26.1.15

Four Grandparents Past


I am stranded Prospero
desperately whirling in land-locked
Southern Ontario
forming chaotic creasing
oceanic shorelines
to exile you with me
to wrench you back to me
Olenka, Bruno, Basia, Bernard
I seat you round a beachside fire
and ask
A conference entitled
“The Miraculous and Unexplainable Ways I Came to Be”
the hows of it
but when they appear they appear
as sea salt stone
lapping away at each question
at each gentle tide
and by moon’s turn they were
a lick of foul breeze
a smell of burnt kerosene
and the faint, teary exhaustion of Poland, 1939

I am just Patrick Stewart brandishing a driftwood staff
made of Flexifoam
calling gales in veils of history
of our story
I call up magics
on a barren plywood stage
house lights up
pathetic
necessary
I infest my mind with beating on
and hum
I have done nothing but in care of thee
I have done nothing but in care of me
I have done nothing
asked little
listened rarely
I stumble scramble through photographs
crash back into me
How could I have asked you in your last days?
You smiling softly and saying you led a good life
all bones and
stretched on a sterile hospital bed and
slapping myself for thinking
now you really look like a Holocaust survivor

What else can I do
but write
each violently co-opted memory
hunching over each line
a wrinkle forming at each
alchemic verse at each
tangled pore
a usurping sorceress
leaving clenched tearstains
across textbook pages

Now my charms are all o’erthrown
or never were
just dreams just lies
just teary conversations over wooden
dining room tables
remembering childhoods plagued by
the Memory
With the help of your good hands
I could stitch
careful not to clap
with needle in hand
the sound might drown the sea  





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21.1.15

Backseat Passenger



A station wagon sidles up to our burping Yaris
on Highway 400
a kid, maybe 13
with a flip in his shagged brown hair
window gazes curiously
and quarter-smiles
a twitch in his soft
still baby young cheeks
And me with my
too cool sunglasses and obnoxious
headphones
snap my eyes to the front seat headrest
unwilling to acknowledge the
decade and a half
connection that intertwines
me and this kid
through glass
while parents natter in the front
us kids
contemplate the road



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