Tag: death and dying poetry

Fly Away Home, Blessed Body

In Memorium, Jnani Chapman

“Blessed body heal this beauty,”
Her song flowed gently —
We lived longer in her hands.
Once, all at one time
She let fly love’s bounty:
The heart’s harvest floating on
A barge atop a boundless wave.
Rivers of tears flow beyond our sight,
Farther this time — please, to not return.
Within the star white
Light of the quilted night, sewn into
A blanket of every color
By her own hands.
Swinging movements to and back
Here, to find the constant:
Love equals gravity plus motion.

Calling to us on the shoreline,
With a Cheshire smile
We wave her back in, yet
Calliope, turned to me
Whispering in the wind,
“Wish her safe passage, instead.”
Lifting our eyes to the skies
Ethereal blue air filled
With the soft silence of
Dandelion feathers blowing
And billowing in winter’s dusk.
Everywhere, time to head home.
All the better for knowing
Grace once embodied us
With the cure of her touch.

Let night shine with a million bits
Of candlelit diamond dust and
Let her spirit dance and spin in
Swirling white wild robes.
We seek the wide eyed child
Instead finding her silk sails had set
A course just above the curve
Of earth, into the horizon.
Glimmering into the shimmer
Of the red ruby crystal day
Behind the shadow of the sun.
Landing everywhere together
Touching every space, untethered
To the mystery unseen,
Now shimmering in us and in between.

A blue velvet bag opened by this single
Movement – her hand reached
Into the spaciousness above
And all stars’ light unpacked, and
Secreted away in drawer full of daydreams.
Now the seashore glistens
With the promise of night, and
Eternally luminous
With all the befores,
And all the ever afters,
Moving our millions of tears
Into a single smiling river.
“Goodnight my beautiful bodies,”
And we fly away home, laughing.

Eventide

Riding passenger side snapping right,
I’m down in front stealing long exposures.
From the back seat our youth sits
Mocking us with instant polaroids.
Destroyed pictures of minutes and memory
Precious and precarious slip a stone
At once here and at once gone.
Right under the driver breaks hard and higher
Up another mile, silently stealing all we pass.
As if it meant nothing, had no value.
Yet we never stop to salute the flowers –
All wilds and yellows and purples.
The foothills’ shoulders grow peonies
Upon sunshine golden with military ranks.

How jagged time?
We spend ours climbing again as
Eventide approaches us.
Stealing the light
Squinting and teasing Every photographer’s eye.
The lens escapes the fight as fists fly
Above us rung the first punch
Headliners: the over-real versus the unbelievable.
Then we drop down tearing around
The Summit dragging the day with us.
With us flat then right over on the side.
Buckshot sprays whitetail from
Underneath the wheels,
My skin and bones chill fast underneath
Blankets just a quarter mile thin –
Count the microclimates in a 14 mile exposure.
My imagined assignment, anyway.

Inertia now driving our ascension
Finally dousing my focus.
Yet I am pacified by
Deep coastal royal blue velvet,
And by the courtly cape
Of dense silver fog.
Trees, reach in and take my attention
Lost in the sky and yet at home.
Away with the little brick foxes
Already started by the drooling hounds,
Running in distant golden broken lines
Shrinking to a pointed index
Finger of bent redwood lumber.
Penciled between the knotted trees
Escaping our eyes
They write letters to us
To one another, to anyone.
I imagine the trees alone love themselves.
Writing in dead languages those
Modern towers of Babylon
Without oral tradition
No monks or followers to take dictation
The mighty ones tie rings around
Paper and papyrus of their own making.
They, like me, can write their own stories.

Distant deamons dance to the music of the eventide,
Whose eardrums thump and pop from slight descents.
Mercies clear the stares and the macabre glances.
And up ahead the night hides just around
The voluptuous Earth’s curves.
Yet she shakes off the road upon her hip
Langushing and lounging
Laughing at all the forsaken highways.

You snap me awake.
My hypnotic state undone
By our quick duel and I, only me –
I roll one window down
With enough sense to know
The party orange of evening presents
A moment for exposure
Showing the night undone
By the simplest flash
As we find a space and stall the motor,
King and queen of the hills
Announced by snare drums and trumpets.
Goodbye, twisted bruised skin of eventide.
Eventide, goodbye.

Florida, State Your Name

You carry our secrets whispered into cardboard boxes tied tight with candycane twine
(That kind you find in old-time kosher bakeries.)
Tall cakes topped with buttercream flowers in new-fatigue green and suburban-Mustang blue whose
Stemless petals rise above yellow spongey layers with strawberries.
Pure as curbside snow. Pure as little girls with pinch pink cheeks.
Too early for my birthday the trail of a mistake runs upstairs from cheap paper doilies.
Pin striped suit coat and sea glass blue shirttails waving gooodbye, or hello,
(I never knew the difference.)
My hair twisted into a gilded fist as you push my resistance down,
Down into the drowned warped boards.
Raising my right hand, I swear you found a pushover:
A raggedy doll tape and bubble gum, of bare burlap, plaid, and buttons, of red yarn
Covering my torn skin where I stitch myself up and over
(And over to hold myself in again.)
A stray calico cat sits in the window right above your shoulder, startled by your loud heart.
I can still hear you slapping your thigh and then,
Distant laughter cries at your day-old jokes jokes and overtold stories.
Your hysterical, foul, scorn defers a look at me.
I hated you for that minute, then carrying on again I forget you already told me.

My face looks tired, uncooked, undone.
While white hot light sheds the palmetto scrub
Covering the non-natives invading our country- bright boisterously green parrots.
Which fly in on an uncommon flight schedule,
Catching a torrent of wind the turkey vultures wind into a tornado
Turning up higher and faster into the late afternoon rain.
Here, every shower comes in on time right at four.
Bursting open ladies with umbrellas, with daisy dresses, tulip capris, white rose tanks,
Waltzing by the front porch screen doors squeaking,
Slippery dimpled thighs sing together,
All sweet, easy, glide by leaving their perfume behind.
Then zipped into black patent leather hand bags powders, compacts,
Glossy rippled heat waves us in on a 45 degree right angle sun ray.
Show up the hidden mildewed sinews of ductwork,
And the hum of air conditioners masking our words.
Slowly dripping outside busy windows pelted by huge mosquitoes,
Or rain?
(Probably rain cries outside)
Only two minutes, like soft boiled eggs on timers,
Now done cooking. Her eyelashes, false
Newly bred widows sit with spidery eyes,
Single fingers silently making reservations for you.
They reapply the glue, so unkind, that damned humidity.

Shadow Dancing

Until the day comes when my breath no longer returns from the night,
Now visible from my lungs, vapor trails hang frozen in the wintry air —
Then if my labored lungs must remain longer, I remain.
When the last black bloom of your want wilts and waivers again,
And my secret history garden fades into the night like dreamers in the shallows,
Tumbling (at the seashore, swept up with any undelivered moonlight)
Until my breathlessness sheds the air’s sour taste,
Returning me to the source of persistent music and its instruments
Tuned by invisible, merciless hands.
Voices sweet like memories singing,
Louder than every sound ever heard all together at one time,
To drown out my questions,
Your ciphers long forgotten yet tested for time
To the unknown names of every crime.
Yet to ask from nowhere, I insist —
There, how effortlessly you knew when I waited until the day turned and left.
(You cannot say the name “Forever” again.)

While my words waltz to the end of time,
Dancing to a rolling lento drum,
I sent you a present, a tune wrapped up
With yesterday’s news knotted in pale silken twine – please
Right here in black and white, look at it.
How do you refute indisputable lines?
(Though now every last bite of it tastes rotten and bitter…)
Untie the infinite ribbons of light opening my hands, lost in midair
Drink deep from the water of my solace,
As it drips with words from my lips
To quench the ache of every moment:
Find a small skeleton key in my laced fingers,
Weakened from solving all history’s lessons.
As a body folds in on itself
It holds faster, together.
(We question the answers and quickly bury our words.)

Maybe next year we can awaken the annuals again.
The stuff of sudden daydreams —
You falling into the arms of the air,
I sit and wait although not selfish with my hope,
Yet this alone drives me home again.
(If cure becomes your solitude, then shame reminds you of my defeat.)
As the truth emerges, lighting dim violet walls,
Our bedroom shadows sway dancing, slowly.
As I sing softly in the key of grace,
Hold on to me so that I may keep you still
And reach gently into your memory’s halls.
Your open windows – please,
(Tonight unlatched, just this once I may return unharmed.)

Now, go back to sleep, stay still unmoved until
Morning as its long fingers find your cold cheeks.
Starting you awake once more,
By hearing some faint distant laughter you think,
“I know her.”
And you may possibly recognize my voice like notes of an opera,
(Now impossible to discern my spirit, ascending towards starlight and mournings bright sun)
No one takes anybody or a thing into the ever-years aspired,
And where the memory serves no use, we lose our hearts and fears.
And though we know the futility of life’s take, we all roll at once and descend to die trying.

Present Perfect

Ashen long shadow-colored faces stare back from my past.
Time sits in my lap a small child, hands raw and worried, consoled
Comforted by stories of never lands and ever mores.
Today, my words rendered illegible, erased nervously.
All the while
Darting back
Shoulder
To shoulder –
left right
left right.

Somewhere a darkened classroom with every wall covered
By blackboards waiting, vacant for me.
Now, turning deserted like a Western town,
With chalk wisps ghosts, picture the sentences
So long ago hung on a nail struck by an invisible hammer.
Tonight’s erasers let out old chalky coughs, like a smoker’s
Thick with phlegm and gravel. Cleaning the felt gills free
From years of numbers and letters,
I beat
Them
Together
Hard
And fast.
The remaining clouds too thin to grab hold
By the sky, shimmer, unlined heavy lids shutter eyes
So weightlessly, lashes feathery, they move too easily,
Then blow past us, like a divorce.
Folding myself in to bend at the cracked window,
Seeing a reflection in the mirror panes,
I shiver first at the draft, and as the stars give way to the day,
I see everything.

I find all the sunshine ever shined,
Filtered through my forests, my pin pupil eyes.
And I, without permission,
Acting out against all advice –
Finally stare into the sun.

Overcome by warmth in my extremities,
My silhouette against the wallpapers,
In a still house framed by night.
Looking over the unnatural hills a flutter appears.
No birds yet, not a song, no flights, no song.
Though late enough for a gray mourning dove.
Listing up over the trees, on currents along moves
The flightless wings floating delicately, white.
At my feet: paper with a single seam
Addressed to only me,
Retun to a boy named Eternally
I unfold but once, then read.

“Make one promise if you please: only now and for you,
if for want of love to capture the clouds,
snapped still like a photograph,
take just enough and give your heart to listening alone.
Talking creates your deafness of thought
and silences your laughter.”

The Country of Illness

*Fearless (David Gilmour, Roger Waters)

The country of Illness
In a town called sick
Squabbling or wordless,
Rounded outwardly thick.

Bellicose brick towers
Bruised smokey blue
Indian summer showers
Over babies bathed anew.

Watery heads doused by the sea
Drowning deep in kitchen sinks
Forks napkins politeness and please
Cheeks red as lipstick all pinched and pink.

A fat bike tire, a bent back bow
Digestion, plagues, and like tissue
Blowing out each open widow
Oh, he whispered: maybe I’ll kiss you.

In Illness, my country
Sick towns allegiance to my space
I swim free as concrete
Cold deep water displace.

(Fearlessly the idiot* dying
Yet with whom that scares me so.
Reap later you enemy spying —
And now too too late to sow.)

The Second Line

Not the first, nor ever last,
The Second Line dances ecstatically past.
Behind the mourners, they’re not the saints,
All uplifted, marching in crowded street’s restraints.
Wheeling, turning, lift and fall with porch swings,
All souls rise upon the polls and upon night’s owl’s wings.

Arriving I walked through stranded streets,
Leaving, I grasp a heart (as my own skipped a beat.)
Coming to hear my disease my diagnosis,
Going to feel your hands opening my prognosis.
“I believe you understood I needed nothing!”
Somehow I left the sand untracked, forgetting every something,
And now I remember to choose without no judgement (or cups or wands)—
The images I neatly packed tumbled and eroded into sand.
When I lost my vision I cannot recall, but you held me in your light,
Though I came to find my courage, I dance away with second sight.

Saving Rescuers

I.

My love how wrong I am no star,
Somehow near but towards afar,
I leaned against your song.
Saving myself, I once sat up high –
Tall as a lifeguard tested and tried.

All zinc white nose, a clownish umbrella,

The angry preservation of a tune, a cappella.
Only block the violets from burning my skin.

Yet I rescind. Did I seek my mortal coil
Before drowning in the soil? So dusty.

Just before the burn wraps around my effigy,
Familiar arms grasp and pull you from the sea,
As your weight rises like an apogee –
Why must you make my job so hard?
A soaked coat draped over your bare

Hairless shoulder, While on the beach

Your chest fills with breath.

My waves, my shore.

II.

We slowly crest.
Yet you weigh nothing, even wet.
Simply the dearth of your will,
So short and without regard or debt.
We hear the oceans excess cheers,
And feel it’s drag upon our boney years.
Like an owl’s catty joke –
All height without heft. I let go
Just as you parade and poke
At the grievers and the bereft.
Stronger than knives or strokes and
Beleaguered, lonesome old oaks,
Together again, those wings, the trees,
Gasping at them as I forgot to sing.
Spanning years’ dimly stated demands
Its our last night in the Neverland.
And thus we fly away and apart –
Your good leg tied inside paper.
A pigeon homed to name the saint.
Save for you, I cannot restore restraint
Of discord’s time off or it’s application.
For now slippers of silver, icy with complaints,
For in the shadows of Mercury’s elation,

Heaving words, breaking bones, ingratiation.

Ever! and yet now you take your final stand?
Yet who but I deserved to walk in chains and receive all reprimands.

Not a single one dared, none but you understands.

Filming Pilgrims

Post wife paroxysm now starched,
Elbows red in white rolled sleeves,
His secret burns fast, pan,
A well-positioned boy who smokes out a window,
Discarding his amusement for a hummingbird.
His green sharkskin suit, brightly alert –
Dusted by sunshine, weakened with night.
Heartbeats, just over a wing he spots you.
In the span of a wink,
He’s gone from the ledge.

Trunks and leather cases, heavier with
Steam rises and ghosts we suppose,
The culprit which brought the pilgrim down.
Lighter than ice,
Thinner than sand,
Boring with water,
Less traction than time.

They agree to judgement overseas,
Extradited counts by courted spoons,
Sugary rebuttles, yet smoother than skin.
Sentenced by an officer not by a law.
The longshoreman affixed to his piers,
Neglected the icarian judge,

Drop open, wide the row-filled maw.
Obsteperous cats howl in amusement,
Floundering and crazy. Then up tip toes,
Lanterns blue and burning, red glows.

Sandbars fascinate every species, quite.

Another boss, still as mannequins,
In the shallows warmth,
Twelve years gone, a five and fins,
I froze. Adroit at his asides,

Still rolling my eyes.
A mother shark skinned my legs,
Cold water licking a golden shore.
“Killing thing,” I dive.

Flaming air lit by azure CH-4

Me, beside her eyes wide,
Sinking, burning with the tide.

Plan 9 From Inner Space or The Week from the Black Lagoon

Hell is empty and all the devils are here.
The Tempest by W. Shakespeare

Some weeks just suck out loud. Seven days when you swerve from lane to lane avoiding wrecks. Alone in your car, you sing along to a song you love, of your own aural detriment and the unlucky winner who pulled up next to you at the long light lottery. This week’s highlights, with a stressed set of vocal cords, included both Homeward Bound by Simon and Garfunkel and Somebody to Love by Queen. Tonight brought on an earthworm of West End Girls by the Pet Shop Boys. Perhaps once I return to the century we find ourselves led through by accidentally drawing a trump card, I may find music worth my ears and my brain time.

Yeah, the kind of week when you wish for humanity to take a piss up a rope. Then magically, someone comes along and makes your heart warmly humble. Gives you a case of the humilities. A roaring, hair blowing, house flooding giant tsunami of love in your heart. For anyone who wants some. And some folks, too, who don’t seem to want any of your kind of love at all. Screw them, not literally of course unless you really want to, they’re getting loved by you irrespective of attitudinal tapeworms.

There’s people in our midst who quietly and with a dignified grace sweep beautifully and lovingly for no apparent reason into your world. They may stay for a week, a month or maybe a few months or a year. They cannot remain a permanent fixture physically in your life, but change you spiritually and create space for you to accept ideas and postulations that contemplation in the past would bring up your lunch.

Imagine with me of a time when cancer finds you and you find it eventually at any stage – doesn’t really matter. Just as the people who come in and out of your life during your cancer journey: they find you and you find them. Two specific people came into my life recently, each of them so different yet perhaps not so different if you didn’t know what they looked like or what either of them do or did for a living. We measure people by what they do in our culture, rather than the quality of the spirit they bring to our physical world – with a voice that roars quietly in your ears, almost miraculously, when they’re not in your presence. No discussions about why it’s so fucking miraculous that we’re even reading and writing to one another or having heated or gentle discussions together and how unbelievably unlikely it is that we’re here at all…they embody why it’s just so cool to be human.

The first person to find me lost on my own verbose path and take my and pull me gently in a healthier direction, began as a business relationship and grew into a friendship. I am 52 she is a damned fine looking woman in her early 70s with the most piercing green apple eyes I’ve ever seen. I love her as a friend can love a friend when you know how unlikely the friendship but how likely once you dig a layer under the other persons skin and vice versa. She’s gotten me to my current psychologist. My psychologist has had breast cancer, and I’ve met with her twice in seven days and again Monday next week. She along with my green apple wise woman gave me a gift of female co-thinkers to help me through the tunnel I am currently in and not letting me drift into the walls of the tunnel as I find the other side with my speedometer going just a tad slower. No wrecks.

The other signs his email this way:
Peace in peculiar times.
And with this quote:
“While waiting for the other shoe to drop, hop around on the one you’re wearing.”

I find along side the road I’m currently on in my life with cancer, not waste and detritus, but people. Not hitchhikers, but people waving to me and telling me to keep going and not to stop since its rather unnecessary.

The second person has a plan in this life of mine but more on him later. Just know that he’s a cat of many lives and doesn’t stop to lick any wounds. He simply stretches and stretches on with life leaving behind the ugly, the illness, the angry, the negative, and the weight of the past. He’s lighter than air. I hope when I meet him in person I can breath a bit easier knowing that we are not in this journey of ours alone and that other humans in this consciousness came before us to allow free passage of our own loves and lives from one to another and that’s what it’s all about.

Peace out.
Next week should provide for better spiritual happiness and music to tap my foot to the beat of in order to move ahead one more space on the board.

I hear Closer to the Heart by Rush and leave you with this song for by which you may contemplate your navel lint.

Closer to the Heart