Not Beethoven’s Ode To Joy

 

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Not Beethoven’s Ode To Joy

Nestled away from the throngs of discourse
(Still in earshot, every one )

Off shore
Where the peacemakers still
Come and go
Singing their muffled songs
Blended  harmony
Paul’s Epistle, the First One
And Ludwig’s musical composition
In the key of love

Ravenous scavengers of joy
Refuse to give up
Hungry for crumbs of hope
Cast wide their wholly nets

Old as dirt, new as momma’s milk
Music heals the wounded heart
Notes or not
Flat or sharp

Upon the raging sea

Twenty Sixteen is split right in two
Broken in halves and thirds and fifths
Thirsty for joy, parched for peace
We need more
Odes to joy

It is hard to beat the masters
Paul and Ludwig raise the bar
High and holy

But for the old salts
With graying hair, weary bones
And raspy throats
Worn out rope
Tethered to what’s left

Who never tire of amazing grace
Refuse to abandon a sinking ship
Or give up weary attempts
At writing their own

Ode to joy
Or at least
A hat tip to Ludwig

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Let Me Put It This Way

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Let Me Put It This Way

The fetal position was an option
Always
But so was one foot in front of the other
If you read this, say, 50 years from now
You should know
There were poets
Taking the pulse of grief

Of the world
Off the chart
Into unchartered red zones of grief

Weeping in unison drowns sorrow
Buoys the soul
Your shoulder a lifesaver
You shoulder a life and weep with those who weep
And write to tell about it

Catch your breath there is more to come
Save some tears for the next go round
And

Hope
Always

Love, everlasting
More

My tears speak French and Southern and pain
Fluent in make it stop
Last week and the week before that
And this
Drain the spirit and weaken the pulse
But joy
Transfusions of joy
Attend the anemic and weary world

Number two pencil, low on lead
Computer cartridge out of ink
Pens spent
The ebony ink  flowed its last drop
Words, written elude me
The timing could not be any worse
But can you hear my heart

Oral traditions of story telling would do well
To come back from the grave
Would you listen amid all the cries of pain
And tears of valid weeping
Lamentations of  Biblical proportion
Are on the rise

Would you hear the story of hope

I had to share my joy with pain
And pain with joy
My humanness binds me to your wounds
Humanity spans the globe
Crosses the Atlantic, The North, The South

The weary world hangs its collective head and cries
Sunken heads bent downward sink the spirit like the Titantic
Pain is our iceberg

And the spectrum of human emotion
Immeasurable, unfathomable
Mourning and grieving
Crying out, is it morning yet
Mercy, is it morning
Yet

And Jesus wept
And surely He is weeping still

Lord have mercy
I speak Southern and am becoming fluent in
Make it stop

Grace

 

 

 

 

What Will You Always Remember

What Will You Always Remember

There are no mahogany framed sepia photographs
Laced in chipped gold gilt, hanging by a thread of rust
Lining a narrow hallway by the newel post worn down
By palm and fist

No black and white, grey and tan or faded Kodak prints
With the look of Nashville filters on Instagram
We are not shown together much

Paired, twinning, con-joined or wrapped arm in arm
Serpentine limbs like Cherry Willow tree’s
Threaded through each other
In an overtly visible way

Not after those early years when
Nascent you
Held
Nascent me

But I will always remember
Tracing your blue-green bulging veins, pumping  crimson blood to the beat of  Onward Christian Soldier
(Or was it some other one penned by Wesley for the choir)
Running like rivulets down your pale underarm
The color of the underbelly of a flounder
Yours was smooth as the red velvet church pew in that
Methodist church
Where I did the tracing
You may have smelled of Jergens
And I may have smelled of intrigue

I closed my pre-mascara-heavy eyes
While your fingers played the piano up my arm
When your dangling digits like participles
Reached the bend
I was to tell you

Whisper that you were in the valley of the arm
While the preacher preached
And I wriggled in my seat

You may not recall at all
Perhaps you only remember the smell of Methodism
And the lingering scent of my wanting to know you more

 

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At The Goodwill

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At The Goodwill

This is how I remember it
Or this is how the poem demands the retelling.

You can break a word apart
Not unlike diagramming sentences.

(I loved that part of English class.
Chalk board, chalk, eraser, eraser dust, teacher

Back facing class, front facing board

All the tools for dissecting a sentence,
Splayed out on the operating table

They dosed off, classmates to my left and to my right
Unwilling participants, missing the point of the drill.)

The word is a brand, is an adjective, is a noun
Is too often lost on me.

Before I made it through the swinging doors
She snuck up on me in the parking lot

It was never about the bargain, the search, the thrill of the hunt
After all

It was never even about the monetary charitable contribution
(Who are we kidding?)

This is not the first time I have been tripped up
Just the first time
At the Goodwill

Blessed are the lonely
For they will go to the Goodwill in search of conversation

I give myself a C-