Strangers in an Elevator

On a normal day, in her normal world
birds flew skyward borne on autumn breezes,
earthward gliding on gentle thermals.
Part of her longed to be back on the farm
grounded securely between sundown and dawn.
Instead she reached for the circle marked up
and pushed the digits for her stop.

It rose smoothly
accompanied by the whoosh
of piped air and canned music
until her stomach hit her lungs as it lunged to a stop
with bells, whistles and flashing lights.
Sliding doors revealed another passenger entering,
a man who stood forward and to her left,
a cushion of space surrounding each.

Three more floors,
a short hop of eternity,
as the elevator faltered to a halt.
Now anxiety flowed instead of song
with it’s own dimension of time.
Lights dimly lit, reflected frustration
on two silent faces held in place.

He punched the dead buttons, in precise, clipped irritation
then resigned himself into a lean against the opposite wall,
speaking for the first time.
“This happens all the time, some glitch no one can ever find.”
He smiled wryly and spoke of basketball with his kids
as she in turn, told stories of her forty acre yard.
Both revealing where their hearts rested
without divulging secrets,
the essence of the day slipping away,
stripped away to a world of only two,
forging a friendship of necessity inside a metal prison.

They heard the hum of life return,
a pulse surrounding before shuddering
in motion beneath their soles, the hitch resolved.
Tension faded, an ephemeral ghost of emotion
now shaded with relief as their journey resumed.

They were quiet again,
slipping back into shells of personality
naturally resuming lives no longer paused.
Their eyes met, matched by shy smiles
and a nod as they parted,
heading for life beyond open doors.

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You don’t have to believe me

I believe in simple things
like God above and the devil below,
love that conquers all
and hope sustaining through hard times.

I believe the sun will rise each morn
and set each night despite tearful fears,
that winds will blow both rain and snow
and nature laughingly has the last word.

I look for kindness in the human heart,
disappointed but not daunted
when reality fails expectation.
I find love in unexpected places,
sometimes tethered sometimes free,
gloriously blooming like flower and tree,
showing resilience in every season
changing according to need.

You don’t have to believe me.
My feelings aren’t hurt
by endless various insights
grown and shaped in other gardens.

I shall rise from my farm
and turn my face to the sun,
letting my hair flow in the breezes.
I shall hold one hand firmly in mine,
feet planted against storm and tempest.
I shall resist weedy thoughts and persist,
thriving in the shelter of my mind.

The Nature of a Lake

The nature of a lake is resiliency,
becoming all things to all seekers.
Small and intimate while clouds obscure dawn,
fishermen delight in morning’s edge,
a blue display of watery playgrounds:
a lake is the master of change,
the holder of time and recall.

I wonder her thoughts
at floats, rafts and tubes arrayed
in all colors and sizes, checked and bedecked.
bobbing in the water and bouncing in waves,
as jet skis race and motor boats speed,
Yesterday seems a simpler time and a slower pace.

Through out it all, the lake reflects,
calmly placid and serene.
She gives the gift of peaceful mornings
and beachside coffee,
open air lunches and escapades,
afternoons for books and impromptu naps,
nighttimes of storms and rain sung dreams.
She offers opportunity laced with imagination,
and quiet inspiration,
defining mystery with her mood
and inclination.

The lake gathers her fog for the evening,
shrouds her shoulders in evening mist.
settles her skirts with scalloped fringes
waiting for the night song of insects and frogs
to begin their closing farewell.
She sleeps, in the manner of nature resting,
recharging for a tomorrow she cannot see
but will be ready for as always.

Skirling

Skirling music rises and falls,
notes hang on wisps of fog
the way pipes wail on the wind,
dodging branches rain wet
and green mossy logs.

You inhale as bellows breathe,
a constant hum and thrum,
an undercurrent of droning;
groans moaning through mist
as notes make melody
weighted with truth.

You feel it chill skin,
plucked and puckered in goosebumps,
recognizing the call bone deep
like shadows called from years of sleep,

You hear with ears ringing,
ancestors silent yet singing thru time,
answering without words
to challenge and response,
to grief and sorrow,
love and loss on the air,
lingering.

Hallowed silence follows
the haunting whirl of music,
birds ceasing their song.
Water stumbles over stone,
flowing tears that cleanse and renew.
Time paused begins again.
I catch my breath, remembering.
A sense of belonging settles within,
restored.

*The Greater Good of Gossip 6-21-2018

In the fine art of social discord,
gossip is the tool of choice
for the passive aggressive,
striving to distance themselves
from nasty little arguments
and dirty disagreements.

Slippery words whispered slyly
behind the scenes,
filter through repetition
like water through a screen.
What will remain of truthful grains
hidden amid the grit of innuendo
and the soft film of polluted thought?

Gossip masks intent with misinformation,
hiding originators in the crowd of repeaters,
clouds of ambiguity providing plenty of cover
in broad open blue skies of deniability.
Untraceable,
laced with mocking eyes shielding intent,
lashed with black,
mascara smudged and running
down an innocent face,
tear tracked, side-whacked.
Politicians know it’s value,
employing its silver blade
to skewer, maim and destroy the unwary,
leaving it behind in yesterday’s news,
yesterday’s trash gone in a flash.

Gossip is perfect,
good not to be confused with godliness.
After all, weapons are judged by effectiveness
rather than the soul they lack.

The gift of laughter

My mother rarely laughed out loud,
more prone to soft smiles lit from within
than belly laughs and hearty chuckles.
Once in a blue moon, however,
something we kids said or did
would set us all to giggles and full out laughter,
helplessly clutching our sides,
gasping for breath as tears ran down our faces,
contagion forcing her to join in.

Even more rarely, Dad was the instigator,
telling his joke quietly,
confident his punch line would properly
draw the awaited response.
We waited, baited,
all eyes on him as he watched Mom,
the verbal stage set for the finale.
Her face as it relaxed in surprise
crinkled in the corners of her eyes,
laughter bringing forth
the girl she once had been,
now a compatriot in humor,
one of us.

Dad’s posture relaxed in success
sitting with arms folded across his chest,
smiling without saying a word.
Subtlety, the stealth that hid cunning and planning,
was his favorite weapon of choice
to break the reserve she wore
as both armor and habit.
Thus we saw shades of the sailor courting his girl,
his shy smile bridging the gap between them,
humor linking past to present
present to future.

Laughter and love made our house a home,
created memories and stories to pass along.
We were lucky in both,
a worthy legacy for all!

Narcissist 

It was all about her,

the sun surrounded by planets and moons

duly circling in orderly directions,

fashionably ordained.

She had decreed it so.

She flamed brightly, passionately in her self reflection

yet utter coldness hung in distanced silence

between her and any others.

Venturing too close was a stunning flare of heat and light,

combustion and consumption companions in death,

a worthy sacrifice to her vanity.

She smiled, beauty without substance,

a hollow soul incapable of caring for others,

too filled with self to notice her loss.

4-26-2018. Waxy

She glowed,
shone with the moon in her eyes,
varied emotions playing openly
across features that singly taken
were mostly ordinary
but taken together
paused you with a friendly gaze.
She saw in a glance
not just what you casually presented
but caught somehow a glimpse of your soul
leaving you slightly vulnerable.

She was past the shiny newness of youth,
past the bloom of motherhood
yet somehow continued to wax
into the fullness of life,
a sense of adventure clinging
like a flowery scent,
a zip in her step along
with a zest for whatever might come next.

Waxy, that textured protective film,
protectively firm when cool,
yielding when warm,
pooling with heat into liquid puddles
brittle when exposed to cold.
She was all of those things
yet more.
The man by her side sat wordless
at the wonder of nature’s randomness
and the beauty of contrast in mismatched things!