Step right up, don’t hang back, come and watch the fool perform for you. You know me, bedecked in motley emotions worn like so many colorful rags, a suit of too many shades and hues, all displayed for your entertainment. See if you can find ten shades of anger as I prance around in front of you. Count the five flavors of tears that start and stop like a passing storm. Laugh at me as I pirouette, a dervish who loved blindly long after the love of my patron had died. See me in my fool’s cap, the bells of rage and guilt dangling from its points. If that isn’t enough to bring out a laugh, watch as I rip out my heart and lay it at your feet, still beating to the rhythm of the song to which she grew deaf so long ago. Rain your scorn on me as I stumble across the stage, for though they ring hollow, it is them that I most crave, a redemption that no monarch could hope to offer. Step right up, don’t hang back, come and watch the fool perform for you and do not pause to think that you could as easily be here, on this stage, and I out there marveling at you, wondering what you did to ever deserve such a fate.
First published in The Right to Depart, Plain View Press (2008)
10,000 origami cranes floated down over Tokyo each bearing the soul of one gone in nature’s recent fury. Each crane cried freely the tears flowing into the Sumida forming a wave that washes back to the sea, replenishing its loss. We, too, shed our tears and look skyward sad in the knowledge that with each passing day still more cranes will fill the sky more tears seep back to the still angry sea.
I approach it slowly, overcome by fear and desire, warned to step carefully over the uneven earth that on this hillside haven set behind the rusting wrought iron fence , its master lock dangling askew, peers out through the trees to the Kanawha river flowing unknowingly through the valley.
The stone is set in line with the others, neatly incised, a name, English and Hebrew, two petunias, cornered, in perpetual bloom, a beloved sister and aunt, and unstated, unknown perhaps, a mother whose son, gently touching the stone, washes her with my tears, and we speak of love in silence, and I, a child of sixty-seven, embrace my mother for the first time, and I am finally and for the first time, complete
a day, clouds drop rain replacing tears locked inside stones and cloth red and blue unseparated still worlds apart orderly ranks all at attention and silence thundering anger a mad world soaked in peace only until midnight.
Deep in the valley of memory on the altar of Ares we sacrifice them, always young each generation we are Abraham unrestrained, the pardon always moments late. We are Olmecs, relying not on the sun’s passage but on a mainspring tightly wound. Our gods hunger and must be sated lest we lose favor and their image change.
In our boneyard priests and victims slowly decompose fade into earth washed deep by tears of Gods powerless to intervene.
First published in The Peninsula Review, Vol. 5, (1998)
The trees seem to know that we are leaving, why else would they shed their leaves so early, the only tears they are allowed to cry. It cannot be a blight, or so we think it, just our departure that has caused this premature pining for a winter we all know will arrive too soon any arrival being that. We rake them gently, lift them into bags positioned under their once homes, waiting for the truck to move our lives, anther to take them away.
In so many mythologies earth is a woman, a mother, and we arise from within her. The pure and simple logic of this assumption cannot be assailed, for she is the crux of all nature, and as it seems in life, it is all too often the males that lay siege and wage wars that damage her deeply, and the women whose tears gently wash her wounds
In so many mythologies earth is a woman, a mother, and we arise from within her. The pure and simple logic of this assumption cannot be assailed, for she is the crux of all nature, and as it seems in life, it is all too often the males that lay siege and wage wars that damage her deeply, and the women whose tears gently wash her wounds.