1950 (1987: Age 17)

November 4, 1987

1950
a time
an era
I wish to be

black jeans
white shirt a crew neck
tee and Kools rolled up the sleeve

no smoke be blown
no polluted lungs

but I would wear it
(cigarettes and all)
for the appearance
and the irony
of wearing
penny loafers and argyle socks
with Kools rolled up my sleeve.

No
Not for
my peers

This piece marked a turn for me in my writing as I began a turn away from religious and love poetry to something different.  At the time, I wasn’t sure where this would lead, but decided to open the door and walk through it.  When I assembled my poetry the following year for a Christmas gift for my family, I expanded on this poem and will share those decades later.  I believe this poem was written when part of the cast of West Side Story and pretending to sing. At the time, I had a mad unrequited crush on G, my junior prom date.  Now, that is a story for a later date, a hysterical depiction of the best of my awkward teenage years, (in retrospect, of course.  There is nothing funny about teenage years when a teenager).

This will be the penultimate post from 1987; the final poem will be included in the essay that reflects on how my writing evolved that year and will be posted independently following.

Over the next few weeks I will be spending time with my 16-17 year old self from 1987. In no particular order, these poems will be presented in the final form I found them on computer discs discovered in an attic many years ago. This will culminate in the next entry of my Into My Own, My Story as a Writer series found here:

1985: https://sailorpoet.com/2017/02/10/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-i-how-it-began/

1986: https://sailorpoet.com/2017/03/21/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-ii-why-i-wrote-1986/

JDC – Into the Heart (1987: Age 16)

April 14, 1987

You have gone away,
But you still remain.

You have disappeared,
But you are still in sight.

There is one place
Where everything lives forever;
One place
Where nothing can be tarnished.

Into the Heart
Forever.

Into the Heart,
Forever.

Into the Heart-
To remain
Forever.

And we will run until we reach the stars.
As we follow our separate paths
I will forever run by your side.

Now you have run into the Heart-
this heart,
My friend, forever.

This poem was written for one of my best friends as he neared the end of a school year and a pending move to Kansas. He was an Air Force brat, but had lived in New Hampshire an unusually long time enabling us to become close friends. He made me promise to never do to my kids what his dad did to him and his brother, forcing them to move around the country. In one of the great ironies of my life, he joined the Air Force and kept the promise to himself and his family; I joined the Navy and broke that promise. Maybe this is why I have always carried with me a measured degree of guilt when I see him, feeling like I let him down. That being said, my kids have seen the world, and I don’t think they would change the adventure, even when they do miss the friends they have left behind along the way. We still get to visit, like we are now, and they laugh and play and smile with those friends who have entered their hearts forever.

Over the next few weeks I will be spending time with my 16-17 year old self from 1987. In no particular order, these poems will be presented in the final form I found them on computer discs discovered in an attic many years ago. This will culminate in the next entry of my Into My Own, My Story as a Writer series found here:

1985: https://sailorpoet.com/2017/02/10/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-i-how-it-began/

1986: https://sailorpoet.com/2017/03/21/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-ii-why-i-wrote-1986/

Hey There Little Girl (1987: Age 16)

February 23, 1987

Hey there little girl
Standing by the sea wall
Don’t you know that
The tide isn’t due for hours?
I don’t want to see you
With tears in your eyes,
You deserve so much more.

So raise your head
Brighten your eyes
It is not hard to try.
All you need is a smile
That is what I have to give.

Hey there little girl
With the broken China doll
Don’t you know that
You are breaking more than the doll?
I don’t want to see you
With tears in your blue eyes,
You deserve so much more.

So raise your head
Brighten your eyes
I give you my smile
For you to return,
It is what you need.

Little girl,
Hey there little girl
Do not let those tears
Run down your blushed cheeks.
If they begin to fall
Call out for me
I will wipe your eyes.

I love you little girl,
I love you.

This poem was written for a friend, E, with her and a couple of other friends, we started a writing group at my high school with Mr. T. I recall her having a difficult relationship with her father and this poem was written to express my desire to offer her strength and support. Kind of feels like a foreshadowing of the Go Dog Go Cafe, in a way, now that I look back on it and recall that inspiration. She left for a private school in Massachusetts at the end of this school year and we kept in touch for a time, but now she is lost to time, moves, and the vagaries of life – even Facebook has not restored her to my life and I often wonder where she is and about her health. About 20 years ago, we got back in touch and she mentioned to me that she had been sick, maybe had had cancer that was in remission. It brings a sadness to my heart to admit my part in the failure of our friendship, she was a very dear friend, and one of the first who helped me embrace my writing.

Over the next few weeks I will be spending time with my 16-17 year old self from 1987. In no particular order, these poems will be presented in the final form I found them on computer discs discovered in an attic many years ago. This will culminate in the next entry of my Into My Own, My Story as a Writer series found here:

1985: https://sailorpoet.com/2017/02/10/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-i-how-it-began/

1986: https://sailorpoet.com/2017/03/21/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-ii-why-i-wrote-1986/

Two Martyrs, One Son (1987: AGE 16)

Two Martyrs, One Son
January 23, 1987

The Cardinal
his voice echoed across the land
in the ears of seven million people.
They all turned to their neighbor
–Did you hear the Cardinal?
He sang yesterday. You know I heard
him sing: ‘I have a dream today!
Let freedom ring then we might sing
free at last, thank God almighty,
we are free at last!’
Then I heard him cry
‘Oh God, oh Lord.’–
Seven million people cried yesterday.

The Bluebird
his voice echoed across the land
in the ears of seven million people.
They all turned to their neighbor:
–Did you hear the Bluebird?
He sang yesterday. You know I heard
him sing: ‘I had a dream today.
Rise above the evil in your hearts!
We can soar with the glory of love,
if we let our soul power shine!’
And then I heard him say:
‘Oh God, oh Lord!’–
Seven million people cried yesterday.

The Dove
His voice resonates across all lands
in the hearts of seven billion people.
They all turn to their neighbor
–Listen to the Dove!
He sings! Hear His voice:
‘I have a dream for you, children-
love your neighbor as yourself,
love your enemy as you love your God
for we are one, united.’
With all our hearts, listen!–
‘Father into your hands… I am yours.’
Seven billion people hold hands today.

The last in a series of poems I wrote after watching the movie Gandhi, this one most clearly reflects how I connected the teachings of Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. My interest in nonviolent action was born in these poems as well as a life long conflict with the role of violence in human action. While my life has been given in service to my country, these voices of faith, hope, and love remain loud in my head. When I wrote this poem, I knew the voice inside me that I needed to hear; as I shared it with friends, I knew that voice had a place in the world.

See also, The Kingdom:
https://sailorpoet.com/2018/08/30/the-kingdom-1987-age-17/
Mahatma:
https://sailorpoet.com/2018/09/05/mahatma-1987-age-16/
and A Man:

Over the next few weeks I will be spending time with my 16-17 year old self from 1987. In no particular order, these poems will be presented in the final form I found them on computer discs discovered in an attic many years ago. This will culminate in the next entry of my Into My Own, My Story as a Writer series found here:

https://sailorpoet.com/2018/05/08/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-i-how-it-began/

https://sailorpoet.com/2018/06/14/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-ii-why-i-wrote-1986/

A Man (1987: Age 16)

January 24, 1987

You are a man
You claim no more
The praise, the crowd
Make no larger a man
I wish to be
In the hearts of a nation
In the hearts of a race
In the hearts of a faith
You are a savior
A man could be no more

You have one heart
You share it with all
All for love, no more-
Is there any more?
I wish to be
Will you help me?
I am a boy
That is all
I may ever be.

Another in a series of poems I wrote after watching the movie Gandhi, this on reflects how I was beginning to draw connections between the teachings of Jesus, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. My interest in nonviolent action was born in these poems as well as a life long conflict of the role of violence in human action. While my life has been given in service to my country, these voices of faith, hope, and love remain loud in my head.

See also, The Kingdom:
https://sailorpoet.com/2018/08/30/the-kingdom-1987-age-17/
and, Mahatma:
https://sailorpoet.com/2018/09/05/mahatma-1987-age-16/

Over the next few weeks I will be spending time with my 16-17 year old self from 1987. In no particular order, these poems will be presented in the final form I found them on computer discs discovered in an attic many years ago. This will culminate in the next entry of my Into My Own, My Story as a Writer series found here:

https://sailorpoet.com/2018/05/08/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-i-how-it-began/

https://sailorpoet.com/2018/06/14/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-ii-why-i-wrote-1986/

Mahatma (1987: Age 16)

January 24, 1987

They will beat us,
They will kill us,
We must not raise a hand
Nor strike a blow.
If we raise our fists
There will be no heavier a blow
Upon the battle we fight.
If we hold our hands
There will be no heavier a blow
Upon the battle they fight.

Should we raise one fist,
Should we strike one child,
Should we kill one enemy,
There need be no life
For we deserve no freedom.

This poem reflects the impression seeing the movie Gandhi had on me and offers a hint at the great struggle of my life balancing a call to service in the Navy with a faith that was beginning to grow increasingly defined by the concepts of non-violence. Reading this poem today, not only does it contain a powerful message of Love that remains loud in my head, it calls me to revisit my faith in earnest and honesty again.

See also, The Kingdom posted a few days ago:
https://sailorpoet.com/2018/08/30/the-kingdom-1987-age-17/

Over the next few weeks I will be spending time with my 16-17 year old self from 1987. In no particular order, these poems will be presented in the final form I found them on computer discs discovered in an attic many years ago. This will culminate in the next entry of my Into My Own, My Story as a Writer series found here:

https://sailorpoet.com/2018/05/08/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-i-how-it-began/

https://sailorpoet.com/2018/06/14/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-ii-why-i-wrote-1986/

The Kingdom (1987: Age 17)

January 24, 1987

We will march to the steps,
We will march to the sea,
We will march together
Until we find our home.
We will break the codes,
We will make salt,
We will make wine
Until we reach our home

Are we near?
Are we distant?
I need water,
I want to go home.
Will you take me?
Will you guide me?
It must be near,
I need to go home.

You say,
As we march and create:
“Raise your hands
And hold one another’s
When you do so
You will have found home.”
It must be near,
We need to find our home.

Over the next few weeks I will be spending time with my 16-17 year old self from 1987. In no particular order, these poems will be presented in the final form I found them on computer discs discovered in an attic many years ago. This will culminate in the next entry of my Into My Own, My Story as a Writer series found here:

https://sailorpoet.com/2018/05/08/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-i-how-it-began/

https://sailorpoet.com/2018/06/14/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-ii-why-i-wrote-1986/

A Magic Moment (1987: Age 17)

April 2, 1987

Our eyes meet.

There is Magic-
A magic moment.

Our eyes dart away.

I wonder-
What is Magic?

Our eyes meet again.

There is the answer-
The magic of love.

Never look away.

Over the next few weeks I will be spending time with my 16-17 year old self from 1987. In no particular order, these poems will be presented in the final form I found them on computer discs discovered in an attic many years ago. This will culminate in the next entry of my Into My Own, My Story as a Writer series found here:

https://sailorpoet.com/2018/05/08/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-i-how-it-began/

https://sailorpoet.com/2018/06/14/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-ii-why-i-wrote-1986/

The Call of the Mourning (1987: Age 16)

April 25, 1987

A voice from the distance

A hollow echo within

The victory march – a funeral hymn

The call of the mourned
To the mourning:

Life is bled
Life is finished
The Lord takes away
To give again

An echo in the distance

A voice from within

A funeral hymn – Gloria

A call from the children
To the mother within:

Spare your tears
No seed will flower
The Lord takes away
To return again

Do not mourn
We are not to return
Unite our hearts
We need not mourn

In honor of the children and families of Manchester and around the world who have fallen victim to the irrational power of hatred embodied in terrorism of all brands, a favorite song of mine from 1987 performed by one of my guilty pleasures, Ariana Grande:

Over the next few weeks I will be spending time with my 16-17 year old self from 1987. In no particular order, these poems will be presented in the final form I found them on computer discs discovered in an attic many years ago. This will culminate in the next entry of my Into My Own, My Story as a Writer series found here:

https://sailorpoet.com/2018/05/08/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-i-how-it-began/

https://sailorpoet.com/2018/06/14/into-my-own-my-story-as-a-writer-part-ii-why-i-wrote-1986/