Sunday, September 14, 2014

THE ANXIETY OF INDEFINITE PAIN









There is an anxiety arising in my blood
It's nothing that will show up in tests
But it has begun to pester me more
than you know and it turns me to jello
Makes a meal of any words I might use
to explain away the ouch of such pain

And it is soon so agonizing it consumes
all of me, from the center out
The anguish is no light thing, no piece
of fluff...no, if I don't address it immediately,
I will be in the hospital dying before I know
quite what happened or how.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

CREATURES FRIGHTENED BY THE LIGHT













Certain creatures of the air
Frightened by the night
They came to see the world again
And perished in the light
 (Leonard Cohen - from One Night I Burned)

Attracted by the flashing lights,
The neighbours came out to see
why EMT's had come, and soon the buzz
arose as two tiny forms were carried out
"Who are they?" could be heard, and more
than once; swaddled bodies, all they saw was hair
Black as coal, they all agreed but again, whose?
The little boy they knew; he was jumping,
playing on the lawn, oblivious to his sisters'
plight, as on stretchers, so needing care
(like)certain creatures of the air.

Twin girls were taken from that house
in such poor shape; one could be forgiven
thinking they both suffered a wasting illness
But no, these near-death malnourished babes
just two years old - had been starved, and beaten too
By their parents; an action that is against all things right
Those who should have protected them most
Cared for them, kept them safe - loved, loved, loved them
Instead, they neglected them, made them frightened of light
Frightened by the night

Their father, such a coward he, called the EMT's
when one of the girls stopped breathing, he panicked
at least that's what is surmised...and oh, they tried to save
them - these girls that weighed less than a three month old
But the one whose heart had stopped needed a respirator
Her parents tried to keep her on it forever but the Drs said when
she was brain-dead, and went to court to give her peace
And even those of the parents' religion shunned them for using
it as an excuse, saying it was not ordained thus in the Koran
They came to see the world again.

Now the parents await trial and life in prison if there's justice
The other girl and her brother have been given up for good
But the angel hovers near me as if I'm her guardian now
Baby M they call this child, the one no-one looked out for
Had I known about her sooner, I would have gone to help
Had anyone know about her, there would have been a fight
But who could guess that parents would be such horror shows
To treat one child exceptionally well while letting the others die
Abused, neglected, threatened; told  little girls grew weak at night
And perished in the light.









Sunday, August 24, 2014

OF RIFTS, CLIFFS, AND BRITTLE BONE














Another day and her heart stutters and awakes
the rest of her, and that response—what is it?
Flight or fight? Yes—both most likely,
and this is just one of the things that baffles her.
One of the things for which she has no language
and in the absence of words, her longing for a cliff
grows steadily stronger as awareness of bones
becoming brittle and carriage more rickety by the hour.
She wonders at the rift that has brought her here
to this place, this state, this deplorable condition,
and how she's been able to sustain even a modicum
of sanity...
And not been carted off to a proper asylum, or a cemetery.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

TWICE STOLEN BONES









Twice stolen
bones sink 
beneath open
water, wash up
in the shallows
beneath the trestle
bridge on the way
out of town

Just finding them
makes my heart
ache with the sharp
pain of losing you
The way the mess
of nerves stay raw,
open and throbbing,
calling to a phantom limb

I stand on the bridge
sway with the wind,
rock on my heels as a
train whistles by
so close, I feel
its heat, see the
engineer's wide eyes.
I turn away
and watch
the black river
serpentine
below me...


Sunday, April 20, 2014

YOU WOULD SWEAR










Being out on the bayou at any time
is surreal, but at eventide,
when the water's surface
becomes moonlit briefly
You swear on that moss-laden
tree, there's a woman hanging
by her wrists
You blink and breathe deeply
and in that moment are
suspended in limbo
Where thoughts and nightmares
tumble over each other
You hear someone chant nearby,
then far off
Hold your breath...
Where is that tree again?
Something falls across your face
By turns you feel sick, then faint
Your reflection in the water
is paper-white
A gator splashes loud
 and you crack apart like porcelain
Now the moon's a gaudy bauble in the sky

and still you tremble

Sunday, April 6, 2014

OF COURSE YOU REMEMBER













Remember when you swung on that leather strap
over the waterfall at Niagara Falls...
I bet you, you couldn't make that swing,
You said, "watch me"
Then in a move I didn't believe you could make, you hopped
over the barrier,
Onto the unit that the custom guys use

I could see your face make that tough-guy look you do sometimes
Then you held your hand up high and I saw the diamond winking
in the light,
And you grinned, as you zipped yourself onto the line,
Folded the ring into a pleat in your jacket
Then, with all the power I know you have in your shoulders
You literally flew out over the falls, made that huge loop and then back to me...
of course, I said I'd marry you.

Monday, March 31, 2014

JACKSON SQUARE, NOLA













There is a museum
just off the square
—Presbytere—
If you have time
to visit it...
plan to;
the videos
of Katrina
will burst
upon your
consciousness
Leave you
shivering
Wondering
what it took
to heal
What strength
must be rooted
in the people
that live here—
They have been
torn apart
more than once
And know much
about mending lives...
and souls.
Identifying rows
of the dead
Laying them to rest
above ground
Dancing their
loved ones
into heaven
on a prayer
And a hymn voiced
growl.