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Wonderwork

A new old bench I’ve never sat on before
Hugged the creek in bare wood and lore
Worn plaque engraved in memory of Jared
Overlooking the meandering water

He must have loved this spot, like me
His family loved him, clear to see:
“We love your spirit, with wings and winds
Of wonderwork — June 26th, 1971”

The water ripples in dancing silver streamers
Lit under the same sun that has always shone here
The same rocks cradle its flow
To an ocean open to catching below

Rushing — in no hurry — takes its time
Always and never the same
Constantly replaced by new molecules
Mistaken as static and standing still

I am Jared now,
or is he me

Pausing a moment,
we two breathed

I am the river,
or is it me

In tracing trails
forever is revealed

I am the bee
I am the sun
I am the fallen leaf
I am the ocean

~ Emily C.
8.26.17

Mug

Frozen feet stood at attention,
the wind sucked the door —
slammed it shut, cut
circulation.

daze broken in violence
the shudder shook the mug
out the cupboard it danced,
falling on

the jewelry dish
in slow motion it landed,
crashed; no cushion
in the checkered linoleum

as it fell
so did the memories

of Hawaii when we were young
of free souvenirs from Hilo Hattie
“Here, take 4!” They said.
we took 4, knowing we had

no room in the suitcase
it was hard to lug home
those memories
heavy, that bag
the times

we drank from them
objects of a simpler life
when we didn’t need much
but each other

slow motion it fell
like our need for each other
what’s one less mug?

frozen, standing:
thinking if I rush I can catch it
if I leap I can stop it
maybe it won’t break
(it broke)

but gravity and time
conspire
against me, us

what’s one less mug?
what’s one more day?
is there a difference,
will you notice anyway
when you come home?

I notice
why don’t I care?
do I? I guess I do…
enough to feel sad
about the mug

~ Emily C.

8.25.17

Jokers

I turned myself off
to be on
for everyone else.

funny thing, life.

how (she asks whom, exactly)
does it all work?

Am I supposed to forget my passion,
my desires? my femininity?
do I let go of the idea of love?
or has it already left me long ago?
I’ve given myself away so much
I have nothing left to recognize.
Nothing left of me
for me.

the scariest things require
the biggest leaps
of faith
long lost
in battered storms…

I no longer believe.

I recoil to touch.

Smiles?
Smiles feel like knives,
dipped in acid, drawn up
at the corner by strings.
I see jokers everywhere.
I see punch lines
a fucking mile away, now.
Spare me the false hope.

May as well get to the part
where it ends. It always does.
Except I keep on going.
I always do.
Maybe I should
(pretend to)
smile, too.

 

 

~ Emily C.

8.234.17

Born New

before the world decides for you,
as your eyes are born brand new…

the colors charm
in many shades
smiles shine
with each new day

babes with curious fingers touch
skin of black, white,
yellow, red…each soft,
each tender yet tough,
over bones
just like their own,
a home

protecting a heart that beats,
that feels and clearly sees
new openings,
moments and memories;
charting a course
on life’s high seas

in time learning who loves,
who hates (and why);
a compassionate comment,
or vile rhetoric;
taught either one
or the other
mimicking a father,
a mother, a friend…

blank slate brewed
in hope or simmering blind fear
influenced by uniting words,
or divisive jeers
the pattern evolves
generation by generation
it all starts with adults
leading the way

setting an example, which one will it be:
an open hand, or a racist fist?
no time like the present
to stand up and fight!

maybe it’s a distant neighbor
maybe it’s your leader…

SPEAK OUT: HATE HAS NO HOME

peace and love
shall overcome

 

~ Emily C.

8.16.17

A Grand Illusion

everything is a grand illusion:
the sunset, clouds,
the night’s long-dead stars,

the way you smiled at me.

how the trees touch the sky
and my breathing
— in, out, in, out.

metronomic existence
timed to expire
when the game is done.

trick of the eye, this life…
like your love
bad roll of the dice
random happenstance
slick hands you had
and
words as concrete
as the tide,

that always detracts more than adds
when it pulls away,
subsides.

leaving worn rocks…
deceptive in their strength
erodible in time, like

the strongest hearts.

if we close our eyes,
does nothing exist?

when we open them
what
can we trust?

~ Emily C.

8.14.17