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

Birthday

Every day is a birthday
What are years
but the collection of days
Each breath anew
Now, this moment, this day

Counting years as we do
Anxious moments at play
14,600 days
have been counted
That much is true

Will there be more?
Questions
Unanswered
This breath, now
This moment, this day

The Dead Things

The dead things
Dumb things
They have gathered with intention
Sand lays just so
As do rocks
Water flows
The leaves on the ground
Surely dead too
And the earth itself
With its soulless center
Pulling us into her embrace
Did I mention the Sun?
Febrile without a beat
It shines
All the dead things
This soulless bunch
Arranged just so
For us the wise
Thinking
Living
Shedding tears
As we rip it apart
All the lifeless things
Ask nothing of us
As we collectively
Lead to their demise

Shooting Star

Through the crystalline walls of my bedroom
I glance aimlessly
Night Sky is sliced open
Flash of light
There and it is gone
Hope blossoms again.

In search of the moon
I stumbled upon a shooting star
“I am here” I whisper
and I feel heard

Did I look for it to fall
Did it fall for me to look
No answers
yet I am content
I looked
I saw
I felt

Strawberry Winters

Strawberry winters
I traded snowflakes
Allure of red kisses
From strawberry winters
Now I miss the snow
Don’t you?

Extravagant life
Is full of nothings
A lavish mirage
As we rush nowhere
and I miss the snow
How about you?

 

Death Row

On death row
Last night of my life
Yet again
The cross-eyed victim of my crimes
Was unmoved by my plea
I waited for the lethal dose
In sheer horror
That finally woke me up
Before the end

This wasn’t the first time I dreamed about lethal injection. The first time was an end of life decision. I was waiting to be “euthanized” and I received the injection. This time, I didn’t. Both dreams felt uncomfortably real. I am still shaking …
We as people must be better than this. Better than the crimes, better than the criminals. Civility must prevail. This was a fragment of my imagination, a bizarre dream, but it is a reality for many, some of them innocent.

Beneath the Wreckage

What to do when there is nothing left?
When the all consuming sense of defeat
Penetrates through each and every thought

The neurons fire “you have lost”
Body aches, not another step
Eyes burn beneath unrelenting flood of tears
and throat bleeds and throbs
when there are no screams left

Nothing but a fist
Clasp it around a pen and let it tremble
Let it savage the paper
May it bleed
May it shred to pieces
Put the pieces together
Let it reach the pinnacle and
dim into a murmur
Let the murmur trickle down through fingers
Trembling eagerly – reluctantly
Fist embracing the pen
Ink staining the sheet
Tears soaking the paper
Let the words fall as they do

The nonsense that pairs letters, words and sounds
In such way
May have happened before
maybe not

But perhaps there is still something left
Beneath the wreckage

What fuss I make

October first it is
Feels like I have forgotten something
Something important
Yes I think it was – is
Helpless, hopeless
and I can’t remember.

Laundry,
Groceries
Dishes
Out of milk again
Untidy rooms
Piles of paper
Wash it
Fold it
Sort it
Tidy the mess

What fuss I make
Over a few unwashed bowls
When there is war, famine and disease
Flooding, drought and disaster

What fuss I make
Over these wrinkles
A few extra pounds of flesh
and my past
When my child drifts further away
into autism

And I have laundry to do
Dishes to wash
Bills to pay
Papers to sort
Hopeless, helpless
I can’t remember

Let Go

Dawn turns to dusk
Yet this day
Is not the sum of its moment
Nor this life
the sum of its days

Defying the rules
moments magnified
thoughts signified
Yet what lingers on
Is the foul one

With lasting impressions
A thousand sweet lullabies
Are forgotten
The bitter words remain
Love dissolves and hate prevails
In this confession

A thousand gentle kisses
Won’t wash away the pain
Deep through the soul
The wounds remain
Till the very end

Yet in the final act
May nothing remain
But darkness of night
And droplets of rain

Green Apple

Glancing out my widow
A green apple fell down
I didn’t think much of it
Now I wonder should I?
Did it fall for me to look
Did I look for it to fall
Uncertain as I am
I am convinced of this
The apple is no more
atop the tree
connection is severed
As for me and my past
Had I sunken my teeth
Through its ripened flesh
Perhaps then I would have been freed

Detours

I am the queen of detours
Master of distractions
My quest to be informed
Leads me nowhere
Leaves me misinformed
I gather nuisance along the way
How ironic
A mass of nothings
Bent and hunched over
Beneath its weight
I carry a world
Upon my shoulders

An empty space that holds nothing and all

I am the holder of my body
I hold my thoughts
feelings too
Cell by cell, neuron by neuron

Yet I am more
More than the words
the thoughts
the feelings

I am more than the aches and pains
the tiny wrinkles
that gather in the corners of my eyes
when I smile
I am more than this smile
these tears, words and sounds

An empty space that holds it all
and I plan to do more
so much more
with my one wild and precious life

Memories are stories we tell ourselves
I am more than my memories
More than the success and failures
than the hours, days and decades
that have passed me by

I am the sky
An empty space that holds nothings
and it holds all

Invisible friend

I thought of writing
To tell you
That you matter
To me, and
That I have missed you
Connection we had
for those few seconds
Minutes or more
The friendship felt real
Were you real?
Was I?
So I’ve decided
For those few moments
We were, you and I
You were important then
As you are now
And I’ve missed you

Trash

Human waste
Garbage bins line the streets
Trash, recycle, compost
Neatly sorted
To be deported out of sight
From our homes big and small
The rich and poor alike
we make trash
to reach the skies
and back it comes – back to us

and the waste that has pilled on inside my head
Not much to salvage
It belongs to waste
No matter how hard I try to sort it
Writing, reading, walking
Taking, singing, shouting
Packaging, labeling, burning
Suffocating, medicating, poisoning
I’ve tried it all
No pick up days
for the trash pilled up in my head
The garbage in me, stays with me

Will I learn to make less of it?
Will we?
Before it comes back – back to us

Mailbox


There is a box
That sits by the door
Always full
Full of nothings

It was once a mailbox
in it letters
written by hands
wanting to reach mine

Now the hands are tied
and the ink has dried
The distance grows
and we can’t reach anymore

Worlds apart
A mailbox full of nothings
Emptiness
What a waste

Roots

My roots are gone
But I’m still here
Plucked from my homeland

Too young to understand
Too old to forget
This is where I land

The road was long
and the trip short
Somewhere in between we came apart

Now I probe the sky
in search of the past
and I wish to fly

My roots hover above the clouds
Suspended and far
I am here shackled with chains

Haunted by the past

The night calls on me
Many happy promises
Full moon bright
Whispering sweet lullabies

But I hear the past
A blackened vortex
Deafening and incoherent
Pulls me to abyss

What crazed dreams
Haunted by fear
My malignant rage
Sheds bitter tears

The past calling me
This but a delicate light
Shattered with gust of death
It wasn’t a fair fight

Weaving a home

The spider’s web
The nuisance of it
I seemingly sweep it up
in a flash
But there is more
one more strand

What do they call
That itty-bitty thing
Hair, fiber, the last life line perhpas
The little spider in its web
Does it hate me back?

Itsy-bitsy spider
weaves herself a web
of many more strands
Undeterred by the war waged on her
and her strands

My web, my home
built on a single strand
Was swept up with a single blow
Was it the wolf?
I wonder and search the land

It is me, and us this time
We must weave again
not one, but many strands
People, spiders and wolves
Together against the faceless man

Insomnia

Where do days go
When they go?
What happens to them
When they end do they die?
What happens to night
When dawn arrives?
I know not
But my eyes track the moon
Stars and the sun
Insomnia

The rules

It is easy to break the rules
The rules that don’t make sense
To me
Growing up in a place
Where cover was a virtue for a girl
Smile was a sin
Where looking down and avoiding eye contact
Was admired
Not being noticed, not being seen

I broke the rules
Only a little
The result you ask?
More than little trouble
More than little shame
When in Rome
I didn’t do as Romans do
I still don’t

Breaking the rules that don’t make sense
Is easy for me
What if I don’t make sense ?
Do they break me?

It takes more than courage
More than a cause
To stand up to rules that don’t make sense
It takes knowledge
It takes resilience
Patience too
I don’t have much of those
But I hope some do

It isn’t enough to break the rules
To disobey them.
We must change the rules
Rule makers must change too
Though they refuse

Changing the rules
Needs many little things
More than me and you
It takes a whole bunch of us
Some stronger than others
Together is the only way
The only way to change what we do

The good news is – that it won’t last

Have you heard the news today?
The lion nursing a mouse
or the one about the puppy
Designed to make you happy

Did you hear the bad today?
An earthquake killing many
must have made you sad
The ship that drowned
cops shooting another man
and killing of a hero in Pakistan

The bad news about happiness
is that it won’t last
but worry not
The good news about sadness and outrage
is that it too goes fast

Being swung from one end to next
The pendulum goes on
puppeteers on top decide
Which way, which one

With no light of my own

I am the moon
No light of my own
But I’m not doomed

See me shine
A luminous silver glow
I am the moon

My gentle embrace
covers darkness with light
mending wounds of sorrow and heartache

I am the moon
The tiniest sliver of me
Ignites the night

and I shine
With no light of my own
I am the moon

Nothing

The one who broke nothing
Built nothing
The one who lost nothing
Gained nothing
The one who mourned no one
Loved no one
The one who tried nothing
Learned nothing

Knowing this
Doing it
living it
That is something
The most important thing of all
Yet I still sit here
timid
Pondering
Wondering
yet nothing

Beautiful Hands

My hands
I look at them
and see ugly

They were never beautiful
Not even in my prime
large knuckled short fingers
With small sunken nails

When did I learn
What beautiful was
Who decided what was desirable
Delicate white hands
With perfectly painted nails
Those were never mine

But these hands
They have held babies
Fed dogs and cats
They have cooked and cleaned
Played music
They have written and played
They have held
Onto other hands

These hands
The only ones I’ve got
How carelessly
I’ve called them ugly
Yet they haven’t failed me
These beautiful hands