dispersing & reflecting light through poetry

Posts tagged ‘mistakes’

This May Be the Only Way

I have a really difficult time expressing myself–my emotions, my thoughts, my knee-jerk inner reactions.  If I do they don’t exactly come out right. I tend to follow the proverb that says “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.” [Proverbs 17:28 ESV]

Sometimes poetry allows me to compact those feelings and thoughts into verse; to say them in a way that if you really want to hear, you will.  I guess that way if you don’t understand, but you at least thought it sounded nice, my heart won’t be hurt too bad.

I dedicate the following to my dear brother and old friend, Greg Tomlinson. As we used to say…here, there, or in the air. Ever hopeful.

No One Dies Today

Sittin’ in the town saloon
sippin’ rot gut whiskey and
gnawin’ on stale bisquits
(I’m here more for the show
girls than the fine dining),
contemplatin’ how to keep
my homestead from goin’ under
and my bride of twenty-plus dyin’.

See, the Creek’s dried up.
Most scattered to the four winds
after the incident with the sheriff.
Some folk went to meet their Maker early on,
two widowed school marms
left living on both ends of town,
and I get a telegram
from the deputy ever’ now and then.

So in busts an old friend so hard
them swingin’ doors knocked
the dust off the rafters.
We used to ride the trail together
followin’ the Trail Boss
through desolate places,
searchin’ for them green pastures;
fought side by side in the Great War
behind the General
sendin’ the enemy back to where he’d come.

And he called me out
out of the blue,
ready with a pack mule loaded
with shotguns and scatter guns,
Gatlings and pistols and sabers–
an arsenal set for battle.
(He always was a straight shooter.)
Now I only had my old six shooter
with but only one bullet
and I hadn’t shot in years.
I used to could push heads
through tails of a fake gold
piece at three and sixteen paces,
but my hands are a bit unsteady now
and my eyes ain’t what they used to be.

And when I looked him in the eye
I recognized them;
I knew them
as the same angry ones I stared at
in the mirror every morning
with a straight razor to my throat
contemplatin’ the stubble.

I wanted to raise a toast
with a glass of house red,
praise the Trail Boss, the General,
sing the songs of the cattlemen,
and share a bit of hard tack,
a reminder of our days on the trail;
but I think he’d lost his taste for it
and I couldn’t find my saddlebag.

I felt a lump in my gut and
a tear push through my dry eyes
as he road off to the west,
but all that spilled out was dust
and a fond “See you on the other side,”
a whispered echo
from my dry and thirsty throat.

Copyright © 2016 Scott Daniel Massey

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untitled internal blah

I plaster my wall
with children’s verse versions
of deep theological treatises
using purple crayon
and unevenly cut pictures
from magazines and prayer books
and a half used glue stick
thinking myself wise all the while
my socks are wet
from the leaking pipes
and overflowing toilet

Copyright © 2016 Scott Daniel Massey

Early morning introspection

image

Floaters

I find myself focusing
on the floaters:
miniscule shadows
of internal detritus
that slide into view
while I’m watching
the morning sky,
squirrels playing in the trees,
a cardinal chasing a cicada,
my Angel’s face,
the future.

Copyright © 2016 Scott Daniel Massey

Smelling ORANGE

One of the first poems completed for ORANGE is another list poem. This list is a bit different in a couple ways. First, each line describes a distinctive scent of fall, at least from my western Michigan youth. So as you read through take your time with each line. If you’re familiar with the odor, try to recall it. They say that memories are strongly connected to our sense of smell.

Secondly, the list actually has story. There is some progression. It’s not a true story from my life, but it does convey truth.

The Scent of Autumn

the air first thing in the morning
wet leaves in the gutter
seats on the school bus
dry corn stalks
fresh cow manure
chalk dust and pencil shavings
cafeteria food
sweat suits and running shoes
          left in the locker room
paraffin and charred pumpkin
candy corn
a blend of Gatorade®, heat rub,
          and muddy, torn-up turf
burning leaves
instant coffee
Thanksgiving dinner
wool letterman jackets
Miller High Life® in aluminum cans
a freshly opened condom
hay
dirt roads after the rain
rotted apples under the trees
leaking coolant, oil, and gas
moist earth from an open grave

Copyright © 2015 Scott Daniel Massey

RE-Do

The following is a public service announcement
from the author of these posts:

I promised to let you glimpse the process of the making of this chapbook. Well here is some process in real time. I woke up this morning at approximately 5:30 a.m. EST realizing that I had paired a pair of poems incorrectly. And I have been doing it from the beginning. Perhaps it’s the early morning writing when the coffee hasn’t really kicked in yet. But I sat up and said out loud (hopefully not loud enough to wake my wife), “It’s wrong.”

So what’s wrong? Currently I have “Cheap Valentine” paired with “Ghazal: Of My Love” (both covered in the past two posts) and “Window Shopping in Rosse Buurt” with “Solomon, St. Valentine, and the Coming of Christ”, a yet to be written sonnet (more on that later). Okay, Scott? I don’t see the problem. You explained it fairly well in ‘The Cost of Mis-RED Love’ and ‘Persian RED. What gives?

“Cheap Valentine” is about misunderstood and unappreciated love. “Ghazal: Of My Love” is a sensual poem about true intimacy, sexual and otherwise. “Solomon, St. Valentine, and the Coming of Christ” will be about committed love and marriage. “Window Shopping in Rosse Buurt” is about pornography and self-fulfillment. So…

“Cheap Valentine” and “Solomon, St. Valentine, and the Coming of Christ” should be paired together, unrequited vs. fulfilled; and “Ghazal: Of My Love” should actually be the companion of “Window Shopping in Rosse Buurt”, selfless vs. selfish.

I’m not sure why I put them in that order to begin with, it seems obvious to me now, but there you have it. A truly inside look at the process. And now for another cup of coffee.

Copyright © 2015 Scott Daniel Massey

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