Archive for the 'poetry' Category



04
Nov
08

In Somebody Else’s Shoes (or, why I lean left)

In Somebody Else’s Shoes (or, why I lean left)
By Darren King [copyright 2008]

It’s not so much
that I don’t recognize
these are good paying jobs
for an unremarkable town like this –
with no apparent downtown
and the discount chainstores
unloaded just off the interstate exit.
And I recognize people must own
the choices they make.
She’s all too young though, too comfortable
in factory life –
with her over-sized Kevlar gloves
and safety glasses clamped to her face,
fair and framed by a few
loose locks of blonde hair.
She manages herself all too well
among the hazards, the dials, the danger.
Born into other circumstances,
this day in autumn
might have been different.
But here on this cold plant floor,
her shift just starting and
lunch four hours away,
everything grey,
everything the same,
the first part she will make
indistinguishable from her last.

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29
Oct
08

Orion Outside My Door

Orion Outside My Door
By Darren King [copyright 2008]

Walking out my front door
the other morning
I felt the sting of cold air –
it’s come early this year,
and noticing it was also dark
looked up out of habit
as I do each October
for Orion’s return –
his intimidating stance,
his drawn sword,
ready to strike,
but does not strike,
his infamous
belt of three stars.
Here I am
just north of forty
having always lived
in houses facing south.
His presence is as comforting
as it is unnerving
as only something so
powerful can be.
And I haven’t decided
after all these years
if he’s friend or foe.
On some mornings
he appears to be
looming over my house.
On others, he hovers,
protectively,
like the bearer of bad news
who has come to comfort,
which plays with my darker side.
What ominous event comes this autumn
that I need protecting?
What is it this winter brings
that I need heaven’s sentry?

28
Oct
08

The Space Between

The Space Between

“And the mystery itself is the doorway to all understanding.”
-First Verse, The Tao Te Ching

By Darren King [copyright 2008]

This is the place
where things are
neither black or white.
Not so much grey really
but silver –
metallic reflects hope
like pixie dust,
there is still room
for magic and miracles,
for possibilities.
This is the place
of holy ground,
where we seek
no answers and
welcome the question.
This is the place
where we dwell
into the mystery –
between the secular
and the august,
between the heart
and the intellect,
between belief
and unbelief.

23
Oct
08

15th Anniversary (or, why we still hold hands)

15th Anniversary (or, why we still hold hands)
By Darren King [copyright 2008]

Because we know how dangerous
this world can be,
how fragile.
Because we know the power
of words –
how they can hurt,
destroy,
undo,
how they can heal,
mend,
all that we have done
to garrison this union.

Lord knows
I can piss you off
like nobody’s business.
But here we are,
fifteen years later,
after dating
nine and a half weeks
and a nine-month engagement,
just north of forty,
with two children,
one who looks like you,
one who looks like me,
living, as you say, the kit
the corporate job,
the house,
the minivan,
the Saturday soccer games.

But after the children have grown
I want to raise a barn with you
and fill it with your paintings.
And in the other half
my instruments
and you will paint
and I will write music
because time really
doesn’t change who we are,
like that Saturday morning
when the boys were little
and we were rollerblading
in the basement
with your U2 blaring
out of my circa 1987 stereo.
Or like the first night
we met,
a blind date,
when we talked about religion
and politics and relationships,
about being real,
and knowing when something
significant is happening
while it is happening.

17
Oct
08

Veteran in a New Field

Veteran in a New Field
By Darren King [copyright 2008]

I’m not sure exactly
how these things happen.
I started out on this path
waking early for years –
a burst of creative expression
in written word,
a whole body of work produced.
But then there is the other work too –
that puts the food on the table,
that pays the bills.
This work takes precedent
as it should
over the negotiations
of sentences and syllables.
But it as if I threw my hands into the air
and became less willing to brave
the loneliness of empty thoughts.

No wonder then, I take to poets
who were farmers, or who grew up on farms.
Farming and writing –
both require a lot of heavy lifting
and waking early and lonely hours
when there is no one to help,
no one but you
to get what needs to be done, done.
Lord knows you’re not in it for the pay
and you wonder if anyone even notices,
if anyone even cares.
And then you hit a drought,
or a stone and the wheels fall off,
all seems lost,
you can’t get it back together
you can’t get it back in the groove
you were in when everything
seemed so easy.
Hope becomes a thread
from which you hang yourself
grasping for any straw,
any straw that will see you through the day,
any straw that says things will turn up.

But then the thought comes to you
that maybe the drought is
part of the process –
to slow you down
to reprioritize your day
to get your bearings straight
to remember who you are
and speak the plain language
of the land you know
but have forgotten –
to plow ahead and be brave enough
to dig a little deeper and flush out
what was already there,
what has always been there.

12
Oct
08

Billy, Chad and Tikki Tikki Tembo

Billy, Chad and Tikki Tikki Tembo
By Darren King [copyright 2008]

When my son’s friend peddled his bicycle out of
our neighborhood for what would be his last time
and his life forever separated from our’s,
first by distance and eventually by time,
I thought of you, Billy, and your last day in our First Grade class.

Life provides a list of sorrows and sadnesses
seemingly connected and thirty-odd years later,
I remember now, your moving away.
You displayed and dispensed
justice and had a sense of yourself

you needn’t prove to the other children.
You were a leader worthy to follow and so
I gladly played my role as your right-hand man
on the playground and in the halls of school.
I shadowed you that day in class

and was certain someone would notice
and then point out to embarrass –
the lump I could only feel in my throat.
At recess, with you and another boy
as captains, we were divided into two teams

and played one last game of kickball,
everyone else acting as if nothing
would change later that day
when the dismissal bell rang. Your empty desk
the next morning came as a surprise to me.

I don’t know why. Perhaps it was your nametag
the three-by-five index card, still taped to your desk
which wasn’t your desk anymore. And Mrs. Clancy,
with whom I was hopelessly in love, reading to us and I,
cross-legged at her feet, sat mesmerized by her story

of the Chinese boy and his family who lived in the
wonderful ink-and-wash drawings with fanciful swirls
and the bricked well, the old man sleeping, always by a tree
and the boy, always the boy, in water up to his eyes,
waiting to be noticed, waiting to be rescued.

08
Oct
08

A Testament to Freedom

A Testament to Freedom by Darren King [copyright 2008]

For Pfc. Joseph Sturgis, Jamestown NY

I sat next to him on a flight
from Atlanta to Detroit
and closed my book somewhere
over the Tennessee Valley –
he wasn’t ever going to stop talking.
He was going home
on a seventeen-day leave of absence
after basic training,
then onto a twelve-month
stint in Korea.
He was going home to tell his father
how sorry he was,
for the trouble he had caused,
the worry.
He was going home to tell his father
he had become a man
and was someone to be proud of.




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