hospice.

i only know what i have known:
the day comes there is no avail.
the great translation’s yet to be,
the moorings disconnected —

  i was her son before all other things,
  a child of music, poetry, and teeth;
  the voice so shaky now in my head sings,
  the lyrics and the verses, her bequeath —

i see the spirit’s mostly flown.
disease can make a home a jail,
and simple things a misery,
until the path’s elected

  to turn herself into a summer flower,
  to live within the heat, and know the price:
  a hospice choice, the last one of her power,
  before the coming of the dark

  and ice

If love could make a place for you to fall…

If love could make a place for you to fall,
A place where life would never come undone,
I would pay any price, I’d risk it all,
To try to shield you from yourself, my son
 
There is no heartbreak I could undergo
I would not take, if I could help you see;
But no amount of love has worked so far,
No guidance kept you from your misery
 
Because I’ve seen your joy in minutes past,
Because I know the good that’s in your heart;
Because I’ve also seen the opposite —
The mental conflict tearing you apart
 
If love could make a place for you to fall,
Where I knew you’d be up again, somehow,
I spend my every waking hour at this –
My son, my son, to help you
Help you
Now

Love’s Last Labor

He worked until the day he passed.
A man his children barely knew;
His son and daughter came back home
To do whatever they could do

And out there where he’d left it last:
The old truck that he’d always had –
They sat and watched the sun go down
And traded stories of their dad

What do you say about someone
For whom to speak was rare?
Who never showed his tenderness
Or gave a sign he cared?

But in the glove compartment, there –
Three pics of long duration:
Of their two parents’ wedding day
And their, each, graduation

He’d carried with him all these years
Since they had moved away:
They realized he was proud of them
He just could never say

The sun goes down in silence as
The darkening night forbids —
But love’s last labor knows the truth:
Their father
Loved
His kids

Still My Older Brother

I reach out to my brother,
And his answers
Indicate
A lack of interest

We shared a room for years,
And common memories
That shaped us
Differently

But then a joke,
A start,
And we begin to talk
In our weird
Halting manner

About our
World Cup teams,
And not so much on how
Our mom is doing
Better

In everything I am
So much a part --

He's still
My older brother
Still
A certain age
Inside my weary
Heart

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)

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)

I Tried To Dance

IMG_0196.JPG

I tried to dance,
And hoped that you would notice me;
I tried to sing,
But you had left the room

Tried to excel,
And hoped you would approve of me –
I learned some tricks
You never stopped to view

I wanted you to see me and
To like me;
To talk to you, accepted
Without qualms

I just wished that you noticed
And you loved me –
I wish that you were more like
Other moms


 

(“I Tried To Dance” – 10-17-2014)