Falling

I felt it the other day.
It seemed early,
But there it was.

In the cities
Summer is still in full force,
Middle afternoon temperatures,
Continuing to reach the
“Oh!  I think I’m going to melt!” stage,
Wishes for swimming pools
And air conditioning
Still very much on people’s minds.

But here,
Among the waning sunflowers,
And the cooling breeze off the mountains,
The quality of light has changed,
The sense of things in the air,
The whispered expectation.

Soon the leaves will color,

The tree up the road,
The one that always goes first
Has started already,

And with the coloring
There is a feeling,
An inspiration,
A longing for distance.

Now is the time of road trips,
Of heading east,
Of rest stops,
And truck stops,
Of miles and miles of interstate,
With windows full open
And billboards that make us laugh.

It’s a time of deciduous forests,
Of thick, humid air,
Of narrow paved roads
Lined dense with trees,

Of sitting by the ocean
With its rocky cliffs
And crashing waves,
Its screeching birds
And lighthouses.

Of time spent in a world
That is not arid
But wet
And fecund
And abundant

With plants
And people
And culture
And connection.

A world that is not home
But is restorative
And nourishing nonetheless.

A world
That I will not see this year
But that comes floating in
On the fall air.

©2016 Annette Meserve

 

Breakage

It could be a metaphor,
A physical illustration,
Of the violence
Evident closely around me,
My subconscious
Needing for me
To experience the shattering
In real time,
Needing for my ears
To hear the crash of fragility
Against the grooved
And stained
Concrete,
The surface uncaring
And unaffected,
In the sickly fluorescent glow.
Needing for my eyes
To see the jagged sharp edges,
The earthenware’s rust interior,
Showing through the familiar sage green,
The viscera of someone dear
Irreparably exposed,
No longer functional,
In a split-second of unconscious action.
Needing for my heart
To experience the powerlessness
As I gather the pieces
And try in vain
To put them back together,
All the king’s horses
And all the king’s men…
It must be that,
A metaphor,
An attempt to make sense,
Of the larger senselessness,
Why else would such a small loss
Make me cry so?
It’s only a trifle,
A utensil,
A tool.
But it’s not,
Not a trifle,
Not merely a tool,
And not a metaphor.
I feel this loss deeply
Not because this is the ‘one more thing,’
It the straw
And me the camel,
I feel this loss deeply
Because of our history,
Because, in this world of much,
This was a beautiful, singular thing,
A companion
Through so many miles,
And years.
So I will not try to justify,
To make it bigger
So that it reasonably warrants
The degree of my devastation.
I will mourn with the gravity
That this friend deserves,
And bless its passing,
Grateful for the time we had
Knowing it is likely
That only I
And it
Will understand.
©2016 Annette Meserve

 

 

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