The following three poems have been written with profound care. They are expressions of my perspective, paintings of my experiences; they are the soft beating of my heart, offered to you in a brief recording. I find myself most poetically stirred when I venture into the woods, to the shoulder of the creek, planting myself in the dirt and facing the sun for strength and touching the water for love. I hope you enjoy my watercolor words, and namaste to all.
Shoreside standing, the softly slapping water
Watching the wrinkles that wriggle upon the warping surface.
Silence seems sufficient, the shushing of the flow
Figments here of heaven, presence now of peace.
Hypnotic movement, mighty mass,
Charging downstream, steady stampede.
Entrancing entity, enamoring endlessly,
Rolling rapids, adapting adroitly.
Seamless unity, unerring serenity.
Flowing mother, moving fleetly.
I run to the river, I wave to the water.
I go along with the river, I am one with the wave.
Pocket Full of Fish Food
Pocket full of fish food, wander to the pond.
Footsteps whisper through the woods, a shushing with each stride.
A clearing breaks ahead, where the trees encircle the water,
and the cattails fringe the swampy shore like brushstrokes on a painting.
The sun leans back, the temperature crouches down,
the fish food bursts from palm to pond,
and shadows lurk beneath the murky surface,
stalking the centers of each ripple.
Trees turned autumn-hued, silence which is not silence, but
nature’s breathing—-crickets chattering, birds bellowing,
and the popping blub-blub of fish feeding upon the
niblets bobbing on the surface.
How one could sit out here until the sun subsided,
never going back—-hoping, “I never want to go back!”
Because this pocket full of fish food bargains more peace at this pond
than a pocket full of gold could ever be exchanged for at the bank.
“It’s just biscuits,”
he says, the sour scent of burnt bottoms
turning over in the kitchen.
It’s just biscuits but
the domino has already dropped,
like how you eat dessert even though
you know you’ll feel bloated later on
except instead of dessert, it’s
suffocating my ego until I’m
that knee-jerk jerk-off heckler
who is so persistent I’m persuaded
to shrink myself into a speck of dust.
It’s just biscuits and I know better,
but some days it feels more than biscuits,
more like cakes, or creme brûlée’s, or
brunch for the queen, who turns
her nose up and shakes her head sternly.
Then the timer goes off but it’s too late,
the biscuits have already merged with the metal pan,
hardening what was meant to be moist and buttery,
but rather than laugh it off, I lament my loss, my stupidity.
He says it’s just biscuits and he’s trying,
and I’m trying too, just discouraged;
eye to eye in the mirror this morning,
I told myself—-I told myself—-I told myself,
and still here I am,
the tangle in my chest as the templates of the words disappear
and I could tell myself a million mantras
but it’s baking biscuits that’s the true test.
I curse my carelessness and furl my fists,
forcing myself to see biscuits, just biscuits;
the buzzing blends into humming,
and I see how silly it is to make beasts out of biscuits,
silly to think all the work was won,
not another issue to be eschewed,
as he strokes my cheek and finally I am calmed
enough to look him in the eyes, and then
we pull the soft tops from the burnt biscuits
and savor what we can,
eating them like tufts of cotton candy.
Thank you for reading these poems. If you have enjoyed this work, please consider purchasing “dona nobis pacem” on Amazon, which is a poetry collection my friend and colleague Max Nobis curated. My poem “Eyes and Mirrors,” as well as a handful of other poets’ work, appears in this collection which is available for only $5, and all of the proceeds raised will be donated to IBH Addiction Recovery Center in Akron, Ohio. Here is a direct link: dona nobis pacem.
You may also read more poems on Slanted Spines here.