She raised me to be God fearing
And taught me right from wrong
Where have our lives gone wrong
After all the tender rearing
Now she needs my fatherly care
To cook for her and pay the bills
My giving is plain with no frills
It's hard for me to truly be there
She prays to her God in Heaven above
I work quietly with nothing to say
Unsure if she loves me to this day
She failed to teach me to say one word, "love"
It was raining the Saturday I hired the carpenter, but I think it was acid rain from all the poison you let escape into your body.
He was a drunkard, and he apologized through sips of alcohol. It was the color of your blood when I found you in fits and I begged him to wash them out of the carpet, but through every sip he said your name just like the walls do.
I begged the maid to clean up the razors but she never did.
The maid came in two hours late and she didn't seem to mind my frustration. Much like you never seemed to mind when you said the right things all too late.
She swept secrets under the rugs and listened to the creak in the floorboard whenever any weight was put on this old wooden floor that reminded me so much of your weak shoulders when I needed a place to hold me.
The builder was far too early, and the maid never cleaned up in time. The builder tried desperately to rebuild the walls, but they shook at the weight of another's skin on mine, and the builder whispered "I think you need him back." I dismissed him, and the force of my door slamming (much like the force when you left that night with everything but me) was enough to destroy every wall.
Gardeners came in flustered at the work ahead of them. There were scars on my heart running up the sides like vines and it was far too thick to be cut down.
I envied the fresh dug up dirt encasing the weeds that I so badly wished would hold my body too. You see I tried to burry myself in your mind but you kept pushing me out and now the dirt is the only thing that promises certainty.
I pulled back the thicket
Brambles and thorns
Bordering my mind
Inch by inch
To let you slip inside
I hope you don't mind
The pestilent storm of neuroses
The angry winds whipping around
Eroding my cognition
(They all say
I ought to stop overthinking
They don't know the half of it)
Pardon the mess
The litter of apprehensions
Flotsam and jetsam of rumination
Tangles of tangents
Smog of chimeric thoughts
Sticky rambles festering in the corner
Of obstinate wayward tunes
Insecurity and fear
Eating into the pillars and foundations
If you don't mind terribly
The clatter of sleet
The noisome fumes
The skittering vermin
The sheer clutter
That would make packrats shake their heads
If you don't mind
Would you stay?
He asked me some typical housekeeping things.
Like whether or not to put his shoes at the door,
if there was anywhere he could change,
and if I had any tea that wasn't decaf.
They were easy questions,
but I stuttered through them
like a car engine underwater.
they used to be rooms
grand and wide as hotel suites
but it was you, and i wanted life
and it just so happened
i had this cabin, out in the woods
where the night sky horizon was free
from the glare of artificial lights
i knew you love the moon and stars
though they were always pale
compared to your eyes and your smiles
we had everything we needed: us.
for the things we wanted
no trek was too long or boring,
everything and everywhere
the mundane shed their old clothes
to reveal their secret selves
between our senses
dancing waltz, house, rave, tango,
our fingers like vines,
with your head on my shoulder
i discovered the true gift of time
but one day i came to an empty room
i waited, perhaps you were out
on your solitary musings
just like i at times crave for my own
it was facebook who told me
you were alive and well
by your distant self
happy even without me
knowing about not knowing
without you, i wondered
should i raze the cabin to the ground?
defile every memory for the surgery
i could not find nor afford?
i sought for familiar pattern and routines
should i sweep the floor laced
with soil and minerals collected by our four feet?
should i straighten the sofa, the fallen lamp,
prop the pillows and unravel smooth
the tangle of sheets and blankets
shaped by our last night’s passions?
these and all others, preparations
for when you would come back
from all the waiting and musings
it came to me in the silence
of the end that was never happening
there is no reason for housekeeping
for this is no longer our home
after i stepped out and closed the door
the faint memory of the purpose of keys
the dirge of the open faucet
they did not matter you
you. who is…
where are you?
who is you?
ah, there is only me
feet on the earth, i felt myself rooted
veins charting out paths to subterranean passages
through rocks and buried things
while my eyes saw again the stars and moon
and so before the ashes from dead stars
could find themselves and gather in my pockets
i tilt my fedora to my right
eyes rimmed and clear as lenses
walking out of that place
the faint memory of a cabin
of someplace with someone
carved out from the woods and bushes
reclaimed once more by wild roots and cold fires.
We two kept house, the Past and I,
The Past and I;
I tended while it hovered nigh,
Leaving me never alone.
It was a spectral housekeeping
Where fell no jarring tone,
As strange, as still a housekeeping
As ever has been known.
As daily I went up the stair,
And down the stair,
I did not mind the Bygone there—
The Present once to me;
Its moving meek companionship
I wished might ever be,
There was in that companionship
Something of ecstasy.
It dwelt with me just as it was,
Just as it was
When first its prospects gave me pause
In wayward wanderings,
Before the years had torn old troths
As they tear all sweet things,
Before gaunt griefs had torn old troths
And dulled old rapturings.
And then its form began to fade,
Began to fade,
Its gentle echoes faintlier played
At eves upon my ear
Than when the autumn’s look embrowned
The lonely chambers here,
The autumn’s settling shades embrowned
Nooks that it haunted near.
And so with time my vision less,
Yea, less and less
Makes of that Past my housemistress,
It dwindles in my eye;
It looms a far-off skeleton
And not a comrade nigh,
A fitful far-off skeleton
Dimming as days draw by.
There is a dead fly
On my windowsill,
He's been there for some time.
I refuse to move him.
I refuse to let others
clean him away.
He died, you see, on a day significant to me.
I doubt he chose that spot to die,
And even if he did, 'twas not for my benefit.
Nevertheless, he has something to teach me,
About moments, and moving on,
And striking a balance between good housekeeping,
and philosophical thought.
She kept up with her housekeeping.
Typically. Very Neat. Shelves everywhere.
Today, the melon baller was out of place
and she was busy batting flies.
Actually, there was only one fly.
The humming was too loud to go undisturbed.
Attention becomes focused digitally
on enhanced minute wrecks.
Hours spent trying to get the flies.
She didn't know. Suspected worst.
Kept at it.
The sexless man walked in with a tophat. Brimmed.
Asks why the dishes weren't done.
Why the floor not swept.
There's flies to get. I'm busy.
The house is a mess. The house is a wreck.
When Peg laughs like Liz
deep woman-hearted laugh
eating beef jerky on Mesa Verde
the good hearts and smarts of women
come back to me, not guessing
any better than they at the time what love
meant, leaving them behind in sandstone time
going to my own cement, sandstone
or good mountain grave
having seen the sharp-shinned and sparrow
hawk flying and at rest, not at peace,
seeking prey from a ponderosa snag.
I left my woman behind to float
alone down the long canyon for feathers
and signs, she's making camp
the moon half full, the sun half high
sky full of planets birds and stars
I look up from the rocks
love that's learned to love
from earlier loves
laughs remembered, heard
in the laugh of the woman who is my wife.
I was twenty two when the war ended
I was in hospital in Burma
Served in the 82nd West Africa Division
Lost a leg, silly thing losing a leg
My own fault, war took it, but silly bugger
It was my fault
We were in India at the time
Not much going on
Waiting for orders, ready to move on
A few of the lads decided to
well, you know...do what lads do
And we got a footy game going
Just a few of us
Major was on board, officers on one side
And Noncoms on the other
Rather civil game if I must say so
The heat was dreadful
Sweat was pouring off of us
And the mozzies were eating us alive
We'd cleared a field in the jungle
Imagine, clearing a pitch in the middle of India
Just to play football with the lads
Well, we did it
I went off after the first half
Walked out past the end line
tripped and heard a click
Nothing much, just a click
I thought, bugger...ready to move on
No enemy around, and I'm going to die
In a jungle in India, playing footy
I didn't move, didn't breathe either
But, ten seconds on, it blew
And I went with it
woke up in Burma, field hospital
Leg was gone, two fingers and my eye was covered
But, I was alive
All I wanted was a tea
And to know who won
silly bugger, no leg and I want to know who won
Never did find out
It seems I stopped the game
Well, here I am now sixty eight years on
Can't play footy anymore
Live in a veterans unit in Warwick
Oh, sorry, where are my manners?
I'm Arthur Johnston, lance corporal
No medal like those American chaps
No leg, but, no medal
Victoria Cross and St. Georges
not for this lad
Just doing my duty
Playing football in an Indian jungle
Wish I knew who won though
Getting dressed to go down stairs
Ceremonies start in half hour
I'm the last one left from my lads
Tuttle passed last spring, leaving me
Oldest one it here it seems
Except for that woman in housekeeping
She was a warden with CD
Got everyone in the tubes
During the blitz
Tough old crow she is
Took a brick in the head they say
Made the paper for that one
I lost a leg playing footy
Got a free trip to Burma
Can't get around too well anymore
They've got a special chair for me
Just for the ceremony
I have to lay a wreath
Funny thing, I looked at it
Plastic thing, poppies and ivy
Made in India
What are the chances?
I lay the wreath, salute the flag
and they put me away for another year
Well, better me than that old cow in housekeeping
At least that's what I say
Next year it could be me gone
Never can tell, eh?
Picked that up from a Canadian chap
Ridley Wilson, from British Columbia
I think it was British Columbia
Oh, here they are
time to go down and do my duty
Just like I have for the last 68 years
And the two before
Imagine, 70 years in service to the crown
That's longer than the Queen
Bless her cotton socks
Well, one thing I do know
It was worth it
Every last second of it
Up the empire I say
Even though we don't have one
A Commonwealth now,
Come to think of it
India's not ours anymore
and I think Burma's gone
I lost a leg playing footy
In a country we don't have
ending up in a place that doesn't exist
Just my luck....
Eyes's front, Salute
Oh am I going to feel that tomorrow
God save The Queen
A desolate shore,
The sinister seduction of the Moon,
The menace of the irreclaimable Sea.
Flaunting, tawdry and grim,
From cloud to cloud along her beat,
Leering her battered and inveterate leer,
She signals where he prowls in the dark alone,
Her horrible old man,
Mumbling old oaths and warming
His villainous old bones with villainous talk--
The secrets of their grisly housekeeping
Since they went out upon the pad
In the first twilight of self-conscious Time:
Growling, hideous and hoarse,
Tales of unnumbered Ships,
Goodly and strong, Companions of the Advance,
In some vile alley of the night
Waylaid and bludgeoned--
Deep cellared in primeval ooze,
Ruined, dishonoured, spoiled,
They lie where the lean water-worm
Crawls free of their secrets, and their broken sides
Bulge with the slime of life. Thus they abide,
Thus fouled and desecrate,
The summons of the Trumpet, and the while
These Twain, their murderers,
Unravined, imperturbable, unsubdued,
Hang at the heels of their children--She aloft
As in the shining streets,
He as in ambush at some accomplice door.
The stalwart Ships,
The beautiful and bold adventurers!
Stationed out yonder in the isle,
The tall Policeman,
Flashing his bull's-eye, as he peers
About him in the ancient vacancy,
Tells them this way is safety--this way home.