Category Archives: Memory

In a moment of selective focus

Seeing narrow and close

the fresh rain that hangs like tears

from a florid pome and blurred green surrounds it.

The pinnacle of small details – the tip of a pen pressed

at the page or the placed dish inlaid with memories.

The indentions of your slow intake of breath fills me as you read

the texture from a leather-bound book.

Obsession takes a toll, roughshod over the global view

of landscape and horizon. Still and fixed,

the single moment aches in a story with pain

and the point that tarries after a kiss in the foreground, surrounded by rain.

***

This poem, a sparrow

I remember counting birds on summer mornings,
before the heat settled in,
I’d circle the house.
and count the sparrows and bluejays,
a robin or two and sometimes a cardinal.

A task that kept me focused
each and every morning – on small details
like the poetry now.
I looked for colors,
with hope that this time
I might see yellow in a warbler, a goldfinch,
the multicolored painted bunting
or hear a gleeful song that the mockingbird pretends.

The ominous black crow was not here, though venturing
near the field behind our house – I would hear caws
that echoed.

Tick marks on the page were used to tally,
and sparrows always led the count.
A swath of greys and brown, with patches
of blue and red, and always hoping for yellow.
The darkness far away.

This, before the summer heat settled.

On birthdays, memories, and top 5 lists

This past week I celebrated another birthday.  It was a milestone, being number 55. This year events coincided that made the day just a day.   My wife recently had back surgery and is recovering at home (doing well, but still has pain).  My eldest son is busy with work projects and a new baby.  My youngest son lives elsewhere and had to work (though he did call and we had a great conversation).  Good friends had other family obligations or were traveling.  I worked all day.  In fact, this is one memory of my birthday that will go down as being one of the most unremarkable.  For that alone, I will probably always remember it.

I will count the small kindnesses/gestures along the way:  The balloons shared by coworkers who recently turned 55 this month and like to tease each other about who is older.  We now have a special club – and I will always get used balloons because of it.  The blueberry pie made for me by a family friend who was looking in on my wife as she recuperates.  The phone call from my youngest son to wish me a happy birthday. The adorable phone call from my parents singing “happy birthday” in different keys.  Note:  My parents are career musicians and are never off-key.  Greetings shared on social media (FB) from friends and family – far and wide- hoping that I had the greatest day – the best day.   Yet, it was just a day, and I guess there is nothing wrong with that.

I reflected on past birthdays  and wondered what made a day the best day – the greatest day.  I’m not sure I have the answer, but I did dredge up some good memories of birthdays.

  1.  On my eleventh birthday, I received my first vinyl album as a gift from my parents.  It was Magical Mystery Tour by the Beatles.  I had recently been introduced to their non-mop-top music by a school friend, and was immediately smitten with the lyrical genius of John Lennon on I am the Walrus.  It would be the first of many vinyl albums I would receive on my birthdays/Christmases.
  2.  On my 13th birthday, I had a sleepover party with 8 friends. I think this was my first and only sleepover birthday party. We ate hotdogs and hamburgers, played badminton, wiffle-ball and touch football, then roamed around the neighborhood after dark – playing  ghost in the graveyard.
  3. On my 27th birthday, I received my PhD.
  4. For my 40th birthday,  my wife purchased third base line tickets to a AAA baseball game in our city.  We went with some dear friends (one each of our children share a birthday) we had recently reconnected with.
  5.  On my 50th birthday, I was traveling in Germany with my eldest son and my father.  We were in Nuremburg on that day and visited Coburg Castle.  Facebook likes to remind me of that day every year and I smile.

There are memories of other birthdays,  but all the things that make days special are there in that list: meaningful gifts and gestures, landmark events, good food and fellowship, and exciting adventures in new places.

They are still just days – though,  and I hope you have a great one.

 

 

 

Abandon

Chalk sun-faces on an asphalt driveway,
drawn to chase away the chill breeze
and forecasted rain.

Bicycles circle the cul-de-sac
blazing trails, pedals flail.

Shouts and whoops
to Scout
to fetch the ball
and chase the calls.

Children playing with abandon.
Adults watch and see themselves –
their childhood, stranded.

Christmas passed

I sit at the side of an aging Christmas tree,
its lights still glittering, the ornaments of memory
and seasonal delight put away since yesterday.

Times of Yule have passed, and a passionate thread
winds with the ribbon, translucent and red,
around the fir’s perimeter, wreathed and twisted.

Perhaps, tomorrow I shall put it all away –
the strings of lights, the skirt with gold inlay,
And finally, the tree itself – for future holidays.

And in the empty spaces that it leaves
I shall remember light and ribbon, though it grieves
that such a brightening emblem has to leave.

Echoing

I’ve got no poem today, but it must be okay,
I’ve thought about monkeys, how walruses play.
how the color blue is my favoritest hue,
and wishes are best when they really come true.

I’ve got no poem today, and really do wish
the words on the tip of my brain would assist-
sounding out songs or echoing tales
of beauty transcendent, like the sea from a shell.

I’ve got no poem today, and no thoughts transcend
my own disappointment I fail to contend-
Yet here in the darkness, I draft and forestall.
I guess that I’ll gather more words, lest I pall.

I’ve got no poem today, but I venture to guess
Tomorrow will happen, and words may address
some loftier thought, some grander design-
while playing with words that I thought to combine.

Seasonal

The leaves lay spread amidst a coverlet of snow-

one a bit early, the other late in season

past reds and yellows – some time ago.

They were once green, connected stem to root –

and spring and summer rains

dripping from their tapered ends fed them –

their flowers and their shoots.

The rains that came in maelstrom or set in calming mist,

now fall glissando-like in frozen silhouette.

Lighting on the grass and ground,  setting to persist.

The time between these spells now hardly seems unfurled

and yet the leaves, now consummated, are ensconced in winter pearl.