"i punched a second stud into the pop-pop cartilage of my right ear"
Madeline Weir 

someday i'll sit you down -
who are still just half a thought somewhere inside my person -
and i'll tell you.

i'll tell you the day my parents stopped loving each other
(i was three, but
i remember)
and the way they never stopped loving me.
i'll tell you the things that i've milestoned in ages -

that when i was 15 i made a terrible mistake
with a terrible boy
and i'll warn you that it happens to everyone once
and you won't believe me till it happens to you ( my poor beautiful babies)

that, 17 and filled with abandon,
i punched a second stud into the pop-pop cartilage of my right ear
(it was ten minutes of biting my lip and
trying not to make a noise
because the only permission i had was from myself)

that, 16 and starry-eyed,
i met the boy who may very well be your father.
i'll tell you that
you'll be surprised at who you end up with
because chances are he was right under your nose the whole time.

and i know that you may not even exist for me to sit down with -
that i may choose cups of coffee and pages filled with words
over ever being your mother

but if you do happen,
and the shadows in my mind become little faces at my feet,
and my doorways become clogged with
light-up pink sandals and
untied muddy gym shoes,
then that's what i'll tell you.

that's what you'll know.

so until then, my little ones
that is,
you remain just half-written stories.)

"Pop-pop had really dark skin."
Chase Graham 

Pop-pop had really dark skin.
Brown sunshine soaked within him and
heated up the prodded red kindling of a young heart.
Fingers were bruised
and cracked and torn along the palms
and insides and betweens of his nails.
Sometimes he would touch me
with those hands, pat heads
or rub backs. Brown leafy eyes
made sure to do most of the reassuring.
I don't remember a lot. Just a soft Delaware accent, and tattered overalls reaching up and around
a remedying belly where I would put my head.

"Because he was Pop-pop and farmed each day"
Chase Graham 

Because he was Pop-pop and farmed each day
He had sunshine darkened skin that soon blotted.
Fingers bruised, cracked, and hair sliver grey,
Cancer sored hands soon quickly rotted.

Sometimes he would touch me with those hands,
Although he wasn’t always loving.
A boy of seven years never understands
And so when he left, I felt nothing.

Delaware has a part, of cornfield mazes,
dirt paths, muddy ponds and teary willow trees.
Whenever I go back I notice changes
But still sense what’s left of Pop-pop’s disease.

Along harsh harvest palms and hammered nails,
Weaved a life’s loving work, now damaged details.

"My joy being with pop-pop, his joy his ***Lady Love*** adorned in"

Lady love
Young and Innocent, Not in my world,
Maybe a thousand years ago, No fifty shades of grey, only black,

My joy being with pop-pop, his joy his Lady Love adorned in White Powder we would visit.

12 yrs old, I was commissioned, a guard, a lookout, a soldier, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid, armed with a fork and instructions from pop-pop on how to gouge an eye. (Just in case) we ventured to visit Lady Love.

I was ready, a knight in confused armor.

42th street, nobody's dancing, Bright lights washing the hopeless,

"Stay here, I'll be right back, keep a eye out for the bad men in blue"

Alone, armed with a fork, fear, and apprehension, I pushed down below, you see, I adore  the man I needed and wanted to be here. the power of Lady Love.

Bus ride home, Dad out like a light dreaming of heaven,
I'm happy, I love the man,
No dreams of heaven or hell for me
I have my poems.

Thanks for showing me how to "Dig Deep" and love you Lou Reed RIP
"When we took Pop-Pop off the ventilator, we put him in a ref"
Robert Ronnow 

Between conjecture and classification there is
observation, experiment, data (collection and analysis),
statistics, calculus, and a good guess
about God's intentions -- probabilities, fractals, chaos and complexity.
This is the thunderous city.

The form of the poem, the rhyme.
Form cannot be first if you want to reach high artistic levels, since
      you are then bound by form, and that form is very often a
      betrayal of reality
Yet I find I am attracted all the time
to philosophies in short skirts, jewels and eyes lined with kohl.
I love where her legs lead, to her very soul.

Three women hike by under an umbrella in a winter rain. Two men
      side by side run in rhythm.
An oil truck takes the hill in low steady gear.
My old Marine, 89, died last night without anxiety or fear.
May I overcome my pain enough to reach the place where the deer
      lay down their bones
and, like them, die alone.

When making an axe handle, the pattern is not far off.
The purpose of school is to introduce us to the world's innumerable
The periodic table, World Wars I and II, Huckleberry Finn and Jim.
      But soft,
what light through yonder window breaks?
It is a billion trillion nuclear detonations per second without which
      nothing can be done or faked.

The temple bell stops, but the sound still comes out of the
Forests and the composite species will be nameless. Genetic
receiving the sacrament, performing Lohengrin from the Great
      American Songbook,
the look of love in all the wrong places, facebook,
fakebooks, folios of old family photos on or in pianos.

How can I be both still and skilled?
When we took Pop-Pop off the ventilator, we put him in a refrigerator.
He stopped eating, he stopped breathing. Circle with a dot.
He had his dream, he'd rowed his boat.
No single line can completely explain -- or rhyme -- or untie this knot.

--with lines by Nye, Milosz, Jeffers, Snyder, Basho, Dunbar

--Nye, Naomi Shihab, "Pakistan with Open Arms", Words Under the Words: Selected Poems, The Eighth Mountain Press, 1995
--Milosz, Czeslaw, Partisan Review, Summer 1996
-- Jeffers, Robinson, "The Deer Lay Down Their Bones", The Selected Poetry of Robinson Jeffers, Random House, 1953
--Snyder, Gary, "Axe Handles", No Nature: New and Selected Poems, Pantheon Books, 1992
--Shakespeare, William, "But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?", Romeo and Juliet, II, ii, 2
--Matsuo Basho, "The temple bell stops", trans. Robert Bly, The Sea and the Honeycomb: A Book of Tiny Poems, Beacon Press, 1971
--Dunbar, Paul Laurence, "He Had His Dream", The Collected Poetry of Paul Laurence Dunbar, University of Virginia Press, 1993


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