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Nov 2023 · 115
A Battlefield Haunting
C Conner Nov 2023
Yards before us the smoke pillars call.
Feeling triumphant I allow an exhausted smile,
Imagining the call of the drum and fife -
A cease fire echoing
Over the formidable fields.

Moving shadows turned faces pale
Flashes of blue and certain sound,
From the east rose a line in sudden bound.
I stood tall against the wall of fire steel and hell -
Swallows fly overhead.

Before me hidden an amazing sight
Pain like an avalanche frozen
Through till I cried
One great stroke stole my fight
As scalding water seems icy.

Envious hot lead tore through my side
Splintering a rustic fence post behind
Me - filled with life overgrown like
The rivers edge a beautiful divide
Attacked by creepers.

My knees forget old pain
Before me I see your face
And I breath last words - your name.
And my hands are like mountain air chilled by rain.
Your eyes speak love.

The sky is gray.
Reaching out for you the ground catches me
And the cold earth feels comforting.
For you I fall today.
Aug 2023 · 131
Solifugae
C Conner Aug 2023
I saw you walking away from the sun
In the stinging wind and a coat of dust
Through the star juniper and bitter sagebrush.

We watched the sun spider for hours
Splayed out on the concrete wall
Like an ancient relic unearthed -
An Alexandrian myth.

We laughed at the thought of death
How does it bite?

I knew your laughter was deceptive;
Something hidden, aromatic and bold,
A breathless groan uttered
By the old -
Obscuring sadness.

I still looked away
And you were gone.
Jul 2023 · 507
Night Embers
C Conner Jul 2023
By the fire
The son shut his eyes.
Words traveled slowly
Like dying stars wandering
Into dark corners of the night.

You were done - said your part
You saw the light,
Set yourself down on the
Frozen ground.

You hardened your heart
Said it looked better in stone
As you kept your eyes open to the flame.
Mar 2023 · 160
Sleep Poem 1
C Conner Mar 2023
I dreamt about a poem
Covered in cotton sheets,
Hanging from a clothes line.
And the air stirs,
The clouds pass by
Whispering somber utterances -
Words not meant for man.

And I walked out in frustration
From my bedroom morning light
Down the backyard porch steps
Into the wind
And said nothing.
I said nothing to the shadows.
Spoke not a word to the clouds.

Alone and forgotten
Waiting for the words to dry.
Sep 2022 · 387
Morning Light
C Conner Sep 2022
Walking along an old logging road
Lost below old North Norton
Alone in the early morning dew
Under glowing leaves
And broken sunlight
I stop and close my eyes.
The trees are whispering
The dark night is gone.
But the shadows hold on
And with earthen chill -
A gentle nudge
I take a deep breath and move on.
Aug 2022 · 145
A Drawn Out Silence
C Conner Aug 2022
I sat alone cross hatching
A darkness beneath us.

To hear the scattered leaves,
The old wind chimes
That fell to the porch
Last year, and the shadows
Scraping sounds in the wind
Trail off when
Your voice cracked.

Then a silence
Of understanding.
Apr 2022 · 428
Life Does Not Stand Still
C Conner Apr 2022
Now I enter my pain.
A place for the echoing sound
Of life and laughter,
Like a distant muster of crows
Photographed and framed in flight
Frozen specks of ash across the light
Closed up and leather bound.
I must move or be found
Alone covered in dust.
Apr 2022 · 156
Flying Cloud
C Conner Apr 2022
I fade into my world
Where I am strong
Before the ebb tide -
Like a clipper ship
Embarked on her maiden voyage.
Passing the guarded line
Into deep water
Under the cover of lime
Darkness she hums leaving
Protected harbor - square rigged
For counted moments cradled
For pitch and heave in
Amniotic sway.

My cell phone buzzes and
I return worn. Cold with
Years of white breakers,
Tidal pull, and
Trips around the Horn.
Mar 2022 · 299
Cowee Mountain Trail
C Conner Mar 2022
Looking down the valley
From four-thousand feet
Watching clouds roll
Covering the life below.

Perhaps, when the Earth's fountains burst forth
Man also gazed across this same sea.
Jan 2022 · 686
No Word From The Heart
C Conner Jan 2022
Too many times we talk
And the words fall.
And my mind is silent
Waiting for another day.

And the sun is up.
And the sun is down.
Still no word from the heart -
The silent pain of dying.
Sep 2021 · 105
Our Garden
C Conner Sep 2021
Simple and easy I
Dream of you.

I followed you through dry sunlight
        Walking in the yard, our garden,
The way your shoulders bare
Sway musically with nature
As you get to the root of a ****.
The bed is accomplished
Not over-floral.

I clip three blooms off
Our iron gate hung roses
For the white vase placed in the light
by the kitchen window.
Aug 2021 · 197
Fall Rain
C Conner Aug 2021
I want my words
To rain down from the sky
And bring warmth to cold meadows
Aug 2021 · 70
White Hydrangea Blooms
C Conner Aug 2021
My Grandfather explained the simple pleasure of tying
String to a drone bee - they don't have a stinger
He'd say with a glance.

I thought of him
While drinking coffee outside
And sitting silent.

The hum of the bees in the white hydrangea blooms --
An orchestra warming up.

I thought of him
Aging

Under the ballast buzz of an old florescent tube
Chilling a dusty work bench with a soft flickering glow.
Aug 2021 · 83
Looking for one Moment
C Conner Aug 2021
Looking for one moment
I ran into my downfall
Oh what a way to fall asleep.
Will this last forever?

Can the mountains contain
Such a savage story? And a deep
Sorrow's weight befalls us all - and now
I ask
Does my sleep hurt me more or is this joy?

Looking out my bedroom window - a small window
For such a wide view
The sun spreads light through the trees with a palette knife, crafting
A false sense of security and warmth over the sudden serene
Brown landscape where the wilted flowers
Like a bent over elderly woman reaching for the sky
Sway from side to side.
Dried and cracked earthen waste slowly drift over the darkened
Creek bed. Even the the insects do not move.

And can you see the sky the way that I do?
The clouds bubble dark and roll like clotting blood
Cooling over a reopened wound.

Heaven only know how happy I will be
To see the way things fall into place.
Oh what a way to fall asleep.
Aug 2021 · 67
Empty Nation
C Conner Aug 2021
Who are we?
The somber proud of today?
Can we lift up our heads to recall
We are waiting for a harbinger of tomorrow.
With life so crude, so fast and deep
It's a wonder why we live to sleep.

To fill our heads with so much dread
Will only make strife harder.
When phantoms sleep - so mystique
Why push an inch any further
With my feet so dead.

I know you well so please don't dwell
On foolish thoughts and what why not
For in your sleep a quick shade creeps
To finish dreams and conquer thoughts.
But in the light of day that memory seeps.

For in this world - the many and proud
Full of a stature of empty grace.
So many voices - all so loud
With prominence and empty promulgation -
All so quick to show such waste.
Jul 2021 · 70
Dementia
C Conner Jul 2021
I watch you and try to understand.
What puzzle piece of memory are you focused on right now?
Your smile masks a heightened fear
Like standing on a table with a broken leg
Wobbling, you steady yourself - ready to tip.
And you try to make me understand
This time will pass.
And the wind picked up
And the leaves rustled outside
And you glance back to where I'm standing
You smile
Jun 2021 · 64
Light of the Fire
C Conner Jun 2021
Sitting in a worn camping chair
Silent like the grey mist in the air I cannot see
Moisture clinging to the trees
And roots in the darkness -
The pops and cracks of the fire in front of me.
My boots and face hot to the touch
And the starkness
Of a thousand cold whispers behind my back
Drawing my focus from burning embers, and
Smokey gasps of heated gases that calm and temper
The entirety of my whole.
Jun 2021 · 58
Looking Up
C Conner Jun 2021
Arrange me
Lord.
Take my
Pieces
And place
Them back together
Again.

Somehow I fell
Somewhere I lost you.
May 2021 · 94
Illusion of Time
C Conner May 2021
I can't hold my breath now -
Will the water
Rushing in
My lungs burn more?
Will my hope
Roll in the undertow.
Apr 2021 · 64
Father
C Conner Apr 2021
Father you left
Me light
And a thousand words to write -
Sounds crazy

I forgive you ran
One night
And your tight-grip jaw
Froze dreadful fright.
Was I lazy?

So like you I
Run in the dark full night
Unless the moon runs full
Above my stage spot light
Following me until
I am exposed.
Apr 2021 · 262
Joy
C Conner Apr 2021
Joy
There are moments
When the wonder of God's creation
Catches the eye and you can only stop
And experience joy.
To my Wife.
Apr 2021 · 55
Bullhead
C Conner Apr 2021
Your tale about the bullhead awakened me.
I stood on the seawall and set a weight on my line.
I thought about you out on the water alone fishing
Your quiet spot on Mullet Creek.

I closed my eyes and breathed in the brine,
The warm bait, and pepper plants as you
Rocked with the rhythm of ripples slapping
The barnacle coated bulkhead. The oarlocks
Snapped and resonated in your slow sway.

I watched your steady hands grip both the croaking
Fish and pitted pliers and quickly pull the hook free
As his spiny dorsal fin caught your knuckle.
You uttered a sharp ****** and placed the ****** finger
In your mouth.
Apr 2021 · 58
Little Bundle of Hope
C Conner Apr 2021
I imagined my home an ocean
And my bed a ship
Tossed in storm
And the breakers screamed to the coastline
Changing the beach texture and form.

During the moments of silence
I scribbled little notes of hope
On torn paper and positioned them along
The worn paths
and Defensive Walls.

In front of the coffee filter
"give each other hugs"

On the end table  - on top of the Bible
"stop yelling"

Little pin points of light scattered in the darkness
Like children's eyes watching.

I might as well have planted
Seashells in the gritty shallow surf hoping
They would drag their feet in the sand and
Stumble upon a fighting conch or cockle.
Apr 2021 · 77
Artwork of Distance
C Conner Apr 2021
This artwork of distance
Hand painted slowly
Abstract and weaving
Dark colors of grieving.
I was layering in loneliness
Midnight and fear
Chaotic brushstrokes
Angular but clear.
I used a toothbrush for splatter
And aged worry to your face
Covered the moon with dark ochre
Formed an illusion of space.
I placed you running through a meadow
Toward a vanishing point in the sky,
But I woke up and called out for you
When I couldn't see your eyes.
Apr 2021 · 293
There, Now
C Conner Apr 2021
Where is your light
I asked
As dusk fell
alone
Like an injured whip-poor-will
Returning back to earth.
You shrugged your shoulders
And turned away.
other titles...
Fading? Fading Light? Turning Dusk?
Mar 2021 · 163
Lost Words
C Conner Mar 2021
I tore a page out of a Time Magazine from 1938
To help me write a poem about discovery and loss
About an internal war over what I should have done
So long ago.
There was nothing I could do.
Now I look at the worn page -
Ephemera of what could have been
And place it back in my journal
Like a pressed leaf
Preserved away waiting
To be discovered.
Mar 2021 · 162
Awakened 3 A.M.
C Conner Mar 2021
Awakened 3 A.M.
By distant car tires gripping a wet road.
Like rainfall the sound of a memory returns
To when life was magnified
As the early morning breathed
Wonder through my window.

Lying under the same cool sheets
Used earlier for buildings and city streets
I drifted between two
Breathing Giants,
Moving mountains sleeping
Seconds before the sudden
Rattle of a country song
And weather report.

Outside the car tires
Take form and become a
Voice - a distant lullaby.
Mar 2021 · 48
Waking Up
C Conner Mar 2021
I made my bed
From the mud of the mire
Covered it with bramble
Thick brush and harsh brier.

I became alien and remote
Closed my eyes and my senses
Placed my head on the pillow
And dreamed of high fences.

I shrouded my body from
The cold with rough linen
Tore rocks from the ground
And fortified my prison.

Those whom I loved
Were thrown far away
And I cried at their leaving -
I begged them to stay.

And my window distorts the light
Of the sun reaching out to stir nature awake.
The bay laurel trees are trimmed and fragrant.
The house sparrow lays her three eggs
While the wind blows and spiders release their silk
And take flight.
The drone bees stage and wait for their queen to fly by over
The dust and pollen colored porch chairs we purchased last summer.
Mar 2021 · 66
Dried Flowers
C Conner Mar 2021
Where can I see the flowers bloom?
A person, soft light, a starry night
There is not time as a clock strikes noon.
Crazed in haste we turn in spite
For years turn and flowers burn as
I looked for God and cowered in fright.
Worldly things are the only concern.
We scream and try to say goodbye -
Only few decide to turn.
For flowers, cowards, all will die
Without love but with much thought.

For in these words please do not imply
A lack of faith and to say thereof
"Let this be for God above."
Mar 2021 · 48
Untitled for Now
C Conner Mar 2021
Not home as midnight
Approached on the dusty balcony
Stairs. I could not see past
The edge of the forest but
It was close and touched me.

My mind played with deceptive
Phantom lights.
How is it your leaving
Surprised me, of course, I
Died for you. I cried for you!

Only when the moon illuminates each step I fall
Can I see beyond my reach.  Father, you left
For reasons you keep to yourself and the family
Cries out for evil is real.

As the moon promptly peers through
The passing clouds healing begins deep
Within the brush and haze.
early poem I wrote as a child.
Mar 2021 · 51
Drowning
C Conner Mar 2021
Grasping for air I only
Want to go back in time
My arms numb and heavy
But I keep them moving, I keep reaching into the cold
To make my wrongs right.
Shutting my eyes
I find myself 28 years in the past
In college at the lakeside dining hall
Drinking coffee.
The cup is hot in my hands,
And I burn my throat
gulping too fast.
Shutting my eyes again
I feel the warmth of the sun.
Feb 2021 · 57
What Was left
C Conner Feb 2021
Your one O'clock
Charade and temper fought
Parade masked by the
Cicada chorus and outside
Scuffling feet.
I break down.
I break because
You are strong - a Roman arch
building my memory.

If this is a dream
I'll safely resign heavens promise and walk blind
Through the open door where a raven scatters
The noiseless song birds.
Their feathers fall in place where
A corner table cools under the porch.

Summer was our friend so
I have to close the door -
I am tired of trying to impress your shade.
Jan 2021 · 57
Shade
C Conner Jan 2021
The earth is yearning for mans forlorn redemption.
Calling tides and solemn mountain sides
Roar for peace, a natural grave prevention
Controlled by God while on top his hill resides.

Doctor, you explain this truth with ease.
Yet, I enjoy the churning storms tonight
The thunder clap and deadly current lightning strike
I dream of peace asleep afloat torn seas.

If man call for forgiveness and sin decline
What of nature's keep? She helps me sleep.
I abhor you gentle shore, taunt you sky benign
Of storm - let me drag my feet along the street

Below sky lined peaks of idolized tower
We forgot history and dreamed of machinery better
We forgot our neighbor and passed by the beggar
In once proud buildings boarded up they cower.

Will we cower at the thunders crash of nature's power
Will we cower and run from land to set sail for sea
Closing eyes in the unknown hour
Like Jonah and his shriveled tree.
Jan 2021 · 41
Living Time
C Conner Jan 2021
My old summer face
At sunset
Remembering fireflies
And fading sounds,
Melted days like home made
Ice Cream and rock salt.

You can stand awhile
Holding your own
Coffee cup
Sipping, smiling, musing.

Walk with me.
Be my guide
My dog star.
Nov 2020 · 51
1958 Yeoman Wagon
C Conner Nov 2020
Into the argument I run shielding
My eyes from the sun.
I know my words are fallen paint flakes
And rust - sharp on the tongue
Like an old barn find a 58
Yeoman Wagon
Faded grey
Seats torn.
Still fit for a silent family trip
But sitting stubborn
Stuck and worn
Nov 2020 · 35
Poetry Lines
C Conner Nov 2020
Your lines are written well
Calming and beautiful
Like an observing winter moon
Reflecting through mountain
Cedar. You stir placid water.

                                           I

Believe your passion,
Trust in your lines
For they are worked with time,
Perfect peace like a cold wind -
Natures breath from an old
Experienced mountain fall that
Stirs young birch from sleep.

                                           I

Breath deeper knowing you
are close and absorbing,
Seasoned by the shrill tone of battle.
Every southern city believes
Sherman spared her due to
Love of women.

                                           I

Stand tall, defeated the perfect
Fall. The stinging water flows
Below me pure and swift
Smoothing dreadful stone.
Your passion flows through my hair.
Oct 2020 · 42
Shoe Store
C Conner Oct 2020
Should I jump up as high
as I can with youthful might,
Impressing mom with a new
Found power possessed in my
Shoes.

I can fall back at any time
Laughing child delight
At the capacity of the simplest ideas.
Regressing only to fall forward.
Oct 2020 · 44
Too Lonely For a Seat
C Conner Oct 2020
Too lonely for a seat
I can't face all these grey clouds
That's why I'm walking on a back street.
Walking through my universe with
Sawdust on my bare feet and
My back to the shaded sun -
My foot tap - tapping to the
Drum beat.

Only hearts and lonely souls can
Smile at this sluggish mist yet
Disaster strikes and darkness rolls
I wonder on and clinch my fist.

Too deep to fly,
Too sad to cry
"Such horror and pity and pain"
My only hope is to say goodbye
To my great friend the sluggish sky.

If I stay down or rise above
Will I ever find the back street?
Will I ever hear the drum beat?

Or is the sky my only gain -
A place to find myself
And wash my hands in the
Dark rain.
Sep 2020 · 52
Morning Ritual
C Conner Sep 2020
Our home pure
With morning ritual
Fragrances of shaving cream,
Old Spice, and coffee.
I awoke and prepared for work
Practicing your habits.

You were an artist
Weighted down
With your clothes and hard hat.
I struggled with herculean steps
Into the room to kiss mom goodbye.
Adorned with your spare
Tool belt and giant's tools
I peddled down the driveway
Off to fix everything
Sep 2020 · 41
I've Learned to Listen
C Conner Sep 2020
I began to understand
My voice is best unheard .
For contempt of time
Brought unkempt grief.

A white padded scream,
Almost silent, rang down
The overhead streetlight and
Recalled my childhood

I caught myself listening and
Stifled a laugh.

In 79 those same buzz-lights
Distracted my quest for adventure
Under cold silver store racks -
Sensitive ears I guess.
Sep 2020 · 173
Solitude
C Conner Sep 2020
Standing
Motionless on a stone.
Where else
To feel the sun above
The reflecting water.

One can feel out of place
In nature so warm.
Even one ant diligently working
In a five gallon drum must
Recognize seclusion.
Sep 2020 · 50
Qal' ah-ye Nasro
C Conner Sep 2020
Out of the hot sun
The shadows grow tall.
Sand and dust and quick to run
Laughing eyes - eight years young
Reaching out to kick the ball.
Excitement to pride
A sudden fall.
Whip-cracks and rocks sting
The ball bounces away
Lifeless like a rag doll
Bone chips and blood.
The shadows reach and
Touch new mud.
Sep 2020 · 49
Cold Pine Floors
C Conner Sep 2020
Cold pine floors
Greet her tears and steps.
Knees already worn -
Artie Shaw's Nightmare.

A lone leaf holds out
Green and whipped by the storm.

You sip your coffee and watch
Her fall away.
Sep 2020 · 107
Totentanz
C Conner Sep 2020
You deserve another minute
For laughter
More time for giggles
Another hug, bed time stories,
Silly tickles
Dancing in the window frame
Through thunder storms and turning rain
Quick outside a blue jay sang

Your ballerina toe tip your tiny
foot slipped
Into a final pirouette
Hair brushed warm and bathtub wet

Across the room your waiting bed
Is restless for your dreaming head
As the blue jay cries and flies from there
One more sunrise cries your silent stare
Sep 2020 · 89
I Want to Know Your Name
C Conner Sep 2020
Floating above the fallen colors
Your fragrance mixes with the
Sweet decay of discarded leaves -
Forgotten.
An aroma blending perfectly
You are a blooming flower
Standing tall
Despite your desperate hours -
A honest friend.
For daylight slides off you
Warming my eyes away from fall -
Natures mascara.
Moonlight glows from within
Calling for an end to autumn.
Not many are allowed this close
As you have come and I feel vulnerable
because you can read my weaknesses
Which are scattered about like
Crumpled paper on the floor -
Discarded lines of bad poetry.
I want to forget them
If I could just change some
Lines.
Sep 2020 · 67
Raking Leaves
C Conner Sep 2020
Picture me
      Raking leaves
Through the backyard window.
               Sleep sweet dreamer
And allow warm minded glimpses -
Heavy eyed fences.
         Behind me calls a friend and
I turn away.
         Out of sight you
Hear of weather, politics, and preparations
                            For a storm.
You called whisper-voiced
Tall
Dimple eyed beauty asleep
In my arms by the backyard  
Window we fall warm coated
And small.
Sep 2020 · 38
Station
C Conner Sep 2020
The bride and groom are positioned in the hall.
A father locks hands with the daughter
And remembers her birth.
Outside a jet streaks
Across the cloudless sky -
Leaving contrails.

This wedding gown weighted down
Like a train positioned
On a track;
Allows for easy movement in one direction -
Forward not back.

Toasts, familiar laughter, conversations
And the din of dessert forks searching
For the next bite will echo a lifetime
Like moments that flash
Into snapshots of memory.

Father, daughter, mother
Embrace on the landing in a moment
Of celebration and breath a sigh.
The conductor calls and checks his watch
As time will have his way.
Sep 2020 · 86
You Were About to Sweep
C Conner Sep 2020
I walked into your house.
The still air, silence,
And dust in the sunlight
Reminds me of the room
A grieving mother refuses to clean.
It's easy to see you
Didn't plan on dying.
Your grocery list waits on the counter
Amid your notes and written reminders.
You placed plates and cups in the sink
To wash later.
And the stacks of books you planned
To read cover the floor
Near a broom leaning against
The kitchen table.

— The End —