Inadequate

Decades pass in a day
as stories unfold –
I cannot look away

War alters the landscape
renders time irrelevant
dreams ash amongst rubble

I have but an ear to listen
hand extended, heart open

Such merger recompense
for pain eternally imposed.

(Image mine)

Nightly Forays

While ego slumbers
we slip the confines
of earthly limitation

Minds launching
abundance of ideas,
souls reaching

with insatiable glee
no longer hindered
by societal gaze

we bathe in otherness
naked and alive, till
dawn shutters dreams.

(Tuesdays, I borrow from Twitter @Vjknutson. Image my own)

Childhood Home

The place remains in my dreams
like a movie set preserved…

Have assigned each room
a critique – disclosed the crimes

Yet, it remains, like a beacon
draws me to it, begs reflection

What if I could go back
now that I can breathe

Now that I’ve laid claim to maturity;
would I discover a sudden windfall?

Makeover conditioned motifs;
reevaluate ceiling heights?

With resources to remodel
heart open, connected

might I uncover abundance
like a personal embrace.

(Childhood Home first appeared May, 2020. Image my own)

Cryptic

Is the writing on the wall so cryptic?
Graphic images depict rage
flames of dissonance
young men bleeding at their own hands
compassion incapacitated.

A sad awakening
for a society fixated
on rights and privileges,
dominating culture
excluding the nurture
of humanity,
or preservation of life.

How can we continue
to closet our children’s pain –
their vitality oozing –
hopelessly abandoned
by morality’s shelter?

It is the wall,
not the spatters
of blood upon it,
which needs amending –
adolescent minds too tender
to wade through
the cryptic priorities –
messages divided.

(Cryptic first appeared here May 2018. Edited here. Image my own.)

Needing a Sign

Restlessness accompanies me
on this sojourn today –
unfazed by ripe red
belly of robin,
or shimmering emerald
of breeding merganser’s crown.

My lens seeks out decay –
rotting wood, darkened cavities,
as if my soul craves reassurance
that life persists even where death
hovers – I need a sign

Discontent, I move on-
drive the river road
snail’s pace – praying for
something to shake
this malaise –
birds come and go,
trees radiate Spring green,
I pause, unmoved.

And then I spot it,
across the river, up high,
a massive hulk;
lens raises, adjusts, snaps,
the regal hunter turns toward me
regards me with ferocious intensity,
does not falter on his perch –

All-seeing, fearless,
he is spirit-manifested,
a messenger, lifting me
from stagnation –
momentary redemption.

(Needing a Sign first appeared here, May 2019. Image my own.)

They’re Just Family, After All

In anticipation of guests,
the hostess – always bent
on pleasing – carefully selects
the script, ascribes roles,
envisions an afternoon
of light repartee, peppered
with philosophical pondering –
satisfactory entertainment.

They’re just family, after all,
she tells herself, confident
in the outcome, fatally smug.

Crowd arriving, she fails
to read disinterest in eyes,
politely attempts to orchestrate
interactions, while they cast about,
calculating, shunning protocols
of etiquette, dispersing in
an unsettling way, then returning,
savagely encircling their prey.

They’re just family, after all,
she tells herself, panic rising,
confusion overriding confidence.

Unprepared to defend herself –
bears no arms but the giving type –
she ducks, grasps, attempts
retreat from the onslaught
of vindictive agendas, but the wall
of stored grievances, spotlighting
a history of injustices, corners
her, hopelessness in its wake.

They’re just family, after all,
she tells herself, knowing
full well the legacy of pain.

It’s friends, in the end,
who save her – a surefooted
cavalry, bearing the swords of
understanding, compassion
their war cry – reigning in the
once-invited, now betraying
guests – objective hearts
demanding an end to the fray.

They’re just family, after all,
she tells them, tells herself,
composure a mere thread.

Tables turned, the offenders
now plead for forgiveness,
beg for help, pretend the slights
were unintentional, harmless,
expect their hostess to step
over the bloodied and slain bits
of herself, and with benevolence,
restore her love for them again.

They’re just family, after all,
she says weakly, the torn script
of her expectations scattered.

(My art, entitled She Stands In the Middle of It All. This poem first appeared May, 2016)