Posts Tagged ‘writing

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.

Advertisements
08
Oct
08

Coming Home

Coming Home
By Darren King [copyright 2008]

Traveling for business is odd. At least when you do it as frequently as I do. It’s necessary. But it’s odd. The drama that comes with airports and shuttles. Rental cars and hotels. Sometimes I feel like Steve Martin in “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”. Take a flight, add in a lay-over, a whacky flight attendant and an irate passenger, throw in some bad weather and you’ve got the makings of a screenplay.

But traveling for me is necessary. There just are some things you can’t do over the Internet. You can not replace the value of time spent with someone face-to-face. Yet, while I am traveling, building relationships elsewhere, the relationships back home are on-hold in the same physical sense. I can communicate with my wife and children by cellphone and emails. But it’s not the same as actually being home. I don’t kid myself about these things. When I’m away – I’m away. And after a few days days, being in a hotel room without your family? It gets old. Fast. And because I travel so frequently, when I do I enter into a whole other life. A very different life. Alone and with a whole different set of habits and routines that kick in as soon as I hit the airport.

I always fool myself into thinking I’m going to catch up on sleep. This is usually a sign that I’ve started the trip already sleep-deprived. However, as soon as I get to my hotel room it’s a different story. I unpack my clothes. I set out my toiletries and find a plug to charge my cellphone. I pull back the bedding, unpack my laptop and sit cross-legged on the bed while flipping channels on the television. I read. I write. I catch up on emails. The news. I prepare for the next day’s set of meetings. I call business contacts who have left messages at two phones. I call my family to say good night. I stay up too late. I have the whole routine down. Like other habits, it’s all very easy. After a few days of this, I’m ready for home.

This week I was back in the great state of North Carolina. One of my frequent trips to Durham. Making the time away a little more bearable, I stay across from Papas Grille right in Durham. The friendly couple who own and run the restaurant also own and run the coffee house next door. She makes my morning coffee. He makes my dinner.

“Hello Darren!”, she says, when she sees me on the first morning of my first full day.

“Can you turn my light on dear?”, she says.

Six-foot, three, she is asking me to reach up and pull the little chain for the light at the front of the cafe’, like I’m the Abominable Snowman in Rudolph, putting the star on the Christmas tree. “And he doesn’t even need a step ladder!” She stands behind the espresso machine watching me; a large, skim, hazelnut, latte’ already in the works.

“How long are you staying this time?”

“Four days,” I say, “through Thursday evening.”

“Oh good. Then I will see you for dinner?”

“Yes,”.

“Good,” she says. “We will make you something very special.”

So this is how my week away from home went. And will go. I rise early. I stay up late. I work. I hear a lot of funny conversations. I miss my family. But I see her each morning when she has already started my coffee and asks me to pull the little chain for her light. And I will see them at night when he makes my dinner. And when things slow down, we’ll watch CNN on the flatscreen in the corner of the bar. We’ll talk about politics, the stock markets. We’ll talk about her grown sons and my young boys and compare the weather here in Durham to home, in Greece and Michigan.

04
Oct
08

REESE’S FAMILY

By Darren King [copyright 2008]

REESE’S FAMILY

It’s what you wrote
there in our driveway
the weekend after
you turned five –
uppercase letters
in pink sidewalk chalk
perfectly centered across
a score in the pavement.
You drew a large
pink heart
above your words
then stood back
and smiled –
the way one smiles in pride
for his lineage, his name –
this is my home,
these are the people I love,
these people belong to me.

28
Sep
08

berrying

Berrying

“When you are harvesting in your field and you overlook a sheaf, do not go back and get it. Leave it for the alien, the fatherless.” – Deuteronomy 24:19

I keep searching
hoping
to uncover some hidden truth
to glean a revelation
like the poet who stares into a painting
and awaits the spark
when all he sees are dots
acrylic and oil chaos
and randomness
like an unkind god.
But the Lord is kind
and the Lord gives and
the Lord has taken away
and it comes to me
my father’s death
three years ago this day.
His host returning
to the same earth and dust
no hidden truths
no revelations –
only a remembrance
and itchy plants
and cool earth
and strawberries sweetly
suspended in disbelief.

[copyright 2008 Darren King]

28
Sep
08

some choices, some luck, mostly grace

By Darren King [copyright 2008]

I like grocery shopping with my wife.
We don’t do it often. Mostly
when the children are with my in-laws.
Sometimes we catch a movie,
or we end up in a bookstore,
or a coffeehouse,
or the university town near our home.
And sometimes we go grocery shopping.
My wife pushes the cart and makes the choices.
I saunter behind her, or ahead of her.
I keep on an eye on her purse in our cart
while she inspects pineapples or kiwi or strawberries
and tells me the names of vegetables
her Grandma Dorothy grew –
vegetables I’ve never heard of much less eaten.
I check out magazines, books and snacks,
things she repeats we will never buy.
So I drink the free coffee
they offer in the corner of the store.
And it’s then I realize how grateful I am
for my life and the way it has unfolded.

02
Sep
08

Antidote to the Rejection Letter

Antidote to the Rejection Letter
By Darren King [copyright 2008]

The dream is always the same –
she is sitting next to me,
confident, beautiful,
gracefully turning
the pages of my poems,
telling me her favorites –
I love the imagery in this stanza,
that word, it’s so effective,
I must share it, she says.
With perfect enunciation
she reads aloud my work,
my words.
My poems sound so relevant,
so necessary,
when Oprah is reading them.




%d bloggers like this: