Friday, July 14, 2006

This Time

14 July 2006, 12:16 AM

azure breeze dances
leads me through trances
of light
of color and serenity
now I can see, see more than

on the face of the waters
beckons me toward the deep
I know not what keeps me
from the edge, what keeps me
from sinking so deep I cannot

escape never crosses my mind
these days- I'd rather float free
upon the depths; discover
where they'll take me
this time

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Mattie's Magnolias

Awaiting Mattie's arrival.
10 July 2006, 7:54 PM

To the right of the porch,
a young magnolia- the southern variety-
no pink saucer bullshit.

Don't get me wrong, the saucers are beautiful.
But the great southern magnolia has no equal.
So many graceful branches merging
to a trunk of such girth
it must have evolved from multiple seedlings.

Leaves of young, matte green, healthy
and open to the sun. I wonder how I ever
preferred the watered-down saucer bullshit
to this lovely bit of southern hospitality,
like an afternoon spent on a porch-swing
twenty years ago with my grandparents
and a tall glass of iced tea on a hellish,
South Texas Sunday afternoon.

To the left and slightly back- I cannot see
its fullness- only a few aged branches
peaking out around the porch. An older specimen
I cannot call stately.

I remember how I came to prefer bullshit-prissy
saucer magnolias to a less refined variety.

Leaves are curled and waxy; darker, muted
green in places, yellow in others
with all the markings of a ripe, brown banana.
Foliage less dense, unarguably less attractive.

Halts the mind, mid-critique:

How easily one abandons
a thing no longer beautiful as it once was,
though still alive,
which in proper time gave joy of a kind;
in proper time would bring joy of another
if one could be found to receive the gift,

not unlike my grandmother
a decade ago, standing outside on the driveway
in a cotton dress waving, watching us disappear
around the corner. She stood there without fail
beside my blue coverall-clad granddad in the South
Texas heat. They never once considered
going inside before their granddaughter
was out of sight.

She is no less lovelynow,
sitting in her rocking chair, alone
except for the cats, hair discolored,
wits less poignant, a little worse for wear
after decades spent in that damned heat.

I steal another glance at the aged magnolia
as I wonder when last I saw my grandmother,
bearing no less love in her growing frailty,
standing in the sun, waving goodbye to me.


Awaiting Mattie's arrival.
10 July 2006, 6:43 PM

Concrete is hard on a body,
regardless of it's berth; harder,
I'd argue, on skinny folk, those of us
with too little padding to ward off
discomfort of bone and solid, unforgiving
cement pressing hard against skin.

The sound of engines roaring
down a main drag that isn't Main Street
jerks me to attention every time.

Time... what time is it?
Where the hell are they?

No matter.

I'm sure to be thoroughly bug-bitten
by the time they arrive- more alive
for all the slap-and-scratch
keeping me alert, present, and waiting.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Back in Time for Vespers

On the Sheltowee Trail II
8 July 2006, 10:13 PM

We wanted to be back in time for Vespers,
so we set off early, though not as early
as we’d planned. We packed into vans
and headed to the Gorge.

It was a strange but beautiful slice of Paradise.
A little Nora for while, then all consented
to a blast from the past, immersing ourselves
in the King of Pop as my son danced to a song
he’d never heard… He’s still singing
about how really, really bad he is.

A supposed-quarter-closer-to-a-full-mile hike
to the swimming hole, a morning well spent
jumping off two-story boulders to an icy-cold
river below; swinging on a rope whose integrity
was as questionable as the potability of the water
into which we flung ourselves; of which all received
a fair mouth-full or two.

Smooth, flat rocks were good for the getting.
Several found their ways across the water hole
to a new resting place beside the boulder.
Perhaps they will not see the light again,
but no more glorious end may be found
for a well-worn skipping-stone, skimming dizzily
across murky waters so fast the one who hurled
could not quite count the skips from shore
to Sheltowee boulder.

We wanted to be back in time for Vespers,
so in the early afternoon we set out to hike
a five mile hike, kids-in-tow, on the Sheltowee.

Queen of the Rock-Skippers

On the Sheltowee Trail
8 July 2006, 1:35 PM

There's sand in my shoes.
That may be why they're called sandals.
Little children run this way and that,
splashing on the shores of the river.

The breeze is cool. The water, icy.
The boulder's just high enough to inspire
both terror and delight.

I think God made rocks for days like this.
He may even have made the one in my hand
to set the others in awe of me;
crown me Queen of the Rock-Skippers;
help us understand how holy it is
to laugh and play together often,
under a pale strip of blue sky
and sun's warmth, made gentler now and again
by a darkling cloud.

The trail is calling.
Noon has fallen.
Evening draws nigh,
and we want to be back in time for Vespers,
so we leave behind this corner of Paradise
to find another
as we set off on the Sheltowee Trail.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Day After

6 July 2006, 12:23 PM

I realize now and again
life isn't what I think it is.
It isn't all that bad (now).
It isn't all that good (yet).
It's altogether livable,
even enjoyable if I let it be today,
and if it is not tomorrow, it will be
the day after.

I can see now and again
the moments of annihilation
will pass if I don't hold them
too tightly. I close my eyes,
understanding the darkness
will be gone when I open them
again. I weep now, knowing
tomorrow my eyes will be dry,
red, but dry. And if they aren't
tomorrow, they will be
the day after.

Few things are permanent,
fewer still are certain
in any sense of the word.
I know at least this emptiness
is bound to find its fill.
If it does not tomorrow, it will
the day after.

Monday, July 03, 2006


Pondering something vague from the vantage point of a mood that is fleeting- how life develops into modes of complexity before we have the thought to exert any influence over it. We are often spectators in a story that does not lend itself with any success to passivity. One might at any time choose a more active role in the narrative, but once a body has resigned itself for any significant amount of time to inactivity, it is all the more difficult to rouse the senses; sharpen discernment.

George MacDonald

"Home is ever so far away in the palm of your hand, and how to get there it is of no use to tell you. But you will get there; you must get there; you have to get there. Everybody who is not at home, has to go home."

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