To Francesca and my Eleni, we follow you, your heart, your love, your sunshine and favor.
Thanks for being there.
Even illness couldn’t keep it down
something from the depths of musky earth
like sunflowers and poppies burst forth
with laughter and goose bumps, folly and fun,
a child’s sleeping smile or jasmine tea.
The plane had not yet arrived
but the ground still trembled
in anticipation, the air – thick blue velvet,
slow waves of movement through the trees,
we saw it there, silent in simple gowns
On the edge of a dream coveted
and suddenly everything would be all right
as if cradled in mama’s arms again – the warmth
of flesh, a tight embrace upon the return,
the return of our sunshine and favor.
Sunshine and Favor
Clouds scream across a stolen sky
but you don’t hear, your silent ears
ornaments to adorn your face,
useless spangles like piles of
magazines left unread, stacked in
dark corners, yellowing, dying,
transformed to a fine dust that covers
your eyes with unending sleep, locked
within a world without a voice,
clouds are calling to you to rise,
“take flight with me”, rise above the
labels that you wear so dearly,
they keep you bound to emptiness –
and in that emptiness, find despair.
So much opens to those who dare,
clothed with another perspective,
traversing the gentle landscape,
brushing its lovely loneliness
like a cool breeze on a phantom day.
Listen to her song, awaken,
find the hidden treasure resting there,
today’s the day, look – clouds are talking.
– Previously published 1994
Photography by: Debbie Downes
When the summer the locust flew in we had
to walk down the middle of the road
avoiding their frenzy, jumping out at us
from somewhere between corn and soy fields
and the dark cool woodlands. The thick air
stuck to your skin like a warm wet blanket.
They called it The Land of a Thousand Lakes,
“and a million bugs”, we’d add with laughter.
Three-quarters of a mile down the road
sat the old General Store – weathered plank
construction, board walk and sign. I remember
the screen door’s rusty voice as you entered
to purchase something cold. We liked snow cones,
Yohos and thumbing through the comic books.
The old man kept shop and didn’t mind
our presence, it was something to pass the time.
On our way home, we would get “sun silly”
telling jokes and making up funny rhymes.
Maybe we’d pick some berries; raspberries
or blue, staining our hands and lips with flavor
painted smiles. Time lingered then, I’m certain
of that. Memory recalls moments in
slow rolling waves of heat mirages
somewhere distant. It seems that even the sun
hesitated it’s descent, creating the
tiger skies and blue thunder moons of youth.
– Previously Published 1993
A family like the large slabs of slate
which pattern my walk, are the typed
letters that together form the story on a page;
filled with secrets, like clover pushing through cracks
trying to break through to face the sun, the weight
of stone cannot keep the seed buried for long.
The bumps and rough edges, a fabric of character,
make each individual stone stand on its own
yet always a part of the whole, weathered with time
to ever change in shape and color, chipped at the corners
or new applications of cement – the blood that keeps
it whole as the caretaker endlessly tends his estate.
Look with wondering eyes, see how the rain deepens
the stones’ colors, the passing cloud ripples across its face
the shadows of the observer sway and bend light;
little pools, that reflect the moment, conceal abundant life
that comes and goes with the seasons, collecting dust,
step tenderly this walk as again I sweep it clean.
– Previously published 1993