Lines on a Face

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Lines on a Face

Can be read
Stand with me
In the shadows
In the light
Perhaps we’ve forgotten how to be an open book
I wouldn’t speak for you
Because I can’t

Once when I was young
I fingered the rivers on my mother’s skin, stretched taut
Followed the blue pathways on a thirty something’s hand
Felt her age pulsing in her coursing veins
I read age like the blind read a page
My eyes partnered with my child-hands
Teamed up to untangle her mysteries
Heard her body tell the story of a half-life
Plus some

As we sat on a pew that was ours for an hour on Sunday
Nine/tenth’s of the law
And all

In the pews of Methodism, souls lined up to hear
Truth be told
I could not hear hers
Buried deep within her soul

Mink eyes on the face of a fashionable wrap
Thrown over the shoulders of a worshipper
Stared back at me
Two pews up and to the left
I thought of his sacrifice for status and beauty
(The things of nightmares when you are ten)
And I think of that still
Her sacrifices too
Draped in death

I found the mink eyes
Meet my hazel eyes
Frozen
Motionless
Dipped in death
I looked elsewhere and then I looked back

Lips were red
Injection-less
Skin was powdered and rouged
Nineteen sixty something
And hairspray lingered in the air

Life lines
Seek a safe place to preach the stories they have lived

Stand still at the lectern of life

And speak
Face the music

Face it
I cannot speak for you

Once, when I was young
The stories could be read

By looking there
Buried deep within the soul
Clues lined up, from chin, to cheek to brow
To help untangle
The mystery of life lived
Well
I cannot speak for you

I long to read you as a book
Open
To tell the stories that should be read
In the lines on a face

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Lullaby and Goodbye

 

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Lullaby and Goodbye

Name it and it must be so
Dwell among the symbols of the hard working ones
And you begin to believe in permanence
Strength
In rhythms of nets
Going out to sea
As if the repetition builds a muscle, a memory, a town
A lullaby, a whole town’s lullaby, your own sweet
Lullaby
Focus of a village that feeds
A hungry privileged soul, like me
I dine at whim, again and again on
Fresh crustacean wearing their gray armor
Fresh in season
Headless
Turning pink as they hit the heat
And then one day she tells me
Empathy jumps ontop of me, my armor cracks and breaks
Now the boats are leaving town
And I wonder why
In this shrimping village by the sea
What have I failed to see

Haunted by the ghost town-ishness that has taken up
Temporary residence
Wind blows through the docks
Echoes back and forth
No buffer there to absorb
Changing tide of time
I throw a rock, it sinks

Shortage and a shortfall
Remind me of my shame
At forgetting
What I forgot to
Never take for granted
Just because
It’s in a name

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On Remembering

 

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Photo by Fancycrave.com on Pexels.com

 

On Remembering

remember what hasn’t been
yet. Before. Today
remember what the dreams hinted to
in a happy, haunting nocturnal sort of way
of what might come to be
on some other summer’s day
things hope and longing used to say
in breathy whispers
along the lines of could, perhaps and maybe
moments that haven’t had their chance
to live to see today

remember what hasn’t been
unravel next time. Reweave memories from yesterday
remember Wednesday on a Tuesday
and all the things that wait
that ask to be remembered
like healing, birth and death
and poems that take a year to gather line by line
on the poet’s winsome breath

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