Tag Archive for Apostrophe

Song of the Spirit

You are pure fire, expansive light. To sculpt, to
create art, you have to remove extraneous material, leave some marble
or wood behind to bring forth a jewel, but nothing should be extracted
from you. You are as complete as a seven-colored rainbow.

Suppose God left you in a forest with peridot
trees, mountains of ochre rock, gold veins running through the rivers.
Suppose God asked you to create something from those elements that
would honor nature. How could you? Paradise doesn’t need art. I
can’t describe the man who is beyond a flower. No thorns, no dirty
root, not even petals with their brief vitality, only perfume
spreading over the plain. On this day, I send you searching through
the garden for the flower that I cannot narrate, but must conjure.
Imagine such a flower. Imagine your grace.

—from a letter to Murphy

* * *

“Oh Heavenly Father

looking up from roses and birds on the sixth day

to make every soul deliberate, every tint perfect,


certainly I should have come to earth.

I am not a martian the color of celadon seared to ash by the love of a none-too-prudent sun.

I come from the dust of Adam, too,

the rib that is Eve,

I am your child, too, God,

certainly!” I imagine you prayed.

“God, there are only two plants recognized in this world:

dark balsa, light hibiscus wood,

and in their branches are the letters, the maths,

and even your sacred words.

God, not in a garden under the gaze of a cherub,

but in a marshland scented like gumbo,

school and church are forbidden

to your Creole children—

black in blood, white in appearance,

vandalized of heart.

And I know that I live in a town of Creoles

who run out their night-hued siblings,

but God, I did not make the town, nor the school, nor myself, nor the world.

Maker, render me safe.”

* * *


there is nothing like the incontinence of tragedy:

the horses of autumn and spring fleeing,

dragging their bullion, russet, lilac, bronze, blush,

(future in fear of the sadness)

and the sulphorous flaming ghost of what might have been

raising its one tattered wing in the night.

So life removes its brassiere

and drains all of its milk to the soil

with neither pity

nor restraint.


Daedalus is author of Icarus’s fall

and Noah curses Ham and all his kids.

My father is crippled,

so I lose the letters and geometry of life.

At twelve years old I am condemned to the fields

and poisoned by canes of sugar.”

* * *

You converted brown sugar into lone star dreams,

took your youth from the fields and cradled it in your hands,

and carried it across the southern border from Louisiana to Texas,

spun it among the wheels of a delivery boy’s bicycle and flew.

Spirit of fruit (lovers of the sun,

globes the colors of various roses

knitted with assorted medicines and strengths,

lore, aphrodisiacs),

you, the guardian of fruit, I address,

delivery boy not yet a patriarch

too smart to be the courier of bulbs,

sent to New Mexico to reign over cantaloupe operations

and discover the magic of Spanish.

French, Creole, Latin, English, Spanish,

patron of fruits and tongues,

splendor the hue of rose beryl,

with eyes of celestite.

Brother to fauna,

summers pass and orchards grow heavy a dozen times,

now you own the fruit you sell,

superb entrepreneur,

and eggs (the magic of beginning!),

and vegetables (the fortitude of men).

Mythic man,

those who work for you later take the Hippocratic Oath

inspired by your light.

Mythic man,

how do you re-cook your client’s once-cooked Cajun turkey

un-cooking the original cursed cookery?

Mythic man,

so wise

Ph.D.s treasure your advice.

Mythic man,

the spiciest crawfish and the most luscious boudin,

superlative delights you sell in your store,

and under your eyes there is no shame in a client’s food stamp.

Mythic man,

friend to each client,

saint on earth.

Spirit of fruit,

man possessed by the sweetness of life.

* * *

Boys can carry his name throughout millennia,

yet Ann is the sacred child.

More the daughter of Terpsichore than Rose,

your wife,

she sings and dances all her waking hours.

Your reflections mingle in the lake water of Conroe

no definite place where daughter ends and daddy begins,

yet at fourteen she manages to loosen herself from the brambles

and leave behind the fruits of the earth.

Her sickle cells doom her to a journey

past the lake’s playful blue,

more like shadows-dropped-in-the-catharsis blue,

blue like a glowing mirror,

like a hymn sung in the sea catching on to the first veins of sunlight

leading home.

* * *

Spirit of fruit,

after diverging from your thorny Rose,

you interlock your limbs with my grandmother, Dear.

You re-christen her Cookie,

to make her your own

and your world is the span of her heart.

Spirit of fruit,

to love again,

to inherit two daughters from your new queen

and a baby on the way.

Yes, I am coming to be born

to chart the courses and mark out the xylans,

to record forever the horticulture,

regarding the Spirit of fruit.

* * *

Here is the thing that I must know,

Spirit of Fruit,

student of life, nourishment, sugar,

what is the plant that grows inside of you making you so kind?

You weep, as Joan of Arc Wept, as warriors weep,

but not for the loss of an empire or a lack of world to conquer,

but because for you the world is torn if you see one person suffer.

Grandfather, woven from compassion, splendid beyond belief

teach me where to scratch the earth,

where to furrow, where to till,

teach me where I might find the seeds,

to grow your heart in me too.


If you were to fly

upon high, courting the sun,

would you think back upon humble


If you soared,

higher than the envy of the clouds,

would remembrance of the pleasures

of the world give you pause?

Do, my love, fly,

but as you pay homage

to the stars,

think on me as I sigh

gazing up to the heavens

for the lost.


green, dangling

swept up and falling

slowly I come to you


I’ll knock on your door

We’ll sit on the porch

smoking and being

We’ll let silence take its course


Now come to me softly,


I have a secret from the inside


Brighter days are spent with you

I bathe in comfort

In eye contact

in the smile on your lips


Come, linger for a while

so I will not forget your air.


Hold me tight

And sleep with me once.

At least once,

although a million times

if granted.


For people like you

don’t often pass me by

who turn on a light in me.


So let’s have our time be now

Before it is to go.

And be as careless as we wish


For tomorrow will pass

and we may forever

lose this chance

To be as close as close can be.


I remember the feel of your hands—

reaching out to fix my watch

or adjust my sleeve so it was just right


Your fingers

with pale pink nails

to match the rosiness of your cheeks

and contrast the beautiful snowy white of your hair


The smile on your face

revealed that deep inside you understood what was going on

yet because of an illness somehow could not express

your thoughts and emotions


The way you enjoyed


going for walks

watching soap operas

all the simple things in life that younger people take for granted


The way in which you touched my soul

by singing a song

by looking at me—

your eyes that shouted “please help me”

those beautiful blue eyes that eventually became your communication

when words had long ago ceased


The lessons your life taught me

lessons of patience

of frustration

of family

of love


The indescribable grief I faced when you died

your last breath


The knowledge

that you would not sing Happy Birthday when I turned eighteen

or see me graduate

or be there to share my joy when I married the man of my dreams


The regret for all the times I should have been there for you

and I failed

for the impatience I showed

when you had trouble eating, dressing, walking


The sadness of knowing I would never again be able to hug you

to smile at you

to dance with you


But the knowledge that no matter where in life I am

I can always cherish the memories I had with you

I will always love you.


I still expect you to…

to do what? I don’t know.

You know where my house is,

have it mapped out somewhere in the folds

of your ever-clicking mind. I want

you to drive up here

and save me, do something… anything.

I’ll leave it generalized like that, open,

gaping even. Like the space in between

the brown jutting earth and the black

contorting universe. We were in The Dalles

that day when we noticed the sky, noticed

how it bucked in desire for precision and

details. I won’t ask anything of you,

demand that you come over, wrap something

around my eyes and gently lead me away

from the fire. I expect you to

though. Perhaps because when we stooped

under the weight of being only fifteen years old

you made those thin gauze promises

and I wound them into balls and saved them

for when I really got hurt. Can you call this hurt?

I could think of many

different names, each one obscure and pointing…

they want me to call it hurt.

And so I do reach out to you, I

try touching you with frozen fingers, even though

I know we’re long past the age of touching,

into and out of the era of hitting… what are we

wallowing in now? It’s something


something soft and pliable,

perhaps spattered with picked-through memories,

only the good ones though, this isn’t

a time period for sadness or anger.

You and I… we could come up with memories

full of those things, but we choose not to anymore.

You’re on your way out, and I’m

just starting on that road. Perhaps

it’s because of this, the fact that you’re about to take

the final bow in the play of my life,

that I cry for you now. All alone

upon my wooden floor? Preposterous!

And yet it’s happening. So I finger you,

my parched flesh swollen with expectations,

and you know from experience that the best thing

to do for me, is to wrap me up with some

more gauze.

Blind Love

The moment we met

was everlasting.

I never knew any secrets you kept from me.

You always seemed

so absent, so prevalent,

when we shared our thoughts


You told me

you were in love with me

But you turned your gaze

from me

and started to go off alone.

Don’t ya know

That I will always love you

Till I die.

Come and Play With Me

Come out to play with me

I’m ready for your entity to shift

And take it lightly for a while


I’m on the radio

The waves are crashing into shore

And moving all your pukka shells along


Come dance the night with me

And taste the free breeze as it sees

Its way into the corners of our hearts


Don’t fear the coming day

The dark is brighter anyway

No need to see it’s just the two of us

Barely Remember

Dearest Granddaddy,

I barely remember you.

All I have are

The slices of your voice,

Images of you drinking your Jack Daniel’s

Every day at 4 o’clock,


I miss you,

I wish I could have learned from you

With your pens and papers,

Newspapers and editorials,

If only you could have survived life.

For Greg

You’re not a zombie. You toke it and you smoke it and you drink it and you

think it, think things like the zombies in the songs about people like you.

But you don’t look like them; you can’t be like them. You hang with your

non-zombie friends who are just like you but really not like you, who talk

like you and walk like you. You and your non-zombie friends, who when we

talk about what you do and why you do you deny you do at all. I’m sober,

you say as you walk up to one of non-zombie friends with a 20-dollar bill in

your hands, and I sit there and don’t think I’m stupid like you. You who is

so smart and so sweet and so caring and so stupid as to throw everything

else away for the high because you like the high and your friends like the

high and why not get high? Why not get high? But hey, if you don’t want to

it’s cool because I kinda like you even though you know you are lying and

you want me to be like you so you don’t have to throw me away too. I wish I

could be like you, but I won’t throw me away for you because even though I

like you I like me too. You and your non-zombie friends. You lead such

normal lives, you fool everyone by looking so damned normal, and you do it

on purpose so you do I know you do. Maybe you are normal, because isn’t

normal what the majority’s doing? Maybe everyone’s used to everyone because

everyone and their mother does it too, they toke it and smoke it, drink it

and think it those thoughts just like you, they dress like you get in to

messes like you skip their classes like you but they’re not like you. They’

re not like you. And anymore you’re not like you either. You wear the mask

you and your friends like to share, and I put up my barriers like I do when

I don’t trust you but I do trust you, when you’re you. But you’re not

because you’re like your non-zombie friends now, having fun like they do but

we had fun too, you know. We had fun when you were you. I’ll make you a

deal. Don’t be like me and I won’t be like you and that’s OK so long as you’re

like you, OK? Just so long as you’re really you.

Every Minute

You’ve taken me for the fool again—why don’t I ever learn?

Lessons taught and lessons learned haven’t amounted to anything

Why do I let you walk all over me?

Sometimes the good outweighs the bad,

But when it’s all said and done I’ve cried more than I’ve smiled

Every minute that my eyes are open is a minute that I’m breathing for you

God, sometimes the pain is so intense I can’t breathe

God, sometimes the love is so intense I can’t leave

But I need to know what to do

I’ve never been good with words, but it seems you’re good with lies.