this poem only
In this space between Middle C
an octave above and below
I hear you climbing up into me
settling soft and slow
between the tense downer of last night
and my early morning need
for sleep and the wide feather of peace.
The piano plays on
into the awakening dawn
where stars are gone
and the summer sky is born.
Author’s Note: I thought reading a couple of chapters of the novel would lull me back asleep and away from the troubles I heard last night, but no. So here I am writing my tension away trying to see where I need to be in the middle of it all.
Small Paradise Print this poem only
Here in this room growing green
where life leans in every direction
in the morning
in this oxygen rich space
I chase my dreams into the day
without shame and with great affection
I convene with the universe
at my fingertips
and touch even the darkest real
my mind whirls my heart feels
on these lines where the soul
is made whole with the magic of words
in a vigil of grace
here in this small paradise.
Author’s Note: Sometimes at dawn and first light, or later, I write in our garden room looking out on elm, sage, cardinals, dove, squirrels and other wildlife.
Nor Adore Print this poem only
My love is a gale force wind
the earth swings and my heart sings
for you I will lean and bend
but I neither bow nor adore you in the end
that word only for the author of the wind.
Co incidence Print this poem only
Like a film filling space one frame at a time
it falls together seemingly by accident
but before I know it there it is –
a story, a revelation
an aha! moment.
And I don’t even think about
the minds that came upon the ideas
images, humor or drama
I should think about that the next time
a series of seemingly unconnected events
or into me
with a surprise ending.
A Hand Up Print this poem only
His hand twisted the two wires,
and the engine wondrously fired.
I yelled and cried when I broke my arm
he easily wrapped it without alarm.
Sorry son, I can’t come to your game,
the overtime list had my name.
Boy, there’s gonna be a delay,
my big project is due today.
Your dad went out of town to speak,
can’t play pitch and catch this week.
He picked up the phone and he heard me say:
“Daddy, the cops wanna take me away.”
Tonight your dad’ll deposit his check
then we can fix the car you wrecked.
Thank you Daddy for all you’ve done
“Don’t thank me, your mama raised you, son.“
I regularly tear up with both sadness and joy
seeing a daddy squatting, listening to his boy.
mix long lows and splendid highs.
Yes, there are tears and yearning
for more than his earnings.
But now I see how my dad’s hand
protected and provided,
how he taught me to take a stand,
and showed me how to be a man.
Author’s Note: Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. This poem is dedicated to my dad, Cameron Currier, whom I now see as just a man like me with his limitations and his great gifts. I no longer resent all the days he was not available to me as I grew up. He worked hard for us in the petro-chemical industry in Louisiana and Texas. We always had a house and home with plenty to eat and he provided for my education in more ways than one. Later in life we talked and hugged and he would shed tears of joy when I came to visit. My love and appreciation for him endures.
Man on a Wagon Print this poem only
Perched on the plank seat
of the old wagon
the dusty man gently jiggles the reins
of his reliable old steeds,
they as resolved as he
to reach Archer City
to get booked up.
Larry was there with his white hair
whittling his latest creation,
an overweight manuscript
sure to cause a sensation
no matter its heft.
They sat together talking
til the fireflies flew,
shared stories of books
loves, and good bass hooks,
reaching down to fetch a fresh brew
when they got parched
which was frequent
as they spoke at length
of men like Woodrow and Gus,
how they cussed,
poked, and stretched yarn after yarn.
Larry’s gone to the barn
but the guy who pulled up
in that old wagon
still is reading
and yet yearns
to revisit Texas lakes
to fish bass,
visit the local café,
and eat a passel of pancakes
or a big, tasty chicken fried steak.
Author’s Note: Dedicated to my best buddy, Joe, who loves books even more than fishing. He was my pahdnah on Texas lakes way back when. One of his favorite authors is legendary Texas novelist, Larry McMurtry who also owned a bookstore in his hometown of Archer City, Texas.
Floating Home Print this poem only
There is an old hymn
this world is not my home
an old friend freely sings
its lyrics but she’s lonesome
never full of joy in her place
ready to depart
but a strong heart keeps her here
for us to talk
and laugh this year
not last or next but now
with both cheer and tears
in our eyes
and on our cheeks.
We’re not waiting.
In this long float
we can smell the fragrance of aster
not before or after
but blooming in our spring
upon this glorious encircling stream.
Fierce Knot Print this poem only
The fierce knot within
is a ball of black strands
reaching out in every direction
I know I need to face this cowardly menace
or it will keep growing
into a yawning void.
I hear Lucifer knocking at my door
his insistent thumping says he’s annoyed
because he knows
I am buoyed
I am thrust away from the black hole
to this bright river’s flow.
Author’s Note: I am again facing anxiety. I know why this darkness threatens. My closest friend, only four or five months younger than I, again has cancer in another part of his body, one of his doctors mentioning hospice. It has thrown him and me for a loop. No, I don’t have cancer that I know of, but I am closer to death than I have ever been. I guess we can all say that. But here I am in the same river with him, sometimes buoyed but sometimes threatened to be taken down by the undertow. Writing is a facet of the diamond of my salvation. And this whole situation has brought home how we are all part of the same Reality in a Universe full of darkness and stars.
Nightingale’s Song Print this poem only
I’m wrapped in a netherworld
between fear and urgent turmoil
a shady region of late twilight
on the edge of dreadful night
what to do with the light.
Like the nightingale whose song
brings pausing, sadness, and hope,
blinking in a landscape of plains and slope
sadness of a creative life’s ending
a blending of sand and the hand of God.
My gut clinched in a tempest
rowing unknowing for shining sky.
Flooded Print this poem only
I am in a land rich with growth
orchids and flowers beyond imagining
blue waters beckon
me to float upon them
and gulp refreshment and life.
I am planted in this land
humbly gathering in light
with a peace
flowing in a mighty sparkling river
flooding my soul.
Scout Print this poem only
This terrain is unfamiliar
long vistas of green and golden fields
and to the side dark ravines
quicken alertness and care
to avoid hollow fruitless depths.
A gathering of souls
beckons me back to be among them
to tell of my journey, my vision.
But I carry with me shades of the ravine
attached as doubt.
Someone told me to be myself.
An odd order,
for who else could I be?
just about the time I think I know
it is eroded by swift waters
sweeping by and into me.
Startled Print this poem only
He has been down the block
maybe even in another neighborhood
or an adjoining town.
I know he has been tracking us
keeping up with our movements
not a spy or even an enemy exactly
but my fear says he's close.
The other day when I fell
and thought I heard him whispering.
But I got up, am still walking.
Cooked spaghetti and meat sauce last night
cleaned the dishes
spoke to my beloved
kissed her before she went to bed.
Yet here I am typing before daybreak
barely half of my needed sleep.
I thought I heard his weight making the floors creak.
Is he in the house
or just my imagining?
His ambience hangs on me like stink.
The near approach of death is startling.
Beach Horse Print this poem only
Leaping from below the sands and receding surf
his head held high and proud
breathing salty breeze.
Sea creature or thoroughbred
what would he do
upon clearing the sandy womb?
I stood there in wonder
poring my darkness into his
hoping his silhouette legs
would emerge before the sun fell.
I yearned to feel him splash his majestic self
up to me.
I’d ride him away from the darkness
looking for light
encounter creatures of the night
on the edge of the sea.
My horse and me on this gusty spree
are one in this seascape
Inez and I Print this poem only
When she went to sleep
she prayed that a calming peace
would enter her body,
a body bloated with the potency
in her first pregnancy.
The Holy Ghost that she prayed for
swirled in her dreams
like a wispy cloud, golden tendrils
enveloping her with energy and imagination.
Finally she got to sleep
only to be awakened after midnight
by me delivering to her the pain of labor
she shouted to her honey beside her
startling him awake and out of bed
to get her up and grab the suitcase.
Darkness enveloped her
and fear, foreboding and near panic.
By three a.m. she was in Our Lady of the Lake delivery room
and I was on my way out of her
to greet what would be a clear cool morning
for July in southern Louisiana.
Little did she know what she would endure
from this screaming squirming little boy…
still habitually in motion
eight decades later.
Author’s Note: I can hardly believe I’ve lived this long but I am glad I have, because I still have so much to learn and enjoy and, yes, to get through. I can only imagine what my mama, Inez, went through delivering and caring for that squirmy tiny tyke whom she would watch grow as tall as her husband, my daddy Cameron.
Our Lady of the Lake Hospital, Baton Rouge, 1942
Place of Glenn's Birth 7-22-42
Coal to Gold Print this poem only
To have someone who can turn
my coal into gold
is far more than an alchemist
it is a precious presence
of immeasurable value.
Time and I Print this poem only
This is not just an ordinary day
like yesterday or the day before
this day I’ll open a door
to a garden alive in dark clay
hummingbirds searching for paradise
in a heat wave scorching and dry
honeybees saying goodbye
mothers in a war made of sacrifice
No ordinary day this one
I’ll find a way out of sadness
through an hour of madness
out of moments undone
taking thirty minutes for my lover
where we touch our toes
take a risk to expose
mistakes we were loathe to uncover.
We will create this present day
halfway out of old into something new and bold.
How close to nothing Print this poem only
"...how close we are
most of the time
for some of us
nothing all of the time… - Bukowski: “Meeting Them
Reading his poem freed me
but bound me to a budding desire
its roots in a reality
How close to being nothing
and is it for eternity
or just a moment?
But just asking the question is liberating
as if I looked death in the face
and just smiled.
Author’s Note: I bow to Thomas W. Case and Bukowski for the idea for this piece. Reading both of these poets, thinking about what they wrote, and writing my own thoughts has taken a good part of the afternoon, liberating time well spent.
Paved Roads Print this poem only
Lost in labyrinthine passages
flitting from one bright dangly thing to another
following the lead of my cravings
which was no lead at all
somehow roads were paved
in your direction
and I found my way
into the chambers of your heart.
Electron Searching Print this poem only
It comes to me
on a path yearly worn
yet a path fresh with each step
each electron sparking through my brain
in its electric searching.
tags: #poetry #writing #reading