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Posts Tagged ‘clock’

Old Furniture

That old wooden clock,
my grandmother’s grandmother’s
keeping hand-crafted time and
still ticking long after we become
objects in bones, like furniture,
and no one knows the color of their skin
or the content of their character.

We think we live in black and white
but it is always Grey
and Baltimore was burning,
that great unspoken poverty,
the ignored, silent epidemic of
American tragedy,
vast, sweeping like the plains
across black ghettos, white trailer-trash towns,
and forgotten people in Appalachia,
we are all toothless and shoeless on some level.

Burning across the land without a hill
or a tree to stop the rising of
an evil beast’s heart
like a toxic Trump
or any other form it could take,
miles from any canyon or ridge
that could stop it.

At least there’s baseball and
sometimes Baltimore is all orange.

So down south where deep rivers
still flow in veins of deep hatred,
in Alabama on a college campus
I heard young men shout from a truck,
“They only brought you niggers
here to play football.”
I think of Langston Hughes composing
his symphony at day break in Alabama
wondering where black kids get
to ride the merry-go-round.

That old wooden clock kept time
during the Civil War in southern Virginia,
time that must have never seemed possible
to end, to change or mend.
My family was at Gettysburg on
both sides, both bled,
one lost an eye so
I’m a half-inch away
from never existing.
The clock sat on a chest of drawers
with a secret compartment in the top
to hide valuables in case of
a union soldiers raid,
perhaps a letter was once there
of a secret friendship between a little
white girl and a little black girl
who knew nothing of war,
who knew only what children should know,
the soft societal fabric of
small-scale love that keeps humanity human.

M.L.K. wrote a letter from jail unsure
of how to raise a daughter in such
a pointless hatred filled place,

so with a heavy heart
I have to stare at the clock,
at the future,
my reflection in the glass of
the picture frames that show
old relatives and the
chaotic twitches of their eyes
from their portraits unsettled
by their wasted blood,
my pathetic hands that
can’t do anything except
write like a coward in a book
all while knowing that
we are not teaching
our children
to hate less
than we do.

Kyle McHale         2016

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Remember to Live

So remains a clear picture in the night,
Half forgotten, off centered, on the wall,
Some room of forgotten candles and wood,
Where moon sees its light on that picture fall.

In this hour the picture is perfect,
Remembered by and painted by light,
A man in that picture standing at
Some high valley stream absorbing his sight.

If it were so to cut out of life
A still piece memory of faith dreaming
Real hopes, perfection driven moonlit landscapes
With true uncertain guides, not plain predicting.

Find me in that lofty moment to freeze,
To capture what will never be again,
A moment of real love, inner faith,
Spirit warming from a real friend,

A first mountain morning mist that lifts away,
A snow covered east-lee wood that whispers,
Moments of greatest loss and greatest gain,
Of midnight madness and shifting mixtures.

Throw those moments in a hidden room of
Misplaced items, lost gathering places,
Where deformed, disconnected from the living,
Hoping to catch lost wandering faces.

But only catching moon light is enough,
Forever living moments need themselves
And a touch of all that midnight light to
Truly dance and breathe with content on shelves.

All that’s past and captured, lost and remembered,
Where is that unknown link from us to them?
That they lived, danced, dreamt for us may be enough,
Enough to love that spirit light again.

To see what is and forever will be,
For who we are is who we were,
Amongst the characters of the absurd
Resides some truth, half clear and half pure.

Lock the door to live again,
Join the man at that high valley stream,
Carrying the truth, the love, the light, the right,
Into the living past and present, into the dream.

Kyle McHale      2010

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Ticking Travel

Venture to a most peaceful spot,
In city, or woods, or vast plains,
A spot to slow the inner clock,
To slow the beating of the brain.

Stop the flooding head of much,
Too much to bear, feel, and see,
All little clocks with ticking parts,
All tiny thoughts that visit me.

Nothing can work all at once,
The world with its timing,
All little greased up ticking parts,
All long roads with their winding.

That dry desert road once had all
The dreams I always tried to chase.
To get there and find them full of
Dry land, filth, and dusty waste

Let my vision pass itself
To see the green road up ahead,
Led to a rotting jungles end,
A jungle with its spirit dead.

Each road of ice, fire, and rain,
Had an end of freeze, burn, and flood,
At expense just one ticking part,
One part brain, one part drop of blood.

For blood the grease that works the ticks,
Which vision knows to change with it,
Where I let the stars and the moon
Consume my thoughts for a little bit

You may have just heard the water.
For I saw a streaking vast sky,
A place too large for all my blood,
You may have seen a fish swim by

To stare at you, to read your thoughts,
To understand the driving force,
Because complete had time to wait
To think about the one true source.

All perceptions to contemplate,
Though one part lost in each pure spot,
A piece gained from water and rock,
From thick jungle air steaming hot.

Once pulse slows down to learn something
And experience is gained,
The ticking body falls apart,
All blood bleeds out with pouring rain,

Yet peace may have flocked to the heart,
All peaceful spots become the same.
To see, to live, to think, to do,
To bleed, to die, to know what’s tame,

To feel the parts left out there,
To know they are filled by those places,
Blood has mountain jungle in it,
Peaceful things fill up those spaces.

To remember, cherish, and save,
To smile on earth, and in grave.

Kyle McHale      2009

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