In Battle

If I sit small and still enough,
beneath the realm of unaided sight
I may drop among the atoms,
dance between energy and mass
searching for the days behind me.

Tip back, fall into the water

I’d even relive the worst of times
to see  familiar faces,
though we’d know the sorrow
once again of growing old,
lost in different hallways.

Tip back, fall into the water

sit small and still enough
beneath the shock and roar
of battle weary soldiers
til the terror bleeds away.

I will never reach their young hands

Rise, thrash and gasp for air
frantic enough not to care
if the bullet finds me

I will never find their frail hands
even if I sit small and still enough

a dream, a mocking laugh
filters down upon me

tip back, fall into the water

Shortwave

I return after decades
to find all changed.

The clear voices, heard with ease,
are no longer Duetsche Welle,
Radio Australia or the Beeb.
Rather, an endless panoply of hellfire hawkers
declaim heaven and despoil wallets.

Radio Havana repeats
and repeats down the dial,
a liberal sprinkling
of sedate monologuists
between Bible thumpers –
piquant contrast.

Well past midnight
I tune in again,
seek out the rare signal
fading back
then whistling in on its wave:
Fiji, Singapore, Cameroon,
a voice raised
in quavering Middle Eastern song.

The old wonder returns
at words and worlds so distant
carried to this shore
across
a tossing ocean of air.

Push Mower

A bright summer day,
I walk behind
the familiar roar
which turns

the dangerous blade,
which cuts its straight swirl
through row upon row
of inoffensive blades.

If I gaze at the green grass,
mesmerized by progress,
it could be any sunny day
of any year since my twelfth.

Grandfather James sits
under a shade tree,
observes traffic on the road,
monitors my progress.

Vincent tastes
cool well water, then returns
the porcelain cup
to its nail.

David hikes
into the east woods,
rifle at the ready
for rabbits in the underbrush.

Eternally unchanged,
they act out their lives
from the corner
of my eye

as I march forward
set on my task
of mowing down
what lies ahead.

Over Owl Creek

A walk toward
the unknown edge
where everything disappears
the light turns brown
then black
in the cool rush of wind
at my back
when I am falling
toward the center
of this earth
not surprised at the depth
but only at the wry smile
of God
like my older brother
letting go
the first time
I rode on two wheels

Baptism into Oblivion

The multitude gather,
aged and frail, bathe
in the beautiful river,
wash in forgetting
clean as any absence ever was.

Then all dissolves
to a home
which is not home.
Blank confusion
stares out at bland walls.
Worried hands work
against each other
to find … what was it? …
grasped
a mere moment before.

Behold this sleight of hand
of mind upon the self
where the wide river
shrinks to a dead cistern
and the coin never held
never drops
into an empty well
of wishes never asked.

Linguipotence

Have you heard?
Hold a raindrop.
Peel apart the petals
clasped within.

Count the flowers
tumbling down
through this long interlude
of rain.

Infinite vibrant colors
lie hidden in the clear,
in the white haze between here
and the far tree line

bereft of leaves,
clothed only in droplets
trailing down
to the brown winter ground.

Hold breath
until the spring. Watch the sky,
alternating ashen gray and blue-faced,
fade away to night.

Night after night
until the gift arrives
of warm light dappled color
glowing through the green,

rising through our shoes
and raining blossoms down.
None of it seems possible now
but that’s the word.

=====

I should be saving all these for some theoretical publication, but I never do.

For dVerse Open Link Night 129

Old Man Alone

He travels country roads
to sense
where they might have gone,
bodies passing
through the same space
if not time.

He sniffs out their thoughts,
has a conversation
with air. His eyes strain
to see as they did.
Ears perk at imagined words.

In the distance, over forest and glen,
an aircraft beacon pulses
with a simple, yet seductive
red wink, a steady, repeating voice,
“I’m here …
…………………..here …
………………………………..here …”
over his shoulder.

Its automated semaphore glow
stands in for human contact,
for the back and forth of conversation,
the steady beat
beneath half-forgotten songs.

The light is family, it is friend,
it is him
as he drifts down the road,
becomes a twinkle of tail lights
in the dusk, a memory of a man
who passed this way
a few hours ago,
long years ago,
alone.