Tuesday, October 23, 2007

WI: Strangers


Anniversary: Keep Away


After forty years
Your face is one
I no longer recognize
Among other half-remembered faces
Of children grown
Lovers gone
Friends departed

In your endless rage
I know only
The red wilderness
Of burnt Mercury
I would be glad
For some small thing of Earth
A red carnation

Once keep-away
Was something children played
Now I listen to you breathe
You sleep in pieces
This part of you
That part of you
Awake

I think how as a boy
You hid a pocket knife
In the top of your Commando boots
Had a nosebleed at Grand Canyon
And threw your unsold newspapers
Into gutters

Now you lie buried
Belly down in pillows
Mouth open
The outlines of your dreams
Of Guam, of flight, of Halley's Comet
And the end of the world
A trailing current
Of your death

Leaving no notes behind
No messages

,

17 comments:

Christine said...

There's a melancholy tone to this poem, and a mystery. Why doeas the narrator no longer remember the face of the man he's thinking about?

Is it the narrator himself, a brother? Is the remembered person dreaming, or is he dead?

These questions come to my mind, asking me to read the poem again. Great job.

Jo said...

Beautiful. And so very sad.

Jan said...

There is such an intimate knowing here..my first thought was a wife to a husband, then a mother to her son, then back to a wife..I am unsure, but it causes one to re-read several times.

paris parfait said...

What a wonderful, mysterious poem - but sad, too.

LittleWing said...

...loved it!!!...nothin like dreaming the years away....

Marja said...

No notes no messages are left behind. Things left unsaid. Makes you wanna know which sad things happened. Beautiful writing

Dick said...

This poem seems to meditate on alienation from an individual - a parent? - in great age. Reference to Guam seems to identify the War - the Battle of Guam was in 1944 - but 40 years is the only passage of years mentioned. A fascinating piece, both for its powerful atmosphere & its elusiveness.

Paul Bunyan said...

Great poem. And like most others said; sad. I think I know what it's about...

Endment said...

You poem is so compelling

wendy said...

Once keep-away
Was something children played
Now I listen to you breathe
You sleep in pieces
This part of you
That part of you
Awake

Stunning....just a bad moment in time??

UL said...

You've done justice to the stranger beauitfully, what a mysterious stranger you have portrayed. Thanks.

tumblewords said...

I admit that I have no answers. The mystery, melancholy and musing that dwell here offer a firm base to allow return and return. I'll be back to read for the fifth time - I love it...there's something there that draws me in and in and in and in...

...deb said...

This one blew my mind. From the title (perfect) to the last line.

Redness said...

I was mesmerised, swept up into so many places ... Fantastic!

Pam said...

So sad, so beautiful. Beautifully written, mysterious and thought-provoking.

kimberley said...

A beautiful way to speak of disillusionment.

My favorite line: "I would be glad
For some small thing of Earth
A red carnation"

Pris said...

This is beautiful. I don't know who the person is but it had me in tears.