~The Night Before Breakfast~
Sept. 29Quar) th 2020 (
This is my father’s birthday, now buried in the Mount Calvary Cemetery. Lost in prayer and thought having flash backs of a father never being there, mostly never here.
Abandoned by his day-care giver (his wife), after abandoning him and the children, he was unable to deal with it alone. Sending the children to relatives.
1950’s Las Vegas Divorce **
“Life has to be given a meaning because of the obvious fact that it has no meaning.”
Sitting on the fire escape
he was waiting for you to save him.
He wallowed in his inability to leave.
Cheap hotel: bed without bedposts, no complimentary soap.
Should he sit tight waiting for you?
To work out problems never explained
between love, residence, and a person that only pays rent?
All he was asking from her,
is to save the last dance for him. For love, affection,
and a future without dereliction.
“Gosh, that is a nice dress.
Bright red with sequins and plunging neckline.
You never have gone out with me, looking like that.
Yes, I know it’s new.
To wear when the night has no moon.
To walk the cross walks under streetlights
glittering with nightly specials on your low cut- menu.
Stopping anyone who has only one feeling—
to admire your attire and everything that is underneath;
soft, round, moist, short skirt’s unrelenting heat.
It was me.”
Wielding a face like an axe,
he silenced any objection to negative gestures of guilt,
into words, into conjecture, into blame.
The truth as he experienced it.
Another act to repeat itself in disaster—
having to search in the clutter of useless feelings.
Like her first set of headlights, windows rolled down;
to her last trick— running on empty, but, never gently.
Cheap hotel, bed without bedposts;
stench of stale cigarettes and after shave floating
through the next rooms’ half-opened windows.
He sits there without the utmost concern,
or yearning for his guardian angel—
or for the disposition of his soul.
watching another night fade into morning;
waiting for Eve
to come back
and save him.
* “ Notes Found On The Refrigerator”
** “ The Night Before Breakfast”
i found myself in prayer and in trust; eyes raised towards a sinking sunset.
light between branches at evenings’ dusk, i heard an internal voice
without malice or threat.
only one thought scrambled in a soft sentence out loud;
‘escape with an empty mind, deny yourself and accept what is Divine’.
i was deafened with doubt in branches hidden shroud.
yet, light continued to shine throughout my night;
quarter moon, half-moon, waxing or waning;
in a silent Lover’s light, forgiving me, of course, in morning’s light.
awaking in sunlight with fervor;
asking me to be in a life, without fewer errors.
I went out on the deck—felt the wind of the presence – before the jibe caught the gust of a yesterday’s breeze blowing into the sail.
The keel visibly surfaced two feet above foaming water, in an awkward lean, water marks on the humming board, visible as eye could see —Oh shit! I braced myself against the rail on tippy-toes. leaning in the opposite direction, baptized by the sea.
Tapping the “Captain” on the shoulder, I went below. I rocked and balanced myself with each swell of cresting ten-foot waves; catching myself descending with arms extended against the polished teak stairs and the polished walls into the belly of the bow.
Remembering the keel’s markings “MY LIFE”; both hands against the wall, I balanced myself, being driven across the course of tomorrow.
I will continue to sail —as sea mist foams against the closing rocks of the shore.
“From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were — I have not seen
As others saw —
I could not bring
My passions from a common spring —
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow — I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone —
And all I lov’d — I lov’d alone –“
“Alone” Edgar Allan Poe
C hapter I
High in a dying butternut tree, above the climbing bittersweet,
a pair of sparrows sat entwined.
Bobbing and pecking, with tail feathers visible,
they pushed and pulled, constructing a nest
from winters fallen twigs and kites’ missing strings.
Both unaware of the advancing wings on seductive winds
gliding in the heat of post-World War II victory;
with bold brown patches and brasso colored flares
flirting shamelessly with all the birds in nesting trees.
Mother: after laying her eggs, suddenly took flight on a south east breeze:
wings spread, open feathers, abandoning history.
Father: in haste, wondering who was first;
found in the chase, with another mate
in a steeple of an abandoned Christian church.
Four hatching , cracked through egg shells
in a nest below a large branch, in a dying butternut tree.
Small insects dropped, in sacrifice, as meals
to their gratefully awakening beaks.
Weeks passed in the aging butternut tree
providing shelter, meals, and summer comfort.
The first hatching , thou gh weak,
fluttered, stretched, and skittered
to stand on quick strengthening feet;
to peek and seek for something he felt, was missing.
Something unable to find, something not complete.
Something to teach him about sky, ground, gravity
and all that scary in-between.
Innocence in the face of dilemma,
all of them eventually perched on the ragged brim.
Taunted by instinct and haunted by uncertainty;
to leave and fly, to land on air, or just plain fall and disappear.
Watching them teetering on the rim,
the brave-born, with a sweeping two wing lurch
pushed them off before him.
Falling! Falling! They fell then dipped into swooping grace.
Wings with instinctive motion, caught them in flight.
Never looking back, they disappeared swiftly
between the pines, the hardwood’s, and the butternut’s plight.
The last sparrow, now with confidence, excited without anxiety,
leaning chest first, feathers outstretched, he jumped too.
Falling much too close to the butternut tree
he became entangled in the vines of the creeping bittersweet.
Tumbling, swirling, crackling, he landed with a broken wing.
Oh mother, oh father, in his screaming,
he spoke not a word. It was only in their hearts
that they heard him fall.
Who knows, as i sit in an anxious state
waiting for Godot; hoping they never show,
like a sparkle in the glass, asking me if i care to go?
I will deny its invitation —to stay and enjoy the sparkle,
as all sparkles go.
Who Knows as i move in trepidation,
waiting for the fulfillment of my day?
Afraid to recognize it when it is here.
So i deny its invitation —to listen as it fades,
rolls, descends, and disappears.
Who knows the mysteries attributed
to the ground i stand on?
If traveled, i will have accepted its maze,
if understood —i will have accepted its direction.
Who can remember,
that we can go through the eye of a needle
with the sparkle of a moment?
i believe, only in the beholder’s mind
and conscience, threaded within our soul.
an experience from the stars. blinking, shinning, glittering,
far too far from it all; sends its notice to me through heart and senses,
dusting my mind in powdered confection.
how can the infinite space of the universe capture and descend into my arms
a heart and mind so unfamiliar to mine?
from where could it fall?
i thank the morning for logic unimaginable;
quietly sharing toast with melting honey,
black coffee and smiles unspeakable.
dawn flirts the tips of bare trees
sunlight fluttering through curtains
through a cracked open window’s —winter breeze
a million moon beams transcend from a prism above crinkled sheets
i lite a cigarette from across the room
watching her smile in morning’s sleep
“…if you do not know yourselves
then you are in poverty,
and you are the poverty.”
logion 3, The Gospel of Thomas
i emptied my pockets with rattling and scattered coins on the dresser.
facing me, an obtrusive un-welcomed ever-present mirror.
i could not look away; i was centered within its paint chipped borders.
off to the edge, a stack of black-and-white old family photos;
mixed in with a bunch of sticky colored Polaroid’s
of a motorcycle weekend and penny arcades at Weirs Beach.
and, blurry ones of a start-up rock and roll band
“jamming” at the Beanstalk variety store.
(it’s still at the junction of route 106 and Canterbury road).
i can hear the screeching tires on the curves of Gunstock
and the giggling, lovemaking, in a pup tent between laps.
the racers often change the lead before the lovers
pressed themselves, arm and arm, against the fence again.
i can see in their Polaroid eyes, nothing cared except to be there.
it was a black and white transition for me then.
pushed up against the mirror, an old mason jar
half full with silver coins. nickels, dimes, quarters,
and one unspent Kennedy half-dollar. a permanent resident.
i found that faded earth smeared mason jar digging in an old bottle dump;
carried it in my backpack, hitchhiking down many promising roads.
never did fill it. always dipped into it. emergency funds, you know.
on the floor beside the dresser, getting harder to push aside,
squats a fading bluish plastic water cooler jug, three-quarters full of pennies.
my retirement, i suppose.
i begin to sort copper from silver and silver from copper.
jar vs. jug.
i smile at myself trying to find something
that i may have forgotten in my pockets.
something, with at least one or two digits to fold.
the mirror returns my smile. we stare at the lines on our faces
listening to each distinctive clink, clunk, and thud
fade into its equally appropriated space.
I just received my three pages of consolidated student loan bills. I slid it under their postage-paid self- addressed envelope; I filed it with the rest of my day.
Whoa! A dry empty bottle of tequila, torn packets of salt from the quick Mart
and a dehydrated lemon. Half a pack of cigarettes, two beers,
a bottle of cooking sherry, and half a bottle of vanilla extract,
(mistakenly taken when I left home). Never did “blow,”
never wanted to go that far from “shore”.
Dog is fine. I’m great, flat broke. Collecting unemployment,
trapped in my electric blanket ‘til Hell stops freezing over.
Salads are good with imaginary tomatoes. Mold can be cut or ignored.
Dog is tired of eating saltines and cheerios though.
Shush up, there’s no cheese for that whinin’.
I know! I gotta’ go shopping! Tomorrow.
Where am I going right now? To check on the sinking oil gauge.
I’m freezing my ass off. Whatever is left of it, at this age.
I still have a smoke and a dog; maybe, a part-time job.
Yup! Somewhere I’m overdue. Yup! Wrong diet, wrong choices.
Gettin’ skinny, depressed, avoiding the Sober Halls;
and most of all, having to avoid time.
It’s alright; I got yesterday’s coffee grinds, a loyal dog, and a couple of smokes left.
Meet me under the envelope.
foot prints crinkled on glass became engraved
with the crack and snap of every step;
for every promise never made, or ever kept.
unable to sit still, push and pull had nothing to yield.
like a new suitcase with old clothes making another roll,
clunking behind me down the stairs.
i am afraid, I have made changes equal to a reupholstered chair.
both, may look different, but, it’s the same old framework
hidden under there.
mistakes in chaos spins from flower to seed,
whether from garden or weed.
all is to be released from the wind of time,
hoping not to drop on stone
or any memory, we leave behind.