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Gary Brocks Aug 2018
At four, you took my hand and pulled me to your bed,                                                            
your small form cuddling, curling, you urgently said,
"Tell me… tell me a story! Story, make it long",
I began to tell the story, the story of when you were born.

Drums and bugles, bubbles and balloons,
somersaulting clowns and calliope tunes,
you came out to meet them, on the day that you were born,
and they were there to greet you, through a January storm.

Lions and gorillas marched to military airs,
snowmen and snowwomen danced without a spring time care,
somewhere in the harbor, a tugboat played a note,
and all the while you smiled a smile, upon a birthday float.

Just like a circus troupe, we formed a great parade,
and sauntered to the birthing bed where your mother lay,
she picked you up, she held you, as close as close can be,
her hand in mine, she softly said, “Now... we are three.”

Copyright © 2003 Gary Brocks
180827F

Children always want to know who their parents are; their thoughts, hopes, dreams, fears and actions at stages in their lives.
This poem, a poem in several parts (only the first part here), portrays a father for his child, through the manner in which the story of the child's birth is retold at various stages in their life together.
Gary Brocks Aug 2018
Goats eat and **** the grass of ramparts,
stupefied cannons sit, garrisoned sentries
primed for nights of buccaneers,
seared by centuries of sun. Down shadowed
cobblestoned tunnels fortified shutters
covet rifle forend and barrel,

wresting rumored slave rebellions
from the locker of history,
while languid waves whisper indifferently
a roll call of human cargo,
chattel displaced, cast to the sea.

Here history sways to sounds
of brown skinned children
at play in breakers,
laughing, shrieking, thrashing,
buoyed by time to this vaulted brick
reverberating chamber,

here a window’s light is cast
beckoning vision past the beach,
to seek the horizon Icarus like,
to fly towards beauty in terror where
an azure sky conjoins a turquoise bay.


Copyright © 2003 Gary Brocks
160707F
Gary Brocks Aug 2018
He wrote of the light of the world,
a testament, a lamp to illuminate
the place from which he came —

    I saw his lighthouse coalesce
    out of the cloaking mist, its blade
    shearing the sheath of darkness.

    I inhaled the dusk bloom scent
    - Four O’Clock Flower, Poinsettia, Frangipani -
    beguiled by a road, undeterred
    by calls in the night, the rain, the unknown way.

    I sang with one thousand night-drunk tree frogs
    proclaiming an equatorial cycle to the stars,
    choristers intoning a chant of existence.

    I rode balanced between
    the cycling engine's torque and the
    reflective cast of my foreign skin.

    I felt the grip of ignominy constrict the stir
    of my drink, amongst hands toasting
    the crush of entitlement’s bearing.

    I walked where people dwell, and stop
    to greet and tell news of the market
    or of their nets, bearing the sea’s returns.

    I tasted the song in his speech,
    a seasoned stew, unshackling the tongue,
    to ring like the steel in a drum —

a tapestry unfurled: a world
paced by sirens of wind and wave,
embroidered on the earthbound side
of heaven's abiding blanket.

Copyright © 2017 Gary Brocks
180730F
8.3k · Aug 2018
A DREAM OF MY FATHER
Gary Brocks Aug 2018
I hear the carve of oars,
I see your palms enfold the wood,
as shards of stars shred
a back and glistening wave.

I hear the carve of oars,
the shore is breached,
we reach dank granite stairs, climb
a tower in moon gritty light.

I hear the carve of oars,
you speak, your turgid cheek
blue-steel-gray, your gaze grates,
my salt raged eyes summon waves and stars.

I hear the carve of oars,
waves rattle a candle's flame,
chill the bed frame, the wet stony room ––
the door closes, it scrapes.

I hear the carve of oars,
I know your lurching gate,
the clank as both oar lock’s turn,
you slip the shore,
I hear the carve of oars

Copyright © 2002 Gary Brocks
180928F

They didn't get along
Gary Brocks Feb 2018
Fake News: LEAKED EMAIL! TRUMP TO PUTIN

Make me a room in the Kremlin,
Vladimir, make it nice,
for all the money I’ve laundered - but please,
no *****, soda water with ice.

Shower me with gold,
it's the least that you can do;
I’m having to flee indictment and jail,
for all I’ve done for you -

and, the deals I'll make with your allies,
the Chinese in time will be served;
that's where the money is these days
and where I’ve put my reserve.

Nixon said, “Money makes you ******,”
Coolidge, America’s business is business -
my mistake was made employing
a covering trail of family witnesses.

Should my children go to jail?
Or a father admit to the rap?
Make me a room in the Kremlin to live in,
save your asset from this trap.

Copyright © 2018 Gary Brocks
180620F
Gary Brocks Aug 2018
We marched to the words of "We Shall Overcome"
courting justice to walk by our side,
seared into memory with the heat of sun

brothers and sisters, arms linked one to one
beneath that day star's unblinking eye,
we marched to the words, "We Shall Overcome."

We swore an oath to forego the gun,
to carry only freedom's cry
beneath the impassive afternoon sun,

through bludgeon and cudgel one by one,
each truncheon summoning others to rise,
to join in the words "We Shall Overcome."

As we embraced, the marching done,
a crosshairs trained a ******’s eye
to wrench malice from the indifferent sun

to hew a path in blood and bone,
to rend flesh
                     and a rasping
                                              fatal sigh . . .
in the fading caress of the afternoon sun.

Beneath the eternal arc of the sun,
again we will muster side by side,
a sanctified chorus, whose song will be sung,
let our marching echo "We Shall Overcome.”

Copyright © 2018 Gary Brocks

U.S. NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM / LORRAINE HOTEL
Site of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Thursday, 4 April 1968.

"We Shall Overcome”, an anthem, title and refrain, of the American Civil Rights Movement of the mid 20th century.
180826F.2
4.6k · Aug 2018
THE BLANKET THIEF
Gary Brocks Aug 2018
Last night into the room she crept,
awhilst I lay in bed and slept.
My dreams there caught on sleep’s broad reef
she breached sleep’s net, the blanket thief.

Copyright © 2004 Gary Brocks
180828F

My wife woke me by wrapping herself in our blanket.
I couldn't sleep, so I decided to try to capture a bit of William Blake's voice.
Gary Brocks Aug 2018
Verse 1

Why do I have this haunted feeling?
Something is moving in the shadows.
Working secretly tides flow,
as night steals past the day.
A voice is singing to silence,
a thousand petals falling windblown,
the still earth will lie strange, unknown,
a tolling bell brings on the night.

In the fullness of a falling tear,
In the garden of remembered time,
In the silence sung before the song,
Life will find you there.

Verse 2

What moves a fallen leaf to swirling?
Couples are speaking words of love songs.
In the hour of the dawn's glow
a rose will scent the night.
Moonbeams will stir the waving waters,
while feathered wings caress the breezes,
and your heart sings to pierce the dark,
a falling star will shed it’s light...

In the fullness of a falling tear,
In the garden of remembered time,
In the silence sung before the song,
Life will find you there.

With the turning of the heaven's sky,
With the dancing of the seasons by,
With the yielding of your lover's sigh,
Life will find you there,
Life will find you there

When the darkness spreads from near to far,
In the cascade of a falling star
In the motion of a bird in flight
In the sweetness of your lovers light
With the beating of your yearning heart...

Copyright © 2007 Gary Brocks
150630F

This is a love poem to life, after almost losing mine.
While American in sensibility, this poem is an homage to Portuguese Fado music.
It has been has set to music by Jesse Elder: THE GARDEN OF TIME, Lyrics GARY BROCKS, Music JESSE ELDER
An unmixed studio recording (Gary Brocks, Vocals; Jesse Elder, Piano) is available by contacting Gary Brocks.
Gary Brocks Aug 2018
My work day woke to Monk,
the click of typing keys,
clock watched, Spotify playing,
random thoughts rose like bees
to freeze in these jagged lines,
then swarm in threatening flight.

Hours of data entry later,
on a stool, in a bar, a clock's
hands tock, I flick a wrist,
and slur my words concluding  
an anguished monologue,
“They call it work, you know.”

Awash at home, in the strobe of
pixelated panel light,
visions surge and dissipate
with the pulse of the night. Osip,
were you tempered to embrace
attention’s fugitive caress?

You etched memory’s texture
with candle soot for ink,
and the gulag’s blackened gaze -
I type lines by hunt and peck
humming Monk’s WELL YOU NEEDN’T,
hoping for an adequate phrase.

Copyright © 2004 Gary Brocks
180826F

Osip Mandelstam was a Russian poet and essayist. He a leading member of the Acmeist school of poets. He was arrested by Joseph Stalin's government in 1934, and sent into internal exile.  After a reprieve, he was rearrested and sent to a camp in Siberia in 1938, where he died that year.
— From Wikipedia: "Acmeist poetry"
===
The Acmeists strove for compactness of form and clarity of expression; they preferred "direct expression through images", in contrast to the Russian symbolist poets who strove for "intimations through symbols"
Osip Mandelstam defined the movement as "a yearning for world culture", and as a "neo-classical form of modernism", which essentialized "poetic craft and cultural continuity".
Each major acmeist poet, interpreted acmeism in a different stylistic light, for example from intimate poems on topics of love and relationships to narrative verse.
— From Wikipedia: "Osip Mandelstam"
Gary Brocks Aug 2018
We spread our blanket on uneven
ground, bodies embracing in descent,        
                       They lay on the boxcar floor,
                        fingers twisted, clutching slats.
transfixed by the spell of evening,
limbs entwined, interlaced,
                        Barbed wire pressed punctured palms
                        faces creased as old photographs.
We stretched in dawn’s light,
poured coffee out of cups,
and left as it merged with the dust.
                         bones upheave turf and loam
                         fingers grasping, sheathed in soil.

Copyright © 2003 Gary Brocks
180828F

At the time of writing, the war in former Yugoslavia was occurring. Pictures of ethnic extermination camps, barbed write, mass graves, Happeing again. Happening despite the awareness and vows after the holocaust, that such things must never be allowed to happen again. An awareness that had grown stale. Do the horrors of history, even in our ignorance or innocence, ultimately make even the smallest of our acts, some how complicit?
Gary Brocks Aug 2018
Picture a late afternoon
iridescent honey-yellow:

The glance she knows is seen
her cool hand placed in yours
your stripped shirt she rips,
her mouthing, “You’re it!”, hiding,
revealing herself stripped,
her finger tipped shh,
the brush of *******,
surrender and assent.

She'll rise with a rustle
of desiccated pines,
needles will fall from her back,
she'll crumple a cigarette pack,
humming a vacant lament,
fingers caressing a fossil flea,
embalmed in a dangling pendant.

Copyright © 2003 Gary Brocks
180828F

A girl I knew. She said on several occasions, “All my boyfriends remember me”. This was very important to her. Seemingly more important than actually maintaining a relationship with any one of them. Her memories of them were like fossils, like insects preserved in amber in a pendant, that she would rub over after a final *** act with her most recent specimen. Naming her Amber for the way she kept and used her memories (was I to become the flea?), and portraying her actions as a farewell soliloquy in mime seemed like emotionally truthful fun.
2.9k · Sep 2018
REQUIEM
Gary Brocks Sep 2018
1.
There was the tremor of leaves,
a rustle of bayonet grass
parried the multihued calm
of dawn's smeared light.
"This is what we trained for," the captain said.
We hunkered behind stacked bags of sand.

2.
Filigreed shafts of light pierce
the bullet perforated leaf canopy,
bellowed yells punctuate the swirl
and buffet of turbulent air:
“Contact”,  “2 O’Clock”, “Incoming”, “
"Moving”, “Reloading”, “Ammo”.

3.
Fingers twitch, the grit of soil
twisted through their grip;
moon slashed carcasses glint, spent shells,
Earth exhales a vermillion mist,
rising, echoless, in this
a cathedral of leaves.
180926F
Gary Brocks Aug 2018
No buttressed vaulted ceilings here,
or monkish men in robes of cloth,
a space where things are sold and bought
and yet, there is an atmosphere:

A cloistered hush outside of time,
etched in rows of words, wooden,
the self’s restrained demarcation
seeds this scene for the sublime.

“In the beginning was the word”,
nothing before that differentiation,
in the assemblage of imagination,
a whispered restless breath is heard, as

marks on paper command the motion
of eyes and thoughts across a texture
in which silence is a rapture,
the echo of yearning and union.


Copyright © 2003 Gary Brocks
180827F
Gary Brocks Aug 2018
He lifted his hand, it shook,
he leaned towards speech, halting,
a stroke confined his feet
to shuffled, prayerful, praises,
the day pushed dusk through blinds,

“How you buh, beautiful?” (a rasp).
“You take your meds?” the nurse said.
“How you… to… today?”, finger pointing
(reminded of it's hook).
She smiled and smoothed his bed
"You flirtin’, you bad man?”

Once he'd made a vow, an oath
in Auschwitz-Birkenau;
forced to pick gold from charred teeth,
he pledged to sidestep death, to live!
And, walk in love, to the Sabbath.


Copyright © 2003 Gary Brocks
180828F
1.0k · Aug 2018
INSPIRED BY FROST
Gary Brocks Aug 2018
A storm blew through early, left frost
etched, lit, glistening, on
a window's waking surface.

I sit framed by that translucence,
my daughter aligns, orders
mirroring matroyshka doll members.

I reflect on an essay*, how
poems are a symbol of  will,
concluding a pact, perhaps

achieved in diction, image metaphor,
adherence to structure, rhyme, form.
Might these devolve to decoration? Or,

trace the transmission of "will to
commitments," expressing “intent”,
"weakly lost or strongly spent?”

Frost etchings fissure, shift, glint, slide
on their emergent effluence,
configure in gusts of cognition.  

I sense a covenant in these lines.
my daughter adjusts her doll's placements,
the promise of one revealed in the other.

Copyright © 2004 Gary Brocks

——————————————
Attribution:
Stanzas 3, 4, and 5 are greatly influenced by my reading the Robert Frost essay titled *THE CONSTANT SYMBOL.
The short phrases in italicized quotes are direct quotes from that essay.
180828F

Frost,  Matryoshka, symbol, essay, configure, cognition, covenant, pact, commitments, intent

— The End —