A Poem A Day, Day Thirty, Last Day

With This I Bid Good-bye to APAD!
The Four Elements of a Marriage that Ended, with Pictures.

1. Water

I enjoyed having you photograph me
at the lake.
I loved watching your hands
twisting morsels
round and round the hook.
I loved how the boat shook
when you cast out your line,
I loved the lead tear
that sank to the depths.
I loved all of it.
I loved you but not what was to follow.

You should have tossed me back when you had the chance.
I shouldn’t have taken the hook the way I did.

2. Fire

In the picture we are standing in front of the house we called “ours”.
We hung lace-like dreams around the windows.
The floors and all the surfaces we covered with the bludgeoned bodies of our arguments.
We burnt the evidence every morning, (but not the coffee).
We rose like Phoenixes to go off to our work-a-day places,
No one can tell from the picture what went on.
It’s really none of their business.

3.Earth

We have all our the pictures in a leather-bound book.
All of them have captions like:
“This is a picture of us in 1945.”
It will be filled with impossible stories that
are misleading and not very useful,
like history without the architecture.
“We won the war and divided the spoils equally. We are very happy with the outcome.”

4.Air

Take my photograph and sell it to the latest Rag.
I have woken and found a silver thread running through my body connecting me to outer space;
in truth, I have lost everything, but I am totally free.
Everything is illuminated and in brilliant colour.
I am a entirely without substance and yet I am everywhere
and
I forgive everyone eternally,
even you.
Keep in touch via Facebook
You can see pictures of the grandkids.
“Smiley face”

My last and most personal poem! But this isn’t really about me or my marriage except in the way, perhaps, one might define the eras in a long term relationship without really saying anything. It really is talking about previous generations who almost never said anything in any way but allegory. I feel like the new media is turning us all into characters that need to be defined neatly and quickly for the sake of reference and not for any sort of understanding. Avoiding the labels that would be damning turns it all into a collection of snaps or elements, still I guess I prefer a good glossing over… 🙂

A Poem A Day, Day Twenty-nine

My Painting of You

Long ago,
when we thought we were grown up,
I skipped and stumbled to keep pace with your long strides,
the boards of the boardwalk passing beneath our feet.
We spent nights drinking beer and smoking cigarettes
conspiring the destruction of everything,
like best existentialist friends.

The last time I saw you
I was clinging to the east coast.
We sat in your living room and talked all night
while manic moths danced and banged against the window.
I can’t squeeze from my memory what we talked about.
I think I told you the truth,
but only after you had fallen asleep.

When your wife called, her voice sounded as if it was coming
from the depths of the sea,
she called me to tell me,
because someone had to tell me,
you had drowned…

Salt water will resist pigment.
Where droplets fell on the paper
there are spaces that I can’t fill in.
My children, forever young, are peeking out from behind the trees,
and you are sitting on a rock.
I have encased you in light and darkness.
Your face is turned slightly away,
as you look out at the sea.

A Poem A Day, Day Twenty-eight

Two Years of Rengas

three moths spiral
into the blue sky –
summer clouds over hills

the drone of male cicadas
background sound for a hot day

shimmering heat hazy
reflecting the blue horizon –
cooling wet puddles

the hiss of steel in water
awakens the sleeping dog

the old dog stretches
paws, claws and back a line –
warm winter corner

i must have fallen asleep
making two seasons vanish

the sky gets lighter
as the sun begins to rise
–morning already?

a stand of skinny gum trees
breaks the hill’s smooth silhouette

mirroring the trees
shadows dance; winds gently blow
across cool mornings

jeweled in dew the flowers
loose thier fragrance for the bees

A Poem A Day, Day Twenty-six

Neighbours

There was garbage in the middle of the road and a crow had stopped to eat it
when she was stuck
by a car.
Her mate
swooped by her
pulling at her black wings
trying to revive her, cawing.
Soon the tree in my front yard was full of black, cawing crows.

Over and over a crow would fly over her
all of the rest of them cawing,
heads back as if gulping
some invisible rain,
while random cars made less of her each time they edged over the line.

Eventually
the traffic lessened and
there was nothing left of her
and the tree emptied of
crows.

I tryed to tell a neighbour about it but before I could she said, “I HATE crows!”

A Poem A Day, Day Twenty-five

Escaping Gravity

“I’m falling into the sky”,
he said, when he was three,
looking up
imagining he
could break free.

Today I am dancing; my hobbled legs do a jig while
he plays
on his accordion.

I look up and see there are no clouds.

A Poem A Day, Day Twenty-three

Depression Horizon
The track along the dark mountain is as real as this path in front of you,
the one you see,
the one we can talk about.
The mountains in the distance
keep steady pace
with my slow, deliberate, pedestrian way.
I walk beside you,
but when I am walking on that mountain
I can't remember any place else.

A Poem A Day, Day Twenty-Two

Coast

There are the beaches of our youth where we mark impossible feats
in the fine, cool and forgiving sand,
that we toss up in cartwheels,
pile up in castles
and push under us like lovers.
We build and destroy and build again.
We shine with the dusty glimmer of eons
clinging to our skins.

As adults
we trace our progression,
planning vacations along the shoreline
full of long meandering walks.
We tell the mythologies of our friendships
and the genealogy of our families
to anyone who will listen.

Older, we watch the sky nervously.
We go inside during thunderstorms.
We have a dog to bark at the sea foam.
We realize how hard the coast can be.

Before we die, eccentric and wild-eyed
we climb the cliffs and leave the warning:
“WE LOST EVERYTHING HERE.”
Until we are too tired to visit graveyards anymore.

When we are very, very old
and we know we are adrift,
we lay under the enormous sky,
our tiny raft rattling far out at sea.
The hours become days and the days seem like nothing.
The flashing light on the dimpled surface of the water beckons us.

The Coast with all its details:
The granular bits of the oldest stone worn down by the constant beating of the ocean,
The trees that were old when the oldest prophets walked,
The rivers spilling out the rain that fell on mountains
far away and too mighty to live on,
all fade as the coast becomes a whisper.

We slip into the swell,
carried away by the welcoming sea.

I have been working this poem like it was bread dough for years. (And that metaphor for writing poetry I borrowed from Dr. Lisa Dickson who writes much better than I.) I still don’t know if it’s ready to be baked! But here it is for you, another poem.