A Late October Rain

The rain, in hard form, beat against

the window

of their downstairs bedroom

and they hoped the Chocolate Lab,

asleep on his bed

next to them,

would hear it and decide that he

didn’t need to go

out to take a pee

anytime soon and that way they all

could sleep a little longer.

It was so nice in the comfort

of the bed

snuggling together while October

tapped percussively

signalling

that November

was but a day away.

Advertisements

They Have Just Had an Argument

They have just had another argu-

ment, another one; they are com-

ing too regularly, too often and loud-

 

er and louder, out of his mouth especi-

ally. It concerns a third party’s pres-

ence. Hell, two communicating is hard

 

enough; throw in a third and the con-

fusion escalates exponentially. It is

bad enough when his dead mother

 

and her dead father arise and

fight it out from years gone by

through their son and daughter’s

 

bodies, meaning the husband and

wife’s mouths, but add a demanding,

self-absorbed, controlling — it sounds

 

like a child doesn’t it — seventy-two-

year-old, soon to be an invalid kid

who occupies their time and space

 

and after a few drinks and lowered

resistance and a super-ego giving

way to a libido, well, then, they are

 

off to the races, and to be fair, this

race isn’t worth running and so they

need to pass up Churchill Downs and

 

the wonder of The Oaks and the runn-

ing of the fast and furious fillies, sim-

plify, simplify, simplify and realize

 

that the old man kid, baby-boy needs

to find another tit for a while and they

need to go camping up north.

Salute to Preachers, a poem by Tom Eggebeen

Words!
Short ones.
Long ones.
Simple.
Strange.
Common.
Odd.
Beautiful.
Ugly.
Hateful,
Kind.

Which ones to use.
Choose.
Consider.
Weigh.
Decide.
Try it aloud.
Sounds okay?
Might just work.

Assemble.
First.
Last.
What’s in between.
Holding them together.
End of thought.
Period!
Maybe a semi-colon.
Or the teasing ellipsis …

Beating around the bush, sometimes.
Getting right to the point, mostly.
Making the difficult easy to swallow.
Expanding the simple into reality.
For nothing is ever simple.

But complexity isn’t the proof of value.
Clarity is.
Clarity can be complex.
So is beauty.
And love.
Not to mention.
Faith and hope.

And then the paragraphs.
Enough sentences.
We have paragraphs.
Three, four pages worth.
Maybe five or six.
Or more.
More comes easily.
Less demands discipline.

Depends on font size.
But size doesn’t matter.
Small or large.
It’s meaning.
The meaning counts.
The sequence.
Flow.
Purpose.
Going somewhere?
We can always hope.

And then the speaking.
It has to be spoken, finally.
Sunday morning.
Some other time.
High pulpits.
Tiny podiums.
People galore or just a few.

Preaching.
Tone.
Inflection.
Loud.
Soft.
Whisper.

Gestures.
Sweep of the hand.
The glance at the choir.
A dramatic pause.
Tapping the pulpit.
Waiting.
For the Spirit.
For thoughts to take shape.

Face.
Grimace.
Smile.
Serious.
Calm.
Sweet.
Eyes wide.
Brow furrowed.

A voice of one crying
In the Wilderness.
Make the crooked straight.
Clear away the debris.
A good road.
For God to travel upon.
To meet us.
In the holy moment of
Encounter.

When the heart is open.
The mind is eager.
For a blinding moment.
All is light.

Glory to God.
Amen and Amen.

Greetings at the door.
“Thank you pastor.”
Thank YOU!

Oh, the car looks good.
Close the door.
Start engine.
Head on home.
A nap?
A drink?
A little TV?
Evening comes.
It’s been a good day.
Or a hard day.
Or a terrible day.
Or a little of all of it.
G’night Dear.

Monday morning.
Thinking about yesterday.
Maybe some regret.
What didn’t get said.
Or was said poorly.
Did I really say that?
Or maybe it was gold.
Solid gold.
Important.
Truth spoken.
I’m satisfied.
Or maybe not.

Oh well.
Get on with it.
Thank God for another Sunday.
Try again.

Words.
Paragraphs.
How to say it again, anew.
The inexpressible.
The glory.
The hope.

Amen and Amen!

Fall is Here

Fall’s not just coming; it’s here;

everything in his yard says so;

the leaves falling to the ground

whisper, “Fall is here,” just as

they settle down for a long win-

ter’s nap under layers of snow

and ice. The goldfish in the

pond sit very still because the

water is below 45 degrees, but

they still bubble up affirmation

that fall is here; when the bub-

bles pop on the surface one after

another, the man, if he listens

very closely and quietly hears –

pop fall, pop is, pop here. The

man who listens to the leaves

and fish, also knows it’s fall

because he hears the loud buzz-

ing, like a billion big, African killer

bees swarming the neighborhood,

of his neighbors’ leaf blowers

drowning out the gentle sounds

of the leaves and fish. The blowers

blow the leaves into a pile; the neigh-

bors rake the leaves into heavy-duty

paper bags or blasted, black plastic

which are left at the edge of their

driveways for the garbage man to

haul away and dump unceremoni-

ously into the city landfill like so much

garbage; unlike the man, the neigh-

bors won’t hear the leaves ann-

ounce that it’s spring as they curl

up and join the their ancestors

in the sacred backyard burial

ground and the fish say, “pop

thank, pop you,” as the man

plugs in the pump so the upper

pond will fill with water and

water will tumble down, splash-

ing quietly its approval that spring

is here, into the big, lower pond

bringing food which accumulated

over the winter to the very hungry

and active fish now that the water

temperature is above 45 degrees.

Packing for the Camping Trip

Packing for the camping trip, he

brought the cooler into the kitchen,

went to the bedroom and loaded up

his duffel with clothes he thought

he would need and then he asked

his wife, “Honey, did you pack

the moon and stars in your duffel,

because if not, I have room left in

mine?” Hearing no response, he

pulled the SUV out of the garage

lined it up with the trailer and

called to his wife, “Honey, would

you help me with the hitch?”

While she backed up the vehicle,

he directed her with hand signals.

As they connected and secured

everything, he asked her, “Can we

squeeze the sun into the storage area

in the trailer or can we find room

in the back of the SUV?” Hearing

no response, he put the chocks in

the back of the vehicle. “Honey,

would you help me check the

lights?” Then he said, “Let’s close

everything up really fast and get

on the road. I don’t want any

clouds or rain sneaking into the

trailer, getting into the refrigerator

and little freezer only to thaw later

at the campground.” As he pushed

the button on the remote to close

the garage door, she, standing next

to the vehicle, finally called to him

through the closed passenger side

window, “Dear, we aren’t supposed

to have rain for four days, and,

by the way, you forgot the dog.

He’s at the front window staring at

us with this look that says, ‘Not

again,’.”

WHO WALK IN DARKNESS, a poem by Vicki Hill

Who walk in darkness never find

The peace to calm their heart or mind;

Who pray, read, work, dig, never thinking

Surplus probing causes plunging, sinking.

 

‘Tis good indeed to mine within

To excavate for sheltered sin,

But better still to surrender all

That brings about this mercurial fall

 

To leap, believing the net’s below,

With faith expanding beyond the known.

It is that particle in one’s soul—

Trustworthiness that makes us whole:

 

To share with all, not retain alone.

Vicki Hill, Espiritu, NM, October,  2014

Standing Shoulder to Shoulder

She did a mixed media sculpture —

three Pillsbury boys of dough

who stood arrow straight in a row.

 

One was a Native American,

one a cowboy in chaps,

the third a Mexican, perhaps.

 

A woman stopped by the gallery

to say she bought the fun piece

renaming it for her, her sister and

niece.

 

Which just shows to go, ya;

art is in the eye of the beholder

of dough boys or girls standing

shoulder to shoulder.

 

 

In the Midst of Everything

In the midst of everything flying at him

and swirling around him

unbalancing him

and keeping him

from a place of peace —

a place like

standing steady on the ground

and looking around

and feeling like he had found

or had been found

by

that precious purpose so profound —

he knew

what to do

instead of passively being bombarded —

he turned off the cell phone;

he turned off the T.V (or switched to the classical music

channel and turned down the

volume);

he turned off the radio (or just stayed on the classical

music channel and turned down the volume) –

those vehicles (except for the classical music) through which

blizzards, hurricanes, tidal waves,

earthquakes, lightening, thunder,

droughts, mass murders of two, ten,

a million, severing of heads slowly

with a short, dull knife, bullying,

so much violence (mostly) against blacks,

browns, reds, yellows and females

and lies, lies, lies

fly and swirl and knock people off

their feet and slam them onto

Inferno of Fear Street.

He left the computer on,

though.

He went to his e-mail and found

two daily meditations on the

Great Mystery,

one by a Franciscan monk and the

other by a deceased, diocesan priest and the

Poem of the Day from the Poetry

Foundation with a short biography of the

poet of the day

and a few more of

that poet’s poems.

If his wife were near, he would read

them to her; if not, he would just

read, sigh a sigh

of great depth,

breadth and length

like he was inhaling

the spray from a crashing ocean wave

or the scent of pines along a hiking trail

in the mountains.

He thought about

the Big Lake by his house

and the trail run he, his wife and their

Chocolate Lab would take in about an

hour.

He turned off the internet connection,

opened a bag of

dark roasted coffee beans,

breathed deeply of the beans

with closed eyes and a smile,

ground them,

added Hazelnut Cream

coffee, brewed a pot,

did the dishes from the

previous evening’s

dessert and

went to read a chapter or

two of a mystery by someone like P.D.

James or J.A. Jance.

In the evening, they would

turn on the T.V.

watch some news and commentary

from among the many channels,

which political liberals watch

and then look for a mystery

to enjoy

and probably, somewhere along the

day, he would write a poem perhaps

imitating the form of

the poem of the day as practice in

honing his skill

and expanding his experience.

If it were late, he would try

to resist the temptation to

post it immediately on his

blog but rather save it in

his computer to

to review

the next morning –

like what he is

doing now.

 

In Describing a Poet’s Work

In describing a poet’s work, Longenbach

wrote, “Poetry is what we do with memories,

and remembering is what we do with tears.”

 

Those, especially the females, who read an-

other poet’s book of musings, vignettes and

poems, as if in unison, said, “Your poems

 

brought tears to my eyes.” A couple of males,

which that poet would conclude were partic-

ularly in touch with their feelings, said they

 

cried, too, but not so openly. That poet wond-

ered if his own remembering struck a chord

with the readers, not necessarily invoking his

 

memories and consequently crying empathic-

ally with that poet because of his memories,

but rather tearing up because his memories

 

evoked some of their own and thus their own

crying for themselves — like the young

man who cried almost uncontrollably at the

 

viewing of the body of a loved one in some-

one else’s family. He didn’t know the deceas-

ed but he knew his own father who had died

 

seven months before. It made the poet wonder

about Longenbach’s statement. Is remember-

ing what we do with tears or do tears come

 

with the remembering? It’s kind of a chicken

and egg thing, besides, who is or was Longen-

bach? He’s just a google away.

 

He Had Such Lofty Intentions

Ironically, he sat at the computer

using his otherwise rarely used

hand when he read the Poem of

the Day. It started with a quote

 

by Linnaeus: If a tree dies, plant

another one. How positive. The

poem was about perseverance in

the face of sadness, tragedy even

 

— a woman tending to a dying man

who had lost the use of one side of

his body. The dying man said, look-

ing at his good, left hand, “Look,

 

what a miracle this hand is; seventy

years I hardly used it, and now the

things it’s learning to do!” Was the

Poem of the Day sent his way with a

 

greater purpose than that he was a

subscriber? Synchronicity, providence,

that word irony again? The seventy-

year-old man who sat at the comput-

 

er reading the Poem of the Day had

temporarily lost use of his left hand

and he certainly wasn’t dying,

but the poem reminded the man

 

to plant another tree, so he told

his sympathetic wife who had had

to listen to his complaining for the

last seven days that he would comp-

 

lain no more, but would look at the

wonder of his right hand and say,

“Look, what a miracle this hand is…,“

and then the pain shot down his

 

arm like a lightning strike followed

by a thunderous explosion or a down-

hill racer hell bent for glory or hell

and he cried a wimpy cry, “Honey….”