there are a thousand words;
wants – no real needs –
trapped in the mind
for simultaneous release.
Scattered and misdirected,
the goal – one hundred poems
to record thirty-seven years
of living and dying,
of birthing and murdering,
evaporate into empty air –
one poem, one crucial poem –
and I have not the experience
to write the phrases.
Nothing but evaporating memories
collected from a fist full
of smeared and wrinkled medical records
recorded by reluctant doctors with no care
who might try reviewing their notes
eighteen years later when lawyers call
with questions. Or thirty-seven years later
as a quiet man tries rebuilding his past
mingling records with aged recollections
of a mother and father.
Not the wrong mother and father, neither
the right mother and father; the mother
and the father of the Mother – to late
would I ask the right questions of her.
The father? Gone – willingly faded
into the dust he so oft claimed
his due as an inadequate father –
pallid excuses from a man
who has lived by excusing no one –
And still I try stitching this record
to that comment, that record
to this memory, slowly painting
an image of words distorted by time,
and discriminatory bias.
Through it all runs the master’s bow;
Perlman’s Paganini floating from
mismatched speakers in a cottage
on a dusty hill shrouded in Redwood
and Doug Fir – all a weave of sunlight
An endless restlessness so deeply seated
in my being I feel it – a physical ache,
cold, gnawing at knees and ankles
in October’s drafts as I start – stop – the same
five CDs repetitiously seeking clarity
of thought in strings which give the mind order
through orchestrated sound
always – except today.
Into this maelstrom of confused creativity,
concern, and consternation you came –
your sad, quiet calm bringing what time,
distance, detachment, thirty-thousand or more
songs could not – as if you had walked up behind me
Love, placed your hands on my shoulders,
and brought order – peace.
In our shy cautious notes tossed back and forth
over a backbone of light and copper longer
than a continent – four hours of calm, clarity –
and I can only take from you,
when I would rather offer comfort;
a hug and a shoulder,
a hand, an ear.
(Drafted for a friend :: 10-06-2009)