Poetry: Soul Satisfied

Prompted by: ‘Smoldering coals of fury with which oppression always fires the soul.’ (1862)

Anger burned like acid surging through his body,
deadly rage ran unfiltered with each breath
as in shame he hid and buried his anger
as it called out for vengeance – for satisfaction.
He felt the scalding physical pain of revenge withheld.

He felt how the inhumanity man can deal to his
fellow man is without comparison.
Only man hates his own. As only man can
kill without reason and crush his kind
without purpose or cause, leaving no real hope.

He felt helpless as despair hardened him.
His broken mind and heart pleaded for him to let loose
the righteous fury growing inside as hours, days,
and years passed in the agony of painful misery,
hatred pounded his chest to be loosed
as his purposeless worthless life festered.

He spoke to his anger about the promise
of a better life, but not for him.
His was to live into his dream
of revenge and retribution with the fury
of the spurned prisoner held within him,
but for not much longer.

Soon he would defeat their world.
Soon he could kill them all,
and his hate would feast on their flesh.
All the pain and suffering would be avenged.
Then he could die in peace,
with honor avenged, pride returned,
his life’s purpose satisfied.

©Bill Reynolds

 

Look both ways, be careful what you wish for, and speak up for the oppressed.
Mind the gaps. Learn where they are.

Poetry: Your Time

Both afraid and unafraid,
full of fury and stunned by fear,
he stood insecure
and timid
with no comfort, spending his day
in worry, fretting and wondering,
‘what will people say?’

From his platform in the sky, he looked down
on the maybes and what ifs,
and he heard the voice ask: ‘why?’
He closed his eyes and softly spoke,
‘I’m afraid!’

The voice was soft and calm,
‘do as you wish,
not as others say,
this is your time,
your day is today.’

He moved closer to the edge.
His body was shaking,
his eyes crying,
his knees buckled as the voice kept saying,

‘to live you must die and die again
as you suffer pain of mind and body,
today is your time, now will never be again.’

As he stepped out from his comfort platform
into the abyss of reality he fell.
His body emptied itself, so sure it was
that he was bound for hell.
Down he went, just falling.
Falling away from and toward. But there was
more the voice had to say.

‘Again and again, for the rest of your life
you must step to the edge and jump
into your strife. Fear is your friend,
but let not worry be your master.
Jump, jump, and jump again.’

© Bill Reynolds 9/13/2018

 

Look both ways, all around, up and down.
Then jump.
Mind the gaps, but deal with them when you live into your question.

Poetry: Let Love Kill Me

Some say I’m angry.
I’m not. Not much.
I have regrets, that’s honest.
Or is it?

I wish I’d never made one single mistake.
Not one ‘oh shit.’ But, I have. I did.
Is there a pride hidden behind my scars?

Tense dark and gloomy feelings
may bleed from within me,
but they’re not what I am.
Have I found that which I love?
And will I allow it to kill me?
To take me away? Why not love?

Who and what am I?
Am I a line in some poem?
A thought?
A feeling?
The sum of all my yesterdays?
Am I what I seem? (are you?)
Or a dream?

There’s much that I am
and some that I’m not – here and now,
yesterday I was, but he’s now gone.
Perhaps to be in some tomorrows,
yet to be as I am, or what I’m not.

I am not gone. I am here. Hear me,
touch me, feel me, kiss me.
Love me.

Read my thoughts into your mind.
I’m not lost, not gone. I am here,
just here.

No mistakes. No regrets. What’s left?
To live – into life’s many questions;
into the mystery of poetry
with softly spoken breaths.

© Bill Reynolds 9/10/18

Look. The gaps? Oh, yes! There are gaps.

 

A Poet’s Week of Poetry

Taken on my walk this morning. Prickly pears are ripe. Edible, but buy in store and use leather gloves to prepare.

A week of poetry

I listened to the Frank Sinatra Radio station on Pandora during my walk this morning. Good music that makes me appreciate why so many cringed as the rock and roll era dawned. Enjoyed it, but I’ll be back to Thumbprint tomorrow morning.

So, Friday is my birthday. Question: when you become older than older-‘n-dirt, how old are you? I have arteriosclerosis (crummy circulation), heart disease and an effed-up aortic valve, and now I’m looking at “radical” surgery on my left forearm to ensure all the cancer is gone. Oh, and I drink too much wine (beer, coffee). Every day I’m gladder to be alive than I was the day before. Yer only dead once. That can wait. Right?

In ‘honor’ of the year I will spend transitioning into the mid-seventies (proud baby boomer), I plan to post at least one poem each day this week and two on Friday (B-day). These are quick little ditties done in less than 15 minutes each and tweaked very little. Some are exactly as first written. Here’s why…

I’ve read (in On Writing and others) that all first drafts are shit. I agree when it’s prose. I have written good enough poems then tweaked them to death trying to make them better (perfection?) and ended up letting them ride the hard drive for eternity.

Last year I posted a poem about my frustration with my poetry (click here to read it). I never know about my poems, so I often overwork them (not the first time in my life I worked harder than I needed to). I’m currently working on some that I’ve knocked around for over a year. Sometimes it’s cuz my muse got another call and failed to get back to me. Sometimes, I end up with something I like. Sometimes I’m skeptical, but you like it. Go figure?

So, if you read my poems this week, know that they are sunny-side-up or only tweaked to over-easy. They’re a little raw, but thankfully brief. Happy Sunday. The first poem:

Tanka Poem – A Feather

How life passes by
We see, as we feel the breeze
so like the feather
life moves us from here to there
how we love and how we care.

Bill Reynolds – 7/21/2018

Look both ways, wander often, wonder always. Mind the gaps and respect the abyss.

 

Essay: My FWB Neighbors (4 of 4)

This is the last of my four-part neighbor-knocking recall from our time on the Redneck Riviera (Florida Panhandle).

 

Part 4 of 4: Meet Dangerous Dixie

Directly across the street lived an inspirational hero named Dixie. I met her when she was 97 or 98 years of age. I went to the 99th Birthday bash at Dixie’s home, the same house she and her late hubby moved into 50 years prior, in 1964, when the houses and the neighborhood were all new.

A wee bit bent over, Dixie walked unassisted and talked bitingly sharper than many folk decades younger. If I had a favorite people list, Dixie would be in the top five. I don’t know what it was about the little bull dog that we found so compelling, but Dixie was a treat to behold. A pill, but one you must love.

Meeting and making new friends when they are in their late 90s (Dixie was 30 years my senior) is like no other relationship. There were many things special or unique about her (not all of them sweetness and love), but at that point in life, attitude is more important than ever. One of Dixie’s last great adventures had been an excursion to the Galapagos Islands ten years earlier. She told me all about the trip, remembering many specific details and saying that she got around much better back then, at age 88.

Dixie was convinced that a local lawn guy had dumped a pile of yard-waste at her curb. He hadn’t, but that was not the point. She refused to permit me to dispose of the waste. My wife talked to the guy and offered to pay him to clean it up. He said, “I know she thinks I did that, but I did not. However, I will clean it up without charge.” He did. In Dixie’s mind, he was guilty, and she had won because she had waited him out. We let her go with that.

I have attended exactly one 99th Birthday Party in my life: Dixie’s. She wore two-inch heels and personally greeted each of the many guests. As she would introduce them around the room, naming each guest, she accurately told a little story about each person or couple.

That went on for more than an hour before Dixie finally sat down and took her shoes off. Dixie looked at my wife and asked if she still drove. Dixie’s Mercedes was parked in her driveway, but she had only recently stopped driving. When Yolonda said that she did drive, Dixie said, “Good. Because we need to get out and do some running around and have some fun.”

I don’t know what doctor thought a cardiac pacemaker would be good for Dixie at 99, but a few months following the party she had that surgery. Some weeks later, Dixie was found dead in her split-level home, ostensibly from some form of cardiac failure. Dixie’s 100th Birthday Party was combined with a memorial of her passing as well as celebrating her life. I knew Dixie for less than two years of her long life, but I will not forget her.

In many ways, I would like to be like Dixie. However, I could never measure up to her spark, enthusiasm for life, or love of nature.

Look both ways in life, even when there is a lot more was than will be. Mind your gaps.

 

Poetry: Honor the CAS Brigade

Memorial Day greetings as we acknowledge our remembrance with parades and poems, and we mark the unofficial threshold of Summer with humbled celebration.

I wrote a poem for Memorial Day…

Agree.

Honor the CAS Brigade

Not the six hundred, your life or mine.
My life for yours, in what noble cause?
You, comrade, have set my stage,
presented me with this chance,
and roll life forward to repay.

Has the world truly lost you?
Is it peace we’ve all gained?
Willing you were, but not for the price
to pay for my freedom, this high liberty.
Did you pay all my dues? What is my debt?

You did not die to win over another,
’twas peace you willed not mere death.
Shall I follow your glorious footsteps?
What cost for Liberty the price to pay?
Was the sum too dear for us to say?

Back to you, no debt can now be paid.
Was there glory in your demise?
Hail Liberty! is now your shroud,
I bow my head and we salute your life,
as today we stand to morn your death.

Comrade be known to only so few,
your loves, your bests, your suffering pains.
Dress right in honored memory
and in memorial spirit. Your life for mine –
no greater sacrifice, no higher honor.

Me. Standing before you,
your stone,
your memory.
Your life!
I’m humbled.

Yet honored.
Not that you died,
But that you lived.
And because you lived, you died,
So I may live. That we can live.

To my fallen fellows,
to my comrades of ideal,
may your sacrifice be honored
within our best brigade.
I salute your life.

Bill Reynolds © 27 May 2018

Look both ways in Memorial to our fallen comrades, yours, mine, ours. Allow no gaps.

Poetry: A Blaze of Glory

Warned ya: F-word used cuz I do.

A Blaze of Glory

I should be dead.
Hush! Be quiet.
Listen to me.

I shudda been dead years ago.
Every rock wall or cliff I ever saw
was for climbin’ up or down
got kinda hairy sometimes, ripped pants,
scrapes, scratches, and snakes
got bee stung once.

Every train was our ride, tracks for playing
and high trestles for wide river crossings.
A train’s comin’?
I knew two guys who
killed themselves
jumpin’ off a them bridges.

Every roof was to be jumped from
after a building’s been climbed, got
wrenched, twisted, and sprained —
never broken.

Me and Jimmy swam
butt-naked
in that filthy, dirty, Susquehanna
in our bathing suits, which means naked.
Immunity.

We climbed up shit.
Like towers, bridges, trees, buildings.
Shinnied up rusty poles. If we fell,
we’d die. Motivation!
If a train came, we’d die.

Fucking people jumped
from there
into the river
to kill their selves.
My uncle did – Dad’s brother,
Was his name? James maybe,
Something. Yes it was James. Same as Dad’s dad.
His sons said he was trying to save a dog.
Uncle Jimmy weren’t savin’ no fucking dog,
But glorious if he had.

We poached – fish. Got shot at!
Fuckers missed us – on purpose likely.
When you get shot at,
you hear the bullets buzz past.
Crack, crack,
buzz
buzz.
We left — pronto.
Fish were prolly scared anyway.

It was fun to be
scared. And nothing
scared us more than
death.
But Jimmy and me – we
would live forever.

Then Jimmy died
after heart surgery.
Took him off a machine that
breathed
for him – how fucking
inglorious!

I’ll die too.
Too fucking late for
glorious.
Or is it?

Tom died too. Jumped
off a tower. ‘chute didn’t open.
BASErs say gear malfunction.
Midnight. New Year’s Eve.
BASE jump. Glorious.

Jack died of fucking cancer.
He knew. He called me cuz
he knew. I knew too. When his
wife called to tell me. I
fucking couldn’t talk – I
went totally fucking Dumb.

Give me the Light Brigade.
Fuck pas. Gimme a rifle,
a cause, a revolution, a reason.
Fernando!

Teach me how to
die. All the lessons of
life – not one teaches
me how to die.

Love hard, live fast,
die old. But die for a reason.
If yer gunna die, have a cause.

¡viva la revolución!
Aces’n eights ain’t my hand.
I’m not motherfucking dead yet.

There’s more.
More to tell, more to do.

I toast my comrades: to their glory. Salute!

(Bill Reynolds, © 14 May 2018)

In life, there is a reason for each season. Look both ways and mind the gaps.

NOTES: While I think a poem should stand on its own without gloss, my editorial reconsiderations include these.

If you like, read the Charge of The Light Brigade (esp. last stanza) by clicking here.

Pas is physician assisted suicide.

Fernando is the song by ABBA, click here to listen.