LAST YEAR

Last year I smiled at the honeybees
as they went about their work,
all buzz and hover
along a wall of sweetness.

This year I stare at lonely blossoms
on a silent sun strewn wall
and try to convince myself
that they will come back.

BELLA

B9

Oh for that Brindle coat and Mastiff jaws
so joyfully flinging a plush toy
left right left right fwapping herself so fast
I marveled at how this Boston Terrier
did not scramble her brain.
And now she’s gone of a brain tumor.

How much joy do I clench in my jaws
and shake myself silly, refusing to let go?
Lurking damages be damned!
Bella reflected our son for over ten years,
from excited adventurer ready for the road
to basking in a patch of sun on the floor.

So funny, so fun,
so gone.
No more frantic scrambling underfoot
or balancing a toy on her head
or burrowing under the covers
to sleep with her favorite humans.

Ah, her wide welcome of a tongue
eager to lick you into a laughing tumble of love
until you just had to say stop – enough, enough.
Such a good dog, far beyond the cliché,
infiltrated deeply in our lives
and shook our hearts senseless with joy.

LURE

There is no love
there is only love
brain as cleaver
slices
into scientific categories
sensations
that infiltrate
so deep
I do not even sniff them
until
new allurements
rule my world.
Denial is futile –
there is only love.

Sunday Elephant

 

A4crop

Across the watering hole from us humans,
African elephant scoops hay with relaxed trunk,
sweeping the ground near feet, no need to look,
letting sweet aromas guide the nonchalant motion.

More purposed coiling up to the mouth,
right back down to continue the forage.
Tail sweeps sideways in a slower rhythm,
not to chase flies – dog-like pleasure?

One tree trunk of a leg cocked at a slant,
like a street corner dude posed to impress,
two curved tusks intact, surely not worried,
safe from poachers in the North Carolina Zoo.

No concern for machine guns
and chainsaws, or ivory trinkets,
just natural calm on a grand scale
and surprising cockiness on display.

Year-end Inventory

No winter peace,
the small retailer
sweeps aside the chaos
of Christmas sales,
revealing too many to count
New Years Day,
and pay tax April 15.
Scratch and dent, forsaken,
or mistakes needing resolution,
all echo my emotional inventory,
foibles and triumphs both
caused residue far beyond
the corner cobwebs.
Too late for the clearance table,
the stagnant drag along with me
into a new year,
expecting rebirth
again.

POPS

One pistol shot
changed his life,
but not how you think.
Only 11,
gun from Mama’s lover
stuck in his shirt,
celebrating New Years Eve
shooting into the air,
a poor man’s pleasure
long before civic fireworks.
Showing off
for the other kids,
your shot, of all the gleeful noise
down the streets,
your shot was seen by the cop
who knew you as trouble.
Arrested
to begin a New Year in jail,
taken away from mother
and delivered
to the colored waif’s home.
The cop
and the judge surely thought
that would teach you a lesson.
Yeah,
they were right,
but not how they thought.
Thrown in with the lost,
the forgotten, and just plain bad boys,
Louis
remembered singing for coins
on the streets with his friends.
A cornet from his teacher –
who figured it would change him,
but not how he thought,
and certainly not what
New Orleans
and the world
were expecting.

[another poem based on historical events]

Louis Armstrong;s first cornet

 

 

ONCE I HAD A HERO

Only once
have I carried a rifle in public,
for a 6th grade school play
about the pioneers,
my father’s World War II carbine
an essential prop.
After school,
when I got into the way back
of a neighbor’s station wagon,
pointing that gun out the rear window,
I already felt strange.
Then she told us
that President Kennedy had been shot.
Driving towards home,
my journey away from innocence
had already begun.

Black and white TV set:
smiling John and Jackie
waving from a black
Lincoln convertible.

Three years before
I played the role of JFK
in my classroom debate.
As the only Catholic,
it was a logical fit.
My pride at how I did
grew when he was elected for real.

Black and white:
a riderless horse
in the funeral procession,
tall black boots turned backward.

Only once
did I shoot a living thing.
My Dad did not teach me
how to change the oil
or fix wooden things but
he did teach me to shoot.
So when my cousin Steve and I
took air rifles behind Grandma’s house,
it was no surprise that
I saw a bird, aimed,
fired one shot, and he fell.
When we ran up,
excited as boy heros,
Steve saw he was suffering,
no longer able to fly,
and killed him point blank.

Black and white:
Jack Ruby in a fedora
shoots Oswald point blank,
camera catching Oswald’s pain.

Only once did I share an experience
with a President.
As Capitol tourists going to Mass,
my parents and I were already praying
when a group of men in dark suits
made a disturbance,
the Secret Service,
clearing an area for the President.
After Kennedy entered,
I thought it odd
that nobody sat near him,
a long pew with one bowed head,
restless hands and a troubled face –
every time I turned around
it seemed darker there.
After Mass, I was outside
as he came down the steps.
When our eyes met,
his bright smile
seemed to match mine.

Black and white:
John John at the foot of steps,
farewell salute to his father and hero,
on the day of his third birthday.

One Letter

There is no Art,
nor is there Life.
No loss, no gain,
no us, no them.

All our categories and labels,
divisions and distinctions,
are merely linguistic –
letters with no more meaning
than the letter “I.”

Poem made in public

Restaurant

Beyond recycling - using your tablecloth for expressing the moment!

Beyond recycling – using your tablecloth for expressing the moment!

Cute baby in a high chair

poised like a CEO

at the head of the table

all eyes upon her,

or is it a boy?

Dark blue sleeves

rolled up over a white shirt.

Then I notice

the receding hairline

and wonder –

How old is this soul,

grabbing for the pint glass?

Exquisite Silence

Exquisite Silence

Mountain ridge
panoramic view
sky draining of blue and white
and flowing
towards the brilliant orange fire
of sunset.

Distant lines
of hills and peaks
transform
from smoky gray
to an inky purple,
in sharp relief
to the pale parchment
of the sky.

The colors write
their slow moving story
on my eyes,
which find patterns
in the golds
as well as
in the wispy grays.

My ears then trump it all
with a revelation –
I am bathed in perfect silence.

No sounds
of modern life
intrude
upon this gift,
no insects buzz,
no wind sighs.

And from this well
of deepest peace
a sense of oneness
arises.

There is no veil,
no barrier,
no difference at all.
Communion is served
to all my senses,
yet those senses
have been left behind.

The silence,
the dark,
the stillness,
all profound.

In this emptiness
are anchored
all sound,
all sight,
all motion.
.
Every sensation
born from naught.

The wind gently
pulls me back –
the sunset and I return.
Now
less an object and observer
and more
love regarding love,
in different forms.

poem written by Blaise Kielar, March 2013