A country emptied by the fear of war.
from The Dream of Lee, Reynolds Price
WE sat together in a coffee bar,
sheltered from the gentle autumn wind,
streaming the speech of Russian subterfuge
an out-of-style wartime
dream, a shadow war played out
on social networks filled up by the fear
I sat yesterday at the scene of a previous poem,
listening to a unctuous woman recite M. L.
Greenwood’s God Bless the USA,
cringing at how poorly she scanned it.
Poetry is often the refuge of people stuck
between an old truth and a new expression.
and I respect what they’re grasping for, and I’m proud
to be an American
So I played marches with the band,
sitting under a tent in a parking lot
and listened to a recording of I Am the Flag
the high school JROTC played through speakers
connected to someone’s iPhone, while they
passed a folded flag to anyone
who wanted to touch it.
The ritual would not have been diminished by
Quaker silence, an undeclared question.
He played taps again under the tree,
a sweet, sad, eternal bugle call.
How soon the sound turns to gibberish, the
way form follows meaning into blind alleys. Listen:
I just got through playing Bach suites on
the wrong instrument for them, the wrong way,
most likely, but as it was it was meaningful,
as it was.
Written in response to a dVerse prompt: write a quadrille, using the word sound.
There is something I used to get
out of writing poems for no one, or not many
that I seem to get better out of writing
social media comments, replies
to great influencers
The feeling of bending something in the airwaves
the morse code static
a slight influence in the real world
but it’s not the same
it’s not occurring in a different, better room than the rest of my life.
I look at file dates and think
that was four years ago
and wonder what’s happening to my mind,
what keeps happening
the accelerating rate
things keep changing
More to do with professional life and prose writing than poetry, but just about every day at work now I get another idea for a work-related blog post and/or the need to write some copy for something. It has not been a big part of my job in the past, but my role is changing a bit and I’m finding myself more in a marketing role.
This would be absolutely fantastic for me as a writer if I had the time to do the work… unfortunately my concentration gets splattered all over the pavement on a daily basis. I have noticed that every single thing I do raises the idea of two more things I need to get done; this is the reflexive response of my boss/client. There’s a poem in there somewhere, as well as a Zen koan.
One month to the day
is when I finally dream of him alive
not counting half-awake forgetfulness
I should tell Dad about
We are both in hospital sharing a room
perhaps it is another accident
my reasons are vague, the mild, hopeful complaints
of hospital dramas where the patient goes home
And I cannot remember our conversations
In the dream, I can’t remember how I got there
which sounds like something serious, actually
Dad and I actually talked, five or six weeks ago
about how tired he was of the hospital
I recalled my own stay, the connection
even I knew was limited – but all I could offer
I almost got away with it. He grinned
“but you were getting better.”
He didn’t know what kind of body to expect
he just hoped for legs that worked.
And it’s only when I wake up
that I remember Dad is gone
from the hospital for good
Dad is gone for good.