Stages of Decay

Today, as the old truck
rattles around the hair pin curve
on Rabbit Hill,
blue paint gleams
like a proud possession
on the one fender still intact.

The other three flap precariously
in various stages of death by rust
while Sue Hart’s old coon dog
bays mournfully at the rattling cough
from the aging engine,

then chases his tail
rather than make the long trek
to the stand of hickory trees
to chase a raccoon
that might chase back.

As Sue Hart’s father
cuts Mr. Miller’s hair,
snipping carefully
around the giant mole
on the center of his head,

Sue Hart sits in her 1950s kitchen
sipping ovaltine
from a cracked blue willow cup.
We sit on worn upholstery
at ‘Grounds for Thought’,

sipping fresh brewed hazelnut.
You look around the room
as if it were new, then down
at our reflections in the faded
formica table,  anywhere
except into my eyes.

 

Her Mother’s Jewelry Box

The hinged lid, gilded with fluted edge,
a red velvet lining remembers traces
of its early flame. The mirror, aged
and wise still does not lie; her mother’s face
is reflected in her smile.

An amethyst, an opal, a few pieces of gold,
solid, old, enduring, a strand of pearls,
demure as if brand new, three baby bracelets,
the kind hospitals used to give, each with a name
embossed on beads of pink and white.

And so the ancient box reveals
the history of a wife who failed
and no matter all the good she’d done
he worked his farm
without a son.

Empirical Rationalization or…surviving a party next door

Separate
but expanding,
our universes collide with a bang.

Kafka said he needed solitude to write..
“Not like a hermit,” he said,

“but like a dead man.”
In the reticent grave
silence must ring in one’s ears.

My neighbors
are having a party.
Expanding decibels offend.

Empiricists
say knowledge
is based on experience.

Rationalists
claim reason
is the basis of knowledge.

The experience of the music
becomes the reason for a cosmic headache.
I understand Eliot’s objective correlation.

I exist in the benefits
of both experience and reason.

There is small comfort
in knowing
that wisdom fosters restraint.

Man or Ape

Torn
between being a militant pacifist
or a boring reactionary
I read the news and weep.

Lineage
has little to do with it;
the dinner conversations
are always heated.

Ever
attentive to detail, there are nit pickers
in my history, necks stiff
from keeping their eye on the ball.

Sometimes
blinded by the light, we get down
but we seldom get it right
in this half-jungle tundra

of sinew
and synapse
and a fleeting emotion
that would bring a tear to your eye.

On the Wings of a Setting Sun

Atop the hill day makes its goodnight cry
in flame-red hues of myth and mystery,
Divine creation with a  breathy  sigh
burnishes earth in golden artistry.

Would I were that speck in majestic flight,
the wing’ed sparrow soaring high above
unfettered by melancholy twilight
nor taunted by the specters born thereof.

To feel the rush of wind beneath such wings,
to coast on currents warm with fading sun,
What makes the faith that lets the caged bird sing?
What wisdom lets a finished day be done?

Last vestiges of sun slip from my gaze
as melancholy turns to words of praise.