Just bitchin', poem

A Page Turns…

blogpoppy

A tiny thing has vanished.

Like the barest tip of an iceberg, its disappearance signifies something much bigger. Something as vast as sorrow and as limitless as history.

Every year, no matter where I’ve lived, the weekend of Veteran’s Day will find an elderly gentleman sporting a military hat, or sometimes a chest of medals, sitting at a small table, handing out red, paper poppies in exchange for a small donation. Often these simple tokens are handed out for free when  their bright color catches a child’s wide, untutored eye. It’s just a pretty thing to them. They don’t yet know what it means.

But this year there is no table at the usual place. No poppies. No veteran.

When I asked about it, I was told that there were no more of the old school soldiers left to take on the task of dispensing poppies at this locale. They have all passed on.

So for those children who won’t see the poppies this year, know that they were the first flowers to grow among the graves of soldiers in a faraway place called Flanders.

Remember…

 

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved, and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders Fields.

                     —– John McCrae, 1915

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Just bitchin', poem

Letter to the Ghost of Osama Bin Laden

World-Trade-Center-9-11-cross-1

The page has turned.

Another anniversary.

There is a qualitative difference this time around. Previous years were rife with remembrance. Sharp shards of unavoidable history.

But this year, I was hard-pressed to find them. What had previously been a deluge, now a trickle.

Maybe it’s me.

With the extraordinary adaptability of the human animal, I have subsumed you into daily life, feeling not terror, but wariness.

Such a lukewarm legacy. Was it worth it?

I see no time when our beliefs and cultures will mesh.

Enemies eternal. A common view, me and you. I bet it bothers you to share something, anything with the likes of me.

Like children in a schoolyard; one offering his lunch money, eager to make friends, form bonds, buy them if he has to. A little desperate to be liked.

The other filled with nameless rage and bared teeth, hating those whose very existence he feels invalidates his own. Acting out.

You envisioned a roar, but left only an echo.

Part of it is the passage of time.

But most of it is because I love my country with a ferocity that surpasses your fanaticism.

We’re still here.

wtcmemorial

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Dark Side

monstermirror
She sees her in the mirror
from the corner of her eye.
Pretending to be strong,
she’s actually quite shy.

When she sees others suffer,
she sometimes feel her grin.
As much as she dislikes her,
she’s trapped within her skin.

She’s cold and mean as iron.
She helps her get ahead.
She stole someone else’s husband
in someone else’s bed.

She tries to reason with her
before she lashes out,
but her anger and her cruelty
are all that she’s about.

So she looks into the mirror
and once again she’s there.
When she asks her why she’s bad
She shouts that life’s not fair.

Her charity and kindness
are things she can despise.
She sees them as a weakness
in a world that runs on lies.

She wonders what to do
to make her go away,
but she’s everything that’s strong,
so in shame she hopes she’ll stay.

monstermirror3

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Strange

megfallon2

Little Meg Fallon is a beautiful one
only when compared to none.

An airy look about her face,
a different kind of inhuman grace.

She is quiet and alone all of her days,
unable to navigate the social maze.

Instructors find her strange to teach,
a quicksilver mind they just can’t reach.

But little Meg knows deep in her heart
lessons worth learning require an art;

a stillness of soul at which she excels;
a talent for reading natural spells.

Education came in a secret way,
while in a snow-bound wood one day.

The exquisite drifting of the flakes that fell
imparted a knowledge she never will tell.

Such patterns she saw by sitting so still
will never be transferred to paper by quill.

The teachings of books and lectures dry
cannot touch what is taught by watching the sky.

An instructor as vast as the atmosphere,
open to children with the talent to hear.

So little Meg reads what nature has written
and smiles to herself like a satisfied kitten.

A mind full of magic she cannot share;
such children of mystery need special care.
megfallon

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The Drive Home

greenwaterfalling

She walks along the brink,
a land of moon-washed stones
and white-lipped currents.
Whispers hang over the water.
She inhales their damp,
dark call.

This late, only one car passes.

She is framed in his rearview mirror,
for a moment
at the edge.
Odd, he thinks, that someone
is there.
On the cliff.
So late.

He spares another glance.
The mirror reflects her absence.
But it’s late,
and dark,
and he doesn’t think
she’ll mind
if someone else finds
the body.

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Sparrows Fall

sparrows

 

 

 

No one saw the sparrows fall
or noticed when they ceased to call.
For weeks their flinty beaks were still,
unable to announce the kill.

At night a wanderer fleeting past
saw the feathers in the grass,
felt the first foreboding chill
at tiny corpses on a hill.

Stumbled back when at his feet
bony wings began to beat.
Launched into the moonless sky
a flock of things that would not die.

So have a care when sparrows fall;
they may not be true birds at all,
only husks of restive dead
who fly a darker path instead.

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Dream Lover

nightmarelover

Sleep is such a risky thing
knowing what the night may bring.
What visitations may come
before the rising of the sun.

What creature’s lidless eyes may peer
from ravaged face that once was dear.
What fetid draft may mist your cheek
redolent with graveyard reek.

Whose scrabbling fingers, jointed bone,
struggle for purchase on your own.
The twilight grin and tender touch
once adored, now missed so much.

But not the one from your mind’s eye
this fragment left when he did die,
beckoning with fleshless arms,
hungry for your mortal charms.

Leaching color from your skin,
a lipless kiss, a rictus grin.
Soundless whispers in your mind
trap you in this fevered time.

In sleep is when he comes to hold
a body free of coffin-mold,
when lust survives the fleshly state,
when bones and dust still wish to mate.

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