the first sound…and the last

Myth
You cant keep hangin’ on
To all that’s dead and gone
Oh, let the ashes fly

Help me to make it
Help me to make it
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the first sound…and the last
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in the quiet before sunrise…
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before this relentless world awakes…
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at the window silhouette of my
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alone listening…
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i hear the first of morning’s call,
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faint from the dense of sheltering evergreens…
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alighting from February’s greyed and leafless branches…
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in slow breaths past your sleeping lips…
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i can hear our shared living mystery recital
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whispered deep within your down pillowed dreams,
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the serendipitous and storied soliloquy of
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our improbable union of years.
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in destiny devoted season after season…
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that even in this cruelest of another Winter cold,
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we can still scorch
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in the white of our own flame.
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and still… this fool romantic’s heart
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could believe only Love beckons reconciliation,
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but a slow and greying wisdom wonders
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‘is it our friendship we can’t live without?’
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and outside our window long past sundown…
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when the world has turned away…
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i hear the life mating cardinals, like us
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a fated pair
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calling each other home to close another day.
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we are as the Universe demands, and how
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i’m forever grateful it’s your voice i hear.
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the first sound…
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and the last.
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drawing approx. 8″ x 8″ on vellum paper
pencil, watercolor pencil, white and black marker,
acrylic paint and sourced from various Google pics
click to enlarge

the tenacity of innocence

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born in tentative voice…
sadly that so many sentences have
since choked quiet in this throat, scathing
self doubt daring these lips to tell.

and such beauty witnessed i abandoned to fear
forsaking my pens their ink to run bone dry,
the unrecorded curiosity of an innocent imagination.
oh.. the decades white in pages…

and creativity… the purest gift…
hidden secret in wasteful dormancy, a shroud
in numbing cloaks of self medicated apathy
a faux justification of my feigned indifference.

the stark anomaly in my bloodlines…
an empath hyper alive in insensitive worlds
of blank eyes and suspicious glances,
my vulnerability worn like a deer in the clearing.

my back has bent bearing the
weights of this artistic expectation, grieving
unrealized creativity a constant burden, spiritless
this stale soul air filling its void.

sinister angel of drought!
i hear your cruel hiss of darkness
stirring memories echoing my tragic past,
the voice that would swallow me whole.

but i have lived to see my whiskers grey, and
i see my years through the merciful memory of eyes
that never forget… the beauty they’ve seen,
because it’s my innocence i will relive fondly now.

living rightly and whole today
i stand among the alignment of stars
projecting the destiny of a Light within, knowing
my last clean breath… will hold no regrets.
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approx. 8″ x 8″ on vellum paper
pencil, watercolor pencil, white and black marker,
wax crayons and sourced from various Google pics
click to enlarge

even the sparrow….Haiku/Tanka

a relentless snow
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drifts in consuming whiteout…
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will i disappear,
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succumb to the vampire wind
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that would drain my soul to numb?
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these eyes half open
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in waking hibernation,
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this heart a frail beat.
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a frozen flatline…
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waiting in emotional
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ambiguity
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for the morning Sun
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to light… this desolate sky…
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to wake… from this sleep…
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the ambivalent
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stare dead eyed past the wounded.
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yet time and again
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your brown eyes warm my shadows,
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and mend these oft broken wings.
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Hope turns skyward now…
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beyond… this Season of Fear…
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snow… falls ever white…
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and Winter’s death has it’s Spring,
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even the sparrow… finds food.
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watercolor pencil, pencil,
black and white marker,
white acrylic paint
12″x 12″ vellum paper,
sourced from various pics
and my imagination
click for larger image

shoots and wings, thresholds and thank you’s

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i woke today to an earlier light,

slicing sun… between wooden blinds.

Spring soil…it shifts and yearns

in shy murmurs… of shoots and wings.

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how the wind is alive

with the long forgotten calls

of weary immigrant birds,

floating currents… returning home.

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and maybe… my day is here

to shed this curfew of skin and doubt,

finally… free myself forward

shutter eyes that lurk behind my head.

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let my instinct… map a ready sky,

a fragile trust and mysterious as flight.

let unfurl… these inadvertent wings

and surrender my will to each unknown.

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there is stubborn in my bones

a rain worn feather remains as resolute,

and how much fear… i’ve let fly

oh, sweet wing of creation… take me home.
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thresholds
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When I began this little blog a year ago, I had such meager and modest expectations that anyone would pay any attention to what was being written here, let alone take the time to leave a comment because of something I happened to write.

I wrote short stories then, a memoir of sorts, recollections of a kid from a troubled family living in a poor and forsaken neighborhood in Brooklyn. And that’s all I had plans to write until I just happened to see a link to a poetry site on someone’s blog. It was the first week of April, and just happened to be the first week of National Poetry Month.

I still can’t explain what compelled me to submit a poem, I’d only written one until then just a few months earlier. But I did, flying by the seat of my proverbial pants, against every fear and anxiety I wrote renewal. I was so heartened and overwhelmed by the response, I wrote another.

And the rest, as they say is history.

But I believe our history is a living thing, and so very humbly here I am… 150 poems later. This past week this little blog surpassed 16,000 page views and recorded its 5000th comment and on days like this when I sit back and reflect on this profound improbability, I have to clunk myself in the head with the heal of my hand in a “I shoulda’ had a V8′ moment to make sure this isn’t a dream.

Me, who feared poetry all his life… is now obsessed with its writing.
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shoots and wings
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And now I think it’s time to ‘unfurl these inadvertent wings’, cast aside the fear and doubt and accept the gifts that are being presented. In the coming weeks and months I’ll be busy with some collaborations and personal projects I wanted to tell you about.

A dear friend and most talented writer Bianca (B.G. Bowers) is dedicating her blog for the entire month of April to invited guest poets and challenges. She has very graciously asked me to participate, and I was honored to accept. On April 20th my poems will be featured and I’m really excited at the prospect. Thank you again Bianca.

In the next few weeks, 3 poets who are held in very high regard for personal and important reasons, and I will be working on co written poems. The themes of each of these poems are so dramatically different, the challenges will likely take us all to places we haven’t been before. With the enormous energy and talent these poets possess, I have no doubt co writing these poems will be an exciting and rewarding creative experience and I thank them all for this opportunity.

When you have a chance please visit
Melanie (Wordifull) Chloe (Sirena Tales) and teardropsofink

And lastly, many of you might remember that this past summer I was invited to apply for residency to the Ragdale Artist Retreat. Considering the prestigious alumni that have and still spend time there, it is an honor for me to even be considered. I’ve hesitated to apply because the one requisite the board asks you to have, is a worthy goal, something you can or want to achieve while you are there. I didn’t…until now.

In a recent comment thread with my wonderful new poet friend Nomzi (Nomzi Kumalo), she mentioned that she’d like to have a collection or a book of some of her favorite poems of mine. And of course I gave her my standard ‘oh I’ve never had the dream or desire to be published’ response. She hasn’t been the first friend to tell me this…

well… I finally got the courage to ask ‘why not a book?’

So I will apply now and whether I get accepted to Ragdale or not, a book will be self published in the coming months. I do have a tentative title ‘poems of Hope from a wounded heart‘, and dear Chloe has so graciously accepted to write an introduction. Thank you Nomzi for the spark and thank you Chloe for being generous with your valuable time. Love and Hugs to you both!
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thank you all
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And of course none of this would have or could have happened without all of you, who have read this poetry of mine and written so many profoundly heartfelt and encouraging comments. And a very special thanks to Melissa Hassard and the 20 Lines a Day community.

What an incredible gift this Circle of Encouragement is!

so ty, ty, ty, from the bottom of this very grateful heart.

Love and Hugs to you all!

s c r i b b l i n g

Friday Repost
for my new friends,
a little dig in the
archives for you.
also, today is a
travel day so my
replies will be
delayed until
later tonight. ty.
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scribbling
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images (23)
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i seem
to remember
when i was a kid,
being in my
room

and

laying
on my belly
surrounded by
page after page
of white and
colored
paper.

and

each
of them
filled to the
edges, every
square inch
used up

and

how many
hours i spent
by myself,
so deep
in my

i m a g i n a t i o n

just

s c r i b b l i n g .

and it’s funny,
there was
never
the
fear of
failure then.

because there
was always
another
blank
page

and

if

i

filled up
all the
paper,

ooh!

that
empty wall…
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images (24)

Friday Repost…..petals open slowly


Friday Repost

for my new friends,
a little dig in the
archives for you.
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petals open slowly

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across undulating fields of truthful wheat
across the window walled skyscraper cities
across churning surf and miles of embattled shore
and a mother’s loving comfort hearing her baby’s cry

know your nourishing and loyal day will arrive
an infinite Sky in her kindness and healing grace
offering all its patient memory and forgiveness
and a wisdom knowing that all petals open slowly

and renewal and its reinvention begin the day
because a child’s heart is a truth we can’t deny
my dearest friend the sun is warming at your window
and our new world awaiting to hear your hopeful reply
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Who is of smiling face
Bestower of all fortunes
Whose hands are ready to
Rescue anyone from fear

It is the child in us
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my morning music and a beautiful video::::enjoy::::

Sunday Prose: The Walk Away

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The Walk Away
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Even a casual observer watching me on that last day of high school in 1972, might have easily surmised from my body language alone as I hid in the shadows on that bright sunny morning, awkwardly standing there feeling insecure and listening to classmates talk about their college plans, plans I didn’t have, that my journey from that day forward was going to be a difficult one.

I lingered well after most everyone else left, so I doubt anyone noticed my hippy hating English teacher grabbing my yearbook and flashing me an evil, little double eyed wink after she scribbled ‘good luck’ under the ‘least likely to succeed’ heading.

That was my final high school memory and as
little enthusiasm as I had walking into that
dreary building during those four years,
I wasn’t in much of a hurry to leave either.
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37262
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Bushwick High School and The Public Library
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That long, slow walk home was nothing more than a detour to somehow delay the inevitable, an aimless but purposeful distraction from the yawning unknown. I do remember tossing the cap and scratchy maroon gown in a corner trash can somewhere along the way but not much else, not the route or what time it was when I finally looked up and saw the familiar Roman font, the peeling, two thirty two handpainted in faux gold leaf and outlined in black on the inside of the thick leaded glass above the entry doors.

The graduation ceremony ended around 11am and it was dark when I finally, reluctantly put my key in the glitchy lock of the heavy oak door to our four story, walkup tenement building that breezeless summer night, standing there motionless, not really wanting to turn the key.

I was a 17 year old, long haired, half stoned hippy who wanted nothing more than to be an artist, trying to survive in a nowheresville neighborhood buried somewhere deep in the bowels of Brooklyn with no prospects, no plans, no money and not much of an education either.

Opening that door was the last thing I wanted to do.

I wasn’t given much to work with as a kid, on Welfare after a traumatic divorce when I was twelve and as hungry as we were the last week of every month, survival until the next check arrived was our sudden priority.

A decent student before my parents divorced, I never really recovered, not from the shocking move from our tidy, two cars in the driveway middle class life on Long Island and not from the shame that we were now on Public Assistance, which was polite talk for Welfare then. Trauma and hunger are a toxic burden for a kid, a terrible way to begin class in a brand new school in a neighborhood that bore absolutely no resemblance to anything I’d known.
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Everything around me, the dirty, dilapidated neighborhood, the drugs, the alchohol and violence I and everyone else lived with, only confirmed a life most likely destined for failure. No one who knew me then at 17, my parents, classmates, friends or my English teacher would have been at all surprised if I joined most of my neighborhood friends who were either drug dealers, street addicts, in jail or dead by the end of that first summer following graduation.

Even Lola who was the valedictorian of our class and my loving soulsister during that last year, even Lola, the poet priestess who I wrote about in summer of sorrow, who recieved a full scholarship to Vassar took up with an alchoholic and never did attend Vassar or any college, breaking my heart twice by summer’s end.

There was not a single reason to,
but I had dreams of better days even then. Why?

I can’t explain why there was a spark, any spark at all in a soul that absorbed and witnessed as much I did or why I dared to believe my life might possibly be any different than anyone else I knew. Maybe it was the artist in me who dwelled in the imaginary, maybe it was the hallucenogins still in my system or maybe it was just plain fear seeding visions in my head after spending six years with a half empty belly, the fear of watching so many people with so much promise disappear into the muck.

People I knew daydreamed about becoming rich, I just wanted to escape my neighborhood alive.

Of course, this would have been a perfect time for a serious sitdown with a caring father, for a heart to heart talk between a dad and his son to pass on some wisdom, maybe some advice to put his rudderless kid on the right path. But I was already one year removed from deciding in court,not to ever see my father again.

He was happily, already long gone by graduation day.

The year prior, the Family Court judge mandated I spend a summer vacation with him in the house that still contained all our furniture he wouldn’t send us, the house he could somehow afford yet could never pay child support, the house we had to escape his death threats from, the house that reminded me of everything I never wanted to remember. I spent the entire summer walking as far away as possible from that house from the moment I woke up until late at night, when I would tiptoe back to my old bedroom.

He noticed my boots were completely worn out,
the soles had come loose so we went to a
local shoe store and he bought me a new pair,
and he complained about how expensive they
were as we drove home in his blue Cadillac
Coupe with them still in the box on my lap,
as I sank deeper into the white leather seat
with every word.
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When I left quietly the next morning, the unopened box and my old boots were next to each other on the floor beside my bed. I walked barefoot that day, my first act of defiance in a life of submission and constant fear.

My father wasn’t educated but he was perceptive, perceptive enough to know when he turned on the flourescent light in the kitchen that night as I tried to slip into my bedroom unnoticed, as his veins began their slow bulge in his forehead. He knew when he looked at me with those raging eyes, as I held his gaze like I never did before unflinching as I stood my ground in my bare feet on the cool linoleum floor. He knew in that stare that seemed to last forever, that this encounter would alter the trajectory of our lives, that whatever was before was not to be again.

I was prepared to get pounded, he saw the determination in my eyes and that I was absolutely going to get back up and get back up again, if that’s what it took. How ever this was going to end, it was going to end that night with me being free from his tyranny, one way or another.

There was a tranquility that washed through me as l let go of the fear, I was there but not quite and I’m not sure if I would have felt pain in the state I was in, a lightness that I had never experienced before and it was evident, evident in my eyes and his that he knew I was already free.

He turned, flipped off the light and left me standing there in the dark as he walked away.