national poetry month: overwrought rails


so, it’s National Poetry Month. admittedly, while i’ve been writing
poems, it hasn’t been every day as in the past. i’ve had to deal with
growing work piles, a quickie health situation that meant an ER
visit out of precaution and other stuff. but over the past couple of
days, i’ve found that the words were waiting for me. waiting to
step forth into the sunlight. so, here’s one entry. to those taking
part in the festivities, may your pen flow as free as your heart.


copper and iron
knit electricity above
a doctor once told me to think of
the heart as a railway junction
words that skip rope from a far off room
as i try to sleep
connected to a monitor
that speaks in medical morse code
a woman next to me
cries out the “Our Father”
as nurses try to comfort her
my eyes flicker
and see another train disruption
on the battered TV above
and i think of those words again
and also
some old myth
of dictators making trains run on time
while sowing death and doubt
maybe what’s wrong with us all
is that we tend to forget
trains don’t always run on time
and hearts do earn their cracks and splits
just like overwrought rails


breathing after a hard rain


when i breathe
during the time of the hard and heavy clouds
the cracks
spiderwebs of tears silent and stifled
bitter words and glances
spring up along the skin
straining, hurting to fly forth
during a hard rain
brings forth all pain borrowed and earned

breathing during a hard rain
taking time to glue pieces back together
to let some pieces stay adrift
thinking maybe you’ll see them last before you pass on
it isn’t like summer camp
where popsicle sticks seemed to be the strongest thing
in the world
homes fall, families splinter
and you are are all specks of sand on malicious winds

breathing during a hard rain
until you return to yourself
on a drumbeat that tapers off within your ears
but crowds out the doubts and regrets
that persist like morphine drips
the petrichor tells you, “enough”
the rainbow sign tells you, you are more than enough
and the spiderweb ceases to hurt for now
and you

you journey on.


walking waist heavy


the old vinyl salesman
occupying the milkcrate
sitting low, mindful of the rust within his knees
rubbing a face of mahogany slowly
that’s part of my kinfolk on this journey

all this soul, all of these past prologues
all these moments weighing on me
like vibrato signed by Sonny’s fingers
make travel like a cargo ship stacked high
sailing waist-heavy in muddied ocean channels

i know what i got
i will let go of
i know what i got
i will let go of

and the sailing away will be light
and i’ll wear a gentle evergreen breeze
as a scarf to meet the horizon

old comics and some worry


(Photo credit: The Urbnite)

faded panels of comics that comforted me
when I was eleven
sit between my fingers
not trying to pay attention to the taiko drums
that tend to only want to play when I rest

you wonder
if this is what your parents sipped from
as you slept back then
that the baggage their eyes carry now
was so you didn’t have to pack as much

but still
we travel heavier than we need to
and when I look at the eyes of my mother
and the eyes of my father
there is pride, love and their own fears

that I’ve begun to sip that too-long oolong tea
of worry
and that I have stopped packing light
so I thumb through old comics and constant prayers
hoping that they aren’t right