Juvenilia: Vision of Tomorrow (1986: Age 15)

July 31, 1986

The world is restless under my feet
I haven’t seen the sun in days
Black clouds hover the ground I walk
Yet there is no one to see what I see

The world rots in universal entropy
No light finds the grass I walk
Heaven’s tears flood the pours of my dry skin
Heaven’s roars frighten the tiny children

Here in this isolated town sleeps a naive soul
Blind by youth to the world in his eyes
He knows none see his visions
He knows he speaks false words

Here in this isolated town I sleep
Blind by youth to the mad world in my eyes
I worry of love and other bittersweet passions
I will rise above to see the world

Over the Appalachians and through the pines
I long to have the vision of years
Yet only through time will God grant my wish
I will still dream of mares in the night, and white stallions.

Lightning flashes in my eyes
The princes and slaves, two-faced societies
The land ahead is covered by clouds
I run onward in spite of my blindness

Does she on the blue-green hilltop have sight
Are the stars above hers to gaze in a dreamy awe
Does she lie blind like the naive soul I am
She is one of the merry youth

A naive child searching through the attic
I look for the key to open my sight
Soon I will find it and unlock the door
Open my eyes to the winds eluding me

The key has been stolen
The door opens before my naive eyes
The wind’s howl threatens the lies in my life
Of sweet music and star filled skies

Shut the door- my eyes burn
My ears long for the sweet music
Reality is upon the blue-green hilltop
The stars are ours in a dreamy awe

Is this my sight?
Are these mountains only my visions?
Will you look with me or sit alone?
I, naive child dare to be an adult

There she rests alone on the blue-green hilltop
She has the stars in her gaze of dreamy awe
If only the stars were not behind the clouds
I would trap the stars in her gaze

The world rushes behind the drag of my feet
The light of the sky is hidden for me to find
I write these words never to be understood
Like the scream of a child in a moonless night

Please let me gaze at a starlit sky
One last chance to wish upon my naive falling star
Soon the truth will burn this naiveté
My child will crumble in the heap of an adult

She sits with me on the blue-green hilltop
The stars are ours to gaze in a dreamy awe
The sun will shine upon our new days
The blackness of night will pass

Will the world wait for me?
I gaze my dreamy awe one last time
Run from the hilltop with me, dream and weep
Soon the world will turn in the palm of your warm hand.

Image: Hilltop – Edward Henry Potthast

Juvenilia: The Child (1986: Age 15)

June 19, 1986

Bullets pierce and echo the air
Villagers abandon their flaming homes
The king cannot see, only the Lord sees
Reasons do not matter as bloodshed begins

On a hilltop the one flag quivers in the wind
Tears pour into the Child’s innocent eyes
His brother has died in the flames of war-
Horror from what was once so grand

Unnoticed, underfoot our freedom drifts
We, sightless, block our ears from the Child’s wail
His father has died in the ocean of war
Only to be as us- free

The fire rages across the countryside
The Child is shot in his tears
The memory of his brother burns
The memory of his father drowns

One man fills his jars with tears
His son fills dreams with fears
Both are dead, burned by lead
Nothing left, there is no son

Nothing left, there is no village
At dawn the flames consumed the last morsel
On a hillside the one flag quivers
The stars shine, the bullets pierce the air

We bury the Child under the flag
His father would have won the flag
They bled too long for
A reason too wrong

Bullets pierce and echo the air
The village burnt to the ground
Does any flesh mourn the Child?
Oh Lord…

Reasons do not matter when innocence sheds blood.

Image: Venitienne A Sa Toilette (Venetian Lady at Her Toilette) by Jacques Louis David

This Cup

I offer this cup to you
refill it with the blood
of imagination and immortality
offered like a gift from the gods.

I let it slip from my fingers
into the desert of adulthood.

She offers this cup to me
filled with blood shed
to resurrect the gift of love
piercing the limits of imagination.

In her hands it throbs
with a longing for childhood.

We offer this cup
a dry vessel filled with blood
to rediscover life in red
more vivid than imagined.

In our arms lips shiver
and restores our innocence.

We fill this cup
with truths lost in the desert,
the blood of mortal life
and love immortal.

Your gentle hand
fills my cup.

Image: Breakfast Still Life with Chalice by Willem Claesz Heda 1634

Ocean Testimony

a boy sits on a broken lobster trap
to stop the shiver in his knees
and accounts for strange, winter companions:

a flock of seagulls,
cracking mussel shells on the jetty

a sentimental couple,
walking barefoot in the shallow surf

a dog and its walker,
tossing a tennis ball for an eager fetch

rescued from kelp beds
wood from broken ships
smoothed, minimizing clues
to piece together adrift memories

he surveys this salt kingdom
that spat out the detritus.

the surf, a siren’s call;
powerful crests and hypnotic cadence
subversive beauty:
when enraged,
devours armadas.
when stilled,
reveals deep harmony.

He watches whitecaps
rise to kiss the moon
then melt away.

This blameless breeze that surrounds
its guests with a pleasant chill,
Weaves dune grasses and lost relics into fences.
In his heart, a voice
– music –
a melody for strange companions
a silent resounding testament to beauty.

Song of the week and a response: I Need My Girl – The National; Cannonball With Me

Inspired by justruminating and others, here is my song of the week and my response poem.

If this post becomes a regular song of the week, we will learn something about my love of the band The National. This song tells a love story that is more real than “pop” and reflects the melancholic and romantic moods of this marvelously creative band. I am sure we will be talking about them more here.

But first, a response:

Cannonball With Me

I need my girl, and girl cannonball with me
See who can make a bigger splash
See who can make a harder crash
We are good at looking taller, we are grounded,
So tell them to talk about what this clown did.

I need my girl, and girl come and dance with me
We will spin and spin and spin
We will drink like Hank and Boleyn
I promise to keep your head, though, in mind
Really, to take it from you I am disinclined.

I need my girl, girl need me too, need me to
Love you more than 45 percent, expect interest
Compounding as we count our splashes and spins
Making life small enough to get my head around it:
The divine, the apology, the shit I lost.
I need my girl, I need my girl, I need…

Take this gun out of my hand, Davy.

I Need My Girl – The National
Written by: Matt Berninger, Aaron Dessner, Bryce Dessner, Bryan Devendorf, Scott Devendorf

I am good, I am grounded
Davy says that I look taller
But I can’t get my head around it
I keep feeling smaller and smaller
I need my girl
I need my girl

Remember when you lost your shit and
Drove the car into the garden
You got out and said I’m sorry
To the vines and no one saw it
I need my girl
I need my girl

I’m under the gun again
I know I was a 45-percenter then
I know I was a lot of things
But I am good, I am grounded
Davy says that I look taller
But I can’t get my head around it
I keep feeling smaller and smaller
I need my girl
I need my girl

There’s some things that I should never
Laugh about in front of family
I tried to call you from the party
It’s full of punks and cannonballers
I need my girl
I need my girl

I’m under the gun again
I know I was a 45-percenter then
I know I was a lot of things
But I am good, I am grounded
Davy says that I look taller
I can’t get my head around it
I keep feeling smaller and smaller
I keep feeling smaller and smaller
I keep feeling smaller and smaller

“William”

She would walk the beach, her footprints, palimpsests
of journeys week after week in Sunday best –
fine lace and white silk from Victorian boutiques.
A bystander looked askance at this woman in wedding gown
a lonely widow or abandoned bride, clinging to hope.
Yellow shawl defeated by the overcast day
gives up its purpose, and slips off her shoulders.

In the sun-hardened mud, his name carved with parasol,
she feared in marble relief what the sea would soon erase –
sand offers little comfort to a heart fighting grief.
Hands weak and numb, sun’s power swallowed by winter
– she closed her eyes and saw waves batter him
on the rock jetty stealing from lungs, air that gently
whispered her name and washed it and flesh out to sea.

To spite the chill,
she willed an embrace and the last kiss of soft lips.


Image: Waiting for William, John George Brown

Liquid Jade

The ocean runs like liquid jade
Poured between fingers, pure and clean
Empty like I wish to be long enough
To settle between ears that heard too much.

God poured his glass of water here
So that I could see the bottom
A reminder of spots that can be touched
But many more that remain to dive for.

Should I take a break from these poems –
Lyrics to songs I sing alone –
Try to dance to a song everyone knows?
Not to give the night to conformity

Just to break the darkness
With a light from wax,
Words melted with a flame,
A spark that smells familiar, if foul.

Did the child wonder,
That darkness would not scare him?
Did the chid wonder
What darkness would inspire?

Image: Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky
https://www.boredpanda.com/mesmerizing-translucent-waves-19th-century-painting-ivan-konstantinovich-aivazovsky/