sunlight / in a country morning

sunlight
in a country morning
habits
more than forty years

dirtways
most familiar pathways
canvas
less and more than it appears —

friday
is another sunday
cotton
is another cloth

athens
is a different highway
tractors
leave a trail and cut a swath —

how i
wish for her in sadness
as the
honeybee sweet goes

sunlight
in a country morning
where the
heart breaks down

but never

shows

So Reachable

It’s never silent anymore,

It’s never really calm;

It never stops

So she can hear her breathing

 

And there is pain in coming new,

In being born, or freedom —

Like growing bones,

Or maybe even teething —

 

These private things that just we know,

She knows them in good measure;

But cannot find

The truth thought-ways are teaching —

 

It’s never silent anymore,

And all is jumbled and confused;

So reachable,

And yet there’s no one

Reaching

The Life I Could Have Had

A true story.

In my mid-twenties
I applied to and was accepted
Into the Princeton graduate / post-graduate program
In Philosophy

I had been accepted by two of the three other places I applied

I was maybe five months from leaving my Civil Service job
As a mathematician
Trying to figure out how to stretch the money I had saved
Hoping to talk my way into an assistanceship

It was Spring
One of my best friend’s weddings was coming up in a couple weeks
I played basketball with some friends on a Sunday
When I went home, I crashed on the bed
When I woke up, it was Monday evening
And I was on the floor

I got up
Fed my cat
Left a message on my boss’s phone at work
Went back to bed

Woke up, and it was Wednesday
Fed the cat again
Noticed I had bruises all over my body
Went back to bed

Woke up on Friday morning
Fed the cat
Got dressed for work
Showed up right at lunchtime
Looking like death
Some co-worker friends asked me
To come to lunch with them

During lunch
I had a massive seizure
I had been having them for days
And didn’t know it

I missed my friend’s wedding
I was in and out of the hospital for two years
I lost all my money
I lost that chance at graduate school
But, even at death’s door
I made sure my cat kept getting fed

I am an epileptic
I gradually carved out a life
Through grace
Rebuilding my body
Recovering from years of depression

I finally went to graduate school
But it was nowhere prestigious
And it was in Statistics, not Philosophy
But I used that to become an actuary

I have a wonderful job
I work at a place that genuinely cares
About its customers
And employees
And the community at large
As well as shareholders

So, I missed out on my dream
Through illness, depression, near-suicide

But recovered to one day
Fall in love
Have a family
Find a rewarding career

And write about it

But

I would still rather not have seizures


 

(“The Life I Could Have Had” – 3/26/2015)

To See My Mom

[This picture is actually my mom in 1955. – Owen]

I do not know which is further
The seventeen hundred miles to see my mom
Or the sixty years since this photo was taken

Each needs the aid of human technology to be crossed:
Plane rides today, for my wife and me
Or this photo, snapped by my dad in Japan
And loaded by my brother-in-law onto the Internet

There, my mom, but twenty-four years old
Is sitting across the world, in Japan
Today, my mom is eighty-four years old
With Parkinson’s, heart troubles, macular degeneration
Recently moved into an Assisted Living facility

The stylish young woman of the photo
Now, having seen so many lives,
And dreamed so many dreams,
Still does —

This is my mom
Who I have always known
And who I do not know

As the farthest distances to travel
Are still those

Between two people

Trying to really

Communicate


 

(“To See My Mom” – 3-3-2015)

Snapshot: Passing By A Woman In The Hotel Lobby

I saw her waiting in the lobby
Nervously, expectantly;
Looking out the giant window
Framed by its immensity

Who she was I do not know, and
Never will, now, I suppose:
But the seekers, lookers, waiters —
I belong
To such
As those


 

(“Snapshot: Passing By A Woman In The Hotel Lobby” – 12-10-2014)

Now, When I Remember You

To tell the story of a life
Takes many pages, many words;
To tell the story of a love
Takes every bit as long

The you I saw in summer fields
Beneath an endless weightless sky
The you I felt in tenderness
The softness of your skin, a sigh

For now, when I remember you
There is a novel in my mind;
The beauty of your memory
Is always young, and brave, and kind

There’s beauty in the world, I know,
But I thought I had lost it then:
You walked into the room, and I
Became the mindfulest of men

But this – this was not me at all
This was all you, and love; it was
A type of wakeful dreaming where
I did not want to wake, because

Your magic was in everything.
If ever a man loved, I did:
I cherished every moment, and
I lay awake at night and bid

The minutes slow their very march.
To lengthen time, our time, so much
As possible; to see your eyes
To stroke your hair, to softly touch

Your skin beneath your summer dress.
To love you there with all my heart;
Your words of warning in my ears
That love is short and lovers part.

A life, my life, what is it now?
It’s just a cold and fading fire
A soon forgotten flickering
Of what was once raging desire

And all for you, my long true love –
Who taught me wonder in the night,
Whose hand I took to cross the bridge
Of leaving off and doing right

The day is closing in, and I
Put down my pen, and rest a while –
For now, when I remember you
I shiver once, and lastly
Smile


 

(“Now, When I Remember You” – 6-25-2015)