Sunday, June 29, 2014

Saturday, June 21, 2014

An Exercise in Scene Transition

The sun dropped below the snow covered pines behind the house. Tree shadows reached across the back yard. The thermometer in the kitchen window shrank toward the teens. I saw our tracks in the snow.

The teapot whistled. I grabbed it from the stove top and poured the boiling water. Flames licked around the fresh log in the wood stove. The familiar tickng and popping heralded the coming warmth. Fingers and toes ached as the numbness wore off. Nathan and I huddled under a quilt with cups of hot chocolate. "Daddy, can we ski again tomorrow?"

"You bet, Nate. Do you want to try a new trail?"

"Yes. Skiing is my most favorite fun thing."

"It is very fun; but, I can think of things that are more fun, for me." I looked above the desk in the corner of the room. The plaque on the wall depicted a salvage diver's hardhat. Beneath it the inscription read, "To the best damn diving officer in the Nav. If you ain't Deep-Sea, you ain't shit. Thanks for your support, Vino and the boys, Long Beach Navy Dive Locker."

The sun beat directly down out of a cloudless blue sky, turning my drysuit into a personal sauna. The rumble of machinery below and the activity of the dive team on deck drowned out the cry of the gulls wheeling above the fantail. The weights on my hips and legs pinned me to the bench.

"Air to Red. Air to Green. Hat the divers." The commands of the diving supervisor, Vino, rang out, followed by the hissing of compressed air flowing into the helmet at my side. My tenders lifted the helmet and gently brought it down over my head, onto the locking ring, securing it in place. Deck noise grew muffled and distant. My world shrank to the inside of my helmet and what I could see through the faceplate.

Vino's voice, tinny and full of crackles came to me over the headphones, "Red diver this is topside, how do you hear me?"

"I hear you loud and clear. How me?"

"I hear you same. Rig breathing okay?"

"Breathing fine." Air hissed out of the helmet with every breath.

My tenders poked and prodded me me looking for leaks and loose gear. The weight of the helmet bore down on my shoulders. Sweat dripped from my nose and eyebrows. I stifled the urge to wipe them with my gloved hand.

The prodding stopped and the tenders drew away. Vino's brown face filled the faceplate as he checked me out one last time. His eyes crinkled and he smiled around his fat cigar, giving me the okay sign with the thumb and forefinger of his left hand.

"Red diver, up and over."

My tenders helped me to my feet. I shuffled to the side of the dive boat trailing the umbilical that fed air to my hat. I stepped over the side and fell the short distance to the water, crashing through the surface. Hissing exhaust became a quiet stream of bubbles. The weight and the heat washed away. I adjusted my airflow.

"Topside, this is Red diver. Surface checks complete. Leaving surface."

"Okay, Red."

I began the long, slow descent, arms outstretched, flying toward the unseen bottom. In time the water grew dark and the wreck materialized out of the gloom. The once proud warbird lay crumpled and broken on the sandy bottom.

I heard Vino's voice again, "Okay Red?"

"Okay Red."

I hit bottom and began to move toward the wreck.

"Will you take me diving someday?" Nathan had caught me eyeing the plaque.

"We'll talk about it when you're older."

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

At the Station

A lonely country station in late spring
the blooming rhododendrons are quite grand
an engine on a nearby siding chuffs
a-lazily, waiting for next command

admiring the rhododendron blooms
on empty platform she sits and awaits
the next train bound for her end of the line
the Station Master checks his pocket watch

"You're early, Ma'am," the Station Master says.
"No matter. I'll just sit awhile and rest
and contemplate the rhododendron blooms
and yonder engine. Pray, where has he been?"

"That engine's George, but most know him as Pop.
'twixt him and Bert some say they've hauled the world."
And as he spoke Bert pulled up next to George
their chuffing sounding more like lover's coo

The Station Master turned to share their tale
and naught but empty bench did fill his view
checking his watch he walked the platform's length
while Bert and George watched rhododendrons bloom

How They Cut

Sharply and deeply
          Slivers of a broken heart
Artery. Always.

Inspired by the poem Piecemeal by Michael French

Sunday, June 15, 2014


(You have expressed
with skill and grace
the Bogeyman
who comes to roost
when weather here turns fair.)

First breath of spring
barely exhaled
his leathern wings are heard
beating out a cadence
just before he perches
on my shoulder

light at first
but heavier
with each passing day.
He chuffs to catch his breath
then leans against my head,
an all too familiar lover, cooing,
"winter's comin'!"

Inspired by the poem The Passing of Another Day by Fergus Martin.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Tears without Tissues

There are tears here without tissues
and they're getting on the floor.

Do not worry
I will get a mop
and clean them up once more.

There are tears here without tissues
and they've gotten in the sink.

Doesn't seem to
be a problem.
Turn the tap on.
Don't you think?

There are tears here without tissues
they have fallen in the soup.

Don't be bothering
the dinner guests.
They're salty,
so it's moot.

All these tears
through all this time
have kept on getting in the way
of the happiness
we could have had
if you would only stay
focused on the things
that really matter to the us
you said you always wanted
all those yesterdays ago.

There are tears here without tissues
and they've soiled your dress work shirt.

Take it back
and iron another,
there's still time
I won't be curt.

There are tears here without tissues
they have wet my pillowcase.

Not a problem
keep it on your side
they aren't in my space.

There are tears here without tissues
they are running down my breast.

Do not worry
when you shower
they'll go down the drain.
That's best.

All these tears
through all this time.
You never once have seen
that the happiness you wanted
isn't happiness to me.
If you would only focus
on where all those tears come from
there might still be a chance
for you and me.

There are no tears remaining.
It's grown quiet and so cold.

Inspired by the poem House Hunting by S.L. Weisend

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Simple Presence

Simple presence as a gift
nothing need be said

drinking in the solitude
in quiet communion

at peace
with nature

and each other

inspired by a g+ post by Peter Noah Thomas

Friday, June 6, 2014

Bridges Burned

Bridges burned without intent
are awful to behold.

The dawning of the loss as
conflagration grows intense

To know that there are places
people well and truly lost.

Not unlike a library
that mishap's turned to ash.

No Phoenix for the onlies,
books by authors person'lized

No dallying with loved ones
caught unawares on other side.

Terror turns depression and
there's little else to do save

turn ... and trudge toward a damaged
future colored by the un-

intended immolation
trailing in your wake.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Clown Smiles

the smile of the clown ...
slivers of a broken heart
slice into my flesh

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Empty Corners

In the corners out of sight
The emptiness is stored

And when we cry and fill it up
It deftly comes aboard

Reminding us of what we lack
And what we haven't done

It whispers we're truly alone
And cared for, loved by no one.

Inspired by the poem Cry  by Poetry After Dark