Old Dirt Road

Down an old dirt road,
By an old lone tree,
I saw her once —

I think that I was
Seven at the time

In a summer field,
In a different world,
I saw her there:

And still, I think about her,
Now and then

In a yellow dress,
With her bright blonde hair
That was tangled out

Her sister was trying to brush it
Back and down

Down an old dirt road,
On a summer trip,
I saw her once —

And I can see her clear as summer

Now

Taking It

Sitting in a restaurant,
Between the salad and the meal

There’s a thirty-something couple
Next to us.
The man is strenuously arguing
With the waiter over
The price of his bill

“This was way cheaper before.
Why did you raise the price?”

The manager came over.
“It now comes with sides.”

“But I didn’t want them.
I didn’t eat them.
I want to pay the old price.”

“I’m sorry, sir,”
The manager said.

“Well this is fucking bullshit,”
The man exploded.
“Nobody should have take,
Let alone pay for,
A bunch of shit they
Don’t want —“

And at that moment,
I glanced at his wife,
And realized, past
The mere embarrassment in her eyes,
A look that said,
Sure as water finds water,
That she knew what it was

To constantly be given something
She didn’t want to take

{ s e a n c e } v3

version 3

the absence blank, the many reaching ways --
but pictures, pleadings fail. meanwhile, scent
brings back realities as tangible as touch.

hands together in the dark,
saying words we don't really believe,
trying to overcome a pain more present
than our memories of love seem real.

we chase a passing mist, or
a ripple on the lake, or a careful breeze:
we humans are but smoke, or maybe
we blaze until then.

seasons become canyons, and 
we try to contain each, but only with lies:
the memories we carry are just the shells
of the spirits once here in body.

like singing monks in a silent monastery
using whatever technology we have, 
we reach out to others --
but find only the quiet dark 

of deep blue

grief

version 2

so many ways we try to raise the blank:
but often words and begging fail, while scent
says ‘life’s more sharp than it’s conceptual.’

then in the darkened space, we reach our hands,
and mumble incantations we don’t get,
the pain-of-now more than the love-from-then.

these drippings that we chase: a passing mist,
a ripple on the lake, a careful breeze
for human’s smoke, apostrophe or not.

across as many canyons as can fit
into those wide containers we call lies,
we carry mem’ries, sweating shells at best.

it’s only plainsong, passed from hand to fist
along the monastery walls of tech
and back into the quiet dark of blue

version 1

so many ways we try to raise the dead:
but often words and pictures fail, while scent
says ‘life’s more real than it’s conceptual.’

then in the darkened space, we join our hands,
and mumble incantations we don’t know,
the pain-of-now more than the love-of-then.

these vapors that we chase: a passing mist,
a ripple on the lake, a careful breeze
for human’s smoke, apostrophe or not.

across as many aprils as can fit
into those wide containers we call lies,
we carry mem’ries, spirit shells at best.

it’s only plainsong, passed from cell to cell
along the monastery walls of tech
and back into the quiet dark of grief

Hillside Tears

Dying moments, holding hands,
Picture-books from other lands,
Misty mountains, desert sands,
All of this she gave me

Silliness and idle laughter,
Water rides and aloe after,
Tales recalled by verse and chapter,
Lessons taught to save me

From the world and from tomorrow;
How to greet both joy and sorrow
Knowing time’s a thing we borrow,
Loving one another —

Night the hillside tears are sending:
All the love-years she was spending,
And me never comprehending,
Th’range her pride could cover —

But she was

A mother