I Love You In Markers

There are a number of objects that have traveled with me most of my life. I still have Tim & Tam, my two stuffed bunnies; my yellow baby blanket that I used to nicker on—a made up word for rubbing the silky edge against the nape above my lips—and the rainbow afghan that my maternal grandmother—my mimi—made for me. She’d made one for each of her eleven children, and one for each of the many grandchildren she had. There are a few others, as well, from times more near, and of other eras of my life between then and now. The meditation bell given to me by Sister Renee Richie, who had the same exact religious name as her brother, who was also a religious brother in another order. The kayak paddle that I commissioned, made of black walnut, made only with hand tools, by an anthropology teacher who considers his alter ego to be Captain Jack Sparrow. A petoskey stone that Dave gave me from one of his adventures, same as he has relics of my adventures. A leather hacky sack, given to me by a friend. It was her father’s. She gave it to me after his funeral.

Upon a wall in every home I’ve ever had, has been a picture. The frame—the newest element—was a gift from a lover who knew how to preserve what is important to me better than I did. I hadn’t notice the picture disappear, but when it reemerged one Christmas morning, the familiar image was majestically encased in a dark hardwood frame, nice glass, and brown paper on the back. It’s one of the most loving gifts I’ve ever received.

Behind the glass, is an eighteen by twenty-six, hand-colored-with-markers, Doodle Art poster, like an enormous page out of an elaborately detailed coloring book. The image framed by a web of jungle bamboo, are tropical trees and mandalas of flora with lions, snakes, monkeys, chimps, gazelles,ostriches, butterflies, toucans, and tigers.

My father must have burned through a ton of packs of markers working on it. After the divorce. I don’t know which state he lived in then. Maybe it was Florida. Perhaps California. But at some desk or at some table in a kitchen I’ve never been in, he put in a hell of a lot of time to send a labor of love to me, his son, who grew up out of his view.

Sub-Tidal Reveals

There’s a complementary truth laden in every question.
An oyster remains closed
until the knife
brandished with patience
exploits the weak point
and traces the zipper
revealing the flesh
and ocean brine.

Swallow me.

Raw and whole.

Time is a Shark

Time moves faster than thought,
though made of the same stuff.
But thought, like eyes, blinks
while time moves like the shark
ancient, never sleeping,
Constant, efficient,
Violent by nature,
Yet absent of malice
performing a service to life
with serrated rows of regenerating death.
Thought, like the eye of the tuna,
blinks again,
opens the jaw for some passing morsel of its own,
And either evades or succumbs—for now—
The throat of eternity, circling.

circling

strike.

All Souls

We have arrived in the mid-autumn time,
We remember our dead,
With both their lives re-lit in lights sublime
And dirt upon their heads.

Be they still in their well-dressed box embalmed,
Or carried in an urn,
The warmth of life, long now has left their palms,
The wheel now takes a turn.

So here we are on this side of dirt,
While sands are falling down,
Echo their love, and then tend to the hurt,
We too shall be the ground.

Substance of Fear

By default, we do fear fear itself.
And the fear, is not nothing.

It is the walls of home
Becoming those of a respite-less cell.

The body releases waste
without consent.
Humiliation and shame.

Life in atrophy.
A caught bass
too big for it’s bucket
exhausts what little air
Occupies the close confines from freedom.
Drowns.
Body stiffens.
Death is curved.

Fear is rot.
Vitality rendered like chicken fat
Withering.                                                                                        Separated.
Savor-able flavor
Oils the onions of others.
An aroma to everyone’s delight

Save the chicken.

Class III Multinodular

The woman down the road
Had a grandson my age,
And another in my brother’s grade.
The three boys of our family
Would play in the sand
with the two boys of that family.

As Cub Scouts
We had to raise money for our pack
By selling candies, popcorn, and Christmas ornaments.

I was horrified when
The grandmother answered the door
Invited me in
And looked over my wares
As I tried not to stare, but could not look away
at the goiter the size of a tangerine on her throat.

Once my orders were turned in
to my scout master
I worked myself up
Into an anxiety
For the day I would have to
Fulfill the order
Of a kind woman
Who had to hold a vibration box
To her neck
In order to thank me
For the chocolates she would eat
With her family at Christmas.

Not Death

It was not death
which scared me most
when my work was in the nursing home.

Death is a final mercy.

It was the protracted
debilitating
daily
petty theft of the mind
rarely taking everything at once.

First the memory of where objects have been left.
Next what day it is.
Who that person is.
The word for the, the, what is it?
How this body moves
Zippers and pants
The rituals of hygiene
The names of family members
The years
Youth
Mother

Me

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