Landmarks

Landmarks

Crossing the streets of my childhood
Came rather easy
Coper red mountain
Perched up north
Helping me navigate
The hostile and unkind grounds

There it stood
Guiding without judgement
And I always found my way

Since then I’ve been lost
Drifting from place to place
Without an anchor to bring me back
Neither the desert, nor the ocean
Or the tree lined hills around this house
Settle the heart

Fleeting moments of joy
Rustling of the leaves as I close my eyes
And try to hear the past

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Congruence

Congruence or else
Beautiful people smile
Effortless as their elegance
They shine on display

Dead to suicide
homicide or else
One after the next
Lost to hanging, guns or an over dose

Suffocating in an incongruent world
And I wonder wouldn’t it be better
To see the tears and the frowns for
One may pause and ask, Are you okay?

To align the facade with the chaos hidden inside
May be the only way
Inner demons don’t bend as easily
To the curling iron
Or fit into designer clothes

Incongruent
In a world that worships power and beauty
What are the ordinary to do but pretend?
Even the extraordinary among us
succumb like the rest
Illness and despair travel to every place

Numb

Numb

Look I try but I can’t feel any more
Ten is less than seventeen
Body count I mean
Am I unfeeling when I read other news
Or browse for a new pair of shoes
America is great
And there’s profit to be made
I have this breath
Maybe the next if I’m lucky
My worries, my fears
Who will take care of me
When I fall?
Stand tall or die one death
There’s no space for your cries and pleas
This half dead half alive state
Suspended between the what ifs
Downing in news and events
Some real some fake
It doesn’t matter any more
We are just browsing
Keep you weapons
And shoot the kids
Why should we care?
America’s great and
There’s profit to be made

Door

Door

How they close it shut
The gap between them
Inches away – then
Stretches thousands of miles

Do they know when they leave
Does it?
That the two are never to meet
again – Belongings left behind
Their bags heavy with memories

They flee with the clothes on their backs
And the blue painted door
Remains, waiting
For the children to return
And play ball on the dirt covered road
Hands embracing its rounded knob
Exchanging hellos and smiles

And the door doesn’t know
When or why its horizon changed
From a tree lined street
To piles of rubble and debris
Waiting
For the door to knock
And children to come in

Detached

It was easy to not feel
Once she was cut open
Stillness took over
Soft and hard flesh – shades of red
Loops of intestine traced inch by inch
Adhesions freed
I stood there Watching
While her humanity was asleep
And what laid before me
Became a thing

Sing to me

Sing to me

I love you
A love that is close to loving life itself
Consuming every breath

Black were the walls – When you
lifted the vail letting light through
And windows appeared

I fly through not knowing
My destination – steps away
Or far places

The light remains
And I have the gift
Of loving you

I won’t back off!

Why not put your tongue into the barrel
Of the weapon you hold so dear
Defending your delusional fear
Guns don’t kill you say, people do
You are one such fucking people
A coward
There’s no honor in that

And I bet you won’t
willingly put your mouth over the barrel
Despite the fear you try to inject onto others
It is your breath and that of those around you
And your doomed offspring
Who are most vulnerable to the indiscriminate killer
you hold dear

Yet I hide behind the screen
In my fear of you
I haven’t the courage to come face to face and ask
What’s with the “Back off – gun on board” sign
on the monstrous eye sore your drive that spews
as much pollution as your hateful message
A substitute for your manhood I guess

No I don’t wish you death as you seem to wish me
But I want your guns gone
And your head examined
My right to live must come first
Over your fucking second amendment

Doubt

As I grew quieter you grew louder
There was a time in the past
when our voices matched in amplitude
We conversed over tea and gossiped
about life and destiny

Those were simpler times
Now I doubt everything and everyone
Even these very words as I put them upon the page
And the thoughts and feelings that arise
or give rise to this nonsense.

Common House Fly

An unfortunate fly
trapped in the house
I didn’t want it here
it too wanted out

Fluttering wings
It flew up too high
Only to collide
With the ceiling glass

No luck at the doors
Nor the windows
I tried to let it out
Our timing wasn’t right

Few days passed
And it dropped dead
Just to make sure
I stepped on its head

House flies
Considered to be pests
Eat feces and trash
Reducing the mess

We on the other hand
Produce and expand
Non-degradable waste

Stories mother told

Mother – today I try to remember the good
My heart throbbing from years of abuse and my mind is numb
From the neglect I’ve endured

I can’t remember your kindness
Or love. It wasn’t there
Despite what you say
While buried in your books
Or choosing your muse

Around the world Bedtime storied are told to children
Print or memories yet I recall only one
You ever told

Distant planet – a fearsome king or God
And his servant or possibly his child
She shattered his vase of precious crystals
Afraid of his rage, scattered the shards
Hence a ring circled their planet
Softening his heart

Domestic stew

Domestically inclined
Tending to chores and dishes
Linens and towels spinning in the washer
the dishes too
Chop onions and celery
Cooker fired up with chunks of meat
Sizzling and browning
As I stir
A sideway glance at the recipe
Part improvised part directed
The stories I want to tell

Floors cleaned and waxed
Windows and tables dusted
I sit in solitude
How I enjoy these moments
Sound of my heart beat
Blanket of thoughts

And I think of my predicament
This domestic life
Far from what I envisioned Years ago
A vision that despite its blurry edges
Laid a grand story
Which won’t be told
Shackled to this house
This man, these kids
To my past, my failures and defeat
The paralyzingly fear that keeps me hidden
Within these walls
Not a prison
Yet not exactly chosen
By me

Droplets

Droplets

IMG_0001
These droplets
haphazardly arranged
As musical notes
Or a set of numbers and codes
A melody

Scattered as they seem
Rolling down one by one
Merging as directed
By the maestro
They collectively triumph

Others evaporate leaving
Calcified residue on the glass.
Of the stains we leave behind
And the dust
that collects beneath

With benevolence, malice and chaos
Illusion of purpose and
A fear that links us all
Collective rolling
Down, down, down.

Men with guns

200148614-001

I am afraid of guns and men with guns
They are afraid too
Afraid of me and you
Afraid of their church
Do they worship guns, gods or both?

Seated on a the wooden bench
Books of prayer
As I scramble to find the page
Praying for peace costs nothing
Does even less

To live, to love, to pray, to hate
To kill – kill with guns

Kids grow up
at home, in schools, churches or the movie theatre
Sound of gunshot not from the screen nor those pages
When color red is not a metaphor
Nor are the words “we’re dying here”

Villains and heroes in movies
Are stunned and the deadly bullets
Don’t come from them
But from us and no one’s immune

Schoolbooks meant to teach history, progress and math
Yet they shiver covered in red
As gun plus math equals death
And otherwise heathy kids drop dead

Maybe it isn’t your gun I’m afraid of
But the rage in your tone
A tone that borders madness
The kind you blame for the violence
When you say “take it from my dead cold hands”

We are all afraid of something
Me of you, us of them
Let us work through this pain
Since with bullets there’s no gain

You needn’t fear me
The tone of my voice, color of my skin
I may have come from afar
But peace is what I seek
And haven’t but the words I speak

Maybe I needn’t fear you
If you put the gun down
And we can talk over tea
And learn Shakespeare, math and chemistry

May the sound of bullets come from the screen
Or the video games
The things you blame
Don’t make us bleed

We’ve tried your way
Let us try ours
Talking
While the children ride their bikes

I am gentle as a rose

I am

Gentle as a rose
Not just the flower, no
The plant with twisted stems, prickles and thorns

Flowers bloom and they whither
The plant growing tortuous
With a hardened exterior

From afar you wont see but the blooming flower
up close the leaves are covered
With lumps and powdery mildew

Without the rose pedals one may
Dismiss the plant with the unsightly wood
But wait a while and let the roses bloom

But there is joy

Words on a screen
and I learn a dear friend has died
A shining light dimmed too soon

Another set of words
across the screen. This time
birth of a girl

Fridays have have puzzled me
in ways more than one
Death is easy

Living is hard
He suffers no more and she
has just begun

Bicycle

And memories rush in, I
looking out the window, they
riding their bikes
Laughing
Against my loneliness and it tastes bitter
Feeling awkward in a new neighborhood

Another day and pouring rain
A knock on our door and I peek through the glass
Yellow rainboots
A girl about my age looking bold
With a big smile she says hello
“I’ve seen you ride your bike”
She invites me to join her
Some other day I whisper
I don’t know how to ride

And girls come one by one
On a sunny day with a common goal
To teach me to ride
They hold the back and I pedal
They let go and I am ok
Riding, feeling cool air brush across my face

No longer them and I
We become us
They stand on the sidewalk of our alley
Cheering on
As I do now with my kid
As my parents never did

Triumph

The eyes
Look through the darkened circles
In disbelief
They have seen lips silent to abuse
Trembling legs unwilling to run
Hands and fingers twisted in rage
But not fighting back
This collective we has endured
Defeated in shame but no more
The eyes refuse to remain locked up
In silence. They
Reach out and tear
The thin skin of the lids, cheeks, lips, tongue
Ripping through the flesh
Shredding to pieces
The walls that kept them captive
All these years. They flee
As two specs of light
Leaving the lifeless flesh behind

Horizontal Tornado

Horizontal Tornado

Have you seen a horizontal tornado?
I did
And it was horrific
As the white spinning mass of air
Appeared from the sky
An angry cloud
Coming down the highway we were on
Stretching from here to eternity it seemed
And I, shouting at the driver
Turn away, turn away
My voice quivering and shrill
As we watched horrified and helpless
Feeling the pull of the magnificent beast
To its center
With promise of demise

 

Holding on

Holding on

I hold on to you
As a baby chimpanzee holds on to its mother
Hands, feet, fingers and nails
grasping tight as life depends on it
You the conduit of pain that you are
I hold on to you
As I hold on to air, not another breath
Or the lingering scent of shit
That never quite left the carpet
Where someone deposited
A special package and I
Needed to get it replaced

 

 

Down

Suddenly autumn
And golden leafs shiver and fall
This isn’t a breeze, air
Moves quicker than thoughts
Stirring dust, trees and the clouds
My mood wants a detour
We’ve been down this path before
And I follow only to find myself
down the same rabbit hole

Ambivalence

He said “I’m growing up tomorrow”.
No! I said.
Later, much later please
When then? Tuesday?
I really hope not
Stay little a while longer

Yet he is growing up despite
my ambivalence and I
miss the small onesies and socks
How I long to hold him
curled up perfectly
against my chest

When he stopped nursing
Now the bottles are done too
With each changing diaper size
or when his little feet
No longer fit his shoe and
when his words grew

“Mommy I’m sorry I said a bad word”
What bad word?
I said “hate” yesterday
My heart …
The other day too
He’d been a handful at the restaurant
Messing around on empty tables
Little hands everywhere
Utensils, glasses, tossing napkins
My threats, pleads and bribes turning to dust

He tells me
“Sorry I sat on’nother table
I didn’t like the chicken”
And he was right it wasn’t good
I will miss that and the tantrums
The potty accidents too

I miss him as I hold
his three year old body
My back aching a little
But he curls up
with arms tucked between us
Just as he did as a baby. There
lies a tender carved out spot
where he rests his head
Over my shoulder
And his body to my chest

Fluttering Thoughts

Fluttering Thoughts

Running through fields
of butterflies
among tulips and lilies

With a wide net
set out to capture
a few

Oh no!
These fluttering thoughts
fly through the gaps

The net woven
Long long ago
loosened over the years

Yet there is
rhythm in these steps and
breath hums a melody

Apples

Apples

Grandfather bought an orchard
With apples and peaches
Cherries and pear trees
After retiring from the railroad

In a village not too far
A curmudgeon he was yet
he beamed with pride traveling
three hours each day on a bus

And grandmother every morning
resented him for leaving
She sat by the window in the evening
staring at the clock, next to it

the old black telephone
Turning the dial-wheel calling everyone
She pleaded with god “Bring him home”
As if he’d gone to war

Imagining accidents, or the unknown
and her being left alone
An anxious love that had endured decades
Then he’d open the door

Her facial features gave her away. Chin
trembling, eyes tearing
Lips letting out a sigh of relief yet
she held on to the grudge

With a tongue, well rehearsed she
unleashed harsh words scolding him, pleading
Cursing those who sold him the orchard. They
lived this every day

It was funny then. Now
it makes me sad as I remember
the small imperfect apples
Crunchy and sweet

Though I only took a few bites
around the blemishes discarding the rest
Grandfather ate apples and pears
flesh, seeds and core, nothing went to waste

Today I picked an apple from the tree
in the yard, bitting around the blemishes
It was sour and sweet. And I wished
they were here with me

IMG_8896

Futon

Futon

The old Futon is gone, with it
pieces of my past
But not the memories they last

Thick and thin, fire and ice
Long sleepless nights when
My wounds, tears and sorrow
Melted onto its comforting firm surface

It held my cats, all gone but one
Twelve years, is that a life time for a futon?
So much has happened much of it
With the futon somewhere in the background

Worn through the years and yes
peed on by the cat, a sign of affection perhaps
Now the cat is gone
It’s been a month, an eternity

I mourn the cat, I do
Still hearing his meow
Seeing him curled up on the surface of a futon
That isn’t there anymore

Cloud Gazing

IMG_8412

Cloud Gazing

The bluest sky
And clouds, luminous white
Gently disperse and gather
The mighty wind
Can’t make up its mind
And I lift my chin
To meet the bluest eyes
Unspoken words
And I feel okay
They come closer
The sky and all that it holds
Before my eyes
As if to embrace me
And hold my face
All I have to do
Is stay

December Moon (1999)

A beautiful and subtle meditation on love and longing. I hope you enjoy this elegant poem by Robert Okaji as much as I did.

O at the Edges


December Moon (1999)

If loneliness breathes,
then rain is its heart,

always falling to its lowest point
before receding. Water graces us

daily in all its forms – the slowest
drop, the line of ice on the wall,

your breath, so soft and even
in the cool night. But no one,

no thing, can fill the void of
departure. You exhale and turn

away, and the air, with its empty
arms, embraces the space

you’ve left. I feel this daily,
whenever we part. At forty-one

I’ve known you half my life
but have loved you even longer,

through the millennium’s demise
and all that preceded or follows.

The brightest moon for a century to come
is but a shadow in your light.

This first appeared on the blog in October 2015. It’s hard to believe that I wrote “December Moon” nearly eighteen years ago. Busy with books, work and life…

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For My Mother

Prairiepomes

April 17: Nocturne: Tiny Now

She is tiny now, my mother

and jokes in the morning, when

her teeth aren’t in, how she whistles

like a little bird. And i want to reach

back to the nights when

she brought the piglets in

laid them in the woodstove oven

so tiny, but she believed in them

and in that warm cradle, the spark

of life rekindled in them. How

do i cradle her? now

she is so tiny, softly

drawing nearer to

the Western Door.

This poem won’t do it.

This poem is for me

a piglet grown, with

my snout astonished

at discovery, how the power

that built a world for me still

reveals itself, blue

slight, soft, tiny.

My mother went home to God on May the 5th. I was honoured to be with her then, to recite for her the prayers she loved. One day, it will…

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Evolution

Fragments refuse to
Come together and
Make something meaningful, perhaps
These broken pieces came from
Not one, but more

And so it lays
Scattered in disarray
Longing for meaning and order
In a world that dances
To different tunes

Listening to the sound of dust
As it passes
Through invisible hands
Change is inevitable
Though its direction unknown

A Bar Mitzvah

I almost said
Ah to be thirteen again!
But my thirteen was as lousy as twelve
All the rotten years that came
and those that remain

As I watched this boy
Sing and pray words unfamiliar
With such conviction and joy
I wasn’t happy, nor sad
I felt lost and inferior

Alien indeed
Not the wardrobe
nor the strange sound of words
Majesty of the temple
or the ache in my toes

I grew up in a family
Not peasants nor lords
vast in numbers indeed
A culture with songs
Costumes, written words

At five, ten, or thirteen
Did I matter? No!
A Nuisance at best
But mostly Insignificant
and I remained low

Not belonging, this else-ness
Is a slow bitter death
Drowning in my sorrows
And the unbearable shoes, I walk
Wearing a smile so forced it hurts

A boy walks out a man
Oh so proud
and I remain
bitter, yet fairly softened
As I wish him well

This wasn’t home. I am
yet to find belonging
But as people go
This was a gracious crowd
and I have hope

Cloud of Debris

I remembered the sheep shaped cloud I saw
when I was six maybe seven
That was when the war began
Walking in a roundabout with mother
We didn’t know
the sheep shape in the sky
wasn’t benign with its pinkish glow

What do they see, kids I mean
Have they vanished?
Kidnapped by force, fire and vengeance
Trapped into precocious adults
Do they cry when one dies?
Do they play beneath the bombs?
What shapes are formed in their skies
From the debris and malice of demise

They said “mother of all bombs”
Their choice of words makes me cringe
But the wound inside
Bleeds all over, it says otherwise
Of men and their wars
Crimes washed clean with
The sound of Profit
Peace and freedom delivered
In the shape of bombs

Insomnia

The other day when
Night was merging with day and
My eyes burned for a blink yet
Dreams where nowhere to be found
I reached for a rock

By my bed. I knew
It wasn’t there
Daylight. This illusion
There is night
The rest are stories we tell

My fingers curled around and
felt its rough edges
I aimed and threw
Piercing the damned window
And the light it let through

I punctured the dawn and it burst
with dazzle and thunder
falling lifelessly as dust
Glorious darkness. Ah!
Until another day
And another set of lies

Destiny Chance

 

epigenetics_image

Destiny Chance, and
Everything in between
Senselessly beautiful
This chaos

Two seeds, same in every way
One thrives, the other not
With shriveled little roots
Leaves, though green
can’t touch the sun

Nature, nurture
and the stochastics in between
Call it God, call it not
She won’t listen

As for them and us
Some diseased, others not
Yet they assign fault and
Punish. These differences
Begin as one

Behavior and appearance
are expressions, phenotypes
What lies beneath is
Mostly unknown

Epigenetics may provide the key to understand the human condition. What batter way to seek creative inspiration than the very place where nature meets nurture? That is epigenetics in a nutshell. Here is the link to a brief article with the image above. 

Embrace

Hate
Let me trace your
Circumference
Fear seeps through the cracks
Borders are raw
Bleeding
Love won’t shatter this wall
Yet slowly penetrating
through the bricks
Planting kisses and melting
the dividing line
Embrace

On Mars

I suspect it will be nice
On Mars
With its waterless rivers
and treeless hills

I gather butterflies won’t
fly over roses
Birds won’t chirp

There won’t be
guns or terrorists
No cross to bear
No church for prayer

What bliss!
Wars not waged nor battles won
Dog not chasing the cat
Nor cat the dog

There won’t be
A you and I
Maybe an us, who knows?

And earth will be
but a distant memory
A blue planet rising
and falling when sun
dims behind shadows

In Search of Peace

Driving along
this hilly landscape
artfully sketched to perfection
Edges softened
Wind upon rain
Grass over rocks
Life breathing

Cows and deer peacefully
nibble on green
along the road they belong and I
look away when a corpse appears
in the rear view red
splattered over asphalt
May I have peace, not be disturbed
by this ghastly site

The radio hums in a distance
Suddenly near
another death or many
another bomb another suicide, I
shiver and reach to change the station
May I have peace, not be disturbed
by this sickening news

The road goes on
Shapes are shifting
Hills have flattened and gray appears
dirt frosted widows
no one peaks through
No laughter
Lifelessly breathing
Sirens and the sound of brakes screeching
as tired angry hands slam on horns, mine

Figures appear shaped
like someone I knew
They hurriedly shuffle along
Eyes drawn not onto each other
or mine
but to a screen, deafening silence
May they have peace
not be disturbed by these repulsive views

The road goes on and I
take another sip through a cherry colored straw
from a cup
as it keeps my drink chilled
delivering liquid sugar to my perched lips
Conditioned air is no match
for the molten rays attacking
through the glass
They burn my skin

I glance out the window onto a field
as vast as the hills I saw before
Upon them piles of lifeless trash
Once a chair or a television a computer perhaps
Bottles and cups with cherry colored straws
Tires, bags, wood and glass
shamelessly splattered
in an endless mass
I squint seeking the edge
nowhere to be found
Death thrives here
and I drive on
May I have peace, not be disturbed
by this alarming site

Pray looking down

In times of sorrow
Pray looking down to this land
pulsating with life

Connected these
Seemingly separate dots
People, animals and things

Gods do not hide
behind the clouds
Don’t look up

Bow down
and murmur, sing, or cry
Earth is listening

Baptized out of Religion

baptism_-_marcellinus_and_peterI’ve been
Baptized out of religion
Yet the wounds I sustained
Have lingered

Promise of ever afters
took seed
Learning rights and wrongs
With a mind too young to be freed

Forcefully fed or eagerly received
Does it matter?
In a nest beaks open
For food or poison

Dressed in white I
Immersed with hopes and resentments
and emerged to my surprise
Baptized out of religion

How Did We Arrive On This Vile Path

Black and Write

How did we arrive on this vile path

Where fiction and fantasy meet?

Justified in spewing their putrid rath

In droves before our feet.

They peddle not, in truth tis true

But little this seems to matter.

Sooner or later this stance they’ll rue

Once their illusions are shattered.

Never shall I understand the blind allure

Of a pompous and childish ass.

To lead the free world with temperament sure

There’s no room for any morass.

Dark are the days ahead for us, a once great and powerful nation.

For empires become superfluous, with righteous indignation.

~~ Dominic R. DiFrancesco ~~

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On the Origin of the Google Search Algorithm

I stumbled upon this powerful poem by Mike McGuire today and am compelled to share it here.

Fugitive Fragments

Al'Khwarizmi - the word algorithm2

Many were the Arab gifts to modern man
Wisdom of the shrewd Semitic scholars past;
Poets Rumi, Ibn ‘Arabi and Khayyam
Geometric art in rhythmic patterns vast.
Studies of the night sky with rare comet flights;
Arabesque anatomy and medicine;
Belly-dancing; sorbet; The Arabian Nights;
Algorithms and decimal ciphering.
Spreading all this knowledge, all this intellect
Like the wild Sirocco scatters grains of sand,
Learning filled the cracks so cultures could connect
Such were gifts of Arabs to Renaissance man.
Google’s algorithm searches everything;
If we search for peace perhaps we’ll share again.

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Pain remains

Memories
Peeled away yet
The flesh beneath
Still throbbing
Pain remains

Ripped out like weeds
It withered and died
But earth remembers
Pain remains

These scars
Hardly noticeable
Not knowing who
or why
Pain remains

Body renewed many times over
Not the same flesh
Yet fingers trace the spot
Where hurt once lived
Pain remains

The edge

What if there were no
tomorrows
No hope to anchor one
to soften the lows

No spring awaiting
at the edge of winter
No Sun to light
the end of night

If there wasn’t a knob
Nor a key
If there weren’t doors
to open and close

At the edge of the forest
By a lake
On a wooden bench
Shape-shifting of clouds

Hazy scenery
Muted sounds
deeply seated ache
trembling fingers

A breeze rises
From the lake
Brushing over peeks and valleys
Chiseled by passing of the years

He was old enough to know
enlightened words
In a commanding tone
Let it be known

I once knew a neurologist who struck me as wise and grand. he had dozens of kids, and his kids had dozen kids of their own. They worked together – a doctor family, living and loving life, or so it seemed.

Sure I am idealizing, paraphrasing and exaggerating my recollection of him. He did say once, when we were discussing end of life issues and incurable diseases, that simple pleasures such as sitting by a lake or in the woods and sensing the elements, sunshine, wind, sand or coolness water could be enough reason to live. Even if old and frail or terminally ill, even if he had no sight or hearing, nor the ability to walk, one could experience joy of life. I found his perspective peculiar, still do.  I’ll share (my recollection of) his words. May they speak to you. 

Thanks for reading ~ 

This Moment

The list is long and time
Runs through my fingers
No way to hold on
And so I write as
The kettle gurgles
Tea leaves swell
kissed by the boiling heat

What do I do
With this moment or the next
Thoughts,
may they bloom
As red roses in the garden

The list is long and I
Won’t tire
Not yet
Tea calls upon me

A cup nestles
perfectly in my hands
like a newborn, a lover, a kiss
I inhale and the aroma
Subtle yet profound in its familiarity
How it tickles my memories
Tenderly
Grandmother’s house
Teapot over Samovar
Touch of her hands
Flavors of childhood
Scent of heaven
Feeling of love

Taste is bitter
It is sweet
As are my memories
And my past
It lingers for a while

I am here
The list is long and time
Once again flows
Down the hill
Out of reach

Walking

The path I walk upon is painted green
Wild flowers violate, gold and white
Brush against my legs
Rolling hills seem to move
and a gentle breeze
The ground kissing my feet
This step and the next
It asks nothing of me
In all my years, it has been there
Reliably, faithfully meeting each and every step
This is not a dream
Neither domestic nor foreign
Rich or poor
Black or white
Walking
Steps upon this earth
That anchors me