An occasional whiff of ozone, an unidentified bird call, a glance of craggily pinon at dawn

7 months ago

Latest Post Charlie by Peter Emmett Naughton

An occasional whiff of ozone,
an unidentified bird call,
a glance of craggily pinon at dawn,
reach through the dark and barbed entanglement of this colonized being,
and fleetingly convince me that surely life will yet reclaim me.
The veil seems so thin at those moments,
as if I could blink and get up out of bed and re-enter the flow of life.
I have tried. Too many times. It doesn’t work.

It’s been so many years.
I am nonetheless shocked every day.

Take a glance at the living room,
a testament to exhausted devotion, love and sacrifice.
If such hearts won’t elicit a response from the universe, what will?
Why not thousands of origami cranes, numerous prayer shawls,
thoughts, gifts and prayers of loved ones?

Yes, the child in me still believes love and hugs relieve all woes.
One time her father snatched her back into a broken roller-coaster chair
as she began floating out into mid-air.
Pop, why can’t you pull me back into the roller coaster of life now?
Must I be in free-fall?
She remembers the red terror of a flood of blood pouring from her mouth
upon losing a tooth in a foreign city.
In a flash there was an ice cream cone,
bleeding stopped, gums soothed.
All was right again.
Mom, where is that ice cream cone now?
Sis, you ended a plague of nightmares with one simple piece of advice.
Just like that.
Have you no words to end this nightmare?
The little girl in a grown gaunt body becomes enraged that all
the life-saving interventions, comforting acts and words of wisdom
that continue relentlessly to flow her way won’t release her.

Life had long ago gotten more complicated, of course.
But that a simple hug, even company and good conversation
should hurt rather than soothe
reverses the poles of the planet.

And how about another family embedded so deeply in my heart;
how about those children.
Now I grow really overwhelmed and mad.
Ought not all the love amongst us heal our mutual suffering and bring us together?
So many years no hugs, so many missed…
Hang on, I can’t breathe.
I need a silence.
Please respect it if you will.

Where was I?

I’m stubbornly stupefied that the strength of my desire
to live, create, be, love, blossom, give,
despite my brokenness, is not enough either.
From whence did those urges come
if not from some force that would want them fulfilled?

A curious universe in which none of these things are enough to bring about healing.
I’m aware I sound naive.
I have witnessed my share of suffering
and tried to lend a hand.
But I claim the space here to indulge my own primitive grapplings.

I was supposed to heal.

I was so sure of it.

So why not a miracle, yet?

When I was a child, I had my own magic wand.
It was my yellow crayon.
How many delighted hours I spent–
I’d make a big scribble with all the other crayons in the box,
then I’d gleefully pull out my magic wand,
and cover the scribble and watch it become brighter and more beautiful.
That was a miracle.

How I wanted to be a yellow crayon in this world.

Is there no yellow crayon for this scenario now?
Alas, now I cannot even hold a crayon, and I have no magic wand.
But that doesn’t stop me from tirelessly seeking one.

I search the book of my life for a key.
Where did the plot go awry?
Where did I take a wrong turn?
But when I open the book, the letters are from an unknown alphabet,
and they fall off the page.
I scramble to catch them,
not knowing which ones to treasure and hold,
which ones might hold the key I seek,
which ones haunt me so.
Can those at least be held and comforted?
Surely the book was meant to be a blank one of endless poems.
Maybe dear reader you will take a yellow crayon to this sad poem for me–
brighten it up a bit?
Or, even take the crayon to the book of my life?

Now this poem is naked and trembling before you,
unsure of its worth,
aware that its partial birth has exacted a great toll on its author,
terrified it may have even killed her.
It was so urgent to be born.
If you will, please give it a hug.

Innocently, it hoped to heal its author
and free her loved ones from this hostage crisis.
It wanted to be beautiful.
It wanted to attract God’s attention.
It wanted to fly straight and true,
to shiver with the pleasure of getting something just right.
It wanted to love and be loved,
to be understood.
Or to give something and be meaningful.
It wanted to know every being, to know, say and be everything.
OK, now it knows it has gotten out of hand.
It could use an editor.

Deep breath.
Less grandiosely,
it would have preferred to see the Milky Way,
to hear a marmot’s high-altitude call at dusk,
to sing loudly and poorly,
or to have a good barbecue.
It would have liked to dance joyfully right off this page.
Texas two-step? modern? improv? rock ‘n’ roll? funk?

But since these things aren’t in the offing,
it wishes at least for a soft pillow for its painful head,
or an article of clothing that doesn’t hurt.
Vainly, it would even like to wear its black leather jacket or a pretty dress.
Weary of trying to be coherent,
it knows it must stop.
It would like to rest, though it has forgotten how.
So it forms itself into a prayer, to spread through the universe.
It’s become unsure what a prayer is,
but it likes it, and chooses to trust in it.
It sets itself free,
imperfections and all,
to make room for something new.

Thank you for listening.


Originally composed by Molly Hunt for Palabras's official Website.


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Published 7 months ago

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