Posts Tagged ‘learning’

My Father’s Ghost

Posted: January 24, 2012 in My Poetry
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I dreamed I saw your ghost last night.
You seemed to have lost your head.

I followed your gaunt shuffle,
waiting for a sign;
some reason you’d come back

but you wandered, headless,
down the hallway
turned a corner and were gone.

You’d gone into your office,
so I went there too.

You weren’t there, just
your books, the newest published
a month after your death.

So many things you cared about
with passionate intensity.

The publisher asked
what we wanted done with the royalties.

Of course, they’ll fund your scholarship for
botany students with promise:
your namesake and your baby.
Plants were your only true love.

I guess you’ll live on
in leaves of various kinds.

Leafing through the pages, now
I feel your quiet presence.

Lost Time

Posted: January 7, 2012 in My Poetry
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Our hearts beat together
in intimate embrace,
reflecting each other;
infinite repetition.

Like children, we accepted
the inevitability of Us.
Too innocent to question
an impossible future.

Forgetting all decorum,
tradition or taboo,
thinking only of each other.

How can I capture that wind
with words?
It tore us apart,
limb from limb, heart from heart.

Invisible but powerful enough
to drag you from my arms;
cleave you to her
like a tornado driven splinter:
sharp and irresistible.
Too deeply imbedded
to ever be freed.

I clutched my heart in bleeding hands.
That poor, shattered mirror
reflecting nothing but distortion.

Flayed feelings, burned then buried alive.
No eulogy was spoken.
They clawed at raw earth,
clinging to hope, but
nothing can set dead love free.

Neither fire, nor silence,
that grey ice sliding down my spine,
could unearth what was gone.

I mourned the loss alone;
vigil for the broken mirror.

7 years bad luck.

Grief is
an uphill climb in sand
with no oasis in sight

Hot wind erases footprints
as if you came from nowhere.
No path to show the way.

This journey is taken alone.

Unable to find your bearings;
Maps become senseless
when blinded by harsh light.

Stumble through a world
where nothing ever changes and
everything looks the same.

Perhaps it is the same and
you’ve been walking in circles
like a dog chasing its tail.

There is no past –
not anymore.
Memories are unwelcome.
They make people nervous.

Death is so uncivilized
especially suicide.

My sister says she misses you.
I wish I could agree.

I don’t miss you.
I hardly knew you –
at least any “you” I liked or respected.

To me, you were The Bogeyman;
origin of my self-loathing.
I’m relieved that you are gone,
happy that you’re dead.

Not because
I hate you, though, and
I thank God for that.

All those nights, alone with you –
You could have been my victim too,
a bitter role-reversal.
But I made a different choice.

I rubbed your back, held your hand,
changed your bedding, clothes and diapers.
I loved you when you were helpless,
because you couldn’t love me when I was.

When you died,
I was happy that you’d escaped the pain,
free from that worn-out body.

I too, was freed:
released from a lifetime
of hate and fear;
your whipping post, no longer.

We went our separate ways,
finally at peace.
Who could ask for more?

Then why do I feel so envious
that my sister had something to miss?

That darker dawn is coming.
The light of remembered lies;
lies I was told, lies I told
to protect my innocence.

It’s gone anyway,
shattered in a hundred
different ways.

I hide in the shadowed warmth
of the old bathtub,
shower curtain half drawn
to keep out the light,
the eyes.

The lavender curtain
turns skin to bruised petals,
soft and wet,
as if from spring rain.

The faucet drips constantly,
accompanying pain.

Nothing will wash this away.

Between a breath and

the one that never follows,

you slip away;

crippled body left behind

like leaves dropped after a storm.

Forgotten, unnecessary –

marking the end of a season.

I knew a man
who used to say
“Without love,
I am nothing.”

It turns out,
he was right.

The monitor
picks up
my father’s breathing,
the occasional moan, a cough,
some swearing.

Dying is not easy.
It’s hard on him.
It’s hard on us.

Watch him wither
like a flower, cut;

first drooping,
now drying out –
becoming something else.

He wavers
in and out
of focus
like a star
too dim to clearly see.

Muttered halves
of conversations
held with people
invisible to me.

I wonder what he sees
when his eyes
turn blank
to this world.

He comes back,
eventually.
Asks for a cola,
maybe ice cream.

The simple pleasures
of childhood.

Then he turns,
curls back to that place
of lucid dreaming.
Eyes open,
but unfocused.

Like a brittle husk,
he’s mummifying
while I watch,
helpless
to stop the process.

I wouldn’t if I could.
He wants what he sees
when his eyes dim
to this world.

It must be something
good.

I spend my time
trying
to fade
into nothing,
like stars do
at dawn.

Feel the edge
I’m dropping over.
Wonder if I care.

If I’ll miss anything
when I’m no longer here.

The brush of a hand
in passing,
warm breath
on my cheek.

Indistinct burr
of voices
through the wall
I press myself
against.
Rough stone
pushes back.

I listen,
hardly breathing,
but can’t make out
the words.

You move in colors
like the night.

Submit
to my alien eyes.

This, I eat,
in remembrance of you.

You, digested,
are part of me,

but I am never part
of you.