Disappearing Act

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Winter’s snow blankets the fields of Kimpton by Chris Talbot
via Wikimedia Commons

The dead summer growth pokes through
drumhead smooth snow here and there,
breaking the bleak landscape
with whiskers of gold and gray.
Even three days of cutting wind
can’t shave February’s frozen face.
Birds have deserted the sky,
hiding who knows where,
in some grand disappearing act,
the sleight of hand winter performs
with flourish, palming them
within swaying pines,
while marks like me
sit in double-paned cheap seats
wondering how it’s done.
In the pasture, two old geldings
stand parallel, as if joined in harness,
making those tarnished threads
disappear, when winter couldn’t,
even with three months’ practice.

One Final Question ~ A Freewrite

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This is a strictly vacuous free write.
I have noting to say and nothing
is working in my brain.
I could fall asleep or collapse
in a blubbery heap right in my tracks.
And I don’t know why.
I don’t know why.
I don’t know why.
Water running in the kitchen and
Law and Order running running running
in the living room. The snow gently falls
on the grave of yesterday’s snow.
The body was cold when it got here.
It was late, like my Dad would say
about someone. Late for their own funeral.
My hands are dry as my creativity,
my crusty brain unable to drop
any crumbs on the keyboard,
cuticles catching the sweater cuffs.
Dry, sere, stinging. I’m at word 125.
When does the magic start?
I don’t know when.
I don’t know when.
Why is when.
When is why.
Maybe these should be
questions. No?

Untouched from the page its was vommed on. A true free-write that ended at 150 words. This may be as visceral as it gets, folks. Let’s hope none of us have to go through this again…on either side of the screen.

Hafta

Cardinal

In the afternoon, the cardinals called
from one side of the road to the other,
and back again, in their scarlet on white
notes of winter discontent.
I walked between the call and response
of the two red bluesmen,
each pining for something they felt,
not knowing a definitive why,
other than “I hafta.”

To my left, I heard the song again,
and then the drive and dip flight
toward my right of the late winter player.
Toward what? Did it matter?
Snow began to fall and the song faded
among the maples.

I whistled something like
the cardinal’s song among the flakes
along my way home.
On the snowy shoulder of a birch
out front of the house, I saw him,
his head moving in twitchy turns
with my twitchy air.

He corrected my pronunciation
and flew off, disappearing in the wash
of white surrounding us. I dutifully
brushed snow from the doorway
and wondered what it’d be like
to stop pining, to feel something
other than cold, and know why
I wanted to continue singing.
Maybe just because “I hafta.”

Nothing Beats Nothing

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The light must’ve played tricks
with my eyes. But my eyes were
always so gullible when they
wanted to be.

They can spot a phony like a dog
can sniff out an escaped con.
But, with a blink and my mind’s wink,
I could believe you’re there before me.

Or they could believe the lie
when you were. Perhaps that’s why
the dark, so scary in my youth,
emerged my ally as an adult.

In the dark there are no illusionist’s tricks.
There’s just the truth of nothing.
And dark nothing beats dazzling nothing
standing right in front of you.

Didn’t want to write a poem today, but storyteller Joe didn’t wish to play in prose. Maybe, now that this verse-type scab’s torn off, that other kind of story might allow its telling.

I Like… (#1)

I like…that you decided to look at this.
It proves that I might exist somewhere other than
within this increasingly barnacle-encrusted mind
and jellyfish-softening body.

I like…that I am able to tell you that
which I didn’t know I knew until I told you.
I wish I could hear your voice in friendly reply.
I’m a good listener, even if I don’t hear so well.

I like…the fact I can sit here and listen
to the ocean while I am hours from its shore,
even though I can fake it when I see the gulls
whenever I visit the supermarket parking lot.

I like…that I was able to awaken this morning,
even if it was slower than I awakened in past years
and a heck of a lot louder in grunts, groans,
clicks and cracks. I least I’m waking.

I like…that somewhere within the dusty
and gauze-covered attic of my memory
I find pictures of you, though few of me
and never any of us. I think that’s because
I was the only one capturing the images
and I never see myself. Not that way.

I like…that if I remind myself here
of things that I like, maybe I won’t be
so mired and down about the things I don’t.

I like…that we can talk again like this sometime.
That is, if we open our eyes to listen.

This Time, Our Time

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The wind through the old-growth evergreens
whistles and cracks like the music
of some Mohawk ceremony, celebrating a birth,
a coming of age, a wedding, an ended life.
Standing in the middle of the natural song
and swaying dance of the needle-leaves
you could believe it to be any and all.
Even now, with slick maple and birch leaves
beneath your feet, with closed eyes,
you can’t tell if it’s the newborn autumn
or spring of your childhood, adulthood, end.

It’s just This Time, Your Time.

With a deep inhalation, you draw in life
that tastes of pine spirits,
and feel yourself sway with the wind.
Now you exhale a flute-like wheeze
as your old bones click within you and
you open your eyes to realize you’re just
another part of your supple old brothers
and as long as you sway in song with them
you’ve a chance at another dance.

In This Time, Our Time.

Photo: Cool, misty pine forest in Kuttikkanam, via Wikimedia Commons

The Hard Way

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Finally alone on the road
in these days of no longer
being lonesome.
Walking toward the oncoming,
like I can’t wait for it
to grow on its own in this race
toward my face I’ll never win.
The dead and dormant
stalks of last year’s roadside
weeds lean toward me,
bent by the slipstream
of these cars and trucks
that push me deeper
into the brush as they pass.
Even they have learned
what I never have.
I always seem to go
against the grain,
the arrows, spears and bullets
of all-weather steel-belted
death pushing against
where I want to go,
or want to be away from.
With a sigh, I turn around
and join the flow of flora
and four-wheeled fauna
on this bit of homeward highway
and wonder, the wind now
a gale in my face, why no matter
which way I turn,
whatever path I’ve chosen
always seems the hard way.