The death of a child, a fruit torn from the tree,
A desperate phrase, a common refrain,
“That’s not the way it’s supposed to be!”
It echoes through time, a howl of pain.
For parents, each twig is a limb
that branches off into forever,
and when it’s lost, that light gone dim,
forever dies off into never.
Never to see that tree grown tall,
with leaves and branches proudly grown,
forever to feel that wrenching fall,
the loss in heart, and soul, and bone.
The numbness spreads like a second skin,
sealing pain and grief within,
beneath the skin, the fires burn,
the hammers beat and the razors turn,
but on the surface, all is ice,
and no one sees you pay the price.
The ritual makes it seem less real,
glinting light on shining steel,
carefully folded tissue, clean,
and music, just to set the scene.
The first slice, shallow, taste of pain,
release draws the blade down, again and again.
The blood wells up and trickles down,
as if it yearns to touch the ground,
to sink into the welcoming earth,
symbolic death, before rebirth.
Rebirth, release, regeneration,
pain returns; with it, sensation.
Crimson red on virgin white,
the sting of air, the metals bite,
all these and more to break the skin,
and let the world come pouring in.
Soon salt tears join the brilliant red,
a waterfall too long unshed.
And after, shame, sharp as a vice,
as those around you pay the price,
in fear, concern, and ignorance,
and once again, the merry dance.
“how could you, why would you, doesn’t it hurt?”
“you scare me, i love you, here’s a long shirt…”
The vows of “No more!” and “Never again!”,
knowing it’s all just a game of pretend,
that somewhere, tucked safely, the sweet release lurks,
it will happen again, as long as it works,
as long as it cuts through the numbness that spreads,
coating the world in blacks, greys…and reds.
predictors of laughter
and journeys and tears,
tell me what you
see in my eyes,
mysteries held behind
your mystic guise,
a tall dark stranger,
riches or fate,
tell me now, wise ones,
will I come too late?
will I forever be
one step behind,
tied to the doubt
within my own mind?
sadness or fortune,
love, loss and more,
are waiting for me
behind that cloth door,
do I dare enter,
or will I remain
forever a stranger
to that magic plain?
There is a rose that seldom grows
beneath the shining sun,
Its thorny stem and fluted hem
shine when day is done,
Her beauty glows, this long-stemmed rose,
beneath the pale gaslight,
But in the days, her magic frays,
it only works at night,
It only works where danger lurks,
and men their flaws conceal,
With careless word and lies absurd,
they obfuscate the real,
They cannot know she sees them, though,
lest all her beauty fade,
Cut at the root, her magic mute,
another wasted Jade.
what did i do, what did i say,
what can i fix to make it ok?
i want to do better, i swear that i’ll try,
i won’t act too crazy, i won’t tell a lie,
i’ll do all my homework, every last bit,
so there’s no need to yell, and no need to hit,
i’m sorry i’m clumsy and lazy and loud,
i’m sorry i’m naughty and evil and proud,
i won’t think i’m smart, and i won’t act too dumb,
whenever you call me I’ll be sure to come,
i won’t get too dirty, i’ll wash my own clothes,
i’ll take my own bath and wipe my own nose,
i’ll wash all the dishes, and make you some tea,
i promise i love you…please, mommy, love me!
Frantic and flailing, panicked and pained,
she moves through her day like a whirlwind in chains,
Her body is fragile, and so is her heart,
her eyes burn in her face as they scamper and dart,
Her mind searches, desperate, for something she’s lost,
letting the ones she has left pay the cost.
Constant apologies fall from her lips,
as she races, and runs, and falters and trips,
One day she’ll fall where there’s nowhere to land,
and I’ll lose yet another, a thought I can’t stand,
But for now I’ll stay constant, and help where I must,
and try not to watch as she crumbles to dust.
I am the Ostrich, head in the sand.
I am the kitten, playing “you-can’t-see-me” in a paper bag.
I am the Opossum…wake me up when it’s over.
I am the Finch, fighting with my own reflection.
I am the Voter, fighting with my election rejection.
Now this is the Law of the City — as old and as true as the sky;
And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.
As the wire that runs through the city, the Law runneth forward and back,
For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.
Wash daily from nose-tip to tail-tip; drink deeply, but never too deep;
And remember the night is for hunting, and forget not the day is for sleep.
The lesser may follow the stronger, but, Cub, when your whiskers are grown,
Remember the Wolf is a Hunter — go forth and Strike on your own.
Keep peace with the Lords of the City — the Fixer, the Fence, and the Law.
And trouble not Bookie or Gambler, lest your fate be the luck of the draw.
When Pack meets with Pack in the City, and neither will go from the trail,
Keep still till the leaders have spoken — it may be fair words shall prevail.
When ye fight with a Wolf of the Pack, ye must fight him alone and afar,
Lest others take part in the quarrel, and the Pack be diminished by war.
The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge, and where he has made him his home,
Not even the Head Wolf may enter, not even the Council may come.
The Lair of the Wolf is his refuge, but where he has digged it too plain,
The Council shall send him a message, and so he shall change it again.
If ye Strike before midnight, be silent, and wake not the streets with your play,
Lest ye frighten the Marks from the street, and your Brothers go empty away.
Ye may kill for yourselves, and your mates, and your cubs as they need, and ye can;
But kill not for pleasure of killing, and seven times never kill Man!
If ye plunder his Prize from a weaker, be sure that he takes it in stride;
Pack-Right is the right of the weakest; so leave him his song and his pride.
The Strike of the Pack is the Prize of the Pack. Ye must leave it where it lies;
And no one may carry away of that Prize to his lair, or he dies.
The Strike of the Wolf is the Prize of the Wolf. He may do what he will;
But, till he has given permission, the Pack may not eat of that Kill.
Cub-Right is the right of the Yearling. From all of his Pack he may claim
Full-gorge when his Brother has eaten; and none may refuse him the same.
Lair-Right is the right of the Mother. From all of her year she may claim
One Share of each Prize for her litter, and none may deny her the same.
Cave-Right is the right of the Father — to hunt by himself for his own:
He is freed of all calls to the Pack; he is judged by the Council alone.
Because of his age and his cunning, because of his gripe and his paw,
In all that the Law leaveth open, the word of your Head Wolf is Law.
Now these are the Laws of the City, and many and mighty are they;
But the head and the hoof of the Law and the haunch and the hump is — Obey!
Remember the girl of sixteen
who smiled at you because she liked you
and you smiled back?
You were handsome and tan and twenty-one
with amber eyes
and a Mercury convertible
And someone said you beat everyone at tennis.
I worshiped the ground where you had stood,
as only a girl of sixteen could,
and called it love.
As many summers have come and gone since then
as I had lived
and the girl got left behind somewhere
in a memory book of you and other heroes
with forgotten names.
And in that time I’ve been with you
and come to know you well
I’ve seen behind the amber eyes
and found a gentle man
who beats almost everyone at tennis.
The Mercury convertible
brought three babies home from the hospital
before it fell asleep one day for good.
Your once dark hair is streaked with gray
I’m sure I caused
and still I smile at you
and you smile back
and know I love you.
TEA FOR TWENTY, RAINY DAY
Painter of pictures
Dreamer of dreams
Writer down of soft words
Cheerer up of sad friends
Funky junk collector person
Smiler into camera person
Comer into living rooms
I’ll never ever see
Tennis playing cookie baker
Life of the party
Feeder of birds
Complex and uncomplicated,
Stable and insane,
Through the window rain watcher
Wonderer who I am.
My love is fair and tall and fine,
with eyes of angel blue,
His smile as bright as sunlight,
and his skin like morning dew.
I love him through the daylight,
and when the sun has gone,
I stay with him and watch him,
till with morning comes the dawn.
I know he’s thinking of me,
when a smile enters those eyes,
And when they flip to sadness,
as grey as stormy skies.
I walk with him out to the fields,
and to our special place,
And when he cries I wipe his eyes,
caress his loving face.
I tell him life is just a stage,
and now my part is done,
But I will always be with him,
from moonlight into sun.
I say that he will find a home,
with someone soft and true,
I whisper softly in the wind,
my darling, I love you.