Writes With Pencils

fiction, memoir, essays and poetry

Tag: Relationships

Signs Along The Way


Along a pebbled shore
of sand and shells,
littered by storms of life’s injustice,
sprang a single, wild, fruited vine
that defied the lack of soil
spread its thorny shoots and leaves
sprouted clusters of tight berries,
(there’d been so little rain that season)
but black, and fully ripe
weighted with concentrated sweetness
and packed with seeds
of possibility.

Then after dormant winter
among some ancient boulders
beneath a ponderosa pine
and spreading broadleaf maple,
a golden pride of dandelions
welcomed hungry bumble bees
with their first taste of spring
and watched a sparrow
gather blades of grass
to weave a nest
in which it laid
five tiny, perfect, speckled eggs
discovered in the vines.

And as the hellebores bloomed
demurely in the shade of cedars,
we planted, you and I,
four budding twigs, the shape of baby trees
to form a living picket fence
around our loving home
and from those buds, burst blossoms
each visited by bees
that swelled throughout the summer
until we noticed on our wedding day
five perfectly imperfect apples,
our new family.

Daisy Chain



Experiencing the Divine



A kiss is a promise that lasts but a moment
until it retreats from
the forehead
the brow
the cheek
or other lips
a promise to
care for
or adore.

A gift is an expression that lasts but in the giving
until it is received into
the eyes
the hands
the mind
the heart of another
an expression of
or open heartedness.

A look is a connection that lasts but in the gazing
until it blinks away from
the tenderness
the vulnerability
the brokenness
the imperfection of another soul
a connection of shared
or meaning.

The impermanence of these,
these kisses, gifts, and looks,
makes them more precious
not less
more meaningful
not less
more sacred
not less
for the only permanence there is, is death
and the moment is alive
the moment is all we have
and then another
and then another.

It is in that kiss
that gift
that look,
in those moments,
where life radiates brilliantly
and the distance between
kisses and gifts and looks,
even if it be infinite,
does not deny the life in them.

Suffering comes from the desire
for their existence to be static,
frozen into permanence,
but to fall into the moment of
a kiss felt
a gift received
a look shared
without expectation,
fully present,
is to experience the divine.

Memorial Day



Flags were waved
at his memorial service
he was hailed a hero
who died for his country
the ultimate sacrifice.

Flags were waved
as his young widow cried
as his mother cried
and his father stood stoic in shock
at this unnatural order of things.

Flags were waved
as the color guard marched
speeches were made
and 21 guns
were fired in salute.

Flags were waved
as planes flew by,
five in formation,
until one banked right
and flew off alone.

I waved no flag
as I stood there in anger
listening to platitudes
one dimensional, false
and incomplete.

Where were the stories
of teenage drunkenness,
cockiness, violence,
and bullying abuse?
The slamming of doors,
so hard it once broke
the stained glass window
my mother had made?
The yelling, the screaming,
the holes punched in walls?
The bumps, the bruises
the bloody noses he gave me
the ones no one noticed?

Heroes don’t hit girls, I thought
as flags were waved.
It was safe to be angry
he couldn’t strike back.

But in the years since
away from the flags
I stopped tearing him down
having felt pure forgiveness
having felt his amends.

He’d broken my heart,
how dare he leave me alone,
and it came out as anger
the alternative had been simply
too much to bear.

I remember now mostly
my favorite brother
who was the glue between
me, as the youngest,
and the rest of the clan.

The Golden Boy
who, when we were children,
was so full of smiles
a Daniel Boone
to my Indian squaw.

The goofball
the jokester
the daredevil
the clown.

As his co-adventurer
I was sneaking through fences
building rock dams
straddling canons
and climbing sand dunes.

He was sweet and funny
troubled and mean
generous and selfish
loving and cruel,
so imperfectly human, as all heroes are.

It’s easy to remember
and honor with flags
the final act of a hero
his noble sacrifice
and his fall.

I choose to also remember
all his faults and his failings
to admit and embrace them
to love and accept,
because long before he was called hero
I called him John.

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