TwoAM Thoughts [Poem]

Awake in sleeping hours
out of focus; lying still
staring at the cold, hard ceiling
awake against my will

I close my eyes; unpeaceful
awake in unkempt hours
I toss; turning my thoughts around
the world tasting sour

Walk over to the window
and strain my eyes up to the stars
the street lights wink and steal my gaze
and flicker passing cars

Soon the ceiling blocks my vision
and I’m left to ponder walls
the walls are bland and tell no tales
I wander empty halls

My footsteps mark the hallway
underfoot the floorboards creak
and echo hollow hallowed walls
where even souls don’t speak.

Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

The Blackboard [Poem]

Erasers whirl chalk traces across blank canvas
Blurring space between words written and unwritten
Spoken and unspoken
Cascading phrases already made and unmade
Fading and unfading by the light of chalk lines
The confusing currents of meaning and unmeaning ever intertwined

Those scratched out lines are tapestries of lessons learned
and the first traces of un-thought-out thoughts revised
by many hands comprised
The secret sign language of daughters and fathers –
sons and mothers – scribbled across time’s expanses
reveling at the beauty of its own becoming history dances

These world-weary chalkboard markings are reminders
of all things under yellow sun born and re-born
the past the future mourns
but how could we be without that which was before
we are not cosmoses born of stardust alone
atop a thousand generations of history we build hallowed homes

Our land has been carved by memory waterfalls
that flung themselves down unforgiving cliff faces
making new old places
the sound of cliffs falling is a thousand years long
the waterfalls told this tale so long before we
the cliffs – in untold pieces broken – crumbled and slow returned to the sea

There are traces of those cliffs held behind our eyes
holding back a mother’s tears before her son’s grave
his name in stone engraved
stone that will crumble under the force of raindrops
and flow across forgotten stones becoming streams
that the mother can still picture her son splashing through in her wildest dreams

Almost against our will we find ourselves thrown forth
cast to the world like paint across Pollock’s easel
sequel upon sequel
our time cascades like linear waves down mountains
and the fountains of our eternal youth run dry
there is nothing at all peaceful about living knowing you will soon die

Still there is something seductive in good endings
for in eternity living loses lustre
with no strength to muster
to fend off the fear of eternal sleepless nights
when faced with the certainty of endless slumber
we lay our weary heads against the eternal blackboard and find comfort

Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

In My Father’s Eyes [Poem]

I do not remember my first-formed breath
lord willing I will not remember death
but I see tears fall in endless reprise
And I know death’s traces through other’s eyes

In my father’s eyes I see his father
encased in fine-carved oak at the altar
a too-soon sight for mine young eyes to see
amid tears poured forth in his memory

Laid there amid bright floral arrangements
this pale-cheeked and gaunt-lipped last testament
was poor proof of the true weight of the man
could this really have been part of the plan?

In my youth I had seen him move mountains
his heavy voice off hillsides resounding
his presence overflowing every room
a man too big to be held by any tomb

Even in his sickness-filled later days
his determined will shone through like sun rays
yet far stronger than his will was his soul
such that in his dying he still seemed whole

In the hollow walls of that common church
on hard-wood pews we sat solemnly perched
bearing witness to an uncommon man
while ghosts of teardrops down somber cheeks ran

Cars processed silently down misty streets
to watch his body laid to final peace
In that steady stream of cars I was sure
all those tasked with remembering him were

My eyes were dry as we followed him there
so that a better witness might I bear
the vision of him laid to rest in earth
the end of a cycle set at his birth

Returning home to deep gloom we succumbed
as from the domain of death had we come
though I’d seen him rest on that well-cared lawn
not til later did I believe him gone

Expecting from the door to come a knock
as though he were merely out for a walk
and was guided home by heavenly route
the empty door was a poor substitute

By degrees our lives slowly moved onward
Though our lasting truths were surely altered
between the past and us are many ties
I see his father in my father’s eyes

Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash