Somewhere in Time and Kentucky

Somewhere in time and Kentucky,
‘tween furnace fire and frigid flurries,
beats the heart and warms the blood
and finds the brain
bittersweet in joy and pain.

By cast iron stove the scuttle sits,
full of coal and snowy bits
melting, glistening, into drips
that rust the metal bucket’s pit
and reinforced wire upper lip.

Though the scuttle’s galvanized,
acidic anthracite denies
longevity; yet, for today,
keeps my heart alive
and ice and cold at bay.

Quiet rooms; silent home;
floor of wood on cornerstone;
Bible fast by telephone;
I do not feel alone
for I know and I am known.

Advertisements

Good of Service: A Poem

So, here I am. Again:
back in my chair
with my pen in my hand,
determined to drag it out,
kicking and screaming,
by the hair if I have to:
the TRUTH.

Here I am, in pain again,
consorting with anger.
The muscles in my jaw contract;
the tips of my incisors ache
to rip and tear apart
the curtain between me
and TRUTH.

But is there a need to bleed?
I hope not.
I should rest, cool my engines, then
explain.

-…-

Ok; I’m chilled out now.
Where to begin?

I cannot begin at the beginning;
I lost that long ago.
So, I begin at the end:
I am full of rage.

Rage I need, I believe, to save me
from depression’s dark paralysis.
Before the rage, there was depression,
I recall.
I remember how
the pain bound me in a straight-jacket
while the world yet waited
for me to tie my shoes and begin
another day. No
way.

They wanted me to leave my home and,
in some strange land, take a stand,
weapon in hand and
kill or be killed.

It was very clear: no thought was required.
I was not to think it through first. No, I
was just expected to
do it. I
refused.

They then rejected me,
for the good of their service, and I
was supposed to believe:
there was something wrong with me;
not with them.

For a long time now, still I know
not what to believe. But, then as now,
one thing was, and is, certain: I
will not allow myself to kill
another being, be it human or not,
unless I know, beyond a doubt,
that it is right
to do so.

Of that I was and am still sure.
But they were not prepared
to let me think it through. No, I
was just expected to
do it.
No. Way.
I refused.

-…-

Before that, there was school;
a place where I was trained
and strained past the breaking points
clicking like prayer beads, one
against the other,
along the thread of time.

School, a place
before time, out of time, where I
was expected
to dance to their tunes,
sing their songs,
crack their books,
and flee from shame as bugs might from the light
finding the over-turned playground rock,
only to be crushed
under the feet of young bullies.

School, a place
where discipline is by disgrace
and you are to learn your place.
A place where there is no place
to hide when they laugh in your face.

School is for my own good,
they said.
Looking back now, I think: not.
I think:
school is only for the good
of their service.

Published in: on December 15, 2008 at 7:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , , ,