September 11

September 11th

How do I explain the rupture
between Then and Now.
When no Safe was Unsafe
and a September morning wasn’t filled with
Cremains and loose paper,
when only Bird Wings fluttered in the blue sky.
How do I tell you of the Fear and Grief,
Personal and Communal,
of people spirited away in dust falling from the sky
mixing with Tears that streaked on all our faces.

I wish I could explain how
our Country’s shifted Foundation
was filled with that Ash and then with desert Sand.
How we were all struck mute
as Doves became hawkish
and Hawks became harsh Patriots.
We all averted our eyes and covered our ears
as Rendition and Enhanced Interrogation
and Warrantless Wiretaps
were wrapped in Patriotic bunting.

I wish I could understand how the new normal
is now just NORMAL –
the shoeless shuffle in airports,
the suspicion of brown skin,
the lilting accents that are now ominous.
And how that September morning,
‘The War against Terror’-
(And it was our TERROR)
is now just another chapter
in high school History books,
dry as Ash and hot desert Sand.

*** A reposting from several years ago. 9/11 still brings me to tears.

Memorial Day 2015

Memorial Day at the Lake

I like a day set aside for remembering. It’s not as if I don’t think of those that are no longer with us on other days, but this day is singular – a Day of Remembrance.

Our families veterans include great-grand fathers, my Gresham grandfather, great uncles, uncles, cousins, my Dad and my husband. All served their country in wars and peace.

I have a friend whose family and community still gather at the cemetery for the day, to sweep away the leaves and debris from the graves. They visit and clean the headstones, replacing the faded flowers with fresh wreaths, plastic or silk flowers. If there are graves no longer visited, these are not forgotten, they are tended and swept and cleaned too as a grace to those that went before. Then the families will picnic on the grounds, tell stories and laugh as they remember.

This tradition speaks to me. There are times I wish our family had not spread out across the country and we could come together on a singular day to tell stories and clean gravestones, leaving fresh bouquets for our loved ones.

I like the idea of this renewal of ties to the dead. They are always with us and this morning I am remembering those that have gone before me: my grandparents, the Allens and the Greshams, my great grandmother, LaLocke, my beloved Dad, my great nephew, Gabriel, a beloved friend’s daughter, my husband’s father,Pop, Aunt Toni, Aunt Nonie, Uncle Marty and Aunt Carol. So many friends and loved ones to remember, tell their stories and with laughter and love, keep their memories alive.

And, today especially, we remember my beloved niece’s brother in law, Lance Corporal Phillip Vinnedge, killed in Afghanistan in 2010.

I leave flowers for them all.
wild roses

For my brother, John

Crescent Moon and Venus 8-2012

For My Brother, John

In the pale light of the crescent moon,
I wait-
thinking of our childhood.
How you look like our father,
but not really.
You always have just looked like yourself.
I have a sister’s pride and sadness-
your life of pagentry and bluegrass,
dealing with problems of philosophy and letters-
how did you get to be such a man?
But really you were this man
from the time you were born.

-I have no memory of that –

Our brother – the triad of our siblinghood-
our brother’s birth is etched on my memory
in the scent of carnations
and the color of sunsets.

But not you.
You were always a part of me-
a precious conundrum.

And so I wait
in the half light of the crescent moon.
Waiting for your headlights to stream down the ridge,
for you to be here
as you always have been-

I wait.

*** This is a poem written several years ago while waiting for my younger brother to arrive. It has been revised for the dVerse prompt for today to write of brothers or brotherhood.
I have two younger brothers. I was 16 months old when John was born and Frank was born 18 months after that. We have been and remain close.
I am blessed to have these two remarkable men in my life.

The Prodigal

She’ll get her back up if you ask her about it –
that life before
when she left home and ran around.
But she never says a word
and shoos you away from the porch
if you keep on pesterin’ her.

We all know the story
but never get to hear the juicy details
of those high livin’days.
And the stories of when she came home-
bruised and barefoot,
no better than the pigs in the sty.
They ran all the way down the road
past the mailboxes
when they saw her-
wrapped her in their best cotton sheets
and covered her hair in honey.
Calling all the neighbors,
they butchered their prize hog
and we ate like kings,
all the sweet meat and greens and potato salad
we could hold.
And, my, oh my, that coconut cake.

But that’s not what I want to tell you.

Ever since then
she’s kept to herself,
minding her daddy til he passed
and now her mamma,
tied to this porch like there was a chain on her,
never uttering a solitary word of regret.

Or remorse neither.

She lived her life, some say,
in those wild and runabout years,
and now she’s paying for it.

But she’ll never say a thing –
not a solitary word.

that night

March evening storm

Is that the wind
or bird wings against the glass?

Inconstant wind,
like hands that never entwine,
just move lovingly through my hair.

The wind moved that night,
filled with righteous violence.
Cyclonic angels fierce in their mission,
swirling songs from their twisted throats
singing to souls of houses and trees,
lifted in rapture.

That night, I followed the wind
then it twisted and chased me
all the way to your door.
But you had gone-
all that was left
was that not-you,
windless.

Is that the wind
or bird wings against the glass?
Foolish bird.
Foolish wind.

*** For dVerse prompt tonight, we are chasing the wind. Hold onto your hats and join in!

My Beautiful Bath

bathroom 8

bathroom 7

My beautiful bathroom is complete!

It is a jewel of seaglass and the pale gray of driftwood, and the color of stillness. I am thrilled at the outcome of this long planned and long awaited project.

With many thanks, hugs and kisses for Pete Gleason, musician, friend and bathroom remodeler extraordinaire and my wonderful, hard working and loving husband, Bob. They both took my vision and created this most beautiful of rooms.

The square footage is tiny and there is no way to expand, so every inch was used. The only things that remain from its previous beige existence are the white china towel holders and the bathtub itself. Three and 1/2 walls are now 12×24 gray porcelain tiles with a ribbon of frosted glass inlay mosaic tiles the colors of sea glass. The wall left is clad in 3/4 inch wood paneling in a taller than usual wainscoting and a new wooden door with lots of personality are all painted Silent White to match the new vanity.

White marble is used on the counter top of the new vanity as well as the trim and baseboards. I took a tip from HGTV and used marble floor thresholds as the baseboards. And it is just the prettiest thing I ever saw!

Brushed nickel fixtures, lighting and door hardware add to the beauty of this calming and soothing room.

And the little cabinet is a great find from an antique store in Ozark, MO. It is a dental cabinet constructed entirely from wooden fruit crates. It has tiny drawers inside the right door, made for the tools and implements needed for a dentist in the early 20th century. I painted it a pale aqua and it is adorable!

This room is a joy to behold and makes me so happy each time I walk in.

bathroom 9

bathroom 6

bathroom 5

Bathroom 2

bathroom 4

bathroom 3

Bathroom 1

Hangover

Hangover (or The Day After Valentine’s Day)

Too much chocolate and intimacy,
our emotions crowd
this small room.

The overwrought day of love and hearts
founders with the consumption.
Thank God these feasts are few and far between
and the dull days
that drift from indifference
to profundity
even in the thinnest context
lie ahead
for us to rest our heads upon.

Love will again become happily perfunctory
and satisfying
without the need for overloaded emotions
and recriminations
drying on our faces.

Too much is too much
and I willingly give back
all those candy hearts and paper doilies.

Give me the day to day
workmanship of your love,
the confection melted away
to the unsweetened morsel of us.

A Week of Love Poems – Valentine’s Day!

love birds#5 (3)
The Kitchen Song

She loves him sweet and tender
She loves him with pies and cake
She loves him with buttery little biscuits
The kind she likes to bake.

She loves him good and hearty
She loves him with beef stew
She loves him with ribs and goulash
And rich bowls of thick burgoo.

She loves him hot and spicy
She loves him with red cayenne
She loves him with jalapeno peppers
And secret recipes from the Yucatan.

She loves him dark and steamy
She loves him with coffee and cream
She loves him with Earl Grey and Oolong
And toddies spiked with Jim Beam.

She loves him in so many ways
She loves him the best she can
She loves him sweet and good and hot,
Her sweet talkin’ everlovin’ man.

— This is an old poem written for Bob as a Valentine one year. Still one of my silliest and one of our favorites.

A Week of Love Poems – Day 5

Song of Songs / There I Will Abide

I
And there I will abide
Abide seems to be a word
filled with soft meaning
and deep intent
I will abide
belong, rest, take comfort, dwell,
I will abide
withstand, endure, await, sojourn
accepting without hesitation
I will abide

II
My love is my abode
His limbs pillars of fragrant cedar
To shield me in my rest
His arms are oaks of sinew and might
Silver is on his head
Burnished and gleaming
Sapphire his eyes
More beautiful than the morning sky
His heart of precious stones
More valuable than the kings stores
He calls my name
And I am safe
My love is my love
And there I will abide