Just Thought I’d Ask

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Do you wonder?
I mean do you wonder, too?
Do you ponder if you ever
cross the mind of those
you’ve left an emotional scratch on?
Or even a bruise of the heart?
I wonder about some of the girls
whose lives I’ve crossed, maybe
barely macroscopically
like on a lower case T, or even
a full-sail ship-of-the-line
running perpendicular to their
gentle prows with its guns blazing.
That’s not necessarily this
small man’s ego run mad,
thinking it’s so tall and all
only because it stands upon
a hill of memories that occasionally
rises above the fog of time.
I just thought I’d ask, only to see
if I’m alone in my wondering
here on my hill of wonders.
Do you ever?
Even about me?

A swift free-write brought on by Daylight Saving Time hangover and an out-of-the-past Daylight Wasting Time inspiration.

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BED08

There’s no name in his spot
on the screen mounted at the end
of the hallway in ICU, not like
where it says RICO or MV.
There are just tiny numbers
in red and blue, along with
two jagged horizontal lines,
miniature versions of the ones
across the hall in this buzzing room,
the one marked with a big black 8.

Out there they trickle across
the tenth of the glass identifying
the inhabitant as BED08.
But his name is really Andrew,
and he’s a husband, a father,
a brother, a friend, a blue collar
who got sick, and then sicker,
and went from being BED5225A
to BED5228, before he eventually
became the so terribly thin man
the machine breathes for in BED08.

And I sit here next to him, barely
recognizing the burly guy whose
diapers I once changed when he
was a wee one, and I’m wondering
how this happened, how I just
saw him in that incubator only
yesterday (forty-nine years ago
yesterday to be exact) and now
we’re back again, only here at BED08.

I sigh, I’ve become quite practiced
at sighing lately, when I recall
at least in that little hot box
where my tiny pink brother
whisper-cried and slept, the card
on the front let whoever saw it
know he was a person, even if
all it read was BABY BOY HESCH.

The Angel and the Velvet Box

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I look at her sleeping and I wonder
what will come.
No one can remain
an angel forever
in a world full of big-brained
bi-pedal beasts with free will and
no good reason to be angels
themselves.

Her soft skin will toughen
because it has to, slapped
as angels’ so often suffer the slaps,
spiritual, emotional, maybe physical,
from the hands that’d once caress
the downy pillows upon which rest
pert lips, pursed, ready to pronounce, “Hi,Pa,”
upon awakening.

I can’t protect you forever, angel,
from the swinging hands of time
that have beaten me down.
But I can hold this and other moments
in the velvet lined box no one knows
I hide here on the dark side of my heart.
The one I’ll only ever share
with you.

A 15-minute Sunday afternoon free write. I know not from where it came. But I’ll share it with you.

My Changes, the Reason I’m Still the Same

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“You’ve changed,” she said, and not in a sing-song “Oh, Sugar, look at you!” southern lady kind of “You’ve changed,” as the reunion well-wishers filtered away from the bar to the circular dining tables.

“Yeah, well since the last time you saw me I came out, lost thirty pounds and I’ve written two books, all pretty heavy things to carry around for twenty-five years,” I said, sort of smiling my new sort of smile.

“Well, doesn’t that make you the special one,” she said in the same tone she’d use when I was one of the peripheral satellites, a confused speck of space dust really, in the high school galaxy she centered, a black hole for attention and adulation.

“No, I just grew up and found something in me, a truth I guess, that made me feel good about myself, not relying on everyone’s acquiescence to my capricious whims for validation,” I said, grinning with each Latinate rocket I fired over her head.

She shook her head, waved at the table of once-upon-a-time teen Sun gods and goddesses in the middle of the banquet hall and brushed past me, muttering, “You’re still a jerk…you’ll never change.”

A combo platter of prompts in this piece, which incorporates Writers Digest’s “My ___, The ____” Poem-a-Day prompt, as well as Lillie McFerrin’s five sentence fiction prompt, Changes. Still need poem #20 for the day, I think, but glad I squeezed out this free write.

Peace and Hugs

A bit of news and explanation: My relative absence for the past several weeks, and particularly days, from the virtual social whirl has been because of, among a handful of things, my involvement with my Mom’s health. After a relatively short hospitalization, Mom died last Thursday.

It might sound incongruous, considering the drops and splashes of me I share on these pages, but I’m not one to share a lot of my life with too many. But just this once, I thought I would.

If you have read the most recent poems I’ve written, each at her bedside, you might have had a clue that something was up.

Thanks to those who knew and comforted me, and for the support all of you have given me even though you may not have known. Now go give someone or something you love a hug. It would make me feel better.

Entitled to Love

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Dandelion-Fluff_Sun-Shining__104258 (Photo credit: Public Domain Photos)

When we were new,
and life, that skeleton gate
upon which the ivy of our season
clung and climbed, we bloomed
like flames within stacked kindling.

We burst from darkness,
your spark upon the dry past of one
who should never love another.
But when your spark flared,
my black heart dissolved.

A twilight of promise grew
where deep shadows and
brightest illumination
crossed in a jumble of
fuzzy possibility.

We chose not to wait for
the full bloom of what
the night voices,
the midnight call of lovers,
said would come.

What would they know of
the sere and broken tinder
from our time untended
in the green years of lost,
if ever lived, youth?

And so we watch, together,
as they step off the steps from
one side of their lover’s cages
to the other, held captive
like exhibits owned by others’ greed.

We sway free in our light
and lightness like dandelions,
ready to burst and fly together
upon whatever breeze takes us
to all our tomorrows.

A Free Write Friday exercise based on my friend Kellie Elmore’s prompt to use one of the following titles as inspiration for a poem:

“Dandelion Season”
“Phone Call at Midnight”
“The Green Years”
“The Human Zoo”
“The Fires of Spring”
“The Ivy Covered Gate”

Typically, I chose them all.

Springing to Life

The Joy of Spring [80/366]

The Joy of Spring [80/366] (Photo credit: timsackton)

Above the sweet songs of avian choirs
sound some fresh feathered come-on calls,
like rusty gate hasps squee-awking
from within the fresh-popped maples.
In the waves of Nature’s liberated libido
the birds pitch woo and the trees scatter
their dainty DNA in clouds of yellow.
Below, the field is dappled with herds
of robins and crows browsing through
the awakening grass for dormant grubs,
whose husks now litter the lawns
like tiny Chinese lanterns.

New life is en route, migrating home
from below Mother’s equatorial belt.
I stand amid the clamor, no longer content
to wait for my spring to come
and shake me from years of winter torpor,
unwrap me from these insulating layers
of isolation and inertia. I whistle
a tweedle or two of my own,
just to gain a little momentum,
a running start for my take-off.
My wings may sound like old rusty gates,
but at least I’m flapping them. Squee-awk.