Category Archives: Memory

Formula

Life gets ahold and it herds, when all told
the work of the poem is always tenfold.

The light from the sun flickers that shimmers in gold
amidst the shade in the summer, while on a stroll.

The pleasant refinement of daisies in view.
A maddening premise, a dove to include-

across the path, fluttering, wingspan askew-
a memory blossomed and wand’ring ensued.

A relief of a notion that somewhere around
is beauty awaiting, just to be found.

Daisies and doves, and trying abounds
the poem, tenfold or so, lingers in sound.  
******************

The creative process for me is never the same. It is often chaotic, and my writing can be brought about by several different elements. With all of the unhappiness in the world – I felt constrained by disappointment, resentment, and anger. I thought something simple would help me write something today, and this formula did.
 

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Lament (a Cento)

Our one forever,

when it stole through the red gates of sunset
left over from autumn, and the dead brown grass
is yet vibrant with the cadence of the song you might have been.

No longer mired in waiting to begin.

They tell us the night means nothing,
and the candles their light the light.

Nothing is hid that once was clear,

then gone and then to come:
all the time, except the split
second, except—

What is there to say except to lament.

You live in the wrong place.

There’s no flowering time to come.

The hands fell off my watch in the night

and you counted the time
from this instant.

**********************
This Cento contains lines from the following poets: 

Kenneth Rexroth, John Koethe, Lola Ridge, Brenda Hillman, Martha Collins,  Melissa Kwasny, Katharine Tynan, Esther Louise Ruble, David Yezzi, Lena Khalaf Tuffaha, Jonathan Galassi, Michael Goldman, Robert Francis, and Lucille Clifton.

 

Caves

I never said much, but always wished more.

I often walked far, yet attended to less –

following the streams

climbing the hill

breathing the air.

I sometimes planned, yet often moved.

I always embraced, but waited alone –

catching a glimpse

grasping a hand

dancing a waltz.

I cherished the words, then let them sit idle.

I spoke them in caves, and the echoes moved on –

whispered and bluff

incarnate and gangling

encircled and sure.

I never said much, but always wished more.

 

 

Cobblestones

We played as we hopped on a path made of cobblestones,
working to miss tripping up on the wobbly ones-
teetering remnants of geological dawn.

With skips, our fortuitous leaps soon encouraged us,
daffodils blooming beside, on the precipice
jumping to miss the mud puddles along.

Darting and skipping on shiny smooth pebbles
No one would think less of us being rebels
while racing the sidewalks and adjacent lawns.

Falling about in the bluegrass and fescue
Speaking our dreams in expanse, what we cling to-
while bouncing, en-route, as the day lead us on.

Then, after our respite, we left hand-in-hand
Back to the fray of intruding demands,
the cobblestones under our feet level drawn.

And, clicking our heels in the dance of our sunset,
With light on horizons and tears in our sweat,
it’s like we were walking on air all along.

**********
Reworking an older poem from ca. 2005-6

Interval: A Cento

I was asking myself:
will I be like this? How will I manage?

Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table,
A beggar shivering in silhouette,
with a splash of vinegar:
stoic, bitter,
strangely sweet.

It never stops still for a moment, so
I try to make it internal, and every wave is charmed.

How better to drift toward another world
but with leaves falling. The leaves, a modulation
of the accumulated darkness in which
two hundred million stars have wink and glimmer needles.
Soundless, their gaps in the dark
bless the traveler and the hearth he travels to.

All the blessings
for squash, apples, carrots, and potatoes,
the milk, the wine, the honey that night pours out.

The boy who lives inside me still won’t go away.
There was a gap in things and here we are.

**********************
This cento contains lines from the following poets: Andrew Motion, Langston Hughes, Seamus Heaney, Margaret Atwood, Donald Hall, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rosemary Willey, Phillippe Delaveau, Luke Davies, Todd Davis, John Taggart, Bruce Weigl, Ron Padgett, Wendy Videlock, Howard Moss, John Hollander, Dave Lucas.

Layering

First, lay down a crumble of moments in a dish,
childhood memories and first visions evoked –
if you have them – mix them with a butter
sauce of retention.

Smear a layer of simple exuberance – whisked and sweet
over the base. Linger if you must, smoothing and spreading
a zestful meringue until it glistens reflected light.

Next will come chunks of a weightier kind.
Dropped upon the dish,
they will indent the surface.
They will disrupt your coated enthusiasm
with texture, and by themselves, will be unfulfilling.
Do not allow them to cover in total,
but position them throughout – they will later add contour
and context to your beginnings.

Prepare a lime gelatin containing your favorite morsels
of triumph (and defeat)-
One cannot come without the other-
Spoon it over the patina of your past until covered.
Cool and let it set for a time- until solid.

When removed and sliced, savor the different
complexions – the marrow and the substance in between
and within the continuous and smooth.

Add layers.

The last ones

Where the omegas light
or the zebras graze
coming to a sundown at the end
of a day, with the hues just finishing
at the edge of the page.
Come what may.

Trek down to bottom
of the waterfall,
the pool that collects and swirls
and spalls. Shapes majestic rock
to a minor crawl.
You’ve seen it all.

Walk away from
blood and tears you’ve shed,
The memory maybe still fresh,
and living in your head. Not
worth the pain or the dread.
That’s what they said.

The last ones take
a moment to decide,
to conquer and reign in the now,
the meantime. It’s true what they implied,
yet often untried.