Monday, June 18, 2018

What You Leave Behind


There is a tree
In Cheeseman Park, Denver
That I carved my initials into.

I want you to find it
And ask the tree
To not think less of me.
The unfortunate truth
Is that we are all scarred
So, look for the tree
And maybe you will know a little more of me.

Colorado was a wild tumbleweed waystation
And I was focused on my shallower self
Swiss army knife in hand
With no concern, not much
For your skin
I just wanted to memorialize in the smooth bark
Those moments...
Make them come to full stop.

I had faith in your grey skin
That it would heal strong and bare witness
And that you would curate my marks

Truth be known at this stop down the line
That those marks mean less
Than the whole of the tree
Its persistent living and generous breathing
As trees are nothing
If not tolerant gifts
To you and me.





Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Soda at Panera

Standing at the drink machine in Panera
The little girl and her mother choose a beverage.
To the mother it is a simple act,
One of hundreds she does daily.
It brings her no pleasure;
With an audible sigh
She fills their cups while
Her mind hassles with other expectation
As she juggles her near future.

The little girl
Her pigtailed progeny
Who shadows her mother's left hip
Must see this machine as a small wonder:
A gushing god of endless sweetness
Just out of reach.

But in her young imagination
It will be hers
Someday
It's the way of the world, 
Hers
When she reaches the moment
That money and means are within grasp.

It’s a simple dream
It’s the American Dream
Where the streets are paved in plenty
And fountains flow in pleasing draughts.

I am both charmed and frightened.
I wish for her a stoppage of time
Where she might dwell
In which her desires are within easy reach
And each day ends
Bear in arms
Tucked in her bed where
The sheets are cool and smooth as glass
And the pleasures are within easy reach
And the prices are simple.

World without end,
Amen.




Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Must

This day and I
Are trying to meet somewhere in the middle
And I am having a difficult time keeping up
My end of the deal.
The day presents itself benignly
Despite what attributions I give it.

It is rainy and cold.  So what, it might say?

If I was a judge I would find you guilty 
Of malicious precipitation, say I.

But there are no back room deals to be had here
So make of it what you can.

Keep your grip.  You must, must, 
The chorus of mothers’ cautions.

I do offer in my defense 
The school dream from the night before,
Classic and chaotic:
I can’t find my clothes, can’t seem to deal with
Putting on my pants
And I’m late, White Rabbit late.

Funny,
But it doesn’t feel that way.
And it sets an anxious tone
One that spawns from mind and marrow
And grips me too and won’t let go.
It does damage to the deal.

No it won’t let go
Nor will it come clear,
It is slightly repellent
Yet I hold it dear.

But why?!

A shower will not scrub it off
Coffee will not change its pace.
Food fails
Friends flounder
And the waitress looks at me
As if to say
Sir, you seem quite insane,
As I ask for pepperoni toast
Instead of pumpernickel.

My only response to her unspoken truth
Is to over tip
(Such acts might seem quite normal?)
And seek the lesson
Elsewhere being taght
In my murky middle.

It’s right there I’d like to think.
It’s right there.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Dragonfly



I have no real business here
And neither do you, or so it seems.
We both chose to sit and bask
In the early morning sun
Warm against the cool of the night
Now waning.

 I commend you on your choice of perch
A new leaf on the rhododendron
That offers a view of its blossoms
On this day of their fading glory
Soon to wilt beyond the punky pink
Which they are not shy to show.

I wish you to find your way
To the nearby frog pond
Where I hope for you the water is just right
So that you may drop in a small raft of eggs
Your progeny to carry on there
The life aquatic
So brilliant, your kind
Who will later burst from that water world
And fly free and fast among your aerial allies.

There is a shift
In wind and light
In thought and purpose
And together we both rise
And move on into our day
Seeking to find the next best thing.


Sunday, May 27, 2018

A Brief Lesson

My house was such
That I could stand at the sink
Wash a cup clean
And enjoy the view
Out the window,
To the bird feeders
And across the yard,
To the frosted garden and the forest beyond.
The birds and I had an arrangement:
I would feed them
And they would show themselves,
Feather and bill
So I could get a closer look
From the comfort of my kitchen vantage.
It was a unilateral accord:
I, the master of my domain
That of seed and suet
They, driven by the sirens call of feed
That offered sustenance and survival.

Winter, not caring, took as well as it gave.

Chickadees were cheer for me
As winter took from me as well
And I could find some comfort
In their incessant energy and lust for life.

The woodpeckers
Stiff tail-feathered
And hammer headed
Feed their furnaces with globs
Of suet
A suitable substitute for
Beetle grubs and dormant moths.

And the mourning doves
Shuffled and strutted across the ground
Now and then puffing their rosy breasts
A prelude to the more formal dance
They held each springtime here.

Swift of wing
But slow of foot,
They showed themselves to the hawk
Who had perched along the tree line.
Waiting unseen
Driven by the itch of instinct
It swooped down
Talons aimed deadly at the dove
Who had turned to harvest a seed,
The last it would ever taste.
There was a small thump and a shower of feathers, then
With powerful pumps of its muscular wings
The hawk lifted its prize
To dine al fresco
On some nearby perch in privacy.

By the time I had dropped my cup
This moment had passed,
Perhaps in a heartbeat
Or two.
There was nothing to be done,
Except for the heavy lifting,
Nothing to consider
But the moment
Between dove and hawk
And carry it with me
Throughout my days.






Friday, May 25, 2018

How Was Your Day?

You’ve got to keep an eye on the morning
Or it will slip away.
The robins know this
Their mamas taught them about the early bird…
You might know that when you get up to get
Another cup of coffee
That the grass will have grown another inch
There’s no stopping this cavalcade
So, ignore it at your peril. 

And while you’re at it
Keep a close watch on the afternoon
‘cause just a blink and it's gone.
Gone gone.
String them together
And you’ll miss the entire week.
Then you’ll need a note for your teacher
Just to get back in the game.
There is only so much sunshine to go around
And moments to take off your shoes
And reconnect with your toes,
Even if you didn’t realize that you
Had become undone.

And the evening is there for you
But for the asking
Its job is to calm and collect the day…
And you could be part of that too
Imagine dropping out of “the world”
And breathing in the cool collection 
Of all that gathered and grew?

The night might be seen as the final act.
Is it the end or just the beginning?
No one knows, but it invites you to
Slip into its dark safe epilogue 
The land of letting go
And dream those dreams 
That you wish would never end.
-PS

I “wondered how tomorrow could ever follow today…”
-LZ