Would I be that person again? Am I not, still? The anger that stewed within is gone, resolved with understanding. Loss weighs heaviest when dismissed. Recognized, accepted, it still lives within me, an empty space never to be filled yet always holding those who cannot be replaced.
The farthest thing from my mind when I’m chipping away at the frozen layer on my driveway on a chilly, mid-Missouri February morning that, as usual, has as much rain as snow is to wish for more of the same. But here I am on a ninety-six degree day in August crossing a Target parking lot as I wade through heat waves rising from the asphalt that remind me of that Vegas hospital parking lot in early June of ’93 after visiting Dad and thinking he’d be flying home soon – we know how that worked out – wishing I could have one of those ice-crusted snow days. Or better yet, just one more minute working beside Dad at Overland Express back in Buffalo in the ’70s with the snow blowing between the trailers and across the dock, his face just as red from the cold as it would get if he were here with me on this hot, August Missouri day.
This is my response to Day 28 at napowrimo.net, where we are asked to write a concrete poem. This may narrowly fit within the definition, as it was adapted from a poem written in verse to fit the shape of a drop of blood. (The original appears below.) I wrote it in 1998, when I was donating platelets at Roswell Park Cancer Center in Buffalo, NY. Framed, it was still hanging on the wall of the donation center when I stopped donating platelets in 2006. It was published in the hospital newsletter at the time.
Since it was written in 1998, I’ll be sure to write a poem later today, to stay current in National./Global Poetry Writing Month.
No way. Never would I name you. Ghosts. Closets. Sure we had some good times. Too good, at times. Too much drinking, not enough time spent on studies. Playing cards was not the math I needed. The physics of dominoes and falling cards did nothing for my grades. After two years, I engineered my way out of school and into the job building stereo and TV cabinets. Thanks for getting me in. Of course, you were always in control, but the boss telling me I was too smart for my own good was the best thing that could happen to me. I went on to drive trucks. And drink less. You went back to school. It was too late for me to plant those seeds. You were the wheat field. I was the crows, leaving the darkness behind. Where would I be now, if I’d stayed?
This is my response to Day 21 at napowrimo.net, in which were asked to “write a poem in which you first recall someone you used to know closely but are no longer in touch with, then a job you used to have but no longer do, and then a piece of art that you saw once and that has stuck with you over time. Finally, close the poem with an unanswerable question.” (The name can be found in the first line.)
Coincidentally, Departure, written in 2016, also uses Vincent van Gogh’s Wheat Field with Crows and touches on the same topic, although indirectly.
Listen, and you will hear soft whispers without words in the hush of wings lighter than the light that shines through them. Just as light, their homes of paper that will never know ink, nor hold the words you were not meant to hear.
This poem is my response toQuadrille #148: Papered Poems, the prompt from De Jackson at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to use a form of the word paper in a 44-word poem (excluding title), with no required meter or rhyme.
Plain sight cannot deny a truth without camouflage, your subtle brushstrokes never relying on memory hidden within the ebb and flow of life, always open to the new as it unfolds, willing an insight of what may be repeated, though never taken for granted. In chords that stroke the soul, I have seen your true self.
This poem is inspired by The Quiet Places, by Stephen Tanham. Please read the original. It’s a short read, and the source of the photo.