I knew her when
She learned her letters;
She liked me too.
We shared a tent;
Followed the sparks fading in the full moon's face.
Draped water over our skins at midnight.
She bickered with her mother,
Whom she mothered today.
She once had a mole
Only we two knew.
I knew her then.
That's the fact of it.
Then surpassed naysayers and detractors.
I knew her, then.
Got to know her at her best-
A sharer, and keeper,
One who wasn't one to rest.
I knew her without discretion;
Like when she partied at Mardi Gras,
Wearing string-beads, blowing saxes,
Something she never spoke of.
Then, this cannot be her.
I knew her, and,
I didn't know.
I'm waiting with certain trepidation
Assured my reality
Is in for something big.
The eleventh dimension
Can't assuage my dread.
There's something happening,
As big as Dead.
The cellphone's our new Nativity,
Destroying my old myths;
Where's the white salamander hurrying,
Spirits hoovering, aliens lurking,
Hairy bipeds in the forests,
Yetis in the snow.
Nothing soon forthcoming.
It all looks like Alberta.
I can't snap inside the sun,
Nor freeze-frame a revolution;
Or the moment one feels love;
But truth is self-evident.
And the facts are yet to come.
All the best stories,
My life-changing beliefs,
Need one still, a black and white will do;
And sustain credence,
Close to the dark room.
Then we'll be the Magi,
Awed and surprised.
Love the name.
When the man called out, Seen.
It's Sean, and not Shawn.
A years older'n Gerald.
Two younger'n Kev.
Two older'n me.
Daddy wrote home about us.
Maura was working at the hospital.
Sheila was finishing highschool.
Kevin won the Science Fair.
Sean plays ice hockey with the All Stars,
All over Canada and the U.S.
I found that letter in '79. He penned it in '62,
In a European cursive. They all tend to write the same.
I've seen the words, run together to hide the spelling;
With JMJ's and TG's sprinkled like manna throughout.
The last page was missing,
Just when Daddy'd write about Gerald, me, and Marlene.
Gerald with his Beetles haircut.
Me, with the scars of home stitching on my scalp.
Marlene, the wee pigeon, he missed most working up North.
Jimmy, The Bruiser, wasn't here yet, isn't now.
The last of an Irish brood settled in Canada.
I discovered it in the spare room at Granny's and Frank's.
There was no mention of Michael, Eucheria or Particia.
He exaggerated about the harsh, six-month winters here,
And our proximity to the North Pole.
Suggested Frank try putting copper wires around Granda's wrists;
The Egyptian mummies didn't exhibit signs of osteo deterioration, or arthritis.
Daddy was hard-pressed to be proven wrong when he concocted.
Sean had a drawer full of ribbons, medals, trophies and plagues,
And a large S, his Senior Letter.
He also had sideburns, a much smaller nose, and, smelled
as good as he looked,
The Elvis dip-curl, the Connery swag, the Selleck stash to Clooney cool.
Sean kept a disposition of hidden pains secreted for others.
A heart of tears.
A spirit of adventure.
I love Sean, as I recall.
He is always welcome here.
Drops by every couple years.
It's always a great surprise.
I once believed spelling was important.
But that's just stupit.
I just heard about the near miss.
My mind was elsewhere.
Pleased to hear about Syria,
But it was elsewhere.
I didn't know Pippa had a wardrobe malfunction,
The loss of the Toronto Blue Jays,
The deformed frogs and west coast fires,
And the downing of a 747 somewhere in the Asiatic Sea.
Big news. Bigger problems!
But, like I said, my mind was elsewhere.
Like the ten million payout to the terrorist from Canada
Whose human rights were violated.
I didn't hear that one til today.
I just heard there's been a few transformations
For Caitlyn and Donald. Hope they like their new lives.
My mind was elsewhere,
And I've left it there.
Did you hear something about North Korea launching ICBM's?
When I turned the key on the house
I anticipated my return.
A protracted absence ensues.
The air behind is trapped, absorbed my everything.
Heavy and lush as the garden.
Feet-weary carpets rebound.
Plants watered, counters subdued.
Traps baited in favorite niches.
Spiders already weaving like a sweatshop.
The kettle will sing again.
My legs will be elevated.
Home again from thousands of miles,
Planning my next getaway.
I wish to age like a wrap-around porch
In a thunder storm,
While generations tell tales,
A porch of blinking stars,
A place to run out of rain,
With wooden steps for deliveries,
With ascending and descending friends.
I will age like a tree, grow stronger in the wind;
Give shade and shelter to all
Beneath my ring-aged limbs.
I wish to age as a river bends,
Contiguous with all shores;
Floating everyone I know
On eternal waters defying death,
A current winding with no rest.
I will age like a star,
Burning bright, giving light,
Something to reach for.
I wish to age like a mountain,
With secret caves and riches.
And you can rock your soul
Around, over or through,
Solid, snow-capped summit,
I will age as the moon,
In stages, full and new;
Each night different,
As all who age will do.