travels

travels
 
his suitcase was well travelled
light brown leather that had seen the world
hiding his life in its belly
holding secrets of who he really was behind closed doors
“don’t make ‘em like they used to.”  i offered
standing over my canvas samsonite bag, steady on roller wheels
the old man stood, taking his luggage by the thick handle
without a word he walked away, only the length of a box car

as he sat down on a station bench, he leaned over his suitcase
and as i watched he patted the brown leather bag
while speaking lovingly to it before presenting a light kiss
with closed eyes the old man leaned back and sat still

the blast was tremendous as pieces of leather soared
and some were found hundreds of yards away
the station was demolished, and i had been only a train car awa
so thanks for reading…but obviously i could not have written this

 

maria’s travels

maria’s travels

juggling awkward bags
she carried her life on her back
filled with memories and dreams
and wishes for a better world

sewn pieces of canvas and leather
held burdens heavier than expected
lighter than anticipated

she still heard the blessing of her mother
as they released one another’s embrace
for surely the final time
now her heart shattered like fine crystal

was it fear of death or determination to live
that made the weight on her back shift?
she thought of the sign on her home town market
“no returns accepted.”

‘this’, she realized, ‘is the true meaning of limbo.’
a country to the north, a country to the south
and only the cold steel of a railroad track
as a highway converting dreams to reality
or altering hopes to nightmares

the bright morning sun reflected her tears
and for a moment
that mirror of compassion and human kindness
echoed the true heart of mankind

my name

my name

uneven braids defined his hair
deep crevices demarcated quadrants of his face
his eyes betrayed any quest for agelessness
as did slick blue jeans cast in shades of black

he leaned back too far on the painted bench
his heels holding his place in the world
he knew he should have died a hundred times over
yet he looked at the sea as if he held the title deed

“malachi,” he spoke, as i stood watching him
passing judgement was easy to do
and my fears that he had died were solemnly dismissed.
“what brings you to my part of the globe?” he asked sincerely.
and as i started to speak i looked into his world-worn eyes

his blue eyes sparkled, not from their natural color
but with tears forming, he said, just above a whisper,
“i’ve never been loved by someone who knew my name,
perhaps i’ve never been loved at all.”

as if from nowhere she was there
long blonde hair undoubtedly bought from an online search
her black skin glistening in the fading sun
as she clutched a wrinkled paper bag before speaking
“i’ve brought a sandwich and i hope you enjoy it,
sorry i’m late but you know how the world is.”

i watched her now, shimmering as she moved
beautiful skin and large brown eyes,
sparkling as if reflecting his tears back to him
with no other words she handed him the bag,
turned and said with a sultry voice, “enjoy your day, mister.”

intrigued, i asked, “why did she call you ‘mister’?”
“oh she doesn’t know my name.” his eyes burned through mine.
as the lonesome man bit into his sandwich i curiously asked,
“you told me your name, why not tell her?”
with another bite the old man looked up and said,

“i’ve never been loved by someone who knew my name,
perhaps i’ve never been loved at all.”

i learned that day that a man named malachi still had hope
perhaps this beautiful woman, in never knowing his name
would someday learn to love him
beyond sandwiches and smiles.

“my name,” he would proudly tell her, “is timothy.”

she knew

she knew 1233 corel

 

she knew

she knew he liked old clocks
rusted out buckets
and smiles worn by beautiful women
intrigued by these
he became a collector of sorts

she gathered photos of log cabins
and pictures of dogs in need of love
while he composed a library of romantic songs
and wrote poetry that never rhymed
as they shared laughter together

he hoped to become a wordsmith
simply to clothe her in picturesque meadows
where her most beautiful dream homes
watched over the shenandoah river
or surveyed the appalachian mountains

through it all she kept her smile and he kept his poetry
broken clocks and rusted out buckets sat quietly still
the shenandoah river still flowed
the appalachian mountains were still stunning
while she searched out log cabins and stray dogs
he looked for words that rhymed

after all, love is the victor
what better way to fill rusted out buckets?

reference is made to jeremiah 18:2-4
concerning the potter’s wheel

reference to hands is concerning…

piano keys and hands

 

jeremiah

jeremiah’s hands were once trained to grace the ivory keys
now he waited, shaking and wasted
he’d worked the fields in salinas
…strawberries and wine grapes had drawn him there
and steinbeck kept him wondering for awhile

these hands had worked the potter’s wheel
answering the call as his namesake had done
but the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands
and he learned about friction and torqueing
so his pot, like his life, trembled badly off center
collapsing in his own weary hands

to steady his hands, he painted
seascapes and beautiful women in wind-blown skirts
bright pastels, acrylics and oil
he owned only one canvas, painted over a hundred times
until his paint tubes were as dried as his handsfinally, as a mechanic, his nails were chipped
his skin broken, chapped, dry and bleeding
until cracked fingertips no longer felt pain
no longer held steinbeck’s ‘east of eden’
no longer touched his broken piano or held strawberries to his lips

the music died at the absence of his hands
strangled and now quiet
he looked at his hands and wondered
what could have been had he never wrung these hands
when desperation and desolation became his keyboard
when isolation defined his journey

these hands were lonely and quiet
comforted only by one another

listen to the quiet

Carlsbad California (2017)…or any ocean waves you may have known in your travels…These waves, parts of them, may have met…or will meet with your waves some day…that’s just the waves are.

(Please Turn Speakers On)


listen to the quiet

words were unnecessary
as waves spoke loudly enough
with an occasional splash over
positioned boulders

we wanted to blend with the sea
but sounds of the quiet
went the way of retreating water
and incoming billows of fog

gulls flew overhead
surfing on swirling breezes
slicing through an impending storm
like a white treble clef
on a sky filled with musical interpretation
of a song not yet sung

listening to the quiet
and the silence of our own words
our eyes told the story
that we had finally learned in
our older years

about
gulls and storms and ocean waves
splashed over situated boulders
and the voice the sea has gained
for those who listen

words were not necessary
as your eyes reminded me
that a song not yet sung…
is a song in waiting
a melody of yesterday’s quiet
folding over the silence of tomorrow

maggie

music:  sounds of silence

maggie

 

maggie
 
she lived in the shadows
fingers interlocked, head bowed
once she had called that prayer
now she called it desperation
 
food was no longer her first want
those other crazy drives
sleep
sex
were past tense in her life
 
when approached, she spoke of planets
and walking on clouds
and asked to touch the policeman’s badge
until they left her alone
 
she wasn’t crazy
but they never let her touch their weapons
only laughed
at ‘maggie’, that’s what they called her
 
seattle was once her city
now bakersfield on her way to tucumcari
and memphis
where the highways splattered like a squashed spider
 
nashville had once been her goal
thirty years ago, when a song and a guitar
bought a pretty girl a beer
and that had been the problem
 
now it would be south to jackson
or north to st. louis
perhaps southeast to birmingham
all the city signs said ‘welcome’
 
sleep was her achievement now
yet her eyes were as ready as her mind
and she still had a song in her heart
she supposed that songs too, need a place to die

hands

music:  love story

hands

after all these years
her hands were still beautiful
working in her garden
washing dishes
picking up after the children…and him

her hands felt as they did
so many years ago

he laid his hand on the weathered picnic table
and felt hers on top,
touching with the same tenderness he remembered
that first night

his heart raced as it always did
when she touched him
and her whispered words in his ear
reminded him of why he had asked her to marry him

so many years had passed
and they sat at the grey-brown picnic table
as they had done so many times before
in awe of hands

their ability to connect, to join
their capacity to support, to pull, to push
and as her hand lifted from his
he knew they would now walk away
joining hand-in hand

and…no words were needed

sentry

 

 

protected door

each day he sat on the wooden step
like a sentry
posted to stop unauthorized strangers
a protector of a home he once knew

folks in town called him crazy
others called him delusional
and after all these years no one remembered
his real name

 the paint held up, he mused
she wanted a red door
three-quarters of a century ago
so red it was and is

 he wondered if his tears watered the plants
weeds really, scraggly and unruly
much like the man he had become
after so many years of manning his post

 she loved this home
especially the door
he loved her…enough to protect it
he did