Today, I would like to offer up one more of my own poems for your perusal. I think this will be the last poem of my own that I post, at least for now. I said at the beginning that I had 4 poems published a few years ago by my undergraduate fine arts journal. I’ve decided that I would only post those poems because I have hopes on having a few of my others published in the future as well and many publications consider blog-posts as being “previously published” and therefore disqualified. I know, some of you are saying, “but this will only make #3. Where’s #4?” Well, over the last couple years I’ve realized that #4 was NOT in fact ready for publication, and I sometimes wonder how it did get published in the journal. So I’m not going to post that one. Sorry.
That being said, this third and last poem of my own is definitely my favorite of the 4 that were published. I’m very proud of this poem. It was written in 2008. I’ve actually written two different versions of this “story” – once in this poem, and once in an odd memoir-ish short prose piece (which uses much of the same imagery but also adds a lot in the way of context and explanation). I may, at some point, post that as well if people are interested. In the mean time, please enjoy this last poem and feel free to tell me what you think. I enjoy feedback, even if its less-than-glowing feedback.
“All Those Moments That Haunt Us”
— for my brother
It’s midnight and we’re walking again.
The mottled clouds are flowering
into petals etched with gray and black;
the dark sky is showering us in
shards of glass that slice your skin
and pound heavy on my bowing back.
Like hunters, we are stalking –
(sleep is an elusive thing we chase to our beds) –
denying to ourselves that memory chases us instead.
So we stroll down the side of the road.
We wave at cars passing by.
We talk and laugh and sing and wonder why
our voices come back to us from the
darkness – bouncing off invisible walls.
I’m content with this:
my hands stuffed low in jean pockets,
my long stride, the dark pressed against my side
to hold some things in, to keep others out.
But you are always hungry;
you cannot silence your ravenous shout.
You are eating the green glow, red glare,
of stoplights; drinking up the sounds
of sirens; swallowing rain-hung trees
and chunks of pavement whole –
trying to feed your starved, distended soul.
The boundaries of your skin are splitting,
and I want to wrap you in white ribbon,
force the calm back into your bones, beg you
to understand that exploding does no good.
You should know, you’ve exploded before –
often enough to have learned to ignore
the building pressure within your bones and veins.
You’ll learn, I whisper, you’ll learn to keep still.
But you stare at me, and refuse to believe
I have ever known that slow burn, that restless chill –
that electric-organ screeching high-high C
in your arctic, tv-static brain.
So I turn the pressure valve loose by singing:
laughing, you join in and the steam is releasing,
you’re drowning out the screeching in your head,
gathering up your flayed and worn-out skin,
and screaming at the empty sky instead.
But what of all those moments that haunt us?
No amount of singing or screaming ever
chases them away – those beer-bottle ghosts
wreathed in cigarette smoke, those moments
filled with the thunder of clenching throats
and the pounding clamor of a mother’s tears.
What are we to make of them, my brother?
What are we to do with all that silent pain?
Awake, asleep, or dreaming, they chase us.
And we run. Every night. At midnight. In the rain.
Quick Personal Update: My demon hunter WIP is still in progress. It’s going slower than I had hoped, but any progress is better than none. I’ve just finished Ch. 24 and I think I need 4-5 more chapters to reach the end (I hope). In other news, I have officially accepted a Doctoral Teaching Fellowship at University of Houston, where I will begin my course work for a PhD in American Postmodern Literature in the Fall, while teaching Freshman Composition classes, as I did while working on my Master’s. Right now, I’m The Master. In five years’ time, I’ll expect people to start calling me The Doctor. Just to warn you. 😀 Finally, my birthday is two weeks from today, in case anyone wants to get me a present… (j/k, I swear!)
Also, Happy Easter to those who celebrate. And to those who don’t: have a lovely weekend!
That’s all folks.