THE AIR LEAVES WITH YOU

When you exit the room all the air leaves with you,

And the world is not the same.

I still hear your voice.

I continue to call your name.

Time hesitates, suspended in air,

I’m confused and lost, without you there.

The world is bleak within my sight.

There is no color just black and white.

I gasp, I choke,

 Clocks have stopped in mid-stroke.

Where is love without you near?

And where is music for my ears?

Nothing is the same as it needs to be.

Come home, my love, and bring air to me.

July 21,

 

 

 

 

 

CHOICES

 WHICH CHOICE SHOULD I MAKE?

 

I’m not crazy even though you disagree.

I’m simply a man wanting justice, for people like me.

This world is full of lonely people ready to explode

They carry heavy burdens and they need to unload.

Just because I got angry when you killed the cat.

Life to me is precious. What do you think about that?

“Animals are just creatures”, you said once or twice.

Some should be burned alive, the others frozen in ice.

You called my mom a slut right in front of her face,

I love my mom. Your remark was way out of place.

My blood was boiling, your tongue had no control,

Yet you continued talking, words that were cruel and cold.

You laughed, “There’s no reason for her to live.”

We had both watched a bag lady pull children from a fire,

Without concern for her own life, she didn’t stop to enquire,

What color, social group, language they spoke,

They were children, worthy of rescue from the blazing pyre.

You laughed, “There’s no reason for her to live.”

You continued talking, words that were cruel and cold,

My blood was boiling, and I finally lost my control.

Am I crazy? People might have a reason to ask.

I’m almost sorry I chose you to be my very best friend,

And now I’m trying to decide whether I can forgive you.

Should I walk away, turn you in, or let our friendship end?

July 15, 2017

 

SAVAGE

 

Savage is a term that was both good and bad.  “You’re not dressed for church. You don’t have your “Sunday go to meeting” clothes on.  Neither do you have on your shoes. You can’t go barefoot.  You look like a savage.”

Savages to Grandmother were the painted Indians who ran around scalping the helpless folk. She rarely mentioned the atrocities committed by those who stole Indian lands, killed women and children while the braves were away. It was only when she was mad that she muttered “Indian Giver”, an insult directed at politicians, and other higher ups, a most distasteful term. “Indian Givers” were the whites who solemnly pledged their word and signed peace treaties, knowing full well the treaties were lies and were worth nothing. “Indian Givers” was a term worse than “savages”. “Indian Givers” spoke with a “forked tongue”.

Grandmother knew I couldn’t go dressed like that. Church time was very important. It meant wear your best after getting cleaned up.  It meant being attentive and listening quietly to lessons from the Bible.  It meant no funny faces at the preacher or the girls who giggled because I was misbehaving.  It meant sitting straight without any fun until the preaching was done. It meant my world had to stop until my parents heard the lesson for the week. 

The quiet time gave me time to think.  How could God expect me to be quiet when birds were singing, cows were mooing, babies were crying, and Mom was hushing me?  God also liked lots of music, with voices singing His favorite songs.  Yes, even the savages chanted and sang songs.  On Saturday night, Dad told Indian stories, Cherokee and Choctaw mostly, because he and Mom believed they had “Indian blood.”  After those stories came card games and the adults played with intensity, their voices loud and clear. During those games news of kinfolk and news of the world were exchanged. 

It was easier to be poor during those hard days.  The Dust Bowl and World War II were over but supplies of food were limited.  Mom and Dad grew gardens, bartered, or worked extra jobs to maintain the family.  We lived outside of reservations so we weren’t entitled to Indian rights but we also were free of many of the government restrictions.  The only proof of Indian blood we had were a land grant certificate signed by a President, a box of arrowheads made by an expert warrior, and a few stories handed down orally. The certificate and arrowheads disappeared while we were in the process of moving, and the stories were shared by strangers and claimed to be part of another tribe.

I took pride in having Indian blood related to one of the “five civilized tribes”, a name given to the five largest tribes that were squeezed into Oklahoma.  I could see with an inner eye, follow the stars in the sky, and knew I belonged in the world.

I saw little difference between those of any color, any culture, any language.  At times, all people were savages. All had to stop and sit up straight and listen to the lessons of the week. Then and now, after the lessons, then came the fun time when I could wear comfortable clothes and run barefoot.

July 9, 2017

QUILL

Quill

After dinner, when everyone was settled for the night, he began writing stories he had stashed away in books and nooks and crannies.  He was always surprised to see some story starters he had written.  He called them acorns, little nuts that would grow into large trees.  When he was lucky those acorns would match perfectly the new stories that were taking shape out of his dreams and life. They would blend together and spring full grown, with a little tinkering, into a poem or story. Usually the acorns were the springboard and the new ideas kept the characters and their personalities running true without too many deviations. Thus, he was able to relax and write without stress.

This night was different. The acorn he found was not cooperating. He tried beginning with old ideas and then new ideas but nothing was working.  From computer to pencil and back to computer.  He was blocked. His method of letting ideas fall into place was simply non-existent. What was wrong? What had stopped his thought processes?

There was one thing he wanted to try. He wanted to make a quill.  Searching the house he found nothing that satisfied him. He went outside and looked for a goose feather.  In a short time he found one that was suitable. He sharpened it and dipped it into ink.  He felt a surge of energy. The quill was inspiring him!

He heard a noise outside and went to investigate. Quietly he slipped from the barn to the supply room, one building to the next until he saw a dim light burning.  He peered into the room and was surprised to see all the farm animals in organized rows.  There weren’t many horses or cows so they reluctantly stayed close to each other. The pigs were very smart but lazy with ideas that were only partially thought out.  The chickens and other fowl were continually chattering. It was past their normal sleeping hours and they forgot details.  Why were they there?  Who was in charge?  The animals were getting very noisy and some looked very nervous.

The farmer watched with interest as the groups got organized but there appeared to be no leader. Then, a huge skunk squeezed through a hole in the wall.  He strode to the front of the groups and leaped up on a bag of chicken feed.

“Listen up,” he yelled.  “I want this to be a short meeting and we have many items to consider!”

“I’m the best qualified to run this meeting. Right?” He looked around from group to group.” Who’s with me and who is against me? I want to know that right away. Horses, do you agree?”

The two horses wanted to be left alone but the skunk was forcing them to support him.  “We’re with you.”

“Chickens and other fowl, you are not the kind of power troops we need.  If you are considered worthless you will be moved to cages, tenderized and eaten. Are you with me or against me? Should we eat chicken, pork, or beef?”

The chickens were sweating under the lights and were tired and sleepy.  They were running all over, acting like their heads could be cut off.

The pigs suddenly realized they could be bacon without any friends to back them up.

The cow saw the light. Her calf could be hamburger and she would be doing TV commercials recommending chicken as the preferred meat.

The skunk was glib and persuasive.  All the farm groups soon fell under his spell. He had one more thing to say.  “We will begin our plans tomorrow.  First, we wipe out the dogs. They are our common enemy.  Then we get rid of the cats. Our future depends on your dedication. We will expand our territory and right the wrongs committed against us. Onward, my soldiers.” 

The farmer slipped away from the shed, got on his motorbike and rode across the land warning all who would listen. He used a special code, one honk if the animals are coming by land, two if they come by sea.  He rode through the night and might be riding still.  He left one final message. “Be alert and watch out for the skunk.”

 

chickens,July 8, 2017

DASH AWAY!

Just before I dash away to work,

I check the mirror for my smirk.

Yes, the smirk is there. I’m  retired

and I can dash away or not at all.

Yet out of habit I grab my coffee,

my phone, a pen or two,

a notepad, and head for the door,

stopping for a moment or more,

to throw in an extra dash of sugar.

My coffee has to be extra sweet

in case the president calls to remind me

that I’m not so perfect either.

That is a real possibility because I dash around

telling every new friend I’ve found

that our country is still sound as a dollar,

at least for one more day.

July 3, 2017

 

 

 

 

THE WORLD IS READY FOR LOVE

I do not believe hate can destroy hate. Hate only intensifies when more hate is added to the flames.  Love is the only way to keep hate from growing.   Love’s powerful emotion will gradually smooth and soothe until hate runs and hides.  Only love can mend broken people, broken nations, and broken hearts.

 

The world tries to hide its shame.  Wars, rape, hunger–who’s to blame?

“Turn off the news!” someone shouts.  “It’s going to be another terrible day.”

When you close your eyes and cry, and do nothing except watch someone die,

Are you giving up without another chance to try?

The words of poets are powerful and should wake us and inspire,

I think we have a bigger purpose than simply preaching to the choir.

My friends, I hear voices from the graves.  They honor poets and writers

as those who are brave.  Words that carry love and dissipate hate will live long after our bones have crumbled.  Speak up and let love once again retake our land. Go in peace and love.

June 29, 2017

 

HIBERNATE

Let’s hibernate together when the first snow falls,

or make plans to go south when the lead goose calls.

“Hurry up, or we’ll be late,

This is a special time for us. Don’t you remember our first date?”

I was impatient, anxious to go,

But you emerged like a butterfly, my eyes got large, and my heart said, “Whoa!”

Each year with you is better than ever,

and I want to hold you for a day and forever.

We’ll lock the cave door and turn off the light,

and cuddle passionately through this magical night.

I don’t want intruders to interrupt our sleep,

We’ll love intensely, hard and deep,

Let’s hibernate together when the first snow falls,

or make plans to travel when the first goose calls.

June 27, 2017

Imagining

WHEEL

I was given a long flexible stick

And told to make something useful.

As a traveler and hunter for my tribe,

I set out to complete this task,

But did the elders know what they asked?

A wheel can mark a hunter’s domain,

Marking the outer edge of his territory,

 an equidistance from the center point,

and keeping him close to home.

We were following buffalo, dear, and other game,

Dragging our tepees across the plain.

When wheels were attached to a cart,

They became an essential part,

Allowing the cart to travel smoothly

With a bigger load.

A small fire carried as a light,

Marked a circle around us and

Helped us find our way in the darkest night.

And as we were later told,

A wheel of light helped sailors

Stay away from rocky shore,

Crashing on rocks nevermore.

Later, when we had time to invent,

One man stationary at a center point while another walked,

Our tribe developed a sprinkling system,

Circular and precise, measured with string,

An easy way to keep track of everything.

But did the elders know how much we could learn

By inventing with a stick, twine, and imagining?

June 27, 2017

THROUGH YOUR EYES

I want to travel the world through your eyes,

Finding love and treasures beyond the skies.

My poems may tell of adventures I found,

But my heart will always be homeward bound.

Everything I am, you taught me to feel,

Without your love, nothing is real.

My heart is packed to travel light,

I wish,  I wish, with all my might,

To be with you all through the night.

I miss your laughter, your love, your charms,

You should be next to me, within my arms.

I am growing older with each passing day,

And yet my love grows stronger in every way.

You make me need your love within,

And yes, it’s true, I miss skin to skin.

I claim your heart as I dream about you,

Dancing in darkness until morning dew.

All my life I waited for your kiss,

But I never believed the passion would be like this.

I’ll be in your heart and your dreams too,

Walking, dancing, and loving you.

I’ll travel the world as you cross the sea,

But when you need love, come home to me.

June 26, 2017