Hidden, in a secret place – a space
kept between himself and an unknowing public.
“T’s and “I”s crossed and dotted, lined and spotted,
a melodic melange of hope, The next
after a Number 9 dream. Living is easy
with eyes closed, he came to reclaim his muse, unused
for thirty-three years. Rekindled by an old sound,
sounding brand new – a rejuvenation
by proclamation. Peace is fine in its time.
“I found mine in the arms of mother’s love”.
All charms washed away by a disenfranchised
loner when he should have just left well enough alone.
Going home to set the tale right; his vision is clear.
It is here where the secret is kept amidst lines
and specks, a song to be heard – every word!
Poetic Asides November Chapbook Challenge – Day 4 – _____ Sheet
Tarnished and dented; a bauble of a bygone day. In a wooden cigar box; keepsakes both, with little more function than that. The stem fused to the casing, the workings have retired. But,
it has inspired me to find the link. The contents of the box play like a road map; clues to unravel the mystery that is my history. The key, worn and encrusted with years of dirt and oils from feeble fingers.
It lingers in my hand for a moment, its uncertainty secured. Papers, folded and bound with a frail rubber band line the bottom of the box. A visa document, possibly a first issue wrapped in a tissue to protect
what it meant to an old Polish immigrant determined to become all that America had to offer. Naturalization documents, meant to pronounce his acceptance of a lifestyle long sought, and their acceptance of him
as one of the free and brave. The camera buried amongst the treasures, bellows cracked and torn, a forlorn instrument with which a part of his life had been preserved. It all deserved a better fate, but it is too late to shed
a single tear from your eyes for its demise. The puzzle is splayed before you, the detective of your past. A torn swatch of a fabric, hues faded but shades of blue and red and white pressed between pages.
Finally, one last piece remains. A photograph. a dark and handsome young man; heavy jacket and a fedora pulled down across the brow. Intermingled with other similar folk unconcerned for their purpose.
But the subject stands tall. Proud. Posed to save this moment in memory, and upon this daguerreotype for long after. In the background, Lady Liberty stands strong. In his hand an American flag clutched to his chest.
A chain from buttonhole to vest pockets and a key as a fob, a cinch to keep his pride from bursting. It insinuates the only part missing was the watch that sat tucked close to his left hand. A trinket; a remembrance
of the father he had left behind in Igolomia, Poland to claim his dream. It remains strong in your own heart as the box that holds your Great-Grandfather’s declaration secure. You are sure the timepiece marked his life as well as your own.
Raleigh to Buffalo in eleven and a half, that was the plan; designated and approved. A noon departure, destined to render us home near its midnight counterpart. My heart wasn’t in for the drive, but I strive to follow an itinerary that felt hollow and vacant. Down the on-ramp to the highway, I stay five mph above the limit making up minutes; false victory in an age old story. No glory on a Sunday afternoon. I swoon as I watch the traffic thicken, and it sickens me to see red brake lights illuminated, making me irritated and disgusted. I trusted my GPS to bring us home, but I come to a complete halt. Fifteen mile back-up and hours in arrears. My greatest of fears is realized. A desperate maneuver from the center lane to find an exit. Closer to “come from” than “near home” we return to the accommodations to wait for the early morning “night” to restart our flight to the promise land and a warm familiar bed. Can’t wait to rest my head. If I can only keep my eyes from making me fall asleep. A change of plans; not in my hands.
A daughter born; a daughter torn.
Life coming and going in an instant.
One daughter coming into the world;
my mother born into the “comfort”
of their hearth and home,
two doors down from where her grandmother
had passed away on the same day.
A sadness unparalleled, a living hell.
My mother, the infant cleaved to
my grandmother’s breast in the upper window,
watching my Great-grandmother’s funeral
process past them in silence to the church
up the street. Victory and defeat fleeting.
A daughter born; a daughter torn.
Life coming and going in an instant.
A principle was attacked amidst tears and destruction; a surreal snapshot of a day worth forgetting. But no one did. How do you forget the sight; the sound? How do you forget the faces; the screams? How do you diminish the sacrifice? The word ‘impossible’ was tailor made for this moment in time. Despair and disbelief would be usurped by anger and determination to not allow those who put it all on the line, go quietly into that good night. It became a fight to rise each day to face the insurmountable task one brick at a time. As many bricks as there were tears shed. As many shards of glass as there were screams of torment and terror. But the greatest error made by a faceless ideology was assuming we were broken and defeated. But the foresight of three brothers of the fraternity most depleted showed we were not defeated. Through the rubble it stood in defiance. A naked flagpole planted among the girders and debris. A symbol; our banner raised high. A declaration loud and clear. We are still here. We will not go gently. Together we stand, a shield for liberty. You took your shot and failed. An American Tale… and the flag was still there! America had been blessed.
I t w a s Late summer in NY. A day like any other; New Yorkers loved days such as th ese. The sky was clear; the air was crisp and life went on as it usually did.Taxi cabs jammed in traffic, and some commuters were too. Pedestrians on the pavement heading to their nine-to-5 enslave ment. A sense of urgency had gone unnoticed but that was business as it usually was. Men and Women head ed to work, or to drop the children off at daycare. Today is September 11th 2001 and all is right with the world. The sun rises, casting the Statue of Liberty in seductive and glorious silhouette; a shadowed sentinel set in the harbor to greet all travelers to the “Land of the Free”. Like those folks on that inbound jet and others like it. It holds the hopes and dreams of all aboard, as it does for all below. The airplane’s shadow is cast ominously across the expanse of concrete, metal and glass; a close pass to the constructed mountains above. Most unusual on this usual day. Nothing changes on usual days. Usually, but not today late summer in NY.
Lest we forget… Many lives lost, affected and changed, our perspectives forever askew, rearranged. Our concern for humanity given new light, ten years in the making, and it’s still not right. Sacrifices made by the selfless and compassionate; the brave and we’re still helpless. Never to be far from our hearts and heads. Buried within our souls instead, explosive fire, never silenced, thousand cries of anguish, never silenced. One massive blaze unquenched, never silenced, it still remains to burn in our common psyche all the same. The eternal flame. Lest we forget.
The phone rings. An unanswered summoning leaving one to wonder. He said goodbye today. He was used to saying “See you later”. And the longer it had gone without answer made her worry. The children came to mind. Do they know? Did they hear? Why doesn’t it add up? Through the window, smoke and dust, a veil shrouded in obscurity. You watched in terror. Replayed over and over with the same result; an insane happenstance. No chance to say “I love you”. Only goodbye. Your gut tells you what your heart refuses to intimate. It’s too late. He’s not coming home.