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Posts Tagged ‘fire’

Love After Love

You noticed a floorboard slightly out of place,
under it, you found a poem, a love poem,
you read it and saved it in the piles of things
we become,
that was forty years ago.

Folded and tucked away through decades
drifting from house to house and box to box,

it followed you

people lived, loved, and died as usual.

You lost love.

But you found that poem again,
it had never left,
you read it, gave it new breath, so now,
forty years later you’ve discovered
it was a love poem from a man to
another man,
kept under the floor and under shame,
hidden in confused tragedy
under the weight of the piles
of the things we become
and like blowing on a fire
you sparked love again
long after it was lost,

so a lost wife is not lost,
she loves you in a different way now,
her breath reaches you in delicate things
like the way a feather flutters down from the sky
or a snowflake dances to touch and
melt on the tip of your ear.

To love in whispers from re-read paper,
whispers from the warming sky full
of all of your breath and mine and hers and ours and theirs.

A poem and love, decades ago,
lured you in,
shifted shapes
to show you
there is love
after love.

 

Kyle McHale        2016

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July Desert

Two old friends still young
when we crossed the desert.
We had never been out to that
barren beautiful madness,
we had never been
to many places then.

It was July fourth, I drove
your American truck through the
shifting landscape in changing light.
You, asleep from a Las Vegas hangover,
we had to make it to Albuquerque.

Little sparks interrupted the skyline
like gunfire, every desert town in
every direction celebrated independence.
Dozens of towns sent up their flares,
layers of color from two-second torches
bursting in the dark desert.

I drove through that warzone of happiness,
reflecting on how those towns came to be,
the settlement of scratching slowly west,
an impulse to be content stopping there
so that their cheerful explosions could
light up sparse plants and sand covered
bones, light up all the truck’s mirrors and windows
with color confusion, light up my face in the
windshield to make me look at myself for brief moments,
driving free as I would ever be across the July desert.

Kyle McHale           2015

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Where Poetry Sleeps

When society aches words become the
Medicine. Aching now, as always, where
Does poetry sleep, if at all?
Lost art at the mercy of much diluted art.
The quality hidden. Spray paint over
Van Gogh, Levittowns over Gaudi’s Barcelona,
Best sellers over Yeats.

All the earth lost in the wrong kind of madness,
The impure madness, the non-thinkers madness.
Bells have never sounded for only poetry,
Maybe once. Somewhere poetry is still spoken,
Like times of revolution, covered over,
When ideas spread by the soft light of fire,
When quiet fear was quiet hope, when
Spoken words carried weight like slaves carried stone.

Sleeping verses tucked in their respective
Slumbering settings. Under dorm room beds
Next to beer bottles. On lonely shelves,
Though created, sit unread, unused, unloved lines.
Worn dusty books that creak open like old vine
Covered cellar doors after a generation has passed.
The light that wakes the earth when most are not awake,
When normal light arrives they emerge from their dream poems,
Shake them off and go about the day’s business.

The hidden word, the lost word, as if one
Is instructed to not stare into the glare of an
Angel’s wings, or into the darkness of a demon’s desire.
The past aching, the book quivering
At the trudge of history’s destruction,
At the SS boots thumping in the night to
Incinerate thought at the heart of a Nazi book burning,
Or the loss from the Chairman’s Cultural Revolution,
But poppies grew from the wreckage of No Mans Land.

Then eventually, society aching, words become
The medicine, poetry rises from the ashes
Without asking for much. Streets fill up
With goodness for awhile, then it fades
Back to the hidden state and sleeps again.
Flourish then burn, then rise and be forgotten,
So the cycle goes, so the poetry sleeps.

Kyle McHale        2012

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That Spot on the Trail

Chances are you’ll wait for me
At that spot out on the trail,
That spot I know that I have seen
Where beams follow that light trail.

And tailing out from sacred place,
The stones, the view, the forest leaves,
All breathing and dancing deep,
At last at peace, at last at ease.

Chances are you’ll wait for me,
Your tattered medal on your shirt,
In life wisdom is loneliness
And bravery is left on dirt.

But in it all I feel you now,
The order of things all in place,
That spot on the trail in dreams,
Becomes awake as real place.

As you guard, protect, and see,
That spot where gentle wind derives,
Chances are that you are there
To watch where all comes alive.

For with that gentle wind I know,
It travels to the sea from there,
To help the sails push on through,
To gently move through salt kissed air.

Guiding all from that trail spot,
Good company I know you’ll keep,
To show the others all you know,
To let the world beat so deep.

Then when I think of brotherhood,
I remember your handshake,
That so few sons and fathers shared,
In death, in life, asleep, awake.

The natural forces weigh on me,
When I think that I may fail,
That place will be there that we know,
That sacred spot on honored trail.

Kyle McHale      2010

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I Wish

My heart does weigh heavy on this sulky, dreary day.
It weighs and counter weighs beats and skips a few.
The evil. The good.
It becomes so much for a man who attempts to stay true.
I walk down streets from a small fishing town;
the town hides from a storm.
So empty, feelings lost.
But there is an energy waiting somewhere,
like a bomb about to blow.
Color is mostly gone in this place;
it has been turned into fear and energy.
It is more than the calm before the storm though,
it is so far past panic that everything and everyone
are frozen like the fish they catch that are about to die.
But in each house a small fiery orange glow does shine;
it is faint enough to keep strangers away,
strong enough to hold families together.
It feels like old colonial hopes, grey, small, orange.
The streets are open but welcome no one.
Maybe a wave will wash me away from this place.
I, fearing more than most, know that I should not be here.
Come storm, come take me away, freeze me like a fish,
I wish,
I wish.

Kyle McHale      2004

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