And to you, my child
Don't underestimate the power of love
Don't underestimate the strength of friendship
I am not made of stone.
But I can be the rock you lean on
When the world has beaten you to the core
I am small in size, son
But when the world decides that you no longer need to be seen
I will carry you on my shoulders
Longer than those nine months
I was raised by a hard man.
But a man that honoured family
A grandfather, for you, that'll share tall tales of his brothers
Son, your grandfather may be small in size
But he is a force not to be reckoned with
He'll show you ways of life
That belong solely to the male species
Ways that I might never even understand
I want you to listen more
I want you to know that when the streets have been too loud for your fragile ears
That mama, will replace gunshots with lullabies
Scars with kisses
Bruises with hugs
But most of all.
Hatred for self-love
To talk about it
will help your grief,
the therapist said.
But each time
I talk about your death,
it opens up a wound
full of images,
echoes of last words
of last time,
and things unsaid,
and no final farewells,
no last moment hugs
or utters of love yous.
Just the real,
the last words so normal,
promises of a tomorrow
which came in a coma sleep,
and final departure
into the big sleep of death,
and that last eased
and flat-lining heart,
to pain me
and trying to tear
Talk about it,
so I did,
over and over
from all angles and sides,
and grabbing out
for other words
but none can carry,
the weight of pain.
I’m avoiding a void, Freud warned me of
by worming my way in to the apple of my eye
I know it sounds paranoid as above so below
ground zero dark thirty where I heard the well runs dry.
Hell, I wonder why I try to quench my thirst for knowledge
from any dirty puddle when I’m at a cow college
‘cuz nowadays I rather cuddle up with a good book
than be-fuddled by how to transgress, ring a bell hooks?
Well looks deceive and I can guess
by the wings you have yet to receive
we have come to the some of nothing
from something I thought we were far beyond
but maybe I was wrong at the end of it all.
You said it wasn’t my fault but then again,
Freire taught me how to lock
away my thoughts in a vault.
I’m hemmed in with Hemingway in the corner of the café.
We spend half the day laughing at our neighbors savoring
their lattes but condemning how they stray away from nature
‘cuz labor’s not their taste.
He says, “What a waste of time.
Do you see a better paradigm?”
I agree because I was scared at the time
to embarrass myself in front of an idol of mine.
I know it’s futile to rival a dead mind
but when they’re better than the headlines
I don’t mind if I never shine brighter than a dying light
‘cuz it only really matters in the end if I’m trying right?
but what am I trying for when I lost a friend to love and war?
Cut the ties, I’m alive.
Who was I dying for?
Who was I fighting for?
Who was I writing for?
Shelby tells me where the sidewalk ends
and well, he’s been a better friend than you’ve ever been;
ever since you left me and met he who shall not be named
nor blamed for this game you played against us.
Again trust was just a part of it all.
I was miserable like Margaret Hall.
Withdrawals always reinforce walls of remorse
and of course, I’m the source of all your problems
but who took the time to resolve them?
You weren’t forced to endorse any course of action
except follow the laws of attraction.
Perhaps gravity magnifies abreaction
or the severity of abstraction.
Yet Apollo would swallow
all his pride and passion
hollow out his home
and throw a match in.
© Matthew Harlovic
When I look at your photograph,
my son, there beside my bed,
the one of you in dark suit
and glasses, dressed as
a Blues Brother for the work's
Christmas party gig, I have
to smile, yet at the same time
hold back the tears, as days
become weeks and weeks
become months and months
years, since your untimely death
soon after. Silent now the jubilation,
rare the celebration, low key if
at all the laughter. The only
photograph where you're not
smiling, where you stare back
in fixed unsmiling mode, as if
you had some inner clue or
foresight of your fate one month
ahead when you would be no
longer here, but dead.
A restless breeze precedes
Slow rising torch
Tasting your words with coffee
inside a screen wrapped porch
So many things you mean to me
Like the grains of sand that skirt the sea
A parent’s love so true, always there…
Woven, wicker rocking chairs
Where seagulls soar high above the ocean’s roar
It always leaves us wanting more
But the time has come- and we each know
The hands of time point “time to go”
Then I feel that old, familiar tug
a suitcase full of memories and a “goodbye” hug
Our hearts will take it all in stride
Tears left behind on the falling tide
gmw summer of '16
written to my mother
There is peace around your grave,
my son, except when the wind
blows or birds sing.
We often stand to stare
at the words on the gravestone there,
trying to make sense
of the senseless, to give
a purpose to what seems
purposeless, to draw
some sense of peace
from the quietness
at your grave.
There are times when it seems
you are not there, not lying
beneath the ground and stones,
but elsewhere beyond my sight
or senses' hold, or standing
at my side in spirit's sphere
at peace unlike me standing here.
This desert, dry as my lips, as my eyes
Which shed no tears.
This pale sheet of barren hell,
The voice of isolation.
Far, these days, from heaven.
I take a long drink, perhaps my last
Not to quench my own thirst,
Drawn from my own mouth.
But, to cure the insatiable thirst
That was my Father's.
Which has grown fiendishly in me.
But I drink, and I know
And I loathe, twisting
Myself into something mean,
Bitter and wrong.
I own this beast
I know his name
I curse my father
I devour his shame.
Though most of all, I walk forward,
Never averting horizon's gaze.
Heavens bells ring
Another Angel born
It’s a wondrous thing
I am no longer torn
Opinions once defined
What I would be
I'm no longer blind
I can truly see
A new sense of purpose
Has shown me the way
Selfish needs are surplus
They led me astray
The purity of youth
Comes once in life
A fragile fruit
That needs no strife
My son will proceed
His route is unsure
Will struggles impede?
Or will he endure?
He will have to fight
And I will be there
In the darkness of night
When life’s unfair.
I am his guard
His first defence
Problems may bombard
But I’ll be his fence.
If he loses track
When ambitions die
I will pull him back
I will get him by!
A terrifying breeze cut through the night like nails against a chalkboard. The boy felt the gust as he stood in the field, stalks of grain tickling his hands as they swayed in this breeze. The boy didn’t try to describe this breeze and neither will I. This breeze has destroyed empires, broken men of stone, shattered diamonds. The boy stood in his field. He felt this breeze and dropped to his knees. He sat with his rear in the soil, his hands on his knees, and head between these hands -- and he sobbed. The slate had been wiped clean. He was free from his past, yet -- he needed this past. It was his identity, and here he was, a slave broken from his bonds, terrified of the freedom waiting for him in the north lands. He wanted to stay in the desolate fields of despair, walking with the ghouls haunted by their pasts. Cutting open old scars with rusty razorblades, cursing the bodily functions that healed them, cursing time for dampening the angry flame raging inside them. The boy no longer belonged to these ghosts, these lost souls wading in their own blood for eternity. A slice of fear gashed open his soul. The poisonous blood running through his veins spilled out before him. He felt the vain of holding onto the past, how beautiful the world really was once you gave it a chance.
Give it a chance, son.