In memory – Father’s Day 2019
His mother named him Carlos, such a strange name for a Welshman. Perhaps she loved Spain.
Summers heavy cloak hung over fields of Goldenrod, their long limbs reaching out to mesh with spiky leaves that sheltered bundles of marmalade florets.Their invasion of the meadow met with merciless machetes that hacked through the unwelcome invaders who hadn’t the courtesy to extend a pleasant fragrance.
The trail led to an arbor by a trickling brook. Nestled in a stand of trees a precarious trellis bowed heavy with never ending appendages that wound and wove through dense clusters of bulbous translucent nipples clinging tenaciously to their host.
The scent of peppery earth stung the nostrils and attracted white tail deer that ravaged the vines of their treasure. The old man once snaked a garden hose through the lattice to frighten them, a guise that worked only to astonish lovers lingering at fertile ground, a sacred rendezvous.
Soon the clammy dragons of summer breathed their fiery breath and the skin of the luminous fruit burst with the sweetest nectar and they were declared ripe and ready to harvest and process by a secret recipe known only to the old man and his son. Ruptured with a pestle and filtered, the grapes were transformed and stored in Bell jars, sweet and crisp, underdeveloped, but heady and pleasant.
Rarely did my father materialize from his travels once I had been delivered for the summer yet somehow the harvesting of the grapes invoked his presence like a lark at dawn.
Excerpt from “Redhead (to Denver) by Brice Maiurro
you are between a rock and a hard place
your face does not illuminate the same as the others
your lights are few and speckled
but i’ve always loved freckles
you are a grid system at first glance
i know they tell you real women have curves
but real women know better than that
sometimes you are cold and the conversation runs dry
but it’s not easy being as high as you are all the time
i love you
i never want to leave you
and i know you don’t believe me
but you are the manic pixie dream girl
who at times is slightly annoying
but i know your heart is too full of
homeless men laying out sleeping bags
on the floor of your rib cage
great tent cities on your shoulders
She wishes to fade away, to be less than nothing, unborn. A leaf on a tree in late October, falling to the shadowy earth, devoured by the mud of the murmuring forest floor.
At dinner she sits across from the smiling man. Later they retreat to a larger room that is flooded by honey-colored light where he reads from the book, moving from life to death, from lead to gold. Light ning strikes the corner of his blinking eye, the twitch of his crooked smile. He warns her of saintly heroes, how she must fight against all temptation, live in his light to hear the angelic chime of bells that summon her to kneel and remain beside his benevolent being.
At dusk he takes her hand and leads her through a wooded path to an arbor where she must undress for she is not pure and he is good and wise and knows all holy things. An invisible cherubim takes her hand and leads her back through the same woods to the house, high on the hill, it’s madness and despair sleeping. The squirrels, birds, and white tail deer know fear and hide away.
In the apathetic silence between each wave every sound expands, the stars come alive and the wind echoes as soft as a poem. You, laid back in the moon light, nude but for my shadow across your shoulders. In your hand a sweating glass of rum, its swirl keeps perfect time to the far off sound of Coltrane. I need to look away from your gun powder blue eyes, the moon’s lethal shot, before my eyes betray the flight of a thousand fluttering moths in my belly. So I breath the circlets of smoke from your cigarette and the sweet scent of willing hostages naked and bare boned. Our hearts, fragile as fireflies, escape in to the madness of our minds where all we need to do is live.
The cargo deck is filled with small bodies. A mass of tangled limbs clinging to each other. I try to hold on to my baby sister as we are tossed about the dank floor boards, pelted with the spray of high swells. Her sweet scent singles her from the others, the fragrance of a powdery new born. Yesterday we were laughing lingering along the dirt path that lead to our our way from school along the dirt path to our house of walls, windows, and dirt floors. We covered our eyes from the burning sun and rejected the slanted eyes of the men in the van who rode alongside us. Scattering our books along the dirt road we were bound and blindfolded with the others. Later in the night we are miles off the coast of Venezuela, surrounded by indigo seas, we can hear the voice of the boatman, harsh and hurried, his slits of eyes watch for followers. We are fed La Rochas to transform our terror into sugar colored dreams. Waking up we are in a floating world of pale pink and silk fans. The face of the Thai Man smiles behind angry walls.
Here on the balcony I let the cool air and a majestic linden tree with its dark leaved branches reach out to soothe me but the night conjures memories from the past that I try to blow away in the smoke of my cigarette. In the back of my mind I recall a girl, a fragility in leather. Did she exist or is she a construct of my brain? I try to drown out my thoughts with some blues. I am going somewhere I really don’t want to go and tonight I am breathing just for the light.
At the wharf I sit on the damp wall and sip my drink, let my mind slide into a slippery salamander of sea. The moon is a glistening slice of neon, her whisper carries on the wind, “moon child I love you too”. Sinking further in I watch a velvet Osprey swoop my reflection from the silver waves where the sighs of lovers are lost in a monsoon. Old images flicker across my frontal lobe as I liberate sip by sip. That man with the golden veins doesn’t interest me anymore. Maybe later when my pearl skinned body breaks the surface I’ll bring him back again.
art by Steve Hanks
In the hour before dawn when the stars still hold on to the velvet sky, stealthy specters rise, pull on layers of clothing and slip silently into the low lying fog. Father let the car roll down the driveway signalling me with a fingertip to his lips to make not a sound for fear we would wake the sleeping who might want to intrude on our secret adventure just for two. The engine purring like a cat hummed down the deserted highway to a slab of pavement leading to the bay. From there the scent of Gumbo Limbo and salty mangrove drifted through our open windows. Parking between two boulders we walked to the craggy shore. The horizon glowed in lush amber, waves so far away, tidal sand came alive with trifles of tiny seas where a bug eyed Hermit Crab hurriedly dug his hiding hole. Provocative anemones waved their fuchsia fingers at lilac colored algae where a Starfish tiny as a tear waited patiently for a finger to regrow. The squawk of Sea gulls invoked by the rising sun signaled us to move along. In the full light of day we sat silently on the sea wall, the sound of crashing waves pounding in our ears.
Photo by Brocken Inaglory
If I should return to your provenance I would bring one last offering. Those words you loved, that you spoke a thousand times or wrote just once. I would place them near, let those tender verses lie down beside you.
A trampled path winds
its way through the
reaching arms of evergreen
to a misty wild wood where my
heart lies down with yours.
White tail deer nibble goldenrod
lift the veil of solitude.
Spring showers and wild flowers
flourish here where
April lives forever.
image © Joan Egert