Friday, December 29, 2006

Poem For A Friend . . .

I’ve been helping a very dear friend of mine through the emotional trauma of child abuse. Not professionally of course, just as a supportive ear and as a kindred spirit who experienced his own share of abuse and subsequent healing. Her experiences have touched me deeply and I needed to write about them, if for no other reason than to try to purge myself of her suffering. The following poem is strong coffee and I caution readers who have suffered sexual abuse as children, that they may not want to read on. I’ve tried to be as gentle as I can with this horrific subject, but it is not easy to write about.

Once White

Time does not march on
it slides through fingers like sand
Slips out of pockets like a lost key
and leaves behind a trail of dust called memory
Within which one can become ensnared

The bedroom door creaks open, again
Much too late for a child your age
And that certain but unwelcome light
touches your nightclothes
and places not ready for light

A familiar footfall echoes
the promise of more attention
than you could ever dream of
even in your nightmares
and too much weight for
your tiny soul to bear

You cast yourself a lifeline of
Mother Goose rhymes
to make time go fast
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the king’s horses . . .
You’re dying

No mother to speak of
No mother to save you
She lost her mind along
the road to hell
before you were born
Sold her soul
to keep from going mad altogether
and placed her heart on the alter
to the God of fear

And then one day
you watched your life pour
out of her wrists and pool
upon the kitchen floor
The day life became too sharp
and stayed that way

Why she lived is hard to understand
though a child's love is boundless
But no amount of soap can
wash away the stains
And still you bleed
still you bleed
you bleed

And so you've thrown up stone and steel
An impenetrable fortress
to keep you safe from love
while the muffled cries of your
banished heart go unheard
And locked the door you did
indeed for all eternity
Meanwhile, your life has slipped
through your fingers like sand
and out of your pockets
like a lost key

But the promise of
forgiveness waits for you

by dennis tkon Copyright 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

I Dreamed A Thousand Lifetimes

My becoming is upon me. Still so far to travel, but no doubt I’ve climbed in earnest. The horizon falls away more quickly now. Mostly rooftops and wisps of chimney smoke. And as the season of Christ’s birth stretches into full bloom, my wings likewise fill with the breath of life and become dry. The sky, so much more inviting. No fear of God at all.

I Dreamed A Thousand Lifetimes

I dreamed a thousand
lifetimes in becoming
Saw my reflection
drink from a thousand pools
deep and dark

And thought I’d never see
my kite again. But it
did not return to me
The wind claimed
so much more

Wearied, who should
but pause to drink
the night and gulp
the vastness of these
questions; a serious
remedy for soul
in search of

Stars; liquid reverie,
pools of genius so
enlightened; Your banquet
of amazement
Untouched by hands
in need of washing

So I rise to meet you
Set aside my demands
and touch your face
with eyes closed
familiar curves, a
distant memory from
a thousand lives before
Drink sweet water
from your hands
and remember

by Dennis Tkon Copyright 2006

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Poetry Thursday: Anima


I remember it like my name
You stepped into my life
Just stepped in
And changed gravity

Your lips moved through introductions
But the buzzing in my brain
Kept your name a secret

There were no flowers to give you
So I shook your hand instead
Perhaps a moment too long
And the world disappeared

What passed for a floor was now air
Which I could no more walk upon
Than breathe
What passed for my life was now a wound
Which required you

In time you came to love me
With flames that would consume most men
And like the phoenix I was reborn
Each time in your arms

You breathed for me

I loved you desperately from within
The cage that held my heart
As I groped madly for the key
But a malady of faith kept my
Fingers curled tightly around iron bars
Cold and unforgiving

But love like this knows no end
And my flesh burns still
Though without you to cool me
And my heart asks why

By dennis tkon copyright 2006

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Ahem . . . Me me me me me!

I’ve never even heard of a meme before Monday, let alone completed one. Though I used to interrupt the silence between myself and my girlfriend with two-word lists I would challenge her with – expecting her to pick one of the two words presented. From her answer, I hoped to learn something novel about her. I’d say apropos of nothing, “Linen or Satin?” or “Lemon or Peach? or “Poem or Rose” or “Candle or Ice cube?” She’d protest and say, “Candle what? Ice cube why an ice cube?” I’d always respond the same way, monotone and firm. “Choose!” And she always would. We loved that game. Meme’s remind me of that and of her.

1. The first poem I remember reading/hearing/reacting to was … Jack be Nimble. I was two or three. My dad would recite it incorrectly in order to get a laugh – like this: Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jumped over the candlestick and burned his diddle! We’d laugh uncontrollably and repeat it over and over together. He usually gave me the chance to yell DIDDLE at the appropriate point in the rhyme. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize it wasn’t called a diddle until about 6th grade. We’ll save that discussion for another day.

2. I was forced to memorize paragraphs of Shakespear in school (8th grade) and just fell in love with his form and formula. I think Shakespear taught me to love words with double meanings. He was the master of double meanings. “Tis not so deep as a well, nor as wide as a church door, but ‘tis enough, ‘twill serve. Ask for me tomorrow and you will find me a grave man!” Brilliant.

3. I read poetry because I’m not dead yet! Seriously, I read it because when I find a good verse, stanza, line, metaphor, or poetic idea, I’m both transformed and transported. It takes me places I can’t get to with an SUV or a rope. If people were eggs and we received a good crack, poetry is what would run out of us for sure! Poetry is just a vehicle that lets us experience what’s inside without a sharp blow from a garden tool.

4. A poem I’m likely to think about when asked about a favorite poem is . . . Jack be Nimble – just kidding. I think my favorite poem is Believe me if all Those Endearing Young Charms by Thomas Moore. It’s just an absolutely perfect poem of love. I hate that it was made into a song. It’s so much better when simply read. My favorite line: “and around the dear ruin each wish of my heart would entwine itself verdantly still.” Another poem I absolutely love is called A Summer of Flies by Armin Tolentino. It gives me chills in the most delightful way. Here it is:

I clearly remember a summer of flies,

humid with buzzing, shimmering green.

A swarm in the garden perched on the rough

skin of the cantaloupes, split, spilling seeds.

This was in August. My grandfather died

three months before, his face in the soil,

a halo of sweat, dirt stuck to his eyes.

The melons grew fat, ripened, then spoiled.

Next summer I planted packets of mint

to help me forget the smell of the rot.

July brought no rain, the Earth dried to flint.

The melons grew back, though tiny like dots.

As I grew older, I neglected the garden.

The seeds below slept as the Earth above hardened.

(That’s one damn good poem if I must say so myself!)

5. I write poetry, but for the most part its an insult to what really passes for poetry. I have no formal training/education in writing, just passion. And so I continue to stumble in metaphors.

6. My experience with reading poetry differs from my experience with reading other types of literature. And that’s mostly because I read poetry in secret, hiding from everyone so they won’t see me cry as I experience unimaginable beauty and spirituality. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll cry over a good story, but it can take days for me to recover from poetry that moves me to tears.

7. I find poetry in the American Heritage Dictionary between the words “Poet Laureate” and “pogonia” (which is any of various small terrestrial orchids of the genus Pogonia).

8. The last time I heard poetry was last Friday when I listened to Dogfaceboy’s recording of “Jimmy” on her website, which by the way, is a very cool poem! Clearly, my preference is to read poetry to myself. Whether or not you agree, 87% of all information communicated is non-verbal. Which means when we listen to a poet read a poem, we get all of their interpretation, mood, tone, affect, etc. For me, experiencing poetry is deeply personal and I find that hearing someone else read it interferes with my own experience. So, when it comes to poetry, I’m a loner.

9. I think poetry is just another name for all of those drugs I consumed in college – which bent my perspective in the most delicious way, leaving me hungry for more, the moment the trip was over. It’s so simple now – words just get me high.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Inspiration of Unknown Origin

Night 12.03.06

Sapphire clouds
Hypnotic moon
I am mirrored in brilliant reflection
Helpless as I am to the breathless sky

By Dennis Tkon Copyright 2006