Author Archives: John S

Abandoned

The abandoned lines are welcome. They collect on scrips and pages.

Writing is something that I can not believe I will have time to do.

My first thought was to go back to the place where I was sitting.  For a time, I was simply there and trying.  Gardening, while a gang of robins followed me about the bed – inspecting my work.

The second thought was you. Somehow the verses always came as if you spoke them. You are not here and the poetry can be seen through; the language is not the answer. The rhythm is listless.

The drumbeats of my favorites are thrumming in the past.

I open up the door and get the mail from the slot.

There is a letter from a woman in Seattle, a postcard from a school friend visiting Niagara Falls, coupons for home improvement tasks, and a form letter guarantee for future savings – if I act now.

I write this all down for future projects, perhaps ones that could be emerald and glistening, for poems about lost souls and overwhelmed emotions.  For times when I need to cover. Maybe build a patio that sees the sky or install block windows to hide.

The abandoned lines are welcome, they fill the page and occupy my mind.

Bring your own

I cordially invite you to make this sandwich order with me soon;

read  from the post-it note I found on my walk

last Tuesday, just before noon.

It’s for a cheese-steak sandwich on sesame,

using both American and mozzarella cheese.

Laden with onions, probably red, and banana peppers, yellow,

the pungent and acetous toppings combating the cheesy marrow.

And if this weren’t enough acescent taste,

with lots of A-1 sauce, as told, the sandwich should be graced.

Likely you will thirst upon it’s completion,

this sandwich activates the salivary gland secretions-

and since I cannot offer what you seek,

bring your own preference of beverage, then, to drink.

***********

This poem was written in response to #summerofprompts entry 3 by Mary Biddinger and generally inspired by a found post-it note.

The Sentinel

I was there when the sun rose and watched it trim the horizon. The night wind kept me awake and swaying. Now, the sparrows sing as I gently swing to the breezes proffered me.

Somehow taller than yesterday, I can see a bit further. I bend towards the coming day, collecting the light. The arrhythmic pulse of beetles and alighting flying things courses through me.

The robin and the jay argue and flutter over nest placement. The stone path beside me stares upward in disbelief or ambivalence, I cannot tell the difference.

There will be others soon: Old ones that sit beneath me and drink in the silence. I understand the solitude. Young ones that run and squeal. I feel their joy.

Moments of complete stillness are rare and only abide in seconds. I hear them coming.

An end will come, pulled from the beginning of this day. A strand of light that dims and thins will precurse the wind turn. Stars beguile the sky.

I stand here, watching amidst the time and winds that move me.

*******

Written in response to #summerofprompts idea by Mary Biddinger.

Needlework

It is to admire, the dedication of Ireland to her writers and poets.

Stories and verse are held close and read in weekly doses.

The next writer featured from Oranmore or Kilmainham or Skibbereen.

All have something to be told.

Just as words born from Beckett and Heaney, Yeats and Tynan,

these are ancient and bold.

It is a patchwork stitched from ages of fabric and thread,

pierced with tales of loss and love and fairy trees.

Sometimes covered with gorse and rock, instead.

But almost always green and growing

beneath a cloudful blue, with the wind blowing.

Held fast in stone with those who’ve passed

or washed in crashing waves felt in the west.

Words that only come from those who live and die

stitched to their land with a needle through a feather in the sky.

hidden in sight

She likes to nest in the seasonal swag on our front door,

even with better natural options in the burning bush on the corner

or the Japanese maple in our neighbor’s yard,

our roosting house sparrow waits, en garde.

Perhaps it is the safety of a solid wall,

the camouflage of her twigs and grasses and straw

among the bundles of dried vine, hydrangea blossoms, glistening and false.

or this perfect window to a world as she “twee-deeps” her calls

Perhaps she shares some insight to other songbirds

hidden within the sound of her chirping words.

Water Cycle 2019 (after Newman)

What has happened down here with the climate change
Storms built in from the north and it started to rain.
Rained real hard and forever and a spell
And the bottoms filled up ‘round the lake at Dardanelle.

The river rose all day.
The river rose all night.
The bayous backed up in the flood.
Some bridges now are clean out of sight.
The river spread clear from the Ozarks to the Ouachitas,
Roaring water through the streets of Arkansas.

Isn’t it a cryin’ shame.
This is melted glacier water’s way.
The water cycle’s here to stay
Isn’t it a cryin’ shame.

The leader-man came down from that place he reigns
and a yes-man with an i-phone in his hand
The leader-man says, yes-man isn’t it a shame
What the water has done.
Where’d it come from, yes, watch it rain.

Isn’t it a cryin’ shame.
This is melted glacier water’s way.
The water cycle’s here to stay.
Isn’t it a cryin’ shame.

*******
In homage to Randy Newman’s wonderful song “Louisiana 1927.” The song has been rattling in my head for several days, as I continue to see remarkable and sad footage from a region of the US that I am very familiar with. I do not mean to look upon other’s misfortunes lightly or with malice, but I felt the need to say something. I hope and pray for the safety and quick recovery of all of those in harm’s way.

Being Something Else

To wonder if our evolutionary
ancestors made such split second decisions:
not just to swim ahead in fear of survival
to evade a larger predatory fish,
but about whether to swim back a few feet
with purpose to look at a beautiful pebble,
or to creep to the water’s edge
and feel the silt and sand for a few moments,
then return to the deeper water.

Until one day,
it was past three seconds
in the sediment, and they decided
they were no longer fish.