A Yard of Tennessee

The singing tree is abuzz with pollination

Beezus kneezus

They are tuned to lawn mower and cultivators of grand design

Twirtling whistles calling attractive charps.

I hear sky calling trills and thrills with a distant dog barker- carnival style

Deep fried in a crispy batter with enough calories to kill a small town faster than Walmart

Frogs are ritting and roting a love song to be begged generations long

Chattering bamboo charms cardinal directions hovering home

Guns ranged into collapsing sound; whips cracked precisely

S-s-s-s-sisserig rus-s-s-s-s-s-stling leaves and branches

Seabird seabird seabird bird bird trill

Barn Owl haunts the blue jays battle while carpenter beezus kneezus

Mourning dove calling sadly the droning plane cruising altitude

A Year of Firsts

This is a time for lasts, as we say goodbye,

but this is also a time for intensely real firsts.

A time when the reflection upon our own mortality

comes to the forefront, peeled away into puddles of grief.

The firsts that haunt the memories

are those that ask, “How can the birds be singing?

Why does the traffic keep moving?

Don’t they realize my world just stopped?”

Like a delicate flower praying in amber

First, there are the beginnings found only at the ends,

then there are the lasts that can only be found

looking in the rear view mirror

as the year of firsts steps forward

begins.

When it first comes home that there isn’t any

physical shell to go sit with,

to hold hands with,

or look into their eyes on this day or any more other days,

the comprehension of our provisional lives

settles like “dust-we-meant-to-get-to-until-things-changed.”

The sound of their breathing or their laughter

has begun to fade and yet, they show up

unexpectedly fully present as echos of last being.

What they don’t warn anyone about

are the May 4ths, the June 13ths, and the October 27ths.

The ordinary, every day chores laden heavily

with surprisingly unpredictable waves

The first meal alone, knowing they aren’t there.

Using the last of the coffee you bought

on your last shopping trip when you didn’t know;

While there was still hope you would shop again.

Packing the clothes they used to wear catching

a whiff of their cologne

that sparked the memory of their hugs.

The realization that along with your firsts,

you also experienced unwittingly, your lasts.

All of the things that seemed so mundane,

ordinary when they were around,

even through challenges,

suddenly become

…absent.

And although they never leave us

their love woven into our cloak of shared life,

everything seems suddenly out of sync;

off kilter; out of phase,

unraveled.

When we think of the deaths of our people

The ones we knew inside and out,

We brace ourselves for the celebrations

because we’ll go through the motions

We’ll go through the first motions of knowing

with all of our people, but one, we’ll be grieving.

Whispering ‘Bless their hearts” reverently,

We’ll be eating funeral sandwiches,

served in hushed tones after the nice service.

We’ll make motions of Christmas, Thanksgiving,

their birthday, your birthday, and the first anniversaries.

It’s the days of confetti we go to like holy sacraments

feeling gawked at and sacrificial; awkwardly naked.

But smiling politely with a discreet exit

helps to survive through the first holidays.

This is a time for new beginnings, letting go of goodbyes

but this is also a time for honoring that which has been before

A time when the reflection upon our own mortality

comes to the forefront, inspired by the love

which brought blessings and comfort throughout the years.

May peace be granted to you as it has been to My loved one

Energy Raising

My hips give off special magic, they ring morning vesper bells

coaxing sinners from their beds, they call to worship at the bethel

My hands offer up a special magic, they pull miracles large or miniscule

ever a vessel, a spiritual homestead, within me always dwell.

Sing we now in loud HOSANNA! Sing we now in great HOORAH!

Create the place of holy word from your lips to the ears of your God!

Holydays

Grey skies are a time to create

A time when promises are made

Rainy days are for remembering

that love, light, and God will return.

These are the days for hope and puddled reflections.

Sunny days hold obligations

forcing outdoor commitments

“If the weather’s nice…”

Sunny days are for rejoicing,

loving uninhibited, singing praise,

gratitude for the days of rest.

Blazing Bonfire

I’m watching the orange hat man in the red flannel shirt and black gloves drink beer and toss corn hole.

His game partner is more pale of skin, wearing Lions jacket and a black hat. I suspect he is a Ryan or Chad, possibly a Todd.

The lattice fence behind them holds the picket porch at arm’s length.

A burst of laughter erupts. Orange hat guy has the orange bag that he curls in circles in his hand.

When he releases the bag at the top of the arch, his hand is like a painting in a city-scape for urban happiness.

A smolder plumes lightly with the breeze that precedes the storm threatening the evening hours.

Flap-flap hat and baseball cap are covering up the fire or adding up a larger stash.

Orange hat guy lights up a smoke. He has…HOLY BLAZES of black smoke and Christmas trees!

They’re all watching it burn. The pine tar smoke rises thick with quick and danger because the speed changed.

They’re up by the garage where I sometimes pass at night.

They’re pouring more gas. I’m slightly afraid of the large tree within wind distance from their need to burn.

Flap-flap hat guy is smoking a cigarette. He has a mustache. He reminds me of my brother and his friends before the military.

Baseball hat guy wears his brim forward and sports a full beard and mustache set neatly trimmed. Probably married.

Corn hole continues. Black and orange teams throw up-handed and across board.

Black hat dude just pissed by the garage with his back to me. His shoulders shook as he finished.

Orange hat dude paraded through the back yard with a baby in pink jacket and red polka dot dress. She flew above the fence.

Cloak of Life

I.

When I was first born, swaddled in a blanket was I

with a white cotton diaper wrapped four corner

pinned with non-fancy pink or yellow ducks (Don’t pin the baby)

plastic pants singing to my cooing grandparents.

I was cloaked in the life of infantile adoration

II.

In most neighborhoods, much like yours or yours

there is a coming of age where you must decide

the grade of sheets you wished to slumber upon

Prison grade? Military Grade? Dorm Grade? Or

Hand-me-down childhood covered in favorite cartoons?

Cloaked in hope and ambition!

III.

When you lay your head upon your lover’s breast

Thump-Thump! Thump-Thump! Thump-Thump!

Dreaming awake together of chronological success

House-Car-Kids! House-Car-Kids! House-Car-Kids!

D-d-divorce! (Like a trumpet)

Grow Old! (Like a lighthouse horn)

Remarry (Like “Jane, his Wife” from the Jetsons)

Don’t Worry, Die Happy (Like Bobby McFerrin who is inspiring AF)

Cloaked in life’s chaotic awe inspiring wonder (Like you)

IV.

The final shroud laid

body of dust beneath

Charon has been paid

tormented bequeathed

A soul’s end masquerade

buried in frozen heath

Grieve the mother’s serenade

laying the cloak of life’s wreath.