For Gramps

Today there's a new bumble bee
hovering over the speckled daisies. 
Small wings play soft music to me
that sing the same words you did. 
Those songs still croon in the breeze
through the stripey bumble bee fuzz.

Tonight there's a new shining star
shimmering beside the smiling moon. 
It glistens brightly against the stillness
watching calmly over the world below. 
I swear that star has a laughing grin
from seeing the same pranks you pulled. 

Tomorrow there'll be something new
so familiar that it feels almost borrowed. 
The gentle reminder that you're near. 
You reflect in our features in the mirror; 
In our kindest deeds to our neighbour;
In the hearts that'll remember you forever. 

Sea Mist

Soon you will be washed upon the sands of time as a memory left on the tongue tips of the angels left behind. Your physical form will be gradually reborn from the glistening teardrops we’ll cry in chorus as your body is bid to the eternal dust. You’ll slip into the arms of family through the gap of our knowing and feeling; welcomed and soothed by the same loving presence you too once grieved. All the fear you feel in the shallows of this vast ocean will no longer matter as you begin to drift between the folding waves of a final sleep. Goodbyes won’t be whispered into the sea, but the thickening mist will nod, on my behalf, that we’ll meet again someday.

Marshmallow Tar

Death's kiss, 
with all of it's surgical precision, 
cannot wash away your scent. 
Sweet burnt marshmallow
pooled in the final sands of the hourglass - 
a tar to keep the coffin sealed.
Stale espresso left in the morning dew
whispers that it tastes the same - 
a brew far more bitter than the lonely truth.

Faithless Grief

I’m faithless and unashamed 
For God did not give us grief.
Love manipulated our trust
So that chance could gamble
With the futility of our existence,
Ripping the tense velcro bonds
Of hearts grown together.

I applaud it’s gamesmanship,
For it doesn’t laude it in our faces
By any means other than simply
Gathering the grim and gaunt
In coats of greyed gaberdine.
Long coats hanging as if empty,
Made black from the heart’s rain.

I am faithless and entirely alone,
But still gesticulating to the air:
An open chested final demand
To give back the gift of grief
That greeted me at this graveside.
Need I be a god-fearing glossolalist
To return this heartbreak?

You Were Right

My Dearest Armistead,

I hate saying you were right, 
But you were. 

The smile on my face 
Was a temporary mask 
That has been peeling away 
Ever so slowly. 
My insecurity has bled through 
The white linen robes of my naivete 
And caused me to run to dark corners 
To bleach them clean before anyone sees them. 
Perhaps one could blame 
Our re-acquaintance; 
Nonetheless, I fear this feeling, 
It, would be dreadfully lonely without you.

My eyes feel extremely drowsy, 
But they are failing to rest. 
My mind feels heavy and intoxicated 
By the recurring nightmare of emotion, 
It haunts my every waking hour. 
And my heart is too preoccupied 
With its' reminiscing 
Wo live with the rest of me.

Armistead, 
You have trailed us back 
Through every corner of our suffering 
And imagined them feats of ink.
Do you not see these moments 
Are open wounds? 
They are the episodes in our life 
That we wrap up in neat little stories 
To hide the scars they are transcribed with. 
Yet, for some reason, 
I have removed the bandages 
And allowed you to lick and 
To gorge at the fresh lacerations.

That grief you see 
Sat upon my shoulders 
It is ours to share. 
Are you prepared to split the burden? 
Because Armistead, 
It will continue to grow.


Lovingly,
Armistead

The Woman Wore Purple

​I had spent many hours with her,
​Both young and grown.
I had grown beside her kin,
With a mother who shared her blood.
 
She was reckless in my mother’s eyes,
Wild as the wind that she flew on.
A woman who lived by no law,
But by principle of her own heart.
 
She near always smiled at me,
And she laughed at my cynicisms.
We drank several nights away,
At the bar, or on the step of a shop door.
 
Like many young, I fled the nest,
Spread my wings for lands afar,
Leaving them all behind me,
But visiting with growing infrequency.
 
On my return there would be happy reunion,
Drinks, songs, smokes, smiles, laughs.
Gatherings of the now grown and their young,
Besides our elders now older once more.
 
But time did fly by quicker,
And 15 months seems to blink fast.
And soon I am beckoned back,
Returning to see her again.
 
My mother, as always,
Holding the hands of my family,
As a means to hold their souls, their bodies,
And their strength, in an upwards fashion.
 
Me, smiling through, as taught,
Showing that the living are not afraid.
I hold her hair 'twix my fingers,
And braid in flowers as we laugh.
 
I roll her smokes, before my own,
The legality of them questionable,
As she waves between here and there,
Jittery with fear of being wedded.
 
I paint over the hollowing skin,
Lighten her sunken eyes,
With a mixture of tones, pigments,
Creams and powders, brushes and sponges.
 
The clocks strikes and the camera clicks,
She grins as she is wheeled along,
I press the button as she makes vows,
Promises to be short lived and kept.
 
We drank, we smoked, we laughed,
I sang, for she couldn’t any longer,
I walked for her, towing the chair,
And navigated with care and fear.
 
Family gathered, united, strong again,
Smiling at the simple pictures I captured,
Wondering at the beauty of her,
Of her soul, of her love.
 
The woman wore purple,
As a bride, draped in purple and white,
As a mother, through waking night,
As my aunt, when hugging me tight.
 
The woman wore purple,
And when I saw her last, she wore it still.
Though I’ll never see her again,
I know the woman wears purple.

Not So Tall Now

I stand tall at 5 foot 5 inches short.
Weighed down by the grief,
The struggling torment of loss.
The guilt of having helped,
Aided so inadequately.

I stand tall at 5 foot 0 inches short.
Stunted by the childless womb
That I coldly and selfishly bare.
The sin of youthful carelessness
Stripping my claim of having mothered.

I stand at 4 foot 7 inches short, only.
Shrunk by the burning depression
That I can't seem to kick.
My only employment today
Is self-hatred and tears.

I rest at 4 foot 2 inches short, roughly.
Dragged down by hatred,
The ostracization of my true self.
Unaccounted for in my mistakes,
Not responsible for my choices.

I stand, cowering at 1 foot.
Not so tall now.
Life, I screwed up,
Beat myself down.

Are There Cradles in Heaven?

The unborn soul haunts me,
Digging claws in deeper.
Pulling my feelings into contortion.
Why aren't they in Heaven?
Has she brought them here?
I wanted to be a good mother,
I wanted to hold her when she cried,
It was my fault I couldn't,
Not hers.
I was careless and stupid and young.

Are there cradles in Heaven?
Does a better person rock her to sleep at night?
Do they tell her she is loved and cared for?
Does she know I love her and I'm sorry?
Do they tell her I'm her mother?
Or am I the devil who left her there forever?

It's hard to be a woman
When you should have been a mother.
I'm in no high regard with God,
I'm written on none of the entry lists,
I accept this duly.

Has she grown at all?
She'd be older now, right?
Or is she cursed to her prenatal form?
Does her daddy visit her?
Does he look into her eyes with love?
Or does he avoid her gaze from hating me?