Sunday, August 4, 2013

Marigold


In summer at Weyer’s Cave, my grandmother’s garden
sifted through sunbeams in a green, fenced square beneath the screened-in porch
where in the heat of the day she would let me
sit on the cool divan and sort through the browned photographs
of my uncles, at war, thin, tan and grinning
in heated lands of lost flowers.

My grandmother’s garden had zinnias and marigolds,
blue hollyhocks, and bumblebees
amidst the cabbage, and pole beans, tomatoes.

The barn was further down the path
and further yet the little creek where my grandfather taught me to catch bream
and cook them in a skillet at breakfast with buttermilk biscuits and cow’s soft butter.
The white-washed shed held secrets of jellies, and last fall’s hams,
and a pool table.

The men we didn’t know were in the next town planning, they were, talking big,
thinking to stretch a highway and dig an airport in our Valley before another war.

But August at the farm, along the dusty lane, above the spirea,
a tomboy napped and
the sepia’d shots of brave uncles slid like dew-grass to the floor.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Starting to write, in earnest

First chapter (with many edits ahead), in rough format, four characters created, three in 1690 and one so far in 2013. A few excerpts:


Bia understood numbers and in her camp the Tutelo men from the eight hills brought her grain and hides to count and pack...


...a sound never heard as though the mountain’s high boulder had been picked up by the sky and flung in one breath through the maqiga...


Staeka dipped his hands into the cool water and as he brought them up, a red sluice covered his long fingers.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Hey, Sugar


Tangerine fur on Great White full of
steamed energy               
at three still young
bouncing, ready for the mocker who waits on spring,
three snowfalls in a row
with smoked mist rising
yellow rolling buses on the road beyond in slush
chilled No-Name Creek
morn of  the horse
searching the pasture
for new fescue after winter of teases, winter of curling by tall fires,
winter of silly slides down sloped ridges passing black birds
winking
tossing sweet balls of cream’d white
to forget the chill
to seek green tips ‘mongst flakes
to think of the next, not the then, and swim in softness
through the mist.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

at the Paddock


just a piece of a poem this time, as an illustrated short story begins to take shape:


So it was on the crispest of January days, as the air left the hills for the tall blue sky                   
that the man was amidst his chores,
into the barn and out as every other day...

Till the horse reared
And slanted her puddled eyes toward the man’s distress...

Friday, January 25, 2013

shhhhh.....

Silence
snow falling
soft steps
wishes
kisses
slip~laughing.

Hay.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Waiting Room





Women wait and watch as the afternoon begins.
At the desk, a couple signs in.
She is slight and wears a plaid wool coat; he is thin and tall.
His right hand shakes, but slightly.
A blustering and friendly cop barrels in the room from a treatment unknown.
We all smile. We know him at least from TV.
A man with white hair waits alone. His eyes shift as each person enters,
or leaves for treatment. He doesn’t make the effort to read
last year’s magazines.

There’s always a curious one. Today, a lady of grandmother’s age.
Do I know you, she says to her neighbor, who shakes his head and moves slightly rightward.
I see you at Kroger’s, right, she says to me, but I don’t.
My side is really hurting; I wish they would hurry, she says, mostly to the tiled ceiling.

We are each wrapped in worry.
Then the door from outside swings open and wind blows in a grinning young man.
He is tall, and his skin mahogany, a red scarf on his head above brown eyes and
dimpled cheeks.
Where we in the room watch each other for signs of worse maladies, the youth watches only one:
the old woman in his arms.
He carries her. He has her up high above all of us – he is tall. She is slight, and grey-haired, and
laughing.

More a burn't umber.

As they wait to sign, I remember you in my own arms, how I could only see you, and how you
also laughed.
I was fear-filled those seven years/you were brave, and together we were mostly alone on the cold trips south.
You knew sharp pain and you knew skewered looks (shame on them),
and you built a tall bridge over to the land where cartoons, superheroes and good humor reside.
We waited in a rocking chair when you were tiny and I sang You are My Sunshine.
We waited in a blank room after they told us of sorrows and pain to come.
We waited in many an emergency room along mountains dark and icy, and for test after fruitless
test.
If I had known then, I would have….But would I have?  We sit in waiting rooms to fix the
hurts, to hear news that must be good, to have someone in white make
you or me or the old man feel better.
I wouldn’t have let them hurt you as much. I wouldn’t have let them do those tests. But I would still wait with you, wait with you, wait with your chubby fingers in mine, mine shaking. You never shook.

A phone rang, and the tall young man turned his head to us. We were all watching.
Was she his mother? Surely.
Did he always carry her? We say yes.
Did she weigh on him? No more she than he. They were of one. The skin on her face faded and her long fingers grasped his warm, worn jersey.  The news waiting her – Does she know? a shallow pool of tan on her cheek.
Warm brown on brown in a room of planned lilacs and soft music.  No sorrow there. As we sat in our inward lives, the youth held the old woman in his lap, and loudly they chuckled about things at home, and what he might cook for her tonight when they returned, so tired.  Chicken and dumplings, and some kale and honey biscuits, she whispered, but we all heard and laughed with both of them.
We each were called, in time.  Her time was coming, but he carried her.  A young man, big boned, wide smile, eyes on a slight bird who needed him that day and tomorrow, too.

You too were were called in time. 
The carrying was the best part.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Sepia Days


Mid December, the golden lights. The ribbons, elves, anticipation
of joy.

Swatches of velvet, swishing crinoline, giggles.

The big guy is said to be packing treasures,
and we've all been good.

(In our way.)


But waking after she's gone,

waking as the sun hits the ridge,
waking as you know that first morning -
no more.
She's gone.

The wound drills through what once were the butterflies of hoping

into sorrows that pull our feet deep into blackened soil so far so cold
unable to get up.

Bronze filings by the farrier

in the chilled air
talking of work, children,
a horse stubborn but beloved.
The every-day that moves the minutes along.

Color was a gift they sent as an afterthought.

Cranberries, pine, cream in buckets.
Bleeding pyracantha, hollies, the reds and greens of this time of year.
Yet, brown is warmth, shades of earth 
in the basket they sent.
The umber, an unction. 

Ochre'd weeds in the faded watermelon garden.

Folded climbing once-red roses,
bowed.
Cool silence in the mountain air
as a bird cries
from the chill creek.

There is a red in sepia that cannot be defined.

Colors perhaps fairies sent
or the Natives left
before we came barreling in.

More carmine than cerise.

More thorn-punctured than rouge-swept.

Cold December'd air reaching the buried wound,

brushing, whispering what the
next morn will bring.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Green Shutters



Painting the green today, the luxuriance of hemlock,
pine – oh, the dying pine below, from
that harsh lightning of August.
Painting, thickness of green against log,
Far from the sweet white cottages of
Greenbrier
or Natchez.
But close enough to live on a ridge near those who fly
(the kestrel, Cooper’s, mocker)
who run
(the buck with fierce antlers)
who snoop
(the fox)
and guard fiercely from fighter jets and turkey buzzards and butterflies
(Great White). The green is peace here.

But the green of the door remembers other lovers without peace,
juleps near the river, in the hiding mountains,
grandmother tying the braid of a redheaded scamp in the cool of the porch
as we run to the creek, coming to a dead stop.
Shimmered, then scorched and torn.
The green of waiting for war, for summer storms, for the loss
of the one who doesn’t return.

The summer storm took green doors, shattered green shutters,
flattened Point Cadet where they had run after other wars,
where some talked in brogue of the far seas
and others in lilt of Asia,
they left to the new sea before dawn and came home after dark,
little ones jumping into hot waters, squealing on Sundays.
Shotgun house one and another,
many newly painted in greens, pinks and blues – but mostly whitewash.
Shrimp steam wafting before lunch, pusharatas and spring rolls a step apart.
Old windows reflecting oleanders.
Old men mending nets.

Then, gone.
The men, the windows, the oleanders, the squeals.

The green shutters.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

we saw Batman


It was ‘eighty-nine,
and you were six.  Your brother
and sister, off at friends’.
You couldn’t, ever really. Your oxygen stayed  that.
Your frailty slowed friend-visits
but not friend-making.

I wanna see Batman.
Can I have popcorn?
          Sure (with your one little tooth, so sore).

Perfect day for a movie.
A Wednesday, maybe.  Heated June air and the searing stole your warm huffs of
breath.
You knew your culture, better than most at any age.
Transformers, Smurfs, Nintendo, Matchbox cars.  Atari. Spidey.
Tom Cruise, Maverick, Harry and the Hendersons.
Kevin Bacon (and don’t even say it).

You and I didn’t care that people watched us as we rolled in the tank of oh-two. Their problem.
They (not all) didn’t see why we could laugh
or wait for the reward of the wide screen. They couldn’t see the origin story
of a boy who on days rare and soaring
could prevail
over all manner of evil invisible antecedent microscopic shadowy unpreventable
villains.
Your soft curved hands rubbed the velvet as I lifted you into the seat.
Cooling cycle helped you
breathe.

Thanks to Miss Ballard, you could spell ‘Batman’.
Thanks to Mrs. Haubert,
you and I had confidence.
The confidence of knowing for awhile you could walk
(she taught us that at two,
In the living room, as you crawled/hurting/smiling
and as I felt so alone,
that is, till she waltzed in with plain talk
and wide teeth, a former Sister now teacher of the forgotten she agonized,
 she abated,
she administered the elixir of affection
and regard).
The confidence of knowing for a short while you could be home,
you could go to stores,
you could go see Batman.
Thanks to your brother and sister and your friends and theirs,
you and I learned it was okay,
okay to play now.  Needles and white coats another day.
Okay to think about today, not tomorrow.
Okay to be a kid.

The missteps were many. We all tried, in our way.
The four-wheeler from your father.
Humanity from Vicky Lynn (when others didn’t come by).
Irony and chuckles from a big man who called you Bonehead (You’re a Bonehead! you’d retort.)
Your countenance was forgiveness, is
forgiveness in
your evening star.

Ruptured lives through the straits of surcease,
river rocks cold
dark depths
when you left. Like that,
into the star.

I failed you all on many days, before and after,
but on that day in
‘eighty-nine,
as the grand dark knight of promise loomed above us
and you screeched with joy
at the Joker Nicholson,
We were together,
we were happy,
you were not in pain
and breaths not stolen by the genome
bones not broken by body’s fate
breaths of yours, Andrew,
pealed and rippled across an afternoon
and  theater
we had all to ourselves.






Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Bay Coronet




You were a gift,
they said. You had been loved and spoiled.
Your brothers sold. For much.
The farm gone.

Your eyes pooled in depths of sienna.
The thin lady left.

Now, we are.
The man nuzzles you
and tells stories of rougher horses
long past, those who bit and kicked,
were abandoned.

You weren't, and are not.

Your stifle imperfect.
Your coronet crooked.
Blaze askew.
Everlasting fast.
Some 
clever stubborn obstinate pertinacious affectionate good humor
for the woman who knows nothing of
horses
but swims past the russet
into the grassy depths of a soul seeking only
a friend.