Impromptu Road Trip – July 2016

img_0974Somewhere between Indiana and Ohio I take a good look at the sky. It’s immense and expansive, and so intricate with its many shades of blue. It’s the kind of sky I want to sit down and paint right here and now, though I’ve never been much of an artist and besides, we’re moving fast.

The billow of clouds cracks open to reveal a heavenly glow. Crepuscular light pierces down to till the fertile earth and the green pastures below. I wonder if the belief in God throughout the Midwest, heavy and wholesome, has something to do with these clouds. Even I am finding a drop of the divine in these celestial bodies, resting low and lazy in the sky.

We pass farmhouses and grain silos that look like miniatures, put so carefully together by giant, steady hands and model glue, painted with a tiny brush by a man who is alone but not lonely, a man who enjoys the solitude and the meditative state he enters when building his small, quiet towns.

I’m chewing a piece of gum, the original flavor that tastes like pink, trying to remember the first time I learned how to blow a bubble. I look to my mom, hands at ten and two, quiet and tired. Maybe she was the one to teach me, many years ago.

(2016)

I Will Sleep

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The door has yet to close
But the grip on the handle,
Bone-white and death-like,
Has lessened and loosed.
It has to.

I’ll never dream of fetching the stool and the noose
But I’ll weep and claw at the miserable frame
And clutch at my chest with the strangest of pains
Wedge a foot, or a finger, or two through the light
And though it’s unhealthy and isn’t quite right
That is where I’ll stay.
I’ll watch you make your way.

I’ll keep watch my darling
I’ll stay awake if I can
But one day in the distance
I will meet another man
He will see that my hand
Is still clutching the knob
He will see that my lungs
Are still stifling a sob

But he’ll see me for me
He’ll come to my aid
And though I won’t want to love yet
I’ll want to be saved

I’ll let him un-pry my palm
Let him take me to bed
And maybe by then
I can rest my sick head
By then dream unconscious
And nothing of you
I will sleep my darling
I will finally sleep
I’m asleep little darling
I hope you are too.

(photo cred to Haley D.)
(2015)

Oh, Please Don’t

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I wake
To a hurt in my hollow stomach
And a sting in my eyes,
Rusted over from the
Tears of last night,
And to you:
Still soft, still sleeping,
Still mine

Oh, please don’t stir
Or at least dream when you rise
That today is not the day
For our forced goodbyes
It’s just a Tuesday:
It’s coffee and toast
And that impossible crossword
That boils our frustrations
But we always end up laughing

We take our time dressing
But it’s too soon that we stand
Outside in the light and heat
Of a withering summer,
Front door clicking shut
Upon a house whose walls will
Get new paint within a year
Or two but I’ll never see
The fresh coat

Oh, please don’t drive me home
Let the road crumble as
The fog rolls and rumbles
Across the dash like a stampede
Of beasts bucking with
A methodical madness,
Froth on their tongues and
A need in their beaded eyes
And when it clears, a strange desert
Is framed in the windshield
And we’re lost and thankful for
The missing map

You drive too slow and
Pause too long at traffic signs
But it’s too soon that I’m home
And you won’t be staying long

We prop our exhausted mop frames
Against the garage door,
Shaking from the thought of
Loss and loneliness;
I want to meet your gaze
But my boulder head
Cannot be lifted or skipped
Like the smooth pebble it once was

Oh, please don’t turn away
Wait until a swift twist of fate
Turns the driveway to liquid cement
And we sink down to
Our quivering ankles,
Disbelief in our eyes,
But we don’t panic
And we stop our crying
As the concrete solidifies

And suddenly forever doesn’t
Seem like too much
Because as long as we’re locked
To the earth within touching distance
We can still hold on

Why did I not hold on?
Hold onto you longer
Or with a stronger grip
Like the hypothetical sluggish cement
That binds our feet?

In my wild mind I wonder and wail
And look at you for the last time
With puffed and glassy eyes
And a faucet nose,
And a weak mouth that
Cannot curl up or open
To say “Oh, please don’t go”

(2013)