Posts Tagged ‘poems



01
Dec
08

In Memoriam

In Memoriam
By Darren King [copyright 2008]

I’m so sorry things
did not work out
for you in the end
as you planned
as we all plan
when we are young –
44 is young.
Like so many others
I knew you only
through your accomplishments
which were many,
more than most.
I knew you through
your essays
introspective pieces
of your life revealed
each one a little picture
of the place we lived
when we were young
we could see it
touch it
feel it
we had been there
we had felt
that kind of cold
that sticks the snow
on our knitted mittens
to our skin
until we could get back inside
where it is warm and
the thaw how it hurts
red fingertips and ears
and where I learned
we had a son the same age
we were both from Michigan,
writers.
In the photograph
you are smiling
eyes bright
clearly outside as evident
by the cold on your face
fair and framed by
a few frozen locks
of light brown hair,
pen and paper in-hand,
looking always the writer.
I said I did not know you
I don’t
only through your work
as I read this night
flipping
through old magazines
looking for your essays
and others too on-line
readers, writers
who knew you
only virtually.
But your passing is so sad
and it stayed with me
this snowy evening
and I said a prayer
in the car
and then at dinner
it was the proximity
of our lives
the weight of it all
I thought of your son
as I watched my son
struggle to twirl his spaghetti
onto his fork
which eventually he did
just as I was about
to ask him if he needed help
and then he slurped
what did not make it
onto his utensil
but dangled between
his mouth and his bowl
as young boys do for economy.
Your son will do that too –
your son who’ve you left
a grandmother who is there
and friends
who only loved you
and you’ve left him
with two strong names
which he will need
as he grows
and remembers all
you’ve taught him
and will continue to teach him
now that you’re gone.
And you’ve left him
your life’s work
proximity to you
a map to your spirit
a map forever to find
his way to his life with you.

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09
Nov
08

Carol

Carol
By Darren King [copyright 2008]

I didn’t want you
to have to be that person –
who walks to the edge
of the abyss
and looking down into
its murky depths
walks in
undaunted
if but to hang on
to someone you love
as if going in yourself
you could bring him back.
I didn’t want you
to have to be that person
you who are too good
too kind
and now all too knowing
of what angels know
what is there
what the rest of us
can only wonder
assuming we are allowed
even to speculate
what it was you saw.
But it is telling now and
for me a haunting glimpse
when someone recently
asked you in mixed company
Carol what is it you are afraid of
you smiled and replied softly, kindly
in the only language you know –
I’m not afraid of anything anymore.

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.

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.




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