How Soon They Forget

A boy and his mother, slowly walking
Kids voices behind them, indistinct
His head down, she reaches out to stroke his hair
He says to her, as they reach the car,
“I’m not good at sports.”

Stopping beside the car,
She looks at him, this little man (he’s become)
And says, “Sure, you are.”

“No, I’m not. I’m the slowest in my class.
I’m not, mom. I’m just not.”

And she knew, she’d always known, the day would come
When all the loving lies that parents tell
About how children can do anything, be anyone,
Would meet reality, that big, blank wall
That tells their child,
“You can go no further.”

And even though he has many, other talents,
She knows how soon he’ll forget this day, and this feeling,

Which is

 
Never

in eight plus lines

o let that one day not go past
that she should once more sorrowed be;
o please, if i could take that weight,
provide to her self-clemency —

i would. the heart that knows no law
believes: it reaches out in pain
to touch in healing whom it loves,
and tries to soothe in all times and

in vain

Shoals

A very vivid memory.

I remember one November
(I was in my early twenties, and
My father was still alive)
I met my parents out on the beach
At a Holiday Inn
For Thanksgiving Dinner

It was very cold:
Twelve degrees Fahrenheit
In Florida, standing next to
The Gulf of Mexico

12 degrees, sans “windchill”, mind you
Although the wind was blowing occasionally

I arrived about an hour early;
Enjoying having miles of coastline
Completely to myself,
As no one in their right mind
Would be out on the beach on
A day that cold

I had left my “right mind” at home

And I remember
Looking out at the shoals,
Or “The Sandbar” as we called it

Wondering how, on a day so freezing,
Anything could look so tropical

But also struggling to understand
Why I had no girlfriend

Why “everyone” seemed to be spending
Thanksgiving Day with families they had forged
As well as ones they had been born into –
Except me

But I loved that day
I loved how cold I felt
(It was painfully cold)

And I guess we begin
To truly understand
What it is to be thankful

When we’re even grateful

For the pain

The Lion In The Other Room

Not a child anymore
Not his child any less
Struggling to bring together
Remnants of this scattered mess

Left behind, the days of trembling
The fear of impending doom
Ears pricked up to hear the roaring
From what’s in the other room

Ruled the pride here, so well named,
Presence felt when absence there
Straggled off alone, ashamed
Returned, now – not to hear him swear –

But to see his golden carcass
Stretched across a linen span:
Once the lion, so regarded,
Now a feeble
Broken
Man

The Ghost of Christmas Failed

There’s clamor in the house tonight
And tempers running high;
With people disappointed
In the year that’s just gone by –

We hurt each other so,
But we just will not change our ways;
I wish that I could fix us
And could lift off this malaise –

There’s fire in my belly, and
There’s aching in my head;
The Christmas lights are up
But all they symbolize seems dead –

I want to run away from here
And don’t care where I roam:
From this family, with its secrets,
And this house that’s not
A home


(Originally posted 12-25-2013)