A dear friend has told me that I do not write poems, I write prose with funny line breaks. I think he’s right. So I do not call these things poems, just…bits. Pieces are my reflections on friends, events, my take on the craft of writing, and more.
The old barn sags with memories of horses. A skeleton key hangs in the gloom—what needed opening is lost. Cracked and dull a harness clings to horsehairs like an old woman clings to mementos of a useful life.
Displacing horses— descendants of Model T left stains in forever dark circles on the cement floor. Listen! All that is gone is here. Dust in streams of light.
"He wept, they say, when told of my death. I always wondered why." -Lazarus 40 AD-
"Lazarus, come forth!" shattered his hope. Warm light replaced by cold stone and death-cave stench.
He struggled to sit up (the command still pulsed through the sharp edges of broken time) difficult bound as he was from head to toe in linen strips difficult to sit to stand to shuffle toward the dusty shaft of common Judean light hardly knowing if he was coming or going.
Through a sagging strip he spied his famous friend arms outstretched voice still echoing through the Valley of the Dead.
He thought The crowds must be inured to mere healing fast food and traversing water without a boat. Ah. Well. Death has made me cynical.
They unwrapped him and washed him gave him his robe and his old job back.
Lazarus shrugged and waited for the years to pass.
Leap of fish- faint slip of sound as scales break the surface pane. Head arcs toward tail. Petite armor plates shoot rainbow sparks. This ignition of fin to flame can only happen when, unfiltered through wet, sun hits fish-hide. Is this why they jump—to hold perfect form in light and color a moment high in the element of death for a fish?
Old barns and empty sheds hold most of what you need to know of your uncles. In the doorframe rows of knife-nicks mark the growth of Jesse, Dale, and Jim.
Tacked to a low beam like tenacious last leaves of autumn—sepia photos of little boys grinning in home-cut hair and hand-me-down clothes.
Under the stained and rutted workbench, safe in a tin box for half a century—leavings: a pack of yellowed cigarette papers two steelies a fish hook and home-made fly a skeleton key three limp, smudged ticket stubs to a movie show a shell casing a rusted pocket knife a guitar pick and a chipped arrow-head that look oddly related.
Last night I dreamed of tigers- or maybe only one- smashing through doors and gates and gates. She leapt up the side of my house and hung there, roaring, her claws hooked through the window screen which gave and she pulled herself through. I’m just a breath ahead of her hot roar, her scythe teeth, hammer paws- and claws that will rake places in dreamtime already scarred in real time- a reversing of scare and scar that amuses me, awake, as some profound, unsharable joke. Tonight, I will let her catch me.