Not Far From Maplewood

There were those trees in your backyard
Wild cedar growing in the gully
Near your woodshed basking in decrepit beauty
Situated above as if being the river’s shepherd

After we discovered that tea
Was literally just plants and hot water

Those cedar trees glowed silky
Smooth a hypnotic amber- such honey slipped
So efficiently down our throats coated
Our intestines and every breath
We spoke

The colour of those years
Between ten and seventeen
Was cedar’s milk

Crafting bows from broken boughs,
Using those freshest of buds as crow’s
Nest, survey flood basin’s reign
Blueprints written in sand script
Loamy soil serving as scroll,
We would attack at noon
And be back before dinner,

Then football season came
And those trees illuminated
In Autumn’s adolescent snow
Caught more passes than your father did

And every Spring
When those rusty red braids of hair
Caught fire releasing forth a flurry
Of gold we’d stand in awe,
Wondering where their children would land
And if we’d ever
Get the chance to meet them

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A Brief Visitation

Under an eave between house and wood shed
It rains seas of gray and weariness and I
Alone captivated in a field of tobacco smoke,
Watch the wet persistent birds
With their damp persistent wings
Fly back and forth,
From canopy to feeder
Gorging themselves on sunflower seeds,

Fruit fumed slowly with hickory permeates
Bringing back summers now spent,
Past purchases where the sun
Was nothing but an ambient metronome
Ticking in rhythm to the beats of adolescent fervency,
Oh, sear seen afternoons where rivers clung optimistically
To bedrock and the birds serenely dry sung
Illimitable hymnals and the young sang along
Knowing exactly the melody

There is a flash of lightning
An expansion of air,
Feathers flutter instantly
An unnoticed second heaven makes an appearance
Only to vanish with company
But persistent as always
Wings of sangria and pecan shortly after
Return and gorge
Stuck maybe in a world far from my own

Seeking Physical Presence In A Stock Photo

Teenage intuition seeks alternatives to baring witness
Conversations  delayed till no longer relevant

Legs run
Tracing root systems to river’s edge
Flames whisper from peripheral’s blur
Time capsule’s accordance
Flesh is buried
Trinkets sewn of heart string
Reunite with hand prints on hinges
Pulling heavy breath through narrow openings
Stumbling still abled
Safety in knowing but not showing face,
Translated shoe laces missing
Tied a knot somewhere
Stopped the bleeding for a little while longer
Scrapbook sheets left behind
Licked a stamp as last chance exit
To be returned anywhere
Except every moment not shared

A picture framed
Gravel roads kaleidoscope stained
Porch light projecting a phosphorescent montage of letters kept
Context shown as postscript flashbacks
Narrated by voices in tones of bodies present,
Pressed together pen under skin
Wrote in cursive slender yet elegant,
A signature and hyphen followed by
A smile with some numbers added
Replaced the thought of never seeing you

Restitution

On the hem of a river
Behind the glowing lights
Of a ‘54 Bel Air dashboard
The constellations glisten
With barn owls and reclaimed wood,
Rusted to earth
The ferns have replaced frantic minors
Staring faceless into their hands
Drinking the stagnant sips
Of watered down whiskey
Hiding beneath the backseat,
Silhouettes project
Themselves over skin
Almost a match,
A body between
Memory and transitioning
A feather falling
Believing itself to be a leaf,
The car doesn’t move
Yet we are stricken motion sickness

A Reluctant Release From The Past

Forgoing formal goodbyes
Transcribed grateful passing amongst
Midnight in June
A steady stream of water river bank
Pebbles waiting to become
Mementos
Used for archaic architecture
A gathering place of
Distant remembrance,
Longing for nevermore tactile
Grass scents, cut and stepped on
Dew transferred from earth ridden tear ducts
To water ladened chemical vitality,
Blisters acquired vocal
Reimbursement
Lipstick catharsis pre-
Proposed future dispositions
Laminated betwixt scarring tissue,
Took fears spoken out of
Contemplation in hypothetical circumstance,
Self-fulling fantasies forged
Around laughter within earshot
Of better probability,
A cup of coffee, another ember
Burning softly, familiar
Homesick hymns whispered among interchanging
Dependency,
From the mouth of a raging river
Or beginning of a youthful summer
Everything seems so substantial

Camp Lonesome Pine Family Portrait

Found between tree lines and an open
Field
An old photograph half
Relinquished to nature,
Stubborn in part-a portion refuses
To yield
Barely visible
Plucked with fingertips painted
A specific shade of dirt and wanderlust hiding
Amongst bluestem lean-tos,
Thought to crouch, to
Get down on two knees
Catch a better view
Make lakes for small animals,
Crawl under the poorly thatched roof
Maybe fall asleep for a little while,
Strip bare absorb newfound bliss
Use old focused light as a blanket
Finding comfort in an unfamiliar image-

Is life not simply just
Discovering pieces of ourselves
In foreign situations?

It was a tarnished analog log cabin
Hew marks like calligraphic
Brush strokes visible on the wall,
Window rotted mostly
Slightly off-center
Small glimmer hinted
At a sill brimming
With coffee cans and tin mugs,
There was a mixed group of maple faced
Pioneers standing middlemost,
Smiles falling off the photograph,
Flipped over ever so faint
Was the date “1994”,
Two years before I was born but
Yet it seemed,
As rays of sun in brilliant
Reflection of cedar gold and wildflower periwinkle
Merge and dissolve and bare foot trails
Rise into wilderness,
That we were smiling together

To Ask For An Apology

We skinned our knees
Proclaiming them to be proof
That life can sprout
From an open wound,
It was assumed that a tree would grow,
A beautiful oak
From each leg,
Birds would nest
In between branches
And squirrels would dance
Amongst the opulent rippling
Of leaves in the wind,
Instead of carving initials
Into picnic tables
Or wherever the surface
Could be engraved
There would be trees
And eventually a forest,
Gathering rings like kleptomaniacs,
To age and acquire distance
These knees would heal,
So the infant seed disappears
And the rest of the body
Is slowly annexed
First with wildflowers
Then soon saplings,
Sitting on your front porch,
Old growth,
Scraping wrists against stair steps,
Remember when
We were just
And only,
Human?