life

Poem – Fragile Thread

The sunless grey sky
releases an afternoon rain

pushing leaves beginning to transition
to bright yellows and deep reds.

Each drop’s ripple in the pond,
each leaf that falls through wind and rain

a reminder of nature’s course in time
and the fragile thread we all cling to.

Poem – Beneath the Surface, On the Edge

A follow-up to a previous post – Beneath the Surface

What lies beneath the surface,
the playground of ancient times,
lands ruled by survival,
raw and primal,
we forever live on some edge
with a defensive posture
ready to protect at all costs.

That slippery edge of snow and ice
straddling deep valleys,
like the string holding a life together,
a tether anchoring to some reality.

Words and Actions – Revisited for 04/18/17

Rugged facial features and expressions, like that of mountain men in history books and legends standing atop the highest peaks and planting a flag for their country, shaped by the endless sun and arctic winds. He handled life and the people around him with the ease and care of a seasoned glass maker. It was extremely difficult for me to believe that was my grandfather lying before me, thin, frail, a skeleton of his former self.

As a child four or five years old, my mother divorced and we moved into my grandparent’s home, where she grew up on main street. Now after a few years, looking back on how life brought me to today, I believe this was fate. The moment afforded a chance for my mother and me to develop a bond, not only as parent and child, but with my grandparents. These bonds would stand time and distance, coming to fruition upon my grandfather’s passing. Time has not softened the heart which still yearns to hear his voice and the raw, unpolished words.

On April 17th, I stood at the foot of grandfather’s bed with him resting comfortably back home in St. Anthony. I did not know at the time that these were my last few remaining moments with him to talk, listen, and learn more of his life. For a man who would pass away the next day, he was his old and inquisitive self. His dark chocolate round eyes piercing through me were soft, but looking for something. Perhaps they were trying to find closure in the last hours. His face still had the character and unique features from years back when I helped him paint a brown wooden fence. I remember the backyard that always had the smell of baked breads, waffling from the kitchen where grandma was busy. A tall apple tree stood in the middle year after year, providing fruit and color. The tree reminds me of him: rigid, set in his ways, stubborn and able to withstand and overcome any challenge. Like the tree surviving a harsh winter, he had gone through many hardships and trials, with dignity and courage that stayed with him to the very end. Through his years, he did so many things, large and small, that have contributed to who I am as a person today.

While living on main street and adjusting to a new life with my grandparents and mother, I was obsessed with au gratin potatoes. They were the only food I ever wanted; breakfast, lunch or dinner, whenever hunger pangs took over. If there was none to be found in the cupboards, grandfather would take my hand and with no questions asked, lead me out the front door, into the car and off to the local Snyder’s on Central Ave. This kind of gesture was etched into my memory as his way of showing he loved me, without having to say the words.

I often built things with Lego, Constructs and Electra sets – typical toys of the early 1980s. These real-world things became reality as my imagination oozed into my fingers and assembled them, piece by piece: race cars with huge, spongy rubber tires and fast engines; cities of tall buildings and skyscrapers that reached for miles. Building these structures gave me a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Standing in awe and knowing that the images became something concrete and useful. The expression on my face conveyed these feelings: my eyes were bulging with excitement and I would be smiling from ear to ear.

When I would finish a project, I would take it to my grandfather and he would look it over. His words “This is really good, you should be an engineer” pushed me to keep building and make the next one even better than the last. Encouraging words from this man became my motivation and heightened my desire to build more and seek his approval.

Christmas is a time for family and the chance to see the loved ones from near and far. I cannot remember the gift I received from grandma and grandpa that year as there were more important memories to take away and energies to focus upon. I cherished this last time to see him as he always was: the man of pride, character and dignity. Christmas also brought with it a lot of questions I needed answers to: reasons why, the purpose, that as a 17-year-old losing a part of me, could not comprehend and answer myself. How could this man of such strength and dignity be brought down by an illness, a life turned upside and spiraling so quickly?

In November of 1990, grandpa was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He had limited time left and we had limited time with him. Was I just losing a grandfather? It was much deeper and more profound than that. I was losing a friend, security, and someone deeply loved; who helped me to grow and become who I am today; a person close to my heart and soul, who loved with no questions asked and nothing expected in return. This man, who raised me while mom worked, was the essence of the early stages of my life, planting seeds and giving advice that burned into my consciousness. He showed me how to care for others and love my family and work hard for what I desired out of life. I guess that is why his death hit me so hard and impacted the way I think and go from day to day. My thoughts are always in motion and his presence always alive and guiding. I must strive in the present with the few chances that I have and utilize all opportunities that I am given.

It has been 26-years since grandpa’s passing, and not a day is without thoughts of him, or I come across a subtle reminder. I cannot forget the day when I last saw him and he looked into my eyes and tried to smile. I could see his pain and suffering coming to an end and finally becoming free. Some of the days when I am weakest and in need of help, I look towards the sky and thank the universe he is looking down and listening.

Poem – The Last Day in This Flesh

The last time I exit the empty field,
crossing over the still black water
will be the last day in this flesh.

On the other side the machines
wait with steely patience
where they have stood for years.

When we next awaken from what seems like a dream
we will be near the base of Mons Olympus
at the start of the next life.

Poem – Shifted Wolves

From the collection “Beyond the Border Kingdom“.

(1)

In dreams
the white wolf
stands beside
the black wolf

Emerging from
unnamed star fields
walking across
a bridge of light
against gravity
against laws of physics.

I felt no fear.
I felt no fear.

Distant galaxies
produce and consume
light.

Skewed and shifted
before arriving here
and matter we cannot see
fills the space.

This universe
spirals further
from the beginning
stretching into
unknown space
at speeds we
cannot fathom
beyond the traditional
rules we theorized
from the variables
we created.

The universe spirals further
from the beginning
around a black hole –

gathering light
gathering matter.

At the event horizon
pink cubes gather strength.

(more…)

Poem – This is Life

From the collection “Beyond the Border Kingdom“.

(1)

ocean waves crash against the rotting pier
yellow tape snaps where the line sheared
jagged pylons protrude from blue sheen
holding the August sun captive.

slow steps in wet sand
waves wash my feet
deposit shells, stones and starfish.

a pale crab emerges
scurries behind the boulders.

summer drags forward
through the molasses sands.

hot sweat into the eyes
focus becomes singular
thoughts become focused
forced to go within.

that which we thought we knew
is only in the mind.
that which is true
is in the hands of the universe.

(more…)

Poem – Transformation

I watch the sun rise from
distant cold moving water.

White-capped waves emerge from the horizon
and over time they will arrive at my feet

standing on the rock strewn shoreline
covered in clear ice.

I imagine staying here through the passing months
when the deep winter takes hold of this

land and my body becomes one with the
water and the earth and from this

connection I am transformed back to
my birth state when I emerged from the horizon.

img_3446

img_3468

Poem – In This Life

I see the day slip into the night
and the trees I am surrounded by
reach into the darkness.

In another life after
I am the same essence
in a metallic shell.

In another life before
I am the farmer clearing
fields for wheat and corn.

In this life now
I am the culmination
of all experiences.

fullsizerender-11

Poem – Birth

In the beginning we come into this space
as innocent beings fumbling around
the empty fields stretching forever.

We stare in wonder and with amazement
as to the endless possibilities
and the control we have of our life.

Then something changes and the field
begins to fill with objects and obstacles
and where there was no path, forks in the road.

How we navigate this field and
how far reaching our sphere of influence
determines the lanterns brightness when we return.

wr-20061230-074
wild-river-2008-02-14-044
wobsp-20061029-021

2014-10-12-01-30-25-1

Copyright (c) 2014-2016 Twisted Root Photography

Poem – Return

In the end, when this life becomes the next,
we become the raw materials returned to earth
only to rise and become the flowers of tomorrow.

2014-10-12-01-30-25-1

Copyright (c) 2014-2016 Twisted Root Photography