like books

I.

I have been reading
books about people
since I was ten. Then —
comprehension expanding — 
growing, to become
understanding of
people like books
since I was twenty.

At thirty, I could find
the villain in the story —
the hero
always a too-pristine-
perfect-caricature
of reality — the bad guy
realistically-real.

At forty, I picked you
off the shelf
of the world, opened
the last page
and started
reading the story
backwards.

II.

Playing at detective,
sifting through
the last pieces of familiar
before they start to fade.

Not so much
sentimental-nostalgic . . .
those people
those days
that life

forever gone – old ghosts
attached to my shoulders.
Muscles strain, dip
under the weight
as old smiles fade.

When the answers come
I will be
too old to live them.

I carry this
fatalistic understanding
tossed over my shoulder,
held tight like books,
in a coarse-woven rucksack. 

~Winter 2011

 

 

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from this invisible room

Last one standing
out of all those masses
that failed the tests
weren’t tough enough
for the mind-games,
were too strong to stay
through the mind-games
that I survived, endured.

Sitting alone in a hotel room,
over a thousand miles from home.
A hard-won victory dissipating
into a stark aloneness, cold

mirrored futility —
an old much-used bed,
fake art-deco reproduction,
mauve carpet, 70’s flower
printed curtains —

a train rattles by on the track
across the road
from this invisible room
in someone else’s world.


All the gypsies
packed and gone by noon
after knocks on the door and
“goodbyes” and “see ya’s” yelled
on the way to their cars.

I am leaving tomorrow
but for good (I think) on
to another band of gypsies —
Simple rules, no confusion.
No mind games to win
or lose — no awards
were given anyway. Was
it even a win? How to know?

~2008 in Pryor, Oklahoma

Yesterday

~for my Sister

The door
to yesterday opens —
creaks at the hinges.

In another time
we are sitting, playing
in burnished sand —
barely-born, fresh presence,
two toddlers, laughing

into growing, into years later
we will run
past the familiar
in search of more.

***

The dilapidated bridge —
the one we walked
across into freedom —
still stands.

Straw-thatch, mud-glue
built across
dangerous-deep
ravines of memory —

We agree
never look down
never look back
march forward

Forget
those long dusty days
when we
were still children.

Forget
every smile we lost
every tear we cried.
It’s only water across skin,
nothing more.

October 2011

Artwork, Final Destination, by Photodream Art. By Den Bosch, Noord Brabant – Netherlands. Please visit here to see more about this artist and to see other artwork.

Paucis Verbis 1-16-2009

Paucis Verbis is Latin for in a few words or powerful word. I found this little entry in a dictionary years ago and was mesmerized. I was a struggling writer at the time, just two years of writing for publication under my belt, trying to find new and interesting words and phrases to jog and inspire my mind. Reading dictionaries and quotes has long been a favorite form of mental stimulation for me – yes, I know it’s sort of geeky, but it works and leads to a varied vocabulary! The little Latin translation eventually became the title for a poem (one successfully published) and is still a reminder of word-power to me.

Words are powerful – they seek to translate emotion, feelings, thoughts, and all those other truly inexpressible aspects of being human. They often fall short of true and accurate translation, become tangled in connotations and individual schema’s, or turn into weapons that strike with deadly accuracy and pain. Little words, big meanings. Paucis Verbis…Powerful Word.