Thanksgiving Suite: 2014
The knife trembled in the hand of a resigned father
But God said kill a ram instead
So he did
But God kept a rain check
And never forgot
And ultimately the lamb was slain
And it is slain over and over again on our streets and in our battlefields.
How many lambs to redeem our sins and God’s rain check?
(Backstory: I was in Turkey on the Feast of Ibrahim and watched they ritualized slaying of a ram. The story behind the Feast returns to me frequently. Then I began watching Paul Bowles life story on a video last night. The opening scenes are of a butcher flaying a ram’s head. I found it was much easier to watch live in Turkey and in that religious context. I had to close my eyes during the scenes in the film. As I write these past few weeks, our country is ablaze with rage over the slaying of unarmed African American men by police personnel. AND we continue to be engaged, we the people of the world, in conflict everywhere. )
The Futility of One More Try
So be it, my son.
I’ve held on to your beloved linoleum far too long.
No more door mat either.
Crossing the Road Thanksgiving Day
I spot a flock of wild turkeys far ahead.
They look neither right nor left.
They reason: if we haven’t been shot and plucked by now
It ain’t gonna happen this year.
They meander, almost saucily, across the road
Then fly beyond the river.
(Backstory: Yes. This spotting was near Galice on the morning of Thanksgiving Day as I walked with Maggie the dog. )
I float along doing very little
Then suddenly and in an instant
And everything changes.
(Backstory: I bought a two day fishing license. And fished with my brother in his drift boat on the Rogue. This turns out to be one of my favorite things to do. We are quite. He nibbles Ritz Crackers with almond butter. I stare at the pole tip, at the water, at the banks, at the trees above us and seem to go to another dimension. Then…a bite.)
I once kept airplanes in the sky.
I placed my attention on that task
From the belted agony of my seat.
I spent my will
And focused on the pilots’ lair.
Thus, catching fish should be an easy trick for me.
I watch the trembling rod tip bend
And picture a behemoth circling round
My quivering silver plug.
The Kingfisher chatters on the far bank as
The fish considers how best it might respond.
It doesn’t make its mind up quickly.
Even a mindful snap of jaws might spell disaster.
Still I believe that like a pencil to a pad,
My hand on pole transmits intention through the line
And will someday bring the beast to me.
Rime of the Ancient Narrative
Old stories, blames, and disappointments
Have worn a groove upon my brain
Perhaps some sculpting and some smoothing is required
How about I think of icing on a cake and make some
Sugared waves and froth…
Something on which the ancient narrative might sail away.
(Backstory: Some hard times, disappointment, attempt to make one more try with a relationship. It made me crazy waiting, hoping, revisiting old hurts. I seem to be okay now. Resolution: just let it go…again.)
A Slip in Time
Like a slip in time,
Sitting here in an unchanged room,
My quiet brother is hunched over the morning crossword.
I’ve been in this moment many times before.
His woolen watch cap beside his coffee cup.
A sketch book there,
And here, a sleeping dog before the stove.
Below the stairs,
Neat splits of wood
Are stacked there with precision
And sheltered with haphazard sheets of tin
Secured by random rocks.
And the river…
Though never stopping for a moment
Still much the same as yesterday.
Even his mother’s maple table
And other objects of his youth
Are close and just the same as yesterday.
His life is a point around which the seasons turn.
And that’s, for him, just fine.
(Backstory: This is about my brother, obviously. These are the days I cherish. Just being.)
I don’t care for a silly dog
Or one who gets by on her looks
Or being cute.
I like a rather solid dog
One with significant muzzle
And no secrets.
I like a dog with muscled thighs
And one who likes to walk in woods
And doesn’t start
And has a love of home.
(Backstory: This is dedicated to my brother and sis in law’s dog Maggie. I spent many good days walking her…again!)