I can explain why there are dozens
of dead earthworms on our drive.
I can explain, although it hurts,
why pets are so short lived.
I can try to explain,
without much success,
a grandmother you will
I can explain, or at least reiterate
what I have been taught,
the stories of death in the Bible.
But, no, child. I cannot explain
why your classmate died
with no mother living at home,
and a father’s bite marks on his arms.
I feel I should apologize for the brutality of the ending, and I am sure this is not what Victoria had in mind when asking for a “poem for a child” at dVerse,
but this is what happened last weekend.
through a moment where time
crawls — tentacles of kudzu creep
under fences, bricks disintegrate
on a vacant building, trash
accumulates in alleys, no one
notices as death cheats closer —
and everything hangs
in the balance.
Nothing is said as words become
an amalgam of gravel and glue
in my mouth. She waits,
then turns away.
The crowds are drawn to the front rooms,
footsteps echoing off the marble floors
with the muffled voices of awed visitors.
I never took to the idea of a new exhibit
in a museum, the idea being contradictory,
and the care taken to clean and arrange
the remains of history borders on the absurd.
I prefer the back rooms, the ones behind
closed doors where the tourist never go,
places where I can delve among the cobwebs
and the dust, to dwell upon the past still
uncovered in the relics and bones. True
history lies in the stuff not whisked away
by the archaeologist’s brush, the dirt you
can get beneath your fingers, the debris
you breath in while trying to smell lost
memories and dreams. I often stay here
so long I become like the mummies interred
in the storage drawers; dusty skin the color
of old parchment — too brittle to touch —
eyes eternally open while seeing nothing,
a voice locked in the vault of time. Every
puff of dust reveals an ancient answer,
and another reason for asking questions.
Margo Roby asks us to build a museum, as usual, I strayed off course.
It is a story I have heard many times,
the trials and errors of tying to recreate
a friends spaghetti sauce. Mom asked
him many times for the recipe — he did
try and tell her once, but no, that did not
work — until he finally agreed … to let
her watch. You see, he had this nasty habit
of not writing anything down,
an Italian heritage giving him
the instincts for perfect measurement
The first attempt we do not discuss —
a bitter, inedible mess — the second
we ate, but it was not right.
There were a multitudes of iterations
to follow, varying quantities of bay
leaf and cloves, onions and garlic,
time and patience. Each time
we would hear “its ok, but its not Phil’s.”
We came to know it by smell
and looked forward to spaghetti Sundays,
and she came to take pride in her
own version that she always called
I have the recipe in the spiral notebook
she gave me when I moved away,
but we usually start with sauce
from a jar and doctor it a bit
to make it good enough, accepting
the trade off between available time
and spectacular results, and knowing
there are some legends you should
not try to emulate.
You do not know me,
and make no effort to try,
instead choosing to be ruled
by unreasonable fear.
You judge me by appearance
and another’s reputation.
Perhaps, instead, you could
examine my life independent
of others of my kind,
and judge me by how
and who I love rather
than how you hate.
we seek purpose,
direction and affirmation,
seeking guidance from the signs
along the way,
mistrusting of those trying
to place us on the right path.
Most often we ignore
the simplest of truths:
even the best of maps
when the destination is unclear.
Thunder rolls around
of my consciousness,
announcing a new day
I am too sleepy
to much care,
the circles under my eyes
growing darker with
morning no longer mends
what the nightmares tear,
light no longer binds
Purpose becomes difficult
to find in a
world where the words
of the drunkard trump
those of the prophet.
and pride and ego come
before reason and love.
I will rise as expected,
though the alternative
seems the better choice.
We learned today at dVerse of the loss of a fellow Poet, David King. Brian Miller asks us for a poem celebrating friendship, or David. I did not have the pleasure of being conversant with David, but I was blessed with his comments on my work on many occasions. The below tribute is a “found” poem that is taken entirely from those comments. Even in his commenting his words were often poetic.
Well, you seem to have mastered the language,
the content suits the form,
the writing honest and
Yes, above all sad, but redeemed
by the writing,
civilized, well constructed,
obviously deeply felt
and perfectly delivered,
it should be shouted loud
from every roof top,
for I sense it will not leave me.
The point is excellently made
that needs making far more often —
I shall envy you if you do go,
for now, your poem is enough,
slightly puzzling, totally fascinating,
a tad disturbing –-
and one I shall come back to,
a spectacular achievement,
a universal dream reborn —
this captures the spirit … exactly.
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