Ruminations

 

When I am not with him,
He dwells on the questions,
The hazards and uncertainties
Of his aging.

It’s understandable,
These are the questions
That lurk behind the days
Of most of us past our third,
Or fourth,
Or fifth decades,
All the more weighty
For those
With more decades than that.

When I am with him,
His conversation is not that
Of a man nearing the end,
Breaking down,
Fading away.

We talk about many things,
And nothing,
And his words are lively,
Well-thought,
Vulnerable,
And filled with the relevant wisdoms
That only come from so many years
Of living with the world,

Of living with sons,
And wives,
And daughters,
And jobs,
And bureaucracies,
And animals,
And mothers,
And fathers,
And dilemmas,
And joys,
And doubts.

But when I am not with him,
He worries for his balance,
And for his teeth.

He worries about his impending
‘End of Life’
About how it will go for him
When it comes,
And how he can provide for it now
To not be a burden,
To not suffer

But more,
I think,
He worries for his place in the world
Before he goes,
In light of his declining abilities

And sometimes he worries
About his importance
To a woman
Who is not young
But not old either,
A woman who still lives
With the responsibilities
That he has been able to shed,
Who’s time is frantic
And limited.

And what he doesn’t see
In his solitary times,
The times when I am not with him,
Is that the hours spent
Sharing discussion of heavy things
And the weather,
Of writing topics,
And belief systems,
And gossip,
It is in those hours
That the woman finds respite
The briefest of breaths
In a cool and quiet place,
The smallest
Of deep soaks
In the refreshing pool
Of his friendship,

When I am with him.

©2016 Annette Meserve

The Little Faery

 

She crouches in the dirt,
Among the legs of her grown-ups,
A singular child,
Clearly treasured
But momentarily unnoticed

By her mom
And her dad
And her auntie
By her uncle
Whose knees are being tickled
By the tips of her wire and mesh wings.

The hem of her frilly pink princess dress
Trails behind her in the dust
Hiked up in front to expose
The yellow pedal pushers
That she wears underneath,
Clearly a mother’s precaution
A familiarity and a surrender
To her little faery’s tomboy tendencies.

Around the girl,
In the shade of the big pine tree
The men talk lightly,
The uncle nearly spilling his beer,
As the father tells him a joke.
Mother and auntie
Are deep in a conversation,
Well-coiffed heads bent close,
Eyes on the crowd but not seeing.

All the while,
With water bottle in hand
And yellow knees up nearly to her ears,
The faery focuses
On the universe that exists
In the gravel beneath her sandaled feet

I am captivated,
Across the gulf of hot afternoon air
And passing fair-goers.

In the briefest of breaks
Between customers,
I alone am blessed with the intimacy
Of her moment

She is watching something,
Something tiny
That I cannot see
Something that needs a drink

So she tips her plastic vessel
And carefully pours a tiny dribble
For the seed?
An ant?
A beetle?
An imagined microscopic town?

She, a mini-giant bestowing
A rain shower,
A boon
On this parched day.

Her head turns
And in her crouch
She duck-walks
A foot or two
To another spot,
Carefully dribbling again.

She pauses
And watches,
And duck-walks again.
She dribbles again
And smiles,

Satisfied,
Her gift apparently received in gratitude

Then the crowd surges,
New customers come to my counter
My attention is drawn away
And when I next look,
The little faery is gone.

©2016 Annette Meserve

The Ostrich

There are people being killed by the police

Yet there are more good police officers than them,
There are black snipers on the roof tops
Yet there are more good black people than them,

There are corporations perpetrating crimes
Against the poor,
Against the environment,
Against mankind,
Yet there are more good companies than them,
Employing people,
Producing the things we need,
Introducing innovative answers.

There are homeless people begging
For money,
For food,
For attention
Yet these same homeless people
Are educated,
Are skilled,
Are each one a unique individual.

There are privileged white people
Perpetuating the system
Through their prejudice,
Through their ignorance,
Through their oblivion.

And perhaps I’m one of these

But I watch the things
That happen in our world,
The oppressed rising up
Clenching their fists
And declaring they will endure no more.

And my heart is with them
With their struggle
To have what I have,
I want to give it to them.

But I want to live in a world
Where, in order for them to have plenty,
I don’t have to feel lack.
Where there is enough for all.
And indeed,
There is plenty now.

It is not a lack of goods,
Of food,
Of opportunity,
That keeps so many in poverty.

It is not a lack,
But abundance
That has created this untenable circumstance
This unsustainable place,
In which humankind finds itself
Again.

It is the abundance of fear,
The cultivation of panic,
The willingness to participate
In a system of ‘us’ and ‘them’

A system in which if some have
Then some others must have not.

An abundance of belief
That if one person does harm
Then all people of that group
Are harmful.
Belief that every white person
Or black person
Or homeless person,
Every CEO,
And politician,
And rich man,

Hold the same ideals,
The same prejudices,
The same wounds,
The same intent.

And there are slogans
Telling me that
Complacency is harmful,
That I am just as guilty
Unless I do something
Unless I fight,

But fighting is what got us here,
If I fight,
Then I must fight against something
Or someone
And ‘against’
Inherently means there is an ‘us’
And there is a ‘them’
And if I am successful,
The ‘us’ will win
And the ‘them’ will surely lose.

One on top,
One on bottom,
Again.

And I can’t decide
If I am an ‘us’ or a ‘them’
It seems everyone has a point
And everyone is mistaken.
And I cannot see
A clear thing to do
To make it all stop

So I’ll be over here,
A little away from the struggle,
With my head in the sand just a bit longer,
Contemplating.

While my heart breaks.

©2016 Annette Meserve

 

Brick and Mortar

Life at the Far End is now available on real, actual, physical book shelves!

Say what you will about the convenience of internet ordering, there’s nothing quite like wandering around in a book store, the creak of the boards under foot, or maybe the spring of the carpet as you move slowly along, head cocked at an angle, reading the spines sideways.  Your finger traces the titles that suggest and entreat, inviting you take a gentle walk with old friends or offering a plunge into worlds you haven’t before considered.

Until one strip of color, brighter than the rest, catches your attention.  The title is intriguing, the cover beautiful, and you turn it over to the back blurb for your first glimpse, for the quick flyby of what’s inside.
“…started as a gift…”  it says,
“…spontaneous poem…” it says,
“…a life lived on the fringes…” it says.

Other people move around you and, in the background, you hear their murmurs to one another as they stand together, comparing their own treasured finds.

But, with the opening of the front fly, with the turning of the pages, you stand no longer wholly in this book filled room.  With your one foot still anchored on the store’s wooden floor, you’ve stepped the other through the window of the author’s words.  Reading a phrase here, a passage there, a stanza, a line, you peer into experiences not your own, but made yours through the sharing.

With a decisive sigh, you close the book and rummage in your bag for the dollars needed.  With the jingle of the shop bell, you step out onto pavement, sunshine bright in your eyes, a new-found friend tucked under your arm.

Just this week, Life at the Far End was added to the display shelves of Poor Richard’s Book Store in Colorado Springs (320-324 1/2 Tejon) CO and Barbed Wire Books in Longmont (504 Main St.) CO.  So now you can come in person and get your own copy of poetry inspired by the cracks of the sidewalks where the dandelions grow, by the smiles of strangers, and by the birds chirping in the branches above our heads.

Don’t live anywhere near Colorado Springs or Boulder County?  No worries, I’m adding new bookstores all the time.  Be sure to check back here for a listing of bookstores in your area and if you’ve got a favorite store, let me know, I’ll check them out.
©2016 Annette Meserve

Gordon’s Opening

Palettes of color,
Palettes of spices,
About Gordon’s work,
I think it suffices

To say it’s delicious
For mouth and for eyes,
Whether served on a plate
Or drawing the skies.

He’s been cooking with art
For a very long time
And from sauces to spray paint
His work’s always the kind

That pleases the palate
In so many ways,
It’s to our advantage
Whenever he plays.

©2016 Annette Meserve

The Crowd

 

With the great BOOM! of the cannon,
The race is begun
And the front runners
Appear around the bend

Their steps springy
With the energy of cool morning
And excitement
For the novelty of a first visit
For a return to a familiar fantasy,
For whatever the day will hold.

A little uncertain
Of the course
On this first lap
Yet gamely hiking
Up the hill
Heads swiveling as they come
Taking in the sights along the way

At the hill’s crest,
They stop a moment
Consulting the crinkly paper in their hands,
Looking around,
Pointing,
Orienting,
Continuing down the other side
Talking and laughing with each other.

The next lap is more purposeful,
Errands to run
Shows to see,
Schedules to observe,
No two courses the same
As the day’s race is run,
A crazy dash from morning to night
A competition with the clock
To see and experience
As much as possible
In the limited time of a single day
In a land as ephemeral
As Brigadoon.

By the heat of afternoon,
The steps have slowed,
And drag a little,
The laps and the magic
Wearing a bit,
Wives snip at husbands,
Children get cranky,
Eyes glaze over
And yet they continue,
Sandals,
And sneakers,
And high-heeled pirate boots
Scuffing along
Raising clouds of dust
That add to the weariness,
To the sense of endurance
Required to stay in the race

But then the thunderstorms come
Scattering the crowd
Sending them scurrying
For cover under the overhangs of buildings
While fat droplets dampen down the dust
Cool the air
And refresh the racers
For the final go ‘round.

As the golden rays
Reach under the heavy clouds
Making the dripping branches
Glitter like gemstones
The people set off once again
In search of that one last purchase,
Of the final show,
Of the seminal experience
That will crown their day

And with the great BOOM! of the cannon,
The race is over,
Weary legs make their way to the front gate
To the finish line,
To their cars,
To the lines of congested traffic,
To the highways,
And to their beds,
Where knights and jesters,
Kings and beggars and faeries
Will visit them in their dreams.
©2016 Annette Meserve

Of Trucks and Roads and Disturbing Things

There are belly-dumps
In my world today

Actually,
They’ve been a reality
For a while now
What with the county’s
Quixotic attempts
To make dirt roads
So they don’t get muddy
When it rains.

But today,
They’re not just passing by
On their way
To the rutted places
Further up.

Today they’re milling about
Just outside my window
With their clouds of dust
And diesel smoke
And huge, mounded up,
Road-base furrows.

They are out there dropping
And grading,
And packing,
With nothing but the best intentions,
Believing they are improving my life
And the lives of everyone else
Who lives in this valley.

I know they mean well
And I think its peculiar
That I find it so disturbing.

I always do.
Rarely am I happy
To see the road crews in our midst.

Oh, there’s the odd day
When there’s three feet of snow
That I’m grateful for the grader
To make an easier path to feed horses,

But even then,
I’m also happy if they don’t come
If they let us be isolated from the world
For just a little while
Until it melts on its own.

I don’t know why
I react to big yellow machinery
In this ungrateful way,
Why I can’t appreciate their efforts
As they’re intended.

But I’d be happier
If they would stay away
Most of the time
And maybe just smooth things out
Once a year or so.

If they’d leave me
In my ruts.

©2016 Annette Meserve

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