VIEWS: 12 PAGES: 8 POSTED ON: 10/26/2011
A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, lovesickness. —Robert Frost Life is a long lesson in humility. —James M. Barrie Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest. —Mark Twain The Invisible live in the shadows, cast out not from want or laziness, but by the uncontrollable— that seemed manageable at the time, yet started a slide— A Shared Smile Sugar doughnuts and molten butter breads create a delicious display within to the man sitting without on the sidewalk against cold bricks. Each swing of the front door carries aromatic desires to his empty stomach, yet remains closed— to his empty-pocket entry. Stepping off— patrons skirt the walkway, preferring to tread on automotive drips rather than pass by him— too close. Invisibly noticed, then repulsed— he drops his head on bent knees. Would you like something to eat? A woman holding her son’s hand, offers him the other. Holding the door open she welcomes him inside where the crowded shop greets him with a hostile pause. He quietly sits down as the mother steps up to the counter, and places an order For Here. Would you like cream and sugar in your coffee? He nods once. She turns to order his choices along with numerous sweet breads and pays the cashier with a large bill. Laying the change on the tray, she covers it with some napkins. Her son sits on the counter, busy guiding the clerk to his favorite! pink iced donut, as she carries the food laden tray to a lonely man. He mumbles Thank you, ma’am. The morning sun reflects their mutual warmth. Going Back Warmth from a child’s breath, sets adrift— a single perfect sphere on biting breeze floating before the park bench and into her conscious sight. Encased by slippery walls, are her misplaced memories. Harsh reality begins to slip, blur— she fades from cold planks to within the hovering orb, and finds herself standing among old friends having a jocular argument over simple recipes. Their loud banter mingles with scents of sweet wine and baked breads to envelope her body in warmth and ease— until seeing her older self outside looking in, regret— cutting aged cheeks. Old woman watches the younger, tiny encapsulated figure splay her palms in horror against the soap membrane, paralyzed with fear of the impending grass prick that will destroy their perfect world. Bursting— faded embers of laughter cast into cold autumn winds. Undisguised Darkness saunters through undressed trees, drawing forth moving crowds to crackle dry dead leaves. Crisp evening air bites uncovered cheeks, peeping out of detailed costumes that drag the busy streets. Sugar-rushed children with flashlights and bags, race over darkened lawns, deep ditches as parents group, then lag. Teenage ghouls laugh at screeching rigged props, while tiny princesses scream, cry out— please make it stop! Excitement flows with carefree laughter—play, as neighborhoods join together in amusing masquerade, but not all children see it this way. Sometimes I open my door to a child pretense-free, with bare arms holding a brown paper bag in need of much more than sugar treats. Haunting eyes linger, well after leaving my front step as the lighthearted make-believe, vanishes— Empty Mailbox Wafting hot coffee, candles of cinnamon spice mingle well as a scented aroma intended solely to entice. Cheerful decoration grace the warm cozy room as lights—green, red, and gold—sparkle for friends coming soon. Wheels on the driveway crunch to a stop, engine guns louder—pushing forth to the next postal drop. Bundled in a scarf, gloves, and rich supple leather she steps out to gather greeting cards, instead is hit by frigid weather. She shivers— then wonders if homeless people are off the streets, inside warm shelters on blanketed beds and given hot food to eat. Her conscience is pricked with concerns, not of self— stopping to read a funny salutation, she smiles— walks back inside and places it center-shelf. Never Going Back Icicles slip crystal teardrops melting in rhythmic pain clinging to shifting edges warring forced change, while angry grass shards pierce slick, snow-crusted sheets, slicing— stabbing pinhole victories through the deadening cold lease— rising up towards a lonely figure slumped on wood and rust, tired eyes downcast—shoes surrender to seeping slush. Out of age-roughened bark some newly birthed buds creep, beckon her forsaken form—away from the lure of deep sleep. Her strength, will to fight—dissipates, as breathing withers to a final sigh, unheard by marked strides with purpose brisk in passing by. When the southern winds whisper through tangled branches leaf-bare, calling for the battle to cease— it’s too late for her to hear. Long Road Shaded boughs of young leaf shelter four-petaled white bracts, that meander in delicate layers above lavender phlox, stretching roadside banks. The relentless— pounding gusts break—shear their fragile stems. A young mother walks the highway with a terrific load—an infant in its carrier, weighs her right. Over stuffed backpack slung the shoulder that sags at keeping her trailing son’s carseat off the dirt and gravel, while he stumbles— as each close-passing car wobbles his small body. Wagging heads in hostile metal frames stare— or look away, but never stop. She turns to tell her son they are almost there, high pitched words pass through smiling lips— blood bitten inside. Sunglasses hiding her fear, dread at their being followed as she presses forward—to nowhere. Just away—from the violent rages, that pummel her body and paralyze her mind. A late model minivan crests the hill, nose dipping to a sudden halt. Please, let me give you a ride! The mother tries to smile but her fragile façade crumbles. We’re going to the women’s shelter. Silent pause—breaks, with a gentle hand laid on a shoulder slumped. Summer Sleepout Daylight nudges the reluctant night, as I slip out of our home before my family wakes, taking only a steaming cup of creamed coffee and the Sunday morning paper— heavy from moisture. I drive to Old Town and park at the city docks, then wait— for the eastern skies to ignite with a scorching display— flaming horizon ablazed with roaring ambers and deep blood infernos, set as a backdrop to the black, outlined trees on the opposite side of the river. Minutes move— fire fades to azure. Clatter from a southbound train shatters the morning peace in crossing the cement tressels that span our sluggish river. Following the caboose, my eyes drop to a young couple, I had not noticed before— rising from a blanket on the grass. Standing up to stretch—they fold their blanket into a bag, then laggardly walk away. I could not help thinking— how damp my paper had been. Tethered Dog Sipping white chocolate frozen mochas outside a coffee café, we sat watching a tiny brown sparrow, bob— near our wooden bench. Gathering patron-donated crumbs off tread warped bricks, it spirits them away to a hidden nest, tucked— within a shadowy eave. Our industrious friend enjoys uninhibited scavenging rights until a young man hooks—then leaves, his dog secured to the corner lamppost. An onslaught of half barks, whining yelps are aimed towards the busy bird, skittering— closer to the dog that quickly wraps his leash, tight around the pole. A slow moving man nears the corner interplay. His booted steps are vaguely familiar. The helpless dog loses interest in the bird, becomes agitated by the approaching man, who stops— frowns down—mutters low. Confused—the animal growls, barks, and wags his tail. As the man reaches out and untangles the mutt, I remember— a shared smile. A Seen Truth You think we are different, not like you, but we know you too— live close to that sliding edge.
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