Sunday, August 31, 2008

More little writes....

Photo: Old Porch
“Ooooooowwwhh” he howled from across the field. It was his call to the wild, his call to the cattle to let them know it was time to come in and be fed. He loved those cattle, loved being on the tractor and loved pitch-forking out the hay from the old red barn. Those cattle loved him back and would follow him anywhere with or without food in hand. Admiring my grandfather so, I also tried to emulate him and get the cattle to follow me. “Oooooowwwwhhh” I’d holler. Nothing. No respect. “Oooooooowwwhhhwwweeeee” I’d try again and a couple cows turned their heads in my direction, but that was it. I decided I’d leave the caroling up to grandpa.

“Wanna come see the rest of the farm?” he’d ask leading me into a small farmhouse the size of my room. This is where we lived in the summer. The place was filled with rusty, brown farm tools. It looked like a tool shed to me. “Of course I didn’t have all these farm tools in here. I’ve cleaned it up. Doesn’t it look good?” He questioned. Looking around I saw a vintage old three-seater couch and an antique clock and an old television set. “Where’s the sink and bathroom?” I wondered. “It’s outside in the back.” Wow, I thought, how times have changed within just one generation!

“It’s feeding time. Let’s go feed the cattle! We’ll ride the tractor and I’ll show you where most of them roam.” I was already thrilled and pleasantly surprised by all I was experiencing. I was ecstatic to know there was more in store. The anxiety, freshness and thrill of knowing another side of my family was priceless. At each blink, I tried to photographically capture it all in my memory. “Stand right there grandpa!” I asked. He stood halfway out of the wooden, paint-chipped porch door pleased as punch that this farm was all his. I could see the pride in his eyes and behind his aged skin blended well among the weathered porch door.

Never again
Never again will I pretend
Never again will I shy from the truth
Never again will I blame myself
Never again will I be the only one
Never again will I be cornered
Never again will I be told how I should feel
Never again will I doubt my intuition
Never again will I let you lead
Never again will you be in control of me
Never again will I lose my boundaries
I just don’t trust you
And I have every reason not to

One more time again I see you as faulty
One more time again I see you as foreign
One more time again I lost my intentions

One more time again I will see you as human
One more time again I will look in your eyes
One more time again I will listen with my heart
One more time again I will understand your intention
One more time again I will share a moment
One more time again I will find a kind word
One more time again I will be at your side
One more time again I will fulfill on a promise
One more time again I will be your friend

A bouquet of one more times
makes the heart forgetful for never again
We have to find common ground
A likeness among our differences
A similarity among our separateness
A bond among our individuality
A partnership that requires patience
A future that needs solutions
One more time I try for me
To console the never agains
souring my soul so

Man and Woman in Kitchen
“How do you like your buns—sticky, smothered in chocolate, soft and fluffy or firm and crunchy on the outside?” I can’t imagine having to say that to every new customer that walks into the store.

I thought to myself—I like my own butt firm but my mouth rather have them light and fluffy. But does that mean I am what I eat and soon enough I’ll be soft too? Nah, get the buns I say. They are known as the best in the Midwest. It’s a cultural experience to be here at this famous French bakery in the middle of the city—though I’m not sure how “French” it really is. Looking around I notice there were 15 oversized women and kids lining up behind me and wrapping around the outside of the building.

Hurry up and order! I tell myself while also wondering if any of these women struggle with the same ‘soft’ thoughts I do. If they do, they are definitely good at hiding it. it’s too bad their draped XL shirts don’t hide their bun binges as well. Perhaps they are so overwhelmed at work, being with their stressful families and bored with life that they have given up entirely on trying to fight the urges. It’s likely being in this quaint, warm bakery is their only salvation and escape from their busy, all-consuming lives.

I order my soft buns and wait for my number to be called. I notice those around me are also lip-smacking with anticipation and anxious about their hot and flaky buns. All this bun talk has me staring at their buns! I catch myself in the act just as one lady scrunches her face at me—how embarrassing?! Now I, like the other ladies, am feeling nervous and fidgety.

Discuss the Money Issue
While most families have a photo of Jesus, or symbol of Buddha or Vishnu hanging in their home, my family has a framed dollar bill reading “In God we Trust” in fine print. You walk into the door and head down a long, narrow corridor and besides the Beaver Cleaver delicately arranged family photo you see you see the squared-off dollar. It’s as though the family is run like a Chinese restaurant where the first lucky dollar becomes publicly pinned up next to the register.

From the stories I’ve learned about his prodigy success at 15 years old, that dollar actually should have been a $20 or $100 bill. Within weeks he was making an annual salary and within months it was millions. Numbers were magical to him and it’s all he ever talked, thought or lived for.

Years later it’s the same story and we wonder if the money has not tainted his mind. Surely he has developed some childish, spoiled habits as a result of not reporting to anyone but the dollar. He has little personality and no other outside interests beyond the numbered bills. It’s the game of greed that gets him energized. Gambling with his own ethics and his family’s pride, he bulldozes on—deadpanned—faceless. Forgotten as a man but remembered as a framed fiscal bill.

Enough is Enough
No communication
Lack of conversation
Backward bends
Gone no where
Hidden connection
Vacant inside
Pillow suffocation
Behind a wall

Forbidden frailty
Unseen forgotten
Forever lost
Chipped away
Ebony eyes
Sunken inside

Sludge tugs
At the past
Spit up hope
On the grass
Mowed it down
Hacked it up
Logged it out
Floods uprooted
Washed away
Down river
Into the bay
Needles wash up

Finger pointing
Fighting words
Bruised heart
Red drippingIVs in me