Sepia World

Caught in a dark, sepia-toned world,

A desperate child cries in the night

Yearning for a mother’s love unfurled

Strong enough to scare away the fright

Hiding in corners to block out the fears

The abandoned child screams silently

Not bothering to wipe away the tears

He clings to dreams with such certainty

That reality flies far away

Swept up in a swirling gust of wind

The child’s home, a staircase of decay

The child’s heart, believing to the end

Mother, are you ever coming back?

I am so hungry, cold, and weak, that

It is hard to breathe.  Your love, I lack.

You left me nothing: not coat, gloves, or hat.

His cries float into the starless night

Reaching no friendly heart.  He gives up.

No more do the ravages of night

Disturb the boy.  Empty is his cup.

Soapsuds

Soapsuds, please, scour away

The scalding tears searing

My pathetic, rapidly pounding heart

Erase the train-track rivulets

Tumbling terribly into the very

Fiber of my frivolous, fragile feelings

Blot out the blanketing pools

Pulsating through my pores

Preventing my pupils from seeking sight

My heart aches horribly

Heat burns through the hull with a

Heaviness that drags me into my private hell

I yearn for luminosity of light

The cleansing cacophony of children’s

Mesmerizing melodies of merriment

Refreshing refrains of unadulterated relief

To wipe away the weariness weighing down

On my overburdened shoulders

Comforting water, wash a cool calmness

Over me, obliterate this one source of pain

So that my open spirit may rise with the dawn

Bubbles babble at my unburdened feet

Boosting me into the blueness of sky

Freeing me to begin at the beginning

Before the pain blocked my peripheral view

I can see more clearly now, for the scrub

Has done me great good.

The Shell

Walking along the beach

I found a shell,

An ordinary shell.

Perfectly formed.

Six rows of ridges

Ruffles

Completely round

Except for where it joined

Its twin when still whole.

It felt surprisingly cool

And light

As it its soul’s mate

Disappeared long ago.

As I stare out at the Pacific Ocean

I wonder where this clam

Might have lived

And how it got to this spot

On this day

In time for me to pick it up.

Years ago my family moved

To California

A long journey.

I felt the hollowness

Of forced abandonment.

Like the clam

I was not in charge of my destiny

That power lay in my parent’s hands.

I was an ordinary teen

No great beauty

Smart, but lacking common sense

Or so I had been told,

So I had no say in the decision-making.

My parents picked the city,

The house, even the school

All I did was move in

Confined by their overarching rules

Until I went away to college.

For years I drifted through life

Swept by the tides

Working at one job, then another

Until marriage grounded me.

Now I stand with feet deep in sand

Rejoicing in the gifts given me.

Much like this simple shell

Held in my hand.

God’s Face

Desolate cliffs stand at the place

Where first I gazed upon God’s face

No shrubs or grass to brighten here

No rabbits, birds or white-tipped deer

Sadness reigned throughout my being

Blocked the sunshine from me seeing

Clouds above, below and within

Blackness covered every inch of skin

Upon the edge I placed my feet

Willingly admitted defeat

Dreamt of freedom’s staccato beat

Thought of God whom I soon would meet

When birds did fly into the scene

I wondered what it all might mean

Did He expect me to believe

Relief would help me not to grieve?

As icing on my private cake

A rainbow appeared that did remake

Lifeless soil into softened down

As comfort for my furrowed frown

With crash of waves upon the shore

I realized that I wanted more

Than living life like troubled boar

Whose blackened heart on shoulders wore

The sun burst forth upon a wave

Strode to my heart; pierced with a stave

Releasing sadness, doubt and fear

Then my savior, God, did appear

Now rabbits, birds and white-tipped deer

Frequently to this place appear

Marvelous cliffs to mark the place

Where first I gazed upon God’s face.

I am More than a Body

Look beneath the sunny smile

And stay awhile.

What do you see?

The real me.

 

Dig under my nails and skin

To find the soul within.

What do you see?

Lonely me.

 

Reach for the hidden being

Well beyond seeing.

What do you see?

Tearful me.

 

Wipe away the measured words

That belie fluttering birds.

What do you see?

Worried me.

 

Remove the tightly wound bars

To give my wondrous stars

So I can be

Truly free.

 

Spring the trap that binds.

Unloose the tie that winds.

What do you see?

Ecstatic me.

Mother

Gray hair that once was brown

Straight that used to curl

Not combing or brushing

Not washing or rinsing

Just tangling on her head.

 

Body so frail that once ran

Legs that can’t even stand

Not moving or twitching

Not lifting or stretching

Just resting in the bed.

 

Eyes that once so clearly saw

Every mistake, every flaw

Not blinking or closing

Not focusing or watching

Just staring straight ahead.

 

Mind that once measured

Each phrase, each meaning

Not thinking or dreaming

Not pitting or planning

Just forgetting all said.

 

Voice that once spoke

Of family and friends

Not whispering or shouting

Not bragging or lying

Just lost in a void.

 

Gone now.

Laid at rest.

Still.

Silent.

Peace at last.

Midnight Blues

Midnight blues sing through my veins

Filling my heart with discordant strains

 

Untamed beats chase away smooth rhythms

Binding my emotions in velvet ribbons.

 

Saxophones and trumpets blaze into the night

Screaming in agony: writhing with fright

 

Discordant voices lost in the devilish din

Succumbing to the mesmerizing power of sin

 

Dreams of orchestras lost in unholy pleas

Drag me down, down, onto wobbly knees

 

Rending sounds screech, moan, and tear

apart my soul; laying my heart bare

 

In supplicant voice, a sweet melody

Springs forth; a personal symphony

 

Gentle flutes settle the lopsided score

As piccolos delve straight to the core

 

Softly discontent relaxes its grip

Into the night, those pesky blues slip.

 

 

 

 

 

Bus Stop Woes

Who’d ever think that her heart would shatter

Standing in the glittery sun of the bus stop

 

Her angel, lover, seeker-friend

Arm-in-arm with a fiery siren

Strolled by, then made an effort

To move his “love” to his opposite arm

Like a warrior-shield protecting its prize

 

She choked-back ceaseless cries

Which she buried by her hollow smile

 

Just as a broken-down building

Stands as empty sentinel

To the glory days of steel,

Death reaches its fingers,

Plucks the tendons,

Unscrews the bolts,

Crumbles the façade,

Leaves only remnants of grandeurs past

Exposed to elemental forces.

 

There is no place to hide

Even the semblance of warmth

 

She does not run

Instead she plants roots in the cement

Straightens her shoulders

Stands as a monument to power

 

Healed

Where Once a Bear

Where once a bear swam across a lake

His shifty path lies ensconced in weeds

No fish left to hunt or lairs to make

No biting flies or wavering reeds

 

With heart in pain, in sadness he cries

Where once a bear swam across a lake

His dreams of home adrift in the skies

Too sad to sleep, he remains awake

 

To laugh, emotion too hard to take

Orange flames consuming his heart beat

Where once a bear swam across a lake

Nothing left to provide welcome treat

 

Emptiness embroils his haunted soul

Wriggles in like a poisonous snake

In poetic growls he pays the toll

Where once a bear swam across a lake