Category Archives: Memory

The Circus

Trepidation tempered only by our anxious gait, as scent of cotton candy pulsed within the Oompa’s drifting plait. Down the leading path we walked, skipped and ran in anxious talk, giggling nervous hopes out loud until we spied the circus’ crowd!

Oh my! In exultation’s cry! Oh my!

Enormous posters on display, camels spitting, the grass and clay punished flat ‘neath giant feet of elephants who kindly greet the droves of folks that came from town to see the biggest show go down!

Once beyond the ticket booth and through the hallowed gate of truth, we donned our widest gaping jaws as through the side show alley saw three legged men and thumb sized girls, strong men juggling pigs in pearls, dancing bears and lions caged, pointing, gaping at every stage. Magicians sawing girls in two, sword swallowing flame breathing artists who defied the laws of man and earth, tickling us pink in circus mirth!

But as our curious peeling eyes turned forth to follow distant cries of “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls!”, we spied the Big Top tent in swirls of colored flags and banners pitch, defining now our growing itch!

“The Big Top!” was all that we exclaimed as running toward its giant frame, imbibing in the musky scent exuding from the glowing tent, we swam through ether’s welcome call of dust made sweet through hay and all, in ancient canvas on tree sized rails held by ropes and enormous nails!

Oh my! Oh my! Or sole decry.

Inside this monolithic world parading horses and riders swirled, jugglers riding one wheeled bikes while clowns spat fire ‘pon tiny trikes. We spied some seats down toward the front, and running there like dogs in hunt, the band pronounced the dimming lights as we scooched in for more delights.

Spotlights on the magic ring, while rolling drums announced the scene upon the tall red coated man, top hat and beard, cane in his hand, “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, welcome to our Circus world!”, on cue the band flared loud, Ring Master standing pleased and proud.

At perilous heights above us all, trapeze artists flew and called, till proudly elephants paraded in, danced and balanced balls and men, then lion tamers with whips and chairs scared us stiff in ogled stares, the jugglers came, the strong man too, accompanied by the band all through.

Then all came out to dance, perform, wowing us within the warm and savory scent that only breathes in circus tents that come and leave through smallest towns midst farmers’ fields, that only for one day reveal a whisper of the circus dream, casting memories, stupendous scenes.

Could it be that time stood still amid the musky scent and thrill that held us captive, glued in seats, with salty foods and colored sweets? For as we laughed our way back home, recalling every moment thrown, we felt we’d lived another time beneath the Big Top’s magic rhyme, and tho’ the spell was slowly cast, the moments spent went quickly past, and back into the day… each of us thinking, “one day we’ll run away, to the Circus!”

Circusa
Courtesy of Circus World Museum, Baraboo, Wisconsin, and Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

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Filed under Circus, Memory, Poetry

Recollection – First Days of School

Bright, this morning’s fatal point,
as down the lane I walk,
edges brilliant, sharply lined,
denying summer’s lazy stalk.

Midst starch and press just oversized,
welcoming spurts of growth,
my awkward steps approach the fields
where friends resound in languished mope.

Through squinting eyes I find the lines
attached to every open door,
searching through the lists of names,
hoping for a little more…
Mrs. Leatherman’s heavy hand,
Mr. Peck’s muppet scowl,
as circling birds in buddied groups,
watching,
hoping,
closing now…

Through scent of bleach, assigned to seats,
giant maps upon the wall,
musky books of history,
handed out through sighs from all.

This day of firsts, in echoed throes,
pretends to know what no one knew,
yet blends in temporal fragment’s points,
each year’s angst recalled and true.

Till now, uniquely drifting,
lost in slipstream’s melting cast,
still drives these August senses blue,
when “back to school” comes too darn fast.

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Filed under Memory, Perspective, Poetry

The Marker

Marker

How did the stain of past life find its place upon this silent grave?
What aged the emerald crescent’s arc, kindly blotched the written stave?

What of its words and heartfelt kiss
that left a summer’s rain amiss?

What countenance divine embraced
this site befitting, this resting place?

Through what redacted soulful truths
did heaven ride to seal the proofs?

Who stood upon this sullen ground
in saddened prayer, in whispered sound?

What happened here? Who knew the scene?
What time sustained and held between
the moments of the resting?
What moments from the fight?
Who stoops above this sacred stone,
in haunt and love each night…?

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Filed under Angels, Family, Memory, Perspective, Poetry, Universal Soul

Carousel

Carousel.PNG

Standing in a summer’s mist,
early morning heat and dew,
a carousel abandoned,
ebbing from a fairground’s stew.

Echoes of calliope,
hushed in rusting pipes,
risen by the subtle breeze,
groans in tempered gripes.

Soprano tinseled screams escape
the platform’s gentle rolling,
whispers stitched among the chants,
Gregorian and tolling.

O’er the stays of canvas frayed,
reds and blues tease gently, torn,
rounding boards ornate and wide,
tarnished crackle, sadly worn.

Leaden mirrored center blinds,
ghostly grey and steel,
stirring passing images,
tintype memories, laughter’s squeal.

Oaken massive platform stained
with seasoned mud and puddled rain,
rusting mounts of tired ponies,
saddened in their lonely pain.

Dare I not to step aboard,
as history’s watch is mercy’s keeping,
so gather witness to my soul,
for all my childhood dreams there sleeping.

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Filed under Dreams, History, Memory, Perspective, Poetry

The Waiting Room and the Aftermath

Time compressed a lifetime to a single moment, drawn slender, nearly warping the second hand, yet each escaping stroke pounded heavy, a muted hammer against the polished anvil of time’s progression.

The waiting was over. Wringing hands and silent prayers were done.

You entered, unwelcomely wanted, through an angel’s open door. It was June. Iowa June.

The air clung thick. Soundless single syllables just heard beyond the pounding blood of my ears, beneath my mother’s panicked hopeful breathing, against the ironic tapping of your white Florsheim shoes, covered in blood.

Our suspended sanctuary broken with your nod, and respectful question. Yet our vigil held a moment longer, well over the precipice. “I’m sorry,” you said, “he didn’t survive.” All point of reference, gone. Asking, “What!?” You repeated yourself scratching at an explanation. My mother’s orchestral voice raised in tension, sweet timbre of violin strings, disbelieving, could only sing, “Oh no! Oh no! I will never hold his hand again! Oh my God! Oh no!”

To a pinhole view the world resolved. In haunting hush my brother’s sweet tears were all I heard to comfort a life’s long loss. The room devoured, swallowing breath in its labored breathing, Jonah in the whale. Details smeared in fresco, glossy, distorted. Every step, every word relaxed along the corridor, penetrating, piercing my battled grasp to cling on. You there, browning blood rooted in the piped white stitching. Your words, soundless.

Disdain revolved my iron neck, begging to turn away, only to see her there, slanting through hell’s door; a pig in squalor, a nurse in white, makeup of a whore. Piercing the fleeting glimpse of any dream with, “You need to gather the belongings. Come with me.”

Fleeing you, this trap, I followed her. Fat, short, squat legs pounding busy hallway tiles; purpose of a jack hammer. Spinning, burning in overload through hospital denizens, features stretched, some kind, some lost, some loud… An eon’s flooded blur slammed prostrate to clinical white doors. Another trap to open.

“It’s all in here”, she said, thrusting upon me the brown frayed grocery bag, clasped in sparkles of Swingline precision, his name in black, still wafting a Sharpied rush to the end. Would it ever end?

Heavy armed, I slowly turned to face an eternity lulled to desperate lows, stretching it’s Einstein’d moments illusively, forever before me, pressing mass upon mass, gravity surreally bending the tears to flood.
In memory of the waiting room and the aftermath, the day my father died in surgery, June 17, 1985.
Written for d’Verse Poets Pub – http://dversepoets.com/

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Filed under Memory, Perspective, Poetry

Ashes

The years upon themselves will close,
once folded then unfolded,
as unaged born, to ageless turns,
through aging’s twining scolded.

Through years of moment’s pleasures,
grafted to the ether’s breath,
whispered dreams in flags of prayer,
escape the truth of death.

When just the pyre’s ash remains,
when autumn’s hushing gently stirs,
when absence seems too stark to hold,
life’s long red thread endures.

Stitched through laughter’s echo,
knotted through a true love’s seam,
hung as memory’s bunting,
graces truths we’re left to dream.

For these will not escape us,
born free above what ash remains,
as time reclaims its holdings,
these memories, this life sustains.

for Judy Arterburn (July 25, 1944 – January 5, 2016)

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Filed under Family, Memory, Perspective, Poetry, Uncategorized

The Silent Quiet of Age

Still the silent quiet of age steeps rich this moment, reflecting,
echoes just what hopes deny in truth’s cold introspecting.
No fear, here, within the pause caught and loosely locked.
Just awe respecting shadow’s keep amongst the greying, flocked.

Peace gathers warm in knowing,
treasured paths and journeys made,
rest in sweetened summer fields beside the rill and glade.

Ripened in the setting sun,
kisses’ pure, seduction brings
the whispered scent of lilac twixt my golden locks, in rings.

Oh! my heart weeps openly,
for home and love’s sweet hand,
yet aging now, my courting call,
returns my lust to dust and sand.

Shed not a tear for me, for I am ne’er gone away.
But find me in this whispered breeze upon a low and setting ray,
for I’ll see you there.
I’ll touch your young and flowing hair.
I’ll dance about you in delight!
I’ll raise the thrush to song and flight,
that you may sense me here…
my pipe and whiskers smiling, dear.

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Filed under Dreams, Memory, Nature, Perspective, Poetry, Universal Soul