A Tight Grip on Remembering


Words can’t fill gaping holes in rock
Rebuilding doesn’t bring back the past
Only echoes of feeling remain
Only shadows of memories
I can’t bring myself to talk to a stone
Or visit a quiet place that smells of mothballs and platitudes
I would much rather visit you where it’s green
And the river sounds like your laughter

Others want to bring flowers or wear ribbons
While I want to run and run until I can’t stand it
To be so tired I can’t think anymore
So I fill up on other things

I read but the smell of the page reminds me of you
I sing but I choke on any words that try to escape
I walk and know you’re nearby and waiting
So I shiver and hope for more time

Tripping into mansions full of bird songs and breezes
Grasses nearby sway in the wind
The musty attic inside me is swept neatly under the rug
So many shades of dust swirl together
Are forgotten when I step outside
My skin drinks up the sunshine but my hands stay cold
Trying to keep my grip in the present but it’s hard to even want to let go
Because I don’t want to remember almost as much as I don’t want to forget


Keep Thrumming

Incredible lightness settled where confusion had been dwelling
Wisps of ideas swirled like stale smoke looking for breathing room
Stepping through memories and hopes
Trying to find a path that speaks to stars
That shine in my eyes when I dream and wonder

Walking through the twinkling dusk
The trees swaying and whispering lullabies
I struggle to keep my eyes open
As water and music and fading sunshine melt
Keeping my starkest thoughts at bay

If notes could keep themselves
And hopes could flower in living color
The songs would turn sweeter and not bluesy
My arms reach out to grasp something to hold
Not quite bereft but not brimming either

Floating through the air thick with thoughts
It can be easy to settle on one or two
But to be true instead of safe
To stay open is the rougher path
And it keeps the heart thrumming.

Make It Count

He was a genius waiting in the wings
Watching her grab other souls for a dance
He laughed with her as she played with their hearts
But his own cracked when she took her stilettos to tango with the statue
The granite was really clay and it became hers to mold
Somehow the simian moved with her, guiding her in a heathen tempo
He wanted to be the one to smite the Greek and step out of the quagmire and into her arms
But he was only a superman when he was alone
He couldn’t keep her from sharks and weasels and wolves and even the more dangerous sheep
Those who would teach her things he would try to erase
So she would meld her mind with others
Which was OK
As long as eventually she stopped dancing with clowns and fawners
And remembered there were good silent film heroes waiting in the wings
She would get tired and he would be the genius smart enough to read her
They would fit like a hand sliding into a glove
And they would share enough moments to make it count.

Aloft and Adrift Over Linoleum

Tendrils of light curled around my toes as I was lifted above the linoleum. Was I ill with a fever? I don’t think so. Was this a true memory or another idea planted over time to bloom when I looked back at my childhood? Not sure. But there it lingers.

Waiting to introduce the next performer in my homemade talent show, I tried to hold on to the refrigerator handle but ended up only grasping air. Pockets of panic were swallowed, making unmistakable bubbles of joy in their wake. I couldn’t breathe normally; it was like how I imagine breathing through gills would be. My body took in air as I took flight but my mouth was frozen in an open “aaahhh.” Not “argh” like a pirate, but more of a doctor asking you to say “ah.”

I digress. I probably will again.

The incandescence of that early afternoon still dwells on the tip of my memory like a morsel to be savored, rolled around in the mind until it makes sense and is palatable. It was spring, when trees shared their early greens and when flowers first peeked out of the ground. The smells of baking cookies and musty books pervaded my childhood. Mine was a theatre bedecked with scratched mirrors, cracked paint, hand-me-down clothes, crayons, dancing, and tooth fairies. There was laughter through the dust my toes kicked up under the swing. On this day, there was a smile and real wonder on my face as I floated in the kitchen.

I remember trying to blink repeatedly to even out the optical illusory effect of the floor’s pattern so my eyes wouldn’t lie to my brain about being four feet off the ground. But there was nothing for it except to accept I was hovering with my family ensconced with their feet firmly on the ground in the next room.

I could hear their happy murmuring. I wanted to fly to them but I seemed to be stuck there in mid-air with my fingertips grazing the dusty top of the fridge. I couldn’t, wouldn’t call out. I was afraid I would fall if I upset the balance by speaking and shifting the air around me. Or something like that. I was very young. I recall not wanting to come down, looking down and getting dizzy. But I realized I couldn’t stay in the air, in limbo. Nothing I needed was there. But the people in the next room didn’t miss me or come looking for me even though it felt alarmingly like I had been floating for hours (of course, in a child-like mixture of terror and curious joy, it was probably only minutes or even seconds).

I was left adrift.

Everyone had gone to the living room to watch TV while I prepared the next act. There had been laughter and joking and role-playing and singing as I emceed my show. All that faded as my family left the room and I felt myself leave the ground. As I spent a lot of time alone as a child, there were plenty flights-of-fancy to be found. So many of my stories and songs and pictures and creations littered my room, I can still recall the pride I felt when something I made was selected to be hung on the fridge. But this day burns in my memory like something real and not a dream.

Though I have always had very vivid daydreams. With castles and fairies and talking trees. My dreams have not diminished in my middle age. I just find fewer people find them endearing so I keep them mostly to myself.

I was left with my toes being kissed by sunlight streaming in the kitchen window. I landed very gently back on my feet, falling wobbly and confused but oh so happy.

“When I was a child, I had a fever. My hands felt just like two balloons. Now I’ve got that feeling once again, I can’t explain, you would not understand this is not how I am. I have become comfortably numb.” — Pink Floyd

Will the Magic Be Gone?

They moved together restlessly
She with hesitation
He with impatience
She knew things he did not
He understood things she never would
Exploring, guiding, testing, discovering, tensing, releasing, breathing
He reached, touched
Her body smiled
He understood the where and when, cause and effect
Like a scientist mixing vital chemicals creating a reaction
She was carried on a wave
Despite herself
Despite what she knew, how it would end
He moved in ferocious tempo
Moved to unveil secrets
She stopped with
“Will the magic be gone?”
Hesitation, empty platitudes.
“When you see me, the magic will go ”
He created a new wave
She let herself be distracted
Closed her eyes.
Let go.
As he looked, she dissolved into warm light.
She was gone.
He was grasping at shadows and light
She could see, not feel
He could touch but not see
Too far apart
Dimensions to cross
She knew this world of illusion
He understood transience of flesh
They moved slowly
To find a way either back or somewhere else
She with patience
He with disbelief
Exploring, reaching, holding, tasting, hoping, being.