Mem’ries

monopolytennessee

The crescent moon tilts slightly

against the indigo sky

through the shadows, I move spritely

with unbidden tears I cry

I trudge the road less traveled

My warmest sweater unraveled

So I shiver in the gath’ring storm,

grief overwhelming, I MUST mourn

As daylight breaks the night

I allow my feet quick purchase in the light

A haven ahead affords me rest

I am given respite at my behest

Home is where I’m going to be

If only my mem’ries weren’t in Tennessee.

Aleppo, Syria

Omran Daqneesh
There is a little child in Aleppo born
Exploding waves of violent storm
Raging fires silently call harm
Yet the tiny child raises no alarm.
Ali Daqneesh
This is our child. Our daughter or our son
Our children have now become only one
Innocence bombed in a dawn of mourning
We heard the cries, refused the warnings.
Now we witness our barren crops dead
Help them! Somebody!
We are not what we said.

Setting down the son

I wanted to love you beyond reason

to tuck you under warm blankets

inhale the scent of your freshly bathed skin

pressing my lips to your cool forehead

stroking your hair back from your face

so I could memorize it until dawn.

I wanted to embrace you with hugs

to protect you from the angry, vengeful world

to be your advocate for justice until you spoke

your first words in defense of your right to exist

that I could offer you a vocabulary for peace

that would last throughout your lifetime

I wanted family intimacy to gestate organically

with inside jokes created with one another

stories built upon our common history

beliefs based on a mutual understanding

goals set and met together in blood-line unity

Cherished memories transmogrified into legends

BUT

I stand here holding a bin full of dusty artifacts

every imagining I’d dreamed about abandoned

discarded into a tornadic swipe of desolation

Emptied of sacredness into the seasonal winds

My love, hugs, and hope for a family with you

have perished due to your intentional self-destruction

I mourn for you as if you had passed the veil

I see evidence of you in portraits lying happily

with smiles that don’t eat your eyes with joy

except for mine which shine with implicit trust

passionate encouragement radiates towards you

so brightly that you cringed away, scalded by love

that didn’t hurt but should have flayed your skin

because that’s what you were taught by my blood

I wish you peace.

I wish you love.

I wish you happiness.

I wish you a life worth living.

I wish you to know that I’d do it all again.

Stardust and Oceans

I held your hand while stroking your cheek

Whispering to you the depth of my hearts belief

You stared blank at the ceiling but I knew you still there

When the winds stirred the curtains to brush at my hair

With rattled breath you returned to the ocean

Waving goodbye with the power of rawest emotion

Your sweet and gentle passing has erased your pain

But in doing so has increased mine, bring on the rains

Silent your breast, cooling of skin, I sat next to you so very alone.

It was a sacred privilege, an honor, to walk your stardust spirit home.

PTSD: A Lost Loved Cousin

I heard taps play over picnic grass graves.

It felt good to be remembered kindly for a day

No words of hate shouted, no reminders to my face

The forgiveness of sacrifice, seen in a different way.

I wanted to go like my brothers before me

I wanted to serve with my life, if necessary.

I wanted to be the hero that my father and my uncles are

I wanted to accept their mantle, to be their shining star.

But all I could say when I returned from that place

Was, “No more. I feel like such a disaster, such a disgrace.”

I lived in terror that tore me apart, shredded me inside out.

I couldn’t look in the mirror without hating my every doubt.

I couldn’t reach out for help, because who would understand?

That I didn’t even feel real, that I wasn’t even a man.

I was a soldier without a war.

I was lost in my inner storm.

Although I lost my life, not on the battle-field

My family still stood and by my graveside kneeled.

I heard taps play over picnic green grass graves.

It felt good to be remembered kindly, if even for a day.

The Blank Canvas

I should be painting right now, but I’m staring at the canvases lined up thinking of you instead. I say I don’t think of you, but I do. It’s usually late at night in the silence of a sleeping house. I just get the feeling that if you were here, things would be better. I mean, I know they wouldn’t be, they’d be the same, but I could talk to you about them. I could ask for your wisdom and you’d laugh at me.

“Wisdom isn’t something that can be taught,” You’d laugh. “It has to be learned. The only thing I could possibly do is guide you away from what I’ve already tried that didn’t work.” Then you’d ruffle my hair. I’d act annoyed but I wouldn’t forget.

I look at the canvas and I think, “AHA! I’ll paint you!” Because you were always so beautiful to me. So real that even my own body sometimes felt alien, unkempt, and unruly as I watched you move with grace even though your shoulders were hunched over and you shuffled your feet. I don’t know how to capture everything you meant to me. I don’t know how to not cry when I remember the jokes you told me, how you cheated at cards, your morning prayers, poker with buttons, or sauerkraut making in the basement with the family.

How can I capture the truth of what it felt like to be with you? What it meant to be the most important person in the world in a room full of people with every one of them feeling the same way. You never excluded anyone from your love. You never turned anyone away who came asking, or just to be near you. You were filled with an unending capacity that I strive to achieve because I admired it so much.

I sit here looking at the colors of paints in messy bottles, well loved paint brushes drying after last nights foray, and I wish, I just wish I could hug you again. I wish you could tell me with your heart that you love me too.I wish I could coax the colors to obey my command regarding you. But they sit as still as a stalked mouse with me the pouncing cat. The brushes feel like hammers in my hands, refusing as well to obey.

I feel you sometimes, particularly in the wee hours of the morning. It’s usually when I pour my first cup of coffee from the still brewing pot. I sit down at my table and I look at the spot where my husband and usually the guests sit. I can see you sitting there with your own cup, smiling at me. Together we take that sip and the hot bitter beauty washes my tongue with scalding hot communion. We exhale and whisper the prayer together. Then, you usually go wherever you go while I talk to my ceiling and look to the sky.

My canvas is still blank. My heart remembers you. And for no particular reason, my wish is that you hear my words, “I love you so very much.”

NaPoWriMo: Day 30, carte blanche

Dear Universe

I sit here in my PJ’s with tear stained cheeks

I wonder out loud after I got kicked again

If maybe you’d forgotten me

If there was a reason you took my best friend.

Hold on, I have to blow my nose once more

I yelled at you because you took him away

My heart is still grieving, I continue to mourn

So if you don’t mind, I’ll cry, okay?

Oh, while you’re at it, thanks for halting that career

The one I needed to stave off poverty

So we could make it through the year?

That one that would really have been good for me?

Be patient because I don’t think I’m done hurting

I know you’re sending me the big guns, tomorrow

What real issues are we skirting?

Will they be able to help me ease my grief and sorrow?

I’ll trust in you even though I’m struggling to believe

Because I’m seeing so many people who are suffering like me

Because I hear their voices crying out in riots, beds, and songs

Because I know that you can hear them, please come right the wrongs.

This world is getting harder with each day that goes by

And I’m having trouble talking to my ceiling or looking to the sky

But I’ll believe because I know that you’ve graced me in many ways

But for now, I’ll sit here crying, eating chips while sobbing in my old PJ’s.

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