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2022

Poems

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.

 

Praying together,

hearing the minister lead the rituals

with humility and gentleness,

reminding us of her life and love,

brought healing

of hurts long heaped up with the church.

 

This gathering of souls

mystically bound -

in an instant -

pierced layers of scars

wiped away

with the balm of forgiveness,

waking our spirits.

 

Maybe that is why it is called

a wake.

 

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.

Written 5-18-22

 
 

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

find only

transitory

destinations?

 

Written 5-7-22

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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.

 

Written 5-12-22

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Yoyo            Print this poem only

 

One moment I am high

with the light of soulfulness within.

The next I am down

in the clutch of desire

and enticements.

 

Written 5-14-22

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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:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/152286705@N03/52089762464/in/explore-2022-05-22/

Written 5-23-22

 

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

Gestas not.

 

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

sometimes Gestas.

Momentary honesty about my darkness

but more often I delude myself

so I can hold my head up

my nose skyward

looking downward

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.

 

Written 5-27-22

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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.

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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.

 

Written 5-25-22

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 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
your dreams
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
into eternity.

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.  

 

Written 5-29-22

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The Climb            Print this poem only

 

I am above ground

looking down

I behold

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.”

 
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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.

 

Written 5-31-22

 

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.

 

not wanting

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?

 

Written 6-2-22

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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

motivated

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!

Written 6-4-22

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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

where

I am grateful

for a dry pad and pen.

 

Written 6-10-22

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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.

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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.

Written 6-23-22

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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

a dawning

an aha! moment.

And I don’t even think about

the minds that came upon the ideas

images, humor or drama

together.

 

I should think about that the next time

a series of seemingly unconnected events

fall upon

or into me

with a surprise ending.

 

Written 6-21-22

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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.

 

Father-son ties

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.

 

Written 6-19-22

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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.

 

Written 6-15-22

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Fierce Knot            Print this poem only

 

The fierce knot within

is a ball of black strands

with tentacles

reaching out in every direction

threatening.

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.

 

Written 6-25-22

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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.

 

Written 7-4-22

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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

and smiling

with a peace

flowing in a mighty sparkling river

flooding my soul.

 

Written 7-8-22

 

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?

 

Still…

just about the time I think I know

my self

it is eroded by swift waters

sweeping by and into me.

 

Written 7-11-22

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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.

 

Written 7-14-22

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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

running free.

 

Writtten 7-20-22

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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.

 

Written 7-22-22

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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.

 

Written 7-26-22

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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.

 

Written 7-29-22

 
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How close to nothing              Print this poem only

"...how close we are

to being

nothing

most of the time

 

and

for some of us

nothing all of the time…  - Bukowski: “Meeting Them

 

 

Reading his poem freed me

but bound me to a budding desire

to write

and explore

its roots in a reality

I fear.

 

How close to being nothing

are we

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. 

Written 8-8-22

 

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. 

 

Written 8-6-22

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Finitude            Print this poem only

 

When I think of the stars and galaxies

capable of capturing your notice and care

the splendid finitude of your love for me

pierces my heart.

Written 7-30-22

 
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Electron Searching            Print this poem only

 

It comes to me

on a path yearly worn

yet a path fresh with each step

each breath

each electron sparking through my brain

in its electric searching.

 

 

tags: #poetry #writing #reading

 

Written 8-10-22

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Indignation            Print this poem only

 

I get so tired of one religion

tearing down another.

It seems so cheap to me -

a protestation better muted

in favor of a simple act of helpfulness.

 

Written 8-14-22