Standing Inside the Continents’ Drift

This morning, the rains practice their rhythms on the skylights
That had let the day inside all night long, but somehow a dream
Found me.  Now with the rains I practice my craft of singing
Words over emotions and memories as they fall down to earth
Looking for a puddle to gather and be stomped in by a child
Who wants to see what mud splatters will say, dried on the wall.

The dream that found me had been sitting like a solitary soul
Somewhere on the broken landscape inside Thingvellir Rift
When the playful child god inhabited my solemn grey frame
And taught me how to play again with my children. Hiding
In a cave that stank of piss, lurking like a tiny monster to scare
The first youth who dared walk past my home, unsuspecting.

Too late, they had become suspecting of their playful father
Recalled from Tiger Wrestles and indoor basement camping
And out-seeked the hider. Before they became aware of fatigue
Sitting alone inside the stench of my own piss, I walked out.
This was not the dream. From behind the rift wall, a tectonic
Movement occurred inside, pulled apart 2 centimeters a year.

In the gap the ocean had filled, glacial melt so clear yet so cold
You could see the bottom 46 feet down, it looked like a hand
Could reach inside to pick the lucky coins now a part of earth’s
Slow history. Someday, tell the story of how God’s patient rip
Tore open the flesh so called perfect gods hid behind, aware
The fissures in the facade were cracking like broken porcelain.

In seconds, though, God wrapped his hand around my heart
Began to squeeze so hard to make me stop and listen to Him.
Look out across my broken landscapes, Son, and see beauty:
Each crack in the earth, the sharp uneven rocks, every weed
Awaits your naked feet. Be brave. I unbuttoned the costume
Seeing in front of me the first rock that looked stable enough.  

A Mother’s Dreams

The final poem in this Mother’s Day trilogy was written over a decade ago and speaks to the strength of a Mother’s Love in spite of fears and in spite of circumstances. No matter how tired the best mothers get, they persist and that must be respected.

Your dreams do not predict the future,
Be relieved they process the past
So you can function this morning.
Your fear still burns
The sweet blood in your veins,
It contaminates your heart.

Your dreams wake you in a sweat.
The anxiety you felt when he refused
To rebuckle, the dread you felt when he
Ran past the play ground into the crowd,
The terror you felt when the car broke
Just a fraction too close.

Your dreams are not real,
But real enough:
A girl swept up by adulthood
By things she cannot control.
Tired, nevertheless,
She does persist.

Meet Again Where the Boardwalk Begins

This moment twists in on itself
A cruel freak show contortionist
Who stares agape, tear-carved
Deltas from his made up eyes.

If only it would twist into a pretzel
With lots of salt
That we’d eat with mustard.
Two kids on a boardwalk,

Gulls stalk,
Their fingers’ taffy sticky
Stuck together,
The sweetness like glue.

“Tell me everything,”
They do not see people
Beside them, counter them,
Bump them, watch them.

The ocean inside their hearts
At once calm, at once stormed.
They find their turtle shell
And build a home inside.

This moment twists
Like a contortionist:
The boardwalk ends,
Taffy shops close,

Kids depart, apart
Long enough to make up
New ocean creatures,
Aloe their sun burns.

Image: Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk, Dolles, painting by Ray Sokolowski
Rehoboth Beach Boardwalk, Dolles, prints in 3 sizes, painting by Ray Sokolowski

He Rebuilds a Lost Sister (for Jack)

Lost in the supermarket
My special Lego creation
Lost somewhere between
Gummies and hot dogs.

Mommy looked all over
But can’t find it
It’s okay, I’ll build another.
I know I can build another one.

Just two shoulders and arm pieces
A chest shield, two legs and feet
One hand will wield the best sword
In the bin.

This new creation will be cooler –

It will be the coolest.

Almost done!
This,
My best
Creation
Yet…

But I cannot
Find the right mask.

It must have the right mask.
I cannot find the mask.
Daddy help me find a mask.

Daddy, I just want my creation to sit up.
Daddy, I just want my creation to take its first step.
Daddy, I just want my creation to say its first word.
Daddy, I just want my creation to live.

Daddy, please help me
Find the right mask.

Please help me, Daddy,
I need my mask.

2009/2017

Long Johns Conceal Love (for Bobby)

“Long johns, my friend, we need to put them on to stave the cold”
It feels colder these days than when as kids we built snowmen,
Rode our flexible flyer down the hill, brave and reckless, laughing.
We wake in the morning with stiff fingers and an unusual chill: 40?
New England would laugh a collective laugh at our need for layers.
Yet, here we are, in our pit, in our mire, seeking rock for our feet,
Fingers numb to the bone, the pain we feel hard to diagnose, known
Inside our souls, yet we only share part of the details, what our shame
Forgets to hide as we try and abate our shivering flesh, ripped away
From the bones that once held us upright and strong as we climbed
Back up the hill once our laughter filled the valley of drifted snow.
Are we far from those teenagers now? Without conviction I say yes.
Yet, the 17 year old looks down on me in my wasted state of weakness
And knows he is already the better man and turns to his mother to say
“I will be edgy and cool without a diploma.” “We have to watch over her.”
He doesn’t know about long johns or laughter in the snow drift valley.
The blades of the flexible flyer have rusted. My sins have overcome me.
I have become poor and needy, and look up to this little Lord, help me
Do not delay your thoughts, chill climbing my bones needs a blanket.
Do not conceal your love, cover me up, so that all might see mercy.

I believe this was a collaboration between me and Christine Ray, or maybe it was just something she said that prompted this piece, either way. She deserves her usual credit for her faith in me, for her faith in my words, and for just being a general Badass.

Spend some time with her and her amazing network of beautiful writers!
leap in:
The Path My Feet Must Follow

Image: Vineyards and Snow, by Julian Merrow-Smith
Postcard from Provence: a daily painting blog, fresh daily since 2005

Catch a Firefly

Come and catch a firefly with me
Like we are children playing free
Alone in a field designed for us
The grass, the trees, the flowers,
Perfection. What shall we do with it?
Put it in a jar, poked holes in lid,
Watch it become our lantern?
Or watch it languish alone?

Dare we lift the lid, reach inside,
Draw the firefly out to jar’s rim
Then sit together and just watch?
Eyes open, we await the exact moment
When it will choose to take flight,
Trace a swift arc around our field
Recapture enough lost time to then
Light up a whole universe within.

We will each reach out our hands
To catch it again, this light
Passing through our fingers like air.
I close my eyes, like a blind man
Turn my fingers to your skin and trace
The wholeness of a moment I sought
When I became aware of light spilling
Down the back of my soul, needing capture.

Image: Firefly Dance by Marc R. Hanson, 2009
https://marchanson.blogspot.com/2009/07/for-wish.html