Autumn came late this year, the leaves seeming to fall the same day they turn, and all at once.
For weeks you cannot walk outside without the crunch of them underfoot. Each passing car and stray breeze releases a sound like pencils scratching on vellum.
I sit outside and listen late into the chill night, trying to tie each sound to the dead leaf making it.
I know what I seek is not out here in the shadows, but the only thing inside is her broken music box, which only plays late at night when the world is still.
The quest has become consuming,
a desire to try and find meaning,
satisfaction in events of the day
and some signal there are others
who mimic our thoughts and ideals.
It is elusive, this walk upon the shore
a crusade to detect the sigh
of a lover in the mist,
to find a specific pine needle in a forest,
to detect the echoing chime of truth
in a politician’s promises.
Frustrating, this insistence on symbiosis,
maddening as the pursuit of happiness
or attempts to understand women,
fruitless as the anger which causes
us to throw pebbles at the sky.
We argue with the wind,
unable to change another’s mind,
much less the world.
the words are always more limber
in my mind than how they appear on the page
or escape from my mouth.
My son moved out today…
He packed the clothes he would need,
the books he wanted near,
his favorite mementos,
and said goodbye to his dog.
He hugged his sister, his mother,
setting his sights on new chapters and grand
excited by the anticipation
of great things to come.
While we are not sure what to do,
other than pet the dog
and avoid the empty room
at the end of the hall.
I wonder if Jacqueline appreciated
the seriousness of Andy’s study
of JFK’s assassination, or his
portrayal of her life afterward?
Did Mao find the humor
in his cartoonish caricature?
Would Marilyn be secure enough
to understand no amount of screen-
printed color could hide the glamour?
Is Campbell’s appreciative of the massive
amounts of free advertising?
Did Valerie know her bullets would alter
the tone-focus-mood of the art
as much as they altered the body
of the artist?
I know hate is unreasonable,
a waste of energy and emotion,
especially when directed against
a thing which has no emotion.
Knowing the truth of this, however,
does not prevent the rise of ire and irritation
for I do well and truly despise the river birch
which resides in my front yard.
It is an ugly thing; thin, spindly branches
which droop and hang low,
falling to the lawn more often than
a disillusioned wife drops condescending criticisms.
It exhibits no pride of appearance,
none of the majesty or mystery of its
white barked cousin, its peeling and shedding
more like a quarantined severe eczema test case.
I cuss the thing daily, scowling at the scattered
twigs and branches on the lawn,
a spiteful replenishment of what I picked up
the day before. I really hate that tree.