Fresh Brown Spots

Seems long ago a bottle of Brut by Faberge
On his bureau proved an advertisement campaign
Successful. I don’t know if it gave him any more
Victories on the road or anywhere else I prefer
Not to think about. Was it Joe Namath or some
Other Archetype of Men who sold it to me?

My best friend and I scoured the land
Collecting smooth stones, lucky stones,
A small one and a larger one glued together;
painted into a little dog for him, its hard
head and body garnished with seven holes
punched from paper for feet, ears, and tail.

How do we count our fathers’ birthdays?
I guess it doesn’t matter, anymore. That bottle –
Broken, empty, or lost; just an uncounted thought.
The tiny but cute creature maybe burying bones
In between boxers in the top dresser drawer.
When do we become grateful for the counting?

And when do we become grateful for the last?
At some point, the puzzles prove too difficult,
No more body parts to mend and patch with a kiss.
We still count, but now, we cart the kids. A small hand
Clasped in our own, sprinkled with fresh brown
spots, assures us of the best gifts ever given.

Sunday’s Revisit and Revision: A Greater Cause/Holy Mother (1987: Age 16)

Below is a jumbled mess of a poem originally written in April, 1987 titled A Greater Cause. This revision dates back to January, 1988, and was titled Holy Mother. The format is not intentional, but how it was saved and restored from the original floppy disc. The original poem demonstrates an early effort to reconcile my Catholic upbringing with a growing ecological awareness; a very appropriate theme to carry forward these 30 years.

All in all, it provides a fantastic test case for a Sunday’s Revisit and Revision. This week, the original revisited. Next week, a first revision.

Holy Mother There must be a greater cause On this Holy Mother We feed upon. (All the blood saturates Her skin; All the flesh fills Her lungs; All the gore eats Her stomach. The wounds change The scars still burn) Brother, Brother (Did you ask for a greater cause?) Pleased to meet you, my friend (Won’t you please?) It has been so long (Yes.) We must find a greater cause, Now Across the heavens. Holy Mother spits out parasites Buries us in Her flesh and blood We write Her funeral rite Bury Her with our flesh and blood She laughs jovially She knows we fools Ignore the Father’s judgment; Ignore His children. A family. Hear Her thunder laugh Feel Her acid tears She cries for the fallen I feel Her turn with me I feel His call within Her tears are snow Eternal blizzard- melt, melt Echo lightning words The Grand destruction What will Father say? we betray Him at night we dishonor Him at day Now we freeze Holy Mother’s sacred tears? Fallen rise! Brother, Sister Children Holy Mother, Grand Father- Believe… A greater cause.

“A Greater Cause” written: April 13, 1987
revised to “Holy Mother”: January 19, 1988

Mango

“Mangoes, get your fresh mangoes!”
The boy salesman cried out to the world
Like a vendor selling hot dogs at Fenway.
Far from the Green Monster and Pesky’s Pole,
Two lovers walked under the shade of palm trees
Their feet warmed by uncountable grains of sand
That surfed to their rest along the windward coast.

“A mango smoothie will have to wait for later,”
He commented, with grains of sand
Still left to sift between their toes.
The prevailing breeze cooled them
Into a steady pace for a long walk
That could only be measured by not
Arriving at where they don’t need to be.

“Mangoes, get your fresh mangoes!”
The boy salesman cried louder,
A few rows closer in the bleachers
Already past the fans having a pissah
With Southie pals wandering Yawkey Ave
Forgetting the name of the rookie catcher
Called-up from Pawtucket last night.

“Maybe after a burger at Kailua Kona”
She commented, low blood sugar crabs
Beginning to crawl out of hiding
In holes bored through the soft mud
Being licked by the cool blue Pacific
Like a sailor lost at sea wanting to feel
The familiar firmness of any coastline.

“Mangoes, get your fresh Mangoes!”
The boy salesman cried at the end of the row.
He dug into his pocket for two dollars, one
For the mango, one to thank the boy
And watched his retreat back up the steps
A smile wider than the crescent creeping up
Over the horizon to welcome the two lovers.

“Let’s open it and share it now, why not?”
He kissed her on the cheek, pulling her close
No need to wait any longer, the moon smiled.
With a fingernail he gently traced a seam
Around the skin to open the fruit up
Releasing the fresh aroma of juices, then
Slid his finger into the soft flesh to find the seed.

{From the archives, 2014}

Yellow Butterfly (for Emma)

Every moment gives a gift
An opportunity to see
A yellow butterfly land
On the pool deck to give
The daughter a smile
She seemed to have lost.

Happy birthday my sweet girl.

Image: Butterfly Painting – Sunflower Butterfly Yellow Gold by JQ Licensing

Posted for my good friend Chuck at The Reluctant Poet, he has been searching far and wide for this post… here you go my friend.

https://thereluctantpoetweb.wordpress.com/2017/09/04/yellow-butterfly/

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/

Peaking Through Chrysalis (with Spoken Word)

The butterfly lives
Just
The right
Length
Of time.

(Don’t we all?)

Now we are two butterflies,
Peaking through chrysalis
At a world we once ate
Now we are to pollinate.
Our eyes see God in flowers.
Our flesh carries seeds.
We stick to one another.
We have become:

A world
I cannot imagine
Without you.

Two butterflies
Dancing on air
As was
Certain.

With a nod to Tom Robbins’ Another Roadside Attraction